Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whatever

Typealyzer says:
The analysis indicates that the author of http://nitpicker.blogspot.com is of the type:

INTP - The Thinkers
[INTP]
The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Analysis
This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.
I need to cuss more, apparently.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Idiot calls Iraqis ingrates

I shit you not.

Andy McCarthy at the National Review:
Thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions in taxpayer funds have been expended to provide Iraqis the opportunity to live freely. And this despite the facts that (a) the U.S. interest in Iraqi democracy remains tenuous (our interest was the elimination of Saddam’s terror-mongering, weapons-proliferating regime), and (b) Americans were assured, when the nation-building enterprise commenced, that oil-rich Iraq would underwrite our sacrifices on its behalf. Yet, to be blunt, the Iraqis remain ingrates. That stubborn fact complicates everything.
In other words, why can't the Iraqis appreciate all the money we wasted on neocon fantasies, when all they've had to is lay back and enjoy it?

Apparently, I'm not a Christian

So says Joe Carter, who says that, when Obama calls Christ a "bridge between God and man," he's gotten it wrong.
This is, of course, exactly wrong. Jesus is not merely a "bridge" between God and man, Jesus is both fully-human and fully divine. Obama’s statement is more akin to something his role model Gandhi would say, rather than the claim made by an orthodox believer.
Carter doesn't really ask about whether or not a single interview might be the best way to judge a person's beliefs, but instead says that the creeds--Nicene and or Apostolic--are that which define a Christian. One could argue with that (I won't), but Carter has no way of knowing if Obama professes his faith in one of these ways.

I will point out though that, were one to take a single utterance such as this and say someone doesn't qualify as a Christian, well, then St. Paul isn't a Christian, either.
"For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all." - 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NAB)

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." - 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV)
Of course Paul doesn't deny Christ's divinity by saying this, but Carter seems to demand that Obama be a clearer, more concise apostle for Christ than the even the apostles themselves. Odd that, when called on his claims, Carter chooses to defend his claim against Obama's faith by writing that he's obviously right about Obama because "we have been given communication "from a Christian God" — it’s called the Bible."

I guess he means "the Bible (except for the parts which would make Obama seem to have a point)."

I would point Carter to two of my favorite verses which might clear up at least his role in whether or not he ought to be trying to figure out whether Obama's really a Christian.
"Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor?" - James 4:11-12 (NAB)
Who, indeed, does Joe Carter think he is?

Update: And, if he's going to be the new arbiter who judges which of us are sacred and which profane, then Carter should have to answer Daniel Larison's implied question, "Is Romney Christian or is he not?"

Larison himself, though, writes this, with which I take some exception:
In a polemical reading of Obama’s statement concerning Christ, you might be able to make out a kind of semi-Arianism; on the other hand, his statement about Christ serving as a “bridge” might be a rather sloppy way of saying that He is Mediator and Redeemer. If he were semi-Arian in his theology, would we credit semi-Arians with the label of Christian?
I think it's worth pointing out that what Larison calls "Arianism" is now part of Catholic doctrine.
In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.
This is reinforced in the Cathechism's discussion of the Profession of Faith.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blegging for others

Barb Kaye, Ph.D., of University of Tennessee, and Tom Johnson, Ph.D., Texas Tech, are working on a study looking at the use of online sources for political information. Go help them out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An honest question

I followed a link from Balloon Juice and ended up on Calvinists 4 Conservatism. I am seriously not being snarky when I ask if someone can tell me if this site is serious or parody. I would myself giggling at what seemed obviously over-the-top faux-righteousness and, the next thing I knew, I was getting the willies thinking that it might be real. WTF?

Teaching bad research skills to children

A young girl who lives in a liberal-leaning neighborhood wears a pro-McCain t-shirt to school and some of her fellow classmates say mean things to her. This is proof of a deep-seated intolerance among liberals to an idiotic Chicago Tribune columnist. Meanwhile, right-wing wack-job and advocate of tolerance the racial profiling and internment of Muslims Michelle Malkin commiserates over a fellow misunderstood victim of the hate-filled left a few name-callers.



