Friday, June 27, 2008
"Yesterday, I expressed frustration with Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court's decision to declare the death penalty unconstitutional as a punishment for child rape. Obama's position may be politically expedient, I argued, but it's wrong on the merits. Jeffrey Rosen, however, has a good catch from The Audacity of Hope suggesting that Obama's take is actually tethered to a fairly long-standing belief in the applicability of the death penalty to crimes beyond murder:
"Obama's support for the execution of child rapists wasn't invented for the presidential election; it dates back to The Audacity of Hope, where he wrote: "While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."
Some times Obama panders, but sometimes his mental complexity does lead to nuances in thinking that cross partisan lines. The question remains: Will he have the wisdom to know which to follow?
Seriously though this is great, great news. But one thing, how is it that Bush can so seamlessly go from calling Obama to an appeaser for wanting to negotiate with our enemies to himself negotiating with our enemies without every news outlet calling him out for hypocrisy? Either Bush is a political genius or the news doesn't give a damn. Gee, I wonder which one it is?
Note: That Times link I posted does give a somewhat tepid acknowledgement of Bush's duplicity, but, in my opinion, that in no way balances their reporting of Bush's 'appeasement' remarks.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The best thing about the ruling? It allows me to link to the coolest widget ever:
DC v Heller - Free Legal Forms
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"On Tuesday he said he was following the spirit of that promise by calling attention to the unfair treatment of blacks - in this case the arrests of suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones.
"What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason," Imus said. "I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once."
He called the flurry of criticism surrounding the comments "ridiculous" and said that his program's cast is now more diverse than ever - and includes a black producer and two black co-hosts.
"How insane would I have to be? What would I be thinking?" Imus wondered aloud.
Co-host Karith Foster - who is black - came to Imus' defense during Tuesday's broadcast, saying, "People who interpret what you said as racist clearly didn't hear the whole thing, and they don't know who you are and what the program is about - and they obviously haven't been listening."
The latest comments by Imus to come under scrutiny were aired on Monday's broadcast. During a conversation about Jones' run-ins with the law, Imus asked, "What color is he?" Sports announcer Warner Wolf said Jones - formerly known as Pacman - is "African-American." Imus responded: "There you go. Now we know."
I don't even know where to begin--the fact that Imus said something so blatantly racist to start with, or the fact that he chose this lame excuse to end. And then to say that Pac-Man Jones is an example of racism...Pac-Man Jones? Really? Really? He's an example of stupidity sure, but racism? Man this is so weak.
Imus seems like the kind of guy who'd burn a cross on your lawn and then tell you the next day that he did it to show you that racism is still alive. Or better yet, the thief who breaks into a bank, and when he gets caught says he did it to show how security is so lax.
But what do you expect? He's friggin Imus! What, you thought he'd 'changed'? Then I guess the joke's on you.
"However, a conflicting report said the soldier apparently fell from a vantage point he was occupying on a high building, from where he was securing the event, and the bullet that killed him misfired from his gun."
Poor guy was probably just trying to get a better view of Sarkozy's wife.
Monday, June 23, 2008
"There are two ways to think about this existence we have. One of them is that it's Wednesday and it's three fifteen and we're talking here in my home, and at four o'clock I have to leave for another meeting. Now, that's a reality. But there's another reality. We're in the solar system of a second-rate star, three quarters of the way out on a spiral arm of an average galaxy in a thing called the Local Group. And ours is only one of billions of galaxies, each of which has billions of stars. Some star systems are binary, and there could be a planet that revolves around a center of gravity between two binary stars. So you'd have two sunrises and two sunsets every day. One could be a red giant, the other a white dwarf; two different-sized, -shaped, and -colored suns in the sky. And there might be other planets and comets. In other words, fuck Wednesday, fuck three fifteen, fuck four o'clock, fuck the United States, fuck the earth. It's all temporal bullshit. I like thinking about being out there and not thinking about the corporate structure, not worrying about freedom, and not worrying about guns. I chose a life of ideas. That entertains me. That nourishes me."
"According to this eye-opening Washington Post op-ed, in Vladimir Putin's Russia it's possible for government officials and well-connected individuals to commit crimes with impunity. I'm glad I don't live in a country like that!
"Here if the government were to ask telecom firms to illegally cooperate with an illegal surveillance operation, we'd ensure the rule of law continues to operate by changing the law so that complying with such requests will be legal in the future and also bestowing retroactive immunity on the cooperating firms. And if the Vice President's top aide were convicted of a crime, the president would need to step in and commute his sentence. It's these kind of procedures that keep our country safe and free!"
