Friday, March 30, 2007

Covering the Bases. A Space Lobster Joint

Hey my jib jabs. This be Space Lobster back from the Cayman Isles where I've been playing a few club dates with my new band, the Editorial Mandate. It's going pretty good; I play vibraphone. Anyway they asked me to fill in and so here I am.

Our first post comes from the Fulcrum, which has some thoughts on Freedom of Speech for Government Scientists. Apparently a Utah Representative isn't keen on it. For government scientists. They need to keep global warming and possibly evolution all hushed up, and government scientists are apparently spilling the beans.

Global warming might be my fault. I came to earth in a Lobstroconif 3000. I was pretty drunk. I don't remember where I parked it and, more to the point, I think I left my running lights on. But I am pretty sure it's somewhere around Venus. Or possibly Cleveland.

Grateful Dead Radio has some thoughts on the recent trials of Elizabeth Edwards and her husband. Stories like these make me wonder if you humans are even worth conquering and enslaving. I think maybe Captain Starfaller did me a solid when he prevented me from conquering you (on 15 separate occasions).

Anyway I gotta get back to practicing; these vibes are hard to play with my claws. It takes coordination. Have a great weekend and if you are near Big Al's Crab Shack and Pistol Range, stop in and see us. Tell them Space Lobster sent you.

What Rush Limbaugh thinks of the American People

Just in case you were wondering.
“USA Today’s got a poll: ‘Do you think something’s wrong about the firing of eight US attorneys?’ 72% said yes. 72% of the American people, a bunch of blithering idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about, but yet they voted, so these polls matter.”
For the record, I spend my time blathering rather than blithering.

Thanks to Think Progress for the quote.

Surrealism Sells


I got some spam a few minutes ago that started with these lines.
"Certainly; your wave name is learn popular, and milk expansion does honor ttiny."
In reality, when I was a ronin, I went by the name "Doshi Mitsu."

I don't know what reading those words is supposed to make me feel. Or, to quote Calculon, "I'm not familiar with the type of thing I'm seeing."

Burt Prelutsky is lazy

His latest article is about why he won't vote for Barack Obama. It can be summed up in one sentence. "He's a liberal and I don't like liberals." He gives a canned list of why he doesn't like liberals (We want to take away his guns. We want gay marriage. We want to surrender to the terrorists. So on and so forth). And there's your article. He probably only had to write maybe 25 words outside of his canned platitudes about Liberals. He doesn't even bother to point out whether or not Obama shares these positions. Just closes with a bland statement that if Obama's not a liberal, it's up to him to convince Prelutsky.

So that puts Obama in the uncomfortable position of having to convince Prelutsky that he doesn't want to "every holiday season happily attack the rites and traditions of American Christians." Or that he doesn't want to eliminate right wing media voices. Or that he does want to prevent Pamela Sue Anderson from marrying the Oakland Raiders.

Frankly i wouldn't bother trying. Given the level of craftsmanship and diligence this article shows, even if Obama made the case, Prelutsky would probably be too lazy to hear it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My e-mail

My e-mail is I can't seem to remember how to make a link to my e-mail, but since i never use those anyway, I don't care that much.

Covering the Bases. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

I note with some amusement that his feature has been entitled Covering the Bases. An Irwin J. McIckleson Joint. Joint is a piece of future jargon that I am sure my husband would not approve of, so I'm quietly changing it to his preferred word, production. I suspect that Space Lobster of the switch; he's a bit of a tricky customer.

For those who don't know, my husband, Irwin J. McIckleson, is a fictional 1910's plutocrat who contributes to this website. Currently he is doing a daily review of two or three websites. I was his chauffeur but now I am his wife, although I still usually drive him around. No point in paying someone else to do it. Today he is having to stay at work due to some union negotiations and he asked me to write for him.

My first article comes from the delightful Echidne of the Snakes who seems quite concerned with how woman are treated in the future (well your present, I suppose). I heartily approve. She also writes an interesting article about the split between the parties and the mechanisms put in place to ensure that the members of the two parties do not see things the same way.

Our second article comes from Firedoglake, the name of which I have a hard time understanding. But perhaps I am old-fashioned, from your perspective. At any rate it is an article about those making the case that the United States should invade a country I know as Persia, but you know as Iran. The article argues that the person writing it, a Michael Gordon, writes a very lazy article that relies on unnamed sources.

I considered being a reporter briefly, but decided not to for two reasons. Firstly, it was made clear to me that if I got a job at a newspaper it would be on the coffee providing/typing side of the business, not the writing/reporting side. I was uninterested in that side of the business. Secondly reporters often use the most vile language casually and lack the sort of courteousness I like to surround myself with.

First Draft has a review of the presses recent grilling of a White House spokesman, named Ms. Perino, who appears to be a woman. I suppose I should call her a spokeswoman. She does not seem to be up to the task of defending this President Bush, who I gather from conversations with my Husband, is a bit of a dunderhead.

That is all for this edition; my Husband may be back tomorrow. If he isn't than Space Lobster will be taking over for a day. Enjoy your evening.

Presented without Comment

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

New Blogs

Added some links to to the Blog List. Random Goblin's other blog, Sailing to Byzantium, and his wife's blog, Katy's Blog. They aren't particularly political blogs, but worth reading.

I'm so tired of Ann Coulter

Still you have to check in her every so often to remind yourself of her insanity. Her latest article says that Duke Cunningham took bribes but that he's a real American hero so should, I guess, be let off. It also says that the President should thumb his nose at Congress and tell them to go to hell.
. . . he [President Bush] should start holding hearings on Congress' obstruction of the war effort. Members of Congress should be asked to come before the administration's hearings and testify under oath about their commitment to victory. If they are not traitors, what do they have to hide? Surely they will be willing to state under oath that they are not undermining the war effort for partisan political gain.

The hearings could be televised in prime time: "Traitor or No Traitor?"

The president's investigatory power is better grounded than is Congress'. There is no "hearings and investigations" clause in Article I, describing Congress' powers, but the Recommendation Clause of Article II, Section 3 obligates the president to "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union."

If the State of the Union is that we have a treasonous majority in Congress that is affirmatively undermining American national security, the president is constitutionally obliged to give Congress information to that effect. How can he make that judgment without gathering the necessary data?
In other news the Senate has just passed a bill substantially similar to the bill passed last week by the house. Which, after getting hammered out in Conference committee will be on President Bush's desk sometime next week I assume. Just in time for a big showdown, wherein President thumbs his nose at Congress. So maybe Ann Coulter will get her showdown after all, if not her show trials.

Still I don't know that she'll enjoy the results of this showdown.

Guiliani has nowhere to go but down

That seems to be the theme of Matt Towery's latest article, and I'm not sure he's wrong. Particularly if Gingrich or Fred Thompson enter the race, everything he brings to the table would seem to be eclipsed by someone else. The only thing Guiliani has at the moment is that he's on the top of the pile. Which is, admittedly, a pretty big advantage.

I have to say I don't entirely buy Towery's argument. For one thing he argues that Romney is more electable than Guiliani. That just doesn't seem accurate. He also says that Gingrich will challenge him by having more innovative ideas. That's not entirely true either. Well it's true as far as it goes; I'm sure Gingrich does have some innovative bad ideas. But that's not the threat he represents. He is actually a threat because hes an actual conservative and Guiliani's conservative credentials are not as strong as they might be.

He also compares Guiliani to Dean which I don't see either. Obviously "the Dean Scream" has been overplayed, but the truth is that Dean was running a bit of a maverick campaign. He was a bit of a threat to the powers that be. Guiliani might seem threatening to the Republican base but he's not any kind of threat to the party. He'll be a party man on the campaign trail and in the White House. And he's a mainstream candidate, while Dean was seen as more of an extremist (he wasn't, as it turns out, just right about the war too early).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Covering the Bases. An Irwin J. McIckleson Joint

Greetings all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson with your daily review of a few links you might find interesting.

