Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Comfortable Fight

Obama had one good line:
Barack Obama had his own take on the situation: "Part of the reason that Republicans I think are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that is a fight they're very comfortable having."

Unfortunately, he seems not to have done enough last night. He could've made himself more distinct, he could've attacked the GOP, he could've appeared tougher. At this point, Clinton seems to have walked away with it. I think that was the last chance for Edwards and Obama to do something dramatic, and it didn't happen. It looks like the MSM might try to hammer this driver's license question a bit in order to hurt Clinton somehow, but that'll pass. I don't think anyone can touch her now.

The advantage of her getting the nomination, of course, is that she is masterful at these kinds of debates, and is tough as nails in a way that Obama and Edwards aren't. As much as I want to like Obama, I would cringe to see him in a debate against someone like Giuliani or Romney, because I think he would just pull his punches.

Don't Mention the Other Guys

The Dems continue to avoid the real fray

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


From The Wall Street Journal:
Just when you thought someone might be confirmed in Washington without a partisan fight, Senate Democrats are suggesting they may not approve Michael Mukasey as Attorney General after all. The judge's offense is that he's declined to declare "illegal" an interrogation technique in the war on terror that Congress itself has never specifically banned.

Yes, damn those pesky partisan Democrats, always interfering in our torture regime. No, the Republicans are never partisan, nevermind that the AG position itself has been turned into the president's own personal advocate. And if the Dems do indeed stand against Mukasey, it'll basically be the first time they've even shown any spine.

The cutest thing is that the WSJ editorial is titled "Torturing Mukasey," as if he is truly the victim in all this sordid mess. Sick.

The Tar Sands

Aida Edemariam has a really interesting piece in The Guardian today on the Canadian tar sands, the boomtown of Fort McMurray and the huge environmental cost of extracting crude from the sands.

How the Right Sees the Left

Rudy says:
"This is the world we live in. It's not this happy, romantic-like world where we'll negotiate with this one, or we'll negotiate with that one and there will be no preconditions, and we'll invite (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad to the White House, we'll invite Osama (bin Laden) to the White House," Giuliani said.

"Hillary and Obama are kind of debating whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball," he added.

Via Sullivan. Which is kind of ironic, thinking back on Sullivan's infamous post-9/11 "fifth column" piece.

Then I read this from David Horowitz:
The week of October 22-26 witnessed the largest, most successful campus demonstrations by students not associated with the anti-American left in the history of campus protests. 114 college and university campuses participated in “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week...
In response, anti-American leftists and organizations supporting the Islamic jihad organized a national campaign of vitriol and hate that was almost unprecedented. This campaign revealed the lengths to which the anti-American left will go to prevent the public from discussing the nature of the holy war that has been declared on them.

High-profile Republicans are literally accusing the American left of supporting Muslim extremists. Is there anyone decent remaining on the right, and is there anyone with spine remaining on the left? Why don't Obama and Clinton take on Giuliani and his crew of neocon advisers? Why don't they point out that people like Horowitz, Podhoretz, and Pipes have been profoundly wrong about everything? Why don't they give Giuliani everything they've got? The far-right has begun framing the left as the enemy, and no one in power calls them on it. Disgraceful.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Krugman Book Club

Paul Krugman will be blogging all week at the TPM Bookclub regarding his new book, Conscience of a Liberal. Here's his first post.

The Fugitive

Rumsfeld is on the run:
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

Old Clam

Scientists find oldest animal ever, kill it.

Via here.

Red Sox, World Champions

So the Red Sox won in 4 games. I'm happy for 'em. I couldn't catch any of the games because I've been very busy and was in Dublin for the weekend (not to mention the first pitches are around 1:00 AM GMT), but it sounds like an awfully boring Series in terms of competitive match-ups.


A bizarre email exchange between Glenn Greenwald and General Petraeus's spokesman, Steven Boylan.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Edition

Goldberg gets hacked. The new title is snappy.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Faint signs that the Do-Nothing Dems might be getting some spine.

