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Sometimes a Shirt is Just a Shirt

Or: Atrios, Unhinged. Atrios is up in arms (no pun intended) over Glenn Reynolds wearing this shirt. Glenn responds here. Atrios (or Duncan, whatever you want to call him) believes the shirt, which pictures a variety of guns with the words "Celebrate Diversity," has obvious racial overtones. He - and his readers- see the shirt as not a proclomation of gun rights, but as a message to kill black people. I guess I'm just not seeing the subtext here. Atrios claims that the message is obvious because of the use of pan-African colors. My take on the colors is that the designer just wanted bright colors that would show up well on both a black and white shirt. But that's just me. Duncan's post is not quite as strident as the comments of his readers, although he does drop a few subtle hints in the comments that yes, perhaps Glenn is advocating genocide through a t-shirt. One commenter sees something even more nefarious in the message: bq. shoot as many pan-Africans as possible, maybe even a few queers, since the colors are also reminiscent of the gay flag. Welcome to more and more fascism. I spend a lot of time reading the ramblings of the moonbat left on a daily basis. I'm generally no longer suprised by all the conspiracy theories and tin foil thoughts I read. But this one left me with my jaw hanging. How far gone do you have to be in order to read "shoot the gay people" into that shirt? I think what bothered me more than the obviously stretched-for-maximum-impact theories on the shirt were thoughts like this one: bq. I think there is something significantly more sinister in that message, too. "Diversity" to Repugs is Us vs. Them. Ascribe any color, gender, orientation, religion, creed to that "them" you like. The blanket assertion that all Republicans are racist, bigoted homophobes would be amusing if it weren't so hateful. Celebrate diversity? Well, there is diversity among us Republicans, believe it or not. Some of us support gay rights. Some of us are atheists. Some of us are not white, rich males. Of course, the people who believe the above quoted statement like to throw the "ignorance" grenade out there, while they are the ones behaving like narrow-minded, generalizing fools. Read: ignorant. bq. it says to me "kill the black, brown, yellow, red, ...". Sometimes I wonder if women and non-whites just get it, because they have encountered it so much. Encountered what? Maybe I'm doing something wrong here, but I'm not being indoctrinated every day into a cult of bigotry and racism. Should I contact my local Republican club and tell them they're falling behind in their goals? bq. The subtext is much darker and the "kill a n****r because he stole your job because of affirmative action" is even there. (asteriks mine) What. The. Hell? Even if Atrios's original thought that the shirt has a racist undertone can be defended, there is no way the above statement can. Where, oh where, can you draw that conclusion from? You can't, unless you have gone so far over to the left that you sinister messages in your Alphabits. The rest of the comments read like a handbook on how to hate conservatives. For people who claim to be so open-minded, so celebratory of diversity, so supportive of free speech, they sure know how to be bigoted, ignorant, shallow and oppressive. Perhaps the lefties have been so conditioned to read political incorrectness into everything they see, read or hear that they can no longer take anything at face value. Meanwhile, they are busy espousing the lie that only Republicans can be hateful and liberals never resort to meanness in their crusades. One only has to look through Democratic Underground or Indymedia to see that's a bold faced lie. One only has to witness a "peace" rally to understand the depth of the hatred that spews from the left. I've seen signs that encourage the death of the current administration. I've seen signs that support death to supporters of Israel. I've read articles that support the murder of our troops in Iraq. I've seen burning effigies and heard chants that encourage violence towards the right. I've seen more ugliness and hatred from the left in the past three years than I've ever witnessed from the right. Yet they believe their hatred and threats are justified. They are righteous and smug. The very people who claim to cherish diversity and equality are the ones who hate anyone who thinks outside of their narrow box. All this from one cheesy looking shirt. Granted, I don't own one of those shirts. I don't even own a gun. I'm not male. I'm not a racist. I'm not a homophobe. Maybe I better turn in my Republican credentials because I'm obviously not keeping up with what a Republican is supposed to be. In the eyes of those open-minded liberals, anyhow. Sometimes a shirt is just a shirt. And sometimes, hatred and bigotry are found in the most unlikely places. Like in the comment thread of a leftie website. More here, here, here, here and all over the place.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sometimes a Shirt is Just a Shirt:

