Tuesday, October 31, 2006

John Kerry's Gaffe

Isn't much of a gaffe when you think about it. It's only a gaffe when you purposefully distort his words.

For those who don't know, he was making a speech and he said "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." It is clear that, in context, the you in that last sentence refers to President Bush.

Out of context, it refers to the soldiers serving in Iraq - and you can guess which intrpetation is more popular with Republicans. Fortunately for us all, Senator Kerry isn't cowed by this assault.
Enough is enough. We're not going to stand for this. This policy is broken. And this president and his administration didn't do their homework. They didn't study what would happen in Iraq. They didn't study and listen to the people who were the experts and would have told them.

And they know that's what I was talking about yesterday. I'm not going to be lectured by a White House or by the likes of Rush Limbaugh who's taking a day off from mimicking and attacking Michael J. Fox, who's now going to try to attack me and lie about me and distort me.

No way. It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did.

It's over.
I don't think it is over - but I don't think it's going to be ended by taking such distortions. Rather I think Kerry is doing the right thing by fighting them. "To take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them."

New Quotes Page

Hi all. Just letting you know that we have finally updated the quotes page.

As noted below I am having to change how I run the blog in some ways, and this is one of them - the quotes page will take you to another domain, where I will be hosting a few pages (like the Quotes Page). It may also allow me to upload a music playing or to create a bulletin board like feature. We will have to see what shakes loose.

On Ne Badine Pas Avec L'amour

I don't know if I've posted this before - probably have. Should have checked my own website. Anyway this is a really great friend play by Alfred De Musset. Actually it's mostly pretty predictable and crappy, but in the middle there is a long discussion between two of the main characters in which it gets very good - in part because this section is cribbed directly from letters he wrote to a woman he was in love with at the time.

Anyway, here is my favorite section, translated as best as I can.
All men are cheats, flakes, frauds, grand-standers, hypocrites, braggarts and cowards, all females are liars, falsifiers, narcissists, busybodies and concubines, the world is nothing but sewer without bottom where the wisest of seals romp and climb on mountains of shit, but there is only one thing in the world holy and sublime, and it's the union of two of these being so imperfect and so hideous. One is often mistaken in love, often wounded and often sad, but one loves and when one has one foot in his grave, one can turn and see, and will say to oneself, I have suffered often, and I have fallen from time to time but I've loved. It is I who have lived, and not a false being created by my pride and my boredom.
Anyway that's the quote of the afternoon.

In other news Blogspot is discontinuing a service they had previously provided to me. Which means I can't update the quotes page or add additional pages to the website - I am working on a work around, but it is taking some time. If I can get this to work, however, it might give me more flexibility in adding things to the website. We'll have to see how it pans out.

Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

Or at least the political landscape. So writes this years Travis Bickle, Michael Johnson, in his latest article.
On this week devoted to the doings of the Dark Side, it seems apropos, somehow, to pause and reflect on those who have done so much to darken the spiritual landscape of these United States …

… the earnest advocates of atheism and sexual perversion who yearn, like vampires, to suck the very life out of our religious freedoms and sense of community …

… the too-many innocuous voters and ordinary citizens who, in their thirst to avoid conflict, played along with political correctness at the ballot box, and helped create the monsters of immorality that now dominate the political scene …

… the aggressive attorneys and activists who, wrapped mummy-like in their own agenda, have found their fortune in pressing the lawsuits that have brought paranoia and social paralysis to churches and school districts and businesses all over America.
See this is a Travis Bickle with ambition. Not content with obsessing over the evil of one town, he's gone national.

He gives a litany of crimes perpetuated against the innocent Christians of this country, presumably not the same folks who go around killing doctors who preform abortions or who killed Matthew Shepard. No we are talking about the poor sap who wants to wear a shirt saying Homosexuality is Shameful to school on a gay awareness day.

I suppose there's nothing to worry about when one writes an article demonizing half of America. I mean nobody would be crazy to act out these paranoid fantasies, right?

How did Taxi Driver end, anyway?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Man of the Year

Went and saw Man of the Year, and it turns out the reviews were largely right. There's bits of a good smart comedy here, but somehow they got jumbled up in a decidedly non-taut political thriller, and overlaid with a patina of not wanting to offend anybody. So you cut from Robin Williams bravura performance at the debates to Laura Linney being given a forced drug overdose. Those scenes don't mesh well.

The movie wants to have it both ways. It suggests that Robin Williams would actually be a pretty good president; but he has to do the right thing and walk away from the office, because he wasn't actually elected. There's a few moments that suggest that as good a person Robin Williams is, he's not prepared to be President.

And the whole thing turns on a computer flaw thought up by people who clearly have spent very little time with computers.

At any rate, enjoyable enough in parts - particularly the bits with Robin Williams, Lewis Black, and Christopher Walkin. Lewis Black has a great little commentary on how Television equalizes everything - how it gives all points of view the same relevance, and by implication rendering all points of view irrelevant. That's worth the price of admission right there, practically.

Conservative Pundits Want Conservatives to vote for Republicans

Big news eh? But they seem pretty insistent about it. Check out these articles.
Burt Prelutsky: Vote early and often
Carol Platt Liebau: Election '06 matters to everyone
Doug Wilson: V Squared: Why you must vote and volunteer
And there's a few others that seem to touch on this issue indirectly. The argument is pretty consistent - You should vote because as bad as Republican rule has proven to be, Democrat rule would be even worse.
The truth is, I know an awful lot of conservatives and I don’t know a single one who is so irresponsible, so unconcerned about America’s well-being, that he would sit idly by and allow this catastrophe to take place.

It would be bad enough to allow Democrats for the next two years to determine where and when, or even if, the war on terror will be waged; bad enough to allow them to eliminate Bush’s tax cuts; bad enough to let them decide whether or not to erect a wall along our southern border; bad enough to give them an even bigger say in who gets appointed to federal judgeships. But the worst part is that there’s not only no guarantee that they’d be gone after a single term, but in fact not the slightest chance. There is a reason, after all, that they’re called incumbents, not outcumbents.
Burt Prelutsky, and you can see why he's called an humorist.
We must set aside our anger and frustration and support Republican candidates across our nation. Why the switch from critic to supporter? Because the alternative is much worse. For example, Nancy Pelosi, the would-be Democrat majority leader, is no friend of the taxpayer. In fact, she has voted 19 times against eliminating the death tax. She also voted against the historic welfare reform bill of 1996; against protecting the right to say “one nation under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance; against banning partial-birth abortions; and against requiring voter identification at polling stations so that we can ensure that only legal citizens cast votes.
This one's from Doug Wilson, who is very keen on preventing voter fraud, as all Republicans are. Because, of course, they want to make it harder for minorities to vote, and being tough on voter fraud accomplishes this important goal, without being as crude as some of their other tactics.
. . . if Democrats are given the power to weaken America’s position in the war on terror, not only will they put all of us in greater jeopardy, but – through a premature retreat from Iraq – they could also undermine the cause for which so many brave American soldiers have died. Next Tuesday, we need to vote as if our lives – and our families’– depended on it.
And this is the money quote, from Carol Platt Liebau. If you don't vote for Republicans you are going to die.

These are not the kinds of articles you want to write at the end of an election cycle. It should be a forgone conclusion that voting for your candidate is the right thing to do. It says a lot about how far the Republicans have fallen that they have to keep hammering this point home.

And then they don't even offer any positive accomplishments, they simply press the "hate Democrats" button a couple of times and call it a day. "Yeah I know our guys are a bunch of losers, but come on. Democrats are far worse." That's not inspiring. We'll have to see if that strategy works.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hi all! Hope your weekend is going great! :)

New logo and we changed the background from green so as not to freak out our valuable readers.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

4th Year

Well I just finished the fourth year of the blog - it started 4 years ago today. Unfortunately due to travel constraints and general lack of interest, I'm not really celebrating on the day of - I do have some stuff planned, but it will come out Monday and Tuesday.

But today was actually the day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I don't think Republicans are a bunch of Orgres

Contrary to what the title of Mike Gallaghers latest article suggests.

