Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

3/12/2005

Condi not wingnutty enough?

Via Daou, The Black Kettle says that Condi Rice, who recently identified herself as a supporter of female reproductive freedom, has now ruled herself out as the GOP nominee for President in '08:

So much for Condi Rice as a possible presidential candidate - Christians will not support anyone who supports abortion as a means of birth control ... What a huge disappointment.


Note to the B.K.: she wouldn't have had a prayer anyway. For one thing, she's a black woman, and it's hard to imagine this fact not losing her a significant number of votes from white racists -- a demographic the GOP counts on.

Plus, I don't think anyone from the Bush junta is going to have much of a chance in 2008; running on the record of the previous eight years of Bush rule is not going to put a candidate in a very strong position.

File under: eternal mysteries

Socialist Swine ponders one of nature's greatest conundrums:

Despite all the biology courses I took as an undergraduate (I took my fair share) and all the biology journals that I peruse as part of my current research, there is one biological mystery that I have not learned the answer to. Why are humans the only species that needs to wipe its ass.

For speculation about the answer -- possibilities apparently include a low-fiber diet, different "butt structure," and the human inability to lick its own ass -- see the rest of the post.


For a more esoteric feces-related philosophical puzzle, see the discussion amongst philosophical types about this riddle:

If you had to choose, would you rather eat poo-flavored-chocolate or chocolate-flavored-poo?

Someone with too much time on his or her hands could probably come up with a funny list of how all the canonical philosophers would answer this.

3/10/2005

Peggy Noonan's fantasy land

Outside the Tent catches the ridiculous Peggy Noonan telling fairy tales to her WSJ readers again:


As I wrote in this space two years ago, the invasion of Iraq will likely give rise to a surge of democratic feeling that will inspire the entire Mideast. This is known as making it clear to one’s fans and foes that you were on the right side of history.

It's also known as bragging. But so what? All who supported the Iraqi invasion took lumps for it; all who defended it in what seemed its dark days, and argued for its potential to transform the air of defeat that lingered over Arab politics, deserve the right to say, "I was right."


I'm sorry; I must have missed it--when did the Iraq war end in a U.S. victory? I mean, I haven't watched the news in a couple of hours, but you'd think I would have caught wind of that somehow.

I wonder if these people know yet?

MOSUL, Iraq Mar 10, 2005 — A suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners Thursday, splattering blood and body parts over rows of overturned white plastic chairs. The attack, which killed 47 and wounded more than 100, came as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.


Outside the Tent suggests that Peggy may have missed this and other news:


Apparently Peggy’s daily dose of her xanax-laced Grey Goose martinis has kept her from reading this about today’s suicide blast in Mosul that killed at least 40 people, a number of drive-by assassinations, another car bomb blast in Baghdad aimed at Western contractors, and three other car bombings elsewhere in Iraq.


Peggy Noonan an alcoholic? It's possible. Something sure is taking a toll on her.

That makes sense

From Atrios:

Prosecutors alleged Wednesday that a well-known carpenter and former Christian school leader strangled his wife so he could pursue relationships with other women.

"It's very clear that ... divorce was not an option, that it was frowned upon by the Lord, he believed," Assistant Dist. Atty. Brandon Jones said. "This was the easier way out for him, rather than divorce."

At the time of his wife's death, Martin K. "Marty" Miller, 46, was advertising himself on Internet dating sites and having an affair with a woman [Carole Parbs] he'd met in an online adult chat room, according to testimony at Miller's preliminary hearing in District Court.

...

Miller would come to her home for a liaison after telling his wife he was going to Bible study at Fred Peters' house, Parbs said.

Eventually the couple talked about getting married. Parbs said she became involved in the Millers' church and school activities.

But Miller told her that if he got a divorce, he could lose his position on the Veritas board of directors, lose his home and shop, and have a rift with his daughter, she said.

"He knew that according to scriptures, God was very much against divorce," Parbs said.


Whole story is here.

3/09/2005

No spider hole?

Atrios links to a story about a Marine who says that he participated in the capture of Saddam, and that it did not go down the way it was officially reported:


A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.

Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.

He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: "You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.


Weird.

New conservative philosopher blog

This one not run by a lunatic!

This blog will include posts from Max Goss and other non-sociopathic conservatives.

