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

10/29/2005

Try again

Ass Missile:
Having now read fifteen or twenty news stories about what a devastating blow the Lewis Libby indictment was to the administration, about how President Bush is "reeling" and the administration is "in turmoil," even "in crisis," and how Libby was a key and irreplaceable figure in the administration, whose departure is a serious blow because he played such a vital role, I couldn't help wondering: does anyone remember who Al Gore's chief of staff was when he was vice-president?
This is irrelevant, of course. The significance of any given member of an administration is not dictated by their official position. The Vice President, for instance, was widely regarded as an almost entirely irrelevant office, until Al Gore and Dick Cheney assumed more power within their respective administrations than was typical. And it's no secret that during Bush's first term, Condi Rice was far more influential within the White House than was Colin Powell, even though Powell occupied a technically "higher" position than Rice.

Whether or not anybody remembers Al Gore's chief of staff is irrelevant for the same reason. Most people don't remember who Bill Clinton's Secretary of Defense was (or at least not all three of them!), but that would hardly mean that an indictment of Donald Rumsfeld was no big deal.

Now, whether the Bush administration is in crisis or not is probably a matter of perception, or at least is something that remains to be seen. But the Scooter Libby indictment is a big deal by almost any measure, though it's obviously not catastrophic.

Perverts stay home on Halloween

A number of states are taking extra steps to make sure that convicted sex offenders aren't allowed to take part in Halloween festivities:
Parole officers will be out on Illinois streets on Halloween, but they won't be hunting for tricks or treats.

They'll be searching for sex offenders violating parole. In Illinois, sex offenders can violate parole by having almost anything to do with Halloween ... A new Illinois law bans sex offenders from participating in Halloween or any other holiday event that includes children under age 18. Paroled offenders may not wear costumes, decorate their homes, hand out candy or even turn on their porch lights ... Parole officers will visit homes during the trick-or-treating hours to determine if sex offenders are meeting the requirements.

All Illinois' paroled sex offenders will be on "lockdown," forbidden from leaving their homes except for an approved work assignment or counseling ... State officials will use electronic monitoring bracelets to enforce the curfew. Anyone caught violating the rules will be taken directly to jail.
One Illinois town is going door to door to remind sex offenders about the restrictions:
Convicted sex offenders in Elgin may find red tags on their doors this Halloween, a message from police that they're being monitored and a not-so-subtle warning for trick-or-treaters to stay away.

In a move that underscores the intent of a new state law prohibiting sex offenders on parole or probation from handing out candy at Halloween, Elgin police will visit the homes of about 120 offenders who live in the city.

If no one answers the door, the property will be tagged, a "visible sign that police have been to the house," said Sgt. Bill Wolf, who coordinates the checks for the Elgin Police Department.

Law enforcement officials weren't aware of any other community in the state taking a similar approach. But police throughout the Chicago area warned Thursday that known sex offenders should consider themselves under a microscope this Halloween.

In Chicago, residents should call police if they see sex offenders handing out candy, said police spokesman Pat Camden.

The use of red tags smacks of placing a "badge of infamy" on sex offenders, said Harold Krent, dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

"It's that scarlet letter all over again," Krent said.
And that's a problem ... why?

The right to a fair trial

Yesterday, in his (exceedingly brief) remarks about the Scooter Libby indictments, President Bush made sure to remind us that "in our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial."

Bob Freedland
points out, however, that this principle isn't exactly operative in the Bush administration's treatment of detainees at Guantanamo.

10/28/2005

Gilliard

I wouldn't have supposed that anyone was particularly eager to hear my take on the Gilliard/Sambo/Kaine/Sullivan brouhaha (background here, here, here, and here), but apparently I was wrong.

Long story short: Steve Gilliard posts a Photoshopped picture of a black politician done up in blackface, as in a minstrel show. Andrew Sullivan and others accuse Gilliard of racism. White politician who had bought ads on Gilliard's site asks that the ads be removed, presumably to distance himself from any potential controversy. Gilliard and Kos call the white politician a coward.

Ezra Klein says, basically, what do you expect? And Oliver Willis thinks Gilliard is being a dumbass. And Eric Cowperthwaite demands that I condemn Gilliard:
Any left wing blogger who continues to support, link to, or otherwise agree with Steve Gilliard, in light of this piece of ..... garbage* post is an out and out hypocrite. Gilliard is a race baiting piece of junk. If I wasn't vehemently opposed to coercion ....

