Sunday, December 28, 2003
I'm trying to slowly ease myself back into the blogging groove but's it's harder than I expected. It's been a long hard year both in the grand scheme of things and personally. And this next year should be a full one. So if blogging is light over the next week it's just so I can come back in the new year fresh.
Friday, December 26, 2003
On this day in history...
December 26, 1908
JACK JOHNSON WINS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Jack Johnson becomes the first African American to win the world heavyweight title when he knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns in the 14th round in a championship bout near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who held the heavyweight title until 1915, was reviled by whites for his defiance of the "Jim Crow" racial conventions of early 20th-century America.
Friday, December 19, 2003
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
The world Dean described is largely devoid of grand conflicts or moral, cultural and ideological divides. It is a world without passionate nationalism, a world in which Europe and the United States are not riven by any serious cultural differences, in which sensible people from around the globe would find common solutions, if only Bush weren't so unilateral.
At first, the Bush worldview seems far more airy-fairy and idealistic. The man talks about God, and good versus evil. But in reality, Dean is the more idealistic and naïve one. Bush at least recognizes the existence of intellectual and cultural conflict. He acknowledges that different value systems are incompatible.
I'm not sure I'm up to tackling this one. Someone else try. I'm going to bed.
Monday, December 15, 2003
The late Sen. Strom Thurmond's family on Monday said it acknowledges a California woman's claim that she is his illegitimate mixed-race daughter. Her lawyer said the statement brought her "a sigh of relief."
"As J. Strom Thurmond has passed away and cannot speak for himself, the Thurmond family acknowledges Ms. Essie Mae Washington-Williams' claim to her heritage. We hope this acknowledgment will bring closure for Ms. Williams," the family's lawyer, J. Mark Taylor, said in a brief statement.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Now if someone could please tell me how a man living in a spider hole with no ability to communicate with the outside world coordinates a massive resistance effort, I might begin to relax.
ADDED: This is really alot to take in before I've had my coffee.
Funny—as a child I thought it was my dad's face that was on the dime, and so it was my favorite coin. Even after I learned that, really, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's face, I've continued to look at my dimes affectionately. The group of 80-odd Republicans (and I do mean odd) who are proposing to put Ronald Reagan's face on the dime, replacing FDR, should be aiming for something larger—something that really reflects Reagan's biggest mark on this country. After Freddie Mercury died a friend of mine said that AIDS should be called Reagan's Disease since it spread so quickly and viciously during his tenure as president due to his ignorance, prejudice and complete lack of compassion.
And so that's my proposal: rename AIDS for Ronald Reagan. Imagine the money that could be raised by invoking that name. It couldn't possibly be put to better use.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Nixon on Reagan
`Reagan is not one that wears well,'' Nixon said.
``I know,'' Haldeman agreed.
``On a personal basis, Rockefeller is a pretty nice guy,'' Nixon said. ``Reagan on a personal basis, is terrible. He just isn't pleasant to be around.''
``No, he isn't,'' Haldeman said.
``Maybe he's different with others,'' Nixon said.
``No,'' Haldeman said.
``No, he's just an uncomfortable man to be around,'' Nixon said, ``strange.''
That just made me laugh.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
I’m short on time this week for various reasons, so this will be a quick recap of the last few days.
Is anyone actually scandalized that Eminem rapped about killing the President? We are talking about the same guy that also rapped about killing his mother and his ex-wife, right? Please people.
Oooh John Kerry said the F-word. Grow up people.
Speaking of Kerry it makes me a little sad that he’s floundering in the polls. Everything else aside, Kerry has the makings of a good President. Moreover, he would be a good choice in any election not just this one and not just against Bush. But now with Dean getting the nod from Gore, it doesn’t look good.
And would somebody please tell Lieberman that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt?
I’m still no big Dean fan but if he’s our guy than he’s our guy. Regardless David Brooks needs stop writing his columns while smoking crack. Even Josh Marshall is rolling his eyes.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
WARNING: Reading about Wal-Mart will piss you off. If you need a good laugh afterward go and see who were the 20 Most Annoying Conservatives of 2003. Jesse is so funny that I despair of ever achieving anything in the blogosphere. Cheers mate.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
In the most widely published image from his Thanksgiving day trip to Baghdad, the beaming president is wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers as he cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey.
The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
But as a small sign of the many ways the White House maximized the impact of the 2 1/2-hour stop at the Baghdad airport, administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.
Officials said they did not know the turkey would be there or that Bush would pick it up. A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line, while the 600 soldiers were served from cafeteria-style steam trays, the officials said. They said the bird was not placed there in anticipation of Bush's stealthy visit, and military sources said a trophy turkey is a standard feature of holiday chow lines.
Of course it is possible Bush didn't know that he wasn't holding the real turkey, but...no. You know what? Forget it. I don't have the heart to laugh at this. I'm tired of President Chimpy flinging his crap at us and smirking the entire time.
Please someone, change the channel.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
But back to the Bérubé piece.
“John’s” problem isn’t so much that he’s a conservative surrounded by liberals than it is that he is a jerk surrounded by people too polite to call him a jerk to his face.
Actually, some students agreed with John about one thing or another but were simply annoyed that he was taking up so much class time. They began sending me e-mail messages and speaking to me privately about how they did not want John's remarks to set the parameters for class discussion. One student complained that she was wasting time trying to think of things that John wouldn't reply to; another said that he found anti-porn feminism obnoxious, just as John did, but couldn't stand it when people dismissed feminism so sweepingly as to render suspect other people's more careful critiques (his own, for example). If I asked John to cool it, then, he would undoubtedly feel silenced, and I would be in the position of validating what was perhaps, for him, a stifling liberal hegemony over classroom speech; if I failed to restrain him, I would in effect be allowing him to dominate the class, thereby silencing the other students who'd taken the time to speak to me about the problem.
It reads like a technique straight from the Bill O’Reilly Guide to debate. “John” wasn’t unpopular because he was conservative, he was unpopular because he was an ass. Moreover, being conservative didn’t make him an ass (huh? you say). Sounds to me like the students resented the fact that “John” not Bérubé was dictating how they were learning.
Learning seems to have a ratings system much like movies. In elementary school you get the G-rated version of things. Columbus actually did discover America and was good and kind to the savage Indians. In High School things get a little racier. Well actually Columbus only discovered the West Indies and the Vikings may have gotten here first. By college you should be ready for the ugly truths of colonialism, imperialism, genocide. Triple X stuff. “John” clearly has issues with this and compounds his immature approach to higher learning by throwing a tantrum when the story doesn’t go his way.
…by the time we got in December to Colson Whitehead's 1999 The Intuitionist, a whimsical allegory about racial uplift and the history of elevator inspection, John was complaining that there were no good white characters in the novel. By that point, even I had had enough, and I told him, via e-mail, that his complaint was not only unwarranted on its face but thoroughly beside the point: In this class, I said, we are not in the business of pursuing reductive identity-politics enterprises like looking for "positive images" in literature, regardless of what group images we might be talking about.
Sho ‘nuff. Seriously though. I didn’t have a problem with College Conservatives going after more liberal student groups. That’s part of campus culture, the protests, the counter protests and the rest of us worming through the crowd because we don’t want to be late for class. But trying to dictate department curriculum… ick. I wonder what “John’s” syllabus would look like. Any takers?