Well, I mean, they're still conservatives, but you know what I mean.

Check it out:

Right Reason



P.S.: On this blog, discussion/debate is apparently encouraged; the inaugural post promises that "comments are and always will be enabled." Unlike some other conservative philosopher blogs we know of.


UPDATE:
Apparently the proprietor of the original conservative philosopher blog, the aforementioned lunatic, a.k.a. Keith Burgess-Jackson, is worried about the new competition:

What’s distinctive about this blog is that all of its members are professional, credentialed philosophers, with either the Ph.D. or the D.Phil. in hand. There are no philosophy students or ABDs in our ranks.


Well la-di-da!

Keith, I hate to break this to you, but the fact that you have a Ph.D. just makes your complete lack of philosophical acumen all the more embarrassing.

3/08/2005

A question for my libertarian friends

Libertarians are odd ducks. They believe that all but the most minimal authority on the part of the government is illicit. However, at the same time they believe that companies/employers should be able to more or less place whatever restrictions they like on those who work for them. This is because they believe in property rights, which leads them to believe lots of wacky things: that restaurants should be able to discriminate against minorities, for example.

(This reverence for property rights also leads them to believe some not-so-entirely-wacky things, such as: ordinances that ban smoking in restaurants are overstepping the bounds of the government.)

In general, libertarians hold that any private, non-governmental entity or organization can pretty much do as it sees fit, so long as it is not actively infringing upon the rights of others. The government, however, cannot simply do as it likes, because it uses coercion to force everyone to obey, thus violating their right to freedom and self-determination. So the government, as it is now, is at least to a large extent illegitimate.

So far so good?

I want to create a little thought experiment.

Let's suppose that the Libertarian Party wins a string of elections in the U.S., and the libertarian idea of utopia becomes a reality--that is, the U.S. operates by libertarian principles: a bare-bones government; no drug laws; no workplace or environmental regulations; no taxes that aren't absolutely necessary; no safety nets; no redistributive schemes; no paternalistic laws; minimal regulation of corporate behavior; and so on.

Now: let's say my blog continues to chug along throughout all of this, and let's say I have a core of about a thousand people who read this blog regularly, several times a day, even. Really, they are quite enamored of me; they view me as their ideological leader, and would do just about anything I asked them to, because they love me so much.

(Remember, this is a hypothetical.)

One day, I post a blog entry announcing that I have bought a considerable amount of land in Wyoming (made possible by the generous donations of my followers), and that I am moving there in order to start my own mini-society, or commune. So I won't be able to blog anymore. But the good news is: all of you can come with me! That's right--anyone who wants to can come and be part of my community. We will call it: Dadaland.

Now, once we get there, I will make some requests of you. I will ask that you do your fair share of work, that you provide assistance to the other Dadalanders, etc. These requests will be reasonable, but I expect them to be followed. If you do not think you can do this, or do not want to, no hard feelings, but Dadaland is not for you.

*****

Several hundred of my followers take me up on the offer, and we all move out to Wyoming. Our little society evolves; over time, I allow the other Dadalanders some say in what goes on there, and we manage to reach a consensus on most issues, sometimes finding it necessary to regulate behavior in certain ways, sometimes finding it prudent to impose certain responsibilities on certain individuals.

After a bit of time, we develop a system in which no one is allowed to hoard more than he needs; individuals are not allowed to conspire to manipulate other Dadalanders into parting with their belongings; a general tax is levied so that no Dadalander has to go without the essentials, etc. etc.

A few people have been unhappy with the way we run the community, and so have left it, but for the most part, we are content.

*****

I suppose it's obvious enough where I'm going with this. My question to my libertarian friends--and I'm genuinely asking, not snarking--is twofold:

1. Would you have any objection to I, and the other Dadalanders, conducting ourselves in the manner described above? That is, in establishing our small community, have we violated anyone's rights or in any way trespassed such that even a libertarian would say we have acted unlawfully? Keep in mind that we forced no one to join us, and we force no one to stay with us.

2. If not, then how is Dadaland relevantly different than the U.S.? That is, why is it okay for Dadalanders to dictate that everyone must share, and look out for one another, etc., but not for the U.S. government to create programs like welfare, or Social Security, or to regulate business?


It seems like if this puzzle is not properly addressed, libertarianism will end up being a self-defeating theory, facilitating exactly the circumstances it seeks to do away with.

Teresa smells a rat

Apparently Teresa Heinz Kerry is not convinced that last year's election was entirely on the up-and-up. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November's election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes.

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

"We in the United States are not a banana republic," added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on "accountability and transparency" in how votes are tabulated.

"I fear for '06," she said. "I don't trust it the way it is right now."

I am rich

From an e-mail I received today (emphasis added):

Dear Winner,

We are pleased to inform you about the result of the Global International Email Lottery programs held on the 20th of August 2004. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number IDLI/00/(20)(98)(43)(51)(04) with serial number(22)(00)(14)(31)and lucky numbers (20)(01)(30)(09)(36)(34)which consequently won in the (B2 category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$ 600,000.00 (Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

...

This lottery was promoted by software manufacturer and Internet Service Providers to compensate users of the internet and encourage new users of the internet worldwide, we hope that with part of your winning you will take part in our next year US$4.5 million international lottery programme.

To file for your claim, please contact the processing company and officerbelow:

GLOBAL TRUST B.V

PROCESSING OFFICER:DR. PETER DE GROOT.

TELEPHONE/FAX NUMBER : +31-616-366-703

REPLY EMAIL:globalwinningnld@zipmail.com.br

Remember, all winning must be claimed not later than Two Weeks after receiving your Notification.

...

All winners will be responsible for the legalization of their winning price processing tax charges by the high Court here in Netherlands. NOTE, this tax fee must be paid before winning claims can be processed and cannot be deducted due to hard insurance cover placed on their winning price.The International remittance dept can only effect transfer only if winner have met all legal and claim procedures be WARNED.

Yours Sincerely.

Mrs.Teresa Desh.


Hmm. The part about preemptive taxes gives me pause, but I have always thought that I should be compensated for using the internet.

3/07/2005

Saint George

GOPers love to claim that the Bush administration is responsible for every good thing that happens anywhere in the world--even, for instance, a three-month increase in life expectancy. Fine, whatever.

But it's really kind of insulting when they try to give Bush credit for the courageous actions of others. Earlier this year, we saw House Republicans show up at the State of the Union address with their fingers stained in ink, as a show of "solidarity" with Iraqi voters. NBC's David Shuster called bullshit on that particular stunt:

The courage of ordinary Iraqis last Sunday was unmistakable. They were literally risking their lives by standing in line to vote and by getting their fingers stamped with ink. The members of Congress who stained their own fingers and wagged them proudly for the cameras were an affront to that courage ... if members of Congress want to show "solidarity" with the Iraqi people... they are welcome to head to Baghdad, put on a flak jacket, and help/advise the new assembly on writing the constitution. Or, our lawmakers could serve as "election monitors" in Iraq when the constitution is put to a vote as early as this fall.


Now, the sociopaths at Little Green Footballs are attempting to co-opt the recent popular protests in Morocco as more evidence of the greatness of Our Leader. The protestors were demanding the release of several hundred Moroccan soldiers being held in Algeria:

Rabat-Tens of thousands of Moroccans hailing from different parts of Morocco marched in Rabat to express their support for the Moroccans still detained in the Tindouf camps. They urged the United Nations and the international community to press on Algeria to set the prisoners free.

The March was organized by Collectif Watanouna - set up on January 20- calling on international organizations to "intervene to put an end to the sufferings of families and children, who are separated from their mothers, and to release all Moroccans held in Tindouf."

These Moroccans were emprisoned for more than 25 years, following the artificial struggle over the Moroccanity of Southern Moroccan provinces. This struggle opposes Morocco to the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which has tried to separate the provinces, known as Moroccan Sahara.

Moroccan associations from all over the country, leaders of some Moroccan parties and Moroccan artists participated in this March. They chanted slogans accusing Algeria of maiming and killing Moroccan soldiers and civilians, violating the international law and Geneva Agreement for the treatment of prisoners of war.

The LGFers' take on this?

Come on, moonbats. Say it with me now. You can do it. "Thank you, George W. Bush."

One more time. "Thank you, George W. Bush."

Keep practicing and eventually you won't feel any psychic agony whatsoever when you utter these words.


Right. So tens of thousands of ordinary people take to the street to protest, and we're handing out kudos to ... George W. Bush?