Giuliani: So Awful that We Must Avoid Clinton at All Costs

This is weird. Jacob Sullum has a piece up on the Reason website concerning how secretive and power-hungry Giuliani was as mayor of New York.
Having lived in New York during most of Giuliani's two terms, I did not need to be persuaded of his authoritarian tendencies. But Morris' piece provides damning details I did not notice at the time, including Giuliani's sly use of city charter commissions, his attempts to undermine both the public advocate and the Independent Budget Office, and his resistance to releasing even the most innocuous information. "Once," she notes, "the city even denied a Freedom of Information request inquiring how many Freedom of Information requests had been denied."

It's pretty clear that Sullum dislikes Giuliani and agrees with Rachel Morris that Rudy would be likely to consolidate executive power even beyond what Bush was done. So this is how Sullum concludes his post:
Still, if it comes down to Giuliani vs. Clinton (as it does in my nightmares), the choice won't be hard. I'm not convinced Clinton would be any less power-hungry than Giuliani, and she would in all likelihood be abetted by a Democratic Congress. Keeping the executive and legislative branches in the hands of different parties seems like the best strategy for containing the megalomania chronicled by Morris.

Um, right. Sullum says that Giuliani is so dangerous and power-hungry that in the event of a Giuliani-Clinton matchup, he would vote for Giuliani because Clinton might have some of those similar characteristics. Not following you, Jacob.

And his position also rests on the assumption that Democrats will retain Congress, which is far from certain. Would he really like to see Giuliani as president with a Republican Congress?


Stephen Colbert is taking his presidential run seriously enough that he's got a team of hotshot lawyers on the case. And he's outpolling Richardson.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beauchamp Story Gets Very Interesting

Wow. Apparently the US Army and Drudge work hand-in-hand.

Vancouver and Urban Planning

Vancouver is pretty renowned for being a well-planned, livable city, and former city planner Larry Beasley has been part of that success. David Eaves overviews a keynote speech recently given by Beasley on the current challenges of the Vancouver housing market.
Affordable housing has become a significant issue in Calgary and Toronto, but in no city is the issue more problematic - or long running - than Vancouver. Beasley blamed this on a commonly understood fact - Vancouver has been blessed and cursed by its international stature. The property market in Vancouver is simply not restricted to the city’s population. For reasons of investment, political security, and sometimes just for a pad to crash, the whole world wishes to own a part of the city and it is driving up real estate costs. To fully grasp the magnitude of the problem, one developer informed me that up a 1/3 of some residential towers in downtown Vancouver sit empty. I’ve been unable to confirm this figure, but it is a startling number if true.

How can the city address this challenge?

Beasley's answers are 1) develop the False Creek Flats, 2) eco-density, and 3) learn from Madrid. The description of the third point in particular is worth reading.

Sox Hit Rox With Sock Full of Rocks

Looks like this series is gonna be a dud.

More Giuliani

So Josh Marshall and Kos have a different take on the "best GOP candidate" question:
This topic came up in my conversation with Markos of Daily Kos last week. And he was pretty clear that he thinks the Republicans' strongest candidate is Rudy Giuliani. But I'm having a hard time getting my head around this question.

Basically I agree. He's their strongest candidate. For all his problems of temperament, authoritarianism, ignorance and general ridiculousness, I know most people don't see him that way. The sheen of 9/11 is real for Rudy. And many otherwise sensible people see him as a generally moderate guy on social policy who couldn't be as stupid as Bush in managing the country's foreign policy but would still be ready to kick some ass to keep everyone safe.
So yes, he's their strongest candidate. Unless, that is, he splinters the Republican party and spawns a third-party social conservative protest candidate who siphons off numbers even in the high single digits and he gets crushed.

In the post below, it was generally agreed that Giuliani would be the worst president, though I argued he would be the best candidate in terms of allowing the Dems to win. I'm a bit taken aback that Josh and Kos both think he would actually make the best candidate of the bunch. Not only is he the one candidate who actually seems mentally unstable, his advising team includes Daniel Pipes and Norman Podhoretz, two of the most discredited neoconservatives around. A scary combo. Then we get into his cronyism and the culture of corruption surrounding him as mayor. And his decision to put the emergency command center in the WTC.

In Josh's defense, he does mention the potential disaster that nominating Giuliani could create for the GOP:
'm already repeatedly on record saying that I think it's ridiculous to believe that Rudy can win the Republican nomination with the burden of his social liberalism and personal profligacy.

I think that when average Republicans start looking at Rudy's personal life, that will be the clincher for them. Although with all the Republican sleaze scandals lately, maybe they just won't notice.

