Archive for May, 2005

On Political Stage-craft

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Um… Barry: Wear a goddamned pair of dress pants.

This is part stage-craft and image manipulation… To what degree it might be authentic, I do not know. I suppose if he were to ever run for president, he won’t have the anti-“folksy” dribble going against him, as Al Gore did. (A section of the chattering class, the pestering and annoying part, couldn’t help themselves when it was revealed that Al Gore … dressed up in some occassions, dressed down in other occassions, and had hired a consultant to help him. Gasp! Earth-tone Gore! Alpha-Male! Whatnot.)

As for Barry… some more stupid posturing:

“But were Montanans outraged at the same level as folks in New York City or in other vulnerable cities? Frankly, is al-Qaida coming to Montana? It would be a bad idea for them to come here. To start with, if they show up here and start making some trouble, somebody’s just going to shoot their asses and ask questions later.”

ooh… Mr. Macho Man, aren’t he? This is pure claptrap, of course. Nay… international terrorists don’t know Montana exists. And, nay, I doubt firing rifles at the a Montana land-mark while terrorists are driving planes into it is going to solve anything.

None of it is as revolting as Bush parading in front of toddlers to argure against stem-cell research, of course, but nonetheless…


Sunday, May 29th, 2005

On a hot night, window open, and sound travels better in the heat.

I had the radio on. I guess I fell asleep listening to Mike Malloy. Ordinarily I have the radio clicked to turn off in 59 minutes. I guess I didn’t this night.

I know my neighbor largely as a guy who’s watched a lot of Star Wars lately, on a large enough decimal level that I know that he’s watched a lot of Star Wars lately.

This night Mike Malloy ended, with me asleep, and turned into the rerun of the Randi Rhodes Show. Somewhere in the middle of the night I heard my neighbor yell: “Balderdash!”

I do not know what Randi Rhodes was saying — I was largely asleep. But my neighbor started rambling about Saddam Hussein.

I clicked the am-fm switch — a dealy-do that takes us with no turn of the radio dial to 94.7 NRK — An Enterscum Station. I turned the radio up a wee bit to drown out the end of my neighbor’s ranting (to me or to someone else?), and within a couple songs, turned the radio off.

I suppose I could have engaged in a quick political discussion, and shouted “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy!”, but really — I wanted some sleep.

Tom DeLay versus Law and Order

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

“Ted Kennedy” has the punchline to every fucking joke that even tangentially mentions booze for the past three decades, and you can’t take one fucking quip on a TV police drama? Fucking pussies the whole lot of them. GODDAMNIT, WHY CAN’T WE BEAT THEM? JESUS CHRIST, WHY DO THE THIN-SKINNED, PRUDISH NANCYBOYS KEEP WINNING?

Because a lot of people who vote for them are themselves thin-skinned, prudish nancyboys. As Exhibit A, I cite the ratio of eligible enlistees to Bush voters: it should be a lot closer than 1:1 than it actually is.

The Tom DeLay reference from Law and Order is as follows:

“Maybe we should put out an APB (all-points-bulletin) for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt.”

The court case involved the murder of a judge and his family, suspects being perhaps right-wing extremists.

I rather like Law and Order. Occasionally. The stories are “ripped from today’s headlines” and all that “riveting” fling into “relevance”. The last episode I saw involved the lawyer having to go against his conscience and his attorney general’s politics to get the courts to define marriage away from gays so as to get a murder conviction. Another episode played on the Jayson Blair case.

In this case, Tom DeLay knows full well what prompted the jab… his comments following the Terri Schiavo case. He says so in his letter:

This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse.
I can only assume last night’s slur was in response to comments I have made in the past about the need for Congress to closely monitor the federal judiciary, as prescribed in our constitutional system of checks and balances. I have explained all such comments – even those inartfully made and taken out of context – on numerous occasions, including with representatives of your network. When a responsible journalist like Brit Hume made an inquiry into such comments, he quickly understood them to be limited to Congress’s oversight responsibilities and nothing more.

There’s a lot there. Brit Hume (and by extension) Fox News as emempliers of fair and balanced journalism. I will note that the White House’s new liason to PBS (who spent a while reaching the conclusion that PBS is liberally biased because Bill Moyer’s show is liberally biased) wanted Brit Hume to come in to teach public broadcasting how to be (ahem) “Fair and Balanced”.

And I must note the curious signs of RNC identifiers that Fox News really can’t help themselves to avoid.

Other than that, I must remind everyone of the rhetoric that was flying around after the Terri Schiavo Affair.:

Exemplified by Senator John Cornyn, of (naturally) Texas musing in a speech: “I wonder whether there may be the some connection in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions but are unaccountable to the public that it builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence.”

Actually, if Tom DeLay wants to remind everyone of the Terri Schiavo Political Circus, he’s more than welcome to. It wasn’t terribly popular.