Our first comes from the Countess who has the somewhat satisfying news that intimate relations between two equal partners are better than those between unequal partners. I find this pleasant as Miss Pinksington, my bride, is a very spirited woman and I am not certain I could subjugate her even if I wished to. I do not, of course, as I enjoy everything about her, but it is nice to know that there are additional benefits to our current arrangement.

Dohiyi Mir has artistic pictures of drizzle running off of pine needles, which puts me in a contemplative mood. I remember we had a cabin out in a beautiful pine forest, where I would sit and watch the squirrels all day long. Pity i discovered a promising Silver vein near there and had to decimate the whole area. Still that's the price of progress.

And that's it for another day - tomorrow we will be attended to by Miss Pinksington or by Space Lobster whichever is available. I won't be. Have a nice evening.


It's interesting to watch how Republicans are reacting to the current showdown with President Bush. Obviously they want to condemn Democrats, but on two somewhat exclusive grounds. They want to accuse Congressional Democrats of both being weak and and standing up to the President. Makes for some confusion.

William Rusher's latest article finesses it by saying that their standing up to President Bush is in fact a political gamble, after getting a factually shaky account of the current situation. He notes that some Democrats voted against the plan in a way that makes it seem like they are opposed to it; in fact many of the Democrats who voted against Pelosi's bill did so because they felt it was too weak. He also predicts that the Senate will quash it, which has proven inaccurate (admittedly because the Republicanoids want President Bush to get the chance to veto it).

But let's go back to this gamble idea.
Still, a realist would have to concede that the chances are that the Democrats will win their bet, or at least escape major damage if they lose it. American forces have spent four years trying to devise a way of suppressing the terrorist insurgents that have killed so many scores of thousands of their fellow Iraqis, thus far with notable lack of success. It seems unlikely that a military "surge," however well conducted, can reverse that record.
Of course by positioning this position as a political gamble he robs it, purposefully I assume, of any of the moral implications involved. Congress isn't working to get our troops out of Iraq because they care about the troops or because they think us being there is a horrible mistake. Nope. They are doing it simply to score political points. By shifting the terrain we get to talk about strategies rather than whether it's right or wrong, moral or immoral, for President Bush to keep troops dying in Iraq in a situation Rusher admits might not get any better.

I suppose it's more enjoyable to talk about strategy anyway.

A Double Standard

It turns out liberals are inclined to forgive fellow liberals, while being more likely to be hard on conservatives. I'll give you a moment to compose yourselves after that shocker.

This comes via Bruce Bartlett's latest article in which he takes Ann Coulter to task, not for calling John Edwards a faggot, but for creating an opening for Liberals to march through.
Sadly, this sort of smear technique is standard in the liberal playbook. All conservatives are held strictly accountable for every faux pas committed by any conservative, anywhere, any time. It doesn't matter how outrageously one has to take their words out of context, it doesn't matter how profusely they apologize for accidentally misspeaking, it is always part of an ominous pattern in the liberal imagination. Meanwhile, any liberal who does precisely the same thing is simply given a pass.
Hey remember when John Kerry called the troops idiots? Me neither. But I do remember Conservatives gleefully pretending he called them idiots.

Hey remember when Ward Churchill said some outrageous things and it proved that Liberalism was rotten to the core? Heard Rush bring up Ward Churchill yesterday come to think of it.

Bartlett also takes a moment to question the idea that Rush Limbaugh might be down on Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi because of their gender. This is a bit of a straw man; Rush is down on them for being Liberals and everybody knows it. But he chooses to use gendered attacks on them all the time. It might be because he is misogynist himself and doesn't like strong woman, or it could be because he thinks his audience is misogynist and has to play to them. It doesn't that much either way, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Updated Blogroll

My changes to the Blogroll at the end of last week didn't take, apparently.

It's weird to consider how many blogs have gone away, since I joined up with the Liberal Coalition. Sad in a way. But I choose to hope that all those people who are no longer posting have found true love and are busy riding ferris wheels and walking through parks and eating ice cream and doing all those things you see in movie montages.

If I ever find true love, you guys are screwed. Well, in regards to your blog reading habits anyway.

But frankly you don't have too much to worry about.

Covering the Bases. An Irwin J. McIckleson Joint

Greetings. Once again this is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1920s Plutocrat, doing a daily review of a few websites.

Bloggg has the news that the Chinamen have apparently sent some of their rat poison to the United States. You have to watch those Chinamen like hawks; their pan-Asian cuisine is delicious, but they are also tricky devils.

Collective Sigh has a quotation on the inevitability of death which is really quite hopeful. I agree whole heartedly with the sentiment, which is why I try to live life to the fullest. I don't want to go to my grave wondering if I could have earned or exploited a little more money.

And that's it. See you all tomorrow; I have to get back to getting money.

The President can do whatever he wants

David Limbaugh writes a very disingenuous article on Chuck Hagel this week. The core contention is that Hagels frustration with the Bush Administration's high handed way of treating Congress is unconstitutional. Congress should just accept that the President can do what ever he wants and need pay them no mind. In this Limbaugh reveals his essential disdain for both Congress and the people of the United States (when they fail to agree with him).
Since his main complaint against the president seems to be that he is not marching to the commands of Congress or the people, isn't it interesting that without a fortuneteller or divining rod we can't even be sure what those commands are?

If public opinion surveys were to be binding on the president, which ones should he heed? (Where are those silly computer polls candidate Ross Perot promised when you need them?) But if we voters are supposed to be the collective commander in chief, perhaps we should forfeit our franchise as well for vacillating and sending mixed signals to the president on Iraq.

Indeed if congressmen want to impeach the president for not following their dictates, perhaps they should first tender their own resignations for the same reason. That is, Democrats claim they were elected to majority control in 2006 with a mandate to end the war in Iraq, and yet, without grotesque bribes from the public treasury they can't even muster a majority to pass a resolution to enforce their "mandate."
I don't know - I don't bother with David Limbaugh much anymore. There's such a bland maliciousness to his articles that it's hard to come up with anything to say about them (his brother's maliciousness, while certainly evil, is at least regularly flamboyant).

This is really quite simple. Limbaugh is standing by the President's right to do whatever he wants, while thumbing his nose at both Congress and the People of the United States. The people have decided that Iraq was a mistake? Screw the people. Congress wants to put a stop to the war in Iraq? Screw Congress. And that's where we are.

Still what Hagel said is correct, there are ways to resist the Bush White House, and not all of them end in -peachment.

Anticipating Evil

Dennis Prager's latest article has a simple thesis. Nobody could have anticipated how bloodthirsty the Iraqi people were therefore we should all get off of President Bush's case for failing to plan sufficiently for the insurgency.
Of course, for sheer cruelty, one cannot outdo the Nazis; no depiction of hell ever matched the reality of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. But while Islamists and Baathists in Iraq have not devised new forms of torture -- there probably are no new ways left -- they have devised a new form of evil: murdering, maiming and torturing as many innocents among their own people as possible.
This statement refers, of course, to the Iraqi insurgency, which, according to some accounts, has started using children to lull suspicions at check points (which they then blow up, along with the children). He also condemns them for targeting those he considers innocent, people trying to get a job for example.

Some of this is pretty phony. Even in American history we have the example of the Klan who targeted innocent countrymen including blacks and northern whites, during reconstruction. Of course you would argue that the Klan didn't consider those people fellow countrymen. I could submit that the insurgents in Iraq might feel the same about the people they are killing.

At any rate the main fallacy in this article is Prager's contention that Bush should be let off the hook because we couldn't anticipate this depth of resistance. I could buy this argument if the Bush Administration had shown a great deal of effort in trying to prepare for any insurgency, but they failed to. Quite the opposite; they and their cronies in the press told us that there was no need to plan for after the invasion. We'd be greeted as liberators, get paid, and come home. The Bush administration purposefully hid the potential cost of this war, because if they had told the American people we would be in Iraq for the rest of the decade the American people would no have supported this war.