But I don't know what an Orgres is. So maybe I do think Republicans are a bunch of Orgres and just don't know it.

Here's a saved saved version of the page.

Anyway the substance of the article is about a recent incident involving Michael J. Fox. He appeared in a commercial in support of a Democrat candidate speaking out in favor of stem cell research. Rush Limbaugh suggested he was faking it (he's an actor as you know). Rush Limbaugh then decided he was really upset about Fox being exploited. This article is about how as much as they have sympathy for Michael J. Fox and others who are suffering like him, Republicans don't want to do the research that could help them.

He does trot out the bizarre argument that if you are pro-life you shouldn't have to pay for research you don't like. I'm opposed to the Iraq war; should I have to pay for it? Why yes. Because only Christians get the special privilege of not having to pay for government programs they are opposed to.

And that's without mentioning the obvious point that if Pro-Lifers really think it's murder, why are they ok with private citizens doing it?

So poor Mr. Galleghar had to suffer the slings and arrows of republicans paying the price when they say something stupid. Poor guy. Poor Rush. Poor Ann Coulter (who he also references as someone unfairly targeted by the media who can't stop putting her on and giving her leave to express her vies). I hope those Orgres will be able to hold up under the strain.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Top Twenty

I'm on the road today, so I've prepared another in my serise of Mix CDs. I think this one is the latest!

Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" *
World Party, "Way Down Now"
Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"
Pulp, "Common People" *


INXS, "Bitter Tears"
Jefferson Airplane, "Good Shepard"
Everclear, "Everything to Everyone" *
Deep Blue Something, "Breakfast at Tiffanys"

Beautiful South, "Hooligans Don't Fall In Love"
Three 4 Tens, "I'll Feel Better" *
Lemon Drops, "I Live in the Springtime"
The Byrds, "John Riley"


Cake, "Never There" *
U2, "Rejoice"
The Psychedelic Furs, "President Gas"
The Police, "Nothing Achieving"


Offspring, "Self Esteem" *
REM, "Maps and Legends"
Ani DiFranco, "School Night"
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge" *


The ones marked with an asterix are from Albums I don't own, but downloaded using Rhapsoday. I did own some of those albums once upon a time, and others I borrowed from people living near me.

Find Myself A City To Live In

The Talking Heads are great.

Any writing some more on the investigatory power, in response to an article by Paul Greenburg about Paul Krugman and the investigatory power.
There you have it, folks. Give the Democrats control of the House or Senate, or both, and you won't have to worry about any legislation of great import being passed - as Dr. Krugman was honest enough to note. Instead, boy oh boy, the country can spend the next couple of years as tied up in investigations as it was during the Clinton Era of Bad Feelings. Hot dawg!

This could be the greatest thing since sliced bread - or at least since Monicagate.

In short, as an argument for electing a Democratic Congress, Dr. Krugman's column makes a pretty good case for re-electing a Republican one. If just to avoid wasting a couple of years on scandalmongering.
A couple of points.

Isn't it funny for a Republican to note that the public doesn't want Monica style investigations? I mean Greenburg does remember that his party was the one who pushed that, right?

But of course we aren't going to be doing Monica style investigations. We are going to be doing Watergate investigations, looking into how President Bush and his allies have subverted the constitution and our country to their own ends. That's about as far from Monica style investigations as you can get, while still doing investigations.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Investing in Bush

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has made a great point about President Bush's presidency and how we have bought into it.
Think of the president as a failed or deadbeat entrepreneur (again, not such a stretch) who's already lost his investors a ton of money. He goes back to them and says, 'Okay, fine. You think I'm a moron and a screw-up who lost you guys a ton of money. Fine. But do you really want to finally, totally, conclusively kiss that $300 billion goodbye. You wanna just totally call it quits? Admit it's a total loss? What about giving me just another $10 billion and maybe somehow I'll actually pull this off? Or, since that's just not gonna happen, a mere $10 billion to put off for six months having to write the whole thing off as a loss, having to come to grips once and for all with the fact that all the money's gone and the whole thing's a bust?'

That's really what this is about. And I think we all know it pretty much across the political spectrum. In this way, paradoxically, the very magnitude of the president's failure has become his tacit ally. It's just such a big thing to come to grips with. And reinvesting in the president's folly, even after any hope of recouping the money is gone, carries the critical fringe benefit of sustaining our own collective and increasingly threadbare denial.

But President Bush's interests are not the same as the country's. He's maxed out, in for 100%. If Iraq is a failure, a mistake, then the same words will be written right after his name in the history books. A country, though, can take missteps and mistakes, course corrections and dead ends, and move on. We've done it before and we'll do it again.

But President Bush can't and won't withdraw from Iraq because when he does, under the current conditions, he'll sign the epitaph, the historical death warrant for his presidency. Unlike in the past there are no family friends to pawn the failure off on and let them take the loss. It's all his. So he'll keep kicking the can down the road forever.
This is dead on, but obviously a lot of President Bush's friends in the media have bought off on this one - what does it do, for example, to the Dittoheads if Iraq is declared a mistake, a failure, a disgrace? I suspect they can just blame liberals and the media as they have for Vietnam (when they aren't busy pointing out that it was Democrats who got us into Vietnam). Still the contrast between reality and ideology might eventually become too sharp even for them.

Way Down Now

Paul Weyrich, who is trying to build his brand as a serious political commentator, has written an article arguing that Republicans should in fact vote for Republicans. If he really wants to be taken seriously, though, he might want to check his facts a bit more thoroughly.
I realize that Republicans impeached President William J. Clinton. He was only the second President to be impeached. There are those Democrats who are still angry about that action. But Clinton was impeached for perjury. Bush and Cheney would be impeached for "lying us into war." I disagreed with the Iraq conflict. But to suggest that the President and Vice President deliberately lied to get us there is over the top. I believe our President meant well and I surely do not want to see him tried.
First of all we are not going to impeach Bush and Cheney for lying us into the war. If we decide to impeach them it will be for actual high crimes and misdemeanors, of which there have been quite a few.

Secondly, President Bush is doing a lousy job in the war on terror and more and more Americans are waking up to this fact. While it might not be feasible to remove him and Cheney from power, if we could I'd be bang up along side it. But it looks like actually impeaching him and Cheney is a bit of a long shot, so we'll have to settle for simply watching over them. Investigating them. Protecting America from an out of control Executive Branch. Whatever you want to call it.

Which is kind of what Congress is supposed to do anyway.

This is not a Title

David Limbaugh's latest article is entitled "Without conservative help, Democrats shouldn't bet the farm." It is about how Conservatives shouldn't support Democrats. Which sort of ties in with the title, but not really. This article is terribly generic actually - Limbaugh's been writing variations on it since last Christmas. He covers the same old themes - Democrats have no plan and Republicans/Conservatives would be foolish to vote for them. I guess the tie in with the title is that unless Conservatives help Democrats by not voting at all, the Democrats will lose? We'll have to see I guess.

In other news I am thinking of renaming this blog, in honor of our first 4 years. Here are some obvious possible names.

"Legal Daisy Spacing" - I've already been this once, and I liked it pretty well - originally suggested by Random Goblin.

"Stupid Enough Unexplanation" - From a music review I posted here at one point, a fan music review that just wasn't very good.

"Greetings to you, from little Fred Williams" - From a letter I got once upon a time (Space Lobster answered it).

"Political Comment" - which would line up with the url to this blog.

Those are the ones that already have a connection to the blog. I'll post what others I've come up with as the day progresses.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Walt Disney and Cal Thomas

This is an oddity - I'm going to praise a Cal Thomas Column. His latest column, reviewing a biography of Walt Disney ("Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" by Neal Gabler) is pretty inoffensive, and it looks like an interesting book. Thomas does describe Fantasia as "futuristic" which it really isn't, but other than that he does an ok job.

Of course he doesn't look at the content of Disney's movies, including Fantasia, where he might have found some conflict with modern Conservativism. Fantasia's Rite of Spring section for example. Or the implicit environmentalist message of Bambi.