» THE SUBTLE RACISM OF ... T-SHIRTS? from Heretical Ideas
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» Atrios Slams Glenn Reynolds from Say Anything
Atrios a/k/a Duncan Black, the popular blogger responsible for Eschaton, has slammed Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit) for wearing this "celebrate diversity" shirt. Eschaton - In the previous post someone linked to a conservative t-shirt seller, proudly ... [Read More]

» Shirt Discussion from Mama Write's Sideblog
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for Duncan Black and Martin Luther King, Jr.* I was going to buy a three-pack of Fruit of the Loom crew necks in a nice, plain      white, But then I thought, What does a white t-shirt say about my commitment to t... [Read More]

» The Atrios Buys a T-Shirt poem from protein wisdom
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» How could I have been so blind? from it comes in pints?
The scales have fallen from my eyes! All the flap about this post by Atrios has made me realize that Glenn Reynolds is in reality a gun-loving racist like all the other Repugs and Bushitlerites. Not only does this shirt... [Read More]

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» Enemablog from Simon World
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It's the only way he can prove his decency. (Background here.)... [Read More]

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I own one of those shirts. I plan on wearing it much more now.

We have spent an entire year and a half watching them come unglued and get steadily less rational.

It is quite simply the most amazing case of mass psychosis I've ever seen.

I'm not saying it because I'm snickering--I'm not. I'm not saying it to be mean. I'm not saying it to needle them.

I'm genuinely slack-jaw amazed at how totally insane they've become.

Look for them to get even weirder and mroe psychotic in the next 89 days.

Here's the thing, too: I've been predicting for a while that I thought their hatred and their insanity would drive Kerry to victory.

For once, I've genuinely begun to doubt it. Sometime around Sunday night, I realized: Kerry just may not win, and even they can smell it, and they're going to start lashing out almost at random because of it.

Turn on comment registration, Michele. Not only are they gonna get weirder, there's gonna be attacks on all of our servers. Just watch.

Moonbats is as moonbats does. And most especially what mooonbats sez.

Can you imagine what will happen to these folks when Bush wins in November?

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

While I think that they have been going over the top regarding this, I don't see how anyone can say this shirt has no subtext (whether the wearer intended it or not). You can't say the phrase "celebrate diversity" without thinking about gay rights or at least liberal sloganeering...otherwise, it wouldn't be poking fun at anything, and it wouldn't be funny!

What I don't get is the attitude that only things that make fun of "the other guy" can be humorous. I get it. I disagree with the sentiment (both the pro gun one and the subtler jab at the left). But it's still funny. Geez. Can't we all just get along?

When conservatives started embracing the "celebrate diversity" mantra, they made a twist on it to tweak the Leftists... Conservative message meaning that "diversity" is a hell lot more than mere graduations of melanin.

And Atrios/Duncan whole Emily Latilla rant is because the letters of "Diversity" weren't tall enough to engage the whole color spectrum text effect (a bit bigger and the blue at the bottom would have started showing). Since when has Left copywrited effing rainbows??

I remember seeing that t-shirt design long ago and grinning at its cleverness because the Left uses "celebrate diversity" as a cudgel to silence any diversity of opinion or values. They see the "right to abortion" in the Constitution but blatantly state the "right to bear arms" either doesn't exist or is "outmoded." I also remember thinking the design could be adapted to tweak the noses of any number of Leftist dogmas: ie PETA and the whole vegan movement... in place of all those guns, stick a variety of hamburgers.

Heh. Would Atrios/Dumbcan than shriek the Republican message is to eat minorities??!

The lefties just hate it when you mock the cute little slogans that they worship.

Ok, now I'm confused. I'm Republican, and technically not 'white' (I'm one of those brown skinned people).

Are they saying I'm suicidal or in denial about my skin color?

Michele, you can't ignore subtext.

For example, the high polyester content of this shirt worn by Atrios is obviously a crypto-sneer directed at sweatshop laborers producing cheap fabrics in underdeveloped countries.

Uh,I'm thinking Esmay may be right,Michele.THey're starting to foam at the mouth.


