Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Are you baiting me?" "I'm a master at it"

Internet feuds are fun. Since I don't take it seriously anymore (unlike a year or so ago when I lost my cool) I consider it all good fun to get in to various disputes with people. Whether it's trying to connect, in some factual manner, with Marshall Art, or teasing Jason Bowden for not even being original in his political commentary - what of it? My blog exists for me to let off steam, and if part of that process involves some light teasing, well, so what? We're all human beings, with all the good and bad, stupid and wise, beautiful and ugly, that goes with it. I start with the premise that regardless of an individual's political philosophy, religious beliefs, or taste in music, we're all that wonderful mixture of goodness and badness that is humanity.

There are, sadly, those who don't understand that. For whatever reasons, there are those who insist on getting their feelings hurt. They take it all personally. They act as if disagreement was a personal affront, an assault on their integrity. Such is the case with Mark. Apparently, I ticked him off so much, he dedicated an entire post to refuting what he seems to think is my inherent pose of intellectual superiority and unknowing hypocrisy. He did so without even the common courtesy of a link!

That hurts my feelings.

Now, for those who only lightly peruse this blog, and do not follow various links and discussions I have elsewhere, I have been having various discussions and arguments with Mark for a while now. Sometime in the past twelve months, in a context I do not recall immediately, Mark got very defensive concerning something I had written, especially concerning my own education versus his. To say that I couldn't care less is about as clear as I can make it, since the issue has never been "What degree do yo have?" or "What books have you read?", but rather, "Do you access to and use the facts?" and "Are you able to reason capably?"

Recently I lightly chided Mark - in all seriousness it was meant as a light poke in good fun - for his self-professed lack of some degree or other, and he came back with the retort that he has "a genius IQ". Now, again, I couldn't care less, because IQ is a meaningless measure of anything other than an ability to score well on a standardized test. Even if IQ had some inherent meaning, I wouldn't care. To be perfectly frank, I can't for the life of me understand what prompted such a silly riposte.

Well, he's at it again.
Why do you kick against the pricks, Art? the Libs you graciously allow to post comments here will always refuse to believe facts, even those well documented, in favor of believing the pablum spoon fed to them by the Leftist, Communist, Marxist, treasonous, Liberal Bush haters in this country.

I have stopped responding to them myself, because it is an exercise in futility. How does one talk sense to the senseless? You cannot reason with fools.

I know Dan and Geoff et al, will bluster on about how hateful I am but I say, "Who cares?" I don't give a tinkers damn about what traitors think about me.

And . . .
Sorry, Art. I was talking to you. I am no longer responding to Liberals who refuse to admit they are wrong. ABOUT ANYTHING. I'm just saying you are beating a dead horse. They will never see things from your perspective.

If you want to continue to argue with people who will never accept it when they are bested, argue on, brother.

I won't waste my time. I personally don't have enough time to blog as it is.

I was once called "the rudest person on the internet". I still find that funny, all things considered. I mean, I may be rude, and sometimes tasteless, and juvenile. I would compare this particular piece of writing from Mark to my response to Mark in the same comment thread.
First, while I know Mark claims to be smart, and I believe him, this is among the stupidest things I have ever read.

I mean, seriously. I honestly don't believe Mark thinks this about us. How can he? I don't believe he's a fascist, racist, gay-killing thug willing to torture Muslim children in front of their parents (that's the kind of thing Pres. Bush had the CIA and military do; I'm assuming Mark is not now and was not during the height of the Iraq war in the military although I might be wrong). I don't believe Mark has a blood lust for those not of the Christian religion. I do not believe Mark wishes our country to be less safe, less prosperous, less sure of itself, and less dedicated to our Constitutional Principles - I don't believe Mark supports these policies personally, or would advocate them, even though the politicians he supports, and the policies he vocally endorses include these little tidbits.

Are there die-hard Marxists in America anymore? Are there traitors out there? The answers to both questions are a resounding "Yes". Are either Dan or I representative of such people? Since it's impossible to prove a negative, all I can say is that I think America is so awesome a place, we don't deserve a Pres. as bad as Bush has been and as much worse as McCain would be if he were elected.