Monday, December 01, 2003
A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write ``I will never use the word `gay' in school again'' after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday.
Second-grader Marcus McLaurin was waiting for recess Nov. 11 at Ernest Gaullet Elementary School when a classmate asked about Marcus' mother and father, the ACLU said in a complaint.
Marcus responded he had two mothers because his mother is gay. When the other child asked for explanation, Marcus told him: ``Gay is when a girl likes another girl,'' according to the complaint.
A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him ``gay'' was a ``bad word'' and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: ``I will never use the word `gay' in school again.''
This kind of homophobia is bad enough in fellow students, but teachers? Can you spell homeschooling? Poor kid.
I’ve only known one person who died of AIDS. He was my sister’s 6th Grade teacher, a rare mixture of good disciplinarian, good educator, and likable person. One day he was out sick, and then another, and another. The students were told he was in the hospital but we weren’t told why until it was clear that he would not be able to return to teaching. When they told us they also told us that his insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of his medication. We were about to go into production for the Spring Musical, the musical he would have directed. The school wanted the permission of the students to donate the proceeds to our teacher for his treatment.
Looking back it seems kind of amazing that it wasn’t more complicated. It can be a risky thing to appeal to better angels of twelve and thirteen year olds. But it worked. This was 1991 when there weren’t as many medical options and we pretty much believed that if we didn’t help he would die right then and there. So we did it. We raised over $3,000 dollars through our production of the The Wiz. Opening night he was there. He’d lost his hair to chemotherapy by this time but he was up and around. We asked him to stand up at the very end and there were tears running down his cheeks.
He died in the fall of 1992
Friday, November 28, 2003
Monday, November 24, 2003
A bullet fired in the air during a Ku Klux Klan initiation ceremony came down and struck a participant in the head, critically injuring him, authorities said.
About 10 people, including two children, had gathered for the ceremony. The man who was being initiated was blindfolded, tied with a noose to a tree and shot with paintball guns as Freeman fired a pistol in the air to provide the sound of real gunfire, Sheriff Fred Phillips said.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was five years old, watching Pete and Gladys, and alternately running screaming and laughing around the room with my brothers and sisters, when the bulletin appeared on TV. All our noisy horseplay disappeared in an instant. The light and air seemed to drain from the room. My mom, who’d been downtown paying taxes on our house walked in, pale and silent. I strained my neck to look into her face towering so far above me. Someone at the bus stop told her that President Kennedy had been shot. So it was true. We were stunned. The rest of that day and the days following we watched the television images of the assassination replayed over and over. We watched Lyndon Johnson take the oath of office with Jackie Kennedy looking on, bloodstained jacket and skirt; her stricken face spoke for all of us, in mourning and now betrayed. We watched Jack Ruby shoot and kill Lee Harvey Oswald. We bundled hundreds of newspapers for my brother’s paper route every afternoon. KENNEDY SLAIN. I learned to recognize that name on the printed page before I recognized my own.
John F. Kennedy was our president. The same age as my mother. He was intelligent and kind and every time he gave a speech or addressed the nation in a televised broadcast my mother would call us all in-- be quiet and listen. He was the perfect representative of our country to the rest of the world, dynamic, brilliant, handsome, and funny. He had a beautiful, smiling wife and happy children. He was taking us to the moon.
Forty years later, it still breaks my heart to see that face--those faces, and remember.
but because one must marvel at his ability to come out almost on the right side of the argument and
still manage to be completely wrong.
Shorter David Brooks: "Marriage is so sacred that we must force gays and lesbians to do it."
UPDATE: See this is the problem with being a so-called "moderate conservative." If your opinion on an issue falls left of of Jerry Falwell, you end up having to justify yourself by wrapping it up in all this moral bullshit.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.
In a startling break with the official White House and Downing Street lines, Mr Perle told an audience in London: "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing."
President George Bush has consistently argued that the war was legal either because of existing UN security council resolutions on Iraq - also the British government's publicly stated view - or as an act of self-defence permitted by international law.
One would hope that this might make things uncomfortably sticky for Bush especially since he and Perle are both in London, but these days it's hard to say. Just look at how Perle followed up.
But Mr Perle, a key member of the defence policy board, which advises the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said that "international law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone", and this would have been morally unacceptable.
This is the problem with Perle and people like him. They wrap themselves up in moral certitude to a point where they poo poo at the rule of law. And that is dangerous. Going against the rule of law for a so-called greater good only works if the results are positive. And if you are going to make that stand and take risk, then you had better be ready to take the consequences when things go horribly wrong.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Yes I realize that there are more interesting stories out there, but can we please pause to roll our eyes at this ridiculousness?
Policy analysts across the political spectrum yesterday denounced the energy bill that Republicans in Congress hope to push to approval this week, saying it represented micromanagement of the economy and would open vast new opportunities for tax cheating.
Many experts said they were taken aback by the size of the proposed breaks, estimated by Capitol Hill staff members at $25.7 billion over 10 years. That is more than three times the $8 billion in tax incentives that the Bush administration said last year in a letter to Congress that it wanted for energy producers.
Can these people do anything without adding massive tax cuts?
Friday, November 14, 2003
Thursday, November 13, 2003
State Boards of Education have been under pressure to rewrite Biology textbooks to include material about Intelligent Design as an alternate explanation for evolution. In case that happens, I've been working on a rewrite of my own: "In the beginning, about 13 billion years ago, God created the quantum gravity barrier. And the weak nuclear force was upon the face of the deep. And God divided it into matter and antimatter, with a slight asymmetry in favor of matter. And God said, Let there be a Quark-hadron transition, and there was a Quark-hadron transition. And He called the particles baryons. And when the universe had cooled to 3,000 billion degrees Kelvin, God created hadrons and leptons and helium and hydrogen. And God saw that it was good." Of course it's still a work-in-progress, but kids have to learn about science somewhere!
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
The Stop The War Coalition said yesterday that it had been told by the police that it would not be allowed to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Whitehall next Thursday - a ban it said it was determined to resist. The coalition says that it has also been told by British officials that American officials want a distance kept between Mr Bush and protesters, for security reasons and to prevent their appearance in the same television shots.Oh, and could you move them over to the left so they don't block the shot of the "Mission Impossible" banner? To prevent their appearance in the same TV shots??!! Jeez, was Nixon this paranoid and frightened of being unpopular? So much for democracy in Great Britain as their right to protest goes the way our right to protest has gone. The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone seems to be the only Brit holding office willing to complain about the pressure Scotland Yard is under from, where else?--the Whitehouse.
"...I have to see demonstrators all the time. It is part of the great joy of politics. Those police were actually breaking the law as they took those banners away.[referring to a visit of President Jiang Zemin of China in 1999] We are not having any of that...It's interesting how far this country has fallen in President Raised-by-Poodles quest for the perfect TV spot. We apparently will be forcing Great Britain to compromise their own laws and citizens freedom of speech to accomodate one man's inability to accept criticism.
To create a situation in which perhaps 60,000 people remain unseen would require a shutdown of central London which is just not acceptable."
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Today the New York Times ran letters written by some of the fallen soldiers. I wonder if they made it past the White House "Bad News" filter. If he read them would he feel even the tiniest bit of remorse?
