Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy


Tim Murphy is a senior reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

Get my RSS |

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Neo-Confederates to Install 15-foot Battle Flag on Virginia's I-95

| Tue Aug. 6, 2013 11:24 AM EDT

Coming this fall to I-95 in Richmond: A 15-foot-wide Confederate battle flag.

On Saturday, Virginia Flaggers, a small organization dedicated to promoting the state's Confederate heritage, announced that it is leasing a small patch of land adjacent to the highway just outside the state capital, from which it plans to fly the Confederate flag*, "24/7, 365 days of the year."

In a post on the Flaggers' website, spokeswoman Susan Hathaway announced that the flag "will serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage." The group's members are going to start work on the project this week, with a formal unveiling slated for September 28; in the meantime, they have launched a fundraising campaign to bring in the $3,000 they need to put the thing up.

Prior to the I-95 project, the Virginia Flaggers had spent most of their energy protesting the decision by two museums, the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox and Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, not to fly the Confederate flag outside. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Hathaway explained that the flag's positive message had been distorted by groups like the Ku Klux Klan. (Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom Hathaway is a fan of, was the Klan's first grand wizard.)

The Confederate States of America was a dysfunctional coalition of 11 states formed in 1861 around a unifying principle of white supremacy. Member states initiated a four-year-long armed conflict against the Union that resulted in 600,000 deaths. Post-Civil War, the Confederate battle flag was a largely dormant symbol of the Old South until the 1950s, when opponents of federal action against racial segregation adopted it once again—sometimes in places, such as Kentucky, that had remained under Union control throughout the war.

Hathaway did not respond to a request for comment from Mother Jones, but on the Flaggers' website, the group does weigh in on the relevance of the Confederate flag in the age of Obama. On July 4th, Virginia Flaggers posted a special Independence Day message: "God bless America...and God bless those who have the courage to stand in the face of tyranny...whether it be in 1776...1861...or 2013!"

*Correction: This post originally misidentified the Confederate battle flag as the "stars and bars."

VIDEO: House GOPer Won't Push Back on Birther Calling Obama "Communist Despot"

| Fri Aug. 2, 2013 11:16 AM EDT
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) is no John McCain.

At a town hall forum in her district on Monday that was sponsored by a local tea party group, Roby was asked by an attendee what she would do to counter the supposed abuses of President Barack Obama, whom the man described as ineligible for office, a communist, and a tyrant. Here's how the fellow put it: "What I need from you is to know what you can do, you and your fellow non-communist colleagues in the lower House, what you can do to stop these communist tyrannical executive orders laid down by this foreign-born, America-hating communist despot?"

After the room erupted in laughter and supportive applause, Roby responded with a smile: "Thank you for your question—he said it loud enough that you all heard it." Roby did not push back on the questioner's claims. Instead, she validated his fears. "Look I can't emphasize the oversight part of my job enough," she said. "And I think that that gets lost in what we do every day, because that's exactly what we're doing—we're chasing down these executive orders, we're chasing down these rules that are promulgated, that are backdoor legislation, whether it's the EPA, the IRS, go down the list."



Contrast Roby's dodgy reply with the direct response employed by McCain during the 2008 campaign, when a McCain supporter called then-Sen. Obama "an Arab." McCain grabbed the microphone and wouldn't let this stand:

Daily Show Picks Up MoJo Story on Fox News Host's Inflation Whopper

| Fri Aug. 2, 2013 9:46 AM EDT

As I explained on Wednesday, Neil Cavuto, Fox News' senior vice president and managing editor of business news, doesn't know how inflation works. In a segment about living-wage activists, Cavuto boasted of having once earned $2/hour as a teenager—except that when adjusted for inflation, he was actually making about $9.47/hour, which is $2.22 above the federal minimum wage. (That, and he was a teenager living with his parents, not a 32-year-old woman with two kids; there's also that.)

On Thursday, the Daily Show's John Oliver picked up the ball. Give it a watch:

Thu Oct. 1, 2015 10:23 AM EDT
Thu Aug. 13, 2015 5:00 AM EDT
Wed Aug. 12, 2015 9:46 AM EDT
Thu Jul. 2, 2015 10:31 AM EDT
Fri Jun. 12, 2015 10:59 AM EDT