Wade Hampton, Robert E. Lee, John C. Calhoun, and Kirby Smith
When a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled in the Capitol's Statuary Hall in late February, it joined an exclusive club. The collection includes generals and statesmen, inventors and priests—as well as some of the most notorious leaders of a five-year armed insurrection that left 600,000 people dead in the name of protecting white Americans' rights to own black Americans as slaves. What all the people portrayed in Statuary Hall have in common, with few exceptions, are two things: They are white, and they are men.
There is one Latino represented in the collection today. There are six American Indians, one Hawaiian, and zero African Americans. (Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are both featured as part of a separate collection.) If it were any less diverse it would look like the Senate. But if the Architect of the Capitol is uncomfortable with the composition of its collection, it has an odd way of showing it. The biographies of the collection's most notorious members make no mention of their hard-earned legacies perpetuating and reinforcing a culture of white supremacy.
According to Hilary Shelton, the Washington director of the NAACP, the collection's biographies amount to a "whitewash" of history.
"It becomes revisionist when they don't talk about the real context in which these struggles that are going on," Shelton told Mother Jones. "We would not want to see them edit it out either. But we would like to make sure that there is a clear understanding of what was going on in the country at those times."
On Monday, an Arizona House of Representatives committee took its most serious step yet to prevent the state from descending into a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome—it passed legislation too allow gold and silver bullion to be used in private transactions and tax payments. Per Bloomberg Businessweek:
These doomsayers are pushing forward legislation that would declare privately minted gold and silver coins legal tender, no different under state law than the U.S. dollar printed by the federal Department of Treasury.
The measure is Arizona's latest jab at the federal government, which prohibits states from minting their own money. It also reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money.
"The public sees the value in it," said Republican Rep. Steve Smith, of Maricopa. "This is the type of currency we have had over the history of mankind."
As I explained back in 2011, there has been a renewed push by state legislators, motivated by former Rep. Ron Paul's candidacy, to return their states to so-called "sound money" systems. Currently, Utah is the only state that has passed such a bill—but without a system for storing and transferring gold, it hasn't really gotten off the ground.
As the new chairman of a key House subcommittee on the environment, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) will be one of the GOP's leading actors when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency and the growing threats from climate change. So with his first hearing as chairman on tap for Wednesday, what does the freshman Republican—and end times novelist—think about anthropogenic global warming?
He's not sure.
In response to an inquiry from Mother Jones, Stewart's office emailed a statement suggesting that more study was needed before he could safely say whether—as 97 percent of scientists believe—humans are responsible for rising global temperatures. And even if they are, he explained, that doesn’t mean we should act:
The world's climate is changing. That has always been true. Our global climate is always in flux, and always will be. So while I accept that our climate is changing, I also understand that a great deal of research still needs to be accomplished to understand why, as well as to discover the impacts man might be having on that change.
Climate change is also an extraordinarily complicated discipline. Because of this, it is vital that we ensure that policy decisions are based upon sound science. Before we make any long-lasting policy decisions that could negatively affect our economy, we need to be certain that the science behind our decisions is sound.
Here's Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), critiquing the Violence Against Women Act to National Review's Betsy Woodruff:
"This is a truly bad bill," he says of the Senate version, which includes provisions regarding homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual victims of domestic violence. "This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers — it's called a women's act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that — how is that a woman?"
Stockman, who I profiled in January, was elected to his second term in the House last year with 71 percent of the vote.
Possible Kentucky Senate candidate Ashley Judd has an "unnerving" "obsession" with rape, according to a conservative comedian who performed at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday. Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was winding up his monologue from CPAC's main stage when he decided to mock Judd's suggestion that people who use high-tech appliances (herself included) are indirectly contributing to human rights abuses:
By the way, in breaking news, Ashley Judd just tweeted that buying Apple products, again, is akin to rape. From her iPhone. Rape—now she knows how my brain felt after Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Oh, she said it. What is this obsession with Ashley Judd and rape? It's pretty unnerving.
Here's one reason why Ashley Judd talks about rape a lot: She is, in her own words, "a three-time survivor of rape." (I didn't have to look very hard for that; she talked about it at length in a nationally televised public appearance last month.) Talking about it is not just part of the recovery process—Judd feels it's her obligation: "I gave that shame back, and it's my job to break my isolation and talk with other girls and other women." That's also, not coincidentally, a large part of what she does internationally as a public health activist. There is literally a chapter in her memoir called "The Republic of Rape." It's about the Democratic of Republic of Congo, of which she has reported, "100 percent of the women I had interviewed had been gang-raped multiple times by armed militia."
On top of all of this, the original joke doesn't even make sense. Crowder's punch-line is that Judd is oblivious to the obvious hypocrisy of condemning Apple products while using them. What an idiot! But Judd's comments came in a long essay (not a tweet) about the angst she felt about using products that came from conflict zones.
Given the physical and emotional trauma experienced by countless women on a daily basis, it's not especially surprising that Judd is "obsessed" with rape; the better question is why Steven Crowder isn't.