And yes, DadaHead, you specifically are one of the people I mean. You have supported Gilliard's outrages in the past, will you stand by this one too?

* I'm tempted to use much stronger language. This is incredibly racist and that is incredibly disgusting. The last time we saw images and words like this used publicly against blacks it was by the Klan and their ilk. Welcome to their ranks Gilliard, you piece of trash.

(...)

I've challenged him to denounce Gilliard for the piece of trash that he is. We shall see what happens. If he doesn't ... he'll be coming off my blogroll. This is the last time I will ever link to Gilliard. Oh yeah, it doesn't matter one bit to me that the author of the post is black. It's horrific and racist.
Well, y'all know I aim to please, but I'm afraid I'm not going to denounce Gilliard as "trash" for his post. So, do what you gotta do.

I read the post when it was originally published, and to tell you the truth I barely took note of the picture (I was more bothered by the cheap shot at Sherrod Brown). If memory serves, Steve has used this kind of imagery before, so it didn't strike me as particularly noteworthy. But apparently others had a different reaction, and Steve was inundated with commenters accusing him of racism. A number of bloggers made the same accusation.

So why won't I condemn him? Short answer: I'm not in the habit of telling black people which symbols of racism they are allowed to appropriate. I'm also not all that interested in listening to conservatives complain about racism. Sorry, but I'm just not buying the outrage.

For the record, I don't blame the Kaine campaign for pulling their ads. They had absolutely nothing to gain by being associated with this type of controversy, and a hell of a lot to lose. Steve says he's not mad that the ad was pulled, but rather that they didn't ask him his side of the story. Fair enough. As far as I'm concerned, there's really nothing more of interest here.


UPDATE: Gilliard has some additional thoughts:
Two kinds of people responded to my post on Simple Sambo. One, white racists with mock concern who wanted to lecture me on race, which I could give a fuck about. In their world, black Democrats are on the plantation and people like Steele are heroes.

...The other is from black Marylanders, none of whom defended Steele and all of whom complimented me.

Why?

Because Michael Steele has 5 percent of the vote in Baltimore. Black Marylanders hold him in contempt ... I didn't say anything that most black residents of Maryland say openly about him. The difference is that I said it in a public way and people picked it up.

...Black Republicans, who hold few political offices, have little black support and are widely and openly despised ... the GOP panders to racists and expects blacks to go along with this. As I said. Jackie Robinson was a Republican. So was Sen. Edward Brooke from Massachusetts. They didn't leave the GOP, it left them. Up until 1960, memebership in both parties was nearly equal. Nixon got sizable black support and no one was called an Uncle Tom for considering voting for him.

When you have a black Republican on with a black Democrat, you are basically giving credence to 2 percent of the population versus 98 percent of the population. All day long, reporters were surprised that I made my comments, although the AP reporter was clued in to the open hostility that the GOP engenders among black people by his black editors.

Trust me, this is only news to white people.

...blacks who join this Republican Party are supporting policies which are harmful to the majority of Americans, but especially black people. Black Americans make rational, logical political decisions. It is a failure of the GOP that they cannot appeal to more African Americans. Not a failure for rejecting them.

Black Republicans are eager allies in the GOP's war on the unwhite. Well, it's time people fought back and exposed these frauds for what they are, self-serving opportunists who denigrate and harm black people for financial gain.

Damn you, Judith Miller!

John at AMERICAblog blames NYT reporter Judith Miller for Kerry's defeat to Bush last year.

Allow me to explain.

During Fitzgerald's press conference, someone asked about the Judy Miller thing (she refused to testify and had to go to jail). Fitzgerald said he wished Miller to spend "not a second" in jail, and that if Miller hadn't been so stubborn, this whole matter would have been resolved a hell of a lot sooner.

More precisely, he said:
I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005.
Which means, of course, that any indictments would have been handed down on the eve of the election...
A year ago would have been October 28, 2004. That's about, oh, one week before the presidential election.

With the 2004 presidential election as close as it was, this could have easily - would have easily - swung the election to Kerry's favor. But Judith Miller didn't come forward, and Bush wasn't damaged BEFORE his re-election.

Very interesting indeed.
Make of this what you will.

Hmm...

What to think, what to think...

I don't know.

Sucks to be Scooter. Good to be Rove, though - the press seems to be taking Fitzgerald's announcement that his investigation isn't quite over with yet as an ominous sign for Rove, and some bloggers seem to be following suit (HT: Mad Biologist).

