Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dennis Prager Speaks to the Wives of America

Dennis Prager argues, in his latest article, that wives should have sex with their husbands whether they want to or not.
Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?

What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work? If this happened a few times a year, any wife would have sympathy for her hardworking husband. But what if this happened as often as many wives announce that they are not in the mood to have sex? Most women would gradually stop respecting and therefore eventually stop loving such a man.
Not sure what to say to that. Maybe nothing need be said.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Presented with little comment

Coalitions of environmental, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, sustainable-agriculture and anti-globalization forces have coalesced in Europe to form and support socialist parties. This has yet to happen in the United States. The left never rallied in significant numbers behind Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. In picking the lesser of two evils, it threw its lot in with a Democratic Party that backs our imperial wars, empowers the national security state and does the bidding of corporations.

If Barack Obama does not end the flagrant theft of taxpayer funds by corporate slugs and the disgraceful abandonment of our working class, especially as foreclosures and unemployment mount, many in the country will turn in desperation to the far right embodied by groups such as Christian radicals. The failure by the left to offer a democratic socialist alternative will mean there will be, in the eyes of many embittered and struggling working- and middle-class Americans, no alternative but a perverted Christian fascism. The inability to articulate a viable socialism has been our gravest mistake. It will ensure, if this does not soon change, a ruthless totalitarian capitalism.
Chris Hedges, Why I am a Socialist

It's entirely possible that he's right. Society certainly seems pretty shattered right now, and I'm not convinced that Obama is going to be able to fix things. We'll see.

Obama has his Whitewater

And by Whitewater I mean bullshit scandal that Conservatoid ideologues will use to taint Obama whenever possible, despite knowing (and they surely know) that the whole thing is nonsense.

Here it is - Rod Blagojevich, corrupt Governor of Illinois, tried to sell Obama's seat, and described him as an MF because he wasn't willing to go along with this corrupt scheme. Clearly Obama is as guilty as Blagojevich, and should be in jail, not the White House. Or this is the opinion of Floyd and Mary Beth Brown.
If the intention was to send a message to Blagojevich, then some members of Obama's inner circle may be facing indictment. It takes two to tango and all of those who actively participated in the alleged negotiations to sell a Senate seat are just as guilty as Blagojevich.

As for the other option, an attempt to actually put a stop to the "shakedown" scheme, may be viewed, at first glance, as an exoneration of Team Obama. But not so fast... having knowledge of such a scheme and not reporting it to the authorities is a serious offense as well.
Great. Now of course Obama will be legally exonerated. He clearly didn't do anything wrong. Doesn't matter. They never got Clinton on Whitewater. They never got Hillary on the Foster suicide. Didn't stop them from bringing it up. The point isn't to get to the truth; the point is to destroy Obama.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Movies, Charity, and Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh talked about Love Actually yesterday on his broadcast - a well loved movie by at least a few. He made this comment.
I found, aside from liking the movie, what I found was here's a movie that's got things in it that you would not dare recommend, especially with your young children. I don't know what the rating is. I didn't pay any attention to the rating of the movie, but I don't know how it got away without being an R. It's got nudity in it, yeah, it does, well, partial nudity, it's got really questionable language in little spurts. But would you let me finish the thought here so I can go grab a phone call. What amazed me was all of these liberals thinking it's a Christmas classic.
I'm not exactly sure why a movie can't be both a Christmas movie and aimed at adults. Don't adults get Christmas every year as well?

He also talked about charity.
But I've always been amazed at how one climbs the ranks of society by being involved in "charities." Many of these people don't donate a dime to the charity. They go out and raise money for a gigantic party, or series of balls or what have you -- where the women put on their finest clothes and jewelry and the men reluctantly, you know, stuff themselves into tuxedos; and they head to these fabulous places where the cost to put the whole thing on may be a million dollars and the net amount raised is a hundred grand. All of the newspaper society reporters are there. All of the photographers are there; all the phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock 'n' roller people who are impressed with people who have wealth.

They might be reprobates. They might be worthless. They might be mean. They might be dull, boring. But because they have a lot of money, they are fascinating and what they do is considered fascinating. So this creates a cycle where these sometimes dull, boring, dry, phony frauds that are not donating a dime but are going out there and asking everybody else to give them a dime, then get their pictures in the society pages and written up.
This is in relation to the Bernie Madoff scandal, and a story about how Conservatives give to personal charity. To me it's somewhat telling in how some Conservatives look at charity and at the poor and needy. They despise them and they kind of despise people who want to help them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shallow Pride

That's not Pride that happens to have the quality of being Shallow, but rather Pride in being Shallow. It is an odd phenomenon that you see among many on the right; the perverse joy they seem to take in admitting they can't get into art or thought or what not. I suppose it is intended to makd them seem more like normal folks.

Humorist Burt Prelutsky's latest article talks about how sad it is too allow poor people access to college. He spends some time complaining about diversity and noting that he had no interest in his classmates whatsoever.
The truth of the matter was that my interest in my fellow scholars, and I don't think my attitude was at all atypical, was limited to wanting to date the more attractive coeds and wanting to eviscerate those brainiacs most likely to raise the class curve.
What a deep fellow this Prelutsky is.

I don't know - anti-intellectualism has deep roots in American history, and I don't suppose it's going away. But it's always disappointing to me to see it.

You just might be a liberal.

Do you sacrifice babies while having bi-sexual orgies and worshiping nature? Well then, you just might be a liberal. Or so goes this charming article by Matt Barber.
In fact, today's liberalism is largely a sanitized retread of an antiquated mythology – one that significantly predates the only truly progressive movement: biblical Christianity.

. . . In his sermon, Pastor Mabray illustrated that, although they've now assumed a more contemporary flair, the fundamentals of Baal worship remain alive and well today. The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).

Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of "mother earth."
What a nice message - and so Christmasy.

But wait you say - is this Barber fellow really talking about modern liberals?
Modern liberalism deviates little from its ancient predecessor. While its macabre rituals have been sanitized with flowery and euphemistic terms of art, its core tenets and practices remain eerily similar.
I guess he is.

It's hard to know what to write about this article; I guess I'll settle with a pithy "Go to Hell Mr. Barber".

Friday, December 19, 2008

We are all one people

Hey holiday festivities and work are getting in the way of regular posting, but did want to point you this article at Common Dreams, about Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh and what it means to be American.
Powell also derided a campaign appeal beat into paste by Sarah Palin - that rural islands of small-town homogeny represent America values while more diverse urban centers do not.

"Most of us don't live in small towns," Powell told CNN's Fareed Zakharia last weekend. "I was raised in the South Bronx, and there's nothing wrong with my value system from the South Bronx."
Damn straight. I grew up in Southern California and there's nothing wrong with that either.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul Weyrich

Conservative writer and leader of the Heritage Foundation has died at 66. Kind of sad; although Weyrich's Heritage Foundation I find more of a Limbaugh Conservative organization than it's counterparts, the guy himself didn't bother me that much.

Here's our posts on him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Freedom of Religion

Or, Can a Non-Christian really be an American Citizen? Michael Medved's latest article would seem to imply that no, non-Christians really don't belong here. He notes that the founders intended Christianity to be the dominate religion (a dubious theory as we've discussed). Then he brings it back to Christmas.
For more than two centuries, government at every level followed this approach, making no "attempt to level all religions" and recognizing the privileged position of Christianity as the faith embraced by the vast majority of the nation's citizens. If municipalities or other public entities authorized Hanukkah displays to accompany the Christmas trees that became common everywhere, they did so because the Christian majority supported these gracious concessions to a tiny Jewish minority, not because the Constitution required them.
So basically Michael Medved is clearly arguing that other religions should be treated as legally and politically inferior to Christianity. I'm pretty sure I disagree with that.

Another minor point; Medved does pretend that the big threat to Christians celebrating Christmas comes from Festivus and the Flying Spaghetti monster; I suppose this protects him from the implications of his opinions to the millions of Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Bhuddhist, Atheist, and Agnostic Americans.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush'll be Gone Soon

But he left his mark, and it's not a good one. Consider this from Glenn Greenwald.
The policies which the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously concludes were authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and several other top Bush officials did not merely lead to "abuse" and humiliating treatment, but are directly -- and unquestionably -- responsible for numerous detainee murders.
Tortured to death. Depressing to say the least.