Anyway, it's interesting that this "best GOP candidate" meme has been making the liberal blog rounds the past few days. Are folks on the left getting bored with the Dem nomination, assuming Clinton has it sewn up now? It's also worth mentioning that some of the discussion is not exactly comparable. Matthew and Ezra are talking about which candidate they could potentially live with as a competent president, while Josh, Kos and I have been talking about which matchups work to the Dems' advantage or disadvantage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GOP Picks

Matthew Yglesias picks Romney as the GOP candidate he would most want elected if he had to choose from that crowd. Ezra and others agree that he's the least bad GOP candidate.

Steve Clemons wants to see Giuliani get the nomination, though of course he's talking about the best GOP candidate in terms of giving Dems the edge. I agree with Steve that the Democrats are going to do well against Giuliani if he gets the nomination; he's completely unelectable and the American people won't take long to realize that. And of the crop of GOP candidates, he would truly make the nightmare president. Yglesias and others have predicted that he would be worse than Bush, and the crazy thing is that I can easily imagine that being true. Romney, as phony and slick as he is, looks sane and moderate in comparison.

I'd have to back away from my earlier reasons for wanting Giuliani to get the nomination. It's true that his nomination might cleave the Christian right from the GOP, but the only lesson that would be learned from this is that the GOP has to nominate an evangelical Christian in all future elections. It might all be a moot point. I really can't believe that Giuliani is going to remain the front-runner for long. As it gets closer to the first primaries, people are going to take a closer look at Rudy and the others, and I wouldn't be surprised if the GOP machine starts trying to push Romney or Huckabee as the safe choice. And like Steve, I think they would be formidable opponents for Clinton if she is the nominee.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guardian America

The Guardian has launched a new US website, Guardian America. Michael Tomasky introduces the site.

Scottish Football Poetry

The poems they're reciting are collected here, along with many others.

The bit at the end of the video where everyone's screaming was filmed at the Ingram Bar in Glasgow when Scotland defeated Ukraine earlier this month, and I was standing near the back at that moment. An amazing scene.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

World War III

So, Bush said this today:
But this -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.

So far, so crazy. Matthew says this:
This is inane. World War III? Against Iran? Really? Because Iran seems a lot like a medium-sized middle income country with few military capabilities rather than a near peer-competitor of the sort against which you might fight a world war.

Well no, war with Iran wouldn't constitute World War III...until you consider Putin's warning yesterday, that "We should not even think of making use of force in this region." It's quite clear what Bush is saying, and pretty damn terrifying.

Gore on Running for President

Gore told a Norwegian broadcaster, regarding his Nobel win and whether it would affect his political career:
"I don't have plans to be a candidate again so I don't really see it in that context at all.

So, he still won't use phrases like "I will not run," but anyway it's looking less and less likely.

Who Benefits from the LibDem Leadership Crisis

Michael White says:
Labour complaints about the Brownite teenagers' botched election have been dimmed by its unintended consequence: Sir Ming's decision to quit. That was not what either rival wanted: he was no threat.

I don't know if that's quite right. Obviously it would be giving Brown way too much credit to say that he foresaw Ming's departure as a consequence of not calling the election, but he did have much more to gain from that possibility. Campbell was a threat to Labour in the sense that his poor leadership led disaffected LibDems to the Tory camp. Labour has to feel pretty good about this, I would imagine.

On another note, it seems extremely odd to me that there's a large section of the electorate out there wavering betwen the LibDem and Tory camps. Not sure I understand that one.

US and Canadian Healthcare

Joe Paduda debunks right-wing scaremongering about Canadian-style healthcare.

Via Ezra Klein.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sullivan on Clinton

Andrew Sullivan has long been irked by Hillary Clinton, and most of his posted thoughts about her boil down to the fact that she rubs him the wrong way or gives him the creeps or whatever. It's something fairly ill-defined, and he seems to recognize that it's a Clinton Derangement Syndrome. But today he cites a reader email and claims that it gives "one of the best rationales for Clinton's candidacy":
If worst comes to worst, we might get a president like Hillary, who is that girl nobody really likes but everyone wants in their project group anyways because they know she is smart and will do all the work.

So...advantages of Hillary: she's capable, smart and hard-working. Disadvantages: an icky girl. I see. Thanks for the astute political analysis, Andy.

