Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Make the bad news stop"

One of the main reasons I keep on visiting Redstate.org and blogging about their diaries and comments is because it's interesting to take a gander at an organization that constantly looks like it's on the verge of imploding--even if it never actually does.

My latest example in this vein comes from an interesting piece of news about the Miers nomination, as written by Leon H. In this piece, he writes about how Miers, according to this story in the Washgington Post, completely misinterpreted the Equal Protection Clause as mandating affirmative action.

What is interesting to me about this particular piece is not how incompetent Miers is--we knew that already. Nor even is it about how Miers misinterpreted the law in favor of a distinctly liberal cause. Nor even is it the usual "look how they're imploding!" crowing that is so common on Daily Kos.

To me, rather, the most interesting sentence in Leon's post is the last one:

Someone has got to make the flood of bad news regarding this nominee stop.


To me, this is a better indicator of what is wrong with current Republicanism than anything else. If the equivalent were happening to a Democratic president appointing a Democratic nominee, I imagine that most Democratic bloggers would have instead written something like, "we need a new nominee."

But the Republicans? No. They won't do that. You see, they're going to do exactly what they're going to do. And if it's a complete and total public embarrassment, the solution isn't to change the policy to something that works--rather, it's to shut down the news.

A note to Leon: since you're so concerned about making the bad news stop, I'll give you some ways of doing that. You want the bad news to stop about Miers? Try appointing a qualified non-crony like Roberts. You Republcians want the bad news to stop about Iraq? Pull out and distance yourself from the incompetent fools who lied their way into it. You want the bad news to stop about Social Security? Don't gut it. You want the bad news to stop about the economy? Stop looting the U.S. treasury. Want the bad news to stop about global warming? Try doing something, anything, to help us achieve gain energy independence based on renewable sources. You want the bad news to stop about Delay? Try maintaining House ethics standards, instead of easing them. Want the bad news to stop about Rove and Libby? Not committing treason is an easy solution.

In short, you won't have nearly as much bad news if you don't create it.

The McCarthy types in the Republican party need to understand that you can only create a limited amount of bad news to serve your own self-interests before it comes back to bite you in the ass. And when bad crap happens because of it, it's not the fault of "liberals playing partisan politics" for pointing it out--it's your fault for encouraging it for all these years.

Tom Delay's mugshot!

Here it is, in its full glory:



Not with the prison uniform and height bar backdrop I was hoping for, but it works.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I agree with RedState! Coburn Amendment

For once, I see something on RedState I agree with that won't result in the banning of the poster: the Coburn Amendment, which would redirect the funds for Ted Stevens' and Don Young's infamous Gravina Island bridge to nowhere and use it to rebuild a damaged bridge in Louisiana.

I never imagined agreeing with Coburn (Wingnut-SouthEast OK Lesbian School Bathrooms) on any issue, but hey--if someone preaches fiscal conservatism and reducing pork-barrel spending, who am I to complain.

More RedState blogging...this time, it's choice.

Peruse the comments attached to this diary on abortion at RedState.org.

What's interesting to me is the number of people commenting on this diary that oppose a woman's right to an abortion in the case of a pregnancy arising from rape. While such a position is not based on any sense of humanity toward the victim and is based purely on religious speculation, at least the position is consistent--a human life begins at conception. People like this could only support an abortion, then, when a seriously anomalous medical condition occurs--such as an ectopic pregnancy--in which the consequences to life according to this definition will probably be worse than doing nothing at all.

The inconsistency actually begins with what we might consider a more moderate position--namely, no abortions except in the case of rape or incest. The reasoning is this: when proponents of this line of thinking permit abortion in these cases, it cannot be because they genuinely believe that abortion kills a human life, because if that were the prevailing opinion, one would be constrained by logic to say that the commission of one crime--either rape or incest--does not justify the commission of the more serious crime of murder.

What becomes instantly clear when you see these positions contrasted and argued is that there is a rift between those who would seek to outlaw all abortions purely on religious grounds in keeping with their definition of human life, and those of a less principled faith who seek merely to legislate morality--i.e., legislating the difference between those who "deserved it" and those who didn't--while using protection of fetuses as a false pretext for keeping young women in line.

