Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As far as comparisons go...

Via Althouse, a comparison in the Washington Post of Rudy Giuliani (the candidate I am leaning towards backing) to Richard M. Nixon.

We, as a nation, are making progress when the leading Republican is compared to Nixon rather than to Hitler.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What to do when a thread hijack is actually more interesting than the post?

Althouse is musing about someone musing about her musings about Bill Richardson and the Democratic debate.

The first reply in the comments is by someone, clearly from the left, who wants to drive home this morning's story about President Bush's AIDS Czar resigning, with it being pretty clear that this (married) "abstinence is the best approach to preventing AIDS" advocate has been dipping his wick with some hookers.

I reflexively hate thread hijackers. If you have an agenda you want to push, get your own damn blog. If you have worthwhile opinions frequently enough (unlike me), then you will get plenty of traffic pushing your agenda. If you don't, then that is a significant hint that by pushing your agenda on other people's blogs, you are being an ass.

The problem is that the topic raised in that particular thread-hijack is considerably more interesting than the original post.

The commenter, 'hellokitty', writes "This is a very delicious story. He was all for faith and fidelity and promoting Abstinence but only for others not himself... This has got to be the most hypocrital [sic], corrupt bunch of losers that have ever entered public life."

So many thoughts come to mind.

There is really something disgusting about the type of person who delights in the failings of others. A man cheated on his wife. He has subjected his family to betrayal and humiliation, all for some cheap thrills. This is not delicious. It is tragic.

Hellokitty is obviously scornful of the man's behavior. I am, as well. But I suspect that we are scornful for very different reasons. Hellokitty is primarily scornful because of a dislike for what the man was touting politically. My scorn is because he hurt his family, and himself, over something stupid. While I am completely on board with the idea that this guy brought it on himself and now will reap what he has sown, I do not find it delicious at all that his family will be hurt.

Delicious? People like Hellokitty have screwed up priorities, and badly lack the very compassion that they believe is the centerpiece of their political worldview. Tobias' "hypocrisy is outrageous," indeed. But so is Hellokitty's.

So what is the answer here? Is the answer to adopt a more liberal worldview, where there is less hypocrisy because we lower moral standards to where everyone meets them without much effort, or do we adopt a more conservative one, where there is more hypocrisy because people are people and will have moral failings and not live up to the standards they tout?

I guess I am somewhere in between. I think that it is good for a society to protect community values. I like that people restrain themselves from using vulgar language in public, and I don't like it when they don't. I like that drug use and selling is not rampant in the streets where my kids go and play. I am thankful that we discourage prostitution, because I think it is best that we discourage girls from going down that route.

At the same time, I swear like a sailor at times. I have enjoyed a spliff or two in my days. I might again, or I might not. A long time ago, I used a call girl. Some of this can be attributed to my wild youth, with me growing up. Then again, back in the day I held most of the same beliefs I hold now.

That makes me a hypocrite. Beat me over the head with the word if you will. I think that most people are hypocrites. Some are significantly worse in this regard than others, but it is a trait that is common to most people, and I am not sure there is a significant correlation between a complete lack of hypocrisy and being an admirable person overall, despite the fact that I agree with the sentiment that hypocrisy is something that should be minimized.

We should, as a public, come down on those who are politicians who are hypocrites. We should hold our politicians to the same standards that they are advocating we hold as a society-- just as we should try to live to the standards of the society in which we live. We should remember that there is going to be hypocrisy.
As for if the Bush administration has been the 'most corrupt,' well, the Clinton administration was no walk in the park, either. In fact, overall I would say it was much worse. The Reagan administration was not too bad on the corruption front, but to my memory the least corrupt one of the past several decades was the Carter administration.

Pity that that one happened to be the most incompetent.

What do we do about corruption? Would we ever handle it by suggesting that we do away with the rules against corruption, since so many fail to follow them? I sure hope not. We should deal with the fact that we have corruption, and handle the corrupt when we find them.

We have a choice to make, though. Do we do away with hypocrisy by removing the standards to which people fail to adhere, or do we deal with the fact that people are hypocrites?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

So Iran Has Taken Some Brits Hostage

What do we do?

What should the United Kingdom do in response? What should we do as their ally? What should we be advocating to Blair?

Right now, we have both parties in power. Both have a voice. Where is the discussion on this? Where is the debate?

We voted to have a divided government. We hoped this would lead to a constructive debate. Instead, what we have gotten is that the Democrats are waiting for Bush to take a stand, so that they can criticize it as being wrong. Meanwhile, Bush is not really taking too much of a public stance, probably because he is gun shy from being the Democrats' punching bag.