I don't get the same feeling at all. Listening to Fitzgerald's press conference, I got the impression that nothing else major was coming down the pike. He seems to have concluded that the leak of Plame's employment with the CIA was not itself a crime, or at least that he cannot prove that it was. Scooter got nailed because he told a ridiculously implausible tale about his role in the leak, assuming that the narrative given by Fitzgerald in the indictment is even close to being right.

Fitzgerald specifically refused to name the person he refers to as "Official A" - the person who leaked to Novak (Scooter leaked to Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, apparently) - because he was not accusing that person (presumably Rove) of any wrongdoing. --Not yet!, you say. True. But again, my impression from listening to Fitzgerald (which, of course, I could be completely wrong about) was that only mop-up work remained.

There is an outside chance, I suppose, that Fitzgerald charged Libby first in hopes that Libby would "flip," and give him the goods on Rove (or anyone else, for that matter) in some kind of plea bargain. I find this scenario highly unlikely, however. Not impossible, but I just can't see Scooter, who seems to have always been a team player, betraying his comrades like that. Especially considering that he probably isn't facing any serious jail time or anything like that. No, I think he'll keep quiet, maybe plead guilty in exchange for some leniency; I can't imagine he'll go through with a trial. But I would be very, very surprised to see any charges against Rove, and I'd be absolutely shocked to see such charges stemming out of a deal with Libby.

But, what the fuck do I know?

10/27/2005

Replacing Miers

Breaking, as they say ...

Bush To Nominate Next Person Who Walks Through Door

SCOTUS odds and ends

Not all conservatives are happy about the Miers withdrawal. Hugh Hewitt:
I think Ms. Miers has been unfairly treated by many who have for years urged fair treatment of judicial nominees.

She deserves great thanks for her significant service to the country. She and the president deserved much better from his allies.
Don Surber (via Blogometer):
OK, I was wrong. You were right. Hey, was it worth killing the Bush presidency? Prediction: Democratic Congress in 2006. That means winning 24 of 33 Senate seats. They will do it.

Happy?
Hmmm....

*****

How much influence did bloggers have on the withdrawal? Will Beutler:
It's difficult to say how much influence the blogosphere had in all this. By most accounts, the GOP had not realized how strong the negative reaction to Miers' nod would be. But it did come at a time when the GOP realized it had to reach out to conservative bloggers, and did so re: not just Miers but also, post-Katrina, renewed concerns about cong. spending. In recent weeks the RNC and House GOP conf. have met with their constituent bloggers. And at least some WH staffers were in contact with the pro-GOP 527 RedState (and its SCOTUS-focused subsidiary Confirm Them), whose general opposition was apparent since the morning Miers got the nod. Bloggers were far from the only conservatives with serious questions about Miers' qualifications for the court, but certainly their resolve helped bolster the lobbyists, opinion-makers and decision-makers who kept the pressure on Bush and Miers throughout this process. Will there be stories forthcoming about how the CW in the right blogosphere helped reinforce skepticism about Miers? We wouldn't be surprised.
I'm kind of surprised we haven't already seen such chest-thumping, considering the usually unseemly degree of blog triumphalism exhibited by Glenn Reynolds & co.

*****

A name being kicked around as Miers' replacement is Michael McConnell, a Bush appointee to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. McConnell is apparently seen as a moderate, probably because he less than completely enthusiastic about the Bush v. Gore ruling. McConnell, however, would deserve an old-fashioned Borking, in my opinion; he is unabashedly opposed to Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion, as evidenced by this article that McConnell wrote for the Wall Street Journal a few years ago:
Roe v. Wade at 25: Still Illegitimate

...Controversial decisions--even decisions that rend the body politic--are sometimes necessary. The Constitution stands for certain fundamental principles of free government, and there are times when the courts must intervene to make sure they are not neglected. But when judges act on the basis of their own political predilections, without regard to constitutional text or the decisions of representative institutions, the results are illegitimate.

The reasoning of Roe v. Wade is an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously ... The court's reasoning proceeded in two steps. First, it found that a "right of privacy" exists under the Constitution, and that this right is "broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Since this meant that the right to abortion is constitutionally protected, a state could interfere with the right only if it has a "compelling state interest" for doing so.

But the right of privacy is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution...
If this man is nominated, I would have a hard time ever supporting any Democrat who didn't do all that he or she could to keep him off of the Court.

The Miers withdrawal - whose victory?

