Thursday, February 01, 2007

The great Molly Ivins Dies At 62

The Houston Chronicle has a balanced editorial policy. That often meant that among the many "scholars" from the likes of the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, and the Heritage Foundation praising the powerful and why they should pay less taxes I could find the funny observations from Molly Ivins about the ignorant idiots in power. She was warm-hearted yet caustic, cynical about politicians but optimistic about the people, a true force of nature for the people versus the powerful. Her humor, her common sense, and her fearless, enduring devotion to the truth will be long remembered. I'll miss her.

If you also hated the picture the Houston Chronicle used of her in the announcement in the print edition - try this.

John Nichols at The Nation: Molly Ivins could have played in the league of the big boys. They invited her in, giving her a bureau chief job with the New York Times - which she wrote her way out of when she referred to a "community chicken-killing festival" in a small town as a "gang-pluck." They also said she did not uphold the dignity of the Times with her habit of going barefoot and her cussin and her inclusion of 'Texas talk' in her writing.

At the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Molly began writing a political column drenched in the good humor and fighting spirit of the Texas populist moment. It appealed beyond Texas, and within a decade she was writing for about 400 papers nationwide.

Molly, being practical, used many of her most prestigious awards as trivets while serving exquisite French dishes at her dinner parties. Her awards include the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, the Eugene V. Debs award in the field of journalism, many awards for advocacy of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the David Nyhan Prize from the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Fort Worth Star Telegram obit.

In an Austin speech last year, former President Bill Clinton described Ivins as someone who was "good when she praised me and who was painfully good when she criticized me."


I wouldn't go calling anyone a liar, but as we say in our quaint Texas fashion, this administration is stuffed with people who are on a first-name basis with the bottom of the deck.

The sheer pleasure of getting lessons in etiquette from Karl Rove and the right-wing media passeth all understanding. Ever since 1994, the Republican Party has gone after Democrats with the frenzy of a foaming mad dog. There was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, not to mention the trashing of both Clinton and his wife - accused of everything from selling drugs to murder - all orchestrated by that paragon of manners, Tom DeLay.... So after 12 years of tolerating lying, cheating and corruption, the press is prepared to lecture Democrats on how to behave with bipartisan manners.

Given Bush's record with the truth, this bipartisanship sounds like a bad idea on its face. These people are not only dishonest - they're not even smart.

The first rule of holes is to stop digging when you're in one.

Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.

I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point. Poor people do not shut down factories ... Poor people didn't decide to use 'contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits.

I know that sludge-for-brains like Bill O'Reilly attack the ACLU for being 'un-American,' but when Bill O'Reilly's constitutional rights are violated, the ACLU will stand up for him just like they did for Oliver North, Communists, the KKK, atheists, movement conservatives and everyone else they've defended over the years. The premise is easily understood: If the government can take away one person's rights, it can take away everyone's.

If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

It's hard to embarrass Texas (the price of gasoline has gotten so high, women who want to run over their husbands have to carpool now), but it is kind of embarrassing to have a government that decides to cover a $10 billion deficit by taking services away from the poorest, the weakest, the most frail, oldest and youngest Texans.

Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair’s-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother? Oh, it’s just that your life is at stake.

I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.

As one who relishes our state's incontrovertibly bizarre political mores, I must confess I love the sheer awfulness of this [congressional redistricting] map. It is, in its own way, totally awesome and worthy of the truly noble tradition of lunacy for which Texas is so noted.

Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for.

Yes, I've called myself a little-'d' democrat. I am a populist, maybe even a left-wing Libertarian. It used to be if you didn't have a hyphen in your definition, you clearly had not thought about it.

Keep fighting for freedom and justice...but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cat, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

In her last column in mid-January dictated from her bed Ivins urged readers to stand up against Mr. Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq:
Raise Hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'
In recent years she shamelessly used her national and international contacts to raise funds for the liberal Texas Observer, which has always survived on a shoestring. More than $400,000 was contributed to the feisty little journal at a roast honoring Molly in Austin October 8. Molly's enduring message is, "Raise more hell."

The Tex-O-Sphere remembers Molly Ivins

Hundreds of comments at Daily Kos. This is someone where a month of flags at half-staff is appropriate.

Tax-deductible contributions in her honor may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701 or the American Civil Liberties Union, 127 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004.

1 comment:

Gary said...

For me, Molly's greatest words of wisdom came with three children's books she gave my son when he was born. In her inimitable way, she captured the spirit of each in one-sentence inscriptions. In "Alice in Wonderland," she offered, "Here's to six impossible things before breakfast." For "The Wind in the Willows," it was, "May you have Toad's zest for life." And in "The Little Prince," she wrote, "May your heart always see clearly." - Her editor at Creators Syndicate.