The result is that we, as a country, and our allies have once again become Iran's punching bag.

So what's the gameplan, folks? How do we stand up to Iran? If the problem with the war in Iraq was that the WMDs did not exist (at least to the extent we were led to believe), what about in
Iran where these weapons programs clearly do exist? What do we do with a country that is actively working towards killing our troops and to the extinction of one of our allies?

How do we prevent them from imposing their will on Iraq when we leave? If we leave, will that cause them to stop their provocations against the West, or will it encourage them?

How about putting aside the partisanship and actually handling things?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You Don't Say!

"A snug fit is better for a man."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just What The Country Needs... Alan Keyes!?

Right Truth writes,

Rumors are flying that Alan Keyes and Fred Thompson might enter the 2008 race for President of the United States. I think the race to the White House would be ever so much more exciting if either one of these men joined the debate. If both of them step up, it would be wonderful.
I cannot help but notice that the subheading on that blog reads, "I am the voice of the resistance!" Queue up Arthur speaking to the Black Knight...

"You're a looney!"

Alan Keyes is a charlatan. He is a perpetual candidate, who seemingly makes a tidy living off of that. He surrounds himself with people who similarly make a nice career off of the campaign donations he accrues. The campaign donations themselves end up doing nothing to help him be elected. He has lost, decisively, every election he has be involved in. He has absolutely no class-- Wikipedia states:
After the election, Keyes failed to congratulate Obama, as is election custom. Keyes explained that his refusal to congratulate Obama was "not anything personal," but was meant to make a statement against "extend[ing] false congratulations to the triumph of what we have declared to be across the line." He said that Obama's position on moral issues regarding life and the family had crossed that line. "I'm supposed to make a call that represents the congratulations toward the triumph of that which I believe ultimately stands for ... a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country? I can't do this. And I will not make a false gesture,"
This is a man who threw his own daughter out of his house because of her sexual orientation. Regardless of your view on gay advocacy, this was his flipping daughter!

It is appalling and frightening that there are conservatives who still, to this day, pine for Alan Keyes. And then they wonder why they have difficulty reaching centrists.

Monday, February 26, 2007

We can be Heroes, Just for one day

Tonight, Heroes runs an episode called "Company Man." As it happens, Global TV up in Canuckland ran the episode last night, so already there is some buzz about it. Thankfully, I got away from the discussion forum over at TelevisionWithoutPity without being spoiled, other than a comment from one person that this episode is to Heroes what "Three Stories" was to House.

If you know that show, then you know that's some high praise.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Kevin Drum fears for our very existence.

Still, it's faintly unnerving to see just how far ahead of the field Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are right now.

That would be a hell of a campaign, wouldn't it? Two New Yorkers, playing out the unfinished grudge match of their 2000 Senate race. A mayor vs. a senator. The first major party female candidate in history. And just possibly the two toughest, most polarizing, most single-mindedly ambitious politicians on the national stage today. I hope we all survive.

I have no problem with half of his assertion. Hillary is polarizing. Partly that is of no fault of her own, but stems from her involvement in her husband's administration.

But Rudy is one of the most polarizing? How exactly? This is a moderate-to-liberal Republican. I suspect the only reason that liberals find him to be polarizing is because he succeeded as a Republican in the most liberal city outside of San Francisco and Washington D.C.

This is a man who has a three to one difference between his favorable and unfavorable opinion ratings in public opinion polls. Polarizing to an underwhelming minority of voters, I'd say.

I know, I know. They will come back and scream Amadou Diallo and make hay over his approach to law and order. I think this is a mistake both on the idea and in impact. Probably no other Republican candidate would work more with Democrats (if they are willing) and would meet them half way more often than Giuliani. Further, do the Democrats really want to try to make the case that his proven, successful, tough-on-crime approach is what makes him polarizing? Do liberals have a compulsion for trying to prove true every stereotype about them that the right has claimed for the past several decades, so that they must eagerly and aggressively promote a soft-on-criminals mentality?

This is what it would have been like if Republicans had lamented Joe Lieberman's 2004 Presidential bid by saying he is one of the most polarizing candidates in the nation. The only ones who are driven batty by Lieberman, or by Giuliani, are strident liberals.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Surge working?

Patrick Ruffini thinks it is.

All I know is that, in February so far, only three days have gone without any deaths of U.S. soldiers. And most days this month have had 4 or more soldiers killed.

I know there can be progress even with casualties. But until our men and women are not being killed on a day-to-day basis, I won't consider our efforts as 'working.'

