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

12/10/2005

Lamest protest ever?

The Right is working to bring down the Christ-hating Jews liberals of the ACLU with a devious plan:

They're sending them Christmas cards.

Really.

(Get it? Because ... well ... I guess because the ACLU is the headquarters of the anti-Christmas forces, or something.)

Commenting are Tom Tomorrow:
Oh, that’ll really show those godless Commies, won’t it? Man! Can you just imagine the response of the ACLU staffer who opens up a stack of envelopes and finds them full of Christmas cards?

Actually, the response would probably go something like this: “Oh, look! Some Christmas cards! How nice!”

...and jedmunds:
I'm sure that the Athiest and Communist Lovers are totally demoralized to discover that a bunch of private citizens on their private time and on their own dime are sending Christmas cards to celebrate their private religious convictions. Dammit. It's as if removing state endorsements of that wretched holiday weren't enough to end Christmas all together. Time to figure out plan B.
I'm going to have to ask again, Republicans: why is everyone in your party so goddamned stupid?

R.I.P.

Just heard: Richard Pryor, Gene McCarthy.

War on the academy

It's more real than the War on Christmas. Unlike Christmas, universities rely on state funding.

But Republicans are making it known that this funding comes with a price. Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander:
NASHVILLE -- Funding for colleges is threatened by a "growing political one-sidedness" on many campuses which doesn't allow for more conservative ideas, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander told higher education officials here Friday.

"How many conservative speakers are invited to deliver commencement addresses? How many colleges require courses in U.S. history? How many even teach Western Civilization? ... Those are politically unacceptable topics," the Tennessee Republican testified before the Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
As you might imagine, conservatives deliver commencement addresses all the time. And academics in English, Philosophy, Classics, or Art History departments, among others, would be very surprised to hear that 'Western Civilization' is an unacceptable topic, considering that they are paid to teach and research it.

Seriously, GOPers: why is everyone in your party so goddamned stupid?

Utility companies: It's not our fault!

Gas bills are soaring this winter, and utility companies want to make sure the public knows that they aren't to blame:
Utility companies around the country are so concerned about consumer outrage over huge natural gas bills this winter that they have launched public relations campaigns to convince customers that the companies are not to blame.

"BGE has no control over these price increases," says a Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. radio commercial. "Nor do we profit from them."

In newspaper ads and on radio and TV, utilities are hammering the message that they are simply passing along costs from natural gas producers and are not pocketing a big bounty. The message also is cropping up in newsletters included with bills and fliers handed to customers. Utilities are even specially training customer service operators so they know how to explain higher prices to irate customers.

With customers' natural gas bills forecast by the government to increase an average of 38 percent this winter, these are among the ways natural gas utilities are trying to avoid being tarred as price gougers.

...The gas utilities are required to pass along these supply costs to customers without taking a markup. The utilities make profits based on delivery of gas: The more they deliver, the more profit they make. The rates they charge are set by regulators.
So instead of using that money to reduce their rates for delivery and lower heating bills a bit, they're spending it on ad campaigns telling you that while your bill may be high, hey - it's not their fault.

I realize the money spent might not be much, relatively speaking, but still.

Why do utility companies even care about their image? How many people have a choice of who to get natural gas service from anyway?

Speaking of skyrocketing utility bills, it's worth remembering that they disproportionately affect the poor, of course.

Racists

If a child is born in the United States, he or she is automatically a US citizen, even if the parents are not.

This won't be the case, however, if some GOP lawmakers get their way.

Their rationale: these children, when they turn 18, can petition for their parents to be granted citizenship. Knowing this, immigrants are sneaking into the country in order to give birth, in the hopes that this will produce a big pay-off in 18 years. So they're trying to pass a bill eliminating 'Birthright Citizenship'.

Right. That's it. It's not that you're all a bunch of racist fucks.

By the way, the 14th Amendment reads, in part:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Conservatives never have been too fond of that amendment, though.

