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J'accuse!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.24.04

This seems to be getting out of hand:

Bush said Kerry's statements about Iraq "can embolden an enemy."
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said terrorists "are going to throw everything they can between now and the election to try and elect Kerry." On Fox News, Hatch said Democrats are "consistently saying things that I think undermine our young men and women who are serving over there."
GOP Senate candidate John Thune of South Dakota said of his opponent, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle: "His words embolden the enemy." Thune, on NBC's "Meet the Press," declined to disavow a statement by the Republican Party chairman in his state saying Daschle had brought "comfort to America's enemies."
On Saturday, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) said at a GOP fundraiser: "I don't have data or intelligence to tell me one thing or another, [but] I would think they would be more apt to go [for] somebody who would file a lawsuit with the World Court or something rather than respond with troops." Asked whether he believed al Qaeda would be more successful under a Kerry presidency, Hastert said: "That's my opinion, yes."

Thank God the blogosphere responds appropriately. Reynolds:

his is behavior that is absolutely unacceptable coming from a Presidential campaign in wartime, and it's not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of such behavior.

Oh, wait. Reynolds is talking about the Kerry campaign. My bad.


 

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No More Lovin', 'k?

Posted by Ogged
on 09.24.04

Unf and I are off to Italy for the last of the season's weddings. Back on Tuesday, which means that I will be in Italy for over 48 hours. Woohoo! Party!


 

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Somebody make me an ad

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.23.04

Atrios notes that before the vote to authorize the use of force was a vote for war, it was a vote for peace.

The President: That will be part of the resolution, the authorization to use force. If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force. But it's -- this will be -- this is a chance for Congress to indicate support. It's a chance for Congress to say, we support the administration's ability to keep the peace. That's what this is all about.

But his ads say different:

"In which direction would John Kerry lead?" a narrator asks. "Kerry voted for the Iraq war, opposed it, supported it and now opposes it again.

I know it's politically difficult to draw the distinction between authorizing force and deciding to use it, but maybe-- at least!-- we can hit the ball back into the President's court by making him do some explaining. Which was it, war or peace? I know, that's a confused question, but W is not the man to point that out, since his campaign has put a lot of weight on that confusion.


 

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Recount

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.04

Vanity Fair isn't online, but its long article on the Florida recount, with a fascinating look into the deliberations of the Supreme Court, is available for download. I just skimmed it, and it's gripping.


 

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College, Pole Dancing, And Other Lessons

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.04
Too good to excerpt really, but a tease...
"Honestly, we just wanted to say we had a stripper pole," Foster said. "We never actually expected girls to dance on it."

 

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Gotcha

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.04

I like this proposed debate question a lot:

If Andrew Card came to you in that Florida classroom and told you that your family had been carjacked on September 11, would you still have sat there for seven minutes and done nothing?

Delicious. The seven minutes are indefensible, of course, so the answer can only be a lie, but it also makes the issue a human one, and gets at who and what he really cares about, which resonates with sending others' kids to die. And it puts him in a nice bind with regard to echoes of the question Dukakis flubbed about his wife being murdered: Dukakis gave a chilly policy answer, and it's become gospel that you respond with heat and heart where your family is concerned, but if Bush responds that way, then the seven lost minutes while the country was under attack look even worse.


 

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Etiquette

Posted by Ogged
on 09.23.04

Why is it that some people walk right into my cubicle and start telling me what they want but the company president always asks me if it's a good time?


 

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That's All Folks

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.04

Classic.


 

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Modernity

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.04

In for a penny, in for a pound...or...what's the use of being pseudonymous anyway?

Women I won't date:

Russians

Eastern Europeans

Asians, broadly construed (mid-east, indian subcont., far east)

Those who squeak

Those who wear high heels

Those whose primary language is not English

Those with big butts

Those under 5'6"

Those who smoke

Now, let's just assume that the first ten comments will be, "Who would date your sorry ass anyway? Hope you enjoy your miserable lonely life, asshole." Ok.

But...doesn't everyone have a list like this (probably not so heavily weighted on the ethnicity thing, maybe shorter, but you get the idea)? And isn't it just damn difficult to say precisely why any given item is on the list, even though you know, in your little heart of hearts, that, for you, it belongs on the list?