I wonder if they even noticed that the Moroccans were protesting against Algeria's violation of "international law and Geneva Agreement for the treatment of prisoners of war." Surely the LGFers can't sympathize with the protestors on this issue; otherwise, why is it that whenever anyone protests the Bush administration's human rights violations, they are accused of treason?

But silly me; what am I doing pointing out inconsistencies in Republican rhetoric? They've long since demonstrated their indifference to the law of non-contradiction.


No Gore in '08

Chris Matthews says Al Gore will not be running for president in 2008:

The 2008 Presidential campaign will not include Al Gore. I'm reporting tonight that the former Vice President and 2000 Democratic Presidential nominee will not run for President. I've been given this scoop from a perfect source who informed me that the purpose of this disclosure at this time is to end speculation about a campaign that will never occur.

So, now that Al Gore is out... what does this mean for the likely 2008 battle between Hillary and John Kerry?


I don't know how Gore's absence would affect that particular race, but if it did come down to Kerry v. Hillary, I would strongly prefer that Kerry be the nominee.

(But what about Howard Dean? Or John Edwards?)

I was surprised when Gore announced he wouldn't run in '04, and I'm surprised by this. Especially in '04, when Gore would have been the heavy favorite. It's just odd to see a politician acting like he doesn't want the presidency. Most of these guys are drooling at the prospect of the Oval Office.

Maybe he's biding his time and plans to run in 2012 or something.


(Hat tip to the invaluable Daou Report.)

More GOP racism?

Via Raw Story (via Atrios), we find that the end of slavery in the U.S. still doesn't sit too well with some people:

Senator Lindsey Graham has ignited a new furor in Washington over comments he made over the weekend referring to his state’s difficulty in “getting over” President Abraham Lincoln, with apparent reference to Lincoln’s role in the civil war and the freeing of American slaves, RAW STORY has learned.

“We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina,” Senator Graham told a Lincoln Day gathering in Tennessee Saturday. “It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.”

According to a Knoxville News Sentinel article published Sunday, Graham entertained an amicable crowd and joked about his predecessor in the Senate, former Sen. Strom Thurmond.

“In theory, I have 50 more years left in the Senate,” Graham remarked.

The article, titled “GOP senator has unifying message,” was picked up upon by the progressive Washington blog DC Inside Scoop.

The Democratic National Committee said Sen. Graham’s remarks were inappropriate and that they echoed comments made by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), which resulted in Lott’s removal as Senate leader.

“Joke or not, this is exactly the type of comment that Trent Lott made when he was deposed as leader,” said DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera. “It has no place in public discourse.”

“He should apologize,” Cabrera added.

Sen. Graham’s office was closed and could not be reached for comment Monday evening.


What gets me is that the title of the original article in the Knoxville News was "GOP senator has unifying message." If that's unifying, I'd hate to see Graham being divisive.


I am a moonbat

One of the wingnuts' favorite anti-lefty slurs is moonbat. See here, for example. I'm not clear exactly on the etymology of the word, and I'm not sure why it is supposed to be taken as an insult. I rather like the phrase: moonbat. It conjures up a nice image, no?

Chris at Creek Running North agrees that we lefties should embrace the term:

In any event, we're being called "moonbats" and we might as well revel in it. We like the moon, and bats are cool, and it's cool to watch bats when the moon is out, and so I kind of take being called "moonbat" the same way I'd take being called "aurora borealis" or "Quadrantid meteor shower" or "chupacabra" or anything else cool that you might see outside after the sun goes down.


He has even designed a nifty moonbat logo:







Neat-o. I am a moonbat, and proud of it!

Art for the many

I don't often have good things to say about large corporations. Most of them are amoral organizations who wield far too much power, run by executives who would rape their own grandmothers if they thought it would increase their profit margin.

However, there are some companies that I feel more warmly towards. For instance, Starbucks earns a 100% rating from BuyBlue.org, meaning that all of its political contributions go to Democrats. Barnes and Noble also gets this rating, plus I think they perform a useful service, bringing a wide selection of literature to places where any culture is hard to come by.

Politically speaking, Target is nothing to write home about; their execs donate most of their money to GOP candidates. But whoever is in charge of their design and marketing is a genius.

To see what I mean, check out their "Design For All" site. (That catchy song, btw, is by a band called The Concretes.) For the past few years they've been hiring major designers to create product lines; Target seems to be embracing the notion that mass-marketed, relatively inexpensive products can be beautiful, and really should be beautiful, since beautiful things--even everyday, household items--make life just that much more pleasant and shouldn't be limited to the well-off.

This was the driving idea behind the Arts and Crafts movement, an art movement from around the turn of the twentieth century: the idea that art, that beautiful things, should be available to everyone.

The most famous proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement was British socialist William Morris. Art as a bourgeois hobby was anathema to Morris, who claimed:

I do not want art for a few, any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few.


Some of the artists affiliated with the movement, such as Gustav Stickley, realized that this goal could probably only be accomplished via mass production; Stickley designed furniture that was sold in department stores and catalogs for relatively affordable prices. (Ironically, his work now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.) While he preferred the handmade to the machine-made, he recognized that he had to be prepared to exploit many different means if he was truly going to bring art to the masses.

The ideas of the Arts and Crafts have been in hibernation for quite some time. It's nice to see that somebody is at least trying to resurrect them.

3/06/2005

Pot kettle black

The wingnutters at Dummocrats (clever, eh?) are upset about comment made on a recent news program about the murder of Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother by white-power extremists:


I was just watching a Fox News panel of experts opine on the tragedy that was thrust upon Judge Lefkow and her family. On the panel was one Geoffrey Fieger, an expert criminal defense attorney from Detroit. In sharing his opinion that proud white supremacist Matthew Hale and his followers were behind the murders, the good Counselor just couldn't resist pushing a tired political agenda, making statements to the effect:


"these right wing organizations need to be stopped... these right wing organizations are terrorists, domestic terrorists!"

To Fieger, white supremacists, terrorists, and the right wing are all one and the same.

What an idiot.


This from people who won't differentiate between Osama bin Laden and Katie Couric, for Christ's sake.


(Via Daou Report.)

The case for 40th-trimester abortion

Philosophy for Dummies/Jonah Goldberg

Betraying an appalling ignorance of the history of moral philosophy, National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg makes a plea:

I get a lot of email from readers angry with conservatives who (allegedly) argue that the ends justify the means. I also recall that under Clinton, lots of conservatives complained about the same thing.

Having read quite a bit about pre-WWII liberalism, I know that many liberals and progressives used to explicitly endorse the notion that the ends can justify the means and the spirit of ends-justifying-the-means suffuses vast areas of liberal public policy and, often, conservative foreign policy.

Anyway, does anyone know about an essay or book specificly on this concept and the arguments which swirl around it? I think it would make for fascinating intellectual history to trace the concept and its critics throughout Western history. Maybe someone has done that? If so please let me know I would really love to read it.


Gee whiz, Jonah, didn't you take Intro to Philosophy at Goucher College? I'm not trying to take a cheap shot here (not that I would be against taking a cheap shot at Goldberg), but for one of the leading conservative writers at one of the leading conservative magazines to be so oblivious to the history of human thought that he would wonder if anyone ever wrote an essay on the concept of ends justifying means ... that's just embarrassing. Especially considering that the National Review was founded by advocate of "intellectual conservatism" William Buckley.

Jonah: you can start with a book called Utilitarianism by one "John Stuart Mill" and take it from there.

Freed Italian hostage says U.S. tried to kill her

Link.

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian reporter wounded on March 4 by U.S.-led forces after she was freed from her captors in Iraq, said the military may have targeted her deliberately.

Sgrena, 57, who had been held for one month in captivity, was injured and Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was killed when coalition forces fired on their vehicle as it approached a Baghdad checkpoint.

Writing in Italy's Il Manifesto newspaper, Sgrena said her kidnappers had warned her to pay attention once she was freed, because the U.S. wanted her dead. At the time, she judged their words to be "superfluous and ideological,'' she wrote.

"They told me to beware because 'there are Americans who don't want you to return','' Sgrena wrote in the article. When she was shot, her captors' advice "risked acquiring the taste of the most bitter of truths,'' she wrote.

U.S. President George W. Bush telephoned Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on March 4 to express regret about the incident and offer cooperation in an investigation, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini yesterday to reiterate the U.S. will do all it can to uncover what happened, la Repubblica reported today.




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