Somehow I doubt it.
Monday, November 10, 2003
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Thursday, November 06, 2003
This is not new. It’s been percolating for a while. I wouldn’t admit it to myself, only going to so far as to own up to feeling “lukewarm” about him. There are things that I like about him. I like things he’s said. I like how he’s surprised everybody by becoming a frontrunner. I like that he goes to people like Kos for campaign advice.
But I don’t like him.
Take this Confederate Flag comment (and I must say it is quite a feat to have offended both African Americans and white Southerners in one fell swoop). I’m less bothered by the content of the comment than I am about what it reveals. It’s both careless and opportunistic. And that worries me.
I don’t think that Dean is a racist nor do I think he’s disdainful of the south. I do think that he doesn’t have as nuanced a view of racial strife in this country as he would have us believe. I
But that’s not the whole truth to the reason I don’t like him.
The whole truth is that I don’t have a good reason that I can prove. He rubs me the wrong way, I can’t visualize them as President, none of these are really good reasons. I just don’t like him.
The ironic thing is that I like a lot of his supporters. They’re smart, energetic, and I respect their opinions. For this reason I’ve tried to shake these vague feelings. But they just won’t go away.
If Dean wins the party nomination, I will vote for him and consider it a really good choice. I’ll even decorate my jacket with buttons and my car with bumper stickers. Is this hypocritical? I don’t think so. I believe I’ve said before that my approach at this point for November 2004 is ANYONE BUT BUSH. But Dean is not my first choice. Because I just don’t like him.
So if anybody who reads this blog either feels the same way or wants to change my mind, please feel free to make your case. I hope this doesn’t chase anybody away.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
I missed Hardball but Pierce over at Altercation piqued my curiosity so I decided to dig up the transcript. David Corn and Ann Coulter are facing off over the Reagan fiasco. I don't remember how they leaped from the Reagan mini-series to Patton but that's how Annie's mind works.
MATTHEWS: You are dead wrong. Everybody loved “Patton” from the first day it came out.
COULTER: But that isn’t the way it was intended.
MATTHEWS: I was in the Peace Corps in Africa and everybody over there loved it when we got to see it. From the first day we loved it.
CORN: How could you not love that movie from the opening scene?
MATTHEWS: He’s God-like. Ann, where do you get this malarkey from?
Everybody loved “Patton.” How old were you, when “Patton” came out. How old were you, two?
COULTER: I think you’re misunderstanding.
MATTHEWS: No, I think you’re wrong, Ann. I think everybody loved “Patton.”
COULTER: Can I respond?
MATTHEWS: Who didn’t like it?
COULTER: That is precisely my point, because it was made accurately.
But it was made, the people making it were intending to make Patton look bad.
MATTHEWS: Who did that?
COULTER: That is why George C. Scott turned down his Academy Award for playing Patton.
MATTHEWS: Who told you that? Who told you that?
COULTER: It’s well known.
MATTHEWS: It’s well known?
COULTER: Why do you think he didn’t accept the award?
CORN: Why did he take the role? Why did he take the role, Ann, if he didn’t want to do it?
COULTER: Why do you think he turned down the award, Chris? You never looked that up? It never occurred to you? “I wonder why George C. Scott didn’t accept his award.”
MATTHEWS: Because he said he wasn’t going to a meat parade, because he didn’t believe in award ceremonies because they’re all about women wearing no clothes and showing off their bodies...
COULTER: By portraying Patton as negatively as possible, but by doing it accurately the American people loved it.
MATTHEWS: Facts mean nothing to you, Ann.
CORN: In this movie he shoots down an airplane with a gun.
MATTHEWS: I’m glad you are not making movies, Ann Coulter. Thank you, David Corn, Andrew Grossman.
Next time she's on I suggest someone spike her coffee with Thorazine.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Barraged by accusations from conservatives that it was distorting the legacy of a president, CBS announced Tuesday it was pulling "The Reagans" miniseries off the air.
The network said it was licensing the completed film to Showtime, a pay cable network that, like CBS, is owned by Viacom.
Well, at least Showtime is attempting to atone for the great sin that was DC 9/11.
Any truly anti-essentialist framework must embrace a technical truth: Despite the legacy of the "one-drop rule," someone who's both black and white is passing for black as much as he's passing for white. "The Human Stain" sidesteps this issue because Coleman's parents are both defined as black, but Coleman's white ancestry is written all over his face -- so why can't he claim it?
There is a lot more to this article but that really jumped out at me. One thing that I’ve noticed growing up in Chicago, which is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country, is how complex the reaction is to the concept of biraciality or multi-ethnicity. I sometimes find that simply acknowledging that I am biracial can be seen by people has an attempt to downplay my African American heritage. Coming out as biracial has a “lightening” effect; it’s the new “passing.”
What’s both fascinating—and for me intensely frustrating—is how the one-drop theory has come full circle. Once used as a way for white sires to legally reject mulatto offspring, it became of uniting African-Americans. For a lot of people, the introduction of the little multi-ethnic box on the census sheets was something that could splinter communities.
I had mixed feelings about that. I always wanted to have a definite answer for which box to feel in. People used to tell me, “Put what your mother is,” but that never felt right. Usually I’d feel in two boxes and not worry about it. Mostly I just wanted it not to matter so much. But the Census Bureau is preoccupied with single boxes, so a “Shade in all that apply,” approach was not an option.
And in a way it solves nothing. If I insist on my own multi-ethnicity there are still many people who choose not to. And if a mulatto declares himself/herself as African-American he/she is seen as more African-American than me.
This is not something I think about often as it comes up less and less. But every now and then I catch myself explaining my ethnicity to someone and wondering what they might be thinking.
Monday, November 03, 2003
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Yes, just when you thought one could not sink lower in the petty pool than Bill "Shut Up" O'Reilly, you look a few fathoms lower and find Donald Luskin. What makes this worse is that Atrios blogs anonymously and has neither Al Franken's connections or bank account.
But if you Google "Donald Luskin" and "stalking" the first person who called Luskin a stalker appears to be -- Luskin himself. I hope this is just a lot of hot air. So in support of Atrios I am posting what has the funniest post ever on Luskin's preoccupation with Paul Krugman.
Seriously, I've paid less attention to girls I wanted to have sex with than Luskin does to Krugman
Okay, that’s probably not fair. If there any readers named Midge who have not written a breathless tribute to sex god Donald Rumsfeld (I can’t believe I typed that) please accept my apologies. Still, I think you should join me in a hearty round of ewww-ing at what I can only describe as smut peddling.
She spoke of her subject admiringly, but without obvious emotion. “The key to him is that he is a wrestler,” she said. “A wrestler is a lone figure. He battles one on one, and he either wins or loses. There is only one man on the mat at the end of a wrestling match. It is no accident, as the communists used to say, that he wrestled.”
Is the whole unitard clad –man writhing with another man thing a little obvious? Okay I won’t go there.
She observed that he was called a “virtual rock star” on CNN, a “babe magnet” on Fox, and “Rumstud” by the president. He appeared in the December 2, 2002, issue of People, having been selected as one of the world’s sexiest men. “In Washington, to be anywhere he is has become chic,” a friend of Rumsfeld’s told Decter. “People actually follow him around.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. President Miserable Failure in a flight suit called him Rumstud.
