Thursday, January 31, 2008

Are McCain's criticisms of Romney Fair?

I'm not a fan of Romney, but the line that McCain is attacking Romney over isn't that bad. Romney just said that presumably President Bush and the Iraqi Government have ideas about how they would like to pull out of Iraq. Romney wasn't talking about a public and open withdrawal, which in republican thought would lead to our enemies being emboldened. He's talking about private discussions with the Iraqi Government about how the United States really isn't going to stay in Iraq forever.

Apparently that's surrender, according to McCain. In this I agree with Joan Walsh, editor of Salon.
Is McCain suggesting that anyone, no matter how hawkish, who suggests a day will come when American troops will leave Iraq is on the wrong side? I think he's just written off the vast majority of the electorate. Plus, the way he's bullied Romney in several debates -- just before the New Hampshire primary was the worst -- has been simply cruel and small. I know a lot of people quail at the prospect of war hero McCain squaring off against either a woman, Hillary Clinton, or a younger black man who opposed the war from the start, Barack Obama. Personally, I think either one of them will do just fine, because the country is on their side on the war, and they're both more appealing and harder to rattle than the mighty McCain.
I think Ms. Walsh is right; I'm particularly eager to see Obama and McCain square off in a debate.

Are Hillary and McCain the Same? or Another Two Minute Hate by Rush Limbaugh

This is from Limbaugh's show yesterday.
I also don't buy the notion that Hillary is an automatic two-term president. You're making this really hard. I was asked this earlier today, Don, "Would you vote for McCain even if?" I'm not going to take action to see that our side loses. I don't advocate losing, period. I just don't know -- and this is bottom line -- I just don't know that my vote for McCain would matter, if you understand what I mean.
That's the spirit Rush. Why vote at all? Keep up the good work disheartening the Republican Base.

Answering Questions / Fox News

I didn't know about this story, or I would have blogged on it then, but about a month ago, when there were seemingly three times the candidates we have now, the Boston Globe asked all of the candidates questions on executive power and it's uses. They covered such subjects as signing statements, whether or not the President can be constrained by treaties or by acts of congress, and when should the President go to congress for approval of military actions. Well worth reading.

In other news, Fox New's big news is that they are old news. They are losing market share to CNN, presumably because of their decision to limit their appeal to Republicans / Conservatives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Peace at last

According to NME, the long fued between Oasis and Blur is finally at an end. The feud, which hasn't been relevant in about a decade, is being settled by a cooperative cheese venture.

So now we know the power of Cheese to bring people together.


And that's English Cheese - who knows what American Cheese might be able to accomplish (besides blinding Homer Simpson).

McCain can win

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's latest article is based on a simple principle - Hillary Clinton must be defeated no matter the cost. Based on that principle, he says that McCain is a better bet.
It is only on the economy that McCain has a self-proclaimed (if inadvisably so) weakness. But Hillary would be overreaching dramatically if she claimed special expertise on this issue merely through the osmosis that she claims to be a feature of living in the White House. Her tax increase proposals, particularly her support for a higher capital gains tax, can be painted, accurately, as foreshadowing doom for the economy. Neither Hillary nor McCain can claim the economy as an especial preserve.

Can Romney? Inexplicably, the McCain campaign has not spoken of the layoffs that must have accompanied Romney’s efforts to “turn around” failing companies. Hedge funds are notorious for cutting jobs and the Clintons will make Mitt eat every single one. McCain has no such vulnerability and, hopefully, will make Romney’s layoffs an issue before Super Tuesday.

So McCain can win and Romney won’t. That’s the long and the short of it.
There it is. That said, I think the Conservative hatred for McCain is at least as great as their hatred of the Clintons. It's kind of a depressing thing to consider that this contest may turn on who the Conservatives hate less.

Well depressing for Conservatives, anyway.

Bush's Legacy

Jonah Goldberg's latest article is about President Bush and President Clinton. And it's not that positive an assessment of our 43rd President.
. . . that desire for change is also a product of ideological confusion on the left and the right. Clinton left office insisting that he'd restored liberalism in America, but in reality he bequeathed a confused mishmash of ill-formed ideas, slogans and hatreds. President Bush is winding down his presidency much the same way, talking about limited government, personal liberty and spending restraint, but he's left his party's troops scattered across the battlefield, with no overarching strategy and an awful lot of friendly fire.

Rush Limbaugh, for example, promises that if either John McCain or Mike Huckabee gets the nomination, it will "destroy the Republican Party." The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan replies that, "This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues."

I'm sympathetic to both positions. Limbaugh is right that Huckabee and McCain might lead the party further from its limited-government roots. Noonan is right that Bush let the horse out of the barn long ago. But both complaints overlook a simple fact: We were warned. Bush and Clinton promised to be different kinds of leaders. And they delivered.
He's not wrong on either point. Both Clinton and Bush, by aiming towards the middle, sort of, weakened their respective parties.