Oh, and Mark? I know you've got your little blogger hands over your little blogger ears (or perhaps eyes?) and are chanting, "La-la-la-la-la-la-I'm not listening to you!", but I would remind you that, unlike (say) abortion or gay marriage, Jesus actually said something quite harsh about a person calling another person "fool". It's in that big black book you're always quoting, what's the name of it again?

Help me here, because you have a genius IQ.

Rude? I happen to think it skates up to the edge without passing over in to the abyss. Over-the-top, disrespectful, bordering on delusional? Hardly. Which is how I would characterize his own first comment.

I will leave others to judge on the merits whether Mark is deserving of prayers, derision, scorn, pity, or some other response.

Me, I just want to get a good feud going.

Saturday Rock Show

I am ambivalent at times about Pink Floyd. I think I am one of about five people who think that Animals is a superb record. I think I am about one of about three people who think that "Comfortably Numb" is one of the most overplayed songs on FM AOR radio. I also think I am one of the few people who refuse to divide their career in to pre- and post-Syd Barrett timelines. Rather, there is pre- and post-Roger Waters.

A highlight for me was when I was introduced to a film called Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii. I don't know if it was originally a TV special, or a film only screened in Europe. It was made during the production of Dark Side of the Moon, and features some shots of the making of that particular album. It opens, though, with "Echoes", side two of their Meddle LP, a long, rambling song that captures their ability to just play and be all psychedelic and innovative without acid-waste case Barrett.

For those not in the know, Barrett had a roommate who would dose his morning coffee/tea with acid each day during the period when Pink Floyd was emerging as a band in Britain (they recorded their initial release, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in Abbey Road studios at the same time the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and would pop over and check out the Fab Four on occasion). He spent about eight months tripping without realizing it, and it eventually led to a psychotic break, with Barrett leading a hermetic life with his sister until his death a few years ago.

Judgement, Experience - John McCain Fails Again

One last post on the whole Palin pick, then I will move on to other things. I swear.

Many question have been asked about the rationale behind picking a very dark horse choice for the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. Many of the answers to those questions seem to point to a certain desire on the part of Sen. McCain to steal a bit of Barack Obama's thunder from his speech Thursday night. In that regard - as well as pointing out McCain's ability to surprise (be all mavericky!) - it seems to have worked. Yet, there are lingering questions, especially as regards an on-going investigation in to Gov. Palin's firing of the head of the Alaskan State Police over a personal matter (I won't pretend any expertise on the matter, since I only heard of it yesterday). In this matter, it seems, she is very similar to many Republicans, especially in our Forty-Ninth state. Ian Welsh, in a post at Fire Dog Lake, mentions that the McCain campaign is only now, after the introduction of Gov. Palin as McCain's running mate, dispatching people to Alaska to get more details on what is being called "TrooperGate" (unlike the alleged problems then-Gov. Clinton had, these appear to be serious and substantial charges). He then asks a question that should make everyone's eyebrows rise:
[The current inspection of Gov. Palin's bona fides] rather suggests that the campaign didn't vet her properly. Troopergage has been ongoing for some time, even a cursory Google search would have told them they had a problem.

He then concludes:
So much for either "judgement" or, given McCain's inability to use the web, his staff choices. Who does he have advising him, and is it they who are incompetent, or did they warn him and he ignored them? Either way it's not so much Palin whose fitness is in question, it's the man who made the decision to make her his running mate: John McCain

Maverick! indeed.

Wooing Scorned Lovers

John McCain has hurt the one's who loved him most. They wanted to believe. They wanted to see him through. They had laughed at his jokes eight years ago. They had pushed the line about him being "different". After eight years of schmoozing, of almost constant appearances on television, interviews with print journalists, all those good, juicy quotes, though, he had started to change, and those who loved him most didn't understand.