Excuse me while I kiss your ass

I just want to say a big thank you to all the regular commenters here. This site is ten times better than it would be without you, and I really do appreciate it.

12/09/2005

And so it begins again

Or more accurately, continues.  I don't know why people read Townhall, but I read the equivalent, Blogs for Bush, because it somehow seems important to keep on top of GOP propaganda/horseshit when it's still in the incubation stage:

"Iran's President Must be Removed From Power ... Time to get down to brass tacks - evil is a real thing; it exists in this world and some people are entirely enthralled to it. Ahmadinejad is an evil man - a man clearly bent on war and mass-murder. Time to stop the absurd EU/UN dance about Iran...this is serious business. The sooner we remove him - and the entire Iranian regime - the sooner the world will be safer."

Wow.  

I don't think I'm cherry-picking stupidity here, either.  What do you suppose Instapundit's response to this would be?

Only in America

Nothing good has ever happened anywhere else!

Except Iraq.

12/08/2005

punk-ass bitches from MIT

I know that academics make up a disproportionate chunk of the blogosphere, and that a lot of you are therefore in the thick of end-of-the-semester business (soon to be followed by a four-week vacation - poor you!).

So relieve some stress by listening to the dope flow of the one and only M.C. Hawking:

All My Shootings Be Drivebys.mp3

(That's right, Hawking as in the Cambridge physicist.)

Lyrics:

"All My Shootings Be Drivebys"

Trash Talk

Ah yeah, that's right motherfuckers!
I'm back riding a funky track.
I got a story to tell you all,
So listen up!
Yo! Trip on this!

Verse 1
I'm rolling through the hood on a Saturday night,
got a 40 in my left hand, my dick in my right,
some chronic in my lap, a pager in my cap,
and a 9 millimeter in the small of my back.
I'm just chilling no place to be,
I take another pull off my 40 z.
I'm thinking 'bout spinning a fat ass tree,
a B to the L to the U-N-T.

Then I get a call on my dope cell phone,
check the caller ID, what up homes?
Yo, it's the Doom and his news ain't good:
"little Pookie got capped last night in the hood."
I feel like the world is fading away,
I saw Little Pookie just the other day.
Pookie was my boy we shared Kool-aid in the park,
now some punks took his life in the dark.

I ask Doomsday who the motherfuckers be,
"some punk ass bitches from MIT."
The fucking Institute, man I should've known,
I say meet me at my crib and hang up the phone.
Playtime's over; I got a job to do,
and the world will be less crowded by the time I'm through,
and I'll keep rolling while bullets fly,
cause all my shootings be drivebys.

Verse 2
One minute to midnight we hit the street,
cold as a cadaver, hard as concrete.
Doomsday's packing a baby Mac,
got my AK-47 and the nine in my back.
The Alpine's glowing, P-E's flowing,
got my swerve on tight and my game face showing.
Them damn punks are gonna pay,
the Hawk's on the case, a bird of prey.

Then up ahead cold chilling in the street,
six motherfuckers from MIT.
I flick off the safety, check my grip,
and load a dum-dum clip.
I glance at the Doom to make sure he's packed,
his fingers on the trigger of his baby Mac.
Time to give a Newtonian demonstration,
of a bullet its mass and its acceleration.

Nine on my lap AK in my hand,
I roll up slow like a snake in the sand.
I wait till I'm sure they can see my face,
then I bust out slugs to the beat of the bass.
The streets sketched out in the full moon light,
MIT punks dying left and right.
There's nowhere to run don't even try,
cause all my shootings be drivebys.

Verse 3
Then silence hits the street like a bomb,
an eerie calm like the eye of storm.
Beneath the glow of an old street light,
dead MIT punks be the only sight.
6 motherfuckers no longer alive,
and Pookie's been avenged 1 for 1 plus 5,
and we'll be long gone 'fore the cops arrive,
'cause all my shootin's be, Drivebys.