On the other hand, Goldberg does kind of look over Bush's biggest strength and biggest problem - he had nothing to govern over except the war on terror. And if the war on terror isn't the central theme of the election, Republicans are more antagonistic towards each other than supportive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I-Pod 10

1. Billy Bragg - "The Man in the Iron Mask"
2. Bob Dylan - "Sally Gal (Outtake)"
3. Chapterhouse - "Pearl"
4. Pearl Jam - "Pilate"
5. Jefferson Airplane - "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds"
6. The Cramps - "New Kind of Kick"
7. Simon and Garfunkle - "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies"
8. Severed Heads - "All Saints Day"
9. Billy Bragg - "Speedway Hero"
10. The Chemical Brothers, "The Big Jump"

The Decline?

Frank Gaffney Jr. laments the decline of the Democratic Party in terms that seem quite humorous to me. He comments on Terry Elkes, long time liberal who supported President Bush's many boneheaded and illegal acts. A Lieberman Liberal, more or less.
How far Terry Elkes’ party has disenfranchised voters like him who long were the backbone of its membership – social liberals but hard-headed internationalists in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Henry “Scoop” Jackson – is evident at the moment in the fight underway in Congress over electronic intelligence collection.

In the wake of the 9/11’s deadly acts of war, George W. Bush did what one would hope any President would do: He strove to prevent follow-on strikes and brought to bear every available instrument for that purpose.
Even if you grant that President Bush's motives were pure, it's hard for me to see how his actions have been effective. And Gaffney's subject, the illegal wiretapping, is a clear violation of the law.

On primary day, here in Florida, I'd like to comment that all of the Republican Candidates have committed themselves to the same kind of madness we've seen under President Bush. Some might be worse, others not quite as bad, but there's not one among them, save Ron Paul, who's willing to change course. McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney will be just as bad as President Bush and in some cases worse.

And say what you will about Clinton or Obama or Edwards, they will change course.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I am supporting John McCain for the Republican Nomination; doesn't get him anything of course. But I'd rather see him as their leader than Romney or Giuliani. I don't think McCain is quite as dangerous to freedom as Giuliani and Romney just annoys me.
I would rather have a true democratic socialist in the White House than a traitor to our conservative principles such as Juan McCain.

At least Hillary and Obama admit their liberal views, we know their the enemy, but Juan McCain and his amnesty agenda is too much for most core conservatives to handle.

McCain will lose because many of us will not vote for his anti American open border amnesty agenda. He's a RINO Joe!
Still the party faithful don't seem to cotton to McCain. His stance on issues like illegal immigration and the bush tax cuts have ensured that he is hated.
I'll NEVER vote for McCain. Anyone who claims he can beat Hillary OR Obama is dreaming.

Why would anyone who agrees with his Democrat positions vote for a RINO, when a real Democrat is on the ballot?

Why would anyone who dis-agrees with his Democrat positions vote for a RINO??

McCain is a RINO, and no one is going to vote for him in the general election.
Still the party, as a whole, has a pretty good chance of giving him the nomination. What does that say about the party? Well it says that the people who are most vocal in their support of conservatism aren't actually running the party.

Maybe this guy has the right idea
After the election, maybe it will be time to start a Conservative Party and let the Republican Party die with its remaining quasi nouveau libs. For the time being, we can put our money where our mouth is meaning don't give them any. I just want to know one thing. I want to see a list of McCain donors and endorsers. I want to know who sold us out for cheap labor so I don't vote for them or in the case of non-politicians, give them my business.
All quotes from the comments to an article by Donald Lambro that treats John McCain as a legitimate candidate, failing to excoriate him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is Romney a Conservative?

With Thompson dropping out of the race and Giuliani yet to make an appearance, it looks like Romney and McCain are duking it out, with Huckabee around the edges. To a lot of Conservatives Romney looks like the better option; he's seen as a real conservative compared to McCain.

Not so fast, says Debra J. Saunders in her latest article.
. . . don't tell me Romney is the true conservative in the race. His record reveals a solid conservative -- when it has been in his interest to be one.

. . . Romney had liberal/moderate Republican positions when running for Massachusetts office, then far-right positions when they could help him win the GOP nod for the White House. And somehow he feels no hesitation in framing himself as the true conservative. Yes, thinking people's positions evolve, but Romney's evolutions have been too fast and too convenient.
She's not wrong. But of course since the alternative is McCain, this isn't a popular position. Her comments aroused a range of responses, largely based on the theory that McCain sucks. Which doesn't really respond to these comments, unless you assume that attacking Romney means you support McCain.
Deb - Part Of The Liberal Leaning MSM
She joins in with most of the "Drive By Media" (as Rush coined the phrase) who are shilling/pandering for their liberal in chief hopeful McCain. I said it once yesterday and will say it again, I will vote for Obama before I vote for McCain. I am still struggling with whether I could vote for Shrillery over McCain, I might have to join the write in's or go the Bloomberg route maybe.

Even though there is not an ouce of difference between McShame and the dems, I would normally vote for the republican on principle, however I am sick to the gut of the Debra Saunders/MSM agenda forcing McStain down my conservative throat.
McShame and McStain? This guy has strong feelings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Network Time Killer

Sorry been very busy and then on vacation so haven't updated in a little while, but I will be resuming our normal network programming soon. In the mean time, he's an I-Pod ten. The game is put your I-Pod on Shuffle and take the first 10 tracks. I never could do this before; but now I can. Enjoy.