Two Americas

There's the America of the blind and the America of those who can see. Ruben Navarrette Jr. decries these two Americas in his latest article.
The divide shows up in a recent CNN poll that asked people if they thought the American Dream was now impossible to reach. Fifty-four percent said yes, while 45 percent said no.

How depressing.

There are Americans who believe that this is still a country of unlimited opportunity for those who work hard and sacrifice. And there are others who are convinced that the deck is stacked against working men and women.

There are those who believe that what works against some folks are not the bad breaks, but bad choices such as dropping out of high school or ambling through life without ambition. And there are others who believe that human beings are at the mercy of sinister forces beyond their control.
See in the blind America that Naverette occupies, there are no problems with our economic system that removing government regulations can't solve. The obvious disparities in our system are caused not by the wealthy and the corporations trying to maintain their privileged place in society, but by poor people being lazy and stupid. But obviously this is in part fantasy.

In any capitalist system, and make no mistake, I'm a capitalist, you are going to have losers, who will sometimes deserve it and will sometimes not. But when the pundit and business class says that the economy is going gangbusters and yet a large portion of the economy doesn't feel like they are sharing in the wealth, doesn't feel like they could share in the wealth, well, the problems are more than just laziness and stupidity on the part of poor people.

And the answer has to be more complex than Naverette's "pay no attention to the corporations and Republicans behind the curtain."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Remember to vote

At a suggestion we are reminding you to vote in the upcoming election, and have added a note to that effect over to the right.

Sci Fi Madness

I went to the used book shop again this week, and as a special treat thought I would post scans of two of my purchases.



Here's a large version of this cover.

You remember back in 1993 when the US was ruled by a drug syndicate that could read our minds. Actually that would seem prophetic to a few of our conservative buddies, who might see that as a pretty good description of the Clinton White House.

Here's another book I got.



Here's a larger picture of the second book.

This one is about a robot who goes to the gambling program. Then he falls in love with his owners wife, and has a lot of bad stuff happen to him. Being a robot sucks, apparently.

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hi all.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Nothing can prepare you for the Eldricth Horror . . .

of the Thing in a Beatles Wig.



I might have posted this picture once before - I can't help it. It really makes me laugh.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Good morning all. I am Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat, here to discuss with you exciting stories from around the future Web.

Musing's musings has
some thoughts on North Korea's recent weapons tests, and how the Bush administration has failed to address the North Koreans effectively.

Rook's Rant expresses some
similar sentiments, discussing how religious mania has influenced some of the Bush Administration's worst decisions.

Sooner Thought has
the information that the Administration believes the situation in Iraq to be progressing satisfactorily. It is possible that their brains do not function properly.

Steve Gilliard's News Blog has
a discussion of a war that will occur in some 45 years in the future from my point in time and some 45 years back in time from your point in time - the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. He remarks on President Bush, who compared this battle to the current war in Iraq, and finds the comparison somewhat lacking.

Pen Elayne on the Web has
a web tool that calculates how many people with your name exist in the United States. Apparently there are 13,499 people with the name Irwin, and there are no people with the name McIckleson. That would really bother me if I weren't fictional. But if anybody knows of any modern fictional characters who bear the proud name of McIckleson, please let me know.

Just to be safe, though I'm going to focus more on romancing Miss Pinksington.

A Blog About the Clock has
a discussion of how sleep produces items your body needs to be skinny - sleeping a bit more may help you lose weight.

Rubber Hose
notes that candidates in this election cycle seem unwilling to identify themselves by party affiliation. Specifically, he is referencing Republican candidates. I gather they don't want to be associated with that dunderhead, George W. Bush.

T Rex's Guide to life has
some thoughts on how future Conservatives evaluate information; apparently they judge it by the ideological orientation of the person providing the information. That's not always a good way to evaluate information.

According to Scrutiny Hooligans, Charles Taylor is a snake loving, corrupt dimwit. He certainly seems affordable for a Representative, but they tend to be cheaper than a Senator as a rule.

Speedkill
has thoughts on how government advertisements suggesting that people not indulge in drug use do not appear to be working. I still think you future people should give cocaine a chance; it seems very beneficial.

Words on a Page, or the Podunt Press, has
a picture of a working woman. I believe it may be a picture of Wanda who runs the Podunt Press; alternatively she may have found a working woman and took a picture of her. The working woman looks a little like Miss Pinksington, actually, although Miss Pinksington wears her hair forward and is usually wears several more layers of clothes.

Steve Bates, the Yellow Doggeral Democrat has
the news that scientists are building a cloaking device, which is apparently a device for making something unable to be seen by the eye. When I was a youngster I'd just strip down to my skin - nobody would look at a naked child; they would just make tsk tsk sounds.

And that is all for this week. I wish you all pleasant weekends.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What are Christian Conservatives getting for their Vote

Marvin Olasky's latest article is about the David Kuo book coming out in the new year (apparently). Bits of it have been released which paint the Bush Administration and Karl Rove in a bad light when it comes to Conservative Christians. Olasky, unlike many of his colleagues in the Conservative Punditry (who are busy discovering that Kuo, speech writer for Bill Bennett, Bob Dole and others, was never really a Conservative), takes Kuo seriously.
To me, Kuo's book is valuable for its specific detail on how the Bush faith-based initiative went astray. Kuo notes that the 2001 Bush tax cut left out "the president's promised $6 billion per year in tax credits for groups helping the poor. Those tax credits had been the centerpiece of compassionate conservative efforts for years." But the White House, Kuo charges, decided that it was more important to cut the estate tax than to help the poor and decentralize poverty fighting. Not wanting to make the big tax bill any bigger, the Bush administration surprised key congressional leaders by pushing successfully to have the anti-poverty tax credits dropped.

Kuo, saying he still wants the compassionate conservative movement to succeed, hopes through his book to attract attention to its yet-unrealized potential: "If this hadn't come out now, how many conservatives would even have given it a single thought?" He wants to communicate to Christians: "Please understand that you are being used. Look shrewdly at that and remember, remember, remember that Jesus must come first."

He's right. Christians clearly need to be discerning and to accentuate biblical ways of helping widows and orphans. But the irony of Kuo's call for Christians to "fast" from politics is that it would increase the power of anti-Christian politicians. If the saints go marching out, others will march in unimpeded.
I've noted for a while how quickly the tax cut was passed verses how quickly abortion and gay marriage were ended. That said, of course I don't agree with the characterization of Democrats as Anti-Christian. I suppose the boat has already sailed on that one, but it's just not accurate.

A Rallying Cry

So I know a lot of Republicans are a bit down in the mouth about this election cycle. Fortunately help is on the way, thanks to a new article by Matt Towery.
Here's the skinny, folks: The Republicans have held power for too long, and grown cocky and lazy. Bush strutted around defiantly. Republican leadership took a Nixonian, siege-mentality approach to the press. Bad things got worse. Now they may lose Congress.

Even so, absent the issue of personalities, political style and the like, a neutral scorecard based on policies makes at least a modest case to return the GOP to power.
A modest case! Let that be your rallying cry, Republicans.

A Modest Case! To the Barricades!

Constitutional Crisis

Sidney Blumenthal's has done an interview for Los Angeles City Beat, in which he talks about the Neo Conservatives and their history. He ends with this sobering statement.
We're headed into a potential constitutional crisis if the Democrats get one or both houses of Congress. They will certainly have subpoena power and I think the Bush administration is likely to resist the production of documents.

The idea in my book is that Bush has created a radical presidency that is unaccountable. And if a check-and-balance is introduced for the first time to Bush, instead of one-party rule, we're going to have another crisis. The conflict will increase, not diminish. As Bette Davis said, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
I don't entirely agree with Mr. Blumenthals suggestion that Democrats taking power is going to trigger a constitutional crisis; I would rather say that we are already having a constitutional crisis. We have a presidency who believes in the unitary executive and does not believe that the other branches of government should have any oversight. Thus far the Republican Congress has abdicated their responsibilities, and let this state of affairs continue.