Tuesday Beats - M83 - "Saturdays = Youth"

Upfront I should admit I have had this album only 4 days, so this might be initial enthusiasm talking, but so far I really really like it. I have been aware of M83 as a band that does atmospheric, ambient tracks (like Lower Your Eyes To Die With The Sun which I encountered on Adam Freeland's contribution to the Back to Mine series (which I also recommend)). Now there's plenty of atmospheric noodling on "Saturdays = Youth" but he combines it with a real 80s vibe on this album, and the kind of 80s music I liked. I hear echoes of OMD, Dave Stewart and the Eurythmics, and so on. Anyway check out Graveyard Girl which I quite like.

More Politics coming.

Do You Believe in Shame?

Dennis Prager does; he's written a whole article about how much better white American heterosexual Christians are because they can express Shame. Even though they shouldn't have to. Sort of. He starts off mocking black pride and mourning the lack of opportunities for white Christians to really enjoy themselves. I'm not sure about that; it seems like to me we spend plenty of time celebrating white Christians.

Then he trots out an old chestnut.
For a generation, college students have been taught that it is impossible for blacks to be racist because only the racial group in power, i.e. whites, can express racism.

Of course, that is nonsense. A black can be a racist just as a white can be one. A minority race might not have the power to implement racist national policies but that hardly means that no minority group, or any individual, can be a racist.
Prager kind of gives himself away here. Of course a Black person can be surly to a White customer or co-worker. But Black racism against White people has little to no effect on white people other than a few awkward moments (and occasional and deplorable violence). White power over society constantly affects Black Americans.

Prager laments that black people are rarely required to express shame for their racial crimes; the flip side is that every black male is seen as a potential criminal (and let's not forget Arab Americans who have it even worse). When a white guy gets caught doing a horrendous crime, nobody worries that now society will judge white males more harshly.

At the end of the day, Prager pretends like he's writing to America's minorities, but his real focus is White Christian Males who read Townhall, and he's just telling them what they already believe; that they are the greatest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicago is a Magical Place

Just being from there taints you forever, and ensures that you will be held responsible, after a fashion, for everything that happens there. Consider this recent article from Michael Barone.
It is a reminder that, for all his inspirational talk of hope and change, Obama, like Blagojevich, are both products of Chicago Democratic politics, which is capable of producing leaders both sublime and sordid.
Look for eight years of this; Republicans constantly reminding us that no matter how good Obama looks, he's from Chicago and therefore suspect.

Good Advice for the Republican Party

Brian Birdnow, writing at Townhall, is taking on the tough question of where should the Republican Party do now. He's not the first, but he's not that far off. He argues that the Republican Party needs to oppose the Democratic plans, which makes sense.
They must organize and present a principled opposition to Obama’s neo-Social Democracy by offering clearly defined conservative, market based alternatives. It is critically important that the Party reinvigorate its relationship with the conservative think tanks so that it can again become a party of ideas and not simple politics.
Now I sort of agree with this plan and sort of disagree with this plan. I do think that Republicans need to be more about more than "We really hate Liberals." As long as the Republican Party and Conservative Movement is under the thrall of Limbaugh Conservatism, well, I don't know how they can play a positive role or a successful one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Look

Ok I wasn't very satisfied with the former look so going to this. Also I am starting to use Blogger Comments instead of Haloscan Comments for a couple of reasons. Finally I added a link to my Blogomatic 5200 which I have been meaning to do for a while. Check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Sparkle Season

I haven't bothered much with the "War on Christmas" this year, mostly because other people aren't bothering as much with it. You see Conservatives thrive on portraying themselves as persecuted (as do many liberals), and at a time when they run everything (like they did from 2002 to 2006), well, it's hard to find examples of persecution. So you are stuck pretending there's some kind liberal War on Christmas in order to show how rough Conservatives have it.

There are other elements explaining why that debate bubbled up, such as the Bush Administration's lack of enthusiasm for fulfilling the desires of traditionalist conservatives, and the sense that the War in Iraq was moving from being a winning to a losing issue. Suffice it to say those elements that made the War on Christmas such good policy in 2005-2006 are in 2008 no longer that big a deal. In 2008 they have lost the House, the Senate, and the White House; rather than complaining about trumped up Persecution, they have actual problems to confront.

But that doesn't mean there aren't some Conservatives out there fighting the good fight; in this case Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are taking on a group from Wisconsin who put up an Atheist Sign in Washington, in their latest article.
The saga all started in October when Washington State gave a permit to a Wisconsin-based atheist group to display its sign alongside a Christian Nativity scene in the state's Capitol in Olympia.
It turns out that Freedom From Religion is a national group, headquartered in Wisconsin. I guess the implication that this is an example of Wisconsin's picking on Washington is not factual.

Then there's this touching bit.
Stickney summarizes: "The constitutional right to exercise free speech anytime and anywhere applies to liberals and their politically correct causes and classifications only."

Outraged by this sign that mocks religions, this week more than 500 demonstrators rallied on the steps of the state Capitol to protest.
That's Larry Stickney, President of the Washington Values Alliance. So Stickney is upset that Christians don't have freedom of speech and then, in the very next line, the authors note that Christians exercised their freedom of speech to protest, seemingly, their inability to exercise their freedom of speech.

I suppose I must also point out the hypocrisy of complaining about your freedom of speech being trampled when your argument is basically that somebody else shouldn't be allowed to speak. Freedom of Speech for Christians only, eh? I'll also note that this offending sign was set up near a nativity scene, implying that equal space was given to the Christian Point of View. Probably more than equal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Chicago Way

Well It's going to be fun to watch Rush and other Limbaugh Conservatives say "Obama" and "The Chicago Way" as close together as they possibly can as often as they possibly can, without actually saying that Obama has done anything wrong (because, as it turns out, he hasn't).

Steve Chapman has an interesting take on this; Obama has an opportunity to rise above his homeland by allowing Patrick Fitzgerald to keep his position as US Attorney.
As president, he can exercise the customary prerogative of replacing all U.S. attorneys with his own appointees. During the campaign, he indicated he was willing to leave Fitzgerald in place. But he is bound to come under pressure from politicians back home to name someone less obsessive about official vice.

Until this week, that option might have been appealing, since the resulting controversy would have been of interest only in Chicagoland. But now it has become a matter for national attention. For Obama to cashier Fitzgerald would make him look complicit in corruption.

In truth, the Blagojevich affair gives Obama the perfect excuse to do the right thing, no matter what the cost to his political friends. Then, for a change, the sun will keep shining on Illinois.
What a switcharoo. Conservatoids used to lambaste Patrick Fitzgerald for pursuing the Plame Link with uncalled for vigor. Now that he is going after (stupid and corrupt) Democrats his position must be preserved.

Of course not all Conservatives see Obama keeping Fitzgerald on as an act of principal; Rush Limbaugh described it as an act of desperation.
However, what are the odds that the US attorney in Chicago will be replaced by Barack Obama when he is inaugurated? Can you just see the headline now? "Patrick Fitzgerald, he of the Scooter Libby conviction and the indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today was fired by incoming President Barack Obama and replaced by X." People will say, "Wait a minute, Fitzgerald is fired? Why, after he indicts Blagojevich, a Democrat?" I don't care how tone deaf they are in Obamaville -- and they're not tone deaf -- that's not going to happen. So he might fire 92 US attorneys, but he's not going to fire 93 US attorneys.
So you have the specter of Obama either getting rid of Fitzgerald and proving his corruption and connection to the "Chicago Way" or you have Obama keeping Fitzgerald out of fear and political expediency. You can't win for losing with guys like Chapman or Limbaugh dealing the cards.

I'll also parenthetically note that Rush Limbaugh misspoke during this particular rant, implying that Bush had kept all of Clinton's attorneys. Not actually true.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is Now the Time to Fix Health Care?

Most Washington Pundits and Politicians would say no. Coincidentally most Washington Pundits and Politicians receive money from the medical industry, either through campaign contributions or through advertising revenues. Probably no connection there.