Because of this, I contend that one cannot be considered pro-life if one thinks that rape or incest qualify as suitable pretexts for an abortion, because the life in question does not deserve to be ended based on the circumstances of its creation. This category of thinking needs a new term altogether--and I'm open to suggestions.

Stern changes NBA dress code

And with good reason--it's part of changing the culture of the NBA. The fact of the matter is that in the recent Olympics and FIBA World Championship, the United States and its "baller" NBA players have been consistently humiliated by international competition because international talent, though still significantly less than what is found in the best American players, has caught up to a point at which it can excel through superior teamwork.

Because of this, the NBA--and American basketball in general--has a good deal of egg on its face, and most of the structural problems causing the NBA's increasing deficiencies are viewed--correctly, in my opinion--as owing to the glorification of "playground ball", hip-hop culture, and the escalation of violence and crime that NBA players are increasingly involved with.

Stern is instituting this dress code for the same reason that schools institute uniforms: to change the self-image of the players, and enhance their public image as well.

And it needs it, because "hip-hop" culture will not appeal to the fans in China, and what they see in Yao Ming. It will not appeal to Europe, which is following Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Sarunas Jaskevicius. And it will not appeal to South America, which is following Nene, Varejao, Ginobili and Oberto. To grow outside the U.S., and to regain the respect the U.S. used to enjoy in international competition, the culture and values of the NBA will have to change. And good thing, too.

And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and make a statement on hip-hop culture while I'm at it: it's not good. There is no cultural relativism here. You won't see the posses of Britney Spears and Hillary Duff killing each other in a feud backstage, like we see all too often with rap feuds. You won't see any other form of music glorify violence against police and women nearly as much anywhere else.

Is this racist? You tell me. From my perspective, it wouldn't matter who was doing the glorification in question, or what color his skin is. What matters is the essence. Is rap as a musical form inherently bad? Is wearing chains and whatever those headpieces are called inherently bad? No. The problem comes with the association of these things with a culture--not a race, a culture--that has historically glorified violence and other forms of crime. And eliminating that image brings the NBA one step closer to what it should be--a global game, enjoyed by all.

And before I get more complaints than I otherwise would have: BUSINESS CASUAL IS NOT "WHITE" ATTIRE. IT'S UNIVERSAL ATTIRE. IT IS A GLOBAL STANDARD FOR POLITE AND FORMAL DRESSWEAR, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT STARTED IN EUROPE OR NOT. GET OVER IT.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

RedStaters believe Joe Wilson outed his own wife.

Read it here. If you dare.

It's getting too ridiculous for words at this point. So desperate to protect the criminals in their own party that they are willing to make these ridiculous assertions that Joe Wilson outed his own clandestine operative wife to gain political notoriety.

I forgot to mention: Bush lied in his SotU address. Joe Wilson exposed those lies. Who would have more reason to punish whom for political retribution?

RedState.org is now just Free Republic with Scoop. Perhaps, given all my entries today, I should rename my blog "RedState hurts my brain."

"Return every illegal entrant"

From Chertoff, via the San Jose Mercury News. This, together with the inclusion of a guest-worker program, sounds like an interesting goal--the merits and ideology may be debatable, but it doesn't change the fact that entering this country illegally, is, well, illegal, and current laws should be enforced, IMHO.

What gets to me most, though, is the last quote:

[Chertoff] agreed with Kennedy that trying to deport all illegal immigrants would not be possible. "It would take billions and billions and billions of dollars to do it," Chertoff said.

How many billions, Michael? Say, how about...200 billion? Throw in a few extra hundred million from some Alaskan bridges and you're well on your way.

A month ago I wrote on Daily Kos about how immigration was going to be the next major issue, and it looks like we're well on our way--but to me, it's a discussion that needs to be had, and unlike terrorism, it doesn't cut just one way. Opinions on this issue are widely divided, even within individual political views. Furthermore, the racial, economic and social problems associated with the immigration issue are so broad and complex that discussion of them cannot simply be broken down into "get the bad guys" and "my opponents hate America." Furthermore, the Movement Conservatives do not care too deeply about this issue, choosing instead to focus on their core issues, abortion and homosexuality (and boycotting any organization that shows any degree of understanding). This leaves the Southern Strategist Freepers at odds with the business community. On the Democratic side, we can't be seen as ignoring the law or tolerant of wasting public money on illegal entry, which will put us at odds with each other. But all in all, it's a debate that concerns the future of America, and it needs to be had.