For the record: My son wore the Obama shirt above to middle school here in very conservative Pensacola and was called stupid, gay and even n***er. He laughed the insults off as stupid and wore the shirt again on Election Day.

Include me in the camp that is not shocked--shocked!--to find that A) kids can be mean and B) they pick up and reflect their parents political leanings and prejudices.

Update: Oddly, Malkin has been silent so far about this adult's antics:
An instructional aide at a McCandless vocational school is serving an unpaid suspension for making what a student described as racist comments directed at President-elect Barack Obama.

During a lunch period last week, the aide at A.W. Beattie Career Center said Obama would be killed, KFC would be emblazoned on the American flag and the national anthem would become "Movin' on Up," according to the student's mother.

"He's infuriated when anyone mentions Obama," said Mara Gilligan, 38, of Ross, whose biracial daughter complained to a teacher about the comments. "That's fine, you can have your own beliefs, but when you start yelling at someone, that's unacceptable."
And I couldn't find anything on her site about Greg Howard.
The comments made by Greg Howard, a Marianna teacher suspended for writing inappropriate comments about presidential candidate Barack Obama, have been released.

Larry Moore, deputy superintendent for the Jackson County School District, said school officials determined Howard wrote an acronym with an explanation on a dry-erase board in his seventh-grade social-studies class at Marianna Middle School. It said, "C.H.A.N.G.E. - Come Help A (N-word) Get Elected."
Nor does she seem interested in a busload of kids chanting "assassinate Obama."

I'm sure these are simple oversights.

Oy

Sarah Palin on CNN (and I've edited the punctuation as best as I can figure to give her the benefit of the doubt):
BLITZER: Another question. What are your new ideas on how to take the Republican Party out of this rut that it’s in right now? Give me one or two new ideas that you’re going to propose to these governors who have gathered here in this hotel.

PALIN: Well, a lot of Republican governors have really good ideas for our nation because we’re the ones there on the front lines being held accountable every single day in service to the people whom have hired us in our own states--and the planks in our platform are strong and they are good for America. It’s all about free enterprise and respecting the ...

BLITZER: Does that mean you want to come up with a new Sarah Palin initiative that you want to release right now.

PALIN: Gah! Nothing specific right now--sitting here in these chairs--that I’m going to be proposing, but, in working with these governors who, again, on the front lines are forced to--and it’s our privileged obligation to--find solutions to the challenges facing our own states: every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while. We don’t get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we’re dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations.
As I said...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maybe the media is liberal

After all, if they weren't in the tank for the Democrats, why would they keep letting Sarah Palin talk?

Palin on the Today Show: "The attraction is where can I best serve people whom I will forever be accountable to?"



Palin on CNN: Yeah, Obama does pal around with terrorists, but I can't wait to help him succeed! "Now is the time to move forward together, start progressing America."


Palin on Fox News: "So I would like to see, perhaps, some of these feminist women -- and sometimes, you know, I consider myself, too, as a feminist, whatever that means."



Dan Kois, a New York magazine blogger, gets it, writing that it's "kind of mean" to actually quote Sarah Palin.
We recognize that Sarah Palin is legitimately so inarticulate that it is difficult to quote her without highlighting that fact. But still.

Republicans can't quit Lott

Update: I hadn't realized that Lott was complaining about this before the WSJ brought him up and Roger already pointed out how ironic this was.

As the recount in Minnesota ramps up, the Republicans are already begin to scream conspiracy!, stolen election! fraud! The smart folks on the right, of course, know this is bullshit, but there are damned few of those people left, as I've been saying for some time.