The editors at the New Republic, on the other hand, say yes, in an article over there today.
. . . most proposals for universal coverage start with a federally financed expansion of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. That means more poor people would get health insurance right away. And, as economist Jonathan Gruber argued recently in The New York Times, expanding those programs provides a superb economic stimulus. When poor people get health insurance, they purchase medical goods and services. More important, they start spending money on other things, since they no longer have to put aside money to pay for medical emergencies. That funnels cash back into the economy, promoting growth. "Health care reform," Gruber concluded, "is good for our economy."
I can't disagree, and I don't want to. Let's fix this mess.

The Fairness Doctrine

Conservatives are up in arms about the Fairness Doctrine, despite scant evidence that Liberals are serious about bringing it back. This shows the disproportionate influence of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; their oxs would get gored if it came back and they are letting people know they don't like the idea. And Tony Blankley's latest article is in their service.
. . . there is no ambiguity about this issue. The Fairness Doctrine would require every show to be balanced in its political opinion, thus ending the viability of any business plans for a successful -- either liberal or conservative -- radio host. But because almost all successful talk radio shows are conservative, liberal Democrats are trying to kill it. They have been explicit. They say they want to take Rush Limbaugh's voice off the radio, as well as the voices of other leading conservatives.
A few points. First of all Democrats aren't really going to make the Fairness Doctrine a priority, no matter how much conservatives might want them too. For exactly the same reasons Conservatives are spoiling for this fight; Democrats know that it will make them look bad.

Secondly, there has to be ways to encouraged a diversity of views on our public airwaves without resorting to these ham-handed strategies suggested by Tony Blankley. But any attempt to promote differing view points or locally produced radio content will be a threat to Clear Channel and will be painted as an attack on Freedom of Speech.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Is Obama Legally Allowed to be President?

Yes. Yes he is. He was born in the United States and is a United States Citizen. A few conservatives, very few, are asserting that this is not true - they held a press conference yesterday at the National Press Club, in which they made several outlandish assertions, according to this report by Salon's Mike Madden.
Taitz -- the lead attorney in the case the Supreme Court declined to hear Monday morning -- kept making stranger and stranger assertions. At one point, she asked why the government had fined broadcasters for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," but didn't intervene to force the media to report on Obama's allegedly phony birth certificate. She claimed Obama holds passports from at least four countries, compared him to Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, equated the "controversy" about Obama to Watergate, and finished her tour-de-force presentation by saying that if Obama can claim he's a U.S. citizen and win an election, then so could just about anyone. "If a person can become a presidential candidate only based on his own statement," she said, "then somebody like Osama bin Laden, theoretically, can come and write a statement, 'I'm eligible,' and we should put him on the ballot, too?"
Now here's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever write; let's turn to David Horowitz for some perspective.
Conservatives are supposed to respect the organic nature of human societies. Ours has been driven by profound disagreements that have been deepening over many years. We are divided not only about political facts and social values, but also about what the Constitution itself means. The crusaders on this issue choose to ignore these problems and are proposing to deny the will of 64 million voters by appealing to 5 Supreme Court Justices (since no one is delusional enough to think that the 4 liberal justices are going to take the presidency away from Obama). What kind of conservatism is this?

It is not conservatism; it is sore loserism and quite radical in its intent.
I suppose it says something about these claims that even a guy like Horowitz finds them a distraction. And that something is that these claims are very very shaky indeed.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Farewell to the First Golden Age (of Conservatism)

Conservatives don't really know what to do in this new era. The are the minority party, when, not four years ago, they were crowing about a perpetual majority, and relegating their political enemies to the dustheap of history. Well I guess we are all in that dustheap now. Some Conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, see this as a time to renew the parties opposition to everything liberal. Others think this is a good time to renew the spirit of getting along and feeling like we are all in the same boat. We all want what's best for America. In this latter camp, slot Terry Paulson, at least based on his latest article.
If there is one thing that Americans ought to unite on, it is our commitment to work to improve and sustain our great country. We may disagree on what path to follow, but there should be no difference in our commitment to preserve and improve this blessed republic.
Sounds very nice. And I agree with the sentiment; we are all in this together, we can talk about things we really disagree on while still treating each other with respect.

Of course the more combative side of me notes that I doubt Paulson would be writing this were the situation reversed.

Oh and Ann Coulter has a new book, advertised just to the right of his article. It's called "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and their Assault on America." Good stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Highest Rated Electronica Songs, December 2008

'New Life (Remix)', Depeche Mode, June, 1981
'Love Action (I Believe in Love)', Human League, October, 1981
'Everything's Gone Green', New Order, December, 1981
'Situation (12" Mix)', Yazoo, August, 1982
'The Upstairs Room', The Cure, December, 1983
'The Flat Earth', Thomas Dolby, February, 1984
'Talking Loud and Clear', Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, April, 1984
'Close (To the Edit)', The Art of Noise, May, 1984
'Shake the Disease', Depeche Mode, April, 1985
'The Swing of Things', a-ha, October, 1986
'As the End Draws Near ', Manufacture, January, 1987
'Left to My Own Devices', Pet Shop Boys, October, 1988
'Big Car (3AM Vocal)', Severed Heads, April, 1990
'Stars ', Erasure, May, 1990
'Little Fluffy Clouds (Orbital Dance Mix)', The Orb, June, 1990
'Disappointed (Single Mix)', Electronic, October, 1992
'Liberation', Pet Shop Boys, September, 1993
'Cowgirl', Underworld, December, 1993
'Glory Box', Portishead, August, 1994
'1963 (1994 Mix)', New Order, November, 1994
'Setting Son', The Chemical Brothers with Noel Gallagher, October, 1996
'Possibly Maybe (Lucy Mix)', Bjork, October, 1996
'Building Steam With a Grain of Salt', DJ Shadow, November, 1996
'Breath', Prodigy, November, 1996
'Trip Like I Do', The Crystal Method, September, 1997
'Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook Edit)', Cornershop, September, 1997
'Squirt ', Fluke, September, 1997
'All I Need', Air, January, 1998
'History Repeating ', Propellerhads feat. Shirley Bassey, January, 1998
'Ray of Light', Madonna, May, 1998
'You Must Learn All Night Long (DJ Swamp Mix)', Fantastic Plastic Machine, September, 1998
'Praise You', Fatboy Slim, October, 1998
'Tequila (Mint Royale Shot)', Terrorvision, November, 1998
'Vikrum the Vampire ', Talvin Singh, November, 1998
'Don't Stop ', Freestylers, April, 1999
'Woman in Blue ', Pepe Deluxe , May, 1999
'Natural Blues (Mike D Remix)', Moby, March, 2000
'Come', Lemon Jelly, June, 2000
'Autoharp', Hooverphonic, September, 2000
'Everything In It's Right Place', Radiohead, October, 2000
'It's Automatic', Zoot Woman, January, 2001
'In the Waiting Line', Zero 7, April, 2001
'Illuminate', Orbital Feat. David Gray, July, 2001
'Losing my Edge', LCD Soundsystem, July, 2002
'Season Song ', Blue States, October, 2002
'Dream Machine ', Mark Farina feat. Sean Hayes, October, 2003
'Insomniac Olympics', Blockhead, March, 2004
'Put it Back Together ', Fatboy Slim feat. Damon Alburn, October, 2004
'Close Your Eyes ', The Chemical Brothers with The Magic Numbers, January, 2005
'Feel So Free', Ivy, March, 2005
'Feel Good Inc.', Gorrillaz, May, 2005
'There they Go', Krafty Kuts feat. Dynamite MC, October, 2006
'D.A.N.C.E.', Justice, June, 2007

This includes both Synthpop and Downtempo/Trip Hop tracks.

How to Get Ahead in Politics while doint the Right Thing

Thomas Frank, over at the Huffington Post, has argued that Democrats should look into doing something about American Health Care. Not just because it's good policy but good politics.
Still, conservatives have always dreaded the day that Democrats discover (or rediscover) that there is a happy political synergy between delivering liberal economic reforms and building the liberal movement. The classic statement of this fear is a famous memo that Bill Kristol wrote in 1993, when he had just started out as a political strategist and the Clinton administration was preparing to propose some version of national health care.