Once, he called Jerry Falwell an agent of intolerance. Then, he hugged him as he gave a commencement address at Liberty U. Once, he had spoken out against massive tax cuts during "a time of war"; now, he wants to make them permanent. Once, he had wavered on the whole issue of abortion. Now, he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. On issue after issue, he had shed his former persona and revealed himself to be nothing more than just another Republican politician, pandering to the far right to get his party's nomination for President.

They never gave up hope in the original dream, though. Something, anything to prove the charm that had attracted them in the first place was still there under the layers of pancake that never left because of all the television appearances, under the smell of barbecue from his ranch, there had to be some trace of the wild fighter pilot they knew and loved.

Dan Balz wrote the headline because, like so many, he found what he was looking for:
With Pick, McCain Reclaims His Maverick Image

That's all it took to reclaim their love. Pick an inexperienced, unknown politician for his running mate. Give away the one possible major rhetorical advantage he had over Obama in a daft move to woo those who needed wooing most - the press.

This move was not aimed at the public. This move was not aimed at the Republican Party. The announcement of Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain's VP running mate was designed for one thing, and one thing only - to get the press to stop paying attention to Barack Obama and return to the one they loved first, and far better.

Sad to say, it worked.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Huh? Who? (UPDATE)

It seems John McCain has chosen his running mate. No relation to any member of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Unfortunately.

Sorry, folks, but this is a head scratcher for me.

UPDATE: I realize this is extremely juvenile. I realize this is in extremely poor taste. I realize this will offend some.

I laughed my ass off, because it's the kind of thing someone needs to do.


Others have said it already . . .
That was a helluva speech, wasn't it? Damn. . . .


[H]e's calling out McCain in plain language not just for running a nasty, Rovian campaign, but for running a fundamentally unserious campaign. By tackling this head on, Obama has put a serious dent in McCain's ability to continue campaigning with dumb soundbites and too-cute-by-half innuendo. This isn't a teenager's campaign for junior high school student council, he was saying, it's a campaign for president of the United States and you're old enough to know that you should damn well treat it that way.

Still others have said it better. . .
The McCain campaign set Obama up as a celebrity airhead, a Paris Hilton of wealth and elitism. And he let them portray him that way, and let them over-reach, and let them punch him again and again ... and then he turned around and destroyed them. If the Rove Republicans thought they were playing with a patsy, they just got a reality check.

He took every assault on him and turned them around. He showed not just that he understood the experience of many middle class Americans, but that he understood how the Republicans have succeeded in smearing him. And he didn't shrink from the personal charges; he rebutted them.


This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.

I've said it before, I'm quite sure I'll say it again before the election, but let me say it right now. After last night, it is quite clear to me that . . .

McCain. Is. Toast.

The Speech

It deserves its own place.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'll Have To Wait (UPDATE)

Obama comes on at 9:15 local time, so I will miss his speech.

Damn it.

I just watched Gov. Bill Richardson give a good speech that probably caused Michelle Malkin's head to explode. He spoke in Spanish, and the Democratic delegates gathered at Invesco Field cheered. Of course, if you have been traveling the internet long enough, you have seen Michelle Malkin cheer, and I can only say that the group in Denver did a far better job.

Actually, just mentioning Michelle Malkin in her cheerleading outfit and jumping around makes me want to pop my eyeballs out of my head.

UPDATE: Stevie Wonder! Stevie Wonder! Stevie Wonder! Even if the Republicans get Ted Nugent to perform, it will not be as great as this.


Ok, they just used "Let the Sunshine In" as Al Gore walked in. Is it me or is there something counterintuitive about that?

"We need a President who puts Barney Smith before Smith-Barney." Best damn line of all these regular former-Republican voters. By far.


After getting a bit here and there, I floated over to Time and read the interview James Carney and Michael Scherer conducted with John McCain. One can see various . . . highlights . . . elsewhere. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Then ask yourself this question - Is this really the guy we want as our next President?

As an aside, I wouldn't have called the interview "prickly". I might, however, have called McCain "pricky".