Blake at The Next Left has an interesting take:
The Dems strategy on the Miers nomination was to let it implode. It should have been to demonstrate that there was bi-partisan hostility to the Bush White House's cronyism.

Because of the Dems' inaction on Miers, the conservatives now own Bush's failure ... the Dems should have led the defeat of the Miers nomination, not stood by the sidelines.
I'm inclined to agree. I certainly don't see how the Democrats gain much from this. A lot depends on who the replacement nominee is, though. (Alberto Gonzales?)

If Bush nominates a right-winger of a Thomas/Scalia/Bork degree of wingnuttery, the Dems must go to the mat against him or her. I mean an all-out, scorched earth campaign - a "Borking," if you will, if that's what it takes. Otherwise, the Miers withdrawal will end up as a victory for conservatives.

Question

Mark Noonan:
We here say we support the troops - oh, sure we support them. But when was the last time you actually went and did something for the troops?

The holidays are coming up and no matter what else might happen, a very large number of our best and bravest are going to be spending the next few months overseas...far from home, in great danger. One thing which can help ease the burden for the men and women of our armed forces is the ability to call home from time to time - and a good place to help out with that is Operation Uplink, which takes donations and purchases phone cards for our troops. I've donated to them before, and I hope you'll do so today.
Is there a reason why the US government can't provide some free long distance for these guys?


... just to clarify, I'm not suggesting that people not donate. I just find it odd that we have to resort to private charity so that service members can call home; it seems like a service that the government could provide them for free. You know, kind of like body armor.

Bush's do-over

Well, the scenario I've worried about has partly come to pass; Harriet is gone. Bush gets a second chance, and even a Rove-less Bush is smart enough to see that he has to pick someone who will satisfy the right wing. Miers was no picnic, but I fear that we now stand a good chance of getting someone much, much worse.

10/26/2005

I realize I shouldn't find this funny...

...but I do.
A community mourning the death of a mystery “baby” was told: “Stop grieving, it’s only a chicken.”

A makeshift shrine of flowers and cards sprang up after a member of the public discovered the remains of a foetus in a back alley in Anfield, Liverpool.

Merseyside Police cordoned off the scene to investigate, but tests soon revealed that it was only a chicken foetus.

Sirota a liar?

Yesterday, David Sirota wrote a post entitled "Hackett attacks Brown for being liberal." Today, someone at the Daily Kos accuses him of lying:
Sirota made the mistake of including the links to the articles he was misquoting. And if you read them, you find out that Hackett didn't say that at all ... As the very first commenter said in the comments thread:

David you put "too liberal" in quotes as if Hackett were the one who said it. But Jim Provance is the one who says it. In fact, of all the quotes Provance provides from Hackett, none of them even mention Brown. Contrast that with the Brown quotes, which specifically single out Hackett for ridicule.

The only thing I get out of this Toledo Blade piece is that Hackett thinks he'll do a better job of winning over independent and conservative voters. While that doesn't exactly comfort me, it's hardly an attack on Brown.
Sirota's response:
Hackett Had Already Attacked Brown for Being "Liberal" Before

Some have accused me of "lying" about Hackett's attacks on Sherrod Brown for Brown's progressive convictions because I put "too liberal" in quotes in this previous post - that's really hilarious. I mean, come on folks - this is getting ridiculous and you look REALLY desperate. First and foremost, the quotes quoted a story in the Toledo Blade, and provided a link to it. If I was trying to "trick" people or "lie," I wouldn't have included a link - and that's what you do when you cite a publication - you quote it. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, let's remember - this isn't the first time Hackett has attacked Brown for being "liberal."

You may recall that in the first week of the primary campaign, Hackett attacked Brown's candidacy in Mother Jones, saying Brown is a "very liberal Democrat" - it was Hackett's desperate attempt to say Brown supposedly wasn't a viable candidate, even though Brown has won two statewide races. So please Hackett folks - let's get real. Your guy is running a Democratic primary attacking Democrats and progressives. There's no two ways around that. So stop your crying. Paraphrasing Harry Truman, "I don't give 'em hell - I just tell the truth and they call it hell."
So who's right? Well, here's the relevant portion of the article Sirota linked to:
Some argue Mr. Hackett, with his pro-gun rights position, is too conservative to win a Democratic primary in Ohio

Mr. Hackett counters that his likely primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D., Lorain), is too liberal to beat Mr. DeWine in November, 2006.

"I believe in the core values of the Democratic Party," Mr. Hackett said. "I'm not afraid to fight for them and my values. Some of them are conservative, including on Second Amendment rights.