The funny part is that embedded in the right's "questions must be asked" narrative is a perfect example of the right's growing bench depth problem. From the WSJ:
You'd think Democrats would be content with last week's electoral rout. But judging from the odd doings in Minnesota, some in their party wouldn't mind adding to their jackpot by stealing a Senate seat for left-wing joker Al Franken.

When Minnesotans woke up last Wednesday, Republican Senator Norm Coleman led Mr. Franken by 725 votes. By that evening, he was ahead by only 477. As of yesterday, Mr. Coleman's margin stood at 206. This lopsided bleeding of Republican votes is passing strange considering that the official recount hasn't even begun.

[snip]

According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken's gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken's "new" votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).
Aside from the fact that there really wouldn't be any such thing as a "conservative statistician" if reality didn't have a "well-known liberal bias," there are many layers of background here for those who haven't been obsessively following politics for the last eight years.

John Lott is a guy who claimed in his book More Guns, Less Crime to have conducted a study which found that, in 98 percent of cases, guns which were used defensively were merely brandished and not fired. When he was called on these numbers and asked to show his actual research, Lott claimed to have lost it all during a computer crash. In fact, he had no proof whatsoever that it had been conducted. This was too much to swallow even for Michelle Malkin:
Lott claims to have lost all of his data due to a computer crash. He financed the survey himself and kept no financial records. He has forgotten the names of the students who allegedly helped with the survey and who supposedly dialed thousands of survey respondents long-distance from their own dorm rooms using survey software Lott can't identify or produce.

Assuming the survey data was lost in a computer crash, it is still remarkable that Lott could not produce a single, contemporaneous scrap of paper proving the survey's existence, such as the research protocol or survey instrument.
As Lott squirmed and repeatedly changed his story, gun rights advocate and blogger Julian Sanchez wrote it was "long past time for people who care about gun rights to cut this albatross from our necks." (Please see the note below.)

Luckily for Lott, a former student of his named Mary Rosh popped up on the internet to defend him, saying he that "well before he gained national attention, and I have to say that he was the best professor that I ever had." Unfortunately for Lott, it was quickly figured out that Rosh--who claimed to weigh in at 114 pounds and worried about outrunning criminals in her high heels--was, in fact, Lott himself.

Of course, when a man named Michael Bellesiles made up information to support his contention that guns weren't as common during the colonial period as we'd imagined, he was forced to resign from his professorship and to slink away in shame. The right doesn't do shame, of course, so even after his fraud came to light (and he made some kooky claims about the 2000 election), he continued to serve as a "resident scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute and then moving on to a research position at the University of Maryland Foundation, as well as a weekly column at FoxNews.com.

In April of this year, Lott claimed the media was lying about America's financial difficulties to benefit the Democrats.

Apparently, as long as you put the word "conservative" before your job title and follow the party line, you just can't be wrong enough to be rejected by the right. Such rejection is reserved for those who make the mistake of admitting inconvenient truths.

A note: Nitpicker has repeatedly stated his support for a broad reading of the Second Amendment. This isn't about ideology.

Camille Paglia's losing her mind

In the middle of a nutty column in which she suggests there might be something to the Obama "fake birth certificate" rumors and that the Ayers tie was a valid issue to which the press paid too little attention, she writes about Sarah Palin:
Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.
First, if "worn-out partisan dogma" is responsible for people suggesting Sarah Palin isn't qualified to be president, then how does that explain the views of the many, many, many, many, many conservative Republicans who expressed a similar belief? In the days before the election, in fact, a majority of independents felt Palin was unqualified, as did 3 in 10 Republicans. On election day, she still couldn't convince a quarter of her own party she was qualified and lost ground among independents--only 35 percent of them thought she was ready to take the reins of government.

But the craziest thing Paglia says is that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's biography is "indistinguishable from Palin's." I know it's all elitist and shit to suggest education is important, but Sebelius holds a bachelor's in political in science from Trinity Washington University and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Sarah Palin's educational career is somewhat different: Hawaii Pacific College (1 semester); North Idaho Community College (2 semesters); University of Idaho (2 semesters); Matanuska-Susitna Community College (1 semester); University of Idaho (3 semesters) and graduated with a degree in journalism.