Incidentally I condemn those Iraqis using children to plant bombs more efficiently. But I don't consider such people reachable, so I choose to write to my fellow Americans, which is why I am scolding Prager a bit more than the Iraqi Insurgents.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Seventy Sketchs

Just updated my other website, Seventy Sketches, with a new sketch. This one is entitled "Building Contractors." And it's about God. I think.

Covering the Bases. An Irwin J. McIckleson Joint

Hello all this is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1920s plutocrat. Rather than doing a weekly review of 8-10 posts from around the internet, we will be doing a daily review of 1 to 3 posts. The rationale behind this is that this will provide more consistent reviews. I will continue to do the bulk of them, with Bryant or my wife Ms. Pinksington filling in as necessary.

Archy has just celebrated his fourth year in publication, which is a nice milestone for anybody. His blog has been consistently enjoyable as well, which is another accomplishment.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has a discussion of the recent attorney firing and why they matter. More to the point, he discusses why a party who has declared itself the moral arbiters of America should worry about the morality of firing this bunch of attorneys.

Enjoy your evening; there will be another of these posts tomorrow.

Good point

Joan Walsh over at Salon has a blog and it's turning out to be a pretty good one (although still a bit behind Glenn Greenwald and The War Room). She recently wrote about those who complain that the Democrats are too investigatory.
I'm sure most Democrats, and even some Republicans, would like the new governing majority to pass meaningful legislation. I know I would. But let's be honest: Democrats have only narrow majorities in the House and, especially, in the Senate. That means getting serious legislation passed will be a big challenge; getting it signed by the president (or passed by veto-proof majoritiesjavascript:void(0)
Publish) will be near-impossible on any controversial issue. Their investigative authority is one of the only reliable powers the majority gives Democrats right now.

And there's plenty to investigate: obstruction of justice and perjury in the U.S. attorneys firing; the abandonment of wounded vets at Walter Reed and elsewhere (and the deployment of wounded vets back to Iraq or to training camps, as Mark Benjamin most recently revealed); NSA spying; secret prisons; torture; the outing of an undercover CIA agent; Hurricane Katrina; bad or falsified intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in the run up to war in Iraq; war profiteering; I'm surely forgetting something important.
Right on! She's totally correct.

I'd also like to point out that many of those wringing their hands over our investigations are Republicans who might just have an ulterior motive for doing so.

Moral Equivalence

Or, to hell with Europe. These are the twin themes of Suzanne Fields latest article.
Bruce Bawer makes this point in his book, "While Europe Slept: How Radicalism Is Destroying the West from Within." One of the most disgraceful developments of our time, he writes, "is that many Western intellectuals who pride themselves on being liberals have effectively aligned themselves with an outrageously illiberal movement that rejects equal rights for women, that believes gays and Jews should be executed, that supports the cold-blooded murder of one's own children in the name of honor." Young Europeans who wear Che Guevara T-shirts and Palestinian scarves, to identify with a "glamorous" revolution that exists only in their naive imaginations, are dangerously out of touch with the authentic peril in the world.
First of all a quick history lesson for Ms. Fields. Che Guevara was connected to the Cuban Communist revolution and has nothing to do with Islamic Terrorism. You might find such shirts distasteful, but mentioning them dilutes you argument (which is weak enough as it is).

As for those hated Palestinian scarves, they might be wearing them in sympathy for the Palestinian people who actually have it pretty tough these days, thanks to the actions of Israel, the United States and, yes, Palestinian Terrorist Organizations.

What's interesting about the moral equivalence argument is how corrosive it is to actual morality. Actual morality isn't dependent on comparing it to someone else's morality, either negatively or positively. Obviously it's questionable for us to condemn the United States as worse than Al-Qaeda. On the other hand it's also questionable and possibly more corrosive for us to pat ourselves on the back excessively for being better than Al-Qaeda. I would hope that we'd be better than a mass-murdering organization than that, but I wouldn't want us to congratulate ourselves too much for that accomplishment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them

There's a chapter in Al Franken's great book about the Wellstone Memorial in which he discusses the contrast between what happened and the Wellstone Memorial and what Conservative Pundits said happened. I wish you would all go get that book and reread that, because we are going to see that little drama reenacted again and again.

I'd like to believe for example that Mike Gallagher's very decent article about Edward's wife's cancer will be the norm, but I know it won't be. Rather Edwards will go through the wringer as a bad husband for continuing his job even when his wife has cancer. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk will see to that.
I'm going to paraphrase this e-mail I got. "Dear Rush: I'm apoplectic about the Edwards press conference. These political people are people I don't understand. These are a different breed of people. If my wife told me yesterday that she had cancer that had returned and it was incurable, the last thing I would be thinking about would be going to a fund-raiser, calling a press conference. The last thing in the world I would be thinking about would be that. What is it about political people? What is it that makes them think they have to share virtually everything like this?" I wonder, how many of you have that same attitude, that there's something you just don't understand. I've tried to mention over the course of many, many years of service here behind the Golden EIB Microphone that politics and the people that are in it are an entirely different breed.

You run around and your whole life is asking other people for money? You know, people have said to me over the years, "Why don't you run for office?" I couldn't do that. You know, aside from the pay cut, to run around and asking people for money. Don't give me the "I wouldn't need to." The idea is to always spend somebody else's money on these things. I wouldn't. It's something I couldn't do. In a situation like this, you learn that the cancer's come back and it's treatable but incurable, go out and call a press conference and say the campaign is going forward. I just wonder how many other people like this e-mail I got have the same reaction to this in terms of not being able to relate to it in terms of what they would do in similar circumstances.
Because Rush Limbaugh would have done anything for the three women he's been married too (and has since divorced).

There's a hint of something here; an attitude about politics and politicians that is somewhat corrosive I think. It's basically the idea that being a politician or being an elected official is a bit like being a member of a community theater. It's a responsibility sure, but at the end of the day it's not that important and it's best reserved for those who have plenty of time to do so, i.e. the idle rich. Since it just a hobby for the idle rich, Edwards should do the decent thing and drop it while his wife recovers. This also lets Republicans pretend to be sympathetic towards Elizabeth Edwards while stabbing her husband in the back repeatedly.

Of course politics is a bit more important in the grand scheme of thing than community theater.

Beyond that, the rule is very simple. If you are a Democrat everything you do must be suspicious and evil. If you are a Republican nothing you do is immoral in the slightest.

Salon's report on the press conference is perhaps worth reprinting at this point.
John Edwards has just announced that Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer has returned but that, contrary to press reports, he is not suspending his presidential campaign.

"We've been confronted with these kind of struggles and traumas already in our lives," Edwards said with his wife at his side. "You have a choice: You can go cower in the corner and hide, or you can be tough and go stand up for what you believe in."

Edwards said medical tests this week showed that his wife's breast cancer has spread into her bone but apparently not into other soft tissue. He said the cancer is "not curable," but Elizabeth Edwards said that she is feeling well and does not expect her treatment to cause any real difference in her schedule, at least not immediately. "I expect to do next week all the same things I did last week," she said. She said she could not "deprive" the American people of the opportunity of voting for her husband just so that he could sit at home with her while she's feeling well.
Seems open and shut to me, but then again I'm a Democrat.

Updates to the Blog

We are changing how we handle our blogaround duties, and as part of that we have going through the Liberal Coalition list. Several Blogs have been put in their own Hiatus section. We hope that some of those blogs come back, and we will check on them from time to time to see if they are back around.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Science with Dr. Limbaugh

Caught a bit of Limbaugh's show over lunch; more than ever he seems obsessed with Global Warming. So much so that he has three Global Warming themes that he rotates for the inevitable daily story on Global Warming. Many of them are of the sort "It's snowing in Town X, the coldest day in years. This proves no global warming." I'm no scientician, but I think that global warming is supposed to cause unusual variations in weather not just constant heat.

It also strikes me as arguing against the statement that "The House Always Wins" by pointing to a guy who got a lucky hand. Of course some people get good hands; but in the aggregate the house takes the suckers.

