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From Molly Ivins: 1944-2007


(I found this lovely picture of Molly at NNDB — had no idea she was a fellow Smithie, but my love of her snark suddenly has more context.  Molly Ivins passed away this afternoon at her home.  We send our condolences to family and friends, and a whole lot of love to Molly.  We had planned on posting this in the morning, as a love note to her, before we learned of her passing, but it seems so appropriate a tribute to her kick ass spirit to post her own feisty words this evening.  — CHS)

I've been reading/enjoying/loving Molly Ivins columns for many years. So I thought our readers would enjoy some snippets from some of her most recent columns. At the bottom of some links, there's a calendar, and from that you can find dozens of her columns from previous years. Go check out the archives; every column is a treasure. And if you find observations written by or about Molly that you'd like to share in the comments, please do so.

Populists! Who'da thunk it! — November 16, 2006

Now, from my hours spent battered and half brain-dead listening to the fatuous, self-important commentators of our nation, I learn that the people did not elect liberals to Congress last week. Nope, they elected populists! Well, gosh all hemlock. Populist! I am one.

Who knew? I thought all said I was chopped liver. Populist. . . .

A populist is pretty much for the people and generally in this case exactly the same as a liberal — we just put the em-pha-sis on a different syl-la-ble. We also tend to be more fun. We do not vote to hurt average Americans, even if the corporate payoff is really big. Even if it's just a little bit — like the bankruptcy bill.

We tend to focus less on social issues and more on who's gettin' taken and who's doin' the taking. In my opinion, Americans are not getting taken by the Republican Party. They are getting taken by Large Corporations that bought and own the Republican Party.

The word populist was misused, abused and co-opted by right-wingers for years, ever since we were all forced to read Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Bad history can do a powerful amount of damage. . . .

If you read back to the beginning of the populist movement, however, you will find Andy Jackson and the West set against all those dreary Eastern snobs. When Andy opened up the White House and let in the people, the snobs had the fantods.

OK, it's not the 19th century anymore, but it is always the right time to point out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Honest. There stands George W. Bush, buck nekkid. We want to help him out of this fix because he's dragging the whole Army, the country and the world down with him. But don't ask us to call those clothes.

Thanks. No, Seriously — November 23, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas — It's time to give thanks, and I want to start off with a great, big thank you for the top American movement conservatives and all the fun we've had since Election Day. I know I promised not to gloat after this election was over, but I'm not talking unseemly gloating — I'm talking about moments so brilliantly hilarious the only option is to put your head down on the desk and howl.

First in line is the wit of The National Review's Kate O'Beirne, who clearly teamed up with Borat to explain the great conservative win. Her explanation is that this is a win for conservatism because a great many of the D's elected are so conservative themselves. She says half of them are conservatives.

She is indeed right. If only twice as many Democrats had been elected, it would have proved that there are twice as many conservatives in the country, and this is clear to any thinking person. We might challenge Ms. O'Beirne to explain how the next Republican win is a victory for liberalism.

The reason that O'Beirne and others are able to accept such an absurdity is because they've been listening to George W. Bush for six years and are thus able to believe six impossible things before breakfast. . . .

Iraq Exit is Up to Us — January 8, 2007

The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck — so it's up to us. You and me, Bubba.

I don't know why Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it's time we found out. The fact is WE have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped NOW.

This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will. Polls consistently show that less than 30 percent of the people want to maintain current troop levels. It is obscene and wrong for the president to go against the people in this fashion. And it's doubly wrong for him to send 20,0000 more soldiers into this hellhole, as he reportedly will announce next week.

What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn't supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

It's a monstrous idea to put people in prison and keep them there. Since 1215, civil authorities have been obligated to tell people with what they are charged if they're arrested. This administration has done away with rights first enshrined in the Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago, and we've let them do it.

This will be a regular feature of mine, like an old-fashioned newspaper campaign. Every column, I'll write about this war until we find some way to end it. STOP IT NOW. BAM! Every day, we will review some factor we should have gotten right. . . .

Stand Up Against the Surge — January 11, 2007:

The purpose of this old-fashioned newspaper crusade to stop the war is not to make George W. Bush look like the dumbest president ever. People have done dumber things. What were they thinking when they bought into the Bay of Pigs fiasco? How dumb was the Egypt-Suez war? How massively stupid was the entire war in Vietnam? Even at that, the challenge with this misbegotten adventure is that WE simply cannot let it continue. . . .

A surge is not acceptable to the people in this country — we have voted overwhelmingly against this war in polls (about 80 percent of the public is against escalation, and a recent Military Times poll shows only 38 percent of active military want more troops sent) and at the polls. We know this is wrong. The people understand, the people have the right to make this decision, and the people have the obligation to make sure our will is implemented. . . .

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. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

Thank you, Molly Ivins. Bless you.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley