March 31, 2008

Still the worst President we have ever had

In case anyone was checking.

And this is a good example of why. The other day, Bush took to the mound to throw out the ceremonial pitch for the Washington Nationals. Perhaps the best thing he has done in office, he threw the best pitch I have ever seen in that kind of situation. The guy has an arm.

But unfortunately, he was out of his town-hall setting and was widely booed. (Is it wrong that makes me chuckle?) But Froomkin's point here is a good one, that this guy rarely, if ever, allows himself to face the broad spectrum of the American people. I think he really doesn't consider himself my president. He only serves those steadily decreasing few who like him.
"Back during Bush's Social Security barnstorming, University of Texas political scientist Jeffrey K. Tulis noted: 'Certainly, in the past, presidential advance teams have on occasion taken steps to assure friendly audiences. It has not been uncommon for presidents to seek invitations to speak at friendly venues. But systematically screening audiences. . . . may be a new phenomenon, and one that the president should be asked to defend and justify in terms of his constitutional obligations.'"


Later, in the same piece, Froomkin notes the increasing problem of the "lame duck" president both overseas and at home. When asked about that, he compares himself to Truman, or Lincoln. Never, oddly enough, to Hoover or Andrew Johnson. Of course not. He wants desperately to believe that his administration has not been a total disaster.
"The problem is that Mr. Bush's legacy is unambiguously dismal. He is leaving the economy in worse shape than he found it, with an extra $4-trillion added to the national debt for good measure.

"He presided over a vast expansion, and abuse, of the powers of his office. The legacy of Guantanamo, torture and wiretaps will not soon be forgotten.

"The war on terror has had few tangible successes and many apparent failures. And elsewhere in foreign policy, the record has been bleak. . . .
I am still waiting for the GWOT successes, but that will wait for another time. But in the kindest take, the list of successes for this Presidency could be summarized in a text message. Easily.
"It is possible that posterity will be equally kind to Mr. Bush. But if you're going to compare yourself to Mr. Truman, it helps to have your own equivalent of the Marshall Plan, the containment policy against Russia, the formation of NATO, the defence of South Korea and desegregation of the armed forces on your résumé. What in the Bush legacy even comes close?"

McCain the Maverick. whatever

For those interested in voting for John McCain, you might want to read this list of how he has, er., evolved on policy issues. Oops. Can't say that in conservative circles. Hmm. How he has intelligently designed his answers, perhaps? Wait. That doesn't really work either unless he was told to change his positions by an intelligent creator. Or at least an intelligent, Karl Rove-like advisor. Or even Karl Rove.

Let's just call them flip flops and be done with it. Unless that only applies to Democrats. And some of his are real doozies. The very things that he used to justify his claim to be a "different kind of Republican" have been thrown under the "Straight Talk Express." Of course, we should have known that when the same man who denounced Jerry Falwell as an agent of intolerance, but then hugged the most ridiculous of the religious right. Notice, btw, how many times in this list he opposes his own legislation. Even as much as John Kerry might have deserved criticism, he didn't come close to this level of flip flopping.

Oh, but I am sure republicans don't mind, and I fear mostly don't mind because McCain is essentially 4 more years of Bush. If you like this last 8 year disaster, then buckle up. But for those who have told me that this last 8 years was an abject failure, or even suggested that it was time for a change, this may not be your guy.

March 30, 2008


Gene Kelly's widow takes umbrage at the Bush comparison:
"Re ''Soft Shoe in Hard Times'' (column, March 16):

Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president's clumsy performances. To suggest that ''George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly'' represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker -- particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing -- would have sent him reeling.

Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.

Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

Patricia Ward Kelly
Los Angeles, March 16, 2008"
She had me at "articulate."

March 28, 2008

Our president and 4,000 dead

We reached that bloody milestone this week. Hard to think about this war any longer. What a monstrous catastrophe this administration gave us--and gave us rather casually. We were told we would win easily--that we would be greeted as liberators--that the oil revenues would pay for the reconstruction. Now 800 billion later, 4,000 dead, and no end in sight.

Caught this from a C&L post about Dana Perino having to answer questions about how the President responds to these deaths. She assures us that he grieves each and every one, and stops and prays about that loss. He assures us that he is sleeping fine and has no regrets. MediaBloodhound chronicles the ways this President has shown little regret about those deaths--from his joking about WMD to this last announcement where the milestone found him cuddling up with the Easter Bunny.
As Edward M. Gomez pointed out in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Noted the British newspaper the Daily Express yesterday: "Bush larked about with a 6-[foot-tall] Easter Bunny yesterday [Sunday, March 23] as his troops mourned their 4000th death in Iraq. The grim milestone was reached after four U.S. servicemen were killed when their patrol in southern Baghdad was hit by a roadside bomb on Easter Sunday. The president was pictured hugging the [Easter Bunny] at the White House as children...took over the South Lawn for the [annual] Easter Egg Roll...."
The same post links to a stunning essay by E. L. Doctorow entitled, "The Unfeeling President" where he asks:
How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster.
But his opening speaks to the vast difference between this president and some who have carried this burden in the past:
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.


Friday morning

Yesterday was pretty much a wash. Woke up with a mild fever and spent the day in bed. SOF had a similar experience on Tuesday, so I think we both had a 24 hour virus of some kind. As such things go, pretty mild. I just had a headache and felt tired.

But this morning, I feel better and am trying to get going. Unfortunately, that means reading the news this morning. Damn the internets. Life used to be easier when I had to wait for several days to learn that my country's leaders were inept and incompetent. Of course, it is hard to believe that any country's leaders have been this inept and this incompetent.

Item one on that list, (H/t to SOF) for this NYT's story on the destroyed CIA tapes. Turns out, they may have mucked up future and past legal cases. That's right, messed up cases against actual terrorists because they destroyed evidence. The article suggests that the only thing they may have accomplished was to destroy the evidence needed to charge someone for illegal torture (remember, there George? Torture is illegal?). Nice to know they are on our side.


But their prosecution of the war against sex continues. Feministe notes that with all the noise about Reverend Wright's wacky ideas about AIDS, the President nominated another person--Jerry Thacker--to the Presidential advisory on HIV and Aids, and a man who called AIDS a "gay plague." Thacker had to withdraw his nomination.

Of course, this President has done all sorts of things that are as wacky as Jeremiah Wright. You know, like appointing an anti-birth control doctor to his family planning program. Or of course, the obvious of continuing to fund "abstinence only" programs that don't work. Speaking of wacky and misleading statements, some of the pro-life groups that Bush likes to fund, spread horrible information about contraceptives and stds, such as that condoms do nothing to prevent HIV transmission, or that stds can be spread through "skin to skin" contact.

With all of that, the claim that the government spread AIDS on purpose looks wacky, but at least this man wasn't elected President.


Some good news from Bush justice. Don Siegelman will be released on bond during his appeal. That case stinks to high heaven and I am glad to see him out of jail.


In other news, however, the surge appears to be faltering, though Bush uses the uptick in violence to suggest the opposite.

Meanwhile, military leaders told Bush the military is badly strained by this. I am less than optimistic it will result in any kind of action. Bush has done more to undermine our troops than any president in recent history, yet Republicans still get to claim they are "pro-troops."


Other news. Seems odd that the very same US Attorney's office of public corruption in LA has now been disbanded. After the US Att scandal and Don Siegelman, let's just say I approach this move with healthy skepticism.


The Senate is investigating the bailout of Bear Stearns. On one hand, I think that these bailouts are necessary to keep our economy from cratering. But it goes against the conservative lie of "keeping government out of business" and is just ridiculous when we hear McCain and other Republicans talking about the poor and working class families needing to live with their bad decisions. If we are going to bail out the big guys, then we need to have some latitude for people who had less knowledge of their bad decision. As BB and WJ noted in the comments, I have no sympathy for those getting "interest only" loans to get a bigger house, or those speculating in the market. But those who barely qualified for their first house and are working hard to maintain that dream should not be punished for this.


That is enough for this morning. Here is hoping that Friday is a good day for all of you, and that this day sees some rapprochement between the Clinton and Obama camps.

March 27, 2008

Some music for the mid week

I have previously groused about the grim prospects for new music this year. After last year's Wilco, Arcade Fire, New Pornographers, etc., I was looking at new releases by Kathleen Edwards and, well, nothing else. When I heard that Tift Merritt had a new album, my reaction was "eh." We saw her twice in Austin--the first time, she was electric and captivating; the second time, boring. Her first album was ok, but then really didn't have any legs.