Just in time for the holidays. No voodoo seance would be complete without one. Spring for the Dennis Miller doll and have a grand ole dittohead bonfire. I think the dog needs a new chew toy anyway.
WARNING: Parents of teenagers, doll may promote anorexia nervosa in girls and bed wetting in boys.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Anyway Jesse condenses it nicely, so I don’t feel so guilty.
Friday, October 24, 2003
"Why, we have gotten into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."Which quagmire is this quote referring to? Iraq? -- nope, too easy. Vietnam? -- nuh-uh -- even easier. California? -- hee-hee. The Philippines? You are correct, sir!
And who said it? Mark Twain, of course.
If you knew this little piece of American history than you're way ahead of that knucklehead we call George W. Bush. President Less-Sense-than-God-gave-a-donut said this last week: "America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people."
Proud?!? Amy Kaplan, at the L.A. Times explains why proud is not what America is.
Nearly 5,000 American soldiers died, and historians estimate that 250,000 Filipinos perished — 20,000 were killed in combat and the vast majority died from disease and starvation. The U.S. Army burned villages and fields, massacred civilians and herded the residents of entire provinces into concentration camps.Can someone get this man a tutor? And while you're up, could you get me an aspirin?
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
I once remarked to a friend that being a Democratic voter these days fell somewhere between battered spouse and abandoned child. Melodramatic? Yes, but it was right after the 2002 midterm elections. That was a bad time. Wellstone had died. The Senate Dems had been MIA for the entire year before that. Can you blame me for playing fast and loose with my analogies?
In a way what's disappointing about the Democratic Party is what's disappointing about the United States. A great platform, a wealth of ideas, so much past accomplishment and unseen potential, and yet at times a spectacular failure at protecting the very values it claims to hold dear. This is what makes it hard to write of the Party despite its (many) mistakes. It's still a good idea and we still have some good representation out there (Note to self: email Senator Durbin to thank him).
In about two weeks we will be a year away from Election Day 2004. The question that keeps coming up on blogs I read isn't always "Can they win?" Sometimes it's "Do they deserve to?" The answer to that questions changes depending on the bills that pass through Congress. The Democrats should pay heed to that.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Monday, October 20, 2003
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Apparently some of the 9/11 Hijackers are alive and well and actually aren't hijackers or even terrorists.
Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well...FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.We can't find Osama or Saddam or the weapons of mass destruction or that pesky White House leaker. (which way did he go, George?) Of course we can't identify the 9/11 hijackers correctly. Just another day in bizarro world. We are so far into the looking glass that nothing surprises me anymore.
Apparently Condo's love life (or lack thereof) is off limits.
Condoleezza Rice is a sticky subject at the Washington Post this week.
The paper has suspended "The Boondocks," a comic strip populated by cynical,
politically aware African-American children, because of a series of jokes
about the national security adviser's personal life. (You can read the
banned comic in this newspaper.)
On Tuesday, cartoonist Aaron McGruder had one of his young characters
speculate: "Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly
loved, she wouldn't be so hell-bent to destroy it."
A rep for the Post, which won't be resuming the strip until Sunday, said:
"We had no way of knowing whether Mr. McGruder's assertion that Condoleezza
Rice had no personal relationship was true or not."
Rice's office didn't return a call yesterday.
The artist's rep told us yesterday, "Not a single other paper in the nation
chose to abort this week's strip."
Is Aaron really being mean? I think he's being compassionate. Just look at this woman's life.
For Rice—who has never married, has no siblings, and was orphaned just a few weeks before assuming her post—Bush and the job represent a very large part of her life, even by upper-level White House staff standards. She has a close circle of old friends and relatives, but most of them live down South or in California. She isn't on the Washington social circuit. Home is a sparsely furnished apartment in the Watergate complex. Entertaining means ordering takeout. Her primary off-hours companions seem to be George and Laura Bush.
Aaron's been on Condo's casebefore. Why all the fuss now?
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
This is exactly how I feel.
I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over. Those Mexican workers trying to cross the border--dying in the attempt to evade immigration officials (ironically, trying to cross into land taken from Mexico by the United States in 1848)--those Mexican workers are not alien to me. Those millions of people in this country who are not citizens and therefore, by the Patriot Act, are subject to being pulled out of their homes and held indefinitely by the FBI, with no constitutional rights--those people are not alien to me. But this small group of men who have taken power in Washington, they are alien to me.
I wake up thinking this country is in the grip of a President who was not elected, who has surrounded himself with thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water, the air. And I wonder what kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit. More Americans are beginning to feel, like the soldiers in Iraq, that something is terribly wrong, that this is not what we want our country to be.
Something is horribly, horribly wrong--the straw has, long ago, broken the camel's back. There is no other choice but to kick the thugs in suits and their trained chimp out of the White House. Lighting candles and saying novenas is not going to cut it, my friend. We have to exert ourselves and break a sweat on this one. Wake up your loved ones as if your house was on fire. Wake up your neighbors as if their house was on fire. WAKE UP!
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
To begin with I really don’t enjoy the whole pennant thing right now. It’s not that I don’t like the Cubs as a team. It would be nice for them if they won. But on game days I go out of my way to avoid Wrigleyille. I realize that not all Cubs fans are drunken ex-fratboy yuppies with their overdressed girlfriends swishing on their arms. I realize that most people don’t urinate against buildings and loot and block traffic. But that contingent of sports fans pretty much ruins the whole Cubs experience for me. So as we approach a potential pennant victory, I find myself wishing I could be in another city till the whole thing is over.
In fact here is exactly how I feel, just substitute Cubs and Chicago for Sox and Boston.
So yeah, Brooks does have a point when he says this:
It occurs to me that some of my friends in the Southwest may be watching the series on TV, and may be alarmed by some of the behavior they are seeing on the field and elsewhere. They may think it impolite to grab a 72-year-old man by the head and toss him to the ground, or throw hard objects at people's faces, or hold dueling press conferences calling each other names.
He is of course speaking of this incident at the Yankees-Red Sox game on Saturday.
But I can’t help wondering two things. The first, since when has professional sports been a model of civility and decorum? The second; under what rock does Brooks live? I’d wager it’s a giant gilded one in the manicured garden of a gated community. The only thing wrong with it is that it’s not in Tucson.
My friends should remember that the Yankees-Red Sox series is a contest between two Northeastern teams, and while the Northeast is no longer a particularly important region of the country — we haven't sent a person to the White House in 43 years — we do have a distinct way of doing things, which we cherish.
For example, while most people in the Southwest seek pleasure and avoid stress, we in the Northeast do not have that orientation. The place in their culture that is occupied by the concept "happiness" is occupied in our culture by the concept "cursing at each other."
I’m not going to defend idiots who think turning over a car is an acceptable form of celebrating victory. Nor am I going to make a case that the Northeast is a better place to live than the Southwest. I’m merely pointing out that drunken sports fans whoop it up after games have nothing to do with the red state blue-state polarization.
Reading this piece it’s hard to picture Brooks physically attending this game. Did he brave the stands holding a scented hanky to his nose the entire time? Or did he observe from the safety of his skybox, peering at the mayhem through his opera glasses? It’s not that I object to his snobbery. In many ways I am a snob. But I know enough not go to places where my snobbish sensibilities might be offended.