Unsatisfied "Christian Right"

I have nothing against most people who would fall into the designation of "Christian Right" who I have ever met or had dealings with. By and large, they tend to be normal people. Naturally, they tend to be more religious than most, but they also tend to be kind, generous, and polite, if sometimes a bit stiff.

On the other hand, I find most of this group, namely Rev. Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, and Grover Norquist to be people I could simply do without. I find them insufferable, and I think that our nation's politics would be considerably healthier without their influence.

With that in mind, I find the fact that they are uncomfortable with the current crop of 2008 GOP Presidential contenders to be a very encouraging thing.

A group of influential Christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn...

But in a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.

Many conservatives have already declared their hostility to Senator John McCain of Arizona, who once denounced Christian conservative leaders as “agents of intolerance,” and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, a liberal on abortion and gay rights issues who has been married three times.

But many were also deeply suspicious of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; the council has been distributing to its members a dossier prepared by a Massachusetts conservative group about liberal elements of his record on abortion, stem cell research, gay rights and gun control. Mr. Romney says he has become more conservative.

The fact that they are unhappy with Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney is an encouraging sign for each of those candidates.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Now Why Didn't I Think of That?

Professor Bainbridge has the solution to the polarization of Congress.
The national disgrace of gerrymandering has created a system in which the vast majority of House seats are safe for one of the two parties. As a result, the real action is in the primaries, which tend to be dominated by activists. As a result, we see the polarization of Congress, as GOP candidates tend hard right to win their primaries and vice-versa for the Democrats. Now the netroots plan to exacerbate the problem.

The solution seems obvious. A national system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of truly competitive seats. In such a system, candidates would succeed by appealing to the center rather than the extremes, which in turn would reduce the destructive influence of the rabid partisans on both sides of the net.

A national system of nonpartisan redistricting! Of course! Why didn't I think of that? It does seem obvious!

At least, as obvious as solving the problem of wars by making a weapon that destroys all other weapons, or of solving hunger by growing trees that produce unlimited fruit. Obvious, but completely existing in fantasyland.

There cannot be a nonpartisan system for redistricting, since any system will involve (to one extent or another) people. People are partisan (some more than others). The 'obvious' answer to that is to ensure that only non-partisan people (or at least, the least partisan people) end up appointed to or elected to be the ones with most influence or oversight of the 'nonpartisan' system. But then the people who would do the appointing or the electing will still be partisan, and will still use whatever means available, including this 'nonpartisan' system, for their own partisan advantage.

A nonpartisan anything never exists. The only thing that does is the claim of nonpartisanship, used to give cover to partisanship.

You know what would be cool, though? A device that would turn coldness into heat, or heat into coldness. It would solve global warming all by itself, and would also protect against global cooling. Isn't it obvious that this is exactly what we need?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This is a bigot

No more, nor no less than Andrea Marcotte. But Tim Hardaway hates gay people and can't stand to be around gay people. No different than Marcotte and her aversion to religious people.

Both suck eggs.

UPDATE: My spouse saw this story and immediately said, "I bet he was molested at some point. The only people I have ever seen say things like that have been." That would be the only way that I could find any reason to have compassion for Hardaway over his remarks. I would still think they indicate a mental problem on his part, but I would at least understand his illness.

For the few Marcotte apologists left-- you know who you are. You are the ones who say that you are personally atheist or agnostic, but see a difference between mocking religion and being a bigot.

Explain the difference between calling someone a "raghead" and calling someone a "godbag."

You have seen both. One you would immediately recognize as bigoted. The other, you did not even notice, because your own beliefs are oh-so-close.

Comfortable? I doubt it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Amanda Marcotte Resigned

Joe Gandelman thinks that she could not have caused Edwards too many problems, even if she stayed on.
It’s highly unlikely Edwards’ campaign would have significantly suffered if she had not quit. The main reason: the people going after her for her previous writings are not people who would likely vote for Edwards anyway. And voters who would vote against a candidate because someone doing blog outreach and coordination had written some things they hated were probably “squishy” voters who could not be counted on.
A few things come to mind. First, I have seen a tremendous number of bloggers acting like her fall (of which this is now the second iteration) is a bad thing for bloggers, because it will mean that bloggers might have to be accountable for the things they write or have written. Given that bloggers, in general, take pride in holding others accountable, this strikes me as wanting to have the best of both worlds. Accountability is good, not bad.