But I heard some good buzz about her new album, and have always thought her voice was one of the more unique and beautiful in the business. When it showed up on Emusic, I downloaded it and it has been in my playlists often of late.

I particularly like this song. Enjoy. And let's hope that Wednesday is better than Tuesday this week. :)

March 26, 2008

Moral hazard

I think Bitebark will enjoy this column by Robert Reich. He suggests that conservatives claim "moral hazard" to avoid helping individual home owners who made bad decisions (how else will they learn?) yet are more than willing to bail out the large Wall Street firms who clearly knew better.
"It's true that people tend to be less cautious when they know they'll be bailed out. Economists call this 'moral hazard.' But even when they're being reasonably careful, people cannot always assess risks accurately. Many of the mostly poor home buyers who got into trouble did NOT in fact know they couldn't afford the mortgage payments they were signing on to. The banks and mortgage lenders that pulled out all the stops to persuade them to the contrary were in a far better position to know; after all, they had lots of experience at this game. So did the credit-rating agencies that gave these loans solid credit ratings, as did the financiers who bundled them with less-risky loans and sold them to other financial institutions, and the hedge fund managers who quietly tucked them into their portfolios."
Regular people are held to a different standard by conservatives. As Reich points out, Donald Trump can declare bankruptcy casually and protect his own personal fortune. Regular people now have a much harder time declaring bankruptcy. The people who clearly knew they were making bad loans get bailed out, while the sometimes ignorant or unlucky who took the loans are told to learn from their mistakes. I am so tired of conservatives.

March 24, 2008

Another Conservative for Obama

Andrew J. Bacevich suggests that Obama is a better choice for conservatism than McCain. True conservatism, he suggests, in the way of
a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint;

a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law;

veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship for Creation;

a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements;

respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of the market’s corrosive impact on humane values;
has fared poorly over the last 20 years:
"The presidency of George W. Bush illustrates the point. In 2001, President Bush took command of a massive, inefficient federal bureaucracy. Since then, he has substantially increased the size of that apparatus, which during his tenure has displayed breathtaking ineptitude both at home and abroad. Over the course of Bush’s two terms in office, federal spending has increased 50 percent to $3 trillion per year. Disregarding any obligation to balance the budget, Bush has allowed the national debt to balloon from $5.7 to $9.4 trillion. Worse, under the guise of keeping Americans “safe,” he has arrogated to the executive branch unprecedented powers, thereby subverting the Constitution. Whatever else may be said about this record of achievement, it does not accord with conservative principles."

Is this how conservatives see race?

I would have ignored this from Pat Buchanan except it sounds a lot like the rant Glen Reynolds linked to the other day about race.
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Is this the way conservatives see race? That slavery, segregation, lynching, etc., were simply minor blips to offering great opportunities to African Americans?

March 22, 2008

Perhaps the best take on the Obama/Wright controversy

From Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer:
"When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were mild. All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton."

Saturday morning

Still recovering from the trip. That drive home is harder.

Love this story about the White House email problems. I am sure you remember that a computer expert called their system "primitive" and said that it was highly likely that data would be lost. Now we find out just how important that was to these people:
"Under pressure to provide details about its computer system, the White House told the congressional committee that it never completed work that began in 2003 on a planned records management and e-mail archiving system. The White House canceled the project in late 2006 and says it is still working on a new version."
I am sure they will have a plan in place for 1-20-09.


In other news, the Bush people seem to have rediscovered budget cuts. Spend a trillion dollars on two wars and no bid contracts? No problem. Provide educational opportunities that might allow people to escape poverty? No, sorry. No money for that.


Speaking of that war, according to Bush, Mission Accomplished. Again.

As Froomkin put it:
The supposed victory against bin Laden that Bush is celebrating is belied by the fact that al-Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before the invasion, that its Iraqi namesake is a mostly home-grown version with limited ties to bin Laden's organization, that the administration's own intelligence has concluded that the war has helped rather than hurt al-Qaeda -- and that bin Laden himself likely remains safely ensconced in Pakistan.
I love how this administration moves the goal posts. "Starting now, things are great and you can't criticize us for the past decisions" has been their mantra. Bush trumpets the surge and ignores the previous four years--the four years in which he stubbornly and churlishly refused to alter the course, fire Rummy, or even acknowledge problems in Iraq--because of his giant ego. In fact, he kept Rumsfeld on precisely because critics wanted him to go. And in doing so, cost how many American and Iraqi lives? And that is supposed to pass for leadership?


When Cheney was asked about the American people, he doesn't care what we think and that makes him just like Lincoln.
Raddatz: "Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives."

Cheney: "So?"

Raddatz: "So -- you don't care what the American people think?"

Cheney: "No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there."
Funny. I thought we were living in a democracy. I also remember this ass being more than willing to tout public support in the polls when it was on his side. Ass.

March 20, 2008


Back. SOF and I left town last Sunday for a little skiing and cursing (most of the cursing was mine) and some great dinners with a nice group of families who let us in on their tradition. That is cool enough. The skiing was good and I went down a slope as steep as I have ever seen.

But for now, we are trying to unpack and catch up. Our motel promised wireless, but it was down all week. In many ways, I am glad, because it allowed for a more real vacation experience. But I had intended to inform more that we were on the road.

Today was spent driving and catching up on the news. I may need to read more, but it strikes me as extremely odd that Barack Obama is getting criticism for his pastor's criticism of America. Evidently, his pastor subscribes to some of the more ridiculous conspiracy theories about the government and Black America. Yeah. And John McCain's two spiritual advisors think God destroyed New Orleans because of the gays, and that America was founded to destroy Islam.

Oh, and one of his previous buddies from the religious right said that liberals and feminists allowed 9-11. Why is it that white idiots are not a political liability?

I will leave my bright blog friends to answer that. I am off to finish some dinner. Hope you are all well.

March 13, 2008

This explain much but makes my head asplode

Seriously. Bush now thinks serving his country is romantic. Of course, when he had the opportunity in that war, you know, where he drank and avoided service, he, well, drank and avoided service. But now...
"'I must say, I'm a little envious,' Bush said. 'If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.'

'It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks,' Bush said."
The term "Chickenhawks" comes to mind. Cowardly, and entitled assholes who now send young men and women into harm's way. Am I the only one who wants to scream now?

Just sent this to the Clinton campaign

I am a loyal Democrat and have sworn that after this last 8 year disaster, I would never vote for a Republican again. John McCain is just more of the same. Until a few days ago, I was just happy with both Democratic candidates and so proud of the history unfolding before us.

But Senator Clinton, if you continue this "scorched earth" campaign against Senator Obama and actually win the nomination, I will stay home. I cannot support this Rovian politics that you seem to have embraced. What ever happened to "I am proud to be up here with Senator Obama?" What happened to that Senator who was running a reasoned and passionate campaign? Now you are playing the race card and playing coy with the Muslim whisper campaign? And suggesting that Senator McCain would be a better President than Obama?

Keith Olbermann is right, Senator, you need to reclaim the reins to your campaign. Unless this is exactly what you want. I can't count how many times I have defended you and your husband to Republican friends. That is at an end as well.

March 12, 2008

More McCain advisor scandal

McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam: "Senator John McCain hailed as a spiritual adviser an Ohio megachurch pastor who has called upon Christians to wage a 'war' against the 'false religion' of Islam with the aim of destroying it."
I keep telling you people. Watch Parsley sometime on TBN and see if you can spot the crazy. It does not surprise me one bit that he is declaring war on Islam. But it does make me sad.

March 11, 2008

Tuesday rant

It has been a while since I really ranted. Unfortunately, item one is from here in Oklahoma where State rep Sally Kern said that the gays are a bigger threat than terrorism and even compares homosexuality to cancer. Today (or yesterday) she responded to the national uproar over such comments:
"“To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues."
Absolutely, Sally, you have the right to spew whatever. But when you say things like this, it makes you look bigoted and small. And I suspect that if I were to suggest that religious fundamentalism was a "cancer" you might object. Such as when you and other fundies pass legislation making it against the law for an earth science teacher to count a student wrong for dating the earth at 6000 years? (Will legislation follow that makes me allow students to say that the Constitution was written by God?) Or when they elect a President like George Bush?