When Palin was first elected to the city council of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 5,000-6,000 people at the time, Sebelius was halfway through her second term in the Kansas House of Representatives. As Palin moved into the Wasilla mayor's office in 1996, Sebelius was being sworn in as Kansas's first Democrat in 100 years to head the state's Insurance Commission. Her reforms in the Insurance Commission won her recognition as one of Governing magazine's 2001 Public Officials of the Year. Palin, meanwhile, spent less than a year as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and served from 2003 to 2005 as a director of a 527 group, the ironically named "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc."

Despite the fact Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1 in Kansas, Sebelius won the gubernatorial election in 2002 by an eight point margin and was named one of the five best governors in the United States by Time magazine in 2005. Sebelius won re-election in 2006 by a landslide 17 points. Palin was elected to the Alaska governorship in 2006, which means she had 20 months of (dubious, somewhat scandalous) experience in the office before being named as John McCain's running mate.

To suggest that these women have comparable résumés is ludicrous, but, then again, I have to admit it's growing more and more ludicrous to bother arguing with Camille Paglia.

Fox helps make the right stupid(er)

Harold Myerson is picking up what I'm putting down. In an "open letter" column to Fox News he writes:
You're not alone in reinforcing those beliefs that marginalize the Republican right, of course. You've got plenty of help from Rush and all the little Limbaughs who dominate talk radio. But together with your allies, you haul truckloads of troglodyte garbage to your flock.

[snip]

(R)ather than present these voters with a picture of a complex, changing world, you guys at Fox serve chiefly to reinforce their fears, to paint people who hold different viewpoints as alien and threatening.

In that sense, your work remains dangerous and disintegrative to the nation. But it is also, more narrowly, tactically, for now, a great gift to liberals and Democrats. You ensure the ongoing Palinization and marginalization -- electorally, the terms are synonymous -- of the Republican Party.
Which, again, is a secondary reason why I don't support the "Fairness Doctrine." The right's making a mistake and, as Napoleon supposedly advised, we shouldn't interrupt them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Veteran's Day poem























"Dirge for Two Veterans"
from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1900)


1

The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,
On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.

2

Lo! the moon ascending!
Up from the east, the silvery round moon;
Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon;
Immense and silent moon.

3

I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
As with voices and with tears.

4

I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring;
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.

5

For the son is brought with the father;
In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;
Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.

6

Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive;
And the day-light o’er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

7

In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d;
(’Tis some mother’s large, transparent face,
In heaven brighter growing.)

8

O strong dead-march, you please me!
O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.

9

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music;
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.


(Photo from Newsweek. Go read about David Dietrich.)

Apparently, FDR was as bad as Hitler

So, during a speech on July 2nd, Barack Obama made the mistake of saying something thoughtful without considering how it would be taken by the crazies. The crazies, after all, do have a voice--a leading voice, in fact, on the right.



Here's what he said that freaked out the paranoids:
Just as we must value and encourage military service across our society, we must honor and expand other opportunities to serve. Because the future of our nation depends on the soldier at Fort Carson, but it also depends on the teacher in East LA, or the nurse in Appalachia, the after-school worker in New Orleans, the Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, the Foreign Service officer in Indonesia. . . .

Today, AmeriCorps – our nation’s network of local, state and national service programs – has 75,000 slots. And I know firsthand the quality of these programs. My wife Michelle once left her job at a law firm at city hall to be a founding director of an AmeriCorps program in Chicago that trains young people for careers in public service. These programs invest Americans in their communities and their country. They tap America’s greatest resource – our citizens.

That’s why as President, I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots, and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their efforts connected to a common purpose. People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem – they are the answer.

So we are going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We’ll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods all across the country. We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, to be there for our military families. And we’re going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered, and double the size of Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy.