(If you're still holding out, I'd ask you to consider that great American bugbear--class--and ask yourself how much you constrain your own dating/mating based on class without even really registering that you're doing so.)

Julie's defense of makeup trades, quite reasonably, on the difficulty of articulating precisely how wearing makeup is tied to personality to dismiss wearing makeup as a reliable indicator of personality. In that sense, it's quite modern: what can't be articulated can be dismissed. In a more truly conservative society, like, say, Iran, a few young women might ask, "What's wrong with wearing makeup anyway?!" ...and there's no good answer... But hardly anyone feels the need even to answer when asked, and not only does wearing makeup say something about you, it implicates your entire family. ...The Smithpours's daughter wears lipstick, we're not having dinner with them...or...You're not wearing lipstick! People will think I raised a whore!...

I suppose in this sense, I'm a conservative: I think it'd be great to articulate my reasons, but even absent that articulation, I'm quite willing to act on fuzzy feelings and simple prejudices (this becomes much more complicated when considering public policy, so let's skip the "But what about people who have a fuzzy feeling that all Arabs are terrorists?"). I can't be the only one.


 

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The Justice System

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.04

So embarrassing.

The military on Wednesday dropped an espionage charge against a Muslim interpreter accused of spying at the camp for terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The development marks the third Guantanamo spy case to fall apart this year, despite vows by Attorney General John Ashcroft and military officials to prosecute the men for jeopardizing the nation's security.

But they got him to plead guilty anyway.

Al Halabi admitted to taking two photos of his workplace and lying about taking those pictures. He also brought a classified document home without locking it up, which led to a guilty plea to a charge of "conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline."

Why make him do that? Because the headline might be "Interpreter cleared," but at least the subhead is "Will plead to lesser charges." The war on terror continues apace.


 

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Golf is Fun!

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.04
I have a feeling baa should be pre-emptively barred from commenting on this post. In any case, I am a serious Michael Jordan fan, but to this, I can only say, please god, no.
The loose talk around the league is Michael Jordan has been working out like a demon, testing the possibility of joining forces with Shaquille O'Neal in Miami
Even after the last comeback, I think people were seeing the old Jordan and forgetting that the young Jordan was worlds better than Kobe and McGrady. Another comeback? Oy.

 

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Analogy

Posted by Ogged
on 09.22.04

Let me join in recommending this Juan Cole post about what America would be like if it were experiencing Iraq-like chaos. You have to read it. via political wire & the apostropher

Speculatively, I'd say Americans are sanguine about Iraq because they think Iraqis are savages, and the total breadown of the social order must not bother them so much--and they were living under Saddam, after all, so this has to be better.

What's persistently odd to me is that a good chunk of Americans still well up with pride about their ancestors who fought off the invaders who had come to free people from slavery, but they think of the people fighting our troops in Iraq as ideologues or crazies.


 

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Meow...He Said "Roar!"

Posted by Ogged
on 09.21.04

Did I mention mass hysteria? Yusef "Peace Train" Islam was allowed to board a London to DC flight, but while he was cruising over the Atlantic, Homeland Security's speedy computers made a match: Islam is on a "watch list." So the flight was diverted...to Maine, where I guess terrorism is legal. He was removed, interviewed, and will be sent back. Whew. Close call.


 

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Mo' Meta Please

Posted by Ogged
on 09.21.04

Let's keep talking about looks and see how many people we can offend. Belle says that guys who think they don't like makeup often don't realize that the women they do like are wearing "skillfully applied makeup."

Bah! This isn't about aesthetic preferences. Guys who say they don't like makeup don't care about what it looks like: they think that women who wear makeup are shallow and vain. Ok, that's slightly overstated. But this comment, in response to Sherry's question about preferred nail length/color, is spot-on, in a simplistic, vaguely sexist sort of way.

You're very active (sailing, etc.). Can you real do these things while worrying about your nails. A woman with short nails who has a strong interest in things other than shopping might have a hard time tending to her manicure. That kind of a woman is a lot more interesting, and attractive, than a woman with painted fingernails.

Right-o! The makeup/looks/nails question implicates a whole personality/lifestyle. A while back, I wrote that I wouldn't date the woman in heels. Not because she doesn't look good (she looks great), but because I thought the heels indicated that we wouldn't have much in common. I still think it's a good guide. What I've given up is the idea that women who do dress that way, or paint their nails, or whatever, are suckers for the beauty myth, or debasing themselves, or suffering from false consciousness...etc.