So a Democratic Congress is cure to this disease, not the disease. Yeah it might make things rough for a while, far enough. But it will be better in the end.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What retaking the House Means

There's a really good post over at Talking Points Memo that ends with this paragraph.
If the Democrats do really well on November 7th, yes, they'll get the subpoena power that has the White House shaking in its boots. And the president's legislative agenda, as we've known it to date, will cease to exist. But I'm not certain those will be the most consequential changes. After the last six years, it will have a deep effect on the perceptions of both parties. And with a party that has based on so much on bluff, confidence and force, that could be a very big deal.
It sounds like it would be a very good very big deal.

Also check out this post on the most low-tech campaign website.

Republicans are Stupid?

Tony Blankley warns Republicans that if they don't vote, they are stupid.
John Stuart Mill once famously called the British Tories "The Stupid Party." From time to time since then, the Tory's American cousin, the Republican Party, has also earned that moniker. Now may be one of those moments. If current polls and anecdotes are to be believed, there may be a million or two conservative Republicans who are planning to not vote this November.

. . .A realist once observed that the history of mankind is little more than the triumph of the heartless over the mindless.

The Democrats are obviously heartless. Conservatives must guard against falling into the category of the mindless. Ignore your heartfelt peevements, use your brains and vote.
It's funny how the side that opposes torture is the one described as heartless. Because jamming a wet towel down someone's throat is business as usual, but saying mean things about President Bush? You just can't sink any lower.

At any rate I think that Republicans are going to be stupid either way. They have a Congress and a President that they now feel have failed to support their interests. So keeping those bums in and kicking those bums out? Either way the Republicans are not going to have their desires catered to.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pastor Bush

There's a really good interview over at Salon with David Kuo who was the number 2 man in Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the Bush administration. He's written a book on his experiences there - and the picture is not good for President Bush.
I think the administration's attitude toward evangelicals was the administration's attitude toward any other constituent group. They viewed them as necessary, but it wasn't like they shared any particular affinity for them. I think that's something Christians need to understand. There's been this image perpetuated of President Bush as "pastor in chief," and I think Christians have fallen into that. What they need to understand is that President Bush is a politician, a very good politician. He's the head of the GOP, he's the head of government, but he's not a pastor. I think that this pastoral sense of him that has been perpetuated is preventing Christians from being more critical, objectively critical -- in Jesus' words, "wise as a serpent." And I also think that it contributes to this sense of political seduction by Christians. When you get to the point where when I mention Jesus people think they know my politics, that I'm pro-life and anti-gay and pro-Iraq war, as opposed to identifying Jesus as someone who will bring life and has good news, I think that's troubling.
It is somewhat troubling, now that you mention it.

The Middle Ground

For a while Conservatives have pretended that they are the middle ground. Even expressing liberalism was proof that you were some kind of far left whacko, way outside the mainstream. I remember good old Rush saying "You're a proud democrat? Than you're a liberal extremist." This kind of argument is really an enormous bluff, because both Conservativism and Liberalism have deep roots in American history and culture. To claim that liberalism isn't American is at best a bluff and at worst a lie.

Some Republicans know they can't run the game that way for much longer. I'll be charitable and admit that some Conservatives have been uncomfortable with Conservative Triumphalism for a while. But now that it looks like the Republicans are going to lose the House and maybe the Senate, some of these concerns have a little more cachet. Andrew Sullivan has written a book, and Bruce Bartlett has written a glowing review of it. Basically the book takes on the most triumphalist of conservatives, the Christian Conservatives. Not only do they believe that they have the majority of good Americans on their side, but they get God too. Only maybe that's not such a good thing.
Basically, Sullivan's book is a brief against fundamentalism. As fallible human beings, we simply cannot know all the things that fundamentalists are absolutely certain about, he argues. Furthermore, although fundamentalists don't explicitly reject reason, in practice they do, making rational debate impossible. How can you argue with someone who believes that he knows absolute truth because it has been given to him directly by God through prayer or a sacred text? The answer, of course, is that you cannot.
Bartlett does take a few digs at the ACLU, but his main point is that his party needs to return to the center, and abandon Fundamentalism as a governing principle. We'll see how well his party takes his advice.

Should Democrats be Gracious in Victory?

I'm inclined to say yes, but just because I'm a fan of graciousness in general. But when Cal Thomas asks the question, well, you know what he thinks.
Shortly after Republicans won a majority in the 1994 elections, I recall warning them not to be arrogant. Have your celebrations, I said. Enjoy your new status, but don't use the gavel as a club. Kindness and grace in victory, I noted, goes a long way. Because Republicans chose to crow instead of the harder, but more rewarding path of pursuing consensus, they now appear about to reap what they have sown. In addition to watching Democrats, if they are victorious, pursue previously failed policies, Republicans will also have to put up with endless investigations of the Bush administration, which can only fuel bitterness and further paralyze government.

If Democrats win one or both houses, they will face the same choices Republicans had in 1994. They can return fire, like some Middle East revenge-seeker, perpetuating a cycle that never stops, or they can announce that America's problems and challenges are too large for one party and work with Republicans toward common objectives. My guess is Democrats will crow like the Republicans did and begin to position themselves to grab the White House in 2008, giving immediate problems a lower priority.
I think it's funny that after more than a decade of Conservative triumphalism and Democrat bashing, they are scolding Democrats in advance for taking advantage of their new situation. Poor Republicans - my heart really goes out to them.

Cal Thomas then does a section on Micro-Loans which are a good idea in some regards, and he proposes that Republicans champion this way of preying on the poor, in the guise of helping them. That's maybe a little too harsh; Micro-loans could be a good idea if implemented correctly. They certainly have done good things in Southeast Asia and Africa. But if handled poorly they could also be another way for people who already have plenty of money to siphon off a bit more money from the poor.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Culture War

Conservatives are eager to fight the Culture War, in which they knock out all non white, non patriarchal, non protestant cultures, and enjoy dominance on the top of the pile, with their fellow real Americans. The rest of us can enjoy our status as second class citizens or get the hell out of America.

Unfortunately for these "real" Americans, years of giving civil rights to ethnic minorities have left white, protestant Christian, heterosexual males unable to assert their dominance over American Culture the way they could at one time. You remember back when people of color, gays just didn't show up on TV and if a woman appeared it was to support a male.

The good ol' days.

Thankfully, a warrior has arisen to take on the cause of poor white protestant heterosexual males - and his name is Bill O'Rielly. He's written a book called the Culture Warrior, and he hopes to lead his fellows to victory over the forces of Secular Progressivism (which I suppose is intended to indicate those who aren't "real" Americans. You know, people like me.). Anyway a Time Blog has a review of it, and it's not pretty. Apparently O'Rielly's zeal to protect "real" Americans has led him to make some pretty big errors. Oh well.

Must Things Get Worse before they Get Better?

I hate this question, when asked in a political sense. Because in many if not most cases, the person asking it isn't asking must things get worse for me? Rather the question is, if working class America or middle class America gets screwed some more, will they come to their senses and throw the bums out or have a revolution.

It's usually used rhetorically however, as in Star Parker's latest article. She concludes that the Republican Party being knocked out of power would probably be good for Conservatives; but that the price might be too steep. She's right in the first part and wrong in the second - Democrats are far better than Republicans.

But she's right that a power out of power generally has to tighten up a bit, and often times feels the need to do so. And the Republicans might well do that if knocked out of power. This is making a virtue of failure, but if that's all that's left, well, better that than nothing.

Raising the Level of Discourse

"Humorist" Burt Prelutsky 's latest article has an intriguing title - "The Religious Left." I thought for a moment he was going to deal with groups like the Christian Alliance for Progress, but of course he wasn't. Instead it was another article in which Prelutsky just doesn't try that hard. His reference to the Religious left is stilted and tacked on.
Liberals who are aware that I'm not religious sometimes take me to task for not criticizing the religious Right with the same zeal I bring to bear on what I refer to as the religious Left. (For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to those zealots whose bible is the Gospel According to James Carville. The prophets of the faith include Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter.)
That's some sharp satire there. Why exactly is it the Gospel according to James Carville? If there's a point to this article it's that Prelutsky doesn't oppose abortion, but he really really doesn't like liberals. So please focus on the hating liberals part not his failure to oppose abortion.