1. Raven Maize "The Real Life (Fatboy Slim Mix)"
2. The Chemical Brothers "The Boxer"
3. Duran Duran, "All She Wants Is"
4. Ani DiFranco, "Back Back Back"
5. Ani DiFranco, "Wish I May"
6. Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"
7. Rain Parade, "You Are My Friend"
8. Sinead O'Conner, "Troy
9. Jasmon - "Hanina (Jasmon Mix)"
10. Aardvarks - "You're My Loving Way"

Weird to get two Ani DiFranco on one list, but what are you going to do. Jasmon is from Putumayo's Sahara Lounge, and it's pretty good.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Republicans and Democrats are idiots

According to Larry Elder's latest article, at any rate. He might be wrong. Come to think of it he does seem to be repeating a parody of what liberals believe rather than what they actually believe.
Republicans believe hard work wins, and government should allow you -- to the fullest extent possible -- to keep what you earn.

Democrats believe that success results from luck, chance and happenstance, and therefore a just government takes from those who have and gives to those who do not.
I believe that both luck and hard work can lead to success. Hard work can also lead to more hard work, and some people succeed through no merit of their own (see, for example, President Bush). You need a system that, as much as possible, rewards those who work hard and play by the rules; our current system does not do this as much as it should. A lot of hard working people don't even make enough to live on.
Republicans believe in peace through strength, and thus support strong national defense, and -- in this era of Islamofascism -- a proactive foreign policy.

Democrats believe in strength through peace, and believe they can better influence the behavior of enemies by demonstrating our good intentions.
I believe in a balanced approach; combining diplomacy and our military might. A "proactive" approach that emphasizes war to the exclusion of diplomacy is both wasteful and less effective than a balanced approach.
Republicans believe in a colorblind society determined by drive, work ethic and talent.

Democrats want a color-coordinated society. This explains the support for race and gender-based preferences to "correct" past sins and to create "diversity."
Elder's right here, Democrats do want blacks, hispanics and other minorities to have access to the same rights and opportunities that whats have. That said, I'm not sure about Republicans being committed to a color-blind society. One of the advantages to Obama winning the nomination (if it happens) would be seeing how Republicans treat him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Huckabee and God and Government

This is a disturbing turn of events; Huckabee has apparently called on the constitution to be amended to accomodate "God's laws."
I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
The obvious question is which God's Standards are we supposed to adhere to? I say obvious, because it's obvious to me. Possibly Mr. Huckabee has never considered those people who do not worship the same God as him.

Anyway the Carpetbagger report has a good response to this nonsense.
Once in a while, I hear liberals refer to the “Taliban wing of the Republican Party.” I should admit that I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the phrase, in part because I think it’s overused. The Taliban believes there should be no secular law — that all rules of government should be based on a specific religious worldview. Most Republicans reject that kind of thinking.

But that’s exactly what makes Huckabee’s remarks so startling. If the video clip is accurate, he was coming a little too close to a Taliban-like approach to the law. The Constitution, Huckabee seemed to be arguing, isn’t good enough the way it is; we need to fix it, by making it conform to “God’s standards.”
He's not wrong.

Huckabee and McCain and Romney

Well Mitt won big last night, sort of. Low turn out, but those who did turn out seemed to favor him over McCain and Huckabee. As Mike Madden at Salon points out, his ties to the state may have helped him, but it goes without saying that he doesn't have those ties everywhere.

I guess this is good news for the Republican Party, because, according to noted recounter Rush Limbaugh, the party nominating Huckabee or McCain would not be good for the party.
I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [McCain or Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party, it's going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people aren't going to vote. You watch.
So that's something to look forward to. We'll have to see what South Carolina says.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

These people are not my kind

Lots of twats in funny hats,
With Karl Marx printed on their shirts.
Will tell you,
Revolution is just a state of mind.
Oh this is Saturday night
In the West End alright,
And these people are not my kind.

You can cut the rug with this weeks drug
Make 'em all queue up to lick your arse
Wear a T-Shirt that says
"Young, free and single",
Or a big badge that says
"I'm here, punk working class".
The place is full of earholes,
Who hang on every word
That they speak.
Who believe what they write
About themselves,
Week after week after week after week
I don't know how they get away with it,
They should be ashamed.
Billy Bragg, "Talking Wag Club Blues"

I'm in a mood.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What unites Republicans? Disdain for Republican Candidates

John Hawkins writes today to take a piss at another Republican Presidential Candidate; this time John McCain is the lucky dog. Apparently nominating him would be a disaster for the Republican Party.
I don't believe in protest votes and besides, the presidency is bigger than any one issue. Still, when you set up a situation where people on your own side are perversely incentivized to sabotage the candidacy of your party's President over the biggest domestic issue of last year, you're not just asking for trouble, you're begging for it.