Trash Talk
Ah yeah! I'm busting more shit than an incontinent man at a chili cook-off!
The moral of the story is:
Don't fuck with the Hawkman, 'cause the Hawkman ain't down with that eye for an eye bullshit.
Fuck that! You take an eye and I'll take your motherfucking head!

God bless Wikipedia

In which other encyclopedia would you find an article describing, in some detail, the many species of abuse which school children inflict upon one another? All the familiar ones are there - Indian burn, noogie, wedgie (both 'basic variations' and 'lesser known variations'), wet willy, swirly, etc. - but there are also quite a few that I had never heard of before:
Bagging

When someone falls to the ground, usually in an embarrassing way, the victim is then pelted with school bags which are thrown at them to inflict physical and mental pain. This is also a common occurrence on birthdays when the victim is thrown to the ground and has bags thrown onto him. To maximise the damage heavier bags are often selected and are thrown from further distances and heights.


Happy Corner

Usually in boys' schools and camps, the victim is lifted by a group of pranksters, with legs opened up, and then is either rammed into a pole or a protruding corner of a wall, and has his genitalia rubbed against it. Sometimes a variation of "Happy Birthday" is sung, with "birthday" replaced by "corner", during the act, hence the name. This can cause from as little to irritation to as much as serious damage to the victim's genitals.


Limpy

To inflict a limpy, the perpetrator gives his hand (usually the nondominant one) several shakes until the fingers are limber and flexible (i.e., "limp"). He or she then places the forefinger under the thumb and shakes the hand violently so that the middle finger moves freely. The middle finger is then flicked or snapped on the victim's flesh, particularly the head. This maneuver can be extremely painful if inflicted with sufficient force.


Palm cancer

This is done by informing the victim that if one's hand is bigger than their face, they are likely to develop cancer. This invariably causes the person to position their open hand up to their face to compare the relative sizes. At that point, the perpetrator forcefully pushes the victim's own hand into his/her face.


Running Through a Forest

Similar to Palm Cancer, this prank entails instructing the victim to close their eyes, and imagine they are running through a forest. There's usually a bit of build-up, entailing repeating the phrase, "You're running, you're running through the trees," etc. At a suitable moment, you smash your hand into the victim's face, and tell them, "You just ran into a tree. That's what you get for running through the forest with your eyes shut."


Nipple cripple

Also known as a "nipple twister", "titty twister", or a "(purple) nurple", it is the act of grabbing a person's nipple between the thumb and forefinger and then twisting it around roughly. This game is typically played among young males and it is discouraged when either player is shirtless.


Hertz donut

Asking a person if he wants a "Hertz donut". An unsuspecting person will believe he has been offered some kind of doughnut. When the victim admits to wanting one, the prankster hits or punches the victim and then says, "Hurts, don' it?"


Skirt Float

This prank is usually done by a boy, who puts a helium filled balloon attached to a piece of tape onto the bottom of a girl's skirt. This causes the girl's skirt to lift up without the girl noticing, which exposes either her panties, or, if she is going commando, her rear.


Impossible elbow touch

The victim of this subtle prank should be a girl with prominent breasts. The prank is simply to ask her if she can touch her elbows together behind her back, which is physically impossible for a human of normal anatomy, but it causes the breasts to protrude more than any other posture. The longer the victim continues to attempt the impossible elbow touch, the funnier and more enjoyable it is for the observers.


Special Speech

This victim is convinced by the prankster to say the words "Hoof hearted, ice melted." In front of a large crowd. Of course, the outcome, the victim appearing to say "Who farted, I smelled it", is embarrassing. Only will work with a person who is fairly dim-witted.
Ahhhh.

"When do I get my arms back?"

Brian Leiter quotes from Harold Pinter's excellent nobel prize lecture:
The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading as a last resort all other justifications having failed to justify themselves as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.
The whole thing is here.