Odd Feeling - A Personal Note

Someone with whom I work has read this blog, and I have to say that I feel distinctly odd about it. On the one hand, I invited this person to do so. On the other hand, it is a bit like having someone who sees you everyday and seems to understand who you are and what you're about suddenly see you in a whole different way. I suppose I shouldn't care all that much - this is a public blog, anyone can read it - yet, I do. I feel . . . self-conscious in a way I haven't before. It's one thing to have people I've never met come around and get in to all sorts of discussions and arguments. It is quite another to have someone who is a good friend, yet whose exposure is limited to certain professional tasks (and the inevitable private discussions and joking that happens between colleagues), discover a whole side of oneself they did not know existed.

I'll try to keep things the way they have always been. I can't help but feel a little exposed. For this person's sake, I suppose the best way to proceed is "as usual".

If Only

I have to agree with Josh Marshall. Not only was John Kerry's speech the best of the convention so far, it was by far the best I have seen him give. It gives one pause to consider what '04 might have been like had he given this kind of speech back then. Spilled milk and all that, so rather than wish things might be different, here's the speech from last night. I even like the way he managed to work in "for it before he was against it" against McCain. Nicely done.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here's Some Real History For You

While I find David Kurtz as annoying as any other reporter, with his constant blather, he at least captures, from the floor of the convention, the moment that should be remembered for the rest of the campaign - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton moved that roll-call voting be suspended and Obama be nominated by acclamation. It was seconded, moved, and done. Here's the video:

I am quite sure the Hillary-haters - Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Maureen Dowd - will be convinced that, coupled with her husband's speech tonight, this was an attempt to steal the spotlight from Sen. Obama, to plan their campaign for 2012, etc., etc. That kind of stuff, while annoying can be ignored. This was graciousness and elegance, and magnanimity on display.

Obama/Biden '08.

Yes We Can!

Out Of Context Is Not Lying, Plus McCain Gets Free Air Time

First of all, I think Jake Tapper is wrong. I do not think McCain's most recent ad, in which he takes Barack Obama to task for comments he made concerning the potential "threat" from Iran and other countries, is false. He certainly takes Obama's statements out of context, and puffs up the threat Iran poses. Furthermore, I'm not sure why posing some kind of existential threat to Israel is of concern to anyone in the American electorate. In fact, compared to the United States, Iran is a tiny country that doesn't pose a threat in any way, shape or form, to our serious interests. I see no reason at all not to engage Iran on many different issues, always taking exception to their support for Hezbollah, not so much because it is a "terrorist" organization, but because it creates an unstable situation in Lebanon, always keeping Israel on its guard and willing to invade, as it did two summers ago.

I think it is far more important to play up the fact that McCain is playing the fear card here. Iran does not pose a threat, and engaging it is far better than threatening it, and McCain's approach - be prepared to "Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Iran" - is not only unworkable as a practical, logistical matter. It is, to be blunt, a stupid, even dangerous approach to policy. Since fear is all the Republicans have to offer - fear of Barack Obama, fear of Michelle Obama, fear of Hillary Clinton, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of gay marriage, fear of Iran, fear of terrorism, fear of Russia, fear of China - I think it is far more important to highlight the lack of any serious positive approach in McCain's claim to leadership.

While all this dissecting of the latest McCain ad was going on, it the Wall Street Journal reported that a much-talked about ad featuring a former Hillary supporter now allegedly stumping for McCain has aired . . . in Toledo, OH. After noting that journalist Marc Ambinder seems to see dilemma where none actually exists, Ezra Klein manages to sum up what's happening quite nicely:
It's a little odd that the McCain campaign is treating their friends in the press like idiots, but it's odder still that the press seems okay with it, and isn't responding by talking about all the dishonest negative campaigning he's trying to promote and noting that he needs to use the press because his campaign has a money crisis.

If Ambinder would mention this fact, and if the press would mention this fact, it might go a long way toward putting the entire episode in some kind of context. McCain knows he can get free airtime from news outlets just by producing an ad that some might deem "controversial". He doesn't have to spend money he doesn't have to get it aired when cable outlets will do so for free.