What kind of trouble? Millions and millions of Republicans staying home, conservatives putting equal priority on fighting the Democrats and fighting against the ideas of their own candidate for the presidency, a third party effort, fund raising for Republican candidates dropping even lower than the anemic level it's already at and perhaps losing an extra 2-3 Senate seats and another 5-10 House seats -- or perhaps not.
What's interesting about the tone of this article is how it seems like the Republican Party controls the nomination, not the people. What are primaries for? I mean if a bunch of Republicans show up and vote for McCain as their nominee, doesn't that imply they are also willing to vote for him for President? I get that some Democrats may move over and vote for a loser, but I don't think they are statistically significant.

Frankly, given the articles I've been reading, it's unlikely the Conservative Base is going to be happy whatever happens.

Knives Out / New Opportunities / Redefinition

Yeah I had a hard time coming up with a name for this post; it's about Huckabee.

Specifically it's about Star Parker writing about Huckabee and what her party and the conservative movement is doing to him.
But from a gamut of well-known conservative and Republican personalities, no one is being excoriated like Huckabee.

There may be dissatisfaction with the other candidates, but Huckabee is the only one publicly being charged with John Edwards-like populism, anti-capitalism, of not being a conservative and, from some, being outright called a liberal.

I even heard one talk show journalist say the other day that there are Republicans that have their "knives" out for Huckabee.
Parker asks, quite reasonably, why so much hatred for a Republican. Well part of it is that his campaign seems to have picked a fight with Rush Limbaugh, and if there's one thing Limbaugh believes in, it's Limbaugh. So that didn't help.

But the other half of the equation is that there are two sides to the Republican Party - there's the side that's business led, provides the finances and most of the conservative spokespeople. And then there's the side that's more religious, more into preserving an American culture. While these two sides agree on a lot, they also disagree, particularly when it comes to the weight you give each particular issue.

What is more important, keeping taxes low or securing our borders? Protecting marriage or ending regulation of businesses? Well the business side might have one answer, the religious side another.

For a long time the dominant strain of American Republicanism has been the business side, with the religious conservatives as secondary players. Huckabee could change that; the party has made it clear that they don't like him. The conservative leaders have made it clear that they don't like him. If the religious right elects Huckabee over their protests (not an easy task I admit) than it could lead to a realignment in the party.

Star Parker makes it plain that she thinks her party should recognize this and get out in front of it.
Inside-the-beltway Republicans have also lost touch with the increasing seriousness with which grass roots conservatives relate to the traditional values agenda. More and more folks are feeling personally assaulted by the meaninglessness that is gripping our culture and do not see our moral health as separate and apart from our economic health.

Rather than attacking Huckabee, folks would be better served to take a more careful and less dismissive look at why he's garnering such broad support.
She might be right; this might be looked at as a mistake down the road. Or it could be a glitch that is papered over if Huckabee gets the nomination. What seems clear is that if Huckabee does get the nomination over Limbaugh and other's criticisms, the party is going to have to change.

It goes without saying that Star Parker, as an early adopter, will be well set to take advantage of this shift.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Beats - Cut Copy - Fabriclive 29

So let's do the Fabric and Fabriclive series. These are Mix CDs by a variety of DJs attached to the Fabric nightclub in London (I believe). I own ten of them. Of the Fabric series, I own the discs done by John Digweed, Ralph Lawson, Tiefswarz, and Baby Mammoth, Biege, and Solid Doctor, and on the Fabriclive side I own discs by The Freestylers, Diplo, The Herbalizer, Cut Copy, Stanton Warrios, Krafty Kuts, and James Murphy and Pat Mahoney. They are all quality mixes (with one exception), and I enjoy them all (with degrees of enjoyment).

The one I don't like is Stanton Warriors contribution to the collection; I'm just not on that wavelength, and I thought the tracks all kind of blended together.

The Ralph Lawson, Tiefswarz and John Digweed contributions are all solid mixes - they sound very trance to me, but they aren't (musical classification is not my strongest suit). They do have that sort of soaring and cold feel to them, though. Enjoyable as background music mostly.

Diplo is the one I bought most recently, and it has some great stuff on it; it's a very populist mix, although some of the liberties taken with the tracks might annoy people. I enjoy it mostly though.

The Freestylers remix is like big beat dub. It gets my head bobbing along pretty quickly; and it's just kind of fun. That said, it has a template and it sticks to it pretty solidly. There are some standout tracks, but a lot of it sounds the same.

Baby Mammoth, Biege, and Solid Doctor provide a nu jazz effort to me, kind of house and kind of jazz. A lot of fun; it tends to flow beautifully in the background, imposing itself out every so often.

James Murphy and Pat Mahoney is a recent addition to my collection, and I'm not completely on it's wavelength yet. It's a disco mix, and a very good disco mix. But if you aren't in the mood for some old school disco, this mix might not come through as great as you would like.

The Herbalizer's contribution is hip-hop, and it's very good at that. Several of these mixes go into a genre and just explore it, and the Herbalizer is a good guide for this style of music. And it contains Apathy's "It Takes a Seven Nation Army to Hold Us Back" which is great.