Dept. of Backhanded Compliments

John Podhoretz on Al Gore:
I know this usually isn't the venue for a friendly discussion of the former vice president, but reading my new colleague Gary Rosen's cool-eyed blog post yesterday and David Brooks's emotional column today, I found myself feeling a strange sort of admiration for Al Gore. Doesn't it seem as though his 2000 loss, devastating though it must have been for Gore, was a huge liberation? As a politician, Gore never seemed comfortable in his own skin. The warmth and amused intelligence people insist he displays in private were never evident in public.
Since that concession, Gore has let himself loose in all kinds of ways. He no longer has to pretend, as all politicians most.

So far, so good. I agree that Gore has seemed much more natural and confident in the past seven years - less of a politician. And who is the real, unleashed Gore, according to Podhoretz?
He is clearly happiest and freest as an autodidact preaching populist pseudoscientist. And everything has gone his way.

I wonder, does the epithet "pseudoscientist" apply to every scientist researching climate change?

Monday, October 15, 2007


The Walrus has an interesting piece on Canadian sovereignty and the Arctic North from the Inuit perspective:
Luckily for Canada, the Inuit are always here. Without the Inuit, could we really claim to be masters of the Arctic house? Probably not. Ultimately, the Arctic sovereignty issue will depend on people, not ports or training facilities or military exercises. If Canada is to secure a long-standing and unimpeachable claim to the Arctic, it must be grounded in the daily realities of the Inuit and other Canadians who make this region their home. Why does Canada seem to forget that we are there each time a crisis looms?

Canada’s mistreatment of the Inuit in using them as human flagpoles to assert sovereignty was laid out with excruciating honesty during hearings convened by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the early 1990s. A settlement was finally achieved and a semi-apology delivered. How ironic now for Canada to brandish the fact that Canadian citizens — Inuit — live in the Arctic in order to add legitimacy to its sovereignty claims.

And the proposal:
Surely some lessons have been learned. The time has come to listen to Arctic voices on the subject of integrating the region with mainstream Canada. Would not a better strategy be to make this bountiful and magnificent region a part of Canada’s daily experience? The millions spent on political posturing, tours and studies that go nowhere, and press releases could be better spent on lasting, community-oriented infrastructure. Inuit are well-organized politically — regionally, nationally, and on the international level. Together, we have developed an Inuit Action Plan, which was submitted to the federal government in February. We are in the post-land-claims era now, and this plan is a testament to that. It identifies the tangible, bricks-and-mortar projects that need doing, as well as the intangible but no less vital elements of our future: hope for our children, better relationships with the rest of Canada, etc.

I haven't seen the Inuit Action Plan, so am not sure what the details are for integrating the North with the rest of Canada, but it sounds interesting. Will seek it out.

Colbert, Op-Ed Writer

Stephen Colbert has mercifully replaced MoDo today:
I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)


Surprised to see my byline here, aren’t you? I would be too, if I read The New York Times. But I don’t. So I’ll just have to take your word that this was published. Frankly, I prefer emoticons to the written word, and if you disagree :(

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.

Gore Derangement Syndrome

Paul Krugman has a very good piece on Al Gore and, specifically, the Right's reactions to Gore. A few highlights:
What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.
The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.
Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

World War IV

This Cliff May post is stupid on many levels:
This is what bothers me most about Al Gore getting the Nobel Prize. I know that sounds like a non sequitur but consider: Gore’s argument, endorsed by the Nobel Committee and the left in general, is that global warming is the most important crisis of the contemporary era.

By clear implication, the war being waged against us by the Islamists is a second tier issue.

This is the equivalent of political figures in the 1930s telling Churchill that the most critical problem of the day was not the rise of Nazi power but air pollution – and London had a lot of air pollution in the 1930s.

Right now, we are divided in America and in the West. As Norman Podhoretz writes in World War IV: “It is a war in which those of us who see Islamofascism as the latest mutation of the totalitarian threat to our civilization and who insist on the correlative necessity of meeting and defeating it, are pitted against those who think that the threat has been wildly exaggerated …”

One thing that strikes me is Podhoretz's wording in that last paragraph: note that in his conception, "World War IV" is a battle not against "Islamofacism," but against domestic enemies. Interesting phrasing.