You Can't Please Some People

Especially if you're Hillary Clinton. Especially if the person in question who is looking to be pleased is Richard Cohen.
Here’s an item for Guinness World Records: After what seemed like 1,001 Democratic primary debates, and all the time she spent with him in Senate meetings and caucuses and fundraisers and the Green Rooms of countless television studios, Hillary Rodham Clinton could not come up with one -- not one! -- anecdote to commend Barack Obama to the American people. Instead, she said that Obama, like she, supports health care.

Then, of course, he notices that he might be, um, wrong. . .
Okay, more than health care. He wants to “rebuild the middle class” and “promote a clean energy economy” and fight for equality, “from ending discrimination to promoting unionization” -- a phrase that future generation will no doubt quote -- and "help every child live up to his or her God-given potential” and, of course, get the troops out of Iraq. But about the man himself, she was silent.

The last sentence is really dumb. Really, really dumb. Of course, Richard Cohen is really dumb, as he proves as we continue . . .
This is not an insignificant omission, like the failure to mention Obama’s support for nuclear non-proliferation and the stand he has taken on ethanol. Most sentient members of the human race are by now pretty familiar with Obama’s ideology and his political positions, even when his positions are all over the place. We know, too, that he was against the war and that Clinton was initially for it, but that she had since reversed herself -- but not apologized -- and that they would now both pull the troops as quickly and as prudently as possible.

But we still have not taken the measure of Obama: What sort of man is he? He is famously the man from everywhere, which means nowhere. He has a great and moving personal story, but he seems to withhold something -- to not need you as much as you need him. This is the essence of charisma: a cold love that goes only one way.

This is unbearably stupid. Really really bad. Please send Cohen somewhere where he has no access to a typewriter or computer.


Point Of Personal Privilege

Yesterday, I received word that a colleague of Lisa's has Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. She and her husband are only three or four years older than we are. While "grown" in the technical sense, they have two children.

Over the weekend, I found out that a man who was my best friend while we lived in VA, a man who helped me keep my sanity, with whom I laughed and read, and thought, and all sorts of other things, has terminal pancreatic/liver cancer. He is, I believe, 48 or 49.

I would like everyone who reads this blog, whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Baha'i, Hindu, Mormon (Hi, Cameron!), or atheist to keep Patricia Anderson and her family, and Steven Creech and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

I, for one, do not pray for "healing" for anyone. If you ask for "healing", remember that it is a far different thing from "curing". I pray for presence, for peace, for strength, for courage. And, yes, I also pray for the ability to be honest enough to rage at God for the unfairness and meaninglessness of it. For a disease that strikes out of nowhere stealing our loved ones from us. For anger that at never seeing one's children graduate from college or marry. Anger at not seeing one's grandchildren, holding them on one's knee. Anger at God for this kind of thing is OK.

Remember Patty and her husband Steve and their two children. Remember Steve and his mother and brother.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Arguing With Lies

In response to this post which, in its turn, links to this piece of internet detritus, I write, in part:
I do not deal with Holocaust deniers, creationists who deny evolution, or those who say the Bush Administration [did not lie]. All three of these positions are intellectually dishonest, and I will not give them the credibility they desire by "arguing" with those who claim otherwise.

The simplest way to deal with these kinds of fabulists is to take the legs out from under them. Repeat the facts, call any attempt to either dismiss or otherwise deny their credibility a tissue of lies, and move on. If those who are attempting to create an argument where none actually exists persist, like the instructions on a shampoo bottle state, "Lather, Rinse, Repeat". It's that simple.

Up- And Down-Ticket Coattails

With a generous tip of the hat to Kirsten for the link, here is a four-fold map of projected House, Senate, and gubernatorial races for this year, plus the results from the 2004 Presidential election. One of the things I found interesting as I looked over the various permutations and distinctions and so on, was the predominance in Senate races in states that went to George W. Bush in 2004, of leaning or favored Democrats, including Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Iowa, Florida, and West Virginia. While it is usually considered good form for down-ticket candidates to attach themselves to their party's candidate for President (if he is popular) as a boost in chances for winning an election, I think it might be possible that, this year, Obama might benefit from tying himself closely with various down-ticket candidates across the country, and benefit from their popularity.