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
The usual nutjobs, once they discovered this quote, took it out of context (as they do), and lost it. For example, Gateway Pundit:
Barack Obama's security plan is already practiced. Not in America but in Marxist regimes.
And the always reliable Ann Coulter:
Sounds like there's gonna be a lot more Waco raids, Elian Gonzalez snatchings. I don't know, I don't know. I mean, I think this -- I think Obama is a frightening candidate.
And the batshit crazy Joseph Farah:
If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?

I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

Are we talking about creating a police state here?
Now this would be bad enough, but now there's a Republican Congressman out there making the most insane of claims.
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."

Broun cited a July speech by Obama that has circulated on the Internet in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.

"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did," Broun said. "When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
RedStaters are delighted.
So we have some rhetoric that will be called "over the top" and "outrageous". But we need men willing to step out there and get some media attention to them. And those in safe seats are just the candidates for it. So the Guerrilla Congress begins its shots at the Dear Leader's Agenda and the best that one of the Simpletons comes up with is how "stupid" Governor Sarah Palin is?
My answer to all this panic:
























Truly frightening images of our horrifying Obamamarxofascist Future treasured and lovingly remembered past.

Imbalanced

As Atrios says, there are very few people on the left who want to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" and Barack Obama isn't one of them. It is fun, though, to watch the right wail and gnash their teeth over the idea it's coming back. For Steve Benen, it's the final straw that has made National Review's The Corner unworthy of his attention (though you have to wonder if Steve ignored the Cornerites' long slide toward Bedlam during the election).

I don't support the return of the Fairness Doctrine, especially now that cable offers many more viewing choices and satellite radio gives listeners the chance to hear whatever they want without limiting them by location. Also, I wouldn't want to bring back a so-called fairness policy because I believe right-wing radio has been detrimental to the right in the long-term. It's part and parcel of the stupidification of the right and working against it isn't really in the best interests of the Democrats.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Really, Mark Salter?

McCain adviser Mark Salter writes:
The senator’s selection of Governor Palin, like almost every major decision in the campaign, was viewed as a cynical and self-interested choice intended to excite social conservatives, who hadn’t shown much enthusiasm for the top of the ticket. Surely, no one would have advised our candidate to choose a running mate who would have lengthened the odds against us. But overlooked in the brisk dismissal that Governor Palin might have qualities other than her social conservative credentials and obvious retail political skills was her actual appeal to John McCain. (Emphasis Nitpicker's.)
Hey, Mark? I'm pretty sure we noticed Palin's "actual appeal to John McCain."



Salter only makes things worse when he writes:
I think I know the real John McCain as well as anybody does. And though I’m sure my claim will provoke comments that I’m still busy creating a McCain myth that only looked authentic once, the real John McCain showed up every day of this campaign. He was there in the primaries defending his positions on immigration reform and the treatment of enemy prisoners of war and climate change.
Look, even the right admitted McCain flip-flopped on immigration. Early on in the primaries he flopped so hard to the right on immigration he rejected his own bill. He also went from stating clearly that waterboarding is a “terrible and odious practice” that “should never be condoned in the U.S" to arguing that Bush should veto a bill that would have said that the U.S. would never condone waterboarding.

I would argue that Salter is involved in mythmaking here, except the man's a pretty good writer. As such, he ought to know that myths, in order to believed, must have some small connection to reality.

Shorter Bill Frist

Why it's good to have former senators in charge
Harry Reid shouldn't be a partisan hack (like I was).

‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. Nitpicker is aware of all internet traditions.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NPR: WTF?

NPR National Political Correspondent and frequent Foxhole Mara Liasson had a lengthy piece on Morning Edition this morning about whether or not President Elect Obama could meet the expectations he has set for himself. With a little help from her friends, she pretty much decides that no, he cannot. Here are a few quotes from her negative, slanted story:
"On the campaign trail (Obama) made it sound easy. The only sacrifice he asked people to make was turning off the lights and checking the air in their tires." Oh really, Mara? Do tell. It seems to me that he not only called for sacrifice, but repeatedly said change "won't be easy."