"The plan should not be amended; it should be erased," Mr. Kristol advised the GOP. And not merely because Mr. Clinton's scheme was (in Mr. Kristol's view) bad policy, but because "it will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests."
For a long time I had basically bought the theory that Health-Care should stay private rather than being in the hands of an inefficient government. Then I needed some health care, and some friends needed some health care, and it occurs to me that maybe the system we have isn't the world's greatest. So I'm pretty receptive to this idea; I just hope our representatives in Congress feel similarly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Two Points of View

As some of you know, Obama is no longer planning on passing a windfall profits tax on Oil Companies, which was a campaign promise. Well here are some responses to this choice, the first by David Sirota.
Between this move and the move to wait to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, it seems like the Obama team is buying into the right-wing frame that raising any taxes - even those on the richest citizens and wealthiest corporations - is bad for the economy. Of course, that frame is debunked by history. And while sure, it's OK to rack up deficits so as to spend our way out of the economic crisis, it's sorta silly to ignore the tax moves that could be implemented to limit those deficits where possible.

Oh, and one last thing - if oil prices are down and oil industry profits are truly down, what's the harm in passing a windfall profits tax?
And here's a contrasting view by Josh Marshall
I'm not sure I get the response to Obama's apparent decision to shelve the windfall profits tax on the big oil companies. As the name implies, windfall profits taxes are intended to tax windfall profits. But the cost of oil has now dropped to something like a third of what it was when this idea was floated. So I'm really not getting how this is breaking a promise or currying favor with the oil companies. This seems like a pretty straightforward case of adjusting policy to take account of demonstrable and undeniable changes in the economic picture.
I think the factor both gentleman leave out is the political capital which must be expended to keep this promise, which causes me to lean a bit more towards Marshall's point of view.

Bush Derangement Syndrome

Jason Lee Steorts has written an article that supposedly explains how McCain lost the election but really covers and is entitled Bush Derangement Syndrome. For those unfamiliar with this affliction, it is applied to people who opposed the President and his policies. Or rather that was the old definition of it. The new definition of it, put forward by Steorts, are those who looked at Bush's foreign policy screw-ups with insufficient charity.
That the influencers tended to see Bush as a jingoistic, fundamentalist idiot rather than a worthy adversary with whom they had profound disagreements inevitably influenced their presentation of his policies. They are supposed to specialize in nuance and subtlety; the assessment of a war fought against an appallingly cruel autocrat, on the basis of flawed but sincerely believed intelligence, would seem to cry out for such virtues. Their narrative instead combined the nuance of an infomercial with the subtlety of a morality play.
Oh my heart bleeds. Poor Bush. He was just doing his best; why couldn't we see him as an intellectually flawed but ultimately good guy?

I suppose it might have had something to do with him and his administration's tendency, particularly in 2004 and 2002, to portray everybody who disagreed with him as a traitor or a dupe. Bush got off light compared to what he and his followers tried to do to liberals. And now, that his moronic plans have failed, his followers still want to pretend that it's all due to the hated liberals.

For the record, that's also why we weren't too impressed with Sarah Palin. Yeah it'd be nice if she learned to speak a bit better, but our real problem with her was that she promised a continuation of the same Rovian politics that had poisoned our political discourse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Obama's Picks

There is a certain amount of discomfort with President Elect Obama's selections for major positions in his administration. Robert Scheer argues, in his latest article, that his economic team's track record is less than promising, given their involvement in Citigroup's meltdown.
As opposed to the far tougher deal negotiated on the bailout of AIG, the arrangement with Citigroup leaves the executives, including Rubin, who brought Citigroup to the brink of ruin, still in charge. Nor is there any guarantee of the value of the mortgage bundles that taxpayers will be guaranteeing. That is because, as candidate Obama clearly stated in his major economics address back in March, the deregulation pushed though during the Clinton years ended transparency in banking.

Why then has he appointed the very people responsible for this disaster to now make it all better?
It's a good question. Is Obama going to be a status quo guy, who talks a good game but sells out the base at every opportunity? Probably. It worked for Clinton after all, and it'll presumably work for him.

Joe Conason, big Clinton defender, has a more hopeful assessment in his latest article, however. He argues that as long as Obama is in charge, these centrists will have to toe his line.
Indeed, Mr. Obama has steadfastly refused to scale back his platform of spending initiatives, from infrastructure to health care, despite all the tut-tutting commentary. Instead, even as he rolled out his team, he pledged a very substantial spending increase during the first two years of his term as the only means to prevent the recession from plunging into something far worse.

And his appointees will implement the Obama program, not only because that is what he tells them to do but because that is what they have come to believe is best for the country.
I'd like to believe in Mr. Conason, and until Obama is actually in the Oval Office, I suppose there's no reason not to.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Highest Rated Rock Songs, December 2008

'Strychnine', The Sonics, January, 1965
'Subterranean Homesick Blues', Bob Dylan, March, 1965
'Rain', The Beatles, June, 1966
'Garden of My Mind ', The Mickey Finn , January, 1967
'Somebody to Love ', Jefferson Airplane, April, 1967
'Manic Depression', Jimi Hendrix , May, 1967
'My Eyes Have Seen You ', The Doors, September, 1967
'Mr. Soul', Buffalo Springfield, November, 1967
'Piece of My Heart ', Big Brother and the Holding Company, March, 1968
'Gimme Shelter', Rolling Stones, December, 1969
'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)', The Buzzcocks, September, 1978
'Transmission', Joy Division, November, 1979
'Guns of Brixton', The Clash, December, 1979
'Real Child of Hell', X, July, 1982
'Pretty Persuasion', R.E.M., April, 1984
'Gratitude ', Oingo Boingo, November, 1984
'Kundalini Express', Love and Rockets, September, 1986
'Shoplifters of the World Unite', The Smiths, January, 1987
'Exit (Live)', U2, July, 1987
'All that Money Wants ', Psychedelic Furs , January, 1988
'Monkey Gone to Heaven', The Pixies, April, 1989
'God Knows It's True', Teenage Fanclub, November, 1990
'Until the End of the World', U2, November, 1991
'Low', Cracker, August, 1993
'Heart Shaped Box ', Nirvana, September, 1993
'Fall Down', Toad the Wet Sprocket, May, 1994
'Scenery', Neil Young, June, 1995
'Bullet with Butterfly Wings', Smashing Pumpkins, October, 1995
'Wonderwall', Oasis, October, 1995
'When She Was Happy', Pluto, January, 1996
'Mouth', Bush, November, 1996
'Song 2', Blur, February, 1997
'Everlong', Foo Fighters, May, 1997
'It Hurts When I Laugh', Love Spit Love, August, 1997
'Step Into My World', Hurricane #1, September, 1997
'This Time', The Verve , September, 1997
'In Hiding ', Pearl Jam, February, 1998
'One of These Days', Spacehog, March, 1998
'Runaground', James, June, 1998
'Legal Man', Belle and Sebastian, May, 2000
'Bohemian Like You', The Dandy Warhols, August, 2000
'The Whore's Hustle and the Hustler's Whore', PJ Havey, October, 2000
'The Twelve Steps', Spiritualized, September, 2001
'Light and Day/Reach for the Sun', The Polyphonic Spree, February, 2003
'Myxomatosis. (Judge, Jury & Executioner.)', Radiohead, June, 2003
'When You Were Young ', The Killers, September, 2006
'Melody Day', Caribou, August, 2007
'The Night Starts Here', The Stars, September, 2007
'Supernatural Superserious', R.E.M., February, 2008
'Love is Noise', The Verve , August, 2008

This is for right now; some of these songs could drop out or be replaced. Just an attempt to put together a really good and comprehensive rock list. Also this excludes Folk Rock, which I will post tomorrow or the next day.

Obviously I'm not a big fan of the 1970s.

Interesting Star Trek Story

Was just reading a review of Star Trek Season 3 over at Popmatters - and there's an interesting story about the first on air interracial kiss.
Just putting blacks and whites on the bridge together was innovative, but Star Trek went a step further during its third season. The show staged the first interracial kiss ever aired on television. The backstory is typically complicated. Captain Kirk, Spock, Lieutenant Uhuru and Nurse Chapel are captives of a vindictive society with the power to control minds. Their captors are putting on a show – Spock sings and plays the harp, Kirk and Spock fight and, finally, the two men are forced to kiss the women.

