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Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night
Well, this will officially be the last post I put up on the old site. In a way, it's bittersweet; moderateleft.blogspot.com has been my web home for almost as long as my daughter's been alive. It's been my web home through four jobs, two homes, and the end of a marriage. I'm going to miss it.
Still, all good things and all that. I'm excited about what WordPress is going to allow me to do with the new site, and I've barely begun to scratch the surface of that. Hopefully I won't lose too much traffic in the switchover--not that I had an overwhelming amount to begin with.
At any rate, if you're reading this on the old site, you should now go to http://moderateleft.com
, where I will be posting from here on out.
Please, Make It Stop
I don’t know how many times I can link to yet more proof that the Bushies gamed Iraq intelligence before I scream. It’s despicable:
First, Drumheller says that most folks in the intelligence community didn’t think there was anything to the Niger-uranium story. We knew that in general terms; but we hadn’t heard it yet from someone so closely involved in the case itself. Remember, the CIA Station Chief in Rome, the guy who first saw the documents when they were dropped off at the US Embassy in October 2002, worked for Drumheller.
Second, Drumheller told us a lot more about the case of Naji Sabri, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, who the CIA managed to turn not long before the war broke out. Drumheller was in charge of that operation. The White House, as Drumheller relates it, was really excited to hear what Sabri would reveal about the inner-workings of Saddam’s regime, and particularly about any WMD programs. That is, before Sabri admitted that Saddam didn’t have any active programs. Then they lost interest.
Of course, what would Tyler Drumheller know? He was just the head of covert operations in Europe. And evidently, a liberal traitorous Chimpy McHitlerburton-hating evil Judas. Not someone brave like Hugh Hewitt or Glenn Reynolds or John Hinderaker. No, sir.
Once again, this is the context in which we must place any hypothetical action against Iran. Maybe Iran is a threat and maybe they aren’t–but either way, we cannot trust one word the administration has to say about it. They’ve proven to be lying too many times.
Oh, For God's Sake
Really, please, this is just beyond insanity:
The United States doesn’t have enough good intelligence to know whether or not Iran will be capable of producing nuclear weapons in the near future, top congressional intelligence committee members said on Sunday.
Iran said earlier on Sunday it would not abandon its work on nuclear enrichment, which the United Nations has demanded it halt, and was prepared to face sanctions from abroad.
Asked on Fox News Sunday when Iran might be capable of producing nuclear weapons, House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, said: “I’d say we really don’t know.
“We’re getting lots of mixed messages,” Hoekstra said.
“We’ve got a long way to go in rebuilding our intelligence community. …. We don’t have all of the information we would like to have.
Of course, here’s a thought–we could improve intelligence capabilities if we weren’t attempting to purge all liberals from the CIA. But that might keep us from invading Iran or Iraq or Iceland–whichever one we want to at the moment.
Klein pwns Klein
Ezra Klein’s post on Joe Klein’s, er, effusive appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s show
is a must-read. If Joe Klein ever was a liberal (something that was debatable even before he penned Primary Colors
), he certainly isn’t anymore.
The Cause of--and Solution to--All Our Problems
So when people hear a story about a rape where the male assailant was drunk, they think the female was more at fault, and when they hear a story about a rape where the female victim was drunk, they think the female was more at fault.
Excuse me, I’m going to go bash my head in with a ball peen hammer.
Friday Random TenTonto! Jump on it! Jump on it! Jump on it!
1. "Jambo," Claude McLin with the Sugarhill Gang
2. "Get Along," Mike Doughty
3. "A Light of Some Kind (Live)," Ani DiFranco
4. "The Idiot Kings," Soul Coughing
5. "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," Bob Seger
6. "To Be Young (is to be Sad, is to be High)," Ryan Adams
7. "You'll Miss Me," They Might Be Giants
8. "Cash Cow," Mike Doughty
9. "Don't Need a Reason," Beth Orton
10. "Land of 1000 Dances," Wilson Pickett
Not Undefinable: "Moron"
So South Dakota Rep. Joel Dykstra (R-Lincoln County) explains why there was no rape or incest exception to the anti-choice law: because who knows what rape or incest are, anyhow?