Crazy Dean

Everybody's linking to this New Republic article about Howard Dean's history of saying 'crazy' things about Iraq that turn out to be perfectly true, but you need to register to read it, which drives me up the wall. So here are the good parts:
Howard Dean is being vilified again--not only by Republicans in the White House and Congress, but by his fellow Democrats as well. And once again it's for making a critical comment about the administration's conduct of the Iraq war. In an interview Monday with a San Antonio radio station, Dean, comparing the conflicts in Iraq and Vietnam, said, "The idea that we're going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong."...

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman accused Dean of sending "the wrong message to our troops, the wrong message to the enemy, the wrong message to the Iraqi people." House Speaker Dennis Hastert said, "Howard Dean has made it clear the Democratic Party sides with those who wish to surrender." Democratic senators Bill Nelson and Ben Nelson and Democratic Representative Jim Marshall all took issue with their party's chairman. "Dean's take on Iraq makes even less sense than the scream in Iowa: Both are uninformed and unhelpful," Marshall said....

The ... question, though, is whether [Dean's] judgment on Iraq has been sound. And there I would say that it certainly has been. During the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and during the invasion and occupation, Dean has been almost consistently correct in his statements. He has been the Democrats' and the nation's Cassandra--willing to reveal bitter truths about which Republicans and his fellow Democrats would prefer that he remain silent.

Dean's statements perfectly fit Michael Kinsley's definition of a "gaffe"--an assertion that is impolitic but true. Here is a brief timeline of Dean's most controversial statements about Iraq and his critics' responses during the months before and immediately after the invasion:


February 2003. After Secretary of State Colin Powell made his case for war at the United Nations, most other leading Democrats applauded. Senator Joe Biden called Powell's case "very powerful and, I think, irrefutable." Senator John Kerry called it "compelling." Only Dean dissented. "I heard little today that leads me to believe that there is an imminent threat warranting unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq," he said...

April 2003. Senator Joe Lieberman declared that the capture of Baghdad and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime vindicated his support for the invasion. "The vindication that I feel is the confidence that with Saddam gone, America's going to be a lot safer than it otherwise would have been," Lieberman said ... Once again the dissenter, Dean said, "All these folks who are crowing about their vote and the outcome are going to learn that the occupation will be very difficult." He added, "I'm not a pacifist. We've removed a horrible dictator, but the price we're going to pay is down the road."

June 2003. As reports began to surface that the Bush administration might have misled the country about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, many leading Democrats were hesitant to question the administration's probity. Biden said, "I don't think there is any doubt that the administration was right in saying that he had those weapons." Republicans dismissed any doubts. Senator George Allen asserted, "It's not a question." But Dean said, "We need a thorough look at what really happened going into Iraq. It appears to me that what the president did was make a decision to go into Iraq sometime in early 2002, or maybe even late 2001, and then try to get the justification afterward."

December 2003-January 2004. After Saddam Hussein was captured on December 14, Dean appeared to go out on the farthest of limbs. "[T]he capture of Saddam has not made America safer," Dean said. "The Iraq war diverted critical intelligence and military resources, undermined diplomatic support for our fight against terror, and created a new rallying cry for terrorist recruits." Gephardt termed Dean's statement "ludicrous." Kerry took it as "more proof that all the advisors in the world can't give Howard Dean the military and foreign-policy experience, leadership skills, or diplomatic temperament necessary to lead this country through dangerous times." Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said, "It's baffling that anyone could possibly think life under a brutal dictator who routinely tortured, raped, and imprisoned his own people is better than the freedom and democracy taking root in Iraq today."

Much of what Dean said on those occasions has now become conventional wisdom. But as the recent fracas over Dean's remarks demonstrates, his statements continue to be poorly received.

12/07/2005

What's the point?

Ezra Klein asks some important questions about political blogging:
Can someone explain to me why folks think Townhall.com is important enough to read? I mean, I realize there's a humor element there, but reading every column they publish in a day in order to make a couple jokes is really giving them way exposure and power than they deserve. Townhall, after all, isn't reading Feministe or Pandagon and summarizing their points each evening.