At any rate he was pointing out that some new information had come out about the suns magnetic fields or x-ray fields or some stuff; did I mention I'm not a scientician? Anyway his argument is that the discovery of these fields proves that scientists don't know everything; therefore we should assume they are wrong about global warming. Apparently.

But why stop there. I mean I've been hearing about this damn gravity my whole life. Among other things it's partially responsible for the lack of flying cars (although I have to admit, cars flying simply because there is no gravity might cause some accidents). If scientists didn't know about these X-Ray fields, maybe they are wrong about gravity too.

Nope - I just jumped off a table and it turns out gravity is still there. Damn.

In other news, Limbaugh took a piss at Edwards for continuing to campaign even after his wife had cancer. On the plus side he didn't play is Edwards Theme Song ("I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" with new vomit-inducing lyrics). So I guess he's trying to show a little class.

What's Wrong with Democrats

Hello, this is Irwin J. McIckleson, Fictional 1920s Plutocrat. I have just finished reading an article by Michael Medved about what is wrong with the Democrats, and I have to say it has caused me to rethink my former opinions on future Republicans. I had come to the conclusion that you were all dunderheads for supporting a nincompoop like President Bush, but perhaps I judged you falsely.

Medved discusses how the Liberals, your rivals, are obsessed with helping the underdogs.
The rhetoric of today’s left shows that they see society divided between the privileged and the powerless, the favored and the unfortunate, victors and victims.

Liberals feel an irresistible instinct to take sides with the less fortunate.

While the right wants to reward beneficial choices and discourage destructive directions, the left seeks to eliminate or reduce the impact of the disadvantages that result from bad decisions. In place of the conservative emphasis on accountability, the left proffers a gospel of indiscriminate compassion.
I have encountered that underdogism my whole life and I find it discouraging and distressing. While there are racial injustices that strike me as senseless, in general the poor of America and throughout the world are poor because they are stupid, lazy, or of inferior genetic material. Medved is absolutely right to point out that spending time worrying about societies falures is not just a waste of time. It is actively destructive towards the economy and the morality of a society. Those who choose poverty should be punished for their choices such that if they do not change their ways, becoming productive, they are eliminated from the gene pool.

I realize that this sounds harsh and un-Christian but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that those who are unable or unwilling to successfully compete in our culture should be exploited as much as possible and then shuffled off to heaven where, if I remember what Pastor Fredericks said, they will be embraced by Jesus and sent to a place of everlasting wonder. Let them go there, and not clutter up the world for those of us who have the will and the genetic fiber to succeed! In that way they will not breed and their inferior genetic material will go with them to their grave rather than infecting another generation.

And I am pleased to know that future conservatives see the wisdom in abandoning the poor and the "underdogs" to their fates. If they have sufficient genetic and moral fiber they can become overdogs. If they do not, than society doesn't need them anyway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hey I didn't write the rules

Kathleen Parker's latest article is the normal sort of drivel you would expect from someone with a uterus. As you know women are catty creatures, focused solely on personal appearances, and Kathleen Parker certainly lives up to that in her comments on John Edwards.
But vanity is of another order, especially -- and perhaps unfairly -- when it comes to men.

Women get a pass for indulging their vanity, mostly because men appreciate the effort and applaud the result.

But we want men to be unaware of their attractiveness. Fairly or not, vanity is deemed unmanly.

Don't look at me. I didn't write the rules. But I do know them. Women don't trust men who spend more time in the bathroom than they do. And men don't trust men who primp.
So you see that Kathleen Parker is just another typical female, flighty and scatterbrained; focused only on specialities.

Hey I didn't write the rules. Wait - they aren't really rules are they? The more I think about it they are vague and crap stereotypes, at best. Many women are bright, smart, articulate, creative, and trying to make the world a better place. Maybe I should abandon my sexist point of view (which hopefully I have just adopted to write this article) and try to see individuals as individuals rather than as genders.

Maybe Kathleen Parker should consider doing the same, rather than throwing up her rhetorical hands and saying "Hey I didn't write the rules."

North American Scum

That's the first single off the new LCD Soundsystems album; here's the video.

LCD Soundsystem is a kick ass band and I want to go get this album today; but it turns out I probably won't.

My favorite track by them is Losing my Edge off of the bonus disc to their first album; i.e. it was a single they released before the album.

Something We Can All Agree on; Let's Fight!

William Rusher rights a surprisingly fair minded article over at Townhall today about partisanship and how it is our birthright as a nation.
Why don't boxers embrace in the center of the ring, agree not to fight, and split the prize money 50-50? The answer is, of course, that we are looking forward to the fight, and would rightly be outraged if it didn't occur. To be sure, politics is a far more serious matter, and it would presumably be nice, as a purely theoretical proposition, if those who participate in it would agree to work together to solve the nation's problems.

But the Founding Fathers weren't fools, and they knew that it was inevitable that serious men (and women) would disagree profoundly on the proper solutions to all sorts of problems. So they carefully designed a system in which such differences would be argued out among the various factions, and then a decision would be taken on each issue by the simple process of putting the various proposed solutions up to a vote.

. . . Yes, the brawls between the Republicans and the Democrats can get tiring, and both are routinely guilty of posturing just to look better than their rival. But that way we at least get to see what's going on. It's when harmony (and silence) reign on Capitol Hill that the voters have most cause to worry.
This is better than Jonah Goldberg's article from last week on the same subject by virtue of actually being evenhanded. In other words he doesn't try to pretend that the partisanship is mostly the Democrats fault.

Of course it is interesting to speculate on why these writers are trying to make a virtue of partisanship; I suspect it's because they don't have anything else right now. This President isn't going to make peace with the Democrats; he's got no incentive to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Breathtaking hypocricy

This is truly amazing. Bill Murchinson decries the Democrats implosion in an article that seems like it was written sometime in 2003. Apparently news has yet to reach Mr. Murchinson of the election in 2006. But what really makes this article shine is where he thinks we Democrats have missed the boat.
The Democratic game isn't to help solve a major military-foreign policy crisis. The game is to make sure the Bush White House and the "neocons" get blamed -- so unforgivingly, indeed, that Americans entrust to the Democrats future responsibility for such matters.

What a noble precedent, at which two can play -- destroy, block, blame, obstruct; call for subpoenas; stir up the bloggers; fight, fight, fight. Not just in foreign policy, either. If "Democrats can win in Republican districts where corruption is an issue," so Republicans will figure out they can win in Democratic districts "where corruption is an issue." Implied, trumped-up corruption, if nothing better comes along, corruption equivalent to the current foofaraw over prosecutors.
You'd think, writing from the perspective of 2003 that Murchinson would have a better remembrance of how our beloved Republican buddies acted during the Clinton Years. I mean they didn't have blogs then (or not as much) but everything else seems to pretty much describe how his buddies acted against Clinton. And all they got out of that was the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. So I can see why Murchinson would be opposed to us acting vigorously against President Bush.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The One Party Rule and Faulty Memory

Remember in 2006 when the Democratic rallying cry was "It's dangerous to have both the White House and the Congress in one parties hands?" Yeah I don't remember that either. But Rich Galen, former Press Secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich does, apparently.

What I remember Democrats saying was that the Republicanoids had some nerve complaining about the way things were going considering they ran everything.

But Galen believes (and argues such in his latest article) that we convinced everybody that having the same party in power in both the Congress and the White House was a foolish thing to do. So, since they already gave the Congress to the Democrats they are forced to give the White House to the Repubilcans.

Yeah, I don't know if that is actually going to pan out. Rather I think people will vote for who they think would make the best President without losing a lot of sleep over whether or not he is in the same party as the party who controls Congress.

Real Men are Homophobic

This is the message of Kevin McCullough's latest piece of crap. McCullough, for those of you who don't know, is a proponent of the Musclehead Revolution, which I assume means he is in favor of people with the IQ's of mussels being in charge.

Yeah, I'm not in the mood to be polite to McCullough.