"On foreign policy the challenges are just as great and the roadmap Obama has laid down is sketchier." Then she brings up the McCain's favorite Biden quote about Obama being "tested," but, of course, not the part about him having "steel in his spine."

"(Obama has) never taken the option of military force off the table, but he's also stated a preference for the soft power of diplomacy, without explaining how he would create the leverage to stop Iran." Pickler? Is that you?
Liasson also checks off the "he's going to have to fight the liberals" box and the he's "inexperienced" box.

You might think I'm getting a little sensitive, but I remember how the press went after Clinton almost immediately after his electino and, according to Booman, Obama's honeymoon is already over. He makes a good case, too.

Here's my eight word argument that Liasson intended to go after Obama in this piece:
  • Norman Ornstein
  • Michael Gerson
  • Bob Kagan
  • Michael O'Hanlon
Those are the only "experts" she spoke to in the piece and they are described, respectively, as
  • "a scholar of Congress at the presidency at the American Enterprise Institute"
  • "a former speechwriter for President Bush"
  • "foreing policy scholar...who supported John McCain"
  • "former Clinton Administration official"
It's going to be a long four years...

The Stupid Party

If Republicans want to make a comeback, they're going to have to get smarter. I've many times begun a post on the long intellectual decline of the right (and why that's both a blessing and a curse for the left), but it begins to take on book-length proportions and I stow it for later. The short version goes something like this: Due in large part to the Republican party's history with the "Southern Strategy," its fight against the "liberal" media, the marketing tactics of Newt Gingrich and the creation of the Limbaugh-led conservative media, the nearly 50 years of "Movement Conservatism" have led to a Republican party whose thinking is done in the nepotistic sinecures of think tanks and whose members are informed by putting their ears to an echo chamber.

Or, as I wrote just before the 2006 election:
The conservative intellectual still exists, but anything which might have once been called Republican intellectualism has been etiolated by years of anti-intellectual, anti-elite rhetoric. The true believers are zombified, idiotic followers of whatever they're told to follow and the true thinkers have whored themselves out to the point they wink and nudge each other over the latest bullshit they convinced the believers to carry.
If you doubt this is true, go back and take a gander at the screeching of The Corner or The Weekly Standard during this election and you'll see the supposed intellectual lights of the right wallowing in the basest of smears--Obama's not an American, he "pals around with terrorists," he's a "socialist..."

Look at that current crop of youngish Republican "thought leaders" and tell me who among them could get the American people to follow them--Jonah Goldberg? Rich Lowry? Michael Goldfarb? Kathryn Lopez? I think not. The reason conservatives are out of favor is that they have raised an entire generation of conservative thinkers inside the dark dens of Republican Sinecureland. It doesn't take Gregor Mendel to tell you that this inbreeding has led to the sorriest lot of hothouse flowers you'll ever see.

This point was driven home by the death of William F. Buckley. Buckley made mistakes, certainly, but he was a man who founded a magazine, fought in a war and was, no doubt, a true intellectual. He made his own way on the strength of his intelligence and spirit and not the think tank connections of his parents. Can you imagine John Podhoretz or Bill Kristol living a Buckleyesque life? Hell, no. If it weren't for their famous daddies Kristol would be working in a law firm writing contracts and Podhoretz would probably be selling insurance. Or cars. Or subscriptions door-to-door.

Buckley's National Review was praised a few years ago by George Will for efforts to "repel" the crazies of the right--"driving them into the dark cave where today they ferociously guard the secret of their size from a nation no longer curious about it"--this year the National Review seemed to holler into that cave, focusing on charges Will called "surreal."