I always fear, particularly in the blogosphere (and this goes not only for both sides, but for me)*, that the incentives are all aimed at mercilessly mocking the most pathetic arguments to emerge across the aisle. Tearing them apart is funny, safe, and a sure way to attract some hits. But, in the end, all we engage with is idiocy from from maniacs, and all our readers end up seeing are quotations from morons that get shredded moments later.

What's missing there is actual engagement with the good, or at least sound, arguments that pop up across the aisle. That's not to say George Will, or QandO, (or, if you're a Republican, Kevin Drum and EJ Dionne) or any of the more reasonable folks are right or convincing, but that the ideology they express isn't a caricature...

...a bit more engagement with stronger arguments from the other side would be a good thing. There's no balance. I just don't see the good pieces from the right getting mentioned.
I haven't had a chance to think about this much, but here's the response I left at Ezra's (warning: it's about as predictable as the Nick and Jessica divorce):
The problem is that at this point, there are no 'serious thinkers' who are still defending the administration. I don't read Townhall, but can it be that much more stupid than what's coming from Instapundit or Power Line? (Or Will or Hitchens, etc.?)

I try to ignore the wingnut-o-sphere as much as possible. Only the die-hard true believers are left, and they have nothing else to say.

All the questions are settled. The invasion was wrong; the occupation is wrong. The tax cuts were wrong. The judicial nominations were wrong. Etc. etc. on just about anything you can think of.

Politics just isn't as complicated as we sometimes make it out, or perhaps not enough to sustain a daily blog when it's not election season. Bush and co. are intent on doing things that we know are foolish and immoral. A few 'dead-enders' (to borrow a phrase) are still fighting the not-so-good fight, and I don't know that there's much to be gained from engaging them.

But we have blogs that must be fed. So we mock. Because at this point, what else is there to do?
But like I said, that's my first, knee-jerk response. There's an important (well, kind of important) question at issue here: what's the point of progressive political blogs? To shoot the fish in a barrel on the right? To hunt for good arguments to refute? To organize? To console one another? To stave off insanity?

I don't know. I'll be thinking about it, though.

12/06/2005

Howard Dean was right

Well, sort of.

You know he's got to be onto something if he's got various wingnuts comparing him to Hitler, calling for his execution, and hosting 'Dean Sux!!!' link carnivals.

What did Howard say to upset our little war mongers so?
In an interview with WOAI radio in San Antonio Monday, [Howard Dean], the head of the Democratic Party, drew a parallel between efforts to hand over security responsibilities to Iraqis and similar efforts during the Vietnam War to the South Vietnamese.

That side ultimately lost the war.

"Of course, the South Vietnamese couldn't manage to support their own country," Dean said. "I do not believe in making the same mistake twice. And America appears to have made the same mistake twice."

Dean said he wished President Bush "had paid more attention to the history of Iraq before we had gotten in there."

"The idea that we are going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong," he said.
Vietnam analogies have for some reason been verboten since the invasion of Iraq, but they're becoming more and more apt, mostly because the Bush administration seems intent on taking its cues from the Johnson administration's handling of the conflict in Southeast Asia ('credibility gap', anyone?).

The truth is that we don't even know what it would mean for the US to 'win' in Iraq. Republicans say that Democrats who call for withdrawal want to admit defeat, yet they insist that the US will eventually withdraw, without explaining how their withdrawal, and not the Democrats', is a victorious one.

The US could retain control over Iraq's oil fields indefinitely, and establish permanent military bases there; that would be a certain kind of victory, considering that the primary goals of the invasion would thus be met. However, I don't think this is the kind of victory that the GOP will be touting come election time.

In any other sense, the idea that the US will or even can 'win' the war in Iraq is fantasy, and should be treated accordingly. Howard Dean's supposed gaffe was that he admitted as much.

The right to choose...