Brooks could have written a better piece than this. He could have written about sports and alcohol and rivalry. And I might have enjoyed reading it. But Brooks lives in a red and blue world where the antics of rabid sports fans are limited to one region of the country and thus condemn it to political irrelevancy. Others have pointed out Brooks’ peculiar form of color blindness so I won’t go into it.
Meanwhile, tonight is game six. Go Cubs and God help us.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Urban Outfitters has decided to add "peddlar of racist board games" to its already considerable crime of "peddlar of overpriced pseudo-vintage gear for suburbanites." It's hard not to laugh at the absurdity of such a move on the part of both the manufacturer and the distributor.
Could it get any worse? Take a gander at the Ghettopoly Web site. Oh yes Ghettopoly is only the beginning. On deck we have Hoodopoly, Thugopoly, HipHopoly, and Redneckopoly. I could not make this up if I tried. Gee I can't wait for Wetbackopoly in which players have to cross the border without getting shot. But I shouldn't plant ideas in such weak yet fertile minds.
You know the drill:firstname.lastname@example.org
Be mean and curse a lot.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
When you are faced with this headline in a newspaper that isn’t The Onion, you have no choice but to shrug philosophically and move on. And by you I mean me. The fact of Schwartzenegger’s victory is just too full of horrible truths about politics, Americans, and public perception. And if I think about it for too long, the dark side of American Democracy seems very, very dark.
So what bothers me about the recall vote and the ascent of Arnold Schwarzenegger is that if anyone were to devise a route out of democracy and into a tribal, vengeful savagery, this melding of the world of entertainment, which satiates our most primal wishes, and the world of politics, which is supposed to moderate and rationalize our worst wishes and sublimate our ideals, looks like a pretty good route. Movies are the great persuaders. Their power is much greater than the power of reason, and that is what bothers me. The passion of politics must be tempered by reason. How much difference is there between electing a savage action hero and electing a Mussolini? I don't think Arnold is a fascist. But it is the worship of strength and charisma themselves that I find alarming in a democratic system. I think once the electorate acts from its own troubled id, we are vulnerable to the election of untold numbers of scoundrels, one of whom or a series of whom, could spell the end of democracy.
So hasta la vista, baby. Alabama looks pretty good right now.
Strange victories make for thoughts like these. They also make for disillusionment, scape-goating, tuning out, and caving in. This is the stuff of nihilism and Green Party conversion. This is exactly how we can’t afford to think. So read it and weep, then have a couple of drinks and sober up fast.
For one thing there is a bright side.
It hasn’t been the best year for Ward Connerly and yesterday California refused to retreat deeper in to denial about race. So I haven’t lost faith in the state altogether.
And let’s not forget that we have bigger fish to fry.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps has announced intentions to erect a monument to Matthew Shepard the gay college student brutally murdered five years ago near Laramie.
But, the monument will be no memorial. Phelps says the monument would be 5 to 6 feet tall and made of marble or granite. It would bear a bronze plaque bearing the image of Shepard and have an inscription reading "MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God's Warning: 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.' Leviticus 18:22."
The monument would be erected in downtown Casper, Shepard's home town.
Phelps has sent details of the monument to the city of Casper city council and there may be nothing the city can do to prevent it.
Phelps said he intends to put up the monument in City Park, already the location of a controversial statue of the Ten Commandments.
Can't Matthew Shephard's family sue? Whenever I think I can't get more disgusted the Phelps of the world prove me wrong.
Monday, October 06, 2003
--You must take notes everytime you see a "normal" black family or, for that matter, a black family at all.
--You have ever said any of the following statements.
"I am not a racist."
"Some of my best friends are (insert minority here)."
"You know just by talking to you I would never guess you were (insert minority here)."
"You're from New Mexico? You speak English so well."
"I just don't think interracial marriage is fair to the child."
"Colin Powell is just so well-spoken."
--You give famous minorities props for being "a credit to their race."
--The Puerto Rican Day Parade makes you feel like there are too many Puerto Ricans in the U.S.
--You've used the word "ethnic" as a euphemism.
--You are reading this list right now and getting indignant because you don't see anything wrong with any of the aforementioned points.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Well, we are five days away from the California election and I am positively stiff with terror. Most readers know that I blog from Chicago (yeah, yeah, go Cubs, whatever I don’t give a sh*t). But I do have a history with California, and am actually looking into to moving to the Bay Area. This recall effort could seriously derail my grad school plans. So I am making a plea to Californians right now to vote no on the recall. I have no strong feelings about either Davis or Bustamente. But I do know one thing: if Arnold Schwartzenegger becomes governor of California, Jesse Ventura will no longer be the biggest case of buyer’s remorse in state government history.
A Special Note to Republican Voters: Yes, I know I am an icky, paranoid liberal who has said some pretty nasty things about your heroes in the GOP. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to me. You may think I hate you. You may be right. But you want to know who hates you more? The Republicans you so enthusiastically vote into office. They hate you. They think you are stupid and easily manipulated. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t parade Arnold out for you and declare with a straight face that he is the best man for the job. Hell, they did the same thing with Bush. And this is because their private interests come before your public good. If you want to be proud of your party please don’t let Governor Terminator become a reality. Say no and force your leadership to provide a real candidate.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Monday, September 29, 2003
Sunday, September 28, 2003
As a reserve military policeman serving in Iraq, I take offense at the letter writer's glorification of combat and criticisms of overstrained National Guardsmen and reservists.
We get shot at regularly, endure searing heat and live in less than desirable conditions. While serving my country is a great honor, there is no glory here on the ground.
We still have not been told when we will be redeploying home. Now we hear that reservists will do full 12-month tours "boots on the ground" in Iraq. Many of us are tired, hot and irritated. As far as I'm concerned, reservists serving in Iraq have earned the right to complain.
I hope servicemen and women are making copies of these for their state reps and for the Whitehouse.
Friday, September 26, 2003
"More than 200 people gathered in front of the Barrow County Courthouse this afternoon to support the county's decision not to remove the Ten Commandments from the government building.
The rally was organized by J.J. Harper, the self-proclaimed imperial wizard of the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and members of the controversial African-American church, the House of Prayer.
The groups were protesting against the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a lawsuit to force the removal of a framed poster of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse. Barrow County commissioners voted in June to fight the ACLU over the poster, and county officials have said there are no plans to take it down.
I really have to look into getting an underground bunker because reading stuff like that does not bode well.
Posting is light this week, as you’ve probably noticed. Ever get busy to the point of exhaustion? Ever been working on the computer for so long that the act of scrolling triggers a migraine? I’m not quite there, but blogging every day— at least right now— might do the trick. Kinda sucks too since this week was very blogworthy.
The news on Bush’s poll numbers was bittersweet. Bitter because to my thinking he never should have been able to garner that much public goodwill based on the sorry job he’s doing. Bitter because the freefall means that things are getting worse. Much worse.Salon has a good piece today on joblessness.
According to numbers released by the Federal Reserve in August, there are approximately 9 million people currently unemployed in the United States. My husband and I are lucky to not be among them. InvestorWords.com, which calls itself a leading Web-based glossary for financial terms of art, defines our condition as underemployment, "a situation in which a worker is employed, but not in the desired capacity, whether in terms of compensation, hours, or level of skill and experience. While not technically unemployed, the underemployed are often competing for available jobs." My husband, Andrew, and I, motorcycle salesperson and movie-house concession bitch, respectively, embody all the features of the definition.
