Friday, September 28, 2007

A minor whine re: Rush Limbaugh and Paul Hackett

A minor quibble, but important, since I am part of that "long tail" of the blogosphere and my blogging reputation comes not from this site, but from my DailyKos account:

I was the first one I know of to mention that the Rush Limbaugh censure motion should include a reference to Paul Hackett. You can see my original comment here.

And therein lies the difference, and one of the problems of the blogosphere: if I had posted the same thought here originally, nobody would have seen it or cared. But over there, it matters.

did you come here looking for spiders?

If you came here looking for spiders, I'm really sorry. It's actually a political blog with a spider sidelight every so often. But the fact that every single search that comes here is spider-related gives me an idea: I should do a blog entirely devoted to spiders.

Dirty Tricks initiative abandoned!

Via my friend and Calitics colleage shayera, it seems like the Republican operatives who were behind the "Election Reform Act" are abandoning their efforts to give at least 20 of our electoral votes to the Republican nominee. For whatever reason, it seems like their fundraising isn't coming through as planned.

I personally find it intriguing that these guys would decide to close up shop right as we internet extremists closed in on the initiative's ties with Giuliani supporters. And I also don't know why they wouldn't spend money on the signatures and force us to spend money defeating it. But hey--I'll take it!

And for old times' sake, here's the blogger video:

Bush will veto Defense bill--because of teh GAY!!!

[Cross-posted from my Daily Kos diary]

It has been a long, arduous battle to get federal hate crimes legislation expanded to include acts of violence based on sexual orientation. The House has already passed legislation incorporating such an expansion of the original 1968 Hate Crimes statute covering religion, race, color and national origin, but the bill--a bipartisan effort of Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), just made its way through the Senate with the minimum 60 votes needed for passage.

Now, I know this is on the front page, but what kos' post didn't tell you is that the Hate Crimes expansion in the Senate was tacked onto the defense appropriations bill currently being debated--and that Bush is expected to veto the whole thing, just because of this amendment.

First of all, I'm a little uncomfortable with the strategy of attaching this bill to something like the defense appropriations bill--but then again, the Republicans did similar stuff to us so often in their time in Congress that turnabout is more than fair play. I just think the practice should be outlawed...but regardless...

Yes, my fellow Americans, that's right. It's so important to George Bush that GLBT people not be given the legislative protection of an expanded hate crime bill that he will veto the entire defense spending bill just to make sure it doesn't happen. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says:

"This bill will get vetoed," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned. "The president is not going to agree to this social legislation on the defense authorization bill."

Graham contended that the hate-crime provision puts in jeopardy a bill that would fund armored vehicles, pay raises and other things for the troops.

"When I go to Iraq, I don't have a lot of people coming up to me and saying we need to pass the hate crimes bill. They do need better body armor."

That's right, Lindsey. Because when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, you guys did such a fantastic job of prioritizing the soldiers in the field that they had to buy their own armor. Good to know that you and your colleagues care so much about body armor, but protecting gays from violence--including from fellow soldiers in the military--is simply unacceptable.

You know what else I love? The argument that we shouldn't even have hate crimes legislation at all:

Opponents argued that the bill would create special classes of crime victims.

"All crimes of violence are crimes of hate," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. that token, we shouldn't have had the original hate crimes legislation of 1968...or maybe that's exactly what John Cornyn thinks! But the fact of the matter is that the law creates special classes of crime victims precisely to demonstrate to society that certain crimes are especially execrable. That is why we have special circumstances for police officers, trial witnesses and so many other groups of people. Saying that we shouldn't create special classes of crime victims and opposing an expansion of hate crimes on that basis is unashamedly hypocritical. But hey--what else would you expect from your local Republican these days?

But here's what I know--Mr. 25% will think nothing of vetoing the entire defense spending bill just to make sure that gays don't get legal protections they deserve. But if he does veto the whole thing over this, we will need to keep the pressure on our Congress (I hear the sighs, and I sympathize) to make sure they don't cave. And we'll see which Republicans stand with Mr. 25%, as opposed to "putting the troops in danger by not passing the bill." I'm ready for a game of chicken on the railroad tracks with this. Let's see who swerves first.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

America's "reality" culture

I was watching college football yesterday when I saw an advertisement for a Ford minivan. The advertisement depicted a woman who supposedly had her Nissan Murano switched out for a Ford minivan for a week, and was giving testimonials about how much better she liked the Ford than the Murano.

All good, right? Well, this is what the narrator said:

We switched her Murano out for a Ford somethingorother. We told her it was marketing research, but we were actually from Ford!

Umm...I work in marketing research. Have for a decade. In my time, I've been around a lot of automotive research too. And guess what? Having someone use a diferent car for a week and then asking them what they like and don't like is a standard company-sponsored marketing research activity!

So basically--presuming the advertisement was based on a legitimate marketing research study--it was marketing research and they were from Ford. But could the advertisment actually say that and be honest? No.

Instead, we get subjected to this lying, manipulative crap about how the woman in the advertisement was supposedly duped or deceived. We, as a culture, have an increasing, and increasingly incomprehensible, obsession with "reality" programming--namely, any show where supposedly "real" people get duped, deceived, hurt or humiliated by others--or do those same acts to themselves--so that viewers with apparently nothing better to do can feel better that they're not quite as bad off as the people on the show--and that, only because their own humiliating experiences haven't been featured on camera just yet.

Now, it's one thing to set someone up to be "punk'd" from the beginning. I understand why that can be entertaining. But seeing this form of entertainment gain such widespread popularity that we must start taking acts that were perfectly legitimate and giving them the cover of illegitimacy purely to increase their entertainment value makes me retch.

At this point, we're just barely above Idiocracy. Remember what the top-rated show is in that movie? Well, at the rate we're going, it's not going to take us 500 more years to get there.