His final point is a masterpiece of nastiness, just to underscore how much he hates liberals.
I honestly don't know how any of the high-ranking Democrats can bear to look at themselves in the mirror when they shave in the morning. But if I ever run into Hillary Rodham Clinton, I'll be sure to ask her.
This is how I know that Weyrich's new conservativism is a pipe dream. Because hating liberals is like a drug to Conservatives and they have to have regular fixes. Unless Weyrich can wean Conservatives off of liberal hatred, his hopes to build a new Conservative coalition are so much nonsense.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Format, New Quote!



Hi all!!

I've done what I do. Hope you are all having great weekends! : )

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Next step

Paul Weyrich wants a new Conservativism. He believes the current conservative movement, with the exception of the Christian Conservatives, has been co-opted by Washington. So he's looking for a new Conservative movement to arise out of the ashes of the current one. Kind of implies there's a crash and burn in store for the current Conservative movement, doesn't it?
The next conservatism needs not only a new movement, it needs a new kind of movement, a movement of people dedicated to restoring the old ways of living in their own lives and those of their families. The next conservative movement is perhaps best thought of as a community, one devoted to the old conservative virtues of modest living, hard work, prudence (which includes not running after every new thing), thrift, conservation, and living God-centered rather than man-centered lives. If we want to restore our old culture, we have to live by its rules.

There is one other reason why the next conservatism needs a new movement, and it is a promising one. I think the next conservative movement may be able to attract the support of many people who would never join a movement that is an arm of the Republican Party. . . . Lots of people who are not politically involved, or who may think of themselves as moderates or even liberals, are distressed and frightened by the sex and violence that dominates our entertainment, by divorce and illegitimacy, by the fact that school children don't seem to know anything, and by rampant consumerism and self-centeredness. The next conservative movement could potentially draw some of these people in.
It could - but I'm guessing the kind of movement you are talking about will continue to degrade and attack Liberals and the evils of Liberal culture, so I don't know how many liberals you are actually going to get. Rather I think this "new Conservative movement" will be a lot like the current Religious Right. And if there is any part of the current conservative movement that is totally invested in the idea that liberals are evil and should be rubbed out, it's the Christian Conservatives. So I don't know if they are going to be the best bridge builders.

I love his ending though, because it puts the rest of the article in context.
The question then becomes, how do we build a new conservative movement? Building movements has been one my specialties for more than four decades. In my next column, I will offer some suggestions as to how we might accomplish that.
I suspect the biggest problem with the current conservative movement, from Weyrich's perspective, is that he doesn't have a big enough piece of the pie.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all, and greetings from Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat and the inventor of Crayfish Brittle. Yes, combining the sweet taste of Brittle with suculent crayfish, and borrowing secret Pan-Asian spices, we've created a taste that is amazing. Gives luster to your buster. I'm sure that you all enjoy Crayfish Brittle, and now you know who invented it. Yesterday.

Anyway on to the business at hand.

Dohiyi Mir has some thoughts on woman who have been roped into voting for President Bush in the past but are now less sure that he is the right man for the job.

Echidne of the Snakes has a story on people using the bits of a wall that separates Mexico from the United States to play volleyball on.

The Fulcrum repeats comments by Keith Olberman on the recent military commissions act, a story that has been forgotten, apparently.

Iddybud has a piece on GOP Family Values, which seems to be a strangely malleable term in the future.

First Draft has some comments by President Bush that make him sound like he has been indulging in laudanum.

LEFT is RIGHT has a piece arguing that when the people wake up to what the people in power are doing, there will be a revolution. It is nice to see that some things do not change.

Liberty Street has a section on the theory that we are fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here, which she describes as not being accurate. She also relates an episode from the invasion of Iraq.

Oh, my cook informs me that a new batch of Crayfish Brittle is ready for me to inspect so I will sign off here. Have a great weekend all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Let's Answer Professor Mike S. Adams Stupid Questions

Mike S. Adam's latest article is about legislating morality. Specifically he calls the idea that you can't legislate morality a myth. And asks a bunch of questions.

Let's answer a few just for fun.
During the 1990s, liberals stated that legislation designed to cut food stamps was "immoral." But most liberals also adhere to the belief that you "can't legislate morality." How can a bill be "immoral" if it can't be "moral"?
Well a law can be moral. You can legislate in moral manner, and cutting off support to those who need the most might well be seen as an immoral decision. Legislating morally has nothing to do with legislating morality.
The First Amendment clearly prevents the federal government from establishing a national religion. Does it also forbid the federal government from establishing a national morality?
Yes and no. If such morality were based on a set of religious prohibitions, then of course it is establishing a religion by default. Most religions believe it immoral to skip church, for example, but a law mandating church attendance would naturally violate the 1st amendment. On the other hand, a sense of national justice which might be called a national morality is already promoted, by the simple fact that we do not allow theft or murder or rape. In these crimes there is clearly a victim, and so our national sense of justice mandates punishment.
Was the 13th Amendment ban of slavery an example of Congress trying to 'legislate morality"? If your answer is "yes," is that sufficient grounds to reinstate slavery?
No. The 13th Amendment was an attempt to legislate justice, not morality. Sometimes Justice and Mortality overlap, as they do in this case. It is both unjust and immoral to own slaves. At other times the convergence is less clear. Many Americans consider having consensual sex out side of marriage immoral, but our system of justice is based on showing harm. If two people agree to have sex outside of marriage, it is hard to show harm.
Can you name the 1981 Arkansas case in which the ACLU (the ones who brought us the Scopes case) argued that teaching both evolution and creation is actually in violation of the First Amendment?
No, I can't. I guess that proves that liberalism is a complete farce.
How many of our Founding Fathers attended seminary? (Hint: It is more than 26 and less than 28).
27. The Founding Fathers personal practice of their religion is not an issue in whether or not the inability to legislate morality is a myth or not.
Given that Thomas Jefferson did not attend the constitutional convention, why is it that people often quote him when insisting that the "separation of church and state" is a "constitutional requirement"? Is it possible that many of these self-described liberals are unable to differentiate between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?/blockquote>Because he was our third president, and he failed to attend the Constitutional Convention because he was ambassador to France at the time. He is seen rightly so as one of our founding fathers, and his opinions on this issue are relevant. And yes, liberals can tell the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Let's note that for 200 years people have been interpreting the constitution, and few of them actually attended the Constitutional Convention. While you might not like Jefferson's conclusions, he's not on any shakier ground than, say, Thomas Sowell.
Is there any relationship between the ACLU's love of communism and its hatred of religion?
Slander is generally considered both immoral and unjust, Dr. Adams.

It's interesting to compare and contrast this article to Marvin Olasky's latest, "Were Nazis Christians? Are Christians fascists?" Olasky's point is that it's silly and bigoted to be worried about Conservative Christians desire to run everything, while Mike S. Adams questions pretty explicitly argue that Conservative Christians should be allowed to run everything. I doubt there is any collusion, of course, just interesting.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Value of Talk

There's a good article by Joe Conason about North Korea's nuclear test. He talks a bit about some of the (ludicruous) Republicans way to shif this foreign policy failure to the desk of someone who isn't President Bush. He then goes on to make a key point America should accept going forward.
Decades ago, American policy refused recognition to China and U.S. military planners mulled a nuclear first strike against Beijing when Mao Zedong proclaimed his intention to build atomic weapons. Today, although China remains far from ideal in its progress toward human rights and democracy, we are deeply engaged with that country and seek its assistance in coping with the North Korean problem. Whatever progress we have made in our relations with China -- and whatever progress China has made toward decent government -- has resulted from diplomacy, engagement and endless discussion rather than isolation and belligerence.

Our government and its allies should take measures to discourage the treaty violations of Iran and North Korea. But ultimately we will have to talk with those regimes, too -- and the sooner we face that reality the better
He's right on. I don't know when America got it into it's head that to talk is a sign of weakness. Talking is generally better than violence.