Tom DeLay finished his letter with:

Last night’s brazen lack of judgment represents a failure of stewardship of our public airwaves and as much evidence as anyone needs for the embarrassing state of the mainstream media’s credibility.

There’s a politically charged psychosis at work here. It’s a defensive mechanism. But it does look pathetic.

Jokes Aplenty

Friday, May 27th, 2005

Curiously, someone chimed in with three jokes concering Hamid Karzai with the punchline “Poppy Cock”.

Did you hear those Afganies have gone off their heads. sounds like a load of poppy cock to me.

Judging by that photo if he says he is not off his head I would say it is a load of poppy cock

Maybe he has just being playing with his poppy…

I doubt I’d come up with anything decent if someone tossed a punchline at me and asked me to come up with a set-up.

Perhaps you have seen the following on another blog or website. Or perhaps in your email box. Anyways… Names are easily changed to fit any other politico.

While walking down the street one day, George W. Bush is shot and killed by a disgruntled NRA member. His soul arrives in heaven and he is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

“Welcome to Heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem: We seldom know what to do with a Republican in these parts, and this goes double for you.”

“No problem – just let me in. I’m a believer,” says Gee Dubya.

“I’d like to just let you in, but I have orders from the Man Himself: He says you have to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven, then you can choose where you’ll live for eternity.”

“But, I’ve already made up my mind; I want to be in Heaven.”

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.” So Peter escorts George to an elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course, the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, and the temperature is a perfect 72 degrees. In the distance is a beautiful clubhouse. Standing in front of it is his dad, and thousands of other Republicans who had helped him out over the years:…Richard Perle, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Jerry Falwell … the whole of the “Right” was there …everyone laughing … happy … casually but expensively dressed. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at expense of the “suckers and peasants.” They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar. The Devil himself comes up to Bush with a frosty drink, “Have a margarita and relax, George!”

“Uh no, I can’t drink no more, I took the pledge,” says Junior dejectedly.

“This is Hell, son — you can drink and eat all you want and not worry, and it just gets better from there!”

Dubya takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil, who he thinks is a really very friendly guy who tells funny jokes and pulls hilarious nasty pranks, kind of like a Yale Skull and Bones brother with real horns. They are having such a great time that, before he realizes it, it’s time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Georgie steps on the elevator and heads upward. When the elevator door reopens, he is in Heaven again and St. Peter is waiting for him. “Now it’s time to visit Heaven,” the old man says, opening the gate.

So for 24 hours George Bush is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other’s company, talk about things other than money, and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or frat-boy joke among them; no fancy country clubs and, while the food tastes great, it’s not caviar or lobster. These people are all poor, he doesn’t see anybody he knows, and he isn’ t even treated like someone special. Worst of all, to Dubya, Jesus turns out to be some kind of Jewish hippie with his endless “peace” and “do unto others” jive.

“Whoa,” he says uncomfortably to himself, “Pat Robertson never prepared me for this!” The day done, St. Peter returns and says, “Well, then, you’ve spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now you must choose where you want to live for eternity.”

With the ‘Jeopardy’ theme playing softly in the background, Dubya reflects for a minute, then answers: “Well, I would never have thought I’d say this-I mean, Heaven has been delightful and all, but I really think I belong in Hell with my friends.”

So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial waste … kind of like Houston. He is horrified to see all of his friends, dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime. The Devil comes over to Dubya and puts an arm around his shoulder.

“I don’t understand,” stammers a shocked Dubya, “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we drank and ate caviar… I drank booze. We screwed around and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland, full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!”

The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly, and purrs, “Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us.”

Comely Resistance

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Patriot askedeth: “What do you think of this article?”

Thinker102 answerdeth, following an excerpt from the article: ********The warriors would not even know who their counterparts are. The only thing binding the participants together would be a shared belief—in the God of the Bible and our Christian civilization, in these United States, in strictly limited government and Free Enterprise, in the country that minded its own business; that walked softly but carried a big stick, where private property is sacrosanct.**********

Problem is, the closer you follow the bible, the more of a totalitarian state you wind up with.

The reasoning in this paragraph and some of the ones that follows seems very much like that behind the OK city bombing. Carried to the extent advocated, this creates a climate of fear for *everybody*, which ultimately destroys, not builds.


…`Communists’? Uh…dead and gone with the cold war, at least in the US.

This guys diagnosis is off, and his proposed cure is worse than the disease.

elderly male followed with: This Screed reminds of certain aspects/requirements for a former job I held. The training, if one did not have it already, required one to write two essays: one, to slant or justify a certain position on a subject which would be given; two, then criticise or rebut that original position based upon a defined change in Policy. Put another way; justify ANY one position given to you then REWRITE the same thing based upon new instructions given to you. I’m sorry to say I was better at doing this than I would have liked to be, i.e., at the top of my form I could write Communistic crap almost as well as some of the Party Hacks.