But at least we don't torture! And everyone gets their day in cou...oh.
"The Netherlands is poised to ban smoking tobacco in public places, but smoking marijuana will still be allowed in licensed "coffee shops" as long as it's not mixed with tobacco.
"I also note that I learned went I went to the Netherlands this past fall that there are fewer coffee shops around than there used to be, and that there have been a variety of measures put into place to make it more difficult to get a license. This is in part a consequence of the socially conservative smallish Christian Union Party joining the governing coalition."
Note to the hawks in Congress: Take heed, this is the slippery slope you've been looking for. Once smoking tobacco goes so goes pot, 'shrooms, and then it's just a hop-skip-and a jump to shutting down the red light district. Then they'll be as wack as US. Is this really what we want? It's time to invade. Let Operation Cheech and Chong commence.
"So to make a long story short, when talking about this issue it helps to be precise. All across the United States we have a problem with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds doing poorly in school. We also see kids from disadvantaged backgrounds overrepresented in urban school systems. Consequently, average results from city school systems tend to be below average. But when you use appropriate demographic controls you see that there's huge city-to-city variation and also a huge amount being determined by the demographics.
"Some cities -- i.e., Washington DC -- really do have sub-standard school systems and would do well to implement reforms that made DCPS get results more like what you see in Boston or New York. But even if all cities did get the level of performance that you see from the best cities, there would still be a problem insofar as poor kids tend to do badly even in "good" schools in the United States. "
I feel like I guy listening to a joke right before the punchline, "so now what?" Is it enough to say well they suck, but not in the way you think they suck? And really has he done anything to change the idea that poor kids don't do well in schools?
Instead of blogging from this POV he'd do more of a service to his readers to tell us how we can change the stats rather than making excuses for the stats.
"I don’t like words that hide the truth. I don’t like words that conceal reality. I don’t like euphemisms, or euphemistic language.
"And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation.
"For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I’ll give you an example of that. There’s a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to it’s absolute peak and maximum. Can’t take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap.
"In the first world war, that condition was called Shell Shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, Shell Shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago.
"Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called Battle Fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell Shock! Battle Fatigue.
"Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called Operational Exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It’s totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.
"Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"I’ll bet you if we’d of still been calling it Shell Shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I’ll betcha. I’ll betcha.
God bless that man.
"Mugabe is placing a very simple bet. He is betting that nowhere in the UN or the African Union is there enough of a commitment to democracy, human rights, or anything decent that would compel them to do the hard work necessary to drive Mugabe from power. Thabo Mbeki doesn't want to get involved, and at the UN, China and Russia will claim that doing anything would violate Zimbabwe's "sovereignty."
"If anyone wanted to prove him wrong, now would be the time. Personally, I think this is the sort of thing that calls for Stone Cold John Bolton, but the multinationalists are convinced that quiet, less confrontational diplomacy is the way to go.
"Fine. Mugabe needs to go. Prove it."
Obviously I'm not exactly a John Bolton, "let's bomb Iran" fan, and I believe in multilateral negotiations. But we should be clear that what the US and alot of other countries consider to be negotiation are verbal circle jerks and they should be held accountable for their impotence. There is a line between outright invasion and futile rhetoric and we need to find it and hold it with the same intensity that the net roots can summon for FISA, and the Neo-cons can summon for military intervention. To do that you need dedication and resolve, two traits that are lost in the UN.
"A fascinating little moment on Fox News Sunday today. Bill Kristol airs the idea that if Obama looks as if he will win the election, Bush or Israel may be more likely to attack Iran before next January. Bush could say: Obama made me do it! Kristol also raises the prospect of Saudi Arabia and Egypt going nuclear in response to an Obama presidency. I think we'll see many more of these dire warnings if Obama looks like the next president - and he's increasingly the favorite."
Could it happen? Well that depends how you pivot on the question. If you think that GWB got us into Iraq for oil and greed, then probably not--they made their loot. But if you think that GWB is a true believer in the righteousness of bringing democracy to the Middle East and creating peace through war, then the situation becomes alot more plausible, but no less disastrous.