In an interview on disc seven, Nichols says that she saw the kiss in early drafts of the script and kept expecting it to come out. By the day of filming, the kiss was still in the script. The cast filmed the scene, and immediate chaos ensued. The director shut filming down, called in executives and the whole group of “suits” as Nichols called them, debated whether to allow the kiss. Finally, Gene Roddenberry broke the impasse, suggesting that two versions be filmed, one with a kiss, one without. They’d decide later. It was Friday afternoon. Nichols recalls the William Shatner dragged out the “kiss” filming, insisting on take after take until, finally, there was only time for one take of the non-kiss version. At the crucial moment, Shatner crossed his eyes. No one noticed until later…too late to reshoot the scene. The kiss stayed in.
I just wouldn't have thought Shatner capable of that on a couple of levels; I'm impressed.

Limbaugh Conservatives or McCarthy Conservatives

Neal Gabler has written an interesting article over at the LA Times about the Origin of modern Conservatism, in which he argues that it's real patron saint is Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, not Ronald Reagan.
But there is another rendition of the story of modern conservatism, one that doesn't begin with Goldwater and doesn't celebrate his libertarian orientation. It is a less heroic story, and one that may go a much longer way toward really explaining the Republican Party's past electoral fortunes and its future. In this tale, the real father of modern Republicanism is Sen. Joe McCarthy, and the line doesn't run from Goldwater to Reagan to George W. Bush; it runs from McCarthy to Nixon to Bush and possibly now to Sarah Palin. It centralizes what one might call the McCarthy gene, something deep in the DNA of the Republican Party that determines how Republicans run for office, and because it is genetic, it isn't likely to be expunged any time soon.
It's a pretty convincing argument, actually.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

History Moans

Michael Medved has written a history book, and his latest article is a plug for it. It does happen to be timely as it is apparently about the 10 great lies of American History. Lie Number One deals with our treatment of the Indians; I think he lets us off the hook a little to easily, but his argument at least is within the realm of history.

Lie number two is that our country was built on the backs of slaves.
While slavery represented an undeniable horror in our nation's early history, the slave population never exceeded 20% of the national total (amounting to 12% at the time of the Civil War). This means that at least 80% of the work force remained free laborers.

The claim that our forefathers built America "on the backs of slaves" rests on the idiotic idea that involuntary servitude proved vastly more productive than free labor. In fact, the states dominated by the slave economy counted as the poorest, least developed in the union — providing the North with crushing economic superiority that brought victory in the War Between the States.

Of more than 20 million Africans taken from their homes in chains, at most 3% ever made their way to the territory of the United States (or the British colonies preceding our nation). Americans played no part in establishing the once-universal institution of slavery but played a leading, outsize role in bringing about its abolition.
1. 80% of the work force remaining free laborers only works if you assume the entire American Population to be laborers. I'm sure managing a plantation was a lot of work; but not sure you can equate the two.

2. The claim that America was built on the backs of slaves does not rest on the theory that slaves are more efficient than free workers.

3. The southern states were underdeveloped technologically, but the northern states mills and factories were fed by raw materials extracted, in large part, by slaves picking cotton. The American Economy grew, as a whole, because of cheap materials, and slavery played a big part in keeping those materials cheap, before technological innovation made them less profitable.

4. The American South fought to preserve slavery while the North fought to preserve the Union. The only reason the Union played an outsize role in ending slavery is that we had played an outsize roll in preserving and expanding slavery; we had the most slaves. Once we got rid of slavery (during a bloody war in which Virginians, Georgians, Alabamans, Mississpians and others fought for the right to own human beings), well, our share of slavery had grown so large, and other civilized nations had abandoned the practice, that it was a significant drop in world slavery.

Anyway, just one of those things that gets under my skin. Michael Medved is a Conservative Pundit so his history is meant to prove his ideological points, not to actually determine what actually happened.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Steve Chapman's latest article considers the current Republican plan of attacking Obama as a socialist at every opportunity.
In the radioactive atmosphere of modern partisan politics, no one puts much value on verbal precision. So it's safe to say that over the next four years, the 44th president will come to think his name is Socialist Obama, as critics on the right abandon analysis in favor of invective.

That is a mistake -- as McCain's losing campaign confirms. Accusing Obama of socialism is unwise for three reasons: 1) It's not true, and 2) it makes the accuser sound like an idiot, and 3) it distracts from Obama's true inclinations, which are worrisome enough.
I tend to agree; but I'm not sure it actually makes them sound like idiots. Bill Clinton was a mainstream center left politician who conservatives painted as the second coming of Che Guevara. Conservatives didn't pay much of a price for those distortions, and I doubt they will here either.

The worrying true inclinations, incidentally, are Obamas theory that Government can be used to fix some problems.

Friday, November 21, 2008


David Brooks is upset that our next president is going to be staffed by smart guys.
Even more than past administrations, this will be a valedictocracy — rule by those who graduate first in their high school classes. If a foreign enemy attacks the United States during the Harvard-Yale game any time over the next four years, we’re screwed.

Already the culture of the Obama administration is coming into focus. Its members are twice as smart as the poor reporters who have to cover them, three times if you include the columnists.
Well we just got through 8 years of Dumb-guy you want to have a beer with rule; maybe this will be slightly more stable and less of a hassle than that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Team of Rivals

Good article over at the New York Times on the possibility of Barack Obama bringing Hillary Clinton into his cabinet. There are a lot of comparisons to Lincoln's cabinet, but perhaps Lincoln's cabinet wasn't as great as it we are told it is.

I would say bringing your competitors into your cabinet is probably a good way of neutralizing them, and I would guess that is what Obama is trying to do here. Not that Clinton wouldn't make a good Secretary of State, but I think Obama also wants her on his side.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Time for Healing

Both Michael Medved and Rush Limbaugh have taken on the thorny issue of what Republicans should do in the wake of their recent electoral loss. And they both agree that attacking Obama excessively is a mistake. Limbaugh is the more pragmatic of the two, pointing out that attacking Obama just didn't work.
He's got everybody in the country enough behind him for all of the mythological reasons, for all of the public image reasons, the historical reasons and right now people don't want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama. They just don't want to hear it and if they do they're not going to believe it and they're going to resent anybody who runs around talking about Obama. He's going to have to do something first that illustrates that the criticism that we have mounted up 'til now is accurate. You know, we talk about Reagan-ism. We talk about social-ism, collective-ism, commun-ism. Obama-ism is the way to go after this.

. . . I think for however long is necessary 'til the bloom goes off the Obama rose -- 'cause it at some point is going to and this whole image thing will give way at some point to political reality, and until that happens -- personal criticism, or not even personal, but attacking Obama's ideas by attacking him is not going to fly.
I've bolded the key words; Limbaugh encourages laying off the personal attacks until such time as people are a little less enamored of Obama, then back to the personal attacks.

Medved largely agrees with Limbaugh, but, in his latest article, shows a bit more philosophical insight.
The angry negativity also helps the GOP avoid the painful soul-searching and re-tooling of the conservative message that faces any viable party after a bitter, sweeping defeat—and that's another reason to postpone the Obama attacks. Focusing on what's wrong with the Democrats allows us to avoid facing what's wrong with us, and figuring out why the public rejected our message in both 2006 and 2008. Trashing our opponents helps us to dodge the blame for public disillusionment with the Republican Party itself– blame that extends well beyond McCain (or Palin) and should rightly include some of the same commentators most eager to return to the partisan fray.
I wonder what commentators Medved is talking about who are eager to return to the partisan fray?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Insanely Hypocritical Article by David Limbaugh

Not that it isn't always amusing to watch a champion of George W. Bush talk about defending the constitution, but his latest article takes the cake.
Traditionalists see themselves as guardians of our unique Constitution, which secures liberty as a byproduct of pitting levels and branches of government against one another.

They believe that unless we rededicate ourselves, intellectually and emotionally, to our founding ideal of individual liberty -- as opposed to succumbing to the insidious, intoxicating, cowardly promise of government-provided security at all levels of our existence -- we can kiss liberty -- and the United States of America as we have known it -- goodbye.
First of all, does Mr. Limbaugh remember the theory of the Unitary Executive? The idea put forth by Dick Cheney and others that stated that President can do what he likes without regard to the other branches of government? That doesn't sound like pitting branches of Government against one another, does it?

When Republicans ruled the roost they didn't see any reason for checks and balances; but now that they are faced with President Obama, well, they are back to being constitutionalists.