Just a thought.

I Do Not Like Them, Sam-I-Am (UPDATE)

I have recently noted, on more than one occasion, that no matter what ad Barack Obama puts out, no matter what speech he gives, no matter how much the "number of houses" business takes on a life of its own that keeps John McCain off balance, it is never enough for some people. Liberal concern-trolls will not be content until the Democratic Party resembles the Republican Party in cheap attacks, malicious rumor-mongering, and divisiveness. Whether they're reporters or bloggers, the sad fact is, in the end, they want the Obama campaign to do things their way. For whatever reason (mostly because they believe this is the way to win, since Republicans have been doing the whole divide-and-conquer thing so well for thirty-odd years), there is this belief that Obama has no idea how nasty the Republicans can be (as if he hasn't been paying attention), that he has stupid people running his campaign, and that the only way to win is to destroy, utterly and finally, one's opponent.

Today, there is a general wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that there just wasn't enough "Attack!Attack!Attack!" on John McCain last night. The convention lasts for multiple days, serves multiple purposes (as I said, the main ones being keeping hotel revenues up in the host cities, as well as providing escort services with an abundance of clientèle), and we have Sen. Clinton's speech tonight, former Pres. Clinton's speech on Wednesday, Sen. Biden's speech, and, of course, Sen. Obama's speech. Plus the myriad lesser speeches by lesser lights from across the Democratic Party. I fail to see how keeping an up-beat message, a positive framing of the Democratic message and Presidential candidate, and displaying the general enthusiasm of the Party for its nominee is somehow bad.

I thought it was the press that beat up on Democrats, detailing their abject failure in everything they attempt. Apparently, liberal bloggers are right up there with Richard Cohen and the rest of the Village idiots.

For the record, one of the reasons the Democrats don't do rat-fucking well is because it tends to be illegal. Donald Segretti lost his law license and went to federal prison. The Swiftboaters are notorious liars. Yes, both instances changed, or at least played a role in changing, the outcome of an election (although, in Segretti's case, it had as much to do with McGovern's ineptitude as Nixon's chicanery). Yet, I ask a serious question, and want a serious answer: Haven't we had enough of this kind of shit? The only way to end it is to end it. If we emulate it, no matter if we win the election, we lose. Period.

As I said last week, "I trust the American people. It’s called democracy. We should try it sometime."

UPDATE: I really need to read more before I post these things. . .
I'm a little puzzled by some of the hand-wringing about the tone of the convention last night. I've argued that the Democrats need to attack this week, but last night wasn't the time to do it.

Ted Kennedy's seriously ill, and you don't trot him out on that podium to hit McSame with gotchas and zingers. You don't ask Michelle Obama, who right-wing assholes are still caricaturing as an angry America hater, to use her speech to deliver political attacks.


So how do I know the Democrats won the night? Look at the lineup that the GOP is trotting out their first night:

* U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
* Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.)
* Vice President Richard B. Cheney
* First Lady Laura Bush
* President George W. Bush

I rest my case.

The 70% of Americans who hate George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will tune in and be reminded that John McSame is in the same noxious party as these two losers. And the more Bush and Cheney embrace McSame, the worse a night it will be for him. They're pretty much screwed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Music Monday

I rediscovered Julia Fordham over the weekend. I haven't actually sat and listened to her CDs in years, but yesterday I rescued them from my wife's office. What a wonderful jazzy, R&B voice, and a nice songwriter (although God knows she needs a better arranger for some of them). She notes her range - four octaves! And much better control than (ick!) Mariah Carey (who has a similar range, but tries to hard to be all R&B-ey). Hers reaches from a low mezzo-soprano to a tenor, although she can do a falsetto soprano sometimes, too (do they count falsetto?).

This first video is a two-fer, containing "Tower Block" and "Your Lovely Face" and an annoying interview with BBC from 1998. Just skip through the interview.

