Saturday, November 26, 2005

Why is it all about Hillary?

I'm really tired of everyone who's not deeply involved in politics assuming that Hillary will automatically be the Democratic nominee, if not the President-elect, in 2008.

I'll give a couple of examples--the first of which is a personal anecdote. I had a Christian conservative client in my office not very long ago. He's a nice guy and all, but certainly, our political views differ. He was complaining about the idiocy of the current Republican party and bemoaning the fact that Hillary was going to be our next President. I said, "hang on, not so fast. I'm a Clark supporter, and there are a lot more of us out there than you think. Lots of us Dems think Hillary is a corporate DLC sellout." He said that he had seen Wes Clark on Fox News and could easily see himself voting for Clark in 2008.

Next example: Christie over at Decafdemocracy--a blog I found through Christie's diaries on DKos--quotes a comedian's perspective on the prospects for a 2008 race:

Morris, who can earn as much as $10,000 for a corporate-party appearance, says he suffers panic attacks every presidential campaign. "Oh-eight should be very interesting, especially if Hillary is in the mix," he says.

Forte deadpans, "I'm already working on my Hillary Clinton."

Well, I've got some news for everyone and anyone who will listen: when you're being outpolled 5 to 1 in the most recent straw poll at Daily Kos, it's time to start talking about someone else, at least in the early going.

Netroots support will mean increasingly more over the course of the next few years, and in addition to that, even the most die-hard of the opposing party can see themselves voting for Clark. So tell Morris and Forte to start prepping their Wes Clark. Hopefully, they'll need it to keep up.

Friday, November 25, 2005

RedState on stem cells

From Steve Z's comment on Augustine's diary on stem cells:

Transplantation of adult stem cells is the moral equivalent of a blood transfusion--inflicting minor, temporary harm on a voluntary donor for the great benefit of a patient. Use of cord blood or placental cells after birth does no harm to either mother or child. Morally, taking embryonic stem cells kills a human being who could otherwise live for 70 or 80 years to try to prolong the life of an elderly person by a few years, and no clinical benefits have yet been obtained.

Better start ringing up the mass murder charges against all those fertility clinics. Destroying human beings who could have otherwise lived for 70-80 years.

The diary in and of itself gets a lot of its facts wrong and is completely misleading, but you can read the diary for yourself if you want--that's not my main purpose. In the diary, however, Augustine assumes that we inhuman liberals would somehow be in favor of a "The Island" style organ farm with cloned humans--as if that is the inevitable valley floor that one would land in should one start down the "slippery slope" of blastocyst-based embryonic stem cell research, in roughly the same way that conservatives assume that we inhuman liberals will all monomaniacally select Hillary to be our next presidential candidate. The sad truth is that beliefs like these demonstrate conclusively that these conservatives have no idea what the liberal mindset is, or what we believe.

To a religious conservative like Steve Z must be, there is no moral difference between blastocyst-based stem cell research, and harvesting cloned humans for organs--because rather than think rationally about the obvious moral differences between the two (and any moral philosopher anywhere along the spectrum of Hume, Mill or Kant would tell you so), Steve Z and his ilk base their decisions on a codified set of principles handed down from superiors that cannot be questioned.

Suffice it to say that I'm expecting the firebombing of fertility clinics to commence any day now. It's the only logical course of action for these people.

The GOP on Kosovo

Every Democrat--or, for that matter, anyone who doesn't support the war in its current manifestation--should keep a copy of this PDf in their back pocket. It's a complete catalog of (now hypocritical) statements by Republican leaders critiquing Clinton's successful foray--together with our NATO allies--into Kosovo. So, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Hannity--where were your claims about how important it was that Kosovars be free of oppression? Where were your celebrations about the birth of democracy in Serbia? Where were your "purple fingers" expressing solidarity with the democratic election of Prime Minister Kostunice? For that matter, how many of you even know that Kostunice is the prime minister there now?

You want to know why you don't know? Because things have been awfully quiet in Serbia lately. And before any nutcases complain that we Democrats are hypocritical for supporting Kosovo but not Iraq, let me remind you of a famous prayer--one of the few things you can relate to: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

There you go. Our objection to your idiocies is precisely contained in the third section: you do not apparently know the difference between a venture that has a chance at ultimate success and a venture that doesn't. And stop blaming us for pointing it out.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving or theocracy?

According to...[sigh]
, the purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks to Jesus Christ. That is, at any rate, the best conclusion I can draw from the simple fact that in the posted transcript of Congress' 1782 resolution, any reference to the divine is capitalized, including the dating system in the "year of our LORD" 1782. Of course, based on the fact that Almighty God receives plenty of "hits" in the document, but "Jesus" never does, one can conclude one of two things: a) the 1782 Congress was comprised of a bunch of Old-Testament-worshipping Mennonites; or b) the references were intentionally non-denominational, except for the Anno Domini thing, which does seem to be a common reference point for determining what year something happened in, at least in the West.

If that's what these increasingly devoted followers of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson want to say Thanksgiving is all about, I have absolutely no problem with that. The only thing I can't really stand is hypocrisy. If they want America to be dependent on divine edict for its laws, that's fine. They have the right to that position, as long as they maintain the position that other nations--such as Iraq, Iran, and whichever other ones so choose--also have the right to govern themselves by the theocracy of their choosing.

I also agree with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, incidentally, that it is a travesty that our American soldiers are being sent to die to stabilize a country whose consitution now dictates that laws shall be based primarily on Sharia. I just think that because of this, our multi-millionaire preachers--who have not sold all they had to give to the poor, last time I checked--should recognize the folly of attempting to attribute the creation of Democracy to the Christian tradition, rather than to the epistemological principles established in the Enlightenment Period.

For the record, the [sigh] above should be read with the same intonation as that of Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek when he resigns himself to introducing "Sean Connery" yet again on Celebrity Jeopardy. It's that same sort of "here we go again" resignation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pro-Life Carpool

via Andrew Sullivan:

A nine-month pregnant woman in Arizona is contesting a citation for a violation of the HOV lane. The state argues that there was only one person in the car. She argues that her unborn son counts as a person. I wonder on whose side the "law-and-order" pro-lifers would come down.

On a side note--it seems to me that had prop 73 passed here in the Golden State, it would have given pregnant women the constitutional right to ride solo in HOV lanes owing to the way that prop 73 would have redefined abortion in the state constitution.

Of course, one can easily imagine that had such an event taken place after an imaginary prop 73 passage, the pro-lifers would have tried to pass a law limiting HOV use to married women, because in their minds failure to limit according to these standards would just encourage welfare mothers to get pregnant so they can use the HOV lane while they leave their other children abandoned at home.

Out of Uzebekistan

And not a moment too soon. For once I actually agree with something I found on RedState.

Of course, it's still perturbing that it took a civilian massacre that Saddam Hussein would have been proud to lay claim to to get the Bush Administration to begin to reconsider who it should count among its allies. Kind of puts the lie to the whole "we support Middle East freedom" concept currently being spouted as the rationale for the Iraq war.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Kennedy would have said

On this, the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, I quote prophetic paragraph from the remarks that Kennedy was about to deliver--but never got the chance.

...This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country's security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem."

Truer and more prophetic words were never spoken. I hope Stone's JFK is going to be on TV tomorrow. The final speech before the Warren commission brings tears to my eyes every single time I watch it.