And then his criticism of Liberals for wanting to trade Liberty for Security? Does he remember the suspension of Habeas corpus? The monitoring of phone calls and library books? But again I suppose the devil is in the details; Limbaugh has no problem with trading other people's liberty for his security. What he objects to is trading his liberty to spend his money as he will for security of people who don't deserve help.

Why did McCain Lose?

I've missed out on the opportunity to comment on a lot of Conservative Post-Mortems of the election but there are still a few being written, including Carol Platt Liebau's latest article. In it she gives four reasons, the Media, Campaign Finance Reform, Latinos and McCain. Yep, John McCain must share a portion of the blame for his campaigns failure.
For almost his entire Senate career, John McCain prided himself on his status as a “maverick.” In doing so, however, he alienated a good number of regular Republicans who would have contributed more and worked harder to elect a candidate about whom they were more enthused.
Obviously the key element in any conservative post-mortem is to remind readers that Conservatism didn't lose. Conservatism is the best policy and the American people really love Conservatism. So once you absolve Conservatism, well, you have to find something else to blame the movements failures on, and the culprit is usually the media or insufficient conservatism.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Base vs. the Extremists

Distinguishing between the two is going to be a tough choice for Republicans over the next few years. Are the Base all Ann Coulter reading, Rush Limbaugh listening to ideologues who are hell bent on crushing Liberals and Moderates? Or are those who want to see the politics of perpetual belligerence continued and expanded a minority that can be safely ignored?

The key figure in this debate is Sarah Palin. Regardless of how unqualified and incurious she looked to the rest of us, Limbaugh Conservatives clearly love her. The question is are the Limbaugh Conservatives enough to win elections with? I don't know.

I'm not sure American's Republican Governors are sure either; check out this endorsement recorded in Byron York's recent article on the meeting.
“I think Gov. Palin is an extremely talented person, and she’s going to be one of the key voices of the party, for Republicans, for a long time to come,” Pawlenty (Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota) answered. “All I can say is that John McCain made very clear that one of his key criteria for selecting a VP running mate was that that person was ready to be president on day one. So in his judgment, she met that criteria, and he felt strongly about that, and so we’ll have to defer to his judgment and that process.”

It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, and none of the others at the table — Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former eBay CEO and top McCain aide Meg Whitman, and former OMB chief Rob Portman — said specifically that they would have been comfortable with Palin as president.

But everyone here knows how she energized a Republican base that had otherwise been lukewarm to John McCain.
I don't know, but I'm starting to suspect that Sarah Palin is going to stay on stage as long as she can; and if that parlays into a run in 2012, well, I'm sure she'd be happy with that.

Whether or not a Palin candidacy would be good for the Republican Party or no, well, I tend to lean towards no.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Something I'm Already Tired Of

This will peak around inauguration day, but it's going on right now; the tendency for conservatives to paint liberal enthusiasm for Barack Obama as some sort of mental disorder. You see it in Mark Hemingway's latest article, in which he considers that Ambrose Bierce wouldn't approve of Liberal enthusiastic vocabulary.
First there was Obamamania. And the media declared it good. Now that the senator from Illinois is our president-elect, we have to ask the question: What comes after Obamamania? And we don’t mean what does he stand for. That would require responsible, objective journalism.

No, the real question is: What other neologisms await the American public in the upcoming Obama administration?
I think it's hilarious that Conservatives don't know enough about pretty much every liberal candidate that comes around. What they mean, of course, is that the Media isn't spending enough time investigating our slanders of Obama's character.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worth Considering

I kind of get where Glenn Greenwald is coming from here, but I'm not completely sold. What do you think?
Instead, his belief is that Bush officials should be protected from DOJ proceedings even if they committed crimes. And his reason for that is as petty and vapid as it is corrupt: namely, it is more important to have post-partisan harmony in our political class than it is to hold Presidents and other high officials accountable when they break the law.

How is this anything other than a full-scale exemption issued to political leaders to break our laws? There's nothing unique about circumstances now. New Presidents are always going to have Very Important Things to do. And investigations and prosecutions of past administration officials are always going to be politically divisive. By definition, investigations of past criminality are going to be "distractions" from the Important Work that political leaders must attend to. They're always going to be what Litt perversely refers to as "old battles." To argue that new administrations should refrain from investigating crimes that were committed by past administrations due to the need to avoid partisan division is to announce that the rule of law does not apply to our highest political leaders. It's just as simple as that.
Two points - Obama is not going to do what Mr. Greenwald wants here. He's said as much and his disappointing vote on Telecom Amnesty kind of gives a hint as to where his head is. So I'm not sure there is much to be gained by focusing on getting something we aren't going to get.

Secondly, I agree that this is probably something that should happen, but it has certainly not been our policy to do so in the past. Investigating and prosecuting the previous administration would be a break from our traditions. Perhaps a warranted break given the depth of the Bush Administrations corruption, but still a break.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worth Watching

From Salon's War Room.

Politics and Immigration

Michelle Malkin has a source which states that the Bush Administration refrained from deporting Barack Obama's aunt during the few days before the election.
In other words, the Bush Department of Homeland Security determined that protecting Obama from the negative publicity surrounding a potential arrest of his illegal-alien aunt was more important to the general welfare of the country than tracking down untold numbers of deportation absconders who received an extra three-day pass last week.
Yeah, except that wouldn't they also be protecting themselves? I mean yeah the right wing would see Obama as the villain in this situation, but I'm not sure how mainstream America would see Obama's aunt getting flushed out by the media and rounded up by the Bush Administration. So it's just possible they were doing this to protect themselves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Different Point of View

Has Conservatism been repudiated by the recent election? I would answer no of course not. Conservatism is the Yin to Liberalism's yang and thus will never really go away. Now I wouldn't mind seeing some facets of current conservatism - specifically the Rush Limbaugh school of "you are either a conservative or you hate America" could go without costing us very much.

I suspect, however, that Deroy Murdock would very much like to preserve and expand Limbaugh Conservatism. Heck, reading his latest article, he'd like to get rid of most of his current crop of Republicans for being insufficiently conservative.
The GOP has been laid low, thanks to politicians who swapped their principles for power and lost both. As the chief electoral vehicle for conservative and free-market ideas, the Republican party cannot regain America’s confidence —nor should it — until the guilty have been cast into the nearest volcano.

Comrade George W. Bush has spearheaded the most aggressive federal expansion since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As a delivery system for socialism, he has been the most effective Trojan Horse since that pine steed rolled into Troy.
Hmmmm. I'm not sure now is the ideal time for a witch hunt in the Republican Party. Although I suppose it is a good time from my point of view - the more divided the Republican Party can be the better.

I'm Back

For various reasons been low posting lately - mostly work related but not entirely. I intend to get back on the horse over the next couple of days and return to my normal posting schedule.

I do want to point to two items over at Salon. The first is from the invaluable Glenn Greenwald, in which he points out that Obama should definitely walk back some of the powers that George W. Bush has seized for the executive branch. And that he should respect the authority of the Congress, even if Congress does stuff he's not keen on.
. . . we have strayed indescribably far from the system of Government we were supposed to have. That we trust a particular President and believe he'll do good things, achieve good outcomes, with excessive power is no reason to be happy with that state of affairs. As is often the case, Democratic Congressional leaders seem far more content to submit to power than to exercise it. But we shouldn't treat the framework created by the Constitution as optional or waivable when it seems there are good things to be gained by doing so.
He's not wrong.

Also check out this bit of joy from Joe Conason over the death of Conservative/Republican triumphalism. Although triumphalism is likely to make a, well, triumphant return down the road.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Over at Townhall, they are pretty bummed out as you might expect. They also have the practice of posting articles that came in yesterday after the initial posting as articles for today. So there are a few articles exhorting conservatives to get out and vote against the scary scary Obama. Dennis Prager's article is pretty hyperbolic.
If Barack Obama wins and he is given a Democratic-controlled Congress, the United States will indeed be transformed.
And, as you might expect, not for the better. For example, Obama will apparently select judges who mostly agree with him.
Judges will be chosen based on their commitment to empathize with the downtrodden (Obamas own stated criterion for choosing judges), not based on their commitment to judging according to neutral rules that are blind to the individuals status in life.
Of course had McCain won, Prager would have been urging him to pick judges based on his revealed criteria - pro-corporate and pro life and anti privacy judges. And of course Obama will be bad for western civilization.
Judeo-Christian values, the founding values of America, will continue to recede in influence as America becomes more and more a secular-left country like those of Western European.
Speaking of western Europe, check out this paragraph over at Le Monde - we are all Americans again.