I love her love songs. Her sad love songs. This is "Swept":

Unconventional Wisdom

Since I do not have cable or satellite, and I do have something known as a life, I will be skipping the political conventions on television this year. I will read up on this or that tidbit, but other than the acceptance speeches of the candidates, I honestly don't see where there is much "news" happening. It's a chance for local call girls to rake in the bucks and beer distributors to sell out their inventories.

Yet, one cannot help but get tired of the constant references to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It seems that, in the absence of real news, it is far better to recall this moment from our history, when conventional wisdom has it, the Democratic Party "tore itself apart." Now, first of all, the Democrats had nothing to do with the street protests, or the violence brought on by Chicago police officers acting on orders from Mayor Daley. When the cops charged, and the protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching," indeed they were, and many of those watching sided with the cops.

Yet, if you look at the election results from that year, it was as close as 1960, 1980, and closer than 2004. Indeed, had Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey had two more weeks (or, more realistically, had he broken with Pres. Johnson on the war two weeks earlier), he probably would have pulled off a win. The polls were trending his way. He had the momentum going in to the election. He thought the momentum would be enough to carry him past the finish line. It was close, and in retrospect, it was a series of small things that did him in. The convention, however, wasn't one of them.

Yet, journalists, for some reason, want to see it replayed over and over again. So, what do they do? Why, they do this:
Yesterday, Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins waded into the Re-create ‘68 protest outside the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where he was greeted with expletives as he antagonized the crowd by asking “what’s your actual message” and “do you not believe in freedom?” On Fox and Friends today, host Brian Kilmeade acknowledged that Jenkins was intentionally instigating the crowd. At the end of the segment, Kilmeade signed off by saying that Fox was “going to continue to send” Jenkins “out to cause trouble.” “I hope so,” responded Jenkins.

Along with attempting to instigate violence, FOXNews continues its obsession with scantily clad women:
The Fox & Friends team broadcasted live from a bar in downtown Denver today, the opening day of the Democratic National Convention — where they seemed to spend nearly as much time schmoozing with scantily-clad women as they did talking about politics. Segment after segment featured Broncos cheerleaders, Hooters waitresses, with Brian Kilmeade joking about joining the security team to “pat down” the cheerleaders; when Steve Doocy’s son Peter discussed Fox on Twitter, Steve joked that Kilmeade “just twittered the cheerleaders a minute ago!”

And people ask me why I don't watch television news . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Some people shouldn't be cops.
Students and parents at Windsor High School are outraged after a Wyoming police officer doing an Internet safety presentation at the school scrutinized individual students’ MySpace pages, calling the students “slutty” and saying photos on their sites invited sexual predators.

The officer, John F. Gay III of the Cheyenne Police Department, picked out six or seven Windsor High School students’ MySpace page and began to criticize photos, comments and other content until one student left the room crying

“He told the entire student body that he had shared her info with a sexual predator in prison,” said Ty Nordic, whose daughter Shaylah Nordic’s MySpace page was put on display.

Nordic said Gay then told the student body that the predator said he would masturbate to her picture.

I so love the last sentence. As if this girl was inviting violence, and would have it coming to her.

Amanda Marcotte comments:
The lesson learned here is that it’s hard to know when you’re going too far when you started out on the wrong path. Calling teenage girls “slutty”, mocking their MySpace pages, and generally sexually harassing them by walking them through fantasies about stalking and rape in front of crowds is inevitable when you start with the premise that teenage girl sexuality is such a social problem that it requires “scaring straight” to begin with. I’m not suggesting that it’s wise for teenage girls to pose for pictures in their underwear and put that online, of course. But if you start with the premise that they have a right to their sexuality, then it will be a lot easier to talk to them. Because then you can see what they’re trying to do---which is largely about expressing and exploring sexuality with the sense of control that the internet can give you---and perhaps give them guidance on how to reach their goals more effectively and with more safety.

Far more dirty than any picture on this girl's MySpace page are the thoughts that went through that cop's mind when he saw them. Far more responsible are Amanda's idea that we grant teenagers a certain respect and, yes, a right to their sexuality, offering them appropriate and helpful advice on integrating it in to their lives, rather than punish them for being "slutty".