Personally I'm with Marshall. With stories like this popping up, and his wiffing of that FISA compromise, Obama now runs the risk of alienating his progressive base. It feels really nasty when you find out that McCain is probably right on something, "Mr. McCain advocates eliminating the multibillion-dollar annual government subsidies that domestic ethanol has long enjoyed...he also opposes the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that the United States slaps on imports of ethanol made from sugar cane, which packs more of an energy punch than corn-based ethanol and is cheaper to produce." Especially when it's something that Obama should be for.
I understand that Obama isn't Jesus Christ, and that he does need to unite elements of the country such as Republicans and Clinton-Democrats, but considering that he has the most independent and powerful fundraising apparatus in the game today, he might consider tossing the progressive net roots a bone, because he does not want the Kos fanatics on his ass...
...or WOTP. Cause, you know, we know people too.
"Opposition spokesman Nqobizitha Mlilo refused to comment on the report and referred callers to The Hague.
"Another spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, told the Associated Press that about 60 people were arrested in the raid on the headquarters earlier on Monday and that most of the people taken away were women and children who had fled state-sponsored political violence. He did not immediately have further details.
"Attempts to reach the police spokesman were not immediately successful."
I can't help feeling like I've seen this before. Maybe in a movie that wasn't award winning and critically acclaimed. Yeah that must be it.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
"He's not scary because he's old. He's scary. And, coincidentally, he's old. No disputing either fact.In fact, he [John McCain] kind of reminds me of this cat:"
"Actually, McCain and Col Tigh from BSG have a lot in common. Both have records of long military service, both spent time as a prisoner of war, both were tortured by the enemy. Except that Tigh, it turns out, was really a Cylon all along. See, that's why we can't vote for McCain. The dude's a Cylon sleeper agent.
"I kid, y'all. It's just jokes."
Thursday, June 19, 2008
"I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.
"The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice."
"They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.
"Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership – the people who murdered 3000 Americans – have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism"
Doesn't Obama understand that Bush and McCain are tough on terrorism and that he is soft on terrorism? Who the hell does he think he is? Rudy Giuliani?
"One thing is for sure: McCain would never run as racist a campaign as the Clintons just did."
In my best movie announcer voice: "This summer, Andrew Sullivan, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!"
PS: Of course Obama's team totally won't bring up McCain's age. Totally.
Shush, don't tell anyone, but Obama...he's a politician.
One of the things I hate the most as an Obama supporter are other Obama supporters. You know who I mean, the real fanatical ones who think that when Obama comes into office water is going to turn into petrol, people are going to fart nuggets of gold, and the Starship Enterprise will begin a 10 year mission to explore strange new worlds and all that other nonsense. That shit is just annoying.
But even more annoying is that those fanatical perceptions have become, to some, the foundation of Obama's candidacy. The criticism I most often hear from Obama detractors is that, "I don't trust him." Now excluding some of the racism in that statement (no white folks, he's not going to enslave you), I can see how if you have that perception that Obama's going to create this magical 'change' then yeah, you wouldn't trust him, nor should you trust him. I wouldn't trust the guy offering me the magic beans for my car either.
But the fact is, Obama is a politician. He's not an average politician, and he's not the worse of the pack by any stretch of the imagination, but he's a politician, and thus he does things that will enable him to win elections.
Example: As Cros notes on his blog Obama has broken his promise to accept public financing if McCain followed suit. McCain is and Obama's backing out. Obama's reasons are pretty obvious:
"But hey, at least he was honest about why, right? He said something like - "Look, I think I'm going to be able to raise a boatload more money than John McCain, which would make that whole "level playing field" idea contemplated by the public financing system kind of stupid, from my end."
"Well, he either said that or some weasel comment about how the evil Republicans made him do it. "
Yeah, that's a bit disappointing, just like that this is disappointing, but that's politics.
It sounds obvious, but its not. A while back I did a write up for AllHipHop.com on Presidential Underdogs, candidates that for whatever reason just couldn't cut it. In my discussion I discovered that, for the most part, those who showed the most conviction, honesty, and integrity don't do well on a national scale. Why? I wrote:
"Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time, and this sentiment is illuminated through the failures of the above men. We love them precisely because they lack the Machiavellian traits that make people successful in politics. They don’t pander, they are forthright, and unable (sometimes through their own arrogance) to equivocate. Unfortunately it takes all of the above to become the President of the United States. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Bill Clinton."
