Ten Fun Facts: Kellyanne Conway Edition

You’ve heard her coin tortured terms of phrase in defense of the indefensible on cable news shows, but how much do you know about Kellyanne Conway? How much do you really want to know about her life?

1. Kellyanne “loves” to “use” air “quotes” to “make” a “point”. It’s “definitely” not “super” “irritating”. She “knows” it “is” a “problem” but she “can’t” “stop”.

2. Some feminists have suggested Kellyanne should feel uncomfortable in a work environment with so few women. Far from it. She’s not like those other females who spend all their time hating men and reading stories about abortion on Jezebel. She’s cool! She laughs at fart jokes! She’s one of the guys!

3. Mrs. Conway’s husband George III was under consideration for a job at the Department of Justice until he withdrew his name. Then he went and mocked Trump’s travel ban on Twitter! You can bet she’s heard an earful from Boss Don. She wishes the men in her life would get along.

4. Can you spot which of these statements isn’t attributable to Conway?

a. “I like the fact that the president uses social media platforms to connect directly with Americans and in this case, what Sarah Sanders said yesterday is true, that the president normally does not draw first blood. He is a counterpuncher as he said on the campaign trail. There are personal attacks about his physicalities, about his fitness for office. He’s called a goon, thug, mentally ill, talking about dementia, armchair psychologists all over television every day. It doesn’t help the American people to have a president covered in this light. I’m sorry. It’s neither productive nor patriotic. The toxicity is over the top.”

b. “I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

c. “Medicaid is intended for the poor, the needy, and the sick. And what it has done is, under Obamacare, it has expanded the Medicaid pool of people who, quote, qualified beyond that. So if you have an able-bodied American who again is not poor, sick, needy — we’re not talking about the elderly who benefit, the children, the pregnant women, the disabled — if you’re able-bodied and you would like to go find employment and have employer-sponsored benefits, then you should be able to do that, and maybe you belong, as Secretary Price has made clear, in other places.”

d. “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts.”

Whatever you guessed is incorrect. They’re all Conway’s, and she’s damned proud of the work she’s doing.

5. While she wasn’t 100% sold on the Donald when she started working for him, she’s come to appreciate how much of a man’s man he is. She’d do anything for her president. Lie, cheat, steal, forge documents, murder… Ooo! Can she commit a murder? She bets if she asks nicely he’ll let her ice one of those traitorous media buffoons. Working at the White House has its perks.

6. At the same time, Kellyanne likes to think she and her friends are performing a public service by subtly pushing the president to create controversy. Sometimes she has to remind him to watch cable news. Before long, wouldn’t you know it, the media is all over his tweets while completely forgetting what the GOP’s agenda really is. Congress has to know what her team is up to. That’s why they never do anything about it.

7. Don and Steve Bannon are talking about how to implement martial law in case of a large terrorist attack on American soil. The conversation is soooo boring. She excuses herself from the meeting so she can get some real work done.

8. Before she leaves for the night, Kellyanne Conway stops by Sean Spicer’s office. Sean is interviewing a potential replacement press secretary on Skype, but he waves for her to have a seat.

“I like the benefits package,” the interviewee is saying, “but I hear the White House is a hostile work environment. I’m not sure I want to jump into that hot mess.”

“Oh no,” Sean grins assuagingly. “You don’t believe all that fake news, do you?”

Just then, Steve Bannon pops in. “Hey, you weepy little fatso!” Bannon bellows. “If you’ve touched my talking points I’m going to ream you with a fish hook so hard you’ll never be able to shit right again!”

Sean just stares at Steve, mouth agape. When he looks back at his laptop, the Skype call has ended.

9. Kellyanne promises to take Sean out for ice cream the next day to get him to stop crying. “Okay, but it had better be REAL ice cream!” he blubbers.

10. Questions about truth and morality threaten to keep her up at night, especially when George is snoring. Tonight’s crisis of conscience is averted when she remembers a lewd joke about female genitalia the president told her when he was sure no recording devices were around. Trump is so outrageous! Bemused, Kellyanne rests her head back on her pillow, and in a matter of moments is snoring right along with her husband.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Sixty-Two)

The Way America Feels Right Now Can Only Be Expressed In Unmetererd Verse

How do we feel?
What a stupid question to ask
Is there a chance you’ve been living under a rock?

Like our breaks have just failed
and the steering wheel won’t turn
The walls lining the racetrack are coming up fast

If feelings were numbers
the numbers are frightened
42 for alarm
33 for unease
A crowd of 11 are cheering the chaos
They brought popcorn and bad beer
to watch the cars crash

The harsh grind of metal
and the breaking of glass
are a sweet lullaby
to the pricks in the stands

How do we feel?
Like we’re trapped in the wreckage
The engine’s engulfed in Halloween flames
Now our faces are bleeding
And our organs puréed
Are leg bones supposed to jut out at such a sharp angle?