Of course it has a subtext. The whole "celebrate diversity" crappola from the Left is a fraud. They refuse to tolerate views from 2nd amendment supporters, pro-lifers, anti-Affirmative Action, capitalists, meat-eaters, etc.

Look how "celebratory" they've been about Collin Powell and Condi Rice (the "house n****rs")

Looks like the unhousebroken troll has showed up.

Clean up in the aisle!

"Look how "celebratory" they've been about Collin Powell and Condi Rice (the "house n****rs")"

Darleen please supply some links to those sites that this has been said.

The colors shouldn't be pan-African.

They should be the black-red-white-green of you-know-who.

I think the term "projection" applies to their rantings. It's what they would do if they were one o'those icky evil Republicans so "obviously" that's what the T-shirt means.

Drew, let's start here, ok?


You missed Belafonte's public comments and Ted Rall's excrement?

This is news to you?

Reminiscent of the gay flag?

Jesus, some people will go to insane lengths to preach their stupid agendas.

But John Kerry served in Vietnam!

I don't know who these "conservatrives" are, but they sound like nasty people.

Liberals are "civilizaed"? Jesus, what happened to them?

Don't respond to that moonbat. I'm just going to keep changing his comments.

"The lefties just hate it when you mock the cute little slogans that they worship."

I love watching them shake in rage when you say "Hey, I thought hate wasn't a family value?"

On the bright side, I think the mass insanity we're seeing is really the death spasm of an ideological worldview that 9/11 has exposed to full view for its ignorance and incoherence. They're in denial now, insisting that black is still white, and only the evil overlords and their brainwashed thralls believe otherwise. The good news is, I think the increasing exposure of their insanity will drive normal people away, and an incontrovertible fact of a landslide November defeat might provide the cognitive dissonance necessary to snap lefties capable of rational thought out of their delusional state.

If not... well, we'll get what we deserve.

This whole thing reminds me of Jeff Goldstein's line about another of our friends on the Left:

Q: What did Oliver Willis say to the potato? A: Bush lied. You’re a carrot. Vote Kerry.

Such lovely people.

I know - let's vote them in and let them run our country!!

TV (Harry)

Thanks for the link to the image and to the discussion. I plan on using it in my 102 class when we get to the visual rhetoric unit. I'm very curious to see how my HBCU students respond.

They have been getting a lot more weird lately, haven't they. Desperation?

I got sucked into the vortex that is reading the comments of Atrios' post. I find it rather telling that anyone who posts comments that show even a figment of dissent are responded to with "STFU". Nice. I guess "diversity" doesn't apply to a diversity of ideas. Some people need seriously consider buying a sense of humor. (I heard they're having a great sale on them at Target this week! =D)

I pondered this on my morning walk but first I had to get past my anger at the word "they". Both sides are beginning to spit it out there like a slur. ugh! Gonna make it really hard to come back together as "we" someday. I'll save that rant for a day when my brain is clearer.

Havent read the other comments so pardon me if someone has said this in their own way.

The thing with the shirt is ridiculous as hell. I'm married to a cop. I hate guns. Terrified of them. Want them out of my house. Of course that will never happen. He's one of "them!" who thinks "they!" will come after his guns someday. HA!

Seriously, I don't see the racism. Granted, I'm ignorant (i.e. WTF is pan african??) but to me that shirt says show your diversity by owning various brands of the same caliber weapon.

Any gun lover (and even this gun hater) knows that some people become so loyal to a brand that they refuse to even shoot anything else. People like hubby aren't satisfied to own just one .357 or just one .45. They stand around and talk to each other like this: "Oh yeah, I've got that in a .45. Smith and Wesson makes a really nice one." I'm sure there's more I could say but my brain starts to buzz when I talk about guns.

BTW, am I racist because I don't know what pan african is?

Saw the link. Thanks Michele

I discovered this last night and on Gilliard's web site I thought this was a joke. It had to be.

This is quite frankly the most incredible lack of rational thought I've seen in quite some time. I hesitate to say ever but it might even be ever.

I don't know where Atrios pulled "Pan African colors" out from, but I know that the colors that tend to represent african americans are green black and red, not red yellow and green.


So now a picture of a gun is the same as saying "Lets kill someone" in the minds of the fringe-but-soon-to-be-mainstream left.