The truth is I don't think Prager believes his own rhetoric. I think he, and most mainline conservatives, know that Obama will be a liberal centrist, not this monstrous parody they've created. But once you've created a monster or demonized someone so throughly, well, it's hard today to go back and say "Well we were just saying that because of the election."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Few Predictions on Election Day

I think Obama will win it, but that's not my prediction. My predictions are about what happens if Obama wins.

First of all, much of the right wing will turn on John McCain and quick. The Hannity's and Limbaughs of the right wing have hated him for years, and you know it is sticking in their throats that he is their candidate. The way he has run his life (but not his campaign) is the antithesis of the way they want to deal with Democrats, as illustrated by a quote from Rush back when McCain wasn't the nominee.
Mr. McCain, Ronaldus Magnus did reach out to Democrats -- to defeat them!

. . . We view those people as threats to the American way of life, as we've always known it. We view liberals as a threat to the founding of this country. We view them as a threat to the future. We view them as a threat to the traditions and institutions that have defined this country's greatness. We view them as people who need to be defeated, not worked with.
So if McCain is defeated, Limbaugh will be shedding some tears for his country, but not for McCain.

Second, the election will prove, to Limbaugh Conservatives, that they should be more conservative and more aggressive. McCain's loss won't because of the unpopularity of the positions he's had to take, or the dwindling popularity of the Bush administration. It will instead be because he didn't define himself as a conservative strongly enough.

I don't really know what the Limbaugh Conservatives are going to do over Obama in the short term. In the long term he, like every other elected liberal, will be another Clinton, to be vilified and attacked constantly. But for the next week or so they might see some wisdom in letting the rhetoric cool a little, as the gap between how they are describing Obama and how he actually looks (and is) is pretty wide right now. That said, maybe they will jam down the gas pedal and attack him even more. Hard to know.

I have to say I'm looking forward to it though.

Monday, November 03, 2008

New Temporary Look

I am having some problems with the blog - but will have it looking better soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally We have a Chance to Defeat FDR


Rush went on quite a spiel yesterday on FDR and Obama, basically decrying Obama as the modern updated version of FDR.

That doesn't sound too bad to me, but maybe I'm not listening right.
Even back in 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was doing his best to water down the basics of the founding of this country. It's just striking stuff. The battle's never going to be over, the war is never going to be over because battles are going to be fought continually over and over again, because this is who these people are. You might say, "Rush, they're saying such wonderful things for people. They want economic security, and they want freedom, and they want independence, and they want people to not be hungry and so forth." We all want that. We all want the same things. It's just this is not the way to provide it.
Sweet lord they are desperate. Dragging FDR into it?

Rush weakly explained that he brought up FDR because he wanted to point out how there was nothing new about Obama. Fair enough, I guess, but still pretty bizarre.

He also makes this historical argument.
There's nothing new about liberalism. If you, as a voter, have rejected liberalism once in your life, you have a duty to reject it at every opportunity you have. It is a demonstrable failure. It is an attack on individual liberty. It is a system that creates as much misery as possible under the guise of creating compassion and hope. Now, if you found it within yourself to vote against liberalism in 1980 and 1984, I don't know how you can vote against liberalism and ever go back to it.
So if Republicans put up a cute little puppy or a neanderthal or Sarah Palin, Rush says you are required to vote for it, him, or her. I'll admit I voted for George H. W. Bush in 1988, so I guess I'm required to vote for McCain this election.

But, when I'm in the voting booth and nobody's looking, I'm going to vote for Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desperation Pt. 23

The title of Matt Barber's article over at Townhall is entitled "Obama's Agenda is so "Gay."" Yeah that's pretty desperate.
If Bill Clinton was the first black president, Barack Obama, if elected, will be the first "gay" president. No, I don't mean he'll personally decorate the West Wing, open a bathhouse in the Rose Garden or take up with Barney Frank. I mean he'll be the most radically pro-homosexual, anti-family president in history. He's very quietly pledged as much to the homosexual "Human Rights Campaign" and other fawning members of his homofascist fan club.
Homofascist? There's no better way to explain Barber's mindset than that word. Just sums it all up. In Barbers mind, such as it is, Homosexuals are dangerously powerful and out to get good honest Christians like himself. Pretty insane.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Advice

William Kristol's latest article advises John McCain to return to the theme of national security, because that's a winning issue for him.

I'm not sure about that, but let's see Kristol's reasoning.
The McCain campaign intends, I gather, to return to the commander in chief theme with an event in Florida Wednesday showcasing former secretaries of state and retired senior military officers. But why not showcase young Iraq vets instead? These young soldiers and marines can testify eloquently to the success of the surge that John McCain championed, and to the disaster and dishonor that would have followed Barack Obama’s preferred path of withdrawal.

. . . McCain could point out that hope is nice and prayer is good. But, he could ask: With respect to our national security, do we really want to elect a president on a hope and a prayer?
He then recommends that McCain drop his negative advertising; because nothing screams positive message like suggesting your opponent will get us all killed.

I don't know if this will work for McCain. For one thing, the war is one area where he agrees with Bush the bulk of the time (with the exception of Torture - Bush is objectively pro-torture, McCain has some reservations). And we've seen what 8 years of Bush policies have got us.

Every Man a King

Laura Hollis has written an article over at Townhall that describes Obama as our future king. She relays the story from the old testement in which the Israelites demanded a King from the Prophet Samuel and says that our possible voting for Obama mirrors that story.
These are problems that no amount of social spending will cure, and any promise to do so is a lie, because no amount of money will change people’s hearts. And yet, instead of reaching deep within ourselves to find the solutions, we now whine and mewl for someone to save us.

And here he comes, Barack Obama, on a “righteous wind.”

As with anyone who would be king, Obama will take our money and our property in ever-larger amounts. Our children will be saddled with debt and beholden to a bloated government that will enslave the very people it promised to help. We will be at the mercy of our enemies.
Gosh - a person would have to be a super bad American and Christian to vote for a King, right? I mean this is a Democracy - I don't want to be ruled by a king.

But wait, Obama won't actually be a king - he'll be a President. And after eight years of signing statements and the unitary executive, it's a bit odd to suddenly discover that Republicans are concerned about excessive executive power.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sorry for the Low Posting

I am on the road, preparing for a very important meeting in about 2 hours - so haven't been posting as much.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Wish I had Thought of this First

From Glenn Greenwald's latest post.
But beyond that narrow point, why isn't this race-based analysis being applied to others who are endorsing outside of their party? I don't recall Joe Lieberman endorsing any hard-core conservative national politicians before this year, when he has spent much of his time cheering for and appearing with the McCain/Palin ticket. Using the Limbaugh/Buchanan/Halperin logic, isn't it fair to assume that at least a significant part of Lieberman's motive in endorsing McCain -- if not his entire motive -- is that he and McCain are both white, whereas Obama isn't? What's the difference between making that race-based assumption about Lieberman's endorsement and making it about Powell?
Yeah, pretty much.

I could have fun with that idea though.
Dennis Prager's latest article is on Proposition 8 out there in California. About halfway through it, he makes this interesting comment.
While there are a few sick individuals who hate gay people, I have neither seen nor heard any hatred of gays expressed by proponents of Proposition 8. Not in my private life, not in my e-mail, not from callers on my radio show.
Of course this automatically lead me to scroll down and read his comments section.
You homosexual militants stop at nothing with your agendas. The nonsense has went to far. All of your invalid arguements will be challenged, and your intimidation tactics brought out into the open.
Well that's not too bad, although calling them militants probably isn't intended as a compliment.
Once this perverted reasoning is legally accepted from a group that wants to claim healthy and normal behavior for an abnormal sexual behavior, what other group can be legally denied their claim of normality for a behavioral disorder?

For instance, suppose a group involved in bestiality wants to claim “marriage rights” for their animal partners, how can they be legally denied if they claim that they are engaging in normal behavior?
Ah - comparing homosexuality to beastiality. Always popular, and, I have to say, at least a little hateful.
History records one of the first signs of the deterioration of a society is when the homosexuals and sexual deviates emerge front and center.