"A Democrat in Ohio can get all of the Democratic votes in the northeastern and central parts of the state and still not get elected," he said. "It's got to be somebody who believes in the values of all Ohioans, and that takes winning over independents and conservatives."
This seems like a judgment call to me. The article doesn't make it clear that the words "too liberal" actually escaped from Hackett's mouth, so to the degree that Sirota's original post implied that, it was misleading, and I myself owe an apology if anyone feels misled by the post (which I quoted from and linked to).

But the sentence in bold above does indeed state that Hackett makes the argument that Brown is too liberal. In other words, the article reported that Hackett did, as Sirota put it, attack Brown for being too liberal (with the possible caveat that "attack" might be a bit of an overstatement, but that doesn't seem to be the bone of contention here). Now, if that is a mischaracterization of what Hackett said, then fair enough, but in that case, it's the Toledo Blade that's lying, not Sirota. But newspapers often use headlines like "So-and-so says X" without including an actual quote ("So-and-so says, 'X' "). This is called paraphrasing, and that's clearly what the Blade writer was doing. Now, one could argue that it was an incorrect paraphrase, but I haven't seen anyone make this argument. The complaint seems to be with the very fact that Hackett was being paraphrased - which, okay, but this is hardly uncommon.

At any rate, it's clear that the substance of Sirota's post is correct. Even if Hackett didn't literally say the words "too liberal," that is clearly the upshot of his comments about Brown, and Hackett has made similar noises before, as Sirota notes:
"To me, a race between two professional politicians is a no-brainer win for DeWine. You’re not gonna throw out a sitting senator in a Republican state with a very liberal Democratic longstanding US congressman.” If Democrats want to start winning races, he adds, they might need a dose of boot-camp discipline: “How come this doesn’t happen in the Republican Party? It’s because they sit down guys like Sherrod and put him in a corner and make him wear the dunce cap.”
Bottom line: Sirota's post was arguably ambiguous, and a clarification was probably necessary. But I don't think it's true that Sirota was "caught lying," and I think it's obvious that part and parcel of Hackett's strategy is the claim that Brown is too liberal. But whatever one thinks of this mini-controversy, it doesn't really affect the overall question of which candidate, Brown or Hackett, is preferable as the Democratic nominee.

In the meantime

I am fighting a losing battle with comment spammers - dirty, dirty comment spammers, each of every one of whom deserve the same fate as this guy - so for the time being, I've turned on Blogger's word verification feature. I know this can be annoying, but hopefully it will be less annoying than having spam comments popping up faster than I can delete them.

I hope to eventually turn the word verification off, but for now, please bear with me.

You were wrong; just admit it

A virtue in short supply nowadays is that of owning up to one's mistakes. We all make errors in judgment; this cannot be avoided. The real question is what you do about, once the error has been made. Do you admit it and correct yourself immediately? Do you try to weasel out of it and deny that you really made a mistake? Do you dig your heels in and insist that you are still right?

In my opinion, one's character is better judged not by mistakes made but rather by how one responds to them.

I'm thinking of this partly because of the increasingly silly justifications being trotted out to try to cover the asses of the irrational Hackett-obsessed bloggers. But more importantly, I, and many others, are disturbed by the refusal of prominent Democrats who voted in favor of giving Bush the authority to wage war on Iraq to own up to their mistake and just admit they were wrong and get it over with. This is not only their moral obligation; their failure to make amends is hurting their party as a whole, as David Sirota points out.

There is no shame in being wrong. But there is nothing but shame in being wrong yet continuing to insist otherwise.

10/25/2005

Hackett attacks Brown as "too liberal"

Sirota:
Paul Hackett (D) - who bills himself as progressive despite no positions on issues - is now attacking longtime progressive champion Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for being "too liberal." Let's repeat that - the self-described "progressive" champion of the blogosphere, Hackett, is attacking a fellow Democrat, Brown, for having the guts to stand up and fight for progressive convictions. Incredible.
Let's offer a deal to all the pro-Hackett bloggers: come to your senses now, and there will be no hard feelings. The rest of us won't make fun of you for your temporary lapse in judgment, we'll forget the whole thing ever happened, and Sherrod Brown will be the next senator from Ohio.

OK?

Self-promotion on the cheap

John at AMERICAblog is making some of the ads there available for only $25 a week so smaller bloggers can promote their sites. If you're looking to build up traffic, that might be a good way to go.