Oh, Elliot Spitzer, what the hell were you thinking? Not only hiring a prostitute, but evidently arranging for her to cross state lines thus violating the oddly-named Mann act. While the facts appear clear that he did use prostitutes and that is clearly wrong (and illegal) the hypocrisy appears a little troubling. First, the Bush people seem to be investigating Democrats much more than Republicans. And second, the same Republicans who will no doubt be tsking at the immorality of this act (and were apoplectic about Clinton's hummer) gave David Vitter a standing ovation.

Why is it that John McCain is given a pass for the fact that he cheated on his first wife before divorcing her for a much younger and richer woman? Why is it that the family values crowd gave us the first divorced President (Reagan) while it is the Democrats who are supposedly the immoral cheaters?

(Former Republican rep) Mickey Edwards suggests that it is because Newt Gingrich turned politics into a zero-sum game.
(W)hile I was in the House, Newt Gingrich sort of rose in power. And Newt decided that the purpose of the Republican in Congress was not to carry out the fundamental principles that they had originally believed in, but to defeat Democrats. That was all that mattered. And it became how do— it’s always war Democrats versus Republicans, all the time. And when you look at it from that mindset, you have a Republican president — you know, he is not any more the head of a different branch of government. He’s your team captain. He’s your quarterback.
To hell with the rest of the country. Cheney appears to operate by the same rules.


I may have posted this before, but have had to really work on my instinct to give the finger to anyone in a Hummer. Something unbelievably obscene about those "vehicles" in today's world. Since they seem to be giving the finger to the planet, our troops, and anyone else on the road, it only seems fitting.


And finally, one of Sully's readers sends in a good reason why today's conservatism is off the rails crazy:
The same people who say the government is incapable of providing basic health care for its citizens are the same who say that it’s capable of torturing people responsibly. Of course that will change in January now won’t it?
The same goes for the death penalty. The incompetent and corrupt justice system is fine when it is executing the poor and minority prisoners. Can't be trusted to address the telecoms, mind you, but can oversee killing. Or torture.


March 9, 2008

Ok, you guys explain this

Many are writing about Bush's veto of the torture bill. I find it horrific and the last in a long line of shameful acts by this President. But it does raise a question in my mind. Why would he do this? He has ignored Congressional action before. He wrote a signing statement on the first anti-torture bill where he said he would ignore it if he felt it in our national security.

So why not simply sign it into law and then ignore it if he feels like it? Why attach his name to torture as his administration's legacy? Surely his political people have suggested that. Unless, of course, they really believe that the Bush base doesn't mind torture (which I also believe). But that doesn't explain this completely.

Any ideas?

March 8, 2008

Well, we knew this was coming-Updated

But Bush Vetoed torture bill. We knew he would do it. He has made his stand that his presidency will be known for defending torture.
"'President Bush's veto will be one of the most shameful acts of his presidency,' Senator Edward Kennedy said in a statement Friday. 'Unless Congress overrides the veto, it will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world.'"
And that is a long list--most shameful of this presidency. But it is truly mind boggling that we are here at this place in time.


The Democratic primary is wearing on all of us, I think. I wanted to like Hilary, I really did. But her scorched earth tactics against Obama make that harder and harder. At this point, if she were to win, I would vote for her against McCain--simply because I cannot vote for another Republican until there is some reckoning of the damage the GOP has done to our country. Just look at item one in this post. McCain urged Bush to veto this bill not because he supports torture, but because he knows the GOP base loves torture and wants more. Enough said.

But Hilary is making the case for more of the same. More of the politics of Rove and division. More of the self-centered President. If I ever had any doubts about Obama, they have been erased in the last few weeks. Hilary trying to change the rules of the Democratic primary during the contest, etc.

Obama really is a departure from the past.


I am looking for a new bumper sticker. Actually, I want a magnet. When this president is gone, I don't want to display anything about him on my car. The magnet I found so far is from here and I like their stuff, but the one that comes closest what I want is this one.

A good one, don't get me wrong. But I really just want one that says "1-20-09," or "1-20-09 can't get here soon enough."