I don't think it's true that only Republicans can be hateful and liberals never resort to meanness (though, I do wonder... when did "liberal" become the opposite of "Republican," rather than "conservative?").

There are extremists on both the left and the right. The extremists are the one who are hateful and who resort to meanness. They are the ones reading hateful messages in their Alphabits. I don't think it's fair to categorize all Democrats as liberal loons any more than it is to describe all Republicans as closed-minded bigots. There are some of us who see good in both camps...

There are extremists on both the left and the right.

Amen, sistah.

All of the comments thus far have been insightful and educational, but I think we're losing sight of the fact that John Kerry won three purple hearts. THREE. FREAKING. PURPLE. FREAKING. HEARTS.

So now a picture of a gun is the same as saying "Lets kill someone" in the minds of the fringe-but-soon-to-be-mainstream left.

Like I said: projection. Sad, isn't it?

Doesn't anyone think that it might not be a bright idea to piss off gun nuts? Especially when =you're= unarmed?

I think the loonies need to calm down. Speaking of loonies, is anybody threatening to move to Canada this time? Can't we hold them to it, somehow? It seems that a lot of people lied about it last time. I was bitterly disappointed.

In other news, the sun came up today.

That's a Bushco inspired lie, Jim.

Oh, sorry. Apparently channeling DU for a moment.

The timing of that sunset is awful suspicious. Wasn't Kerry saying 10 minutes earlier about how the Darkness was all Bush's fault only to be upstaged by a Bush inspired sunrise?

Don't be one of those pathetic sheeple buying the right-wing media's claims about a "sun!" Everybody knows this "sun" is, in reality, merely a gigantic Halliburton fusion reactor unlawfully controlled by the Rethuglican fascists! Just you watch and see whether "the sun" will rise over your community if they catch you speaking truth to power!

(Oh, yeah, and it's one of those new fusion oil reactors, powered by stolen oil from Afghanistan and the blood of Iraqi children!)

Insty: Law prof. who became the blogfather achieiving instant fame after 9/11. Uses his real name and beyond MSNBC isn't paid by a political organization.

Atrios: Media critic who became a popular leftie blogger. Until recently Atrios was anonymous, now he is a paid shill for Soros.

Of course he's going after Insty. The jealous and idiotic perform damage control of their own damaged cred by tearing into others to bring them down to their level. "Sure I'm a bought and paid for hack of the left....but Insty wants to kill black people with guns!"

What a petty shit head.

Yes, Jim, the sun came up. But as the sun comes up in one place, it goes down in another. It's a sad, dismal zero-sum game.

OK, I'm going to float a little idea that's been running around inside my head for a while now. It goes like this: the crucial battleground for the Presidency isn't the parties' bases, it's the large block of uncommitted/swing voters in the middle. These people tend to be moderate and relatively politically disengaged. But you can't win without them. So say Bush wins the election. It's entirely likely that if he does it will have been because the Moonbats scared the swing voters. The Atrios/Moore/Rall/DU wing of the Democrats will go insane (even more so than before). After blaming Halliburton and orbiting mind-control lasers, they'll turn on the moderate, DNC, Lieberman/Gebhardt Dems for being insufficiently radical. The moderates, in turn, will blame the hard Left. I am wondering if it is possible that we will see a fracturing of the Democratic party into two factions. If the level of vitriol and sheer swivel-eyed divorce from reality displayed in the Atrios post is anything to go by, I think it could happen. Of course, if it did, it could keep the GOP in power for a generation. I don't know if there's room in US politics for two parties of the Left. It will be interesting to find out.

The shirt, with its red, yellow and green colors, is clearly a subtle message to shoot out traffic lights!!!

Since there was not a single decent ray gun pictured and I am not among the idiotic species from this planet anyway, I really have no side to take on this issue, but from my mostly very neutral observation, the use of coloring on the word diversity whereas the rest of the graphic, including the large word in black: "celebrate," just above such, makes me believe there was some ulterior motive for the use of the coloring that had nothing to do with making it stand out on different backgrounds. I am going to have to side with the lefty barking moonbats on this one.

I want to learn more about getting sinister messages in my Alphabits. Sounds way more cool than an astrology column. Maybe this Atrios feller' can give me some pointers.