Before his current inability to be employed in his "desired capability," Andrew worked at a software start-up. Prior to my scraping gum off the bottoms of chairs and reheating popcorn, I was a Web writer for a multimedia dot-com corporation. It's been like this for 16 months, the two of us struggling to make ends meet, to emotionally and financially support ourselves and our two young children while battling self-pity and overwhelming panic.
Yes things are bad.
I’ve also been trying to put together a longer post on the Clark, Democratic candidates, and the media which hopefully will come together this weekend during one of those lulls when I should be doing other work. The gist of it is going to be how far behind the press is when it comes to how these campaigns attract interest, and how that translates into underestimating voters. Remember how shocked they were at Deans fundraising success? If they had been paying attention they would have seen it coming. But I’ll come back to that later.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Monday, September 22, 2003
His desk is clear. Shouldn't they have attempted to make him look busy? I work at a tiny not-for-profit organization and my desk is never that clear.
Mr. President, sir, could you please point out Yemen on a map for me?
Whoever produced this should lose their job. Even Leni Riefenstahl is spinning in her grave. Why am I watching this?
My mom: "He blinks twice when he lies."
Okay so we weren't exactly sure. We only sorta had an idea.
Brit Hume wants Bush to bomb Syria. He's egging him on!
"We believe in getting rid of people by peaceful processes." Um hello, Uday and Qusay.
I can't wait till the directors cut of this interview comes out.
He doesn't read the papers himself. Why am I not surprised?
Hurray! He remembers everybody's name.
If you do something every single day, shouldn't it be easier to remember?
That was the most awkward segway ever. From the War On Terror to interior decoration. I'm guessing they were going for the symbolism of decisions of the past influencing the decisions of the present. It's really not working.
"Lincoln kept it united." Um actually, sir, Lincoln's election precipitated the Secession, starting the Civil War. That's pretty divisive, wouldn't you say?
"Serve something greater than ourself."
I need a drink.
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Friday, September 19, 2003
I shouldn't have written that. Now I'll have nightmares.
If you haven’t heard about the latest push to make abstinence sexy to teenaged girls Mark Morford is on the case (via Tbogg).
It's called "Revolve: The Complete New Testament" and it's apparently racing up the Amazon.com sales charts -- whatever that means -- as it sucks up all the accoutrements of a teen fashion rag and rams them through the cute Christian grinder of humorlessness and sexual rigidity and homophobia, and regurgitates them as kicky dumbed-down slightly numb virginal tidbits of advice and admonition and, yes, Biblical storytelling.
In a way, you have to admire the dedication. Despite the best efforts of the Vatican, Martin Luther, Jerry Falwell et al, sexual liberation has managed to take hold and gain ground, a few setbacks notwithstanding. Call it what you will-- tenacity, self-delusion, whatever. When you’re getting your ass kicked it takes a lot to come back swinging every time. But that’s not really what I want to talk about.
Yes, this latest stunt is both hilarious and disgusting. Take this particular line:
"The fire of God's love burns out the sin the same way the hot steam routs the dirt out of your pores. This kind of relationship with God will do more to improve your looks than any amount of facials," reads the part on "Spiritual Facials."
Hie ye blackheads! To Hell ye go! But setting aside for a moment the question of whether anybody will actually take this crap to heart, is “Revolve” the really the problem?
Let’s face it. When it comes to teenage sexuality, particularly female teenage sexuality, we’re pretty schizophrenic. It’s easy to see why. In the melee of STD awareness, pregnancy prevention, rape hotlines, and lesbian-gay-transgender empowerment groups it’s understandable that something might be missed. But it missing it we’ve left out something I believe is key in understanding how girls grow up into women. When it comes to sex, we are very conscientious about telling girls that it’s okay to say no, to wait, to ask for protection, and (for the more progressive) to say yes only when it feels right. What we don’t tell them is not only is okay if the want to say yes, it’s also okay if they want to have sex period.
This was at least my experience with sex education in junior high, and high school. There was a lot of information, there were a lot options, even the grudging admission that yes sex indeed feels good. But if you were a girl the implicit message was that you are the one who will be desired, not the one who desires. Boys get erections and have wet dreams about the babysitter. Girls get breasts, a menstrual cycle and the ability to get pregnant. But don’t they get to dream about the babysitter too? (Hey I never specified gender)
The last three years have seen an explosion of women taking control of their own sexuality with The Vagina Monologues, Sex And the City, among other things. This is thrilling but exasperating. It’s easy to say that professional women in their 20s and 30s should feel free to masturbate and experiment. But we still can’t quite bring ourselves to make that same message a little more teen friendly. The prevailing opinion seems to be, "It's bad enough that teenage boys are sex crazed and irresponsible. What if we start egging the girls on too?"
But what about messages we are giving to girls? Take the latest issue of Rollingstone Magazine featuring ex-virgin Brittany Spears. Spears' career epitomizes the schizophrenic nature of teen sexuality. When she first came out what bugged me most (aside from her screaming lack of talent) was her image as the sexy jailbait virgin. The sexy jailbait thing was annoying enough, but the virgin element created a creepy kiddy porn context to it. Here was this girl who created this image of knowing nothing of her own desires but was able and willing to play upon male desires. When she finally did drop the virgin act it was almost a relief. At least her new sexy song lyrics have a veneer of truth to them. But now she's fallen into the Christina Aguilera trap of declaring her sexual liberation by emulating a stripper. The message has changed from, "I know nothing of my own sexuality but I can play up an image," to "I define my own sexuality by being the object of desire."
It's not that I don't believe that there aren't women that don't get off on being desired in that way. But it confines female sexuality to what men want, without asking what women want. This is why you have so many women who have sex when they don't want to, who've never had an orgasm, who are afraid to masturbate, and who don't know why they are so neurotic about sex.
STDs and teen pregnancy make the idea of sexual liberation in teenage girls more than a little alarming. And I'm not just saying we should liberate them now so they won't need it later. If anything, helping girls first understand that they have desires too could go a long way in helping them navigate their teen years without getting pregnant or contracting an STD. If she can identify what she wants in terms of a sexual relationship she might be less likely to have sex out of pressure or feel ashamed.
Of course I don't expect the visionaries behind "Revolve" to take my argument into consideration. There's no point in arguing with people who believe that Jesus will hate you if you wear low-rider jeans. It's easy to laugh at that kind of cluelessness. It's harder to admit that in a lot of ways, the rest of us are pretty clueless as well.
Circle I Limbo
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow
Circle IV Rolling Weights
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled
Circle VI Buried for Eternity
Circle VII Burning Sands
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement
Circle IX Frozen in Ice
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Monday, September 15, 2003
John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, is set to strip for peace tonight on a stage in Paris in her one-woman art show in which members of the audience were invited to cut off pieces of her clothing.
There is much I don't understand about performance art as there is also much I don't understand about Yoko. I am quite sure Yoko--like much performance art--is very often treated unfairly. I have seen good performance art. I know that Yoko has done good things. But when bad performance art collides with Yoko's darker self-aggrandizing side...eeewwww.
