Saturday, June 21, 2003

Compliments that I appreciate but don't deserve.

Seriously, that's a very nice thing to say.

Friday, June 20, 2003


I'm of two minds about this story.

Mind #1:
Pride in the Big Apple has been the incentive for several deep-pocketed Democrats to cross party lines and promise millions to help stage the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

The city's host committee has collected $60 million in pledges -- $4 million short of its fund-raising target -- 15 months before the political event. Wealthy executives, Republican and Democrat, are tapping their own bank accounts, companies and associates.

Aaauuggghhh!!! No! Are you insane? The whole point of having the Republican Convention in New York is to dance a victory jig on the graves of the 9/11 victims. This is beyond outrageous; it's digusting, cynical and WRONG!

This is why people voted for Nader!

Mind #2
Jonathan Tisch of Loews Hotels, another Democratic supporter backing the convention, said his motivation was the potential tourism dollars for the city.

"The convention coming to New York is so important economically and emotionally that it's necessary for all 8 million New Yorkers -- no matter what their party stripes are -- to support this event," said Tisch, who also heads the city's tourism agency.

Okay, yeah the budget crisis. Isn't it interesting that Democrats are willing to put aside partisanship when it comes to doing something that will help in a practical way? I seriously doubt Boston Republicans will ante up and kick in for the Democratic Convention.

Mind #1 wins. The very fact that there will be no kind of quid pro quo for this should be the first clue. This is yet another example of Democrats being too reasonable for their own good. I hope the New York Dems redeem themselves by really breaking the bank for the Democrats when the time comes.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

This is a nightmare.
When Rumsfield says crap like this I comfort myself by imagining that when he's chained to the wall of Satan's boudoir, part of the fun and games will involve having that long list of statements read back to him every time be cries for mercy.
The Benton Harbor riots feel all too familiar. Why do people act so surprised when this keeps happening?

When they threw the bricks and smashed the windows, when they set the blazes that devoured a dozen buildings over the past two harrowing nights, the people of this depressed city on Lake Michigan were not just angry about the 28-year-old motorcyclist killed early Monday in a high-speed police chase.

They were still simmering, many said, over 7-year-old Trent Patterson, who died in a police chase a few years back, and Arthur Partee, who was strangled by police officers only two months ago. They said they were still seething over a teenager's mysterious drowning in the St. Joseph's River in 1991, and the man who was shot in the back by an officer the year before.

The most insidious form of racism is passive. Racism isn't so much burning crosses any more as it is neglect, fear, apathy, White Flight. It's allowing a town like St. Josepth to flourish just across the river.

"It's like two different Americas," said Alex Kotlowitz, whose 1998 book, "The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma," examined the 1991 drowning of a 16-year-old Benton Harbor boy who was either running from the police after breaking into a car or lynched for dating a white girl, depending on where you live.

"It's completely -- economically, spiritually and geographically -- isolated," Mr. Kotlowitz said of Benton Harbor."I''m not surprised at the anger; I felt it. You could tell it had a lot more to it than one individual's death."

When riots happen, we don't see the people anymore. We see monsters who destroy their own homes. We look at these actions and decide that monsters who set fires and break windows deserve their squalor and poverty. We pour more money into law enforcement and declare Welfare dead. And we wash our hands of South Central, and Watts, and Benton Harbor. And when it happens again we wonder why this all feels so familiar.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Eric A. takes issue with all the "Bush is a moron" stories in the media.

Eric, you know better than this.

I know Bush is not a moron by virtue of his ability to achieve what he wants to achieve despite what often look like unbeatable odds. And I know that his desire to be thought of as a moron by his adversaries is a big part of his strength.

First of all Bush has never faced "unbeatable odds". His life does not allow for them. His life has PRIVILEDGE embossed on it, and when those are your circumstances "ability" doesn't apply. Ability? What ability? Every so-called accomplishment of his is due to the ability of his father and his cronies, or Karl Rove. Until Rove secured the Texas governorship, Bush's life was a series of narrow escapes, failures, and cover-ups.

If Bush were a retard or an imbecile he would deserve our pity. But he's a moron; a cavalier, dangerous, manipulative moron, and therefore he deserves our disdain and ridicule. The world is full of people like him, successful people who despite their lack of talent and intelligence achieve the trappings of greatness and fool the world into believing they have more on the ball than meets the eye. They have rich parents and their parents have rich friends and smart friends who work together to see that these morons never actually reap what they sow.

It would be better if Bush were smarter. At least then the outrage would be tempered with a grudging respect. But he's not. He's uninformed, uncurious, and unashamed about both.

I say just ignore these moron stories. Even if they're true, and the president is the idiot he sometimes appears to be, what does that make us I mean, the man kicks liberal ass just about every day and nobody seems to know what to do about it. If that’s moronic, well, help...