This type of talk, from both Podhoretz and May, is of course just the latest in a never-ending series of attempts to equate the war on terror with World War II, the Good War. Silly Al Gore, fretting over London's air quality while Hitler is on the march! The following quote, from State Department official David Long following Clinton's cruise missile attacks on Afghan training camps in 1998, roughly sums up my view:
''This is, unfortunately, the war of the future,'' Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said.

Terrorism experts applauded the military action as a necessary quick response. But they said the notion of announcing a war against someone like Mr. bin Laden posed problems.

''It's unfortunate that she used the term war, because it's very misleading. Americans like their wars to be short, with no casualties, and then we kick back and watch the Super Bowl,'' said David Long, a former State Department official. ''Flu would be a better simile. Every year there's a new strain of flu, and every two or three years one is lethal. You manage it. You're not going to win the war on flu.'

I think the flu comparison is great. Once you cast this as a war, the only possibility is losing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Right Reax

I mentioned Iain Murray's idiotic response to Gore receiving the Nobel below, but thought I would collect a few examples of pathetic and desperate right-wing reactions to the news.

Iain Murray redux:
Who Else Should Al Gore Share the Prize With? [Iain Murray]

How about that well known peace campaigner Osama Bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore's stance - and that of the Nobel committee - in his September rant from the cave.

Rush Limbaugh:
On the same wave as Geraghty and Hanson today, Rush Limbaugh just called on Al Gore to hand over this prize to "genuine agents of peace: General Petraus, the U.S. military, and its commander-in-chief.

Kathryn Lopez:
Hey, Mr. Peace Prize Man [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Is that manmade carbon dioxide in your hands, escaping into the atmosphere? [A picture of the IPCC chairman opening a bottle of champagne]

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Some absolutely amazing photographs of a polar bear and two huskies in the Canadian North.

Via Yglesias.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Climate Change Crowd

Shorter Iain Murray: "you might as well give that Nobel to bin Laden."

Nobel Peace Prize 2007

Al Gore and the UN IPCC have been jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

In other news, Al Gore won the 2008 US presidential election.

See here for background.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Best Around

Too Right for America

Slog has been tracking Seattle megachurch pastor Ken Hutcherson for a while now, particularly in regards to his homophobia and links to far-right Latvian homophobic groups. It turns out that the Lynnwood (North Seattle) Convention Center will be hosting a meeting later this month of a group calling themselves Watchmen on the Walls, a group consisting of Hutcherson and like-minded Latvian homophobes whose aims are to fight the "homosexual movement" and bring the USA into "full compliance with God's laws." Slog commenters have been arguing about whether to take protest action at this gathering, or even to do something such as inform the FBI that a terrorist group is meeting in Lynnwood to discuss how to wage war in the US.

But reading about Hutcherson's alignment with these far-right Latvian groups reminded me of something else. I couldn't help but think of Dinesh D'Souza aligning with anti-American Islamists in their condemnation of the West as immoral and decadent; essentially blaming the cultural left for 9/11. Hutcherson is doing much the same thing; alarmed at what he sees as immoral homosexual culture in the US, he is aligning with far-right Eastern European groups in an attempt to effect change in the States. This in turn reminded me of a third example, the socially conservative American Episcopalians who have aligned with far-right African Anglicans in order to gang up on what they see as an immoral American left within the Episcopal Church.

Three cases that are different in the details, but have one thing in common. They all feature far-right American social conservatives condemning mainstream American culture as decadent, immoral and too left-leaning and subsequently forming alliances or sympathies with foreign groups that are essentially anti-American.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Prime Minister's Questions

PMQs today were pretty fun (click on "video and audio news"). This link will probably age better.

Michael Forbes vs. the Billionaire

Here's the gist of it:
For 40 years, Michael Forbes has lived a quiet life netting salmon every summer like his father and grandfather before him. His rambling old farm nestles behind a rampart of vast sand dunes which protect his rusting tractors and ramshackle sheds from the winds that whip in from the North Sea.

But those dunes are coveted by the billionaire property developer Donald Trump, as the centrepiece of his plans to create the "world's greatest golf course" - a £500m project to plant an eight- storey five-star hotel, two championship golf courses and 950 timeshare holiday flats on the coast of Aberdeenshire.