...doesn't mean a lot if you're underage, poor, and don't live near an abortion clinic.

Enter 'The New Underground Railroad'.

This kind of thing will become even more important if Roe is overturned (and if a federal abortion ban is avoided), and abortion rights become a strictly blue state phenomenon.

ACLU sues Tenet

From Raw Story via Crooks and Liars:
The American Civil Liberties Union will file a lawsuit today against former CIA director George Tenet and three American contractors challenging the CIA’s abduction of a foreign national for detention and interrogation in a secret overseas prison, RAW STORY has learned.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an German citizen later found innocent who was victimized by the CIA’s policy of “extraordinary rendition.”

The suit alleges that Tenet and other CIA officials violated U.S. and human rights laws when they authorized agents to kidnap El-Masri, and that his unlawful abduction and treatment were the direct result of an illegal CIA policy known as “extraordinary rendition.”

The suit also charges that the three corporations that owned and operated the airplane used to transport El-Masri to detention in Afghanistan are legally responsible for assisting in the violation of his civil and human rights. These corporations supplied the aircraft and provided the personnel used in the illicit transportation of El-Masri, knowing that the transfer was illegal, according to the ACLU.

Manufactured outrage

War on Christmas! Howard Dean said the US can't win in Iraq! John Kerry said soldiers are terrorizing people! Zombie movies! Ward Churchill! Pies! Photoshopped pants! CRESCENTS!!!!!!!!!!!

And now, this, a card received by a soldier at a military hospital:


You-know-who is on the case.

12/05/2005

Is ID dead?

The New York Times (via Moderate Voice) says it may be:
Behind the headlines, however, intelligent design as a field of inquiry is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for. It has gained little support among the academics who should have been its natural allies...

On college campuses, the movement's theorists are academic pariahs, publicly denounced by their own colleagues. Design proponents have published few papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals...

While intelligent design has hit obstacles among scientists, it has also failed to find a warm embrace at many evangelical Christian colleges. Even at conservative schools, scholars and theologians who were initially excited about intelligent design say they have come to find its arguments unconvincing. They, too, have been greatly swayed by the scientists at their own institutions and elsewhere who have examined intelligent design and found it insufficiently substantiated in comparison to evolution.
I'll see you in Hell, Intelligent Design!

We kill because we care

Mark Noonan:
"It is just inhumane to think that the removal of Saddam was a mistake - no matter what, getting him out of power was a duty of all free peoples. We can't strike at all evil all at once, but whatever evil is in our power to destroy, we must destroy. To do otherwise is to fail in our duty as human beings to care for one another as much as possible."
Sure. If Iraq's going to be run by gangsters, it's going to be American gangsters, god damn it!

12/04/2005

The real problem

Marcus Stanley, guest-posting for Brian Leiter, has a great post up:
...it's not just our occupation of Iraq but our entire committment to U.S. hegemony worldwide that's not sustainable. ...there are 192 countries in the world, we have troops in 135 of them. When Russia wants influence over Georgia, China wants Taiwan, Iran or Syria conflicts with Israel over Lebanon...it's all supposed to be not just our business but our crisis.

...this isn't just about Bush. Bush has been an incredibly incompetent, dishonest, and crude manager of U.S. hegemony ... But there is too much agreement among U.S. political elites that U.S. power requires major military committments worldwide, that no rivals to our power can be allowed an independent sphere of influence anywhere. This is somehow supposed to be the "responsible" and "realistic" way of thinking, when it seems clear that it's instead on a collision course with reality.

This isn't about about genuine security for U.S. citizens. It has something to do with economic interests in the defense industry, and something to do with the geopolitical wet dreams of foreign policy elites.
Exactly. This is part of the reason I'm always ragging on partisan loyalists like Markos Moulitsas. Sure, they're on our side now, but that's only because our side is fighting the GOP. The moment a Democratic president decides to use military power in the service of US hegemony (should the Democrats ever manage to land someone in the White House), I guarantee you that Kos and Atrios and the rest will definitely not be on our side. This is easy to see from their responses to left-wing criticism of the Democratic Party - e.g., Atrios lashing out at the 'annoying left' who impolitely insisted on talking about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died because of the sanction regime on Clinton's watch.