It is, frankly, good for our country that some on the right are starting to get it. Jon Henke, of The Next Right, writes:
The problem is a movement that plays small-ball and cedes responsibility for infrastructure to business interests, leadership that rewards those who make friends rather than waves, an entrenched Party and Movement support system that mostly supports itself, an echo chamber that has rotted our intellect, a grassroots that is ill-equipped to shape the Republican Party, and a Republican Party that has replaced strategy with tactics, substance with marketing. [Emphasis Nitpicker's]
This has not only led to a party that loses elections, but a party whose only reason for existing is, paradoxically, to win elections. It is politics as street fight, as holy war. I do hope for a better right someday, because, frankly, they're not going to go away and our country needs to be able to get things done. I doubt that I will ever come to agree with those on the right, but it is much easier to compromise with the smart and honest than with the dumb and opinionated.

Expect popcorn sales to be brisk in blue states


Photo and background found here

The purge begins.

RedState:
RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We're tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others...

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you'll see us go to war against those candidates.
"Ace" says it's not enough to go after candidates who might hire these people.
Incidentally, if any of the staffers (bashing Sarah Palin behind the scenes) have ever worked for another campaign, that candidate is dead to me.

It might not be that candidate's fault. But at some point this crap has to be met with consequences. [Emphasis Nitpicker's.]
This should be fun.

(h/t Balloon Juice and The Plank.)

Bullet dodged

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sen. Webb, call your office

Ed Morrisey is bad at math

He writes:
This morning, after having absorbed the substantial victory of Barack Obama, I noticed a couple of interesting items in the data. Barack Obama certainly won this race, but he won it with just a little more votes than George Bush won in his re-election bid, and the turnout models came up short.

In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry by winning 62.04 million votes. In 2008, Obama won 62.443 million, a gain of only 400,000. In 2004, Kerry garnered 59.028 million votes; John McCain only got 55.386 million. That means this election saw 3.24 million fewer votes than four years ago. Far from being more energized, the nation appeared to be more apathetic.
First, his numbers are off and the final count probably won't be in for days, but the truth is, as always, different than he thinks. Sixty-four percent of the electorate showed up to vote and topped the total vote count in 2004 by almost 8 million votes.

According to this chart, the turnout we saw is the highest percentage turnout in a century. To me, that's a good sign for our democracy.

Surely the right won't stop defending their country now...

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro writes a "pouty" column in the Wall Street Journal about how mean we've all been to poor George W. Bush. He points out that Bush's "bipartisan efforts" have been rebuffed, but can't actually figure out what those "bipartisan efforts" might have been, instead pointing only to quotes from Bush's 2004 victory speech.

Call me forgetful, but I seem to remember everyone being "bipartisan" in their victory speech. That's not really an effort.

Here's the kicker, though. Near the end of his piece, Shapiro writes:
The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have.
I expect the Weekly Standard to swiftly denounce Shapiro's characterization of our country's lack of "character and resolve." Or does the nation have something to prove?

Update: Paul Krugman.

Things I hope the right continues to believe, Part II

Along with the idea that Sarah Palin ought to be a leader in the Republican Party, I suppose that, no matter how much it might get under my skin to hear them say it, it would be good for folks like me if the right continues to think the nation leans "center-right."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Enough gloating

Celebrate. Finish that bottle of champagne/12-pack/keg. Be proud.

But soon, we're going to have work to do.

And Bush still has 55 days to fuck things up.

PWN3D!!!!



Congratulations, everybody!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stay classy, wingers!

Sadly, No! highlights the nuttiness over at Free Republic, where one would expect people to be crazy and accuse Obama of somehow timing his grandmother's death.

It's also bad over at the Big Tent of Bias, where Kenny "Shitty Sideburns" Shepherd thinks Joe Klein goes overboard in highlighting our historic election while celebrating the life of Madelyn Dunham. His post is called, "Time's Klein Turns Obama Grandmother Obit Blog Into Worship Fest for Obamessiah," but it has little content, so it's not worth really talking about.