I suppose what I'm saying is that while character is important in deciding who's going to be president, we should also couple that with a dose of pragmatism. If you're voting for Obama on the intangible premise of 'change' you need to sit down and create some concrete metrics for the type of change you're looking for. And if you're voting for McCain because...well for whatever your reasons are, you need concrete metrics as well. But if you're voting for a candidate because they're 'honest' or 'men of integrity' or 'patriotic' expect to get let down. Because if they really are impeccable examples of those traits, they're probably not politicians.
PS: And in case you're wondering, my metric for voting for Obama? A) He's making withdrawing troops from Iraq a priority. Will it be in his first year, or two? Not sure, and I don't think he's sure, but at least I believe he'll make that US policy. B) I think he's the best option to stabilize and rein in executive power and restore at least a modicum of law on a national level. C) I think he's the best option to address the crimes of torture which has been encouraged by our executive. D) I believe he will appoint moderate liberal judges to the Supreme Court.
You'd be correct to ask, "well he opted out of public financing, why do you think he'll live up to those other promises?" A) I can't put his decision about financing on the same level as his policy commitments, especially since if he doesn't get into office he can't install the policies I want and B) Because I have no other choice. At the end of the day he's the only viable candidate who is offering me what I want.
Of course if you're voting for the fart nuggets and Starship Enterprise, I'm not going to stop you, just don't call my house.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Senator David Boren, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
Greg Craig, former director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
Representative Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder
Dr. Tony Lake, former National Security Advisor
Senator Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Secretary of Defense William Perry
Dr. Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State
Representative Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner
Jim Steinberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor
"Notable absences include Brzezinski, Samantha Power, Rob Malley, Ben Rhodes, Lee Hamilton[Who's there], and others who existed on the interesting left edge of the Obama foreign policy universe. These working groups aren't necessarily that important, and it's not hard to figure out why the Obama campaign didn't want to explain Malley's inclusion to hardline Jewish groups, but it's disappointing. Nothing personal, but Madeleine Albright is not "change we can believe in."
Matt mentions something even more disappointing:
"Justin Logan reminds us that William Perry, who is on the list, wanted to bomb North Korea in 2006 and John McCain wanted to bomb North Korea in 2003 (and also, I believe, back in 1994)."
This isn't something that wouldn't make me not vote for him, but as a progressive I'm saddened. Looks like we're going back to Clinton foriegn policy. Again better than Bush (by FAR) but nothing to write home about.
"For those who, with good reason, worry about the solvency of transfer programs in an age of population decline, replacement immigration looks like a partial solution, and therefore xenophobia is part of the problem. But for many if not most of the people preoccupied by fertility rates, immigration is no solution at all. The question isn’t about whether the United States, Singapore, or France will be without people in 2100; it’s about what kind of people will populate those countries: what they will look like, what they will teach in their schools, what God they will bow before. Mark Steyn’s America Alone warns that within a few generations Europe will be a Muslim continent. When Pat Buchanan discusses depopulation in The Death of the West, he does not proceed to suggest we replace children of European descent with Mexican laborers. Pro-natalist policies in Quebec, Singapore, and until recently Israel implicitly target a preferred ethnic group, attempting to fill the future with the demographics desired by the current political class."
Megan & Wilkinson & Ross discuss. I haven't reviewed the whole article so I'm reserving criticism of it, but I have a few off the cuff opinions regarding this entire issue. First off, as someone who has read Buchanan's Eurocentric books, I immediately draw away from this topic mostly because the issue skirts the fine line between seriously sociology and xenophobic racism. Yeah, of course I love western style liberalism and trade (which ironically is the reason why we're not exactly eager to have babies), but as a black man when I think the high price minorities have had to pay to create that system I'm at odds whether to encourage it or to let it stand on it's own merits. And really isn't that what the discussion should be about? Any cultural change in America would have to be done relatively slowly, meaning that the more ingrained, and, in my opinion, more important aspects of western liberalism would be the slowest to be overcome, but yet they should be the least likely to go since it's the reason that most people want to come to America in the first place. Indeed it's the reason the founding fathers developed the experiment. So in my eyes I'm less concerned what religion this country takes on, or what music they listen to, or what food they eat, or even what language they speak (of course, as a English teacher, I hope they wait till I die to take away my industry), than in maintaining the laws and traditions that allow them to respect the freedom of others to maintain their independence from the cultural standard.
So basically I guess I'm alright with Mexico taking over America as long as they keep the ACLU. How do you say 'civil liberties' in Spanish?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Personally, I'm more outraged that McCain is now left to co-op Rudy Giuliani slogans. Maybe he should take him as VP, because, you know, Rudy's a great campaigner.