Like Marcus Stanley says, Iraq isn't the problem; it's a symptom of the larger problem of American neo-imperialism. But you wouldn't know that if you only listened to the major 'liberal' voices in the media. The official liberal critique of US foreign policy begins and ends with the Iraq war. That's just not good enough. It will work for now, since the Iraq issue is obviously pressing. But what happens when Iraq is finally over?

When I go on about faux-progressive bloggers, it's not that I'm an angry leftist who views anybody to my right as a traitor. I don't look at things like that, I really don't. For one thing, there's nothing inherently 'left' about opposition to American foreign policy; Antiwar.com is run by a libertarian. For another, I don't have a problem with moderates per se.

A prime example is Ezra Klein. My impression is that Klein is generally pretty moderate - not a Joe Lieberman/Marshall Wittman/John McCain 'moderate', but just someone who isn't nearly as far to the left as most people would probably consider me. But I respect Klein because he's not a dogmatic, unthinking party loyalist. He seems to actually think about things before coming to his opinions, and to critically examine the conventional wisdom, something which I can't always say about a lot of other center-left bloggers.

As David Sirota argued in his article 'Partisan War Syndrome', the liberal blogosphere is much too focused on the horse race aspect of politics, and not on the ideological issues at stake. They hate Joe Lieberman not because he's too conservative, but because they view him as disloyal to the party. They love Paul Hackett not because he's a progressive, but because they think he's a good partisan fighter. Politics is a sport to many of these people: as long as someone has the right uniform on, they'll root for him - unless he starts hurting the team, in which case they'll insist that he be cut.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it needs to be tethered to ideology. I want the Democrats to win too; but I want them to win because I believe the things that progressives believe in will ultimately be better served that way - not just because I want my team to win. But those who just want to win for the sake of winning will be not only useless but actually harmful when it is their party's leaders who are violating the dictates of morality.

The illegitimate election of 2004

I have no idea whether John Kerry 'really' won the election last year - but I also don't know whether George W. Bush did, and therein lies the problem. A lot of people assume that in order for an election to be considered illegitimate, there must be evidence that any fraud or irregularities that may have occurred actually affected the outcome. But this is wrong: the mere fact that we don't know what would have happened given a fair election is reason enough to invalidate the results of the election we did have. An election where the votes are counted secretly is an illegitimate election, even if it is possible that the winning candidate received the most votes.

So was the election legitimate? Those tinfoil-hat wearers at the GAO indicate that it was. From Supreme Irony of Life:
Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman October 26, 2005

As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.

The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage.

The government's lead investigative agency is known for its general incorruptibility and its thorough, in-depth analyses. Its concurrence with assertions widely dismissed as "conspiracy theories" adds crucial new weight to the case that Team Bush has no legitimate business being in the White House.

...

The non-partisan GAO report has now found that, "some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, has asserted that "public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines." The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O'Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush.

Yesiree, this Meat Play is gonna be a pip!

Remember this from the Onion a few years back?

*****

Hey, Everybody, Let's Put On An Avant-Garde Show!

By Mickey McCune

Say, gang, did you hear the news? Rotten old Banker Mudge wants to tear down our clubhouse and put up a big office building in its place. Can you believe it? Us kids will have no place to go! Well, doggone it, I won't stand for it, and neither should any of the other kids here in Gurdeyville! I just know if we put our thinking caps on, we can figure a way out of this jam.

Wait... I got it! We'll raise the money to stop Banker Mudge by putting on a show! An avant-garde show!