No pit crew has rushed forward
So we guess we’ll just die here
If the smoke doesn’t kill us
The fire will soon

The mad crowd keeps cheering
as the world fades around us
The last words that we choke out
Are get bent, you daft fucks

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Sixty One)

But today, the [Southern Poverty Law Center] is best known for its “Intelligence Project,” which has essentially cornered the market on identifying and tracking hate groups, as well as extremists and “hate incidents.” The Intelligence Project’s 15 full-time and two part-time staffers (it’s in the process of hiring five more) pump out reports that are regularly cited by just about every major mainstream media outlet, including Politico, and their researchers have become the go-to experts for quotes on those topics.

The SPLC’s hate group and extremist labels are effective. Groups slapped with them have lost funding, been targeted by activists and generally been banished from mainstream legitimacy. This makes SPLC the de facto cop in this realm of American politics, with all the friction that kind of policing engenders.

The organization has been criticized for spending more of its money on fundraising and overhead and less on litigation than comparable groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. And it has taken flak for amassing a huge endowment—more than $200 million—that is disproportionately large for its operating costs. SPLC President Richard Cohen defends the endowment as necessary to ensure the group can survive legal battles that might last for years. (As for Dees himself, he made $337,000 in 2015, according to the watchdog group Charity Navigator; Cohen made $333,000 the same year.) In 1994, the local paper, the Montgomery Advertiser, ran a series investigating the group’s marketing, finances and personnel practices that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. (Dees responded—according to a transcript from a 1999 Nieman Foundation discussion on journalism about nonprofits—by mobilizing prominent liberal politicians for whom he had raised money to lobby the Pulitzer Board not to award the prize to the Advertiser.)

Other critics say the SPLC picks its causes with its bottom line in mind. In the 1980s, the group’s entire legal staff quit to protest Dees’ obsession with the remnants of the KKK—which still captured the imagination of the group’s liberal donor base—at the expense of lower-profile but more relevant targets. In its marketing, the SPLC still touts seven-figure judgments it has won against Klan organizations, even though the plaintiffs have been able to recoup only a tiny fraction of that from the groups, which possessed paltry assets. It has also been criticized for marketing that exaggerates the threat posed by the moribund Klan.

The complaints have trailed the SPLC as the group has expanded beyond its crusade against racial discrimination in the South, increasingly taking up the left flank of the culture wars on issues like LGBT rights, church-state division, Islam and immigration. The new approach has prompted accusations of overreach: The SPLC has included Senator Rand Paul and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson among the neo-Nazis and white supremacists on its extremists lists (Paul for suggesting private businesses shouldn’t have to adhere to the Civil Rights Act and criticizing the Fair Housing Act; Carson for his views opposing same-sex marriage). The group did back down after it put Carson on the 2014 “extremist watch” list—removing his name and issuing an apology that earned a lot of coverage in the conservative media. “This week, as we’ve come under intense criticism for doing so, we’ve reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards,” the organization’s statement said, “so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it.”

But the SPLC did not back down after it labeled Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council—one of the country’s largest and most established Christian conservative advocacy groups—a “hate group” for its positions on homosexuality, and even after an unhinged gay-rights supporter named Floyd Corkins subsequently shot up the FRC’s lobby in an attempt to murder its staff, in 2012. Corkins said he had read on the SPLC’s website that the FRC was an anti-gay group. The episode prompted fierce condemnation of the SPLC from social conservatives, who view FRC’s stances on homosexuality as legitimate and consistent with Christian teachings. But the FRC remains on the SPLC’s list of hate groups, along with a blurb explaining, “The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.”

William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell and critic of the SPLC, says the group has wrapped itself in the mantle of the civil rights struggle to engage in partisan political crusading. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he says. “For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson adds. “It taints not only the group or person, but others who associate with them.”

Ken Silverstein, a liberal journalist and another critic of the group who authored a scathing investigation of its marketing and financial practices for Harper’s in 2000, attributes the growing scope of the SPLC’s censures to a financial imperative to wade into hot-button issues that will rile donors. “The organization has always tried to find ways to milk money out of the public by finding whatever threat they can most credibly promote,” he says.

–Ben Schreckinger, Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?


Women don’t have to be someone’s sister, mother, daughter or a man’s significant other to matter. Women don’t have to smile. They’re not living, breathing decorations, or objects with parts to be grabbed by grubby, diminutive hands. It turns out, like, they’re people, just like men?

And the fact that a lot of progress has been made in normalizing the idea – but obviously not enough – is what is what makes this Oval Office sexist grossness so infuriating.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Sixty)