"A McClatchy investigation found that instead of confining terrorists, Guantanamo often produced more of them by rounding up common criminals, conscripts, low-level foot soldiers and men with no allegiance to radical Islam — thus inspiring a deep hatred of the United States in them — and then housing them in cells next to radical Islamists."
Monday, June 16, 2008
While I'm sure all the talk will be about Woods (deservingly so), I'd like to give a shout out to Rocco for displaying temerity and grace under fire. It was easy to see why so many other players like golfing with him.
All in all, I can think of worse ways to spend a Monday.
Friday, June 13, 2008
"Whatever my issues with Russert's coverage, he was there, week after week, night after night, playing the bulldog against politicians in the way he thought best. It was quite a commitment to American politics, and over the years, gave rise to some remarkable moments. Because I think folks should be remembered for their best work, here's a transcript of his September 2002 interview with Dick Cheney. If the press had been as skeptical and aggressive in the run-up to the war as Russert was on that morning, sitting next to the vice president, we never would have invaded Iraq. But for now, it's going to be strange indeed to turn on the TV on Sundays and not hear his voice. Presumably, he's up somewhere beyond the cloudline, hectoring God about His inconsistencies. "But Lord, in Exodus 6:12, you clearly said...""
It's really weird. I never met the guy, and his style was mostly grating, but I'm really, really miss him. And in all honesty, while he wasn't Cronkite or anything, there's plenty of hacks around who weren't worthy of carrying his jockstrap.
"Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans."
My God, who would have ever thought that people in public office might recieve graft! Let the outrage begin.
What are you outraged by today?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
"Sen. Obama is a superstar in Africa, and should he become President, his popularity in Africa will continue to skyrocket, and his first official visit to the continent will be huge. I wonder what effect it would have if he, while speaking to a stadium full of thousands of people, in a speech broadcast worldwide, called out dictators like Mugabe, Omar Al-Bashir of the Sudan, and lesser known but nearly as bad apples such as Eritrea's Isayas Afewerki or Equitorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema, and told them, and more importantly, told Africans and African leaders in no uncertain terms that they were hurting their nations and their continent, and that it was past time for them to go. Obama's used strong words when speaking about Mugabe before, but speaking as the President would go a lot farther than speaking as a Senator from Illinois.
"What could such a speech provoke? Could it provoke open revolt? Maybe in Zimbabwe, which is getting close to that already, less likely in a place like Eritrea where the government has more of a stranglehold on the media. Hopefully it would first provoke leaders to finally tell Mugabe that the game was up, and his best option would be to hightail it out of Zimbabwe as fast as possible.
"Whether or not Obama would make such a bold statement is, of course, an open question. As President, he might just use his first trip to Africa to offer praise to reformists and promise bucketloads of foreign aid - less controversial stances that wouldn't jeopardize his popularity. It is apparently asking a lot of a President to take such a stance - after all, nobody believes President Bush is terribly shy about confronting dictators, and he, despite being fairly well-liked in Africa, hasn't confronted Mugabe and his ilk the way one might expect. But regardless of how you feel about his stance on any other issue, the truth is Obama would start his Presidency with influence in Africa that John McCain (or even Bush, for that matter) will never be able to match.
"And if you thought he'd really do it, you'd have to think a little harder about just maybe even voting for him."
Props to Cros on this one, and for discussing Mugabe and other global issues on his site. I've been so immersed in seeing Obama through the lens of what he can do for the US as president (including pulling us out of Iraq) that I really haven't thought about what kind of change his presidency could make in Africa (or the rest of the world for that matter) other than perception. Of course a part of this has to do with the little coverage Africa gets in the M$M, and another part has to do with liberal reluctance to think about foreign intervention post-Bush, but the argument Cros makes about Obama's potential soft power is awfully persuasive if effecting change in Africa is an issue on your radar. I can't seeing this argument playing much of a role in the general election, but if Clooney, Cheadle, the Pitts and the Celeb crew endorsed him and phrased their argument for him in this way it might snowball and have the added bonus of forcing a President Obama to take more direct and sincere action in Africa other than just, 'offer praise to reformists and promise bucketloads of foreign aid'.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I feel that his presidency would affect an entire paradigm shift between Africa and other non-white countries and the West. Much as Obama's candidacy threatens to destroy much of the dynamic of race politics in America, so could it potentially threaten the racial and post-imperalist politics that helps maintain dictatorships across the globe, from Mugabe to Chavez. But let me not jump the shark here; needless to say Cros has given me alot to think about.