Kraft Kuts almost got top billing; it starts amazingly. The first 7 or so track really get me moving; it's a big beat mix and just sounds excellent. Unfortunately it flags a little in the middle before wrapping up with an amazing ending. I particularly like the mash up of Freestylers In Love With You with Dynamite MC's There they Go.

Cut Copy gets the number one slot because this mix holds it's own all the way though. It's an electro mix, focusing on dance beats paired with guitars; it works very well, and the inclusion of lyrics holds my attention more so than strictly musical works. Standout tracks include Severed Heads "Dead Eyes Open" and New Young Pony Club's "Get Lucky." This video is weird but the song is awesome so I'm including it.

Anyway Fabric has a website, naturally. Most record stores with o.k. electronica sections will have some of their mixes - I should note they come in really cool metal cases that are dangerous to open while driving.

Quote of the Nanosecond

Jonah Goldberg, being asked about his great new book "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning," said the following to Alex Koppelman at Salon.
I'm not trying to do any argument ad Hitlerum in this book.
How dumb does Goldberg think the American people are? Hopefully dumb enough.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Snap Judgements

Ben Shapiro's latest article is surprising even handed and insightful. In it, he discusses how we size up potential presidents.
. . . we judge our politicians by looking at their hair, their height, their age, their sense of humor, their rustic or urban feel. We judge them based on their vibe, their attitude. That first glance means everything -- and it always has.

. . . Politicians must find a winning image that fits them; they must find a winning image that is authentic. Voters can spot inauthenticity a mile away. Mike Huckabee seems authentic, comfortable in his wryly humorous backcountry skin. Mitt Romney seems slick and businesslike, which is probably why Republican voters -- even those who share his political convictions -- are less than enthusiastic about his candidacy.

Barack Obama's early success is based entirely on his image. Obama radiates authenticity -- he speaks about change and hope with the zeal of the newly converted. He's tall, young and black -- a fresh face -- and that image merges well with his high-flown rhetoric about the dawn of a new day.
I think there is a grain of truth in this. Certainly his pay off, that Hillary Clinton needs to change her image to win the presidency may be accurate. She is portrayed as cold and calculating, and she needs the American people to see her in a different light than that.

On the other hand Shapiro isn't exactly helping her here, since the underlying theme is that Clinton needs to changer her image - and what could be more cold and calculating than pretending to be more human to win a nomination/election?

Can McCain Take it?

I don't think McCain is that much of a threat - for one thing we haven't seen Giuliani step up to the plate yet, and Romney certainly isn't out yet either. But after New Hampshire he has gone from being the guy that I wondered why he was sticking it out to being a guy that I think can take it. So that's certainly a move in the right direction, from his perspective.

Today Ken Blackwell has an article on how McCain can take his recent success and translate it to a national victory. In a word, he has to court his base and not forget about them.
Mr. McCain’s advisors cannot make the mistake again of taking the base for granted, casting the senator as the inevitable candidate, telling conservative leaders to get onboard while ignoring the deeply-felt priorities of the party faithful. Some took the base for granted, and then when Iraq fatigue set in it was almost enough to finish him.

That’s because there are several factions of the Republican base that have had terrible relations with the senator. He may be able to win early primaries without them, but if he secures the nomination, he simply must become a candidate they can support to energize them, get them contributing and working, and turning out in big numbers. In other words, he might pull off primaries in a divided field without these things, but he needs them for the general election.
His suggestion? He needs to talk about judicial appointments early and often. Making it clear that he wants to put true conservatives on the bench will sooth their feelings towards him, apparently.

I don't know if that will be enough, given McCains past history of antagonizing the base, particularly on issues like illegal immigration and campaign finance reform. And also given the years of antagonism with the Limbaugh Cohort.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Catch 22

Here's a political Catch 22. The Democratic Party has two main contenders for the nomination, Obama and Clinton. I'm an Edwards supporter and I hope he does well in the south, but for right now Obama and Clinton are the big two.

At the Iowa Caucus last week, Obama did very well. But that's not good news for Democrats, because Obama is all about emotions and feelings and not about real practical solutions. This is the point to Kathleen Parkers recent article on him.
Destined for the historical audio files, Obama's speech was grandiose prose and inspiring rhetoric. But what does it mean? It means nothing, but it sounded so good, who wants to cause trouble? We're feelin' good for the first time in a while and that's what matters.

Obama isn't just the inevitable dream candidate. He is the self-object of Oprah Nation, love child of the therapeutic generation. What he brings to the table no one quite knows. But what he delivers to the couch is human Prozac.

He may or may not be the right man to fill the Oval Office, but Americans will feel too good to notice.
So if we vote for Obama we are touchy feely dopes voting for style over substance.

Of course we could vote for Clinton, and yesterday New Hampshire did. But wait - they've got us there. Look at the key words that describe Clinton on the right (and in the mainstream media) - she's cold, she's calculating. She had an emotional moment on Monday, and reporters were heard to speculate on how long she spent practicing (from Glenn Greenwald). And if we vote for her, we are the same, I predict. Selecting cold, calculating Clinton in a cold, calculating assessment of who will win. Choosing electability over heart, practicality over principals. Or so I predict the stories will go (I could be wrong, but I don't think I am).