Please Yoko. Hasn't the anti-war movement been demoralized enough?
My friend has decided to "join the crowded fray" and start her own blog about life as a Yank-in-exile in New Orleans.Should definitely be interesting. Anyway head on over and check out Broken Windows: Tales From New Orleans. New Orleans from what I understand has the combined problems of the rural south and a third world country. She can explain it better than I.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
The Bush administration is calling for an additional $2.1 billion to repair the Iraqi oil industry, a sharp increase from previous estimates that underscores how the sabotage of pipelines and the electricity grid has throttled the flow of oil for export and into domestic refineries.
A spokesman for the Corps of Engineers said that it had not been contacted by the administration to develop the new estimate, but it remains unclear whether Mr. Bremer's administration spoke to the Corps of Engineers staff in Iraq. The congressmen have asked the budget office for a detailed explanation of how the estimate was derived and a list of the projects involved.
Have coffee before you read the whole thing.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I have no answers, no insight, no direction. Just a blog, a little anger, a little too much time. Not exactly nothing I guess, but still not nearly enough. I don't see the point of rehashing the day-- where I was, how I felt --because when you get right down to it, you were either there or you weren't. And I wasn't. I was outside pressing my nose up against the TV glass, horrified and helpless, but still not inside. And if you weren't there it really doesn't matter much to anyone else where you were.
I'm not trying to belittle the catastophe. Nay, I'm admitting that in the end it's too big for me and my blog. So here's a list of required reading,
because what we don't know can hurt us,
because what they could know might,
because it's not just our day.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Is it really necessary to write another post about Bush's inability to tell the truth? Well if Bush didn't lie I wouldn't have to write yet another shrill screed bitching about what a liar he is. But he does lie, and so I have no choice. So what am I all bent out of shape about now?
There are plenty of reasons to grumble about the $87 billion dollars Congress is being asked to cough up for Georgie's latest failure but I'm going to leave that alone for a little while to talk about something else. On Sunday night Bush said:
Our military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops, nearly 130,000, is appropriate to their mission.
This is to counter criticism that the force currently on the ground is not large enough.
Well he's not expanding the force but:
The Army is telling National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq they will be there a full 12 months, apparently surprising some who had believed the clock started ticking on one-year tours once they reached mobilization stations in the United States.
Counting time they spent getting ready before they went and to demobilize after their tours, many reservists now in Iraq probably will find themselves on active duty and away from their civilian jobs for well over a year, officials said Tuesday.
Okay, so apparently the current number of ground troops is only appropriate if we don't let the reservists go home at their appointed times. Now to me this reads as our military being stretched a little thin over in Iraq which really makes me worry. And Bush did not mention that because to say that the reservists tours of duty were to be extended would fly directly in the face of his statement that the current number of troops is "appropriate."
A lie of omission is still a lie.
Monday, September 08, 2003
Thursday, September 04, 2003
I didn't say that, a friend did. But I'm borrowing it.
Eric Alterman has a pretty good piece on Colin Powell in The Nation. Liberals and Conservatives alike tend to give Powell a free pass when tallying up the various fuck-ups of this administration. And it is true that he has experience, ability, and tact. But how much credit can we give him for being a (comparatively) shining star in a room full of dim bulbs? No, if Powell had any gumption he would resign. It would be too little, too late, but it would be a start.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Well the day pretty much belonged to Senator John Kerry.
SPEAKING WITH THE mammoth aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as a backdrop — a setting designed to highlight his war-hero background — Kerry, D-Mass., sharply criticized Bush’s foreign policy as radical swagger, saying his rush to war with Iraq had left the United States isolated and less safe.
I do understand the mentality behind this staging but I kind of cringed at it's obviousness. You get it everybody? This guy actually is a veteran. Yeah I know, subtlety doesn't win elections.
Josh has a pretty good recap of Kerry's Meet The Press appearance. The only thing that bothered me was the way he hedged on the "Is Bush Unintelligent?" question.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the man you’d like to unseat if you become the Democratic nominee, and that’s George Bush. You’d spoke to Vogue magazine in March, and said this. “Kerry is unguarded in his comments about the man whose job he is currently after. He says his colleagues are appalled at the president’s ‘lack of knowledge’... And...he says, ‘They have managed him the same way they managed
Ronald Reagan. They send him out to the press for one event a day, they put him in a brown jacket and jeans and get him to move some hay or drive a truck, and all of a sudden he’s the Marlboro Man. I know this guy. He was two years behind me at Yale, and I knew him, and he’s still the same guy.’”
What does that mean?
SEN. KERRY: I believe that President Bush is a very likable fellow, and I respect—I think he’s a good man who wants to do good things.
MR. RUSSERT: Does he lack knowledge, as you say?
SEN. KERRY: I disagree with the president’s approach to almost everything he’s doing—almost everything. And you look at America and the choices we face today, Tim. On the budget, he’s favoring the wealthy in America at the expense of the middle class. He has ignored the plight of job loss in America. He has gone backwards on the environment, backwards on cities and urban—look, we’ve given a tax cut to people while states are being forced to raise taxes and cut services. He’s gone backwards in the international community. He is not making us safer in the world. He has ignored the problems of North Korea to the point that they’re a crisis. We should be freezing right where we are with North Korea today. We should be dealing with Russia and the problem of loose nuclear materials more effectively. We should be leading the world on global warming.
MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, you said that you knew him, that he’s the same guy he was at Yale. What does that mean?
SEN. KERRY: I think, Tim, the important thing is, what is he doing as president. As president I don’t believe he’s offering the kind of leadership our country needs. That’s what this struggle is about. This is about the presidency of the United States and the direction of our country. And I believe President Bush is not making our country safer and stronger abroad, and I think he is ignoring the choices here at home
that make a difference to the quality of our life. And, generationally, as a member of the same generation, someone who came from the same institution, I have a very different vision of where America ought to go. I want us to lead.
MR. RUSSERT: But are you appalled by his lack of knowledge?
SEN. KERRY: I am appalled by the lack of his agenda, by the lack of direction, by the lack of leadership, by the lack of willingness to show a vision that takes America to a better place, by his willingness to divide America, to use the politics of wedge, of driving between people, like the Michigan case, or calling things quotas that aren’t quotas, or beginning to—or appointing judges who are ideological, who want to take away
the right of privacy, take away the right to choose, someone who wants to pack the court system of America, someone who doesn’t do the hard work of bringing Congress to the table, and helping to lead us to find the common ground. You know, John McCain and I found the common ground. This president doesn’t try.
He should have stood by his orginal statement. He didn't have to be callous or call him names but simply say. "Tim, he lacks the requisite knowledge of a world leader and in these times that is simply unacceptable."
Eric A. expresses some remorse at having written Kerry off for his supposed lack of charisma. By the way, by what definition does Bush have charisma? Can we be clear on what we mean? Just saying, "Well, people do kinda like him," does not add up to charisma. Every loser has at least one friend. But I digress, here's what Eric now has to say about Kerry.
On the first issue there can be no argument. Hes a great deal more qualified than Bush is. (And has won just as many presidential elections.) In his long career in the Senate he has distinguished himself by being a thoughtful and intelligent critic of the Reagan/Bush foreign policy and did as much as any elected representative to expose their secretiveness and illegality. He clearly knows what hes talking about when he proposes a new national health care system, an energy policy, and the like. And though its been obscured by his gravely mistaken vote to give Bush the power to go to war, he is probably more progressive than Gov. Dean on the panoply of issues a president must address.