I chimed in with: “I have argued that collectivism was (and is) fundamentally incompatible with the vision that undergirded this country’s founding. The New Deal, however,inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist
mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document…1937…marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution…Politically, the belief in human perfectibility is another way of asserting that differences between the few and the many can, over time, be erased. That creed is a critical philosophical proposition underlying the New Deal. What is extraordinary is the way that thesis infiltrated and effected American constitutionalism over the next three-quarters of a century. Its effect was not simply to repudiate, both philosophically and in legal doctrine, the framers’ conception of humanity, but to cut away the very ground on which the Constitution rests… In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned.”

So saideth Janice Rogers Brown, one of the Judges in the middle of the current Filibuster fight in the Senate. (The looming ‘Nuclear Option vote’ — which is one to override a ruling of “What, are you joking?” by the Senate Parlimentarian on the question of whether a Judicial Filibuster is Unconstitution– were it to be done under a blind vote, would fail.)

1937 being the year the Supreme Court started ruling FDR’s programs Constitutional. (I believe there was a relatively dramatic shift by one of the Supreme Court Justices from generally holding the programs unconstitutional to holding them constitutional… pressured by the looming crisis over FDR’s fairly odious Court Packing Scheme — I don’t know… That probably is a good year for some to start in with the date that everything went to Hell and we became defacto Communists and the Court became “Activist Judges”. Probably sooner… Turn back the clock to the McKinnley Administration.)

Uncle Blabby followed with: Mention the Rooseveltian threat to take the Court to 15 members and every Journalistic Protagonist?? will immediately thunder forth how because of this action THE PEOPLE TURNED AGAINST ROOSEVELT AND HIS PFOUL SCHEME PHALED! Crap! I say again, Crap! What actually happened is as you said, one of the Justices, a former Conservative, changed his vote to Roosevelt making the Court 5/4 in Roosevelts favor, the result being there was no longer any reason to “pack the court”. I have also forgotten what caused the Justice to switch his vote but it was BECAUSE of Roosevelt and something he influenced in someway. I remember seeing in an historical document somewhere, I’m too lazy to look it up again, a Newspaper headline reading, “A Switch in Five Saves Nine”, a pretty good headline, at that!

And elderly male finished with: He misquoted the phrase, it should read, “A Switch In Time Saves Nine”. Look in Public Choice, Springer, Vol 113, pages 301-304. Abstract Title reads, A Switch In Time Saves Nine, Institutions, Strategic Actors, and FDR’S Court-Packing Plan, by Carson, Jamie L. and Kleinerman, Benjamin A.

Lead-in as reads, “long heralded as a misuse of Presidential Power that nearly undermined our constitutional ….”

Then reads, “Using an analytic narrative framework, we offer an alternative theoretical account of the events and argue that Roosevelt used the proposal to obtain his immediate goal: a shift in policy direction of the Court. Our framework is supported with historical evidence suggesting that all of the actors… etc, etc.”

The Triumph of Centrism

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

I’m weary of any victory of such an artifact as “Centrism”. It’s not to say that there is “nothing in the middle of the road but road kill”, but it is to say that too often a false metaphor has been foistered upon us altogether.

The media loves the “Center”. But, to a great extent, they define what this point is. The public always loves to consider themselves right there … in the center… not too far left, not to far right, but oh-so-independant. Generally, they don’t really pay attention, and talking heads come out at you and chime out a “Center Ground” benefitting the powerful for the masses to stand in.

Oh, Compromise is good. You work to get the most acceptable part of the two competing sides, while limiting to the extent that you can what you consider the worst part of the other side. Settle on half a loaf with too many poppy-seeds instead of no loaf. Call this Moderation. Centrism, on the other hand, is a cynical game of constant calibration… which falls you to the point where the powers that be want you to be at.

Imagine a debate about how to handle an impovershed neighborhood. One side suggests a series of tax initiatives and business incentives to attempt to spur economic growth within this poverty-strickened part of town. The other side suggests a systematic execution of the neighborhood and creation of Concentration Camps. This is an extreme example, but find for me a Center here.

What amuses me most about the “Great Compromise” made by McCain — Warner — Nelson — Lieberman, et al is the laudotory praise of the Press. I won’t judge the Democrats’ calibrations, though they were in a politically weak position. I’d like to hope that this throws Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson past the finish line in his deep red state (perhaps more important a distinction, Diebold state) race. But keeping in mind what this compromise was…

To avert a vote to declare a completely fictious premise that Judicial Filibusters are Unconstitutional. Sometimes, in trying to see the forest for the tree, you lose sight of the tree. The Republican position was an absurdity. The deal… to avert this Constitutional Crisis that the Republican Party and Bill Frist were ready to create… more or less places the deference of when the Democrats may filibuster future judges on the seven Republican dealmakers. They get to decide the definition of “extraordinary circumstance“, and good grasp on falling back in line with Bill Frist on the “Nuclear Option” if such a time merits. Such is the Center. Such is the game of the Centrist Democrats, and for that matter the Democratic Leadership itself in this deal.

Do with that what you must.