Bear in mind that this catch 22 is largely fictitious. There's not that much difference on the issues between Obama and Clinton. And many people genuinely support Clinton with both their heads and their hearts. But there it is, if we select Obama (or I suspect, Edwards) we are head in the clouds dolts, following our hearts right over a cliff. If we select Clinton we are grasping opportunists, casting aside our hearts to win at all costs.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Well that's it for Ron Paul

Turn's out he's a neo-confederate. For those who don't know, the Neo Confederates are people who believe the wrong side won in the civil war. This by way of an article by James Kirchick at the New Republic. It reviews articles technically put out under Ron Paul's name, but this bit near the top, discussing a think tank Paul is associated with, really jumped out at me.
The politics of the organization are complicated--its philosophy derives largely from the work of the late Murray Rothbard, a Bronx-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and a self-described "anarcho-capitalist" who viewed the state as nothing more than "a criminal gang"--but one aspect of the institute's worldview stands out as particularly disturbing: its attachment to the Confederacy. Thomas E. Woods Jr., a member of the institute's senior faculty, is a founder of the League of the South, a secessionist group, and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, a pro-Confederate, revisionist tract published in 2004. Paul enthusiastically blurbed Woods's book, saying that it "heroically rescues real history from the politically correct memory hole." Thomas DiLorenzo, another senior faculty member and author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, refers to the Civil War as the "War for Southern Independence" and attacks "Lincoln cultists"; Paul endorsed the book on MSNBC last month in a debate over whether the Civil War was necessary (Paul thinks it was not). . . .

The people surrounding the von Mises Institute--including Paul--may describe themselves as libertarians, but they are nothing like the urbane libertarians who staff the Cato Institute or the libertines at Reason magazine. Instead, they represent a strain of right-wing libertarianism that views the Civil War as a catastrophic turning point in American history--the moment when a tyrannical federal government established its supremacy over the states.
Sorry Ron Paul, but denigrating Lincoln and praising the Confederacy ensure that I can't support you or even give you the benefit of the doubt.

Obama can Cure us of Our Funk


This from Gary Kamiya writing at Salon.
Yet as anyone who spends too much time reading political blogs knows, anger can itself become a toxin, self-perpetuating and self-destructive. It must be expressed -- but then it must be overcome. To fall into a state of permanent anger, of righteous indignation, is to become the very enemy you are fighting. This is the error that George W. Bush made when he launched his Manichean "war on terror," and turned America into a country far more like its fundamentalist enemies than it had ever been before.

Barack Obama's unique appeal is that he allows voters -- Democrats, independents and fed-up Republicans alike -- to simultaneously express their anger and transcend it. As a political outsider, as a black man, as someone who was opposed to the Iraq war from the beginning, Obama is the antithesis of both Bushism and the mainstream Bush-lite Democratic stance on Iraq. Yet Obama's entire message is one of reconciliation and unity, the belief that even the most implacable foes can come together.
I think he might be selling Obama a little too highly. For one thing, Edwards critique of the Bush Administration has been more comprehensive than Obama's, even if Edwards did vote for the Iraq War Resolution.

I'm also not sure how willing the left wing, including myself, is willing to put aside their anger toward the right. Those guys have screwed up the country pretty damn good, while calling us un-American and treasonous at the same time. It'd be nice to believe in a country where the right wing and the left wing can have passionate disagreements without hating each other, but that seems more and more like a fairy tale.

And if it is to be war with the Right Wing, I'd rather win.

The Faith of Conservatism

For those who don't know, Jonah Goldberg has written a book called Liberal Fascism, about how Liberals are, more or less, fascists. In Townhall today, Rich Lowry reviews it and, unsurprisingly, thinks it's great. Basically all the fascists of the 1930s-1940s were liberals, and todays liberals are fascists as well.

This is pretty shallow analysis. It works if you take small features of both Hitlers and Mussolini's reign and ignore the larger points. Both Hitler and Mussolini were deliberately trying to recreate the past glories of their respective countries. That's conservative; going backwards. Modern Conservatives have the same idea; they constantly rhapsodize about the good old days.

And Lowry and Goldberg really go off the rails when they try to paint Roosevelt as a Fascist.
The crisis of the Great Depression was the occasion for reviving "war socialism." The man who ran the National Recovery Administration was an open admirer of Mussolini, and the alphabet soup of New Deal agencies had their roots in World War I and the classic fascist impulse to mobilize society and put it on a war footing.
This is flat nonsense. First of all, let no one forget that Roosevelt fought and pursued a war against Mussolini. He was one of the first in Government to recognize the threat fascism posed to America and the World. It was the Republicans who wanted to coexist with the Nazis. People like Prescott Bush were much more open in their admiration of Fascism than President Roosevelt.

So where does this impulse come from? It comes from ideology and faith. The continuum of politics has placed Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and their crimes on the left, while placing Hitler and Mussolini and Pinochet on the right. You can determine in your own minds what that means, but it's been clear that for some Conservatives this is intolerable. They are more comfortable believing that all historical evils are the fault of the Left, while the Right is historically blameless.