I wish Kerry had voted against this ruinous war and I wish he would admit his mistake. I cant make up my mind if his refusal to play to the anti-Bush anger that is (appropriately) driving the nomination process will be a strength or a weakness in a general election. I am endorsing no one, of course. I obviously like what Dean is saying. Im intrigued by a Clark candidacy. And I could live with Dick Gephardt. (I could even live with Lieberman, though I am pretty certain I wont have to.) But I think Kerry has earned the right to a careful look, and I dont mean all that crap about his hair.
Kerry disappointed a lot of people with his vote on Iraq, and his campaign worries me because it has all the snap and vigor of Gore's 2000 campaign. But Kerry has a presence when he talks that reassures me in a way that Dean is lacking. What Dean has is a great campaign. I too am intrigued by the prospect of a Clark candidacy, but I still feel he could do more as a running mate. A Kerry-Clark ticket or a Dean-Clark ticket would make me pretty happy. I'm still leaning toward Kerry-Clark.
Sunday, August 31, 2003
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
A sure sign that you might have an issue with compassion is that you need to create a seperate agenda to include it with the rest your initiatives. You well never hear the words Compassionate Democrat or Compassionate Liberal. We don't need the qualifiers because the compassion is a given, which is why the way this administration congratulates itself on its "compassion" is ludicrous.
Not to mention hypocritical.
The State Department has discontinued financing for a small but well-regarded AIDS program for African and Asian refugees because it contends that one of the groups involved in the project supports forced abortions and involuntary sterilization in China, officials said this week.
The decision to end the financing has raised a furor among AIDS and refugee groups. Relief workers fear that officials are bowing to pressure from anti-abortion factions within the Bush administration and allowing politics to interfere with desperately needed AIDS programs, assertions that the State Department denies.
The group, Marie Stopes International, offers abortion counseling and services.
State Department officials acknowledge that they have no evidence to suggest that Marie Stopes is involved in forced abortions or involuntary sterilization, and the group itself says it has been trying to end forced abortions in China and to expand voluntary family planning.
Oh but wait till you get to the end.
The State Department gave $1 million to cover the first year of the project and offered to finance the six other relief organizations involved in the program for a second year if they agreed to end their partnership with Marie Stopes.
The groups, known collectively as the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium, declined the government's offer, saying they would not divide the organization because of "baseless allegations." The groups include the International Rescue Committee, CARE, the American Refugee Committee, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, John Snow International and Columbia University's department of population and family health.
"We were disappointed that for reasons of solidarity with Marie Stopes that they should refuse our money," said the State Department official. "We had hoped they would show more humanitarian statesmanship than that."
If you are shocked and dismayed at this you are probably a perfectly nice person and will almost definitely go to heaven. You are also stupid. It's been over two and a half years. Face it. There is no compassion here, just narrow-minded politics barely disguised as compassion. If you can't see that yet you deserve to be stuck with this guy for another four years.
Mark Kleiman tells us Joseph Wilson blows the whistle on Rove at a forum held in Washington state to discuss the mishandling of intelligence information that lead the US to war. Wilson's wife was outed by "White House sources" as a CIA operative in attempt to intimidate Wilson after he wrote an op-ed piece for the NYT dismissing the Iraq/Niger/yellowcake assertions made by Bush in his SOTU. Kleiman also gives good backstory on the whole thing.
At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words.Of course, the mainstream media is away from its desk on this one, probably covering brush clearage in Crawford, TX
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
If you're a soldier in the US Army who collapsed in 130-degree heat in Iraq, fell into a coma, nearly died of heart failure, who returned to Roxbury, MA only to face homelessness, Ted Kennedy is THE man.
In the past two weeks, the Army has promised to ship her possessions back from Germany, she's seen doctors at the veterans' hospital, and she's been told to expect her first disability check next month. But the help, she said, only came after the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy intervened. For example, she said, the Army refused to fly her brother and sister to Germany to bring her daughter home. Then the senator's office called and suddenly a flight was offered.What happened to all of that patriotic goodwill? Vannessa Turner couldn't get assistance from the goddamn US Army, for Christsakes, until the last liberal holding public office intervened.
''Was that a coincidence?'' Turner said. ''I don't think so.'' Veterans' officials, both nationally and locally, now know about her case and vow to make it a priority.
Read the article, it says vets account for 23% of our homeless population. That's just unacceptable. Maybe this is why tours of duty are being extended to one year or longer. The fucking government can't guarantee some of these folks will have homes when they return.
Monday, August 25, 2003
This probably won’t fly, especially coming from such a well-known partisan like myself (nearly 2,000 hits! Woo Hoo! I know, no-one reads me), but that’s no reason to reject the proposal outright. And to be fair I’m not suggesting we commit all conservatives and Republicans. I’m sure there are many red-state types are as dismayed as I at the current state of affairs. But let’s face it; as a party, Republicans have totally lost touch with reality.
Let’s look at the evidence.
The Flypaper Theory: I should probably keep my trap shut on this one, but it seems to me that the logic in this argument is—well—not there. But don’t take my word on it. Josh has thought about it more and is considerably smarter than me.
Now, we've already had the 'flypaper' theory: that guerilla attacks against American troops are a good thing because we're pulling 'the terrorists' out of the woodwork and attacking them on our own terms. And now we have what I guess we could call the 'paradoxically positive mass-casualty terrorism event' theory: that mass-casualty terrorism events show the success of our policy since they are a sign 'the terrorists' are becoming desperate.
Yes, you do have to read it more than once ‘cause the sheer bland gall of that statement kind of ricochets off the common sense modules of your brain. I not only share Josh’s skepticism but take it a step further. Isn’t there something slightly manic about this way of thinking? Don’t psychotics rationalize violence with mock logic? What other kind of person could look at a mass bombing and say, “This is actually pretty good.” I could say more but I don’t know anything about psychology really. Moving on.
Religious Fanaticism: George “God Made Me President” W. has made it safe for religious whack jobs everywhere to come out of the closet. Take the case of Justice Moore in Alabama. One would think that the monument was actually THE Ten Commandments, superglue and all. This suit is more than tenacious. It’s obsessive and likely to end his career. I don’t know what the medical term might be for this but I know crazy when I see it.
California Recall: Do I really have to deconstruct this? Batshit insane, every last one of them.
Fox News vs. Al Franken: This is the best of the bunch. Before, I would have willing to dismiss this as simply Fox News and Bill O’Reilly being candy-assed spoiled children. But when you are candy-assed and spoiled to the tune of $61 million…well what can I say? Obsessive, paranoid, deluded, can we throw these people a Thorazine kegger?
I could go on but what good what it do? Coulter, Tucker, Friedman. It might be funny for a little while but it would get repetitive. And jesting aside it’s not all that funny. Let it never be said that this blog discriminates against the insane. I’m not after them because they are crazy people. I’m after them because the are crazy people with air time and expense accounts. So let’s start a letter writing campaign, raise some money, circulate a petition. Commit the Right-wing Crazies. Can I get an “Amen?”