"By the way, here is what the inscription at the Confederate Memorial says, in words Webb quoted in his 1990 speech (courtesy of Alex Massie):
"NOT FOR FAME OR REWARD, NOT FOR PLACE OR FOR RANK, NOT LURED BY AMBITION OR GOADED BY NECESSITY, BUT IN SIMPLE OBEDIENCE TO DUTY AS THEY UNDERSTOOD IT, THESE MEN SUFFERED ALL, SACRIFICED ALL, DARED ALL, AND DIED.
"Perhaps this "has the potential" to alienate people? If so, they're not understanding what it says. As Webb put it at the time, "this simple sentence spoke for all soldiers in all wars, men who must always trust their lives to the judgment of their leaders.." The cause of the Confederacy was unjust and deserved defeat. That didn't make all its soldiers bad."
In a way I think that beyond being a foil against McCain, it's this attitude of Webb's that can really benefit the Democratic party. As MY brings up in his latest book, historically (or at least in recent history) the GOP has been the party of defense, and Democrats the party of domestic issues. But I've always felt that the GOP has been the party of the military-industrial complex while the Democrats are the party of the solider (just like they're supposed to be the party of any blue collar worker). Yet somehow that phrasing of the issue has gotten lost in our debate. Webb is just the right man to shift that paradigm.
If you're not, then this will be complete liberal elite BS.
Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.
If Obama's choice of Johnson was a mistake in the first place, then that's one thing. But if the campaign doesn't believe they made an error -- and they don't -- why give the Republicans a trophy head?
If prior to reading this post, you had no clue who Jim Johnson was, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, if you polled the country, about half of them would ask if you were talking about the former Cowboys coach, the other half would have no clue. Which is to say this is a story about nothing."
It's not quite a story about nothing, and yet its not that important either. Look, McCain at this point is looking for anything to blunt Obama's momentum, and the Johnson story was a great foil against Obama's 'outside the beltway' image and they pushed it enough to get Johnson to step down. Ambers does make the point though that he really didn't have to--and in a way Obama conceded the point. If the question is about lobbyists working on campaigns then McCain should be under much more scrutiny, considering some of his friends, but it doesn't seem that Obama wants to mix it up with him yet. I'm always down for a good fight, but considering Team Obama's track record, who am I to argue with their judgement?
"Among all women, Sen. Obama has a big advantage: 52% to 33% over Sen. McCain. Among all men, Sen. McCain's lead is 49% to 41%, less than half his edge among white men only. Sen. Obama leads among independent voters, 41% to 36%."
This is even better:
"By 62% to 28%, Hispanic voters support Sen. Obama. "That does not bode well for Republicans" in the Southwest, the Republican pollster added, in swing states such as Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, where Hispanic voters are numerous enough to tip the result. Sen. McCain, who comes from a state with a large Hispanic population and has favored liberalizing policies toward illegal immigrants, has hopes of matching Mr. Bush's record of winning more than 40% of Hispanic voters."
And only because I'm a bitter, vindictive bastard:
"To Sen. Obama's advantage, the Journal/NBC poll results seem to debunk two widely held conclusions from the Democrats' nomination contest. Exit polls of Democratic voters suggested many of Sen. Clinton's supporters wouldn't vote for Sen. Obama in November if he is the Democratic nominee. In particular, pro-Clinton Hispanics were generally thought to be cold to Sen. Obama.
"In the poll, however, voters who chose Sen. Clinton in the primaries said by a 3-to-1 ratio, 61% to 19%, that they plan to vote for Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain in November."
What do you say about that Nelson?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
"Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich spent some 290 minutes on the House floor Monday, reading Articles of Impeachment against President George Bush. Not that you would notice, as there was a virtual media blackout on the story, but Keith Olbermann ran with it right out of the gate on Tuesday’s Countdown."
Maybe if we did at least hold hearings we could get past this discussion. Sorry if it takes up too much of your precious time Glenn.
"Senator Jim Webb, touted by many as a vice presidential candidate who would help shore up Barack Obama with Southerners and those uncomfortable with his lack of national security experience, has an “affinity” for the Confederacy..."
I agree with Joyner's ideological point here, which to me would allow the coupling of Obama and Webb:
"In a complex world, one can simultaneously admire Robert E. Lee’s character, J.E.B. Stuart’s generalship, and the courage of those who charged up Little Round Top while damning the institution of slavery."