It's a pretty childish way of looking at the world, really.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Book Review

Over at Pop Matters some poor soul (Barry Lenser) has read Ann Coulters latest work, and written a review of it. Since he agrees with my analysis of Ann Coulter, namely that she's mostly in favor of making money for herself, I agree with him.

That said, he does make some comments on the thin line between humor and analysis that she gleefully dances over and back.
Is she a jokester or a serious observer of politics? Perhaps a satirist? When, if ever, should her words be accepted at face value? In her newest book’s chapter on the manipulation of language, Coulter admonishes that “you’d have to be either retarded or work for the Soviet thought police not to understand that much of what I say is a joke”. Despite the patina of self-definition here, she’s still hedging on the issue. “Much” is hopelessly vague, and probably with good reason. At her convenience, Coulter can simply deploy the defense that “It was just a joke” while the joke in question still gets its essential message across.

Not that the proudly shameless Coulter minds the umbrage. But her apologists often end up in a problematic spot: how to defend words and a personality so erratic and undefined.
It's an interesting conundrum. I don't know too many Coulter defenders, but those who I see are usually defending her in the most generic terms.

Conservatives aren't Conservative enough.


This according to the king of all Conservatives, Rush Limbaugh.
. . . just looking at things after Iowa, it looks to me like many in the Republican Party, despite all their yearning for conservatives in Washington, are rejecting conservatism. I say that with all seriousness. It may change once we get out of these more liberal states, but with Huckabee and McCain leading in New Hampshire -- look, they're fine guys. I don't want what I'm saying here to be interpreted as criticism. These are just observations. But with Huckabee and McCain leading in New Hampshire, they're not consistent principled conservatives.
So that's good news I guess.

I will note that since the party is fine with Romney or Giuliani, two guys who's conservative credentials are also somewhat suspect, they are a bit hoist on their own petard. They've been saying that Giuliani's past actions that weren't so conservative were no big deal; but the same doesn't apply to Huckabee. Apparently.


Star Parker has some interesting commentary on the two front runners in Iowa. She notes that neither one is the party favorite (although the Democratic party elite are pretty ok with Obama, in fact). Then she notes that Obama would destroy society.
Obama not only obliterates the lines on race, but he also obliterates the lines on everything else. The end of the racial line is a great achievement. But the other points of demarcation we do need.

I am talking about the lines that define right and wrong in the sense of our religious traditions. The lines that define family and establish the standard by which we measure its health and breakdown. The lines that we have used in the past to instruct our children about how to manage and direct their sexual impulses.
Obama is apparently more powerful than I thought he was. He can obliterate the difference between right and wrong? That's pretty damn powerful.

Parker is pro-Huckabee - she didn't get the memo apparently. But she seems to be of the opinion that since he is a strong Christian he will, apparently, preserve the line between right and wrong.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Limbaugh Brothers

They seem to be united in their disdain for Mike Huckabee.
That's why it troubles me when the ostensibly conservative Mike Huckabee tells Jay Leno he wants us to abandon "horizontal politics. Everything in this country is not left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. I think the country is looking for somebody who is vertical, who is thinking, 'Let's take America up and not down.'"

It's perfectly fine for Mike Huckabee to make such pronouncements. I just hope conservatives understand that what takes America "up" are conservative principles -- and that it will always be necessary to fight for those principles against those who don't fully understand them or who are committed to their defeat.
David Limbaugh, "Rededication to Conservative Principles"
. . . I don't want to hear from any of you Huckabee people who tell me he's Ronald Reagan. When he first says Obama is the guy closest to him on the Democrat side, and then he eschews all of this left-right, conservative, liberal, Democrat-Republican, let's take the country up instead of taking it left or right. See, that's the thing, folks. You take the country up by taking it right. It's been established. So what we have here is an excellent example of populism and appealing to the center, the great unwashed, the moderates, the independents. This is not conservatism.
Rush Limbaugh, on yesterday's radio program.

I guess that if you get both the Limbaugh brothers mad at you, you must be doing something right. Pity the many many things Huckabee is doing wrong overshadow that.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Huckabee's Tumble

Let's face it - Presidential hopeful Huckabee is not the favorite of the Republican Party Elite - they kind of hate him. And so I'm not inclined to be as negative towards him; although I disagree with him on a lot of his policies and programs. Nearly all of them.

But his stunt with the anti-Romney video? What was Huckabee thinking? Douglas McKinnon, Conservative Commentator, shares my disdain.
But wait. As Huckabee got to the podium to announce the ad campaign, he had a Machiavellian change of heart. “No,” he decided basically on the spot. The ad would not run. “Enough was enough.”

Clearly, the “enough was enough” uttered by Huckabee really meant enough of spending his dwindling campaign resources to do his own dirty work. Like Vladimir Lenin in the past, it was Huckabee’s intent to rely on “useful idiots” in the media to flood the nation with his disingenuous and insulting message. Unfortunately for Huckabee, the fifty or so national and local reporters gathered for his news conference, literally laughed in his face at his desperate and transparent attempt to use them.