Anyway this one is in defense of General Pace; saying that as a manly American we Liberals don't know how to deal with him.
When a real man speaks with plainness and honesty it sends shivers down the spines of those who oppose him, and in a sense reveals their weakness and inadequacies. It exposes the fact that girly men are better at studying their navel than slaying dragons. Naturally when one then encounters a dragon slayer, a girly man finds it difficult even uncomfortable to deal with.
I'm curious to know just what Dragons General Pace has actually killed. But the overall point seems clear enough; conservatives are manly men, Democrats are girly man.

Of course McCullough is the sort of manly man who has to stomp around making sure everybody knows he's a manly man. A real man. He has dedicated his writing to the proposition that he's a real man (as opposed to Democratic girly men).

Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? I mean if he was secure in his manliness would he feel compelled to bang on about it so consistently?

An Alternate Explanation

Writing about Dinesh D'Souza is, at this point, a lot like shooting fish in a barrel. Well it serves those fish right for climbing into a barrel! His latest article concerns the theory that Democrats want to lose the war on terror. His proof? Apparently we are more pissed at President Bush than Osama bin Ladin.
. . . we have to notice the “indignation gap” that is apparent in the writings and speeches of leading leftist commentators and elected officials. They seem far more outraged at Bush than at the Islamic radicals. They might rebuke Bin Laden and his radical allies, but their language reaches a new decibel of indignation when they excoriate Bush and his conservative backers. Somehow Bush frightens these people more than the Islamic radicals.
Well that might not be the only possible explanation.

Consider the following possible scenario - my poor little doggy Lupita occasionally takes a dump on my carpeting. In general I take this with good grace; it's the price of having a dog and it's often my fault for forgetting to take her out, or for giving her something that upset her stomach. Plus she's a dog and It's hard to expect too much from her.

On the other hand if one of my friends were to come into my apartment, pull down their slacks, and take a dump on my carpet I would have quite a different reaction. I would probably swear, wave my arms, and hop up and down. Not necessarily in that order.

So upon observing these two reactions, what can you conclude? If I were D'Souza I would conclude that I apparently enjoy picking up Dog Poop but would not enjoy picking up Human Poop. But since I'm not D'Souza (thank God), I conclude that I expect a little more out of my human friends than I do from my dog.

And I think that explains the Left's different reactions to Osama and President Bush. We expect a little bit more out of our President than we do from a mass-murdering zealot. Maybe we are setting the bar a little too high?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Faulty Logic

Patrick Ruffini, who is working in some capacity on the Guiliani campaign, has some thoughts on the upcoming election and how the Republican candidates are moving to the right (which will no doubt come as a surprise to many of the party base who sees them as a collection of sell-outs. But say it he does.
Today, virtually every Republican carries the banner of spending discipline. With the exception of Chuck Hagel, the primary candidates or prospective candidates haven't really wavered on the prosecution of the war.

So, if conservatism is a "broken" brand, wouldn't candidates be running away from it rather than running on it?
Chuck Hagel isn't in it yet, and, of course, polling numbers say that running on a promise to continue the Bush foreign policy may not end up being the best strategy. A lot of Americans are frustrated with how Iraq has turned out; promising more countries like Iraq probably isn't a winning strategy.

But I like the logic of this piece - Ruffini's basically saying that if pledging support for the Iraq war and continued belligerence were a bad idea, Guiliani and McCain wouldn't be doing it. But come on, Ruffini, isn't it at least possible that your candidates are idiots? Or maybe blinded by ideology? I mean a good political strategy is a strategy that works, and right now however passionately they support the war in Iraq, it's clear that they are out of step with the majority of the American people.

Friday, March 16, 2007

93 Attorneys and Cheering on Al-Qaeda

Two good stories over at Salon I'd like to point you too. First of all, Joe Conason takes on the current Republican Mantra that Clinton fired a bunch of attorneys too. Short version, Clinton didn't do it to skuttle ongoing investigations.

Secondly, Glenn Greenwald has a piece on Conservatoids cheering on an al-Qaeda plot to assassinate Jimmy Carter. Very distressing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poor Alberto Gonzales

Apparently even Conservatives aren't keen on him, which implies he may not be long for his current position. Steve Chapman's latest article, over at Townhall, talks about Gonzales's weaknesses.
What bodes particularly ill for the attorney general is that even conservative Republicans in Congress are furious. New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu pronounced the administration's handling of this matter "unacceptable." Nevada Sen. John Ensign said he was "very angry" about the dismissal of the prosecutor in his state. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said the firing of the U.S. attorneys amounted to "idiocy."

When you start getting reviews like that from people in your own party, you're entering the land of the living dead, which was so recently occupied and then vacated by Donald Rumsfeld. A Cabinet official who becomes a gross liability may find that even Bush's loyalty has limits.
Conservatives tend towards discipline; if a conservative columnist is willing to be this blunt about Gonzales's chances, well, I think we should take it as read that he's in real trouble.

I think his biggest problem, though, is the appearance that he's 100% Bush's man, and that's not the plus it used to be.
This attorney general owes almost everything to George W. Bush -- who brought him on as his legal adviser when he was governor of Texas, appointed him to the state supreme court, gave him the job of White House counsel and installed him at Justice. It's about as easy to imagine Gonzales standing up to the president as it is to picture Mickey Mouse biting Walt Disney.
He's not wrong. I think though that political considerations may not run as high in this White House right now, though. President Bush is, if not a lame duck, at least waddling with a limp. And he doesn't have a successor running in 2008. So political concerns may not motivate him as much as they once would have.

Electoral advice from Conservatives

It is an interesting phenomenon that occurs during the primary process; we get very interested in what the other side is doing. I am watching the candidacies of McCain, Guiliani, and Romney and the flirtation of Gingrich with some interest, despite the fact that I won't be voting in the Republican Primary and as such don't really have a dog in that hunt. But of course I do have some advice for my Republicanoid Friends. Run Gingrich and have him promise to continue the policies of this White House.

Because of course that is a run that would appeal to the Republican Base and nobody else. Which would give the middle to the Democratic Nominee. What do you expect? I'm not on the Republicans side.

I take Republican articles that give Democrats advice in the same spirit, i.e. with a large grain of salt. Actually it's such a large grain of salt that I can't actually eat it in one bite - it's the size of a golf ball. And frankly eating that much salt at one time is gross, so I just like hold it up to my mouth and say "Look if you believe those conservative dopes you are going to have to eat this."

I'd like to pause here to point out that Acid House killed Rock and Roll.

Anyway in that spirit let's look at Donald Lambros review of the Hillary Clinton's chances in the 2008 Primary. Apparently they aren't that good.
Clinton's early head-to-head general-election numbers do not look good for her, either. She was trailing Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani by an average of 5 points in all the major matchup polls of the past two weeks.When did the Clinton political restoration campaign begin to falter?

Democrats said in interviews last week that a critical factor contributing to her decline in the polls was her unwillingness to apologize for her vote for the Iraq war and admit it was a mistake.

"Her Iraq war vote is coming back to haunt her. She's said everything except that she made a mistake. Voters see this as Hillary wanting it both ways," said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000.
I will think that's a jaundiced view of Clinton's vote on the Iraq War resolution, particularly being repeated by a Conservative. After all it's not like President Bush has apologized for his promotion of the Iraq war, and it's not like Lambro, or any conservative, would expect him to.

Should Hillary Clinton apologize for her vote on the Iraq War Resolution? I don't think that would accomplish much at this point. Republicans would just shift the terrain talking about flip-flopping maybe, or how she stubbornly refused to apologize for such a long time.

At any rate, the general trend in these articles is to cheer the nomination of anybody who's not Hillary in 2008. I don't know whether that is because they believe Hillary to be our strongest candidate or because they have such fear and hatred of her that they want her gone no matter what.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hollywood Tidbits

Negotiations on the proposed romance film, starring the number 23, have broken down. As we reported last week, the film was tenitavely titled "When a Man Loves a 23." Discussions fell apart when it proved impossible to determine 23's gender.