Still In Hanoi

The PTSD McCain suffers due to his POW status must be much worse than anyone imagined.
"I am grateful for the fact that I have a wonderful life," McCain said. "I spent some years without a kitchen table, without a chair, and I know what it's like to be blessed by the opportunities of this great nation...So the fact is that we have homes, and I'm grateful for it."

In some part of his mind, McCain must still be in that horrid prison. Thirty-four years of freedom disappear anytime anyone questions him about anything.

Poor man needs help. Not election to the highest office in the land.

Attack Dog

Blue Texan has some good, choice stuff from Joe Biden:
Remember last May when Chimpy went to Israel and compared Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain? Here's what Biden said:
"This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.

And another sample:
The idea that John [McCain] and Joe [Lieberman] are going to eliminate any vestige of Iranian influence in Iraq, bless me father for I have sinned. Are they unaware of a border that has existed there for millennium? Are they unaware of the fact that our guy, Maliki is inviting Ahmadinejad to Baghdad and kissing him on both cheeks, literally not figuratively. Are they unaware of the fact that this government in Iraq feels compelled to visit Tehran to explain what it is that they are attempting to do with a long-term security agreement?

He isn't perfect; he supported the atrocious "bankruptcy reform" bill a few years back that will only make peoples' lives worse as the housing market continues its contraction. Yet, from these little snippets, it is pretty clear he is unafraid to call Republicans on their nonsense.

Good on ya, mate.


Roger Ailes - not the FOXNews guy, but the other one - says this:
The McCain campaign keeps emphasizing that McCain was a prisoner in Vietnam, as proof of his qualification for the Presidency.

Well, so was Gary Glitter, and I'm not voting for him either.

While I don't recommend Obama or Biden using this one, it is good.

Changing The Meaning Of Symbols

We are creatures that imbue certain artifacts with meaning they do not necessarily carry in and of themselves. Consider, if you will, a flag. It is a piece of cloth, dyed and stitched together, hanging out in the wind. Yet, should one decide to rip this piece of cloth down and burn it, say, or place it on the ground and walk on it, there are those who believe this should be a criminal act. If it was only a piece of white linen, no one would have a problem with it; it is the addition of dye and stitching to create a certain pattern that transforms ordinary cloth in to something potent.

The cross is no different. On the inner gatefold of the debut release from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, there are a series of symbols, with their definitions underneath them. Underneath the cross are the words "torture instrument". That is what is was, although "execution instrument" would have been more accurate. To die hanging on a cross was excruciating; very often, those left hung out so had their legs broken (after having spikes pounded through their wrists and ankles, or after working for hours to keep from suffocating by lifting themselves up to keep the pressure off their diaphragms). Yet, for two millennia, Christians have transformed this machinery of Roman death in to one of the most powerful symbols of love and renewal in human history. Christians are people marked with the sign of the cross; we carry the legacy of that symbol with us as a token of the lengths to which God will go for love of creation.

Yet, the symbol is now changed, not through habit or custom, but the decree of a Federal court.
"The Court finds the memorial at Mt. Soledad, including its Latin cross, communicates the primarily non-religious messages of military service, death and sacrifice," U.S Dist. Judge Larry A. Burns wrote in his July 29 opinion allowing the cross to stay where it is.

"The primary effect of the Mount Soledad memorial is patriotic and nationalistic."

So, the cross has been naturalized, now a citizen of an Empire in decline. With the blessings of the legal system, it no longer is the sole property of Christians, who have used it to define their lives as self-sacrifice and unconditional love. It is now "patriotic and nationalistic". Why? Because the court said so.

If this ruling is allowed to stand, not only will a significant line in church/state relations have been irrevocably crossed (no pun intended), but the single most important symbol identifying Christians as unique partners with God in a mission that transcends national, racial, and even temporal boundaries will have been erased. If the cross becomes all red, white, and blue - I'm giving mine back.

Virtual Tin Cup

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