MORE: PZ Myers has an academic's take on the debate.

I wonder if the reason I became an academic was an unconscious awareness that they are My People. I rejected that blue-collar apprenticeship my father arranged for me because I knew in my heart of hearts that there was no hope that I could ever dress with the savoir faire of a refrigerator repairman.

It's a good post.

AND: Except for the fact that I didn't say what I'm accused of saying, Julie Saltman's defense of makeup is pretty good.


 

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Visage By Armani

Posted by Ogged
on 09.21.04

Have you been to L.A. recently? Have you looked at the faces? I've done a bit of hanging out in Santa Monica, where, in addition to the smattering of normal humans, you'll see either 1) actually beautiful and hip young people or 2) strangely washed-out, stretched faces that all look, in shape and pallor, oddly alike. I watched about 30 seconds of the Emmy's last night (night before? can't rememeber...) and thought, "Garry Shandling doesn't look like that!"

And it's true. This is what he looks like. This (perceptive!) is what he's become.


 

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Confused

Posted by Ogged
on 09.21.04
Perhaps this isn't of great moment, but, huh?
A man was found dead after falling from a trail in Grand Canyon National Park ... His wife had been walking in front of him and didn't see him fall. Authorities didn't release the man's identity because they had not yet positively identified the body Monday.
They talked to his wife but don't have a positive ID?

 

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Illiterates

Posted by Ogged
on 09.21.04
Great country, full of stupid xenophobes, in the grip of mass hysteria.
Midwest Airlines canceled a flight ready to take off for San Francisco after a passenger found Arabic-style handwriting in the company's in-flight magazine and alerted the crew.
...
The writing was in Farsi, the language used in Iran, said airline spokeswoman Carol Skornicka. She said she didn't know exactly what the writing said but was similar to a prayer, "something of a contemplative nature."
That's it. Someone found something written in an "arabic style" script and they cancelled the flight. That's irrational.

 

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The Anti-Americans

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

Grover Norquist is all but an official member of the administration. Can we just have John Kerry get up and read this at every stop for the next few days? Please?

[Tell us, Grover, is the Democratic party ending?] Yes, because in addition their demographic base is shrinking. Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying.

Good lord, it doesn't get any worse, or any better, than that. Please...

via atrios

MORE: Echidne "Spanish is not one of my languages" of the Snakes nevertheless has a nifty idea: feed Norquist's interview into a web translator. Actually, the whole thing sounds unhinged and damning. Anyone know of or care to do a translation?


 

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Blink blink, blink blink

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

This is a good idea.

The background is a shot of Bush on 9/11/2001 reading My Pet Goat.
The sound is a series of voice-overs from the Republican convention and elsewhere, including Bush's own speeches, all saying things like:
"American needs strong and decisive leadership"
"George Bush is a decisive and unwavering leader"
"...decisive..."
"...decisive..."
"...decisive..."
etc.

The only thing I would add is that the picture and superimposed clock should update one minute as each statement is read.


 

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Ravings

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

I know some of you think this is crazy talk, but Michael Froomkin has a great explanation of why he keeps blogging. via itl?

...this blog ended up far more political than I originally imagined it would be. There's a reason for this.
I find it shocking and horrible that anyone running the government, anyone running the Justice Department, could argue for torturing prisoners of war, or any other class of person.
I find it frightening that anyone running the government, anyone running the Justice Department, could even entertain arguments that US Citizens should be held in solitary confinement, indefinitely, without charges or access to court and counsel. The assertion of this power strikes at the heart of our democracy. It is in my view many steps down the road to serious, genuine, good-old-fashioned tyranny, with or without raising the almost distracting issue of whether this is some nascent form of fascism.

...

So, one reason I've kept on doing this is that I don't want to look back in twenty years and discover that during the crunch time I was the modern equivalent of a ‘good German'—busy with the demands of family and career while ‘the great experiment,' the USA, went down the tubes around me. Even bearing witness against these trends serves, I hope, in some small way to begin to roll them back.

Amen to that. As I've tried to explain before, tyranny isn't either banished or extant; the fact that our daily lives haven't much changed doesn't mean that we're not living in a less free country.