On the plus side the Number 23 is scheduled to play opposite Jimmy Smits in an upcoming crime drama. Smits will play a crusading lawyer and the number 23 will play a scrappy but lovable young law clerk. The film, untitled as yet, is scheduled to go into pre-production in a couple of weeks.

I agree with Jonah Goldberg

His latest article is entitled "Unity is Overrated," and he's dead on.
Unity is not only overrated, it's often undemocratic. Decrying the "polarization" may be something decent people are supposed to do, like recycling or paying more for organic breakfast cereal that tastes like kitty litter. But the alternative is no great shakes.

Hillary Clinton leads an all-star cast of politicians who wax poetic on their desire to get beyond politics, move past partisan labels or put ideology aside. When you hear that rhetoric, consider this as a translation: "Those who disagree with me should shut up and get on board the progress train."

I have never witnessed anyone who said that we need to get beyond ideology actually abandon his own position for the sake of unity.
Now I would note that there are plenty of Republicans who "wax poetic on their desire to get beyond politics," particularly when it comes to the war on Terror. And I suspect that Goldberg, like the people he's complaining about, means to apply his pro-partisanship badge to Republicans. I suspect he'll go on decrying Liberals who have the gall to put forward a different political position than the President's.

Who do the Persian's represent?

There's nothing better than a good old fashioned movie controversy, and we've got one with the current film "300." Apparently some people feel it's simplistic presentation of good vs. evil which supports the Bush Administrations simplistic presentation of good vs. evil. in the modern world. Ben Shapiro is on hand to explain that it's just a movie, but this debate shows that liberals don't like admitting there are such things as Good and Evil.
Many reviewers have panned "300" not on artistic grounds, or even on grounds of inanity, but on the grounds that the Spartans in the film are a bunch of jackbooted thugs; that the tyranny they fight is less tyrannical than Sparta; that good vs. evil is too simplistic.
I doubt Shapiro has read more than a few reviews of the movie. Certainly the reviews I read have panned it on artistic grounds as well. In fact I don't recall them bringing up the problem of Good Vs. Evil except to note that it's a comic book movie so it naturally presents Good Vs. Evil in a simplistic way. So I think Shapiro might be reaching on this one.

Frankly as movie controversies go this is pretty small time. Anyway planning on seeing "300" this weekend should all things go well, so I'll have more to say then.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Notes from the Underground

In an ironic turn of events I'm not blogging much today in part because I'm tired from staying up last last night playing World of Warcraft.

Curse the Game that I Enjoy Playing

PopMatters has an article by Elizabeth Cho on playing World of Warcraft. Let me note at the beginning that it's pretty well written. But it's another article complaining about how bad it is for Blizzard to make a game that you enjoy and want to play. Sometimes her prose gets pretty purple.
Is ‘Once an addict, always an addict’ true, I wondered? Is Warcraft madness a manifestation of addictive personalities or is it a natural consequence of coming into contact with something so addictive? Perhaps certain people are more prone to addiction, because their lives lack something not even a puppy can fulfill. Are Warcraft players lonely, disconnected people who become dependent on the social matrix and virtual life that Warcraft offers? That’s the reigning stereotype of Warcraft player and I’m its counterexample. I’m a happy girl in my 20s with many friends, diverse interests and a successful career. I have never had other common addictions—caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, recreational drugs, etc. So why was I so helplessly addicted to Warcraft?
I have a dog, I'd like to point out. Actually everybody I know who has World of Warcraft (my Brother, Caleb) has a dog. So maybe that's the connecting tissue.

But the truth is this kind of article is annoying to me because it dramatizes a pretty simple problem with life. Sometimes things you enjoy take you away from other things you enjoy. Sometimes you take pleasure over meaning. But the thing is World of Warcraft is no more to blame than Harry Potter books or Grindhouse Cinema. It's just the way people are. Is it any more noble at the end of a weekend when you didn't do anything to say "Well I watched TV" over "Well, I played World of Warcraft."

Instead you just make what is, at base, a pretty simple choice. What do I want to do? If it's World of Warcraft, there's nothing particularly wrong with that, just don't bitch when that novel you want to write doesn't get written. It's your call, not the games.

Cho seems to come to a pretty similar conclusion at the end of her article, but not quite.
There is tremendous excitement at immersing myself in Burning Crusade this new, improved world of Warcrack. Yet there’s a profound sadness creeping up on me, too. I’m realizing that I don’t have the time to start a new character, as I would want to, from level 1. In the end, it depends on which world one prefers to invest in; the real one or in the virtual one. I chose the “real world”, even if “real” is a debatable concept, since how much you invest in time and Warcraft money, and invest in creating your character, friendships, etc., makes a world seeming more real than the real one, and gives the Warcraft world visceral dimension. That’s the beauty and complexity of Warcraft; it’s a social organism. As any half-serious World of Warcraft player will tell you: it’s not just a game, it’s a way of life.
No, actually, it's not a way of life. It's a game. A fun game. But your way of life is your way of life.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Underwater Blogging

It's harder than I thought it would be. I can see an upside and a downside. The lack of oxygen forces me to be concise. But I can't understand what I wrote. It was about an article about how Conservatives need to put up a candidate rather than select from among the current weak crop of candidates (from the Conservative point of view). I think I said something about it making sense but that such a candidate would not do well in the general election. Hence I support the idea.

Truthfully I'm starting to suspect our market research guy, Space Lobster. He keeps pointing his claw at me and laughing.

Glubbb Glubb

Glub glub glubbble glu glub glub glu. Glub glub glubbleubble gulg gluggle gurgle glubble gul. Glubble gurgle glu! Glubble glublee gurgle glu gubble gul gurgle! Gubble Glurgle!

Exciting News

Apparently market research indicates that very few blogs are produced underwater - thus there is what is known as a market opening. It's unclear how many people are looking for a blog that is produced underwater, so we are going to send up a trial balloon. In a few moments be prepared for a post from 20,000 leagues under the sea.

The Religious Left

There is a movement right now for those believers on the left to refute the idea that being a believer means you support the religious Right or President Bush. It's been around for a few years now, but it's slowly gaining more momentum as we head into the 2008 election. And it's kicked up enough dust that some Conservatives are writing about it, including Suzanne Fields in her latest article.

Unfortunately here treatment of the subject is pretty slim. She notes that the three candidates for the Democratic Party Nomination all have religion as part of their story. She then complains that liberals who snickered at President Bush's faith are likely to ignore these Democrats faith.

She's right. But Suzanne Fields own faith must be pretty shallow not to see a difference between the faith of a Hillary Clinton and a George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barak Obama aren't justifying their policies by referring to God's will.

That is not an insignificant distinction. Once you put God on one side of a political debate, you've created an untenable situation. Republicans do this all the time, which is why they feel so damn comfortable describing liberals as evil doers and monsters. God wants one thing, we want the other - obviously the best thing you can say about Liberals is that they are deluded.

On the other hand Liberal believers usually talk about God as a motivator. He leads them to do good, to want to do good. Obviously they see fighting for social reforms and better living conditions for the poor as Good. They are able to recognize, however, that Conservatives believe that fighting to oppress Gays and support big business are "Good." Hence they are more likely to be understanding of their political enemies (perhaps a little too understanding).

I don't know how far this holds up - but it makes sense to me.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What makes Rush Limbaugh Happy

On yesterday's show Rush Limbaugh noted that more troops than were initially promised are going to Iraq and then burst out laughing.
I'm laughing only because the Democrats can't stop it. No matter what they do, no matter how much they caterwaul and bellyache, they can't stop it.
He then went on to take a few shots at Congressman Murtha before returning to his amusement.
So, at any rate, it's just great news here. The troop buildup is going to be larger; it's going to be longer and the Democrats can't do a thing to stop it -- which is only going to drive 'em crazier.
Rush Limbaugh is cheering the fact that more soldiers are going to be kept from their families and possibly die on the grounds that it will make Democrats angry. Not much I can add to that.