So the basic story is that he won't sell and that his land sits smack dab in the middle of the resort. But this is the bit that stuck out at me:
Ever since he refused to sell his home, 13 miles north of Aberdeen, Mr Forbes claims he has had a series of visits: environmental health officers and animal cruelty inspectors have arrived to check on the animals, and the police have asked him about his alleged possession of an unlicensed shotgun - a weapon he does not own. He has also had lawyers' letters accusing him of damaging Mr Trump's property, which he denies. These visits could be a coincidence, he adds, but he believes the pressure to sell will intensify.

If true, this is absolutely outrageous. If the local authorities are that deep in Trump's pockets, this needs to be investigated by national authorities.

McConnell and the Frost Family

So it looks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office may have played a part in orchestrating the attacks on the Frosts.

Clinton, Giuliani, and 9/11

Yes, it is silly when media outlets portray any mention of 9/11 as "treading on Rudy's turf". He's certainly been somewhat successful in turning it into Rudy Day. But there's a more general issue here that's kind of interesting and which I haven't seen discussed, relating to the 2008 campaign. 9/11 is really all Rudy has up his sleeve, and so he's out there hawking it incessantly, but if a Rudy/Hillary match-up really happens, as most people are predicting, that wind is completely taken out of his sails. What do people think of when they think of our leaders on 9/11? Giuliani and Clinton walking side-by-side in Manhattan (and, less flatteringly, of Bush and Cheney's whereabouts). Unless he plans to somehow denigrate Clinton in regards to 9/11, he won't be able to get any more mileage out of the 9/11 mantra. And if anything, he's going to come under intense scrutiny about his decisions regarding the placement of the emergency response headquarters. Add this to the long list of reasons why the left is salivating for his nomination.

Right-Wing Road-Rage

This (via Atrios) follows on nicely from the previous post:
He goes into reverse and starts screaming at me. I can’t really hear it except for a lot of f-bombs until he gets close. I yell back, “Why were you tailgating me like that? I was already going well over the speed limit!”

He’s now right in front of my driveway. Older guy–55? 60? Big walrus mustache, grey hair, relatively slight build, but kind of tough-looking.

He leans out to point at my car bumper. Which is entirely unadorned except for a Kerry-Edwards sticker from 2004.

“YOU FAGGOT YOU VOTED FOR THAT WAR CRIMINAL. I’M GOING TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.” Guy is turning a shade of purple. I don’t think he’s just putting on a show. He actually sped up, nearly rammed with his car at high speed and is now seriously contemplating attacking me over a bumper sticker. I’m so astonished that I’m speechless. He looks at me, looks at the house, and I think he’s noticing that there’s another car there and therefore maybe someone who is going to call the cops if something happens.

All because of a Kerry 2004 bumpersticker.

I actually witnessed something very similar in my hometown, a very small community in rural Washington State. My brother and I were walking along the main street after getting a coffee or something, a couple years back, and we were at one of the main intersections in town. Suddenly we heard a man yelling and honking. There were a few vehicles waiting to turn left at the stoplight onto the main street, and a middle-aged man in a minivan was yelling and honking at the person in the vehicle in front of him, a 20-something young man in a pickup truck. The young man looked a bit hippyish, and I don't know if it was merely his appearance that set the older man off, or if the truck had an anti-war or anti-Bush sticker or what, but the older man was yelling at him to "go the hell back to Canada" and other nonsense I don't recall. The younger guy looked genuinely confused about what was going on. This guy was really worked up. In the couple of seconds that it took to suss the situation, my brother and I yelled back at the older man, telling him to fuck off and giving him the finger. He suddenly looked taken aback that other people were yelling at him, and as the light changed and he turned on to the main street he started yelling at us, and we just stood there bemused, giving him the finger. I genuinely wondered if he was gonna circle around and try to start something, but he just took off in his minivan.

It's just amazing that somebody could be so incensed by a bumpersticker, or by somebody's personal appearance, that they are on the verge of starting an altercation over it.