UPDATE: In the comments, Blake does a little investigating and finds that the ads may not generate as much traffic as you might think.

The cat's out of the bag

Supposed "progressives" support Paul Hackett because Hackett hearts bloggers.
Progressive bloggers love Hackett because he is our partner in a radical plan to reshape political power in America. Politics makes strange bedfellows. But, when you get down to brass tacks, Hackett is an invaluable ally: he loves the blogosphere, understands how to harness the power of the blogosphere, and perhaps most importantly, he owes the blogosphere ...

The reason to support Hackett over Brown is simple--if Hackett wins (and he can win), the progressive blogosphere makes history. A small, widely-dispered network of highly motivated amateurs and semi-pros will have delivered a US Senate seat. Hackett's election would mark a radical power shift in American politics, even if the candidate is less radical than some of us would like.
Please. Let's leave the blog triumphalism to the other side. If you want to prove the power of the blogosphere, there are plenty of good candidates out there who are actually progressives. Find one.

Hackett might kiss your ass, but it's because you're all so goddamned gullible that you'll fall all over yourselves raising money for him even though he doesn't represent your views. You might think he "owes" you, but good luck collecting on that debt. This is your "realpolitik"?

I repeat: Hackett's only appeal is the fact that he killed Iraqis. Why this should be appealing to "progressives" is beyond me, but there you have it (I suppose they think it will make Democrats seem tough). The liberal blogosphere adopted him during his congressional race against Jean Schmidt. This made some sense; he was running in a conservative district, etc. But there is no reason to accept him as a statewide candidate, especially over Sherrod Brown, who, while not perfect, would be a vastly preferable senator.

So let's pull it together, and stop acting like a bunch of love-struck teenagers.


...liberal bloggers would do well to read David Sirota on a regular basis:
...are we going to reward with support our ideological heroes - the people who have fought the lonely, unglamorous, unsexy fights over the years for our cause? Or are we going to abandon these fighters for flavor-of-the-week candidates whose image/profile looks great at the moment, but whose position on issues we know little - if anything - about? And if we abandon the people like Brown who have gone to bat for us over the long haul, what message do we send to all of our other allies in terms of what they can expect in return for sticking their necks out and taking the tough votes?

It's true - Hackett has said "you bet I'm progressive." And he has said "we need more straight-talking, straight-shooting politicians." But even when you look at his statements in his very short time in politics, it's difficult to see that he says those statements with much substantive conviction...

It's great that Hackett now, finally, supports proposals to withdraw - proposals that Brown has been pushing for months. But just this summer, as Brown and his colleagues were pushing such an exit strategy on the floor of the House, Hackett came out against that kind of proposal in a very high-profile, public way. Mimicking President Bush's derisive language towards those who support an exit strategy, Hackett told one reporter we "can't cut and run."

... the simultaneous hyperventilating about Hackett's candidacy and downplaying of his inconsistent postures illustrates how parts of the grassroots left (perhaps confined to the blogosphere) are becoming all-consumed with this or that candidate's "profile" or "image" rather than substance.

...It cuts to one of the key reasons why progressives have been so locked out of the political process in recent years: because we don't make substantive demands of our leaders and back those demands with carrots and sticks like the grassroots conservative movement does with their candidates/officials.

If we progressives are ever going to do anything more than aesthetically change the political establishment; if we ever are going to move the system; if we are ever going to enact substantive changes in policies, we must focus with laser-like intensity on the actual substance of candidates when awarding - or withholding - our support. It may seem great to some if we only elected Democrats who were big macho cowboys or hardened war veterans or burly truck drivers. But would we have really changed things on a substantive policy level if these candidates only looked the part, but ended up not being willing to substantively challenge/change the political establishment once elected and thus empowered to do so?

In other words, if we want stronger stands and more concrete positions from Democratic candidates/officials, we have to resist the temptation to look at politics as just some sort of infotainment based only on things like looks, glitz, and image. Instead, we must look at where our leaders actually stand and support those who have been fighting and have been consistent on issues even when we weren't looking. Because if the grassroots doesn't do that - and simply rewards style and sizzle over actual substance - we offer no incentives for our political leaders to do anything in office other than try to look cool, but ignore our concrete demands for them to change our country for the better.

2,000 soldiers haven't really died in Iraq

That's what Michelle Malkin seems to think, anyway; she says that the 2,000 mark is "bogus."