Then there are the comments.
hirogen73: i think it very suspisious that barack husain obama's grammy died only one day before the day to re elect obama? they probabley kept her alive longer than necesary in order to let her died on before the night before election day. so people will say 'oh poor obama grammy, i better veto for him". whatever. he is still a socalist who pals around with terorits in his own living room and he wonts to give my peace of pie to somebody else.

TruthMonger: she was probably fine just a few days ago

and then "suddenly" and "mysteriously" took a turn for the worst - and it just happens to be great sympathetic press in the home stretch!

just like the wellstone funeral

they never learn

Lame Cherry: I sincerely hope that Mrs. Dunham found Jesus and truly repented as I hope Mr. and Mrs. Obama with their children find the True Messiah in being saved from themselves.

In noting that, it is a very bad series of omens around Obama. Tony Dean his liberal "rich guy sportsman" died of nothing. Today Obama's Nevada chair died. His Grandmother dies the day before the election.

Cynics in the PUMA branch will wonder if they dripped up Gram on morphine today to make her a public sympathy vote.
That kind of bad vibe is what one considers just like around Bill Clinton events.

MeowMeow: Throw up.

Dirjj: I'm of 2 minds here. On one side, I feel sad for her passing, on the other side, I wonder how much of this was orchestrated.

Face it. According to media reports 2 weeks ago, she was hospitalized with a broken hip, or something of that nature. One minute, she was terminal, and the next, it was nothing. Nothing so much, that when the Messiah went to see her, he left his wife and children behind. These kids were her only grandchilren too!

I would never put it past Obama, or the Democrats to "orchestrate" the passing of anyone for political gain. I'm already wondering what the Nevada Campaign Manager did wrong.
Lest you think I'm cherry-picking, I've quoted fully half of the comments posted as I write this. Only one has the humanity to suggest to his fellows that while "the media coverage, his policies and everything else relating to Barack Obama has been repulsive" they should "show some class."

Update: Still going over there:
"You would think having been raised by a white woman, Obama would have more respect and gratitude for white people and not the animosity he seems to have towards them."

"I don't mean to be disrespectful, but are we sure that this story that his grandmother is dead is true? If it is, I'm sorry...But this timing is interesting, isn't it?"

"Please forgive me but since the liberal media started this. I bet that Grandma's death was timed to provide the greatest political benefit."
A side benefit of an Obama win would be the horror it would cause these people.

(By the way, at the top of that page, you'll see a link to the story, "GOP Palin Critics ‘Intellectual,’ Palin Backers ‘Knuckle-Draggers’?" The knuckle-draggers are shocked by such language!)

There are things I hope the right continues to believe

Here's one of those things, as written by Yuval Levin:
I have been and remain a determined Palin booster. I think she was a smart pick, did far more good than harm for McCain’s chances, and remains a Republican to watch regardless of tomorrow’s results.
Don't tell them this:
There is evidence that Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket has hurt McCain with some voters. Fourteen percent of Obama's supporters say they once supported McCain, and the top reason given for their switch was McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate.
Or this:
Well, vice presidential candidates may not win elections, but this year it's looking increasingly likely that Sarah Palin may help lose one.

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last night, the number one concern about McCain was Palin's perceived lack of qualifications.
Or this:
Sarah Palin has become a drag on the Republican presidential ticket, the first time in recent political history that a running mate has made such a difference.

Among many independents and moderate Republicans, she's raised serious questions about John McCain's judgment, become too much of a national punch line and reinforced concerns about McCain's age.
I would love it if Sarah Palin became the standard bearer of the Republican party.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"Crazy Joe" just gets worse and worse

First, Joe said Obama was a socialist. Then Obama reminded Joe of Sammy Davis Jr. Then Obama wasn't the "real American." Now...



You know, McCain has fought and bled for our country, loves our country. There's too many questions with Barack Obama and his loyalty to our country and I question that greatly.