Defense of Treason continues at RedState

I used to enjoy going to RedState for the dialogue and discussion that used to occur between people of opposing political ideologies. Unfortunately, that time ended long ago. Now I peruse RedState for a different reason: just seeing what they'll come up with next.

Case in point: defending treason.

One would imagine that the unmasking of a covert operative working on WMD intelligence in the middle east would make even Republicans and RedStaters want to get to the bottom of the scandal and find out who was responsible. But no. The days of loyalty to the country are over, and the flag of the elephant now flies higher than the flag of the United States--as evidenced by passages like this:

If this is true, then Libby did not know that Plame was classified as James Bond in drag, super-secret, licensed-to-kill with an AK-47 when he let the cat out of the bag.


This mockery of a CIA agent toiling thanklessly and risking her life on behalf of her country is something we think we shouldn't expect from Republicans--but actually, we should start expecting it more and more. We all know what Bush has done for soldiers in addition to sending them to Iraq: stop loss, cutting combat pay, cutting VA benefits, and everything else. We see that Rush Limbaugh called Paul Hackett a "staff puke" as his thanks for Paul's service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

And last but not least, I'm tired of comments like this one: handwringing about how exposure of the leakers in this case will make leaking of important information less likely. No, guys, you have it wrong: exposure of the leakers will make BLOWING THE COVER OF CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL FOR POLITICAL REVENGE less likely. I will repeat something I started this blog with: this case has nothing whatsoever to do with whistleblowing. Whistleblowing is the exposure of illegal or unethical activity. Sometimes, classified information must be exposed to blow the whistle--but this case shares no similarities to this, and the MSM can continue to be confident that anonymous leaks by whistleblowers should be able to continue as planned.

Monday, October 17, 2005

RedState crows over Iraq Constitution??

Read it here.

Some things in life are funny; others are downright hilarious. This falls into the latter category.

So here they are, feeling all self-assured and confident because the Iraq Constitution was apparently ratified, a full 2 1/2 years after the occupation of Iraq commenced. Not only that, but they're celebrating the passage of a constitution that could essentially be used to turn the country into an Islamic theocracy--a constitution that many social and religious conservatives were completely unhappy about. They're celebrating taking a country that posed no threat to us and turning it into a country that will probably ally itself with Iran, with Sunnis staging an armed insurrection from time to time.

Of course, whether or not Iraq has a constitution says nothing about our army's complete and total inability to stop the insurgency, which continues to get more violent as time goes by with no sign of relenting. This new constitution will do nothing to address the vacuum that will be created by the departure of U.S. troops. It does nothing to address the fact that there is at most one Iraqi army battalion ready to take on insurgents. Furthermore, it does nothing to address the fact that the Sunnis have no political power: Apparently, if 100% of Sunnis had voted against the constitution--opposition to the document in Tikrit was 96%--it still wouldn't have mattered, and the Shi'ite and Kurdish support would have carried the day. As Armando points out--does anyone really think that the demonstration of the total lack of political power of the Sunni areas will cause the insurgency to lose support?

So that's right, Republicans. Revel in the insignificant solidification of Islamism in the model democracy you wanted to create in the Middle East. Or was that your way of getting WMD's and defeating Al-Qaida? Because as Condi said: the people that flew the actual planes into the buildings just weren't all that important.

As a final note, I appreciate the usage of the term "Cassandra." Yes, Cassandra prophesied doom and gloom, and that's what Mr. Yousefzadeh is mocking us for here. But I would like to make a point: Cassandra's source of fame is what? You guessed it: THE FACT THAT SHE WAS ALWAYS RIGHT, YOU PHILISTINE FOOL OF A WINGNUT! So keep on calling us "Cassandras" because at this point I'm quite happy with the term. We were right about your tax cuts and the economy; we were right about the environment; we were right about abstinence education; we were right about Iraq...we've been spot on about just about everything. So thank you, Pejman, for finally calling us a name that we can agree with.

On a final note--if you like the way things are going in Iraq, you can be paid to move there: www.goarmy.com.