See I Told You So

Not that this is a shocking revelation, but many Conservatives don't think Rudy Guiliani is all that Conservative. And Nathan Tabor in his latest article explains why.
For one thing, he lacks authentic conservative credentials. While Giuliani can claim that he would appoint a Roberts- or Alito-type to the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s pro-abortion. That means he’s beholden to the abortion faction in our nation—a faction that believes partial-birth abortion should be considered in the same light as gum surgery. Once Republicans regain control of Congress, it’s tough to imagine Giuliani signing legislation that would offer any sort of protection to unborn children.

In addition, Giuliani is not in a position to defend family values, given his history of defending special rights for people who actively engage in a homosexual lifestyle.

. . . Is Giuliani the most liberal candidate running for the White House? Hillary and Barack could certainly give him a run for his liberal money. But the hero of 9/11 is no conservative, and it would be a mistake for the mainstream media to count out conservatives this Presidential election season—even if it would cause them trouble meeting their deadlines.
So there you go - Conservatives are going to want a Conservative candidate - not very surprising. And Giuliani isn't it (neither is McCain). Kind of leaves the field wide open for Gingrich should he step in. And I would be enormously surprised if he doesn't.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Should the Attorney General be an Elected Office?

Currently the Attorney General is appointed by the President. Garrett Epps has a piece at Salon today about how maybe we should rethink this. We might get better results if the AG was elected.

This would dilute the President's power, which of course the current administration would oppose. It is baffling to me how the party that is supposedly distrustful of government has fought tooth and nail for a President determined to consolidate as much power in his office as possible.

At any rate, the article is well worth reading and considering.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Are you masculine enough?

Glenn Greenwald wrote a very interesting post on the Ann Coulters flap and why most conservatives aren't going to condemn her in any serious fashion. They need her.
And that is where Ann Coulter comes in and plays such a vital -- really indispensible -- role. As a woman who purposely exudes the most exaggerated American feminine stereotypes (the long blond hair, the make-up, the emaciated body), her obsession with emasculating Democratic males -- which, at bottom, is really what she does more than anything else -- energizes and stimulates the right-wing "base" like nothing else can. Just witness the fervor with which they greet her, buy her books, mob her on college campuses. Can anyone deny that she is unleashing what lurks at the very depths of the right-wing psyche? What else explains not just her popularity, but the intense embrace of her by the "base"?

Observe in the superb CPAC video produced by Max Blumenthal how Coulter immediately mocks his physical appearance as soon as she realizes that he is a liberal. And the crowd finds it hilarious. That is what she does. She takes liberal males, emasculates them, depicts them as "faggots" and weak losers, and thereby makes the throngs of weak and insecure followers who revere her feel masculine and strong. There is no way that the right-wing movement can shun her because what she does is indispensible to the entire spectacle. What she does is merely a more explicit re-inforcement of every central theme which the right-wing movement embraces.
He's chillingly correct in his analysis of the myth of tough right wingers vs. weak kneed liberals. But this myth, like the myth that most "real" Americans are behind Bush's war, explodes on contact with reality - so Conservatives need Ann Coulter to help them create a culture of delusion where reality never enters to stop the fun.

McCain in 2008?

McCain has got a lot of advantages going into 2008 - he has name recognition and he's got money. But he's also frustrated or angered a lot of the Republican Base, and there are questions about his age. I also not that his foreign policy is essentially the same as President Bush's, so if people are having war fatigue in November, well that's not going to help him very much.

Ken Blackwell, writing at Townhall, seems largely supportive of McCains run but questions whether or not his campaign finance reform might be screwing him now.
Since this early time, political parties have served as large crucibles into which flowed a multiplicity of ideas and from which came a generalized set of political principles. These principles, while altering some with time and circumstance, became the foundations on which candidates ran for public office and a tool by which the public could evaluate their performance in office.

Now, this leavening impact has been taken away in the name of "cleaning up the system." In the name of eliminating "soft money," McCain-Feingold reforms have federalized the entire political process to an extent political parties can no longer carry out their traditional functions. This has led to the proliferation of special interest money flooding the airwaves and filling the message gap left by the restrictions on political parties.

Political parties are no longer a significant source of candidate campaign support. In fact, for federal candidates, their party committees cannot give them direct campaign support such as TV time unless the party sets up an independent expenditure operation and avoids any coordination with the candidate. This makes every candidate a free agent. More importantly, it makes every special interest as powerful as the political party.
I don't know what to make of this. On the one hand I can certainly see how the Party organizations have gotten weaker over time, and maybe that's not a good thing. But then again, it's democratization of the process - before only the Parties were really significant. Now there are thousands of organizations - the next step is to democratize further, such that the power rest really in the hands of the people.

But of course that leaves us with a man in the White House beholden to everyone or, to look at it another way, beholden to no one. Kind of a scary thought I admit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Let's Burn some Faggots

Don't worry - apparently I'm talking about bundles of sticks, not homosexuals.

"I was going to have some comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you say the word faggot -- so I am kind of at an impasse."

Don't worry - apparently Ann Coulter might have been comparing John Edwards to a bundle of sticks, and it's not fair to judge her until we know which version of the term she meant. Or that's what a caller to Washington Journal apparently said, showing that some people will stoop to any depth to get what they want.

This is from a typically brilliant post over at The Daily Howler - in which he talks about what Ann Coulter and Maureen Dowd have in common. Here's a hint - they both think Democrats are Girly-Men.

Hollywood Tidbits

Flush on the "success" of it's latest horror movie, the number 23 is planning on a change of pace for it's second movie. It is currently in talks with Paramount to appear in a romantic comedy, tentatively titled "When a Man Loves a 23." The name may have to be retooled once the number 23's gender is accurately determined. To that end, Paramount is rumored to have hired a team of numerologists and mathematicians who promptly got in a huge fight and failed to make any headway whatsoever. Said the number 23, "I feel like Jim Carey and me had real chemistry in the first film. I'd like to work with him again, assuming I'm female of course."

We Don't Need that Fascist Groove Thing

Dinesh D'Souza's articles are a temptation. They are usually pretty easy to respond to. Just print the most outrageous paragraph and do the blogging equivelant of rolling my eyes. The column practically writes itself (although I still have to put in the punctuation - Blogging is hard!). So it seems lazy to comment on his articles. But let's do it anyway, because this weeks article is a bet less crazed than his recent ones, and because it's just about lunchtime.

So let's look at this weeks article, which is about how we want to lose in Iraq and to Osama bin Ladin (apparently).
Yes, but it is precisely in the name of these causes that several figures on the left want the Islamic radicals to win, and Bush to lose, the war on terror. If you listen carefully to the rhetoric of leading leftists, you discover that they dislike Bin Laden and the Islamic radicals but they hate Bush and his conservative allies. Bin Laden to them is the “far enemy” but Bush is the “near enemy.” From their point of view, Bin Laden’s radicals want sharia in Baghdad but Bush’s religious and political supporters wants sharia in Boston. It is Bush, not Bin Laden, who threatens with one more Supreme Court appointment to jeopardize the left’s hard-won social victories of the past generation.
Hey, just out of curiousity, didn't someone say recently "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." Yeah - must have been one of those weaselly Democrats.

No wait, it was President Bush. And then President Bush invaded Iraq - a move that weakened our military while giving him enormous recruiting possibilities. But let's lay all that side in order to focus on the real enemy - Liberals! Apparently!

I Can't Stop Reading!

More World War Hulk Goodness - again this is Marvel trying to sell you on the World War Hulk event.
-There was talk of some tie-ins and WWH is only 35 tie-ins over 4 months. That's not very heavy on the wallet, especially compared to Civil War.
Come on guys. We're not gouging you on this one as badly as we just finished gouging you on the other. Just buy it.