UPDATE: Chris Bowers agrees that the 2000 number shouldn't be focused on, but for different reasons -
Iraq Body Count currently records the number of Iraqi civilian fatalities as at least 26,690, and as many as 30,051.

As of this writing, at least 3,450 Iraqi security forces have been killed since the start of the insurgency.

In addition to Iraqi and American fatalities, coalition forces in Iraq have suffered at least 199 fatalities, including 97 from Britain.

Further, as of this writing, at least 272 contractors have been killed in Iraq.

Finally, lest we forget, at least 58 journalists have also been killed in Iraq.

Rosa Parks, right-wing hero

Surely I am not the only one who finds amusement in all of the right-wing bloggers solemnly memorializing Rosa Parks as a "true hero." Seriously, what do you think the likes of Michelle Malkin and LaShawn Barber would have had to say about Parks if they had been around back then? Do you think they would have lionized her as they are doing today? Or would she have been just another unhinged anti-American moonbat?

No way to know for sure, but I have my hunches.

At least Stop the ACLU balances its praise for Parks by linking to wingnut blog Here in Cannuckistan, which informs us that we are being "hoodwinked":
Rosa worked for the NAACP - A black civil rights organisation. The bus adventure was staged to garner public sympathy. Be careful who you're praising in her passing folks...
I suppose working for a "black civil rights organisation" is supposed to be self-evidently objectionable. (By the way, the same blogger explains in another post how white supremacism is the natural result of affirmative action, Oprah, reparations "for the actions of white forefathers who did what was perfectly legal back in the day but which is now seen as criminal" (emphasis added), the fact that we're "not allowed" to refer to Mexican immigrants as wetbacks, and, of course, the fact that automated phone systems offer a Spanish-language option.)

Anyway, there's not much I can say about the legacy of Rosa Parks that hasn't been said better elsewhere. I think, though, that it's important that she not be seen as a vanilla do-gooder but rather as the radical that she was, and certainly not as someone who would be genuinely embraced by the author of Defense of Internment.

Malkin gone wild

Michelle Malkin officially has no sense of humor.

You see, to promote his new book, Al Franken made a short video for Amazon.com consisting of him beating the crap out of a Republican who didn't like his last book. Ha ha, whatever. But Michelle (and/or Jesse) is actually outraged:
The video skit blurs truth and fiction as a psychotic Al Franken kicks a man potraying a conservative reader in the groin, smashes a stool over his back, and grins as another man playing one of Franken's fans cracks a bottle over the conservative's head.

...There is absolutely nothing funny about the clip...Hannity and O'Reilly wouldn't dream of making such a video ... no company in its right mind (or rather, left mind) would think of hosting such a video even if a conservative personality were nuts enough to make one.

Speaking of corporate responsibility and double standards, do let Amazon.com know what you think of its decision to host Franken's thuggish, anti-conservative video.

It's no laughing matter.
Can you say unhinged?

10/24/2005

Because I have a standing obligation to my readers...


...to pass on any and all pictures of dogs dressed as pimps.

Plush art

From Friends With You (Warning: noisy link), via Insurgent Muse, here are some nice examples of the " 'toys as art' craze":





You can buy them, for between $15 and $30 each, here.


UPDATE: Links are fixed. Thanks Sirk.

10/23/2005

Spreading freedom and democracy

Did you know that under the Taliban, Afghans could be executed for blasphemy?

Did you know they still can be?
Journalist Convicted of Blasphemy in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 23 - For the first time since the fall of the Taliban's Islamic government four years ago, a journalist has been convicted by a Kabul court under the country's blasphemy laws.

Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the editor of "Women's Rights," a monthly magazine for women, was sentenced on Saturday to two years in prison by Kabul's primary court. The sentence will automatically be reviewed on appeal.

The sentencing came after a strenuous battle between Kabul's conservative judges, led by members of the Supreme Court, and the liberal Minister of Information and Culture, Sayed Makhdum Raheen, and reveals the strains between moderates and conservatives in the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The prosecutor called for the maximum sentence of death, accusing the editor of apostasy, so the two-year sentence appears to have been a compromise. But it is a reminder that Afghanistan is still ruled by Islamic Shariah law and that, on issues of religion, conservatives are determined to enforce it.

The prosecution contended that the magazine had run two articles in its latest issue about apostasy that violated the law by saying that while apostasy was taboo, it was not a crime under Islam. The authorities apparently ordered the issue removed from newsstands.

Name change in order?

lycfyg of Liberal Quicksand, noting my obvious sympathy for Islamic fundamentalism, asks:
When are you going to change the name of this blog to "Al-JaDada"?