Baffling

Michael Medved has felt it necessary to explain that Religious Conservatives and Fiscal Conservatives have a lot in common really, and that reports of a Conservative Crack Up are greatly exaggerated. He points out that Conservatives of both stripes favor lower taxes and shutting down governmental programs. He then makes this intriguing statement.
Even some issues that are supposed to drive a wedge between the "preachers" and "plutocrats" can, if properly understood, bring the two factions together. Consider the debate over federal funding for embryonic stem cell research: where even the most secular, libertarian-tinged, economic conservatives will rightly question the necessity of government financing for scientific work that remains profoundly controversial. Leaders of the religious right don't seek a government ban on this area of scientific investigation so long as it's privately funded - they only want to avoid tax-payer support and the societal endorsement that comes with it.
That last statement is either a lie or it's hopelessly confused. The Christian Right opposes Embryonic Stem Cell research because they see it as akin to abortion, which they see as akin to infanticide. In other words performing Stem Cell Research involves killing babies more or less. Remember Kevin McColloughs column earlier this week; Democrats didn't mind the slaying of Amish girls because they are used to the idea of killing children.

So if this is what Religious Conservatives believe, how can they really say that their opposition to embryonic stem cell research is limited strictly to federally funded embryonic stem cell research and societal approval that comes with that funding? I mean murder is ok in the private sector, but I don't want my taxes paying for it? Is this what American Christianity believes?

The implication is that either they don't really believe that embryonic stem cell research is murder or they don't really intend to stop with ending federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

He makes a similar point about Gay Marriage.
By the same token, opposition to same sex marriage doesn't involve any effort to block or penalize private gay relationships, but merely a desire to stop the governmental sanction and support involved in state backed matrimony.
Again this is nonsense. We've all seen enough Christian Conservative rhetoric on gay marriage to know that many don't want to stop at just stopping gay marriage. Many believe that homosexuality should be criminalized once more and some publicly say they want to see punishment for that "crime" to be death. Obviously not all Conservative Christians have exactly the same view, but enough have expressed the idea that they would like to see Homosexuality criminalized that Medved's argument seems disingenuous at best.

But once again, the key point is that Medved feels the need to argue the point at all. He feels the need to explain that Libertarian Conservatives and Religious Conservatives really do share the same goals. Which suggests to me that, well, maybe they don't.

Newsflash; Republicans believe Democrats not ready to lead

Or at least Tony Blankley believes that, as evidenced by his latest article. He starts out talking about an elephant attack in India, made all the more shocking because the Indian people rely on Elephants to do the heavy lifting. I think he intends that to be a metaphor.

He then goes on to complain about how we Democrats aren't putting forward our plans for what we want to do after retaking power, and comparing us unfavorably to both the Republican Takeover of Congress in 94 and the Labour partys return to power in Great Britain. In both those cases they were unified, and they had a coherent plan for what they wanted to do when taking power. Democrats, in contrast, are not unified, and the party has decided not to nationalize this election. This shows that Democrats don't have any ideas.

Which is, in fact, the opposite of the problem. Democrats have too many ideas and too many constituencies to pull it all together in a neat and tidy package the way the Republicans have (although even their neat and tidy package isn't as neat as it used to be). I wish we had nationalized this election, but I can see valid reasons why we wouldn't. If you are going to nationalize the election you have to get everybody on the same page or at least close to the same page, and because of our divergent concerns that's hard to do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Fall Lineup

Well we are now in the fourth week for most of the new shows I am watching, so let's review them (in order of most favorite to least favorite) and see what we think.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Pros: Great writing, great characters, great directing. Great all around.
Cons: Needs to be a bit funnier. Show costs $3,000,000.00 an episode. Might get cancelled due to cost and lack of audience.

There's actually a couple of interesting points to discuss about Studio 60. For one thing you can talk about the enlarging TV universe making expensive productions like this untenable. For another, I'd like to talk about the comedic point of view (particular since Studio 60 hits us over the head again and again with the idea that these characters know what funny is). That said, I hope this show survives.

Heroes

Pros: likeable Japanese and Indian Characters, genuinely interesting mystery and suspense, very creepy villain.
Cons: Many of the other characters are either jerks, whiners, or not really fleshed out yet.

Heroes is definitely holding my attention, but some of the characters more so than others - I love Super-Hiro, and the Unbreakable Cheerleader is pretty intersting, particularly with the tie in to the villain. On the other hand the Flying Whiner is whiney and the Flying Politico is annoying, The Painting Prophet and Psychic Cop barely register (but might more so in the future). In the end this is the Indian guy without superpowers show - and so far he's holding my attention. The show has already been extended to the whole season, which is a good sign.

Shark

Pros: James Woods as a duplicitous lawyer.
Cons: A lot of the rest of the cast are ciphers.

That's a pretty damn big pro. James Woods is great, and this show knows how to use him. But they need to make some of the other characters interesting, rather than as a double breasted Greek chorus, supporting the mighty Woods.

Eureka
Pros: Plenty of good characters, an interesting setting.
Cons: Can't quite get the tone right.

Eureka has actually ended its first season, but why not throw it into the mix. It has a fine mix of actors, and a genuinely interesting premise. A town where the smartest people in the world work. These are TV smart people which means they are kooky and entertaining. The downside is that the two major threats to Eureka, the Artifact and the Conspiracy, are worryingly undeveloped. They won't shut up about the Artifact but it still seems more like a McGuffin than any thing real, and the Town Psychologist being a conspirator and murderess, well they haven't done much with that either. There's also a glaring disconnect between a psychologist who cooly kills one of her patients and hypnotizes another character to pump him for info and the kooky town cook who serves you whatever you want. You can be kooky or scary and paranoid but it's hard to do both. I think the show wants to be kooky, overall.

Smith

Pros: The heists are well thought out and interesting, many of the actors are interesting in a flinty sort of way, ended one episode with a Thom Yorke song.
Cons: Not many likeable characters and the ones that are likeable seem kind of stupid.

Don't underestimate the power of a good song to get me coming back, by the way, and they picked a doozy with Thom Yorkes "Black Swan."

"And it's fucked up, fucked up
And this is fucked up, fucked up
This your blind spot, blind spot
It should be obvious, but it's not."


They faded the song out before they got to these lyrics, if memory serves. But they summarize the problem with this show - we already know that these characters are screwed in a very real way. There isn't a happy ending coming. Rather, the mistakes these characters have made and are gong to make are going to keep coming back to sink them. You can trace the pattern of how a few of these mistakes are going to play out. That said it's still holding my attention, largely on some of the performances and a few of the areas of the future that they haven't dropped heavy anvils of foreshadowing on.

Vanished

Pros: Mildly interesting mystery plot, good main character (lead detective).
Cons: Most other Main Actors not entertaining, they killed off the lead detective.

Vanished annoys me because it has a lot of elements right. The mystery has worked as kind of a slow burn, there's pleasing techonobabble and most of the detectives on the case are interesting. The Reporter covering it is interesting as well. When they focus on the case it is fascinating. On the other hand, the Senator who's wife is missing is very very dull, and so is most of his family. In fairness to John Allen Nelson (who plays Senator Collins), I don't know anybody who could make this character as written interesting. On the other hand John Patrick Amedori makes the Senator's son interesting, despite being dully written.

The decision to off Gale Harold is just baffling. He's a fun character and a fun actor playing him (or as fun as you can get in a show about evil masons who kidnapped a senators wife). Killing him off and bringing in another lead agent just seems like stupid. Particularly when you had laid in so much about his back story and his family. Of course it's possible that he'll be saved on the operating table and be back in a few episodes, but it sure didn't seem that way.

And that's the round up. Tune in next time when we cover politics. Maybe.

Hope

I'm somewhat wary about getting my hopes up about the forthcoming elections. I think the Democrats will do good - but I've counted my chickens before they hatched before. That said, Cal Thomas's article has to give Democrats a bit of cheer. It's entitled "The case for continuing the GOP majority." Bear in mind that Cal Thomas is well known as a partisan conservative and that he is plainly addressing a conservative Republican audience.

And he feels the need to write an article arguing that it would be better to have their guys stay in power.

That's delightful.