Second, we are not talking about just some slightly over the line writings here. We are talking about things written that were so far over the line that it revealed a completely rotten core. Hers are the writings of an unstable, hate-filled person-- and she was chosen by a Presidential candidate specifically for the appeal of her poisonous scribing. I think it says something very disturbing about human nature that she has had so many bloggers suggest that it would be a bad thing for bloggers if Edwards canned her. Talking about God filling Mary with his hot, sticky Holy Spirit is something that should cause immediate revulsion from any American regardless of ideology; it is a matter of decorum and of proper treatment of others. For Marcotte, it is a key aspect of her popularity. But many, too many, bloggers went right past that with only token concern (if that) and went right to the impact on bloggers! What this shows is that any group will tend to be overly forgiving or blind to the failings of one of their own. And if bloggers will excuse the inexcusable from other bloggers because it would be bad for bloggers if they take a fall, it is easy to see how partisans outside of the blogosphere will tend to excuse the inexcusable from their fellow soul mates.

The third thing that comes to mind is that I certainly hope that Edwards takes a hit in the polls for his choice of hire, his flip-flop fire-rehire mush from last week, and giving her the easy way out of a resignation now rather than a firing. It showed poor judgment on his part, and suggested that, perhaps, he did not see anything all that wrong with what she wrote. This gets to my biggest concern, though. Maybe hate has become mainstream and shared by so many that it is a feature, not a bug. God help us all if that is the case.

ADDED: Althouse strikes a chord I am seeing too often.
I favor independent blogging, and I like to see things get interesting. Interesting... hot... sticky... whatever! Just not boring.
Maybe we should lament the reaction to Michael Richards' on-stage rant. We should favor independent comedy, and should like to see things get interesting. Interesting... slurs... whatever! Just not boring. Anything but that. And what, may I ask, is interesting about public displays of offensiveness, vulgarity, and hate?

And another added thought--I am sure a Duke-like blogger is interesting to certain racists and bigots. What does it say about someone who finds the writings of an anti-Catholic bigot to be interesting? Make no mistake, that is what Marcotte is. If one is an atheist or an agnostic does not make one a bigot. But if one finds the hateful writings of Marcotte to be interesting, then one might be a lot closer to, or over, that line than one realizes.

For comparison, Dale Franks gets it right.
Ms. Marcotte want two contradictory things. She wishes to create a public persona that spouts the most outlandish views, in the most incendiary fashion possible, then she wishes the rest of the world to ignore the public persona she created when it suits her...
Ms. Marcotte doesn't want freedom of speech. She wants freedom from criticism. I'm sure that would be a cool thing to have, but, unfortunately, freedom of speech makes that...well...impossible to obtain...
And on Danny Glover's blog, Michael Bérubé waxes sarcastically.
It's time for a full-scale purge of atheists in politics. Only then can we restore civility to public discourse. With Rush Limbaugh's help, God willing.
I find it interesting that you would try to expand the issue here from one pathetically bigoted atheist to all atheists. However, I am not sure that is wise on his part. I never really considered this to be a matter of atheists. However, if, as suggested by his snark, all atheists are like Marcotte, then frankly maybe we do need a purge of all atheists from politics.

However, I suspect that not all atheists are like Marcotte, or like Mike. As such, I do not want to purge them from politics. I am, however, open to being convinced. Not by non-atheists, but by atheists. They can make the case by emulating Marcotte.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Matter of Survival

I have concluded that Rudy Giuliani has to win the Republican nomination, or that party is destined to spend decades in the minority.

If one looks back over the past several elections, one sees that the country has been divided pretty evenly. For a while Republicans were winning the close ones, and then all at once the Democrats won every single close one in 2006.

The fact is that both parties have to maintain every portion of their voting coalition in order to retain the balance. For a while, thanks to Ralph Nader, it looked as if the Democrats would be the party that struggled in this effort. Now, though, the Republicans are the more vulnerable.

Let's say that you are a centrist. A moderate. You are open to the Republican message, and may even feel that you are center-right as opposed to center-left. Would you be part of a coalition that never, under any circumstances, would let someone from your corner of the ideologic spectrum lead?

The fact of the matter is that Rudy Giuliani is, perhaps, the most formidable center-right (or, if you must, liberal Republican) candidate of the last half-century or so. He is accomplished and popular. Sure, he has flaws, but every man and woman has flaws; if some of the 'problems' Rudy has were disqualifying in the eyes of the public, then neither Clinton would have had any success at all. If the GOP will not have Giuliani, then moderate Republicans will have no choice but to realize that the party will NEVER accept one of their own as the standard bearer. That is the time they will realize they no longer have a party.