Worse than witnessing what the Associated Press deemed a “bizarre news conference,” many in the media began to speculate as to how little respect Huckabee had for the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Does he think so little of them that he does not believe they are intelligent enough to figure out that he is gleefully perfecting the art of slander while consistently denying the same to their face?
He's not wrong. Huckabee's little dance is unlikely to fool anybody. Poor bastard.

Rush Limbaugh thinks this tactic might work, though.
And knowing, ladies and gentlemen -- this is what the Drive-Bys forget -- knowing that there is an intense distrust of the media everywhere, I don't care, Republicans, Democrats, average Americans have a distrust for the media, it's quite possible that people will see Huckabee's press conference as an attempt to be honorable, that the Drive-Bys have now sabotaged him, and they could easily conclude, "Look, he didn't air the ad, you guys did." I mean the people that are looking at Huckabee in a supportive way are not analyzing Huckabee, this is what you have to understand.
I don't buy it myself; I think Rush might be projecting a bit.

I like this sort of talk

Matt Towery's latest article is very heartwarming (for liberals). He comments on how Republicans have apparently failed to do what they were supposed to do.
I could name you plenty of members of Congress who promised limit terms. Most are either still there, were defeated, or just couldn't avoid the lure of making big money, by lobbying and such, while their colleagues were still in power.

As far as reducing government, what a joke! The GOP has helped create endless additional laws and spent wild amounts of money in the same manner as the Democrats we used to criticize.

And as for the so-called "neocons," thanks a lot. Having to listen to these mean-spirited, myopic D.C.-based know-it-alls is insufferable. The biggest joke is that they talk about issues no one cares about while the rest of the country is focused on reality. It took these insulated prigs months and months to figure out that there was a housing crisis. That's because in D.C. the local economy thrives -- because of its proximity to power and wealth.

Republicans have a lousy cast of leading candidates this year. It's just that simple. Not that the Democrats are anything to brag about, but that's their problem. Just think: These candidates have spent half their time talking about an immigration issue in a state, Iowa, where there is no immigration problem.
Right on. All the Republicans do kind of suck.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Unintended Consequences

What would happen if the Music Industry successfully lobbied to end ripping of CDs. Hard to say, but I can say how it would impact me personally.

I don't usually buy digital music; maybe 3 dozen songs over the last few years; largely stuff where I only wanted one song on an album or where the album was difficult to obtain. I prefer to have a physical CD with liner notes and all. So currently I go to Best Buy/Borders/Vinyl Fever and buy my CD and then rip it.

But if ripping is illegal, well at that point I am required to buy two copies if I want to have it on my computer and I want a physical CD. And that will seem like a waste. So I will stop buying physical copies, and simply buy my music from I-Tunes or Rhapsody. Kind of a pain, and I'll miss having the liner notes. But better than shelling out money for both a physical CD and a digital copy.

While we are on the subject, I'd also like to say something to Jennifer Pariser and others of her ilk who want to take a moralistic tone on this issue. I understand your desire to stop people from stealing your music; but attacking the right to rip a CD is going too far. At that point, you are the thief. You are stealing my ability to use a CD I purchased as I want to. And as I have been able to use it for like a decade now? You are stealing my right to rip a CD. You might get away with it, but you can stop looking down your nose at the people you are stealing from.

More News on the RIAA lawsuit

Apparently the core of the case against Howell is plain old-fashioned downloading of music; the additional suggestion that downloading or ripping music for personal use is an add on, not the core of the case. This from Endadget.
While there's a pretty good argument for the legality of ripping under the market factor of fair use, it's never actually been ruled as such by a judge -- so paradoxically, the RIAA might be shooting itself in the foot here, because a judge wouldn't ever rule on it unless they argue that it's illegal. Looks like someone may end up being too clever for their own good, eh?
That's a positive way of looking at it.

My I-pod now has 1696 songs on it. All ripped from CDs I purchased.

There is this troubling quote from a member of Sony BMG's litigation team, as recorded by Digital Trends.
Earlier this year, Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $220,000 in damages for songs she shared online; in that case, the head of Sony BMG's litigation team Jennifer Pariser testified she believed transferring your own CDs to a computer constituted theft. According to Pariser, transferring a song to a computer for personal use is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy.'"
So it's nice to know where the record companies heads are at.

Mike Huckabee and Ann Coulter

I will note that one of our readers likes Mike Huckabee; at least compared to other Republicans Running. After reading this article, I'm inclined to look at him a little more positively myself.
He [Huckabee] responded to my column last week -- pointing out that he is on record supporting the Supreme Court's sodomy-is-a-constitutional-right decision -- by saying that he was relying on the word of a caller to his radio show and didn't know the details of the case. Ironically, that's how most people feel about sodomy: They support it until they hear the details.
I find this story interesting. And somewhat reprehensible on both sides of the fence. Ann Coulter is reprehensible for wanting to criminalize Sodomy and Homosexuality. And Huckabee is reprehensible for not standing up to her; but basically saying he didn't understand. So apparently he agrees with Ann that homosexuality should be a crime?

On second thought; the fact that Ann Coulter is attacking him makes me think he must be ok; but the fact that he basically bends over and agrees with her attacks makes me think he's a punk.