I know what you're thinking: "Jeez, Mickey, we only know about stickball and skipping rope, not avant-garde dramatics!" But I tell you, gang, absurdist theater is in my blood! My pop used to be the artistic director of an experimental playhouse in Greenwich Village during the heyday of the Fluxus movement, and my great-grandmaw served drinks at the Cabaret Voltaire, which was just about the most important Dadaist theater in WWI Zurich. Even though I'm only 13, I've picked up enough from them to direct us a swell show.

Besides, we've got a whole mess of talent to work with here! Little Gracie tap-dances with pep aplenty, and Bucky's lasso tricks never fail to wow. Why, with just a little practice, they could be transformed into a chorus of shrouded, shrieking wraiths in no time! And who else but sweet Rosemarie, the golden-haired darling of our gang, should play the part of the slovenly mother-whore who's constantly giving birth to fist-sized maggots?

Now, don't get sore if you don't land one of the lead roles. There's work for everybody on this avant-garde production! Virginia's a demon with a needle and thread; she'll be just the gal to stitch together the blood-red cloth backdrop with the vagina-shaped opening through which the giant fetus enters in the first act. Jackie, the junkman's son, is a born prop man—he could dig up enough rusted urinals and soiled dolls' heads for a dozen plays! Sissy Chester can compose the dissonant, aleatoric score. And Spud never goes anywhere without his hammer and nails; he can build the stage and the sets, as well as the huge wooden letter M that drops to the floor and crushes the proletarian rioters at the end of Act II! The rest of you can sell tickets, paste playbills on the fence outside Schwoegler's Field, or hitch Nanny Goat to her cart and haul a giant papier-mâché phallus up and down Gurdeyville Town Square. Yep, we're gonna need all the help we can get!

If we're gonna put on a proper avant-garde show, it oughta be some kind of surrealist drama heavy on symbolism. Who will write this play, you ask? None other than yours truly, Mickey McCune, natch! Aw, don't worry, I've seen lots of these kind of shows—cabaret, poetry recitals, performance art, you name it. It'll be a cinch! I think I'll call my work Meat Play. It will be the story of the aforementioned fetus, who survives a premature birth and eventually ascends to the throne of an obscure Eastern European kingdom. There will be a waltzing skeleton, a murderous clown, an enormously fat industrialist who sits atop a large glass toilet and defecates money, and a lecherous bishop who covets his own sister but can't act on his impulses because he's buried up to his chest in dirt. Ain't that a peach?

By thunder, we'll do things up on that stage that'll have everybody talking here in Gurdeyville! Instead of stagehands, the actors will move the scenery right in front of the audience. Without warning or explanation, human actors will be replaced by marionettes... right smack in the middle of scenes! And, of course, there will be heaps and heaps of overlapping dialogue. This play will not only savagely attack the class system, organized religion, and sexual mores, but also, by subverting the conventions of mainstream theater, it will draw attention to its stale artificiality! Yesiree, this Meat Play is gonna be a pip!

What's that you say, Hamhock? "Nudity"? Jumping Jehosophat, you're right! How silly I was to forget the nudity! It's just the thing every avant-garde play needs. We'll paint our naked bodies all the colors of the rainbow, and the boys' penises will be gaily striped like barbershop poles! Golly, I can hardly wait for opening night!

We'll charge 10 cents a seat and invite everyone in town, from the ragpicker to the mayor himself. We'll even invite old Banker Mudge, just to show him he can't boss us kids around! When everybody sees our nifty avant-garde show, they'll be clamoring for more. The dimes will pour in, and not only will we have enough money to save the clubhouse, but we'll also have enough left over for ice-cream sundaes!

What's that, Bucky? You say the clubhouse already has the money to pay off Banker Mudge and stop his plan? Some other neighborhood kids raised the funds by performing a play of their own? A dialogue-free version of Uncle Tom's Cabin in which all the players lie onstage tightly swaddled in gauze? Gee, Bucky, why didn't you say something before I got on a roll? Well, I guess I oughta get back to working on my soap-box racer for the big derby!

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