All I get from my Alphabits is an eerie "ooooooo"

Mine just keep saying "Paul is dead" over and over.

h0mi, are you sure those aren't Cheerios?

i like the anti-woman comments...

as you may have noticed, mrs instapundit is on the left column wearing the shirt, while prof. instapundit is wearing it on the right column of the homepage..

and i know he's just secretly exposing his true feelings and his statements on his blogs mean nothing...

but he does (almost daily) advocate for gay marriage and mentions how great it is that his (very black african) sister in law was able to immigrate from nigeria...

Between this and his even sillier objection to the use of the word "eloquent" to describe certain speakers who happen to be black, this is Atrios's second hair trigger racism charge in less than a week. From now on, I suggest that all bloggers responding to Atrios's race-baiting posts preface their statements with "Duncan Black, who is white..."

"There are extremists on both the left and the right. "

While this is indisputably true, it's not really the issue. Democrats have been increasingly supporting their extremists. For example, Moore's invited to the convention, Pelosi makes his movie premier a PR event, and McAuliffe says be believes it.

Does anyone remember Bob Dole inviting someone promoting the idea that Bill and Hillary killed Vince Foster to his nominating convention? Did a high profile national party member say he believed it was true? Did the Republican house leader draw media attention to a "Vince Foster Murder" seminar? I must have missed that.

I didn't read Atrios, but I read Steve Gilliard and it seemed to be about the same as above. I used to believe lefties were sincere but mistaken advocates. I'm changing my mind. The decades of mental conflict attempting to reconcile their beliefs and reality drove them insane.

You know Michele, I can agree with you that a lot of Atrios' readers are going way overboard with this shirt thing. I'm sure it's just a joke, and in any case no one as smart as Glenn would be dumb enough to discredit himself by publicly wearing it if he had thought it might be interpreted as it has been. That being said, there's something else to consider. Atrios represents the far-left fringe of the Democratic party, a group that is probably as despised by centrist Democrats as it is by Republicans. Recently, Senate Republicans were able to bring a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage to the table. It was defeated, as I'm sure you know, but the mere fact that almost half of the Senate voted in favor of the Amendment is significant nonetheless.

From where I stand, Constitutionalizing the proscription of gay marriage appears to be a major goal of the radical religious right. I'm not defending the Democrats, who for the most part are not worth defending, but what, I have to ask, does it say about the Republican party when nearly all of its members in the Senate, rather than just fringe elements, tilt so far to the right?

Heh... you guys ran with the "sun" thing! Good work. Now see what you can do with this. Possibly even nuttier than our friend Duncan.

Jim, as I commented on another blog, I didn't think that anyone could surpass Atrios and his readers on that thread for pure, unintentional comedy gold. Gilliard and his readers proved me wrong.

"All I get from my Alphabits is an eerie 'ooooooo'."

I think those are your Cheerios.

Yeah I thought a family guy reference was appropriate about now.

All I did was go over and add this: http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/000977.html

to the comment stream.

If anyone is still reading that far down, I'll probably have to turn off my comments.


People we are missing one important point here, Kerry Served in Vietnam.

From where I stand, Constitutionalizing the proscription of gay marriage appears to be a major goal of the radical religious right.


I'm a member of the radical religious right. In other words: I'm a Calvinist Christian, I believe in the doctrines of grace, I believe some things are personally offensive to God, I believe in Constitutionally limited government, and a Federal system of government which includes the concept of states' rights and sovereignty.

I have some insights on this situation.