And Eric Muller notes that even our current freedoms are a bit much for some.

Only one thing in Leo's piece is new. After calling Japanese schools of the 1930s the "madrasahs" of their day, Leo wraps up his piece with a look at today's world:
Malkin's point is that if the threat to the survival of America is severe enough, some civil liberties must yield. She is right that the internment issue is currently being wielded as a club to prevent reasonable extra scrutiny of suspect Arabs and Muslims. But the twin towers were not brought down by militant Swedish nuns. It is always reasonable to look in the direction from which the gravest danger is coming. It's also reasonable and important to open an honest discussion of internment, past and present.
Get that? Past "and present."

...

The mask is slipping off, and what is beneath is very ugly.

I really don't begin to understand the internment thing. Does anyone really think it would be a net good? I get the feeling people are suggesting it just because it would be exciting. Really. It's a nice jolt, and would give us all something to do stateside. Hell, I'll bet even some lefties get a charge out of the prospect of evading capture and blowing shit up for a good cause. I know how flip this sounds, but it's beginning to seem like the most reasonable explanation: we were just ready for a good freak out.

By the way, I know the Europeans are scoffing at us losing our collective American mind, but there's no way that more than twenty years will go by before they can't stand those damn Muslims living among them. Then we can be the voice of reason again, provided we've let our brown folks out, and apologized, and all that.


 

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I'd Rather Not

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

Should Dan Rather resign? Of course. But it's not quite so simple: in the U.S., calls for resignation are a political weapon, and not left up to a person's conscience. It's hard enough to resign for honor, but it's damn near impossible to go with grace when you'll be handing your bullying political enemies a victory and a chance to crow for months.

And in any case, I'm having a hard time thinking of an American tradition of honorable (as opposed to unavoidable) resignation.


 

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He's Down

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

Funny pictures, yo.

John Kerry.

Not Macaulay Culkin.


 

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Balance

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

Chutney makes an important point in a very good post.

Earlier this week I attended a public panel on US-Islamic relations. I have to say that my people (that is, liberals) have a long way to go.
1. If your central point it that "we must look US history square in the face," you cannot catalog only US actions of colonialization/oppression/etc., ignoring US actions on behalf of human rights, for example. By definition, this lopsided view is precisely not looking history square in the face.

Part of what so upset me about Abu Ghraib was that precisely this history of noble U.S. action (and America's unique image in the world), was being eclipsed. And it's very hard for liberals not to succumb to condescension if they see their own country as a more evil actor than people elsewhere see it.


 

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Bracing

Posted by Ogged
on 09.20.04

Just ouch.

Yesterday, C-SPAN II, as part of its regular weekend books coverage, ran a reading/q & a with Ben Ferguson, the young conservative author of It's My America Too. The plaintive whimpering of that title--in particular that "too"--is typical of the phony underdog position conservatives insist on taking to make themselves look like insurgents. Republicans control the presidency, the Senate, the House, and much of the judiciary, Fox News is #1 in cable news, the rightwing rules talk radio, and yet here's little big Ben, who at the age of 22 hosts his own rightwing radio show, pouting about feeling like an outsider in his own country, boo hoo.
He wears his hair as if he's in the fourth grade, and I gather he has a chapter in his book about being a virgin. It's considerate of this baby whale version of Rush Limbaugh to be saving himself for some lucky gal, but I fear that when he finally does mate with Woman he may explode from years of self-denial in a spermatic supernova. I'd hate to be the person who'd have to tidy up afterwards.

The rest considers conservatives on Vietnam, and veterans, and decency. Read the whole thing.


 

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Bets across the aisle

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 09.19.04

What unites us really is more important than what divides us, no? In this case, gambling trumps politics. So I was delighted to read this, from baa. Suppose Bush wins. We've got a betting pool!

First element: who will author the most unhinged post-election op-ed published in a major daily? Second element: what will be the author list for the issue of The Nation that follows the election?

He says daily but I think we should open this up a bit wider, so Lapham (claimed by Ben H) and Hertzberg (my dark-horse candidate) can join in the fun. Place your bets, people. (It's too scary to contemplate what the columns will look like if Kerry wins. 'Unhinged' is putting it mildly.)


 

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