The Frost Family

When right-wingers first began attacking Graeme Frost, it was infuriating and pathetic that these critics failed to understand how middle-class families in America, let alone lower-class families, might be unable to afford health-care. They simply rejected the idea out of hand that the family might need SCHIP, ignoring the extremely unfortunate circumstances that led the family to this reliance (a car accident that severely injured two of their children), and concentrating instead on the supposed wealth of the family. That was low enough, but it got much, much worse:
By Monday, Rush Limbaugh was discussing the family's earnings and assets on the air, and the blogger Michelle Malkin was writing about her visit to Halsey Frost's East Baltimore warehouse and her drive past the family's Butchers Hill rowhouse. Liberal bloggers, meanwhile, were complaining that the Frosts were being "swift-boated."

"It's really frustrating," said Bonnie Frost, 41, who stated she is upset by the angry Internet posts, e-mails and telephone calls targeting the family. "The whole point of it for me was that this program helped my family, and I wanted it to help others. That's the message, and I can't believe the way the spotlight has been taken off of that."

When I read yesterday that Michelle Malkin had gone to the family's house and to the father's place of business, I was absolutely gobsmacked that these people would stoop so low to harass this family. Ezra nails it:
Something has gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin's cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they've spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game -- he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children's Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home, insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, make threatening phone calls to the family, interrogate the neighbors as to the family's character and financial state.

This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he "really" needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.

His entire post is worth reading. This episode is unbelievable, unsettling and infuriating.

The best that can come of this is the curtains are opened and reveal how millions of Americans live with tenuous access to healthcare, or none at all. Of course, the average American already knows that because they struggle with this every day, but some of the media elite are apparently all to happy to remain ignorant. But maybe there will be a Katrina moment, when people could no longer claim that they didn't realize there was poverty in America.

It's perfectly understandable how the Frosts came to rely on SCHIP. I have a cousin who pays more on her health insurance each month than on her rent, because of being diagnosed with cancer. Most Americans are just a single health crisis away from extreme debt or poverty. There are thousands of stories like the Frosts', and they can't all be Swift-boated.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Clinton the Polarizer

It takes a lot of nerve for somebody who's harbored a vague, undefined loathing of Hillary Clinton for years to ask the question "Has she really become a different person than the paranoid, polarizing co-president of the 1990s? Or has she merely learned how to disguise it better?" Sullivan has never offered any explanation other than that she gives him the creeps, and he admits as much. She undoubtedly is a polarizing figure, but I suspect no amount of change is going to affect the opinions of people who simply find her intimidating, shrill, or slick for reasons they can't explain. And it's ridiculous to claim that she bears the burden of the polarization of the 1990s, ignoring the anti-Clinton GOP machine of the era.

Eric Alterman

Andrew links to Brendan Nyhan's critique of this Eric Alterman quote about the SCHIP veto:
Bush's preference for allowing poor kids to get sick and die for his own ideological obsession is a fundamental fact of his presidency and of the Republican Party's guiding ideology.

Well, it's certainly strong stuff. Here's Brendan's bit:
Needless to say, Alterman does not know and certainly cannot prove that Bush has a "preference for allowing poor kids to get sick and die." He's describing his prediction of the veto's results as Bush's "preference." That's like saying Alterman's support for withdrawal from Iraq represents his "preference" for genocide or full-blown civil war (two of the worst possible outcomes that could result).

It might sound like Alterman is just being shrill, calling Bush a child-killer or something such, but actually his statement is completely right. When Bush announced his veto, he explained it by saying that he doesn't believe public healthcare is a good thing, and that privatized healthcare is the way to go. He is depriving children of healthcare due to his obsession with privatizing everything. You could certainly and truthfully characterize that as a preference for private healthcare at all costs. No, it doesn't mean that he desires that children get sick and die, but it does mean that privatized healthcare is more important to him.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Head On

Take One:

Take Two:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Krikorian Solves Darfur Crisis

Mark Krikorian says:
If people are really worried about the vulnerable women of Darfur, they ought to give each one of them an AK-47 and the training to use it. You'd be surprised how quickly the rapes stop.

Is there any problem that automatic weapons proliferation can't solve?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sullivan on Cameron

Andrew asks:
Here's the kicker: an hour long, with no formal text and no Teleprompter. I'm proud of my roots. Could any American politician pull that off?

William Jefferson Clinton.

Threats from Rep. Issa

I don't know how else to characterize this:

Like Matthew says, there are really only two readings: if Waxman went to Iraq to investigate Blackwater, he would either receive no protection from Blackwater or else would be physically harmed by them.