  • Homosexuality is offensive to God but not effectively more than my own sins, your sins, or anyone else's sins. Homosexuals need the Gospel of Jesus Christ just as much as you, I, or anyone else. I have nothing but concern for their eternal safety just as I have nothing but concern for your eternal safety or my own.
  • I don't believe homosexuals should be burned at the stake or any such thing. My responsibility before God is limited to preaching the Gospel and that's it. Christians are primarily citizens of the kingdom of Christ--temporal power is not our pursuit.
  • A Constitutional amendment defining marriage is outside the scope of the Constitution. The Constitution was meant to be a very general document defining the structure of the Federal system, the powers and limits of Congress, and the reservation of rights to the states and people.
  • People of individual states should make up their own minds about homosexual marriage through their state legislatures. However, through the actions of those who have attempted to nationalize our government, we no longer have effective state sovereignty to do that. Now, when one state decides to have same-sex marriage, everyone will be forced to recognize it. This is simply not in line with the spirit of the Constitution which gives local municipalities the right to determine what is right for the local community. This is what has spurred the (Constitutionally unsound) attempt at an amendment.
  • I can't blame them for their desire to maintain local standards of morality. What is needed here, however, is a return to Constitutional limits of central power. This will probably never happen; but that's what we need to do.
  • To just restate what's been said here already here, the Left just isn't a valid political position. The Left(ist Hive) is the PLACE mentally disordered folks naturally gravitate to to plug into the nourishing drip of collective mental illness. Comfort in numbers.

    I'm not saying it to needle them either. I'm saying it because a wholely valid hypothesis: It you are a social thief, a system-gamer, a bald-faced liar, an arrogant lord of society, an egomaniac, a freak, weirdo, angst-laden enraged Marxist lunatic, or general psychopath, where do you go?

    To the Right?

    Ah... I wish for the days when the terms Liberal and Radical meant Richard Cobden, Free Trade and Isolationism.
    Now they mean collectivist, statist and irrationalist. Its a combination of the worst in Whig History and the Romanticist movement.
    The new imbecilic, born-to-lead Aristocracy is here. Enjoy.

    Jhclouse: Actually, the constitution was meant to protect individual rights and limit the powers of the federal government. I would be as wholly against a single state abbrogating the rights of individuals (yes, this includes homosexuals), as I would be against a Congressional (national) action in such a direction.
    Simply distributing powers down to the individual states is not enough. Majority Autocracy (cf. "the Tyranny of The Majority") should not be tolerated anywhere within the Constitutional Republic.
    In a sense, Federalism is only a stopgap measure to statism.

    As for myself, I plan to own some of the guns on that T-Shirt. Diverse indeed.

    -Pavel A.

    Purple Hearts? I've heard troops refer to them as "enemy marksmanship medals".

    John Kerry threw those medals out once.He has spent years berating Vietnam and those that server honourably.Now he trota out his record like it means something..give me a break.If
    service to country really meant something, would
    Clinton have stood a chance against Dole? Liberals used to come from both parties, and
    one can make an argument that the progressive movement was a thing created as much by the right as the left, but after the depression started, progressives voted more and more for FDR.Now the term liberal can be applied with some truth to democrats, if only because they have lost any semblance of the character they once espoused.

    Whenever a left w(h)inger uses the word "diversity" just substitute "racial correctness."
    Everything will suddenly become much clearer.

    Guns don't kill black people, other blacks kill black people.

    Sometimes a shirt is just a shirt.

    While I agree that the interpretation of this shirt as 'kill all black pepole' (let alone gays, women et al) is ludicrous the idea that this is just a shirt with bright colours and neat images is equally disingenuous.
    The shirt was designed.
    The images were chosen.
    The Pan-African colours were selected. Why?
    Well, looking from this side of the 'pond' it's clear that this is an attempt at irony, something I keep hearing Americans aren't good at. I don't agree with that view entirely, although it does seem to pass a lot of you guys by.
    But what this shirt really manages is something that we Brits are even better at ...sarcasm.
    Call it what you will, the message on the shirt is political and Reynolds knows that as well as anyone.
    For the record it's a political message I endorse.

    Walter said; "but what, I have to ask, does it say about the Republican party when nearly all of its members in the Senate, rather than just fringe elements, tilt so far to the right?'

    Walter, it says that those who voted for this are in touch with the wishes of the American people.

    All of this diversity talk is nice, but let's make it clear that Kerry's 4 months of brave service in Vietnam included 3 Purple Hearts, 1 Bronze Star, and 1 Silver Star.....a DIVERSITY of medals, if you will.

    Hell, Kerry is a walking diversity of views on each and every issue. What a guy!

    But do swing voters / middle Americans even see this craziness? How many are blogreaders? Other than War Profiteer Michael Moore, how many of the real Moonbats are visible to most people?

    [and shouldn't that be "Duncan is Black"?]