Adventures in Poor Wording

Continuing the theme from the last post, if you visit Marvel comic's website they have a section on forthcoming events (now the Civil War is over). One of the big ones coming up is "World War Hulk" in which the Hulk comes back to earth after having been shot off to another planet. Apparently Hulk is angry. Anyway Marvel had a panel discussing many of the upcoming spinoffs from this event, including a Hulk/X-Men meet up entitled "Colossus goes back to being dead" (I'm joking) and a villains book by Frank Tieri.
WWH Gamma Corps is, according to writer Frank Tieri, a villain book. Tieri's bringing back General Riker. He's back and he wants to save his wife's life and wants to bring down hulk. Tieri cursed a lot when describing the book and everyone got wrapped up in the enthusiasm. Maybe this will be the break-out book?
If I cursed more would you get wrapped up in my enthusiasm? Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong.

I'm sorry I can't stop laughing, particularly when you consider that Marvel apparently meant to put that out (I mean it's from their website). This is what they want you to know about Frank Tieri's pitch. He cursed a lot when describing the book, and his cursing was apparently infectiously enthusiastic.

I just can't add anything to that.

Non Partisan Democrats

I don't usually criticize Salon stories but every so often you come across a line that's so dopey you just have to say something. Such is the case in Michael Scherer's latest article, about the candidacy of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, running in the Republican primary. Apparently Huckabee is not the sort of Republican who jokes about blowing up the New York Times.
After Huckabee is finished, Evans explains his impressions, which have nothing to do with the candidate's stand on cultural issues. "It's nice to see a little humility in a politician once in a while," he says. "Just to say that Democrats might not be completely out to lunch -- I've always believed that."

In an instant, Evans had captured the Huckabee quality that poses the clearest threat to partisan Democrats. He is the only Republican currently running for president with solid-gold Christian-right credentials as well as the potential to appeal to crossover independent voters, who abandoned the Republican Party in 2006.
Partisan Democrats - I guess that is intended to refer to Democrats who want to win elections? Or what exactly? Isn't any Republican Candidate a threat to Partisan Democrats?

Or is Scherer describing Democrats who talk about their political opponents as if they were the enemy? Who joke about locking up their enemies as traitors? If so, he should introduce me to them - they sound like good folk. Because most of the Democrats I see (including our three candidates) are pretty conciliatory towards Republicans.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Clintons - True Believers or Rotton Hypocrites?

Wait, why not both! I mean there's no reason they can't passionately fight for ideals while greedily grabbing every dollar they can grab right? Or such is the take in Linda Chavez's latest piece of crap.
Like some 16th-century Antinomians who believed that they were anointed by God and could therefore ignore the moral laws that applied to the rest of mankind, the Clintons seem to think that they can do whatever they want in pursuit of some greater good. But the more ambitious and greedy they become, the less likely they'll get away with it.
I'd like to make a point here - I'm very pissed off and depressed. My initial take on this was to just unload a stream of invectives and call it a day. IJt would make a nice change of pace from my normal way of reading these articles and then commenting on them in a rational frame of mind. It'd be funny - to me anyway (and when you are pissed off and depressed, who gives a crap about anybody else?) It'd be easy, fun, wouldn't require a lot of thought; it's win win win!

I say this because of another article today, by John Hawkins, which takes material from several Liberal blogs (including Firedoglake, The Smirking Chimp, and Wonkette (as well as James Cameron's biography on Jesus's bones)) to prove that Liberals despise Christians. Some of the posts quoted are full of venom and somewhat embarrassing, although the authors are careful to note that they are talking about fundamentalist or radical Christianity, not Christianity in general. I presume John Hawkins, like most Radical Christians, is unable to to see the distinction.

Bloggers have off days - and nobody edits us. When I say something stupid it stays. I'm tempted to go back and change stuff on occasion but I rarely do it, because that's not the point to Blogging. It's not like an article that you live with for a couple of weeks or a book that you live with for a couple of months / years. It's this moment in time.

What Hawkins wants to do, and others of his stripe, is take that one moment of weakness and make that the total summation of Firedoglake or Wonkette. It's a form of objectification, taking a person and making them nothing more than a single action (not even the sum of their actions). Making Firedoglake or Wonkette nothing more than those few paragraphs where they took a bit of a piss at Radical Christianity. As if now and forever that's all they will do - like a little dutch boy forever with his finger stuck in that damn dike, moving neither forward nor backward.

I'm probably over thinking this - Hawkins was just trying to make his Radical Christian Readers feel good about themselves.

I will point out the awful quotation from The Smirking Chimp isn't really that awful at all.
Religious fanaticism is simply institutionalized psychosis and if we ever needed all the help we could get from reality folk (mystics) and courageous scientists, it's now. Our planet cannot be pummeled much longer by these nut cases without passing infinitely tragic points of no return.
Certainly if you are religiously radical that's not a great quote. On the other hand, the religiously radical, including, presumably Hawkins, believe that God is waiting to torture people who disagree with them for all eternity, which seems just as hostile if not more so.

Back to Ms. Chavez and the Clintons. Since I'm not going to just give a string of invectives I guess I'd better say what's wrong with her formulation. First of all, if she is going to complain about an occupant of the White House believing that God has ordained all that he does to be correct, I'd think that there's another person on that list.

Secondly when we Liberals complain about Bush taking large fees for speeches to Conservatoids (assuming he does so), I have little doubt that she will defend him. In other words it's not the money the Clintons are getting, it's the fact that they are Liberals and, well, the Clintons.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Format

As promised new format for the new month - obviously I need to tweak this one a bit yet - the background has an unfortunate glitch in it - but mostly this is how it will look for March.

Who's Fault is It?

The best part about the Democratic victory in 2006 is that the Conservatives can start blaming Liberals for our forthcoming failure (or, more accurately, admission of failure) in Iraq on the tenuous grounds that they are now running things. How it is their fault when President Bush has made it clear that he doesn't plan on listening to them on the war and his followers are making the case that as commander-in-chief he doesn't really need to is a bit baffling. But who cares! When you are a conservative it's always best to jab the knife in first and the figure out a rationale later.

Take William Rushers's latest article, entitled, "The Democrats take over the war." He starts with the bit about monkeys, typewrites and Shakespeare, and suggests that the Democrats chances of coming up with a viable strategy to confront middle eastern terrorism are roughly the same. But we don't care about coming up with a viable strategy anyway.
The Democrats haven't the faintest idea how to bug out of Iraq without all sorts of ensuing disasters, but they are determined to express "the will of the American people" (if only they can figure out what it is).

The only thing they are really determined to do is lose. They don't feel guilty about this because they think it's inevitable anyway, and it can always be blamed on George Bush.
Yeah - kind of rotten of us to blame the administration who got us into Iraq, who planned the invation, who failed to plan for the aftermath, and so on and so forth.

Who's Conservative Enough to be President

The upcoming election is shaping up to be a bit disappointing for the Republicans. Their current candidates include McCain, a moderate Republican who passed campaign finance reform, Guilliani, pro- choice and open to the idea of Gay rights, and Mitt Romney, a Mormon nobodies ever heard of. What's a conservative to do?

Well Robert Novak's latest column he tracks this frustration on the part of the Republican base quite effectively.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attracting right-wingers nationwide to Washington this weekend, Citizens United will distribute a 23-page attack on McCain. "He's no Ronald Reagan," it begins, and concludes: "John McCain is not a conservative." (McCain is the only announced Republican presidential hopeful not scheduled to speak at CPAC.) Simultaneously, McCain operatives are putting out material that depicts Giuliani riding into City Hall on the shoulders of the New York Liberal Party as a throwback to the old Tammany Hall Democratic machine.

It is hardly too late for such negative campaigning to tear down Republican front-runners because of inadequate conservative credentials.
I wonder how much of this is a factor of starting the race too early - what is there for the candidates to talk about 22 months before the election except about how their fellow candidates aren't really conservative at all.

At any rate Novak makes the point that if a real Conservative walks into the race (such as Gingrich) he would have a huge advantage. Makes sense that such a candidate would do well in the primary; but what about the general election?