The argument is about what you'd expect. Yeah the Republicans suck domestically, and yeah Foleygate is an embarrassment, but if you don't vote for Republicans how are we going to kill the Muslims? Or defend America? Which of course to Cal Thomas are more or less the same thing. But you have to enjoy that they are asking the question at all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The American Feminist Movement and Kevin McCollough

Kevin McCollough's latest article seems to be an attempt to hit one out of the park. It's deliberately provacative to American Feminists, equating them with Charles Carl Roberts who slaughtered 10 woman in the Amish Community.
It is no mistake that the left sees the utility in child murder, thus why they are so conflicted when they see a story like the Amish shooting. In their heart of hearts they already understand that killing an innocent young girl in an old fashioned school house is little different than killing and even more innocent girl in a place that was designed by God to be a womb of safety, comfort, nourishment, and life.
It's hard to know where to start with an article like this. I could point out there is a difference between saying abortion should be legal and saying people should be having abortions. I could also point out that this logic commits us to executing hundreds of doctors and thousands of woman. Hundreds of thousands, probably.

Republicans view of Democrats

Here it is, in one sentence from Star Parker's latest article. In referring to the Foley scandal, she says, "Democratic outrage about the Foley affair is a simple stage show to provoke voters."

That's a lie. That's the very definition of bullshit. And one would guess that Star Parker knows it. But she has to change the subject from a Republican pedophile and a Republican House Leadership who looked the other way.

But Star Parker gives voice, like Ann Coulter, and Cal Thomas and Rush Limbaugh and others, to the idea that Democrats are just evil people. At a certain point that idea, if believed in strongly enough by our conservative friends, is going to have consequences.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Good morning all!!!

Hope you are all having a great weekend, and we hope we will put up an updated Quotes Page later on.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all. I apologize for not being here last week. I was travelling. I am back today. For those of you who have not encountered me in the past, my name is Irwin J. McIckleson and I am a 1910's plutocrat.

Natalie Davis's All Facts and Opinion has
a piece on an Indian politician and pacifist named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I am in favor of pacifism as a means of social change - because even if I end up losing money in the end, at least there's no property damage.

Of course most people don't have patience for this method.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has
a piece on how a recent scandal involving Congressional Pages might affect the party in powers chances in the upcoming election, and how lecturing Americans on morality might backfire of you fail to live up to those moral standards.

Never lecture on moral standards. It is a waste of time. Most people are going to do whatever they want anyway. Lecture them on the importance of working hard and providing you with profit.

lambert at CorrenteWire
examines some of the legal pitfalls in the Foley Case, specifically those involving breaking laws you yourself wrote.

archy
notes that Sabertooth Tigers are apparerntly predators, and would prey on pages given a chance. I assume that is why our cave man ancestors hunted them to extinction, although I also believe that powdered sabertooth tooth might be a powerful aphrodesiac.

blogAmy has a
nice picture of a fish. That fish looks nice but I'll bet it's not very tasty.

. . . You are a Tree
has turned 44. I believe this is the person who runs . . . You are a Tree and not the website itself. Many happy returns.

Bloggg has
an extended post on a recent tragedy in the Amish community - I'm surprised there still as an Amish Community. I mean even in my day the superiority of technological progress to ludditism is pretty clear; I obviously know that your future machines are even better. How do the Amish survive? Well Bloggg has some good info on the Amish at any rate.

Collective Sigh
suggests that if waterboarding (appaerntly a way to torture someone into giving information except you future people are pretending it's not torture) is not torture, they give a demonstration of how mild it is using some of President Bush's advisors.

The Countess has
information on a ring that apparently heats up to remind you of your wedding anniversary. Do you future people still have calendars?

Anyway that's it - I am going out to St. James with Miss. Pinksington and I wish you all pleasent weekends.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why Gore Won't Run Again

This is from The Daily Howler, a website I clearly love, referring to a joke about the Foley folly being partially Al Gore's fault for having invented the internet. I'll note I've seen that joke twice at Democratic Underground this morning, incidentally.
Starting in March 1999, why did the RNC and the mainstream press corps keep claiming that Al Gore said he invented the Internet? Duh! They did it to make a joke out of Gore—to help spread such punishing claims as “Al Gore is a liar, just like Bill Clinton,” “Al Gore has a problem with the truth,” “Al Gore will do and say anything” and “Al Gore is delusional.” As you may recall (if you’re over 11), Invented-the-Internet was ceaselessly repeated, for the next twenty months, as a way to ridicule Gore. This theme—this powerful, relentless propaganda campaign—put George Bush inside the White House. He then sent the US Army to Iraq.

Now, here comes the part which is apparently too complex for large numbers of us liberals to grasp. When we ourselves insist on repeating these themes, we continue to spread the unhelpful idea that Al Gore is a big fucking joke. This helps degrade Gore’s public image—and it helps degrade the public image of Major Dem Leaders as a whole. Beyond that, it helps explain why Gore, not being completely crazy, almost surely won’t run for the White House again. After all, if this is the way his supporters portray him, how could he expect to be portrayed by the RNC and the mainstream press corps? The sheer absurdity of this matter simply boggles the mind.
He's not wrong.

Think about it this way. Imagine you are watching two people. One of them is making a joke, the punchline of which is that the person he is talking to is stupid. What do you think of that second person of he laughs along? Do you think he has a good sense of humor? Or that he's a weak pushover?

Some people prefer to surround themselves with weak pushovers, but nobody respects them. Or wants to be like them. Or wants to elevate them to positions of power.

I'm tired of writing about Rep. Foley

But like I said earlier, this story has it's own gravitational pull at this point. And there are enough facets that new angles keep showing up that are worth commenting on. Like the one in Marvin Olasky's latest article, in which he echoes Bill Kristol's remarks that the Voters are to blame.

In this case the Voters are to blame because they did not judge Foley's religious nature correctly.
The Bible repeatedly criticizes both heterosexual adultery and homosexual practice. Both reflect a desire-centered view of the world that, if unrestrained, spills over into other areas of life. People, of course, are not always of a piece. A leader with a good marriage might be incompetent in office. A leader who worships immediate sexual gratification rather than God might not seek immediate gratification in public policy as well. But it is unusual for lifelong antinomianism and lifelong discipline to be combined in one person, and when they appear to be, shouldn't we watch for Jekyll to turn into Hyde?
Get that, America? Homosexuals and adulterers are bad leaders.

But of course the Bible has an opinion on whether or not leaders should go to church regularly or should believe in Jesus Christ (well the Christian bible does anyway) or should be a female. I'm not sure the Bible is the best tool to answer 20th century political questions (I do believe the Bible to be a good tool for answering religious or moral questions, on the other hand).

For example, Olasky brings up Clinton as a failure on the Democrats part - I admit that his affair was annoying. He should have known what would happen and acted accordingly, but he let his little president make the call and we all paid the price. That said on everything else he was light years ahead of the current, supposedly moral, occupant of the White House. There's a difference between being less than moral sexually and being an ideologically driven dope.

It's just not funny!

Watched South Park last night for the first time in a couple of years. They did World of Warcraft, a game I play, so I tuned in. And I learned a valuable lesson. People who play World of Warcraft a lot become fat losers.

Fortunately for me, I've been a fat loser for years so it not as noticable.

That one joke, and seeing the boys voices coming out of World of Warcraft toons was good for a few laughs, but of couse they didn't really know much about the game. On presumes that the hip and happening creators of South Park are not fat losers, so naturally they don't know much.

Anyway on the whole, my decision not to watch South Park seems pretty well justified - it really isn't that funny. Or, at the least, I don't find it funny.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rep. Gerry Studds

This is a name you are going to hear in relation to the Foley Scandal - in fact if you scan down to this post, you can see that a Conservative has already brought him up. In 1973, Rep. Gerry Studds had an affair with a 17 year old page. He was censured for it in 1983, and he famously turned his back as the censure was read out. During the hearing his homosexuality was revealed, which led to him being the first openly homosexual member of congress. Shortly after his censure he appeared with the page in question, and both firmly stated that what had gone on between them was nobodies business but their own.

In 1983, the House of Representatives was held firmly by the Democrats (267 D to 168 Republican), so one assumes most of the committee heads were Democrats. So to say Democrats took no action is of course not true - he was censured and "outed." Also the circumstances of how the affair was revealed were different - Studds affair was revealed ten years after the fact, and he and the page stood together in responding to questions, making it seem less predatory (in contrast, some Republicans have apparently decided the page in Foley's folly is fair game).

