Tuesday, June 28, 2005

It's hard to rally public support like that...

What is new in this one (or at least more explicitly laid out here) is that Iraq is, in fact, the central front of the "war on terror" because that is where "the terrorists" (as if the people fighting Americans are all doing it for the same reasons) have decided to make a stand. But isn't that letting them dictate our actions?

And was he trying to cry there at the end?

I would say let's discuss, but it may not be worth our time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Go, Mary, Go!

I'd like to take this time and space to plug Mary Pierce since everyone else is so quiet. I've been a long time fan and have been stoked that she's getting into her groove. She's got a good shot at beating Venus Williams and hopefully Sharapova as well. I think the lower half of the draw is more competetive so I have to give Lindsay the advantage so far.

Here's the lowdown on the women's side. Anyone else think Mary will have back to back grand slam final appearances?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I know there are some Dems who are quite in favor of redistricting, but I've mentioned previously, that there is research to put that into question. Via Altercation, Mother Jone's has an article that we should all pause to think about before rushing to join the Schwarzenegger redistrcting plan:
It turns out that there is a fundamental anti-urban (and thus anti-Democratic) bias with single-seat districts. The urban vote is more concentrated, and so it's easier to pack Democratic voters into fewer districts. As Democratic redistricting strategist Sam Hirsch has noted, nice square districts are in effect a Republican gerrymander because they "combine a decade-old (but previously unnoticed) Republican bias" that along with a newly heightened degree of incumbent protection "has brought us one step closer to government under a United States House of Unrepresentatives."

Here's the best-known recent example of this dynamic. Even though Al Gore won a half million more votes nationwide than George Bush in 2000, Bush beat Gore in 47 more of the 2002 congressional districts. And that's up from a previous 19-seat edge, showing that trends are tilting Republican. The winner-take-all system distorts representation and the edge clearly gives Republicans an advantage, allowing them to win more than their fair share of seats. So the current Republican margin in the House of 232 to 203 -- only 29 seats -- actually is a decent showing for the Democrats. It will be exceedingly difficult for Democrats to improve on this.
Any wonder why Schwarzenegger and his GOP oil men funders are pushing the redistricting ballot initiative?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why I Don't Respect Robert Byrd

Byrd and the Clan

And no, I don't forgive him because it was 60 years ago. Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms were out-and-out racists then too, and liberals never forgave them. Why should Byrd be any different?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cheney's argument for Guantanamo -- best argument against it?

Cheney defends the Guantanamo prison. From the New York Times coverage:

To bolster his remarks, made in a speech at the National Press Club, Mr. Cheney added to the administration's previous warnings about the dangers of moving too quickly to free the more than 500 prisoners held at Guantánamo. He provided new details about what he said had been at least 10 released detainees who later turned up on battlefields to try to kill American troops.

Mr. Cheney mentioned the name of Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar, a released Guantánamo prisoner who returned to Afghanistan and became a Taliban commander and was killed last year by Afghan forces. He also cited Mullah Shehzada, who he said returned from the prison to organize a jail break in Afghanistan, and who was killed last year by American forces.

Worth pointing out: the fact that the person was a terrorist after being released from Guantanamo doesn't necessarily mean they were a terrorist beforehand.

It's not hard to imagine that a generally sympathetic but inactive supporter of the anti-American forces in Afghanistan who saw the American government kidnapping people from all over the world, turning them over to unsavory allies for torture or torturing them in-house, even to death, sexually humiliating them and defaming their religion -- might head back and decide to take a more active role in anti-American activities.

Flip-flopper

Frist then:
She responds to her parents and to him. That is not somebody in persistent vegetative state.


Frist now:
I never said, 'she responded' " to stimulation... I raised the question 'Is she in a persistent vegetative state or not?' I never made the diagnosis, never said that she was not.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Joys of Congress

Looks like Rep. Sensenbrenner is in the news again:
The Republican chairman walked off with the gavel, leaving Democrats shouting into turned-off microphones at a raucous hearing Friday on the Patriot Act.
Seems like there are some good times in the House these days.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Notes from the Campus Progress

I'll cut Nell some slack for not posting since she's probably studying for finals. To keep the blog going, here are some links to Campus Progress articles/blog posts:

Monday, June 06, 2005

Washington Governor's Race: Almost Over

After seven months, Christine Gregoire is almost the winner of the Washington State governor's race...again:
Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges denied Republican claims that election errors, illegal voters and fraud stole the election from GOP candidate Dino Rossi.
Of course, the case is expected to go to the state Supreme Court.

What's a little upsetting is not the challenge by the GOP, but the fact that they are spending more time making this about Democrats trying to steal the election rather than the real problem. Namely, election laws that need to be updated. Now that the GOP lost again, maybe they can help fix the election process and quit trying to secede

Friday, June 03, 2005

Wanted: Sam Seaborn

Anyone want to run for Congress in Orange County? Bush just named Congressman Christopher Cox to head the SEC, so there's going to be a special election....