. . . Say goodbye to America as it morphs into a Sodom and Gomorrah. We had a republic once but the homosexual termites and clueless liberals have assiduously succeeded in undermining its very foundations.
Comparing gays to termites, well, also seems hateful.
Homosexuality is a deviant.pathetic desease that should be wiped off the face of the earth. They are infesting our schools,sexually abusing our children,fornicating like sick animals in our public areas and are actively trying to destroy the very fabric of civilization.
Hmmmm. That sounds very hateful indeed. But fortunately one enterprising commentator explains how none of this is hate.
Trying to define anti-homosexual behaviour as "hate" or "homophobic" is absurd. You confuse hate with utter contempt and disgust while homophobic is even nuttier as it would mean fear of man...phaggots are not men and why would anyone be "afraid" of them ?
Well, that makes sen . . . what? Utter contempt and disgust isn't hatred? What is hatred then?

Rush Limbaugh doesn't get "Race"

Fortunately, his lack of understanding mirrors those of his listeners, so it won't hurt him much.

Over the weekend he made some comments on the Powell nomination which have exposed his lack of understanding about race, and brought him a certain amount of fire.
Remember, the whole quote here, folks, the whole quote is, "I'm now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with." Now, just so you know, I haven't come up with any. I worked diligently on this on the airplane on the trip home from Green Bay yesterday. After I got home last night, I worked diligently. I can't find any of these inexperienced white liberals that Powell has endorsed. So they're all focusing you know it's race. This has hit a nerve. So what if it's race? Why is it so hard to admit that it's race? Ninety-five percent of black people are going to for Obama because he's black. What's so problematic about admitting this? I thought it should be about race. I thought you liberals thought this is a historic candidacy because finally we're going to elect a black guy to be president. Why hide behind this? Why act like it's not about race? What, you want to tell us it's about his policies?
See in Rush's mind there is no reason to vote for Obama other than his race, because Rush doesn't agree with his policies. This mirrors some comments he made about Powell and Condoleezza Rice back when they were being attacked. He couldn't understand how Liberals would attack black people, when we purport to love black people. He couldn't quite grasp how we might disagree with a black person, because we see him as a person who happens to be black.

There's something here that I can't quite get to - some intersection of Rush's reflexive views on race and his opinion that anybody honest and intelligent would be a conservative. Rush knows that if Powell were honest he would be supporting John McCain and Conservative (we'll take it as read that Rush thinks Powell is intelligent). So since he's not supporting McCain, there must be some corruption that is forcing him to support Obama. And given how Rush looks at Blacks, well, the corruption presents itself pretty much automatically.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back to Palin

Peggy Noonan, speech writer for Ronald Reagan, has written an article about the end of this campaign season, in which she takes particular aim at Sarah Palin.
. . . we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for?

. . . No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You can’t be president or vice president and govern in that style, as a sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush’s style the past few years, and see where it got us. You must address America in its entirety, not as a sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation trying to hold together. When you don’t, when you play only to your little piece, you contribute to its fracturing.
We talked about this in 2004. The question is how meaningful are the undecided voters? How undecided are they, really? What is more valuable, reaching out to the base and keeping it fired up and energetic or reaching out to the moderates, to the undecided. Because as Random Goblin pointed out, in a response to a post last week, those are two different things. He was speaking about Progressive Bloggers, but I think his comments refer to the politicized base on both sides of the political debate.
This is not to say that "progressive bloggers" should not keep pushing for whatever it is that they want, but that they should not be surprised when, inasmuch as they are not a majority in any sense, they do not actually get what they want.
The problem for McCain is who else does he have? Does he have a real chance of getting the middle at this point? Or is he better off concentrating on the politicized base, getting them worked up, and hoping their enthusiasm is enough to carry him to the end?

It's a political calculation, and he seems to have made his choice. I don't think it is going to work out for him.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I-Pod 10

37. The Beautiful South - "Let Love Speak Up Itself"
38. David J - "Serial Killer Blues"
39. Everlast - "Next Man"
40. Goo Goo Dolls - "Broadway"
41. M.I.A. - "Jimmy"
42. Big Brother and the Holding Company - "Road Block (Studio Outake)"
43. Quicksilver Messenger Service - "Codine"
44. Ming + FS - "Freak (DJ Abstract Break Mix)"
45. Gregory Isaacs - "Public Eyes"
46. Beastie Boys - "Dramastically Different"

Weird Mix this time around, but cool. "Codine" and "Next Man" sit comfortably next to each other at any rate.

Presented without Comment

So, forget about radical chic or any other nonsense defining this election. The fantasy of the right has been put to rest. In this year of living dangerously — 20 days that are shaking the world — personal attacks don’t work, as innumerable polls showed in the last week.

And forget about the Bradley Effect, lying about race. We should be looking at the Reagan Effect: did Obama look like a president, as Ronald Reagan had to in the last week of the campaign to unseat Jimmy Carter?

History showed one thing in 1980. It’ll show the same in 2008.
Timothy Egan, "The Deal, Sealed?", New York Times

Voter Fraud Blues

Sorry - I was at the Dentist this morning so didn't have time to post. But I did want to point you to this interview at Salon, which deals with the current Republican hysteria around Voter Fraud. Lori Minnite, a professor of political science at Barnard college was asked whether or not Voter Fraud is as big a problem as Conservatives are claiming.
No threat.

The statistics bear me out. From 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty people were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five people were found guilty of voting more than once. That’s 26 criminal voters -- voters who vote twice, impersonate other people, vote without being a resident -- the voters that Republicans warn about. Meanwhile thousands of people are getting turned away at the polls.
The whole article is worth reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Splash of Cold Water

Glenn Greenwald's blog is regular reading around here, and hopefully it is with you as well. Today's post is insightful about why an Obama victory is desirable, but not ultimately that exciting to me.
I honestly don't know of any "progressive bloggers" who blindly support Democrats. I think the strategy of the blogosphere has always been two-pronged -- (1) remove the hideous right-wing beast from power and (2) change the Democratic Party in order to make step (1) worth doing. Those are EQUALLY IMPORTANT goals.
Step (1) is merely a pre-requisite (an absolute one) to achieving anything worthwhile. But without step (2), step (1) is mostly (though not entirely) worthless, because the Democratic Party as currently constituted at its core is a wretched and status-quo-perpetuating institution. If those who spent the last eight years vigorously opposing the radicalism, militarism, and anti-constitutional abuses of the Bush administration fail to oppose the Democratic leadership with equal fervor when they violate the same principles -- as they inevitably will -- then the humiliation of the Right and its removal from power will be emotionally satisfying, perfectly just, and a very mild improvement, but will ensure the continuation rather than the termination of most of the worst abuses of this government.
I want to be clear, I am voting for Obama, I have donated money to his campaign. I want him to win. But Greenwald is right, and my gut tells me that with Obama we are getting a huge step up from Bush, but a lot of the excesses of the Bush Administration aren't going away soon.

The Sixties are Back

Rush Limbaugh yesterday explained why Obama is so terribly dangerous.
All these former SDS people -- Students for a Democratic Society, that's why its former leaders back Obama. Lots of books have been written about this.

These are the same people that backed Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi Minh, Castro; they are Marxists; they have learned how to communicate and manipulate, they have learned to adapt socialism to American society. Tom Hayden, Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Saul Alinsky. What's amazing is that this extensive network, this extensive network and movement goes wholly unreported by the likes of Tom Brokaw, Charlie Gibson, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Katie Couric, Brian Williams. This is the movement that undermined the Vietnam War, that tried to undermine us in Iraq, and they are three weeks away from electing one of their own, if they can, Barack Obama.
The damned sixties keep happening.

I'm really not sure how scary this is supposed to be to anyway, but you should have heard Rush give this. He really sold it, as if he had uncovered some incredible conspiracy. And I imagine to someone like Rush it is scary. For some 30 years now, since Reagan, the conservative movement has been a repudiation of the sixties and the left. It must be terrifying to consider that such radical ideas as peace and love might be coming back into vogue.

But truthfully, such is not happening. Barack Obama for all the enthusiasm isn't the second coming of JFK or even Robert Kennedy. He's the second coming of Bill Clinton. A moderate liberal who will not challenge the status quo all that much, and yet draw incredible ire from the Republicans just for not being one of them.