As usual, Obsidian Wings has a great take on this:
"The torture debate has two parts that often get conflated – (1) the morality/legality of the act itself, and (2) administrability (i.e., how do we know these powers won’t be abused?). Bush’s supporters tend to ignore the second point altogether, although it’s arguably the strongest – and most Burkean – argument against “coercive interrogation.”"
Publius connects this very well to the death penalty in a way that I have argued before. To support the death penalty you have to believe it is moral in some cases, but that isn't enough. You also have to believe that it can be administered fairly and effectively. Most people stop with the first question and never bother to check if it is implemented correctly. What is more, they don't seem to care. The correlation to torture is telling. And, I might add, that logical fallacy seems to underscore a great many failed policies, from supply side economics to abstinence only. People stop with the theoretical and then never even check to see if they actually work. And academics are divorced from the real world?


Some of our top Iraq contracting firms have found ways to avoid paying US Taxes. That's right, we pay for their services, but they don't pay taxes.

March 7, 2008

Katha Pollitt rips Charlotte Allen's "women are dumb" essay

And it is worth reading. Several great lines, but here are couple:
"Women even read fiction by men and about men, further evidence of their imaginative powers -- while men, if they do pick up a novel, make sure it's estrogen-free. Who's really the dim bulb, the woman who doesn't see the beauty of 'Grand Theft Auto,' or the man who thinks Tom Clancy is a great writer?"

and this:
But I suspect that Allen, who works for the right-wing anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum, is just annoyed that so many educated middle-class women are cultural, social and political moderates and liberals. Democrats, in other words.

. . . Hillary Clinton running for president instead of spending the rest of her life apologizing for her marriage -- it does indeed make a picture. But it isn't one of women's unique "stupidity" -- raise your hand if you think Hillary Clinton has a lower I.Q. than George W. Bush. What bothers Allen about this picture is that these women reject, with every fiber of their latte-loving beings, the abstinence-only, father-knows-best, slut-shaming crabbed misogyny of the Republican right.


March 6, 2008

Great post on migraines

As everyone here knows, Wilco and Jeff Tweedy are among my favorites. One reason, I think, is that Tweedy himself certainly appears to be an interesting and complex person. If you rent the dvd Sunken Treasure not only do you hear some great acoustic guitar work, but you get a glimpse into his personality.

I knew he had a problem with prescription drugs and knew that A Ghost is Born came out of much of that experience (just about my favorite song "Handshake Drugs" comes from that album) but didn't know much behind that. In this interesting NYT blog post, Tweedy explains his battle with migraines and panic attacks. Not only does it explain some of the songs on that album (read the post) but it is a great example of introspection and brutal self-honesty.

A glimpse at wingnuttery

Josh has a great video collection of the idiot Hagee and his new BFF (John McCain). My favorite is his explanation of hurricanes and Katrina as timed to destroy a gay pride parade. Seriously. God, evidently, is such a bad shot that he had to destroy much of the state and even parts of Mississippi--to say nothing of the bulk of New Orleans--just to stop a gay pride parade. And evidently, God has it in mostly for the poor people of NOLA. Because they were the gayest?


And then Charlotte Allen answers questions about her "column." She does little to dispel the idea that she is batshit crazy. And hey, all the batshit crazy wingnuts like Katrina. No wonder they didn't punish Bush for his horrible response. My favorite is when she uses the fact that many poor people have been unable to return to New Orleans as proof that the hurricane was good at breaking their dependency on welfare. Gah.

March 5, 2008

Primary wildness

A month ago this would not have surprised me at all. Actually, a month ago, Hilary was holding an 18 point lead in Ohio and a large lead in Texas as well. So in that terms, Obama did very well, and we are still waiting to see how the delegate count works out. Some I read suggest that it won't change the delegate math much at all.

Also significant (possibly) was Fathead Limbaugh calling on Republicans to go vote for Hilary in Ohio. Be interesting to see how many dittoheads there still are out there. I don't think any of them read this blog, but who knows?

Oh, and finally, the fake candidate
dropped out.

March 3, 2008

McCain's good buddy Hagee

Lengthy kos diary on the ramblings and craziness that is John Hagee. Many miss that his brand of Zionism masks anti-semitism--they like Jews, but only as converted to Christianity or foils for the end times. Make no mistake about it, Hagee is one messed up dude. The fact that the GOP cuddles up to him is sickening for the party and for our country.