Plus it would make a great narrative to boot.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saved by Senate Republicans, big oil companies dodged an attempt Tuesday to slap them with a windfall profits tax and take away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the record gasoline prices that have the nation fuming.
"GOP senators shoved aside the Democratic proposal, arguing that punishing Big Oil won't do a thing to lower the $4-a-gallon-price of gasoline that is sending economic waves across the country. High prices at the pump are threatening everything from summer vacations to Meals on Wheels deliveries to the elderly."
You know, this probably would have been just as useless as the holiday tax that Clinton and McCain endorsed, but jezz wouldn't it have been nice to nip at big oil for a change? I mean throw a dog a bone will ya?
On second thought, if the windfall tax had of been put in place then I'm sure the oil companies would have just raised up prices to offset that, so basicly we're screwed either way.
Unless you ride a segway that is.
"At first I thought this was some fake product that someone came up with, but apparently it's fairly popular in the south (coming to other parts of the country later this year). It's called Drank, and it takes a different track than all of the energy drinks that are on the market now. In fact, it has the opposite result: it makes you relaxed!
"The press release says that it's made with melatonin, rose hips, and valerian, and is being pushed as the "anti-energy drink." The slogan is "slow your roll," and the company encourages people to drink it for "extreme relaxation" and to have a "stress-free state of mind."
Note though, drinking this and smoking pot will lead you to take a Rumpelstiltskin type nap.
Hat Tip: Kiko
[In regards to the supposite Michelle Obama "Whitey rant"] "The most remarkable thing about this rumor has always been that it somehow kept lurching along like some George Romero extra despite being utterly, completely, I’ve-got-a-Nigerian-bank-account-to-share-with-you unbelievable in about twelve different ways. The Ivy League educated wife of a half-white state senator (Hi Grandma! Hi Grandpa!), speaking fully three decades after the release of Cleopatra Jones, does a 30 minute rant about “whitey” with cameras rolling? Is there any element of this that doesn’t positively shriek “bullshit”? I have trouble fathoming how far gone down the ideological rabbit hole you’d have to be to even listen to it through once without giggling, never mind find it “believable”.
"Update: You know, that’s probably backward. What I should be asking is: What exactly have we heard out of Michelle Obama that makes this believable? There was her Princeton dissertation on race and assimilation, which folks tried desperately to mine for something controversial without much success. There was some utterly unremarkable Democratic boilerplate about “moving bars” that pundits like Hugh Hewitt made a profoundly lame attempt to cast as bitter and anti-American. But what has she said that makes it plausible that she’s actually a modern Malcolm XX?"
"Surveying some of these reactions, looks as though a lot of people regard standard leftish rhetoric that would pass without comment in a John Edwards speech as angry and threatening coming from a black woman. Which does suggest another possibility: Suppose there is some kernel of fact, some ur-tape, back at the source of this game of Chinese whispers. (Can one still say “Chinese whispers”?) If there is, I’ll wager that it consists of some uncomfortable but uncontroversial (or at any rate, true) observations about the history of race in America, in which the word “whitey” does not appear, but which nevertheless sound like racist hate speech to some observers. The reactions to Jeremiah Wright’s inflammatory sermons have, I think, shown that there are plenty of people out there who, above and beyond their antipathy to his incendiary mode of delivery, get extraordinarily touchy about any reminder that this country has a long and relatively recent history of treating black people badly."
Even obviously false rumors can gain traction if they validate someone's world view. The only way to combat that is by thinking, and not just about the rumor, but about your world view. As someone against McCain I could easily fall into thinking that that crap out there about the Viet Cong putting a chip in his head is true. But I think I can still be opposed to McCain and be intelligent at the same time. In fact I'd like to think that being rational is more important that who wins the presidency, but maybe that's just me.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Hat Tip: Swampland
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Here's a few comments from around the web on her speech last night. My favorite quote was from Dowd:
"Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn’t met the Clintons."
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
"An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency's public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general's office said yesterday."
This should be a bigger story than it will undoubtedly be. NASA is supposed to be America's premiere agency in terms of scientific investigation, this investigation inherently linked to National Security (as anyone who ever saw Armageddon will tell you). Politicizing their findings and covering up the truth puts the US in danger. Perhaps not as much as lying us into war, but you get the drift.
PS: James Hansen WAS right.