Update: Oh, and in case you have an afternoon to fritter, Jason Kottke offers a compendium of little online games that should provide some amusement...
I think that Bush violates those assumptions. He is more or less completely irresponsible. You can see this tripping people up over and over. For instance, when Colin Powell gives Bush his ‘hey, think really hard about Iraq; you break it, you own it’ speech: that seems to have been, for Powell, a big deal to do, and for him, assuming responsibility for a whole country would be a big deal as well. I don’t think Powell understood that he was dealing with someone to whom those words would mean nothing.Worth reading the whole thing, as it also picks up on the key distinctions that can be observed between Empty Rhetoric from Bush and co, and The True Beliefs that transcend the intervention of facts or circumstances...
. . .
The problem is that Bush is not, in this sense, a normal person. … [The] sense of “can’t” that’s at work in statements like “he can’t just ignore the combination of the ISG report, the election, his own unpopularity, and the unanimous advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” has no purchase on him whatsoever.
On Nov. 28... Demetrius "Van" Crocker was sentenced to 30 years in prison. David Kustoff, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, where Crocker was prosecuted, tells Salon that "It was one of the preeminent anti-terrorism cases of 2006 nationwide." Whether or not that is true, few outside of the greater Memphis metropolitan area have ever heard of Crocker. Only one reporter, John Branston of the weekly Memphis Flyer, even covered his entire trial.This guy wanted to unleash chemical weapons in a major metropolitan area (or maybe nuclear materials near the US capital), idolized McVeigh, was putting together the pieces of his plan in real time. But he was white and American, so no help to the bogeyman scare that's keeping hundreds of uncharged brown people in cruel detainment camps, and we didn't have to break the Constitution to catch him. [Full story at Salon, complete with the obvious comparison to Padilla.]
Psychologically, this is the only option available to President Bush. He has to make a change for political reasons, and despite the fact that victory is no longer an option, sending more troops is a tangible change in course and makes it look like we're still trying hard to win.Too bad for the troops who have to be sacrificed to make Bush feel better about himself, I guess...
Sorry bub. Support for Pinochet's mass killing and torture is inherently immoral. And justifying your support because the Chilean economy is doing better than Cuba's is just plain disgusting. This is what has become of the grand neocon experiment in Iraq: phony rhetorical battles with leftist ghosts of thirty years ago. It would be sad if it weren't so sick.The right wing of our country has led us all into a brick wall. It's time they stepped aside, kept their ideas to themselves, and let the adults people with some grip on reality try to straighten things out. Yeesh.
Tony Snow on the ISG:Uh, pretty much yep. Also on point is some hearkening back to the Vietnam era (oh! unspeakable!):The one thing they thought was absolutely important was to rebuild a sense of national unity on this, and that was their overwhelming objective.There is national unity. To get the fuck out.
Welcome to 1968: everyone knows the war must end and victory is unachievable, but the will to actually withdraw in full remains unpalatable to the political class. Bush will have a very hard time recommitting the country to a chimerical "victory" in Iraq. But in the name of “responsibility,” thousands more will die, for years and years, as the situation deteriorates further. Someone, at sometime, will finally have to say "enough," and get the United States out.Sigh. I hope that's wrong, but the troops sound pessimistic too...
Obama is going to drive progressives up a wall because they'll be looking for him to take their side in the partisan dogfights, and he's practicing a ministry of reconciliation. Which doesn't mean that he doesn't agree with them on the issues: it just means that he defines leadership in a very different way. Unlike many in the netroots, Obama doesn't believe that liberals need to do the same thing, only better - ie, outwork the Republicans. He thinks that it's time for fundamentally new tactics and a fundamentally new strategy.He might be right -- it would certainly make sense of many of the seeming conflicts in Obama's behavior. If he's right, is that something liberals will get behind, or are we so aware of the damage done in the last eight years that we need a push on policy now, and are willing to leave reconciliation and transformation of the dialogue for a different era? Can both happen?
. . .
People talk about Obama's limitless ambition coupled with his odd lack of apparent passion for controversial topics. It's all there, but the ambition isn't to build a stronger party and the passion isn't to craft legislation. It's to fundamentally change the way Americans talk to one another, and the way they go about solving problems.
This is the political moment for the Democrats to seize the mantle of the mainstream --- to argue that we are the big tent, where people of conscience from all over the political spectrum are coming together, concerned about our nation, ready to work in common cause. The Republican party has abandoned the concerns of the American people. The Democratic party is the party that will secure the future.That sounds an awful lot like what Pastor Dan thinks Obama is working on. If he can get his rhetoric in line with his larger goals, maybe his campaign would become unstoppable . . .
If people like what Bush has been doing these past six years, they're gonna love McCain. He too is a big believer in the Classical Shitstopping school of foreign policy.Heh... sigh.
This isn't the 1970's. They aren't going to get away with blaming the cowardly public this time. There are no hippies to hate ---- just millions of average, taxpaying, middle class Americans who know damned well when they've been lied to. And if they don't, there are many of us out here who will remind them.Indeed. We've learned to recognize a con, the hard way...
Remember, Rep. Boehner is a man. There's no way he could expect female American voters to be able to listen to his opinions. Uppity men are so... unnatural.Do the talking heads in our media ever listen to themselves?
If we truly want to empower women we must stop making them responsible for other people’s actions directed at them and we must stop blaming them when their exploiters succeed at reaching their goal.It's worth reading the whole thing, especially if you haven't explored these questions much.
The full responsibility for rape must always be put on the rapist whether he uses a knife or manipulation to control the person he wants sex from. To call a rapist who uses tools other than brute force anything but a rapist is to disregard the harm done to that person’s victim.