March 2, 2008

Dumbest column ever?

Perhaps, and it isn't even written by Bill Kristol or plagiarized by a White House staffer. Instead, it is an obnoxious anti-feminist screed written by an anti-feminist woman who argues that women swooning over Obama is proof that women, in general, are not as bright as men.
"I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can't add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?). I don't even know how many pairs of shoes I own.

And then gets worse:
"So I don't understand why more women don't relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home. (Even I, who inherited my interior-decorating skills from my Bronx Irish paternal grandmother, whose idea of upgrading the living-room sofa was to throw a blanket over it, can make a house a home.) Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts' content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.'"
Well, I am glad she admits she isn't that bright, but I am deeply saddened that she thinks it is because she is female.

Sunday morning Music

This week we will have one of the few really anticipated album releases of this year (for this household, anyway) when Kathleen Edwards releases her third album--Asking for Flowers. Edwards was one of our favorite acts at the last ACL festival and her first two albums are regulars in my playlists. Her first album (Failer) was just stunning, and I really thought her sophomore (Back to Me) was even stronger. Amazing voice and solid song writing. Here is a video off that second album, and another about this most recent album.

So, Tuesday morning, I will be at the record store buying this cd.


Wilco played on SNL last night. It was kind of cool, though I thought they were not nearly as good as normal. But still better than the average fare. Speaking of that, the band played 5 nights in Chicago recently which must have been amazing. See for yourself (if interested) as you can download mp3s from this run of shows. I have four of the nights in my Itunes right now--7 hours of wilco live. See you in 8 hours....

March 1, 2008

How we got the "compassionate conservative"

Or at least one reason. A compelling examination of the press coverage of Bush and Gore.

Saturday morning news

From the west coast comes this story about a Quaker teacher fired for altering her loyalty oath and is about as dumb as it gets. This woman actually read her loyalty oath, and thoughtfully signed it as an honest reflection of her values. But to do so, she inserted "non-violently" before "support and defend (the state and US constitution) and "affirm" instead of "swear."

Sure glad the loyalty oath people caught her. I feel safer already.


While I was at the San Francisco paper, this great column on the challenges facing the GOP if Obama is the Democratic challenger. Because, as he notes, the name calling (Obama's middle name) is too easy and will surely inflame the denizens of "Bush's 'Merka" into "loading up the bunker with Ding-Dongs and Coors just in case the Muslim radicals take over."
No, the problem for GOP strategists is not how to inflame the troglodytic, Limbaugh/Coulter-grade sects of the party who, assuming Obama goes the distance, are already hugely terrified of the notion of a black liberal president, given how he'll surely be a slippery slope straight to gay marriage and rampant lesbianism in schools and hourly shriekings to Allah as everyone's forced to give up their guns and drive a hybrid moped to the tofu store.

The true difficulty facing the GOP's henchmen in the coming months will be how to get those who are just a tiny bit smarter, calmer, less easily swayed, those on the right who might actually be a bit impressed and charmed by Obama's obvious intelligence and oratory power, to hate him, fear him, find his genuinely moving brand of hope and inspiration to be suspicious and problematic and even deeply dangerous.

It won't be easy. Because at the same time, they must make their own unlikely candidate, a feisty but fuzzy 71-year-old war hawk whose entire campaign is apparently now being fueled by a giant hunk of Cold War phlegm, the nauseating notion that not only is a perpetual state of war and aggression desirable for America, but is actually essential to a healthy and functioning nation, they must make John McCain's musty, patriarchal brand of regurgitated Republicanism seem fresh and visionary and not horribly regressive and embarrassing.


More on Hagee. Earthquakes are God's loudspeaker and he shouts at the gays and the liberals. Hear that, Cali-liberal-fornia?

So why doesn't God just "shout" at Iran and take care of this little problem?

Hilzoy notes that the comparison is not actually Farakhan,
it's the flap over Donnie McClurkin, the gospel singer who " has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality,"", and who was invited to participate in some Obama events in South Carolina. The comparison is instructive.
And in stark contrast, Obama denounced the homophobia and actually did so in an African American church. To keep up, McCain would have to go to Hagee's Corporation church and preach tolerance toward Catholics and Muslims. Don't hold your breath.