It's also worth noting that Foley resigned - he was not censured or kicked out of congress by his fellow members. He resigned. Now he may have been pressured to resign, but we don't really know how Republicans would have handled him if he had chosen to stay and fight.

But still, given how badly this issue is going for them, perhaps we should allow them to congratulate themselves on how much more moral they are than us. They were willing to take action against one of their own, after, of course, several months had passed and the whole story blew up into the public sphere, so that they couldn't hide it anymore. I mean once everybody knew about it already and the damage had been done, they were willing to address the problem.

Information for this article came from here and here.

I Am Sound

For have I, I've built a castle
Upon believing before I doubt.
I have suffered but my friends say I have learned from it.
And for have I believed the snow could

Not be freezing upon the ground.
Now my ass is blue and black, but I am sound.

And for have I belonged to no one
More than fleetingly and in doubt.
I have had what now is gone
But still I've known them.
And for have I, I have absolved myself
Of demons I must confess.
Having known them growing old, then I will re-e-e-est.


But where are all the songs
For me to sing along to
When I am hoping someone writes one for me.
And sings me something sweetly
For, I promise to sing along.
And then we'll both know nothing's wrong,
Singing na, na-na-na


For have I delivered comfort
To the aching and for the tired
With these words of comic wisdom,
I have tri-i-i-ied.


So where are all the songs
For me to sing along,
When I am hoping someone write one for me.
And sings me something sweetly
For, I promise to sing along
And then we'll both know nothing's wrong,
Singing naaaaaaaaa, na-na-na


By The Dandy Warhols. Off of Welcome to the Monkey House.

Woodward and Rumsfeld

Rich Lowry's latest article is a review of Bob Woodward's latest tome, "State of Denial." Lowry takes issue with the idea that the Bush administration is being overly optimistic, arguing in effect that Right Wing Spin is an important counterbalance to those reports about our troops dying.

On the other hand, he does take away some very trenchant criticism of Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld is not interested in trying to win the war outright, so much as handing the effort over to the Iraqis. According to Woodward, "Rumsfeld said strongly and repeatedly, the Iraqis need to be given the chance to fail and fall on their faces, and only then would they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and come up with solutions."

He has tried to head off anything more robust than letting the Iraqis fend for themselves. In October 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began to describe the U.S. approach in Iraq as the classic counterinsurgency operation of "clear, hold and build" - referring to the clearing of Iraqi insurgents from a territory and then its securing and rebuilding. Rumsfeld was outraged. Woodward writes that Rumsfeld believed, "It was wrong to say that the United States' 'political-military strategy' was all about what the U.S. would do and not what the Iraqis would do."

This was a constant tension between Rice and Rumsfeld. She wanted to do more; he wanted to do less.
Interesting. But Lowry portrays this as being close to the Democratic Position, which I suppose it is at this point. But of course the difference is that Rumsfeld was responsible for winning or losing the war in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. So having the right strategy today (such as it is) doesn't excuse him from having the wrong strategy in 2003/2004. After all it was Rumsfeld who blew off the looting, contributing to a sense of lawlessness. It was Rumsfeld who purposefully ignored planning for the post invasion period. So, having the right answer today (assuming he does), means something akin to that stopped clock being right at this particular moment.

You Can Feel Whatever You Wanna Feel

Yeah a lot of my post titles today (and yesterday too come to think of it) are lifted from the song I happen to be listening to at the time I post.

At Comic Book Resources they run a column by Steven Grant called Permanent Damage - the column is generally quite good, but today he makes some good points on the military tribunals bill passed last week.
The philosophically interesting thing is how we've disintegrated from a people who believe rights were innate to a people who've come to tacitly accept that rights are negotiable gifts from the governing body. Either rights are innate or they aren't, or Americans are a specially privileged people who stand alone as deserving rights. And that gets you onto really shaky ground, philosophically. It says, basically, that only the mighty deserve rights... but what happens if someone else becomes the mighty? (I know we're not supposed to discuss possibilities like that, but if history teaches us anything it's that eventually all empires fall.) The concept of innate rights protects us, but if they don't apply to everyone everywhere they're not innate, and if they're not innate there's not even an argument for protection. Sure, we consider convicted criminals to have abrogated their rights, but the key word there is convicted. The Military Commissions Act doesn't require conviction, only accusation, and not even public accusation.
That's a good question. Do Americans believe in inalienable rights for every one or just for Americans (and even then, not all Americans)? Something to think about certainly.

Let's Just Pay Black People Less!

That will solve our economic and racial disparities, according to Walter William's latest article. Or at least the minimum wage subsidizes racist hiring practices (which has been a Republican argument for a while now).
What minimum wage laws do is lower the cost of, and hence subsidize, racial preference indulgence. After all, if an employer must pay the same wage no matter whom he hires, the cost of discriminating in favor of the people he prefers is cheaper. This is a general principle. If filet mignon sold for $9 a pound and chuck steak $4, the cost of discriminating in favor of filet mignon is $5 a pound, the price difference. But if a law mandating a minimum price for chuck steak were on the books, say, $7 a pound, it would lower the cost of discrimination against chuck steak.
This is again an interesting argument - black people are, as near as I can tell, Chuck State, while white people are Filet Mignon.

At this point, I'd like to remind everybody once again that Walter E. Williams is in fact Black.

There are two ways to take this argument - one is to assume that Williams does believe that Blacks are really inferior to whites, and that it creates a market inefficiency to pretend that they are equal. I'll be charitable and assume he probably doesn't actually believe that.

The other is that white racist business owners believe blacks to be inferior because they are not exposed to them - as blacks enter the workforce making far less than whites, White business owners will realize how great they are, and will abandon their racist ways. This is a bit of a stretch, of course. We saw how southern employment of Blacks did not, in fact, lead to Black equality. Quite the opposite - White Factory owners were smart enough to play whites and blacks off of each other, screwing both in the process.

This theory, that white racists will like blacks if they are able to pay them less, is contradicted by his own parable. I mean how much exposure to Chuck Steak will make you prefer it to Filet Mignon?

Is This The Real Life?

One last Foley Post, just to continue Rush's paranoid conspiracy take on the Foley situation. Yesterday he posited that ABC had run this story as a way of apologizing to Clinton for the Path to 9/11, and then said this.
Folks, you don't know the Democrats like I do. Everybody is now coming out of the closet, if you will, saying they knew Foley was gay. He's in a safe seat. Somebody knew this was going on.

Go to one of the kids or go to a couple of pages and say, "Titillate the guy."

"I don't want to get in trouble."

"You won't get in trouble. You'll be a hero! Nobody will ever know it's you," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

How do you get a kid to do this? You threaten 'em or pay 'em, I don't know.
Yes, that's right. Rush believes that someone, probably connected to the Clinton War Room, bribed this page to take Foley in.

Is it just me or does that smack of desperation?

Democrats are Opposed to Sexual Predators

It's telling that I need to make this point, but in the face of many of our Republican's responses to the Foley Follies, I feel required to say it. Take, for example, young Ben Shapiro's latest article.
Democrats cannot condemn Foley for his proclivity for 16-year-old boys; they are the party that supports both homosexuality and reduced age of consent. Democrats cannot condemn Foley for his exploitation of Capitol Hill employees; they are the party that calls such exploitative imbalance-of-power situations "matters of personal choice."

On what moral basis do Democrats condemn Foley? They have no basis for moral outrage, since they have championed the destruction of traditional morality for decades.
Of course there's a difference between an adult like Monica Lewinsky and a 16 year old page; but it's a difference Republicans have trouble seeing, largely because it's not in their political best interest to see it. Representative Foley was preying in minors; that's something members of both parties should condemn. Obviously the hypocrisy exhibited by Foley (and others who looked the other way) bears noting, but it doesn't eclipse the awfulness of Foley's action.

And it's shameful the way Shapiro distorts the record to make it seem like Democrats would feel otherwise.