That doesn't make him smarter. It makes us weaker. None of this would be happening right now if Gore & Co. had showed a little more spine. I say post these stories everywhere. Each one is a reminder of how we failed and how important it is that we succeed next year.
Here is one of those edicts that is specifically designed for all us whiners who've been wondering what happened to the compassion in this conservative.

President Bush issued guidelines today barring federal agents from using race or ethnicity in their routine investigations, but the policy carves out clear exemptions for investigations involving terrorism and national security matters.

The new policy, representing the first time that the federal government has imposed across the board guidelines on racial profiling, governs the conduct of 70 federal law enforcement agencies. A narcotics agent, for instance, cannot focus on a specific neighborhood simply because of its racial makeup, the policy states

Here's how it breaks down.

Racial Profiling Not Allowed
The authorities cannot conduct more traffic stops and other aggressive tactics to increase the number of drug arrests in a neighborhood, based on its racial composition. Unless there is "pertinent" data like 911 calls or arrest trends, "this effort would be improper because it is based on generalized stereotypes."


Racial Information Allowed

The authorities receive an "all points bulletin" giving the race, hair color, age range and color of the car being driven by a fleeing bank robber. Officers may use the race to decide which drivers to pull over.

Officials receive information indicating that terrorists of a particular ethnicity plan to hijack a plane in California in the next week. Transportation officials may subject men of that ethnicity boarding planes in California to "heightened scrutiny."

Let's read that again."The authorities receive an "all points bulletin" giving the race, hair color, age range and color of the car being driven by a fleeing bank robber. Officers may use the race to decide which drivers to pull over."

Now let's say the person was in question was described as a long-haired Hispanic male in his thirties driving a 1992 Red Cheverolet Cavalier. By that reasoning you can be pulling over anybody who looks Hispanic, male or female, old or young, driving whatever kind of car, and still claim that you are not racial profiling

"So long as they are not motivated by racial animus," the authorities can use that information to increase law enforcement operations in the area.


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Damn those--helpful French!

On a more serious note, the lack of knowlege by members of Congress on the state of affairs in Afghanistan is more than a little troubling.
It must be tough to be a down-home Texan when your own dad can't seem to let go of his New England wine-swilling roots.

Laura and the twins seemed to have more fun.

While the first lady, Laura Bush, was seen poking around a bookstore in town, and his daughters, Barbara and Jenna, now safely past their 21st birthdays, were reliably reported to have stepped into Federal Jacks, the local microbrewery and gathering point for college students, Mr. Bush never came into town. On Saturday, he attended the wedding of a Bush cousin at a beautiful stone church for 50 minutes. He skipped the reception.

Poor President Segway was apparently so miserable he couldn't concentrate on pretending to concentrate on work.

Ever eager to portray the president as fully engaged in his work, even on vacation, the White House detailed how immersed Mr. Bush was in the Middle East peace process. After all, he arrived here scarcely a week after organizing two back-to-back summit meetings, one with Arab leaders in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, and the other in Aqaba, Jordan, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian authority.

But change port towns, shift from the Red Sea to the Atlantic, and the details just fly out of your mind.

So outside the church on Sunday, when Mr. Bush was making the case that his administration was right on top of the "road map," as he calls the peace plan, the president said, "Of course, we just got out — Ambassador Welsh is there now, and he's working the process."

The White House transcript of his remarks was helpfully footnoted, indicating that the president meant to refer to his just-appointed personal Mideast envoy, John Wolf.

Helpful, those footnotes. I think history books will need one to put next to this entire term:

*The legitimacy of George W. Bush's Presidency has never been confirmed to the satisfaction of historians. For further reading, please the chapters on Election Reform, The Fall of Christian Fundamentalism in the U.S., and War Crimes & Impeachment.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Margaret Atwood on George Orwell
I missed "Meet The Press" with Gen. Wesley Clark, but Atrios didn't.

No, I'm not on the "Clark for President" Team but I'm glad he shows signs of being on our side.
Bittersweet In Tulia

Bob Herbert's coverage of this story I think deserves at least a small chunk of credit for seeing that this story got the attention that it did. NPR's "Morniing Edition" mentioned the outcome but not Herbert's series on Tulia, which was the first time I ever saw anything on the story.

Reading this for the first time, despite everything I know about racism in this country, I was floored by the bold-faced bigotry of this town. No evidence, rock solid alibis, and the worst still happened. If anyone doesn't believe that racism is alive and well, this story will certainly disabuse you of that notion.

People often say that the rural South has the unfair reputation of being racist and it is unfair to generalize. But towns like Tulia and Jasper are two examples of why this generalization applies. Cities like a Atlanta, Montgomery, and Memphis have to deal with national scrutiny and public outcry; thus, they are forced to become more egalitarian and progressive. Small towns are isolated, insular, and go unnoticed until something terrible happens. Nobody asks them, or forces them to change, so they don't.