"Dirt and migrating and more dirt"

Bitch Ph.D. links to a collection of Amazon.com reviews that gave classic novels one-star reviews. The point of the collection is, I think, to poke a little fun at the reviewers for making trivial or unfounded complaints about these great works. But the Bitch actually agrees with the 1-star review of The Great Gatsby, and I myself found several of the reviews to be quite astute and accurate evaluations. I'm not kidding; for instance:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)

Author: Ken Kesey

“I guess if you were interested in crazy people this is the book for you.”


The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

Author: J.D. Salinger

“So many other good books…don’t waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed.”


The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Author: John Steinbeck

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”


The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

Author: C.S. Lewis

“I bought these books to have something nice to read to my grandkids. I had to stop, however, because the books are nothing more than advertisements for “Turkish Delight,” a candy popular in the U.K. The whole point of buying books for my grandkids was to give them a break from advertising, and here (throughout) are ads for this “Turkish Delight”! How much money is this Mr. Lewis getting from the Cadbury’s chocolate company anyway? This man must be laughing to the bank.”
The ubiquity of Turkish Delight in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is something that has always puzzled me (though I doubt that CS Lewis was actually receiving money from the Turkish Delight industry, and I'm quite certain that he's not "laughing to the bank," seeing as how he is dead). And there's no denying that there is a lot of dirt in The Grapes of Wrath.

Thank you, thank you, thank you; a million times thank you

Mike the Mad Biologist is one of the few liberal bloggers talking sense about Paul Hackett:
Can anyone tell me why the Democratic blogosphere is going bananas over Hackett's entry into the Ohio Senate race? I like the guy: anyone who calls Bush a chickenhawk can't be all bad. But can we stop kidding ourselves? Hackett isn't a 'progressive': he's a conservative Democrat. For much of the Democratic blogosphere, Sherrod Brown is much better on the issues. I know some are fussed at Brown's decision not to run, and then changing his mind.

Is it a 'waffle'? Perhaps, but who cares? Political campaigns are grueling, and I wouldn't subject myself to one to won unless I thought the odds were pretty reasonable (and so would most people). On the other hand, Hackett has waffled on something a lot more important: the Iraq War.

What's even more daffy is that after part of the lefty blogosphere was ready to go to war against the conservative Democrats, they are now falling all over themselves in supporting one. I thought the idea was to teach conservative Dems a lesson, not support them.
I am profoundly disappointed in those liberal bloggers who have gone all ga-ga over Hackett to the point of unreason; Steve Gilliard and Lindsay Beyerstein have been especially nauseating. Too many liberal bloggers seem to be exclusively interested in raw partisanship, without any particular concern for the actual issues that make partisan politics important. They seem to look at politics the way a head coach looks at a football game - there is one goal, and one goal only, to win, and as long as the game is won, nothing else matters.

This would be bad enough, if they were decent strategists, and had half a clue about what makes for political success. But instead they are hopelessly naive and crude in their thinking. Here is a fact: liberal bloggers love Paul Hackett because he's a Democrat who fought in the Iraq war. Period. That's the beginning and the end of the story. They've internalized the "weak on national security" meme, and they are captivated by the prospect of a Democrat who seems to defy this stereotype - a Democrat who has not just voted for Bush's war, but actually killed Iraqis himself! There's no way the Republicans will be able to paint this guy as a wimp, they think.

This is barely a year out from the brutally effective smearing of decorated war hero John Kerry, who also made Democrats salivate because he had actually killed people himself, instead of merely sending others to kill like most Democratic politicians. Guess what, folks: being a veteran doesn't mean shit in the eyes of voters - and rightly so. The fact that Hackett fought in Iraq gives him no special moral authority, especially since he seems incapable of settling on a position regarding the war.

Of course, part of the infatuation with Hackett has to do with the fact that he is seen as especially blogger-friendly. I imagine he is, considering that bloggers were a big part of his "success" in his congressional race (if you can call losing a success). But what these liberal bloggers don't realize is that Hackett played them for chumps, bad-mouthing Bush to them and giving the impression that his campaign was taking on Bush in a major way, while at the same time practically embracing Bush in front of the Ohio electorate.

Along the way, the name "Paul Hackett" acquired a mythical character, and liberal bloggers began making fools of themselves believing in the legend of the Bush-bashing war-hero savior of progressives everywhere.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Sanity is not statistical.