It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.Lesse, Stewart does a pretty good job on Kerry, Dean, the Clintons, Gore, and even Carter, so what "sacred cows" does that leave? They're going to riff on Ghandi and Bobby Kennedy? Slam Martin Luther King? Skewer the search for truth, trash civil liberties more than the Bushies? I'm already cringing, but it's not from the deflation of any cows...
"We'll succeed unless we quit."[Video and transcript both available at the link.]
No, sir. We will succeed — against terrorism, for our country's needs, towards binding up the nation's wounds — when you quit — quit the monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq.
At the Annual Abstinence Leadership Conference in Kansas, Keroack defended abstinence (in an aptly titled talk, "If I Only Had a Brain") by claiming that sex causes people to go through oxytocin withdrawal which in turn prevents people from bonding in relationships. Seriously.This guy is really terrible...
For the first time in 50 years, the party that controls both chambers of Congress is a minority party in the South. And in the last four presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has either garnered 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to win, or has come within one state of doing so before a single Southern vote was tallied. Outside the old Confederacy, the nation is turning blue, and that portends a new map for a future Democratic majority.This has meaning both for Republicans (time for a new plan!) and for Democrats (you can win without the South, but you'll need to make inroads there in the long run). The second post looks at the ideological shift that has brought freedom-loving Westerners (libertarians, in essence) back into the Democratic fold in the face of an increasingly fascist GOP.
Democrats have the chance to become the party that stands for the right of adults to make decisions about their own lives free of moralistic governmental interference and regulation. Those who cast their votes based principally on such libertarian sentiments -- driven by the belief that the government should, to the greatest extent possible, stay out of their lives -- will view the Democratic Party as the far more attractive choice.Lots of other interesting points made in both of these posts, so I encourage you to go read the rest. I'm sure this is only the tip of the analytical iceberg to come...
The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.Imagine! American labor, American everyday folk, standing up for their rights to have dreams, to do more than survive. I'm excited to hear more of this kind of talk! Let's get down to what's really ailing our nation...
With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.
(via whiskey river)
Nothing influences our ability to cope with the difficulties of existence so much as the context in which we view them; the more contexts we can choose between, the less do the difficulties appear to be inevitable and insurmountable . . . the more complexities, the more crevices there are through which we can crawl.
- - Theodore Zeldin
Sen. Allen's Collapse Demonstrates Potential of Citizen Journalismor even, heh, "Sen. Allen's Collapse Exposes Reporters as Complicit." But maybe that last would be coming a little too close to home...
Sen. Allen's Collapse Teaches Politicians to Avoid Hypocrisy
Sen. Allen's Collapse Reminds the Watchers They're Watched
(via The Tattered Coat)
A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.
- – Thomas Jefferson,
Letter to John Taylor, 1798
Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon, saying that he had "proudly accomplished everything [he'd] set out to bungle."Unbelievably biting. (Side note: I didn't know they did real-time articles between regular issues!)
The regional realignment over the past 40 years, which slowly converted Dixiecrats into Republicans, has now entered its final stage, as voters north of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the Mississippi provide a countervailing response to the southern-led Republican majority.Worth reading the rest (this is about half of it). I hope that at some point the conservative narrative will stop distorting reality, so that the Democratic party can start acting as the sum of its actual parts.
This transformation is occurring at the Senate, House and gubernatorial levels. Indeed, because Rust Belt Republicans will be replaced by progressive Democrats, regardless of the final totals tonight, the 110th Congress, in both chambers, will become more progressive as the Democratic shares grow and less conservative as the Republican shares shrink.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
- - Friedrich Nietzsche,
Mr. Lieberman has changed his tone but not his underlying conviction that he has been right all along. He and Mr. Bush are still on the very same page, encouraging the American people to believe that there is a happy ending for American involvement in Iraq, and that all it takes is the perseverance to keep marching toward the end of the rainbow.There's more, and it gets beyond snarky to very thoughtful. yay!
The election is three [less than two] weeks away and there are rumors the Republicans are getting ready for an election night disaster, which would be a first---a disaster they were actually prepared for.
- ---Bill Maher
I hate being dependent on a drug. Hate it more than I can say. But if the alternative is a proud stoicism in the face of sorrow accompanied by prolonged and unspeakable despair — well, I’ll take dependency.Dooce herself has struggled with depression since the birth of her child (and has been quite open with her readers along the way), so she's a pretty good person to trust in identifying useful depictions for those whose loved ones might be wrestling with a dark cloud. You don't have to live through Katrina to get there...
When I say my brain remapped, that’s the best description I have. During the worst of my voice problems, I would know in advance that I couldn’t get a word out. It was if I could feel the lack of connection between my brain and my vocal cords. But suddenly, yesterday, I felt the connection again. It wasn’t just being able to speak, it was KNOWING how. The knowing returned.Pretty darned cool, that brain -- guess that's part of what drew me to neuroscience in the first place. How things develop, fix themselves, work. The more you know, the more you're blown away by increments in our understanding, and by the adaptive leaps the system can make every day.
Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.Not pretty, either the events or how we accept (or ignore) their symbolism.
There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.
None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.
The book is reported to chronicle Kuo's growing frustration and eventual realization that the Republican Party in general and the Bush White House specifically were shamelessly using Evangelical Christians to advance a secular political agenda with little or no connection to the concerns of the religious right.Not really a surprise to those of us who've seen the lack of integrity on every other front, but may poke further holes in the unquestioning support of the right.
"Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.Truthiness is selling less and less well. Unfortunately, it's too late for factuality to make any difference.
"Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.
How should we honor the sacrifices of those who have died or suffered serious injury in a U.S. military conflict? The best way to show how much we respect and value their lives is by not risking other lives unless future prospects for success fully justify putting more people in harm's way.But no, throw live soldiers after dead, "stay the course." The price, I suppose, of being governed by idiots.