So what the district is 2-1 Republican...it'll be fun!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Meet Your Senators: Today, Louisiana!

Today, we head to the Pelican State to meet one of only three Democratic Southern Senators, Mary Landrieu, and her Republican "colleage" David Vitter, a prick.

During the fight on the nuclear option, recently elected Sen. Vitter took to the floor to publicly blast Sen. Landrieu for her opposition to Priscilla Owen and Co. and her continued support for Democratic filibusters. (At the time, if you were curious, Sen. Landrieu was helping to write an energy bill and after that was in Sen. McCain's office working on a compromise which she later signed.)

Blasting any Senator by name on the floor is rare, but attacking the senior Senator from your own state is downright bastardly. After all, both members have to work together to make sure the state gets its fair share of pork and the like. Watching at home, former Louisiana Senator John Bureux commented to a Baton Rouge paper:


"I have never seen anything like that in my 32 years of Congress," Breaux said. "I think it was unprecedented and in bad taste."
Immediately following his speech, Vitter sent a (publicly released) letter to Landrieu (with the salutation "Dear Mary") in which her called on her to renounce Democratic "obstructionism" and asked her to "do the right thing."

The senior Senator from Louisiana wrote him a reply (with the salutation "Dear Sen. Vitter"). This is just wonderful:


"I realize that the complex precedents and traditions of the institution must seem imposing" to newcomers, she wrote.

...

Helpfully, she also attached a recent report on the subject from the
Congressional Research Service. It "should give you a richer understanding of the Senate's power of advice and consent," she wrote.


When asked about Vitter's attacks recently, Landrieu replied jokingly:

"Of course, Sen. Vitter is new to the Senate, and he's learning the rules," Landrieu said.

Props today go to Senator Landrieu for being gracious under fire, but still putting this guy firmly in his place.

Why I Don't Read David Brooks Anymore

I've long since lost respect for Mr. Brooks, but occassionaly take a deep breath--not throat--and try to stomach a doosy by Brooks. For instance, his latest claim that the French "no" vote is due to a rejection of American Liberalism:
This is the chief problem with the welfare state, which has nothing to do with the success or efficiency of any individual program. The liberal project of the postwar era has bred a stultifying conservatism, a fear of dynamic flexibility, a greater concern for guarding what exists than for creating what doesn't.
It's not really worth mentioning the fact that European liberalism is much different than American "liberalism" these days.

What's more worthy of criticism is that people are saying the rejection was based on a rejection of economic neo-liberalism (i.e. less regulated capitalism) and right-wing bigotry:
French opposition came from both the left and right, often on areas that have nothing to do with the constitution. The right rode a wave of opposition to the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. The left used anger about a commission proposal to allow the service industry to operate more freely in the single market to argue the constitution represents the triumph of Anglo-Saxon economic liberalism over a French-inspired "social Europe". There is a case that new voting procedures would make it harder for a country such as France to block reforms to the common agricultural policy and the EU economy, but the constitution does not in itself introduce reforms. (My emphasis)
You can find the sameelsewhere:
It was an economic rejection, because the French electorate by ten points said no to this constitution because it was perceived as creating a Europe that would be a playground for the multinational corporations.
Far from a rejection of social programs, or as Brooks calls it, "the welfare state". American Liberals are weary of Multinational corporations, which is what a large part of the "no" campaign in France was. But don't take my word for it--I'm not even European. It's better to listen to actual Europeans instead of American blowhards--such as myself--who are clueless or are trying to propogate their political agenda.

Incidentally, since the Times is going to start charging for access to Op-Eds, this will be the last time I link to one.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Headlines that Gilbert has not yet claimed...

Everytime I find an article that seems even slightly interesting or blog-worthy on which I would like to comment, Gilbert has already claimed it. So, today I am taking advantage of everyone's finals nuttiness and claiming the two coolest headlines in the news:

1. Deep Throat Unmasked
All I have to say is that W. Mark Felt is the coolest person in the world. I was very sad to see this morning, that on Fox News, some guy was saying that Felt exposed Nixon because the President would not promote him. Do they, meaning the Fox News people, not realize that the information was still real!

2. Emmitt Till exhumed
My comment on this article includes only two questions: will the coroners be able to determine Till's cause of death? And, will the case reignite the racism that swirled around the first case?

It is finals, after all, so I will end my commentary there. Enjoy the articles! And, if you have not already read either of these, you officially live in a box.

Product Placement

This just in from Kevin. Looks like people are complaining that Schwarzenegger is using product placement in his ads:
The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for one-third of the ad.

Donors connected to Pepsi Co. and Arrowhead Water's parent company, Nestle, gave the governor a total of $279,800 in campaign contributions. Also recognizable on-screen are Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos and a SoBe Beverage, all brands owned by Pepsi.
You can find the ad in question here.