“I think ‘rape and incest’ is a buzzword,” said Rep. Joel Dykstra about not including those conditions in the abortion bill. “It’s a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?”
Well, let me try Webster's:
1 : an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
2 : unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent -- compare SEXUAL ASSAULT, STATUTORY RAPE
3 : an outrageous violation
Seems clear enough. How 'bout incest?
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin incestus sexual impurity, from incestus impure, from in- + castus pure -- more at CASTE
: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry; also : the statutory crime of such a relationship
So there you go, Rep. Dykstra. In a thirty-second search, I have managed to define "rape and incest." I'm sure any minute you'll be back at work, crafting these exceptions to your well-thought-out, totally-not-anti-woman piece of legislation.
Everything's Coming Up Bolten!
Can you feel it?
I can feel it. It feels like change. Super-duper change.
Now that Karl Rove has given up his title as Deputy Chief of Staff and Scott McClellan has resigned, how can anything ever go wrong again?
After all, when Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans and Gulfport, I remember thinking, “The problem here is really that the White House press briefing tomorrow will lack a certain je ne sais qua.”
And when mosques were getting blown up in Iraq, I remember musing, “Well, the reason this is happening is that Karl Rove is too busy acting as Bush’s domestic policy advisor to simultaneously focus on electoral strategy.”
And who didn’t think, as things generally fell apart in America, that this was all the fault of White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, and if only we could get a totally different Bush flunky in that position–like, say Josh Bolten–then things would be scrumtrelescent?
Indeed, things are already looking up. In Pakistan, Osama bin Laden has surrendered. “I just can’t face a Bush administration that could possibly have Tony Snow as its press secretary,” he said. “My God, the power of his spin at Fox News was legendary, how can we fight against it should it enter the very seat of power?”
And over in Iraq, a unity government has now formed, backing Ahmed Chalabi as its Prime Minister. “The example of America was wonderful,” said outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. “That they could slightly demote Karl Rove from one powerful position in the White House to another, essentially similar position in the White House was a lesson to us all.”
Yes, it’s a beautiful day in America. Surely everything will go right from now on. And if Tresury Secretary John Snow gets the axe–well, things might get too good. But it’s a chance we’ll have to take.
So That’s Why There’s No Incest Exception....
Dang it, PZ
, why’d you have to point me to this unbelievably disturbing thing
? In South Dakota, where abortion will soon be illegal, daughters are pledging their troth to their fathers. Or something:
THE YOUNG WOMEN HERE ALL MAKE A PROMISE TO THEIR FATHERS THAT THEY WONT’ HAVE SEX UNTIL THE DAY THEY GET MARRIED.
GIRLS RECITING PLEDGE:…to remain sexually pure…until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. … I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.
Oh. My. God.
I want to state this as explicitly as possible: if my daughter ever, at any point in her life, attempted to even say words like the above ones to me I would flee, screaming, from the room. She is free to save herself for marriage or behave with wanton abandon, because that is her decision. I don’t have one scintilla of right to interfere in her future sex life, nor to demand that she pledge to be faithfully abstinent until marriage for me.
Will I have suggestions to her? Advice? Rules during the time she’s a minor? Of course. I’m her dad. But I’m not so far gone as to believe that will accomplish much–if she’s determined to lose her virginity before I think she’s ready, she will. All I can do is point out things and make sure her mom and I have told her where Planned Parenthood is.
Am I sangine about this? No. I hope and pray my daughter never has to experience an unplanned pregnancy–it’s an awful experience no matter the decision at the end of it, and I want my daughter to have as few awful experiences in her life as she can. And I hope and pray my daughter is careful about who she chooses to be with, because sex is a powerful thing, and when used carelessly it can cause more pain than joy.
But I won’t make her promise me anything about it–because it’s not about me. I don’t own my daughter. I care for her, and I hope to parent her well, and I owe her everything I can give her–but I don’t own her. She owns herself, and if she wishes to make decisions about her sexuality, well, I can’t think of anything that is more personal than that.
Update: One Duke Suspect Convicted Gay Basher
And when I say gay-basher, I don’t mean he said mean things
Mr. Finnerty had been arrested with two teammates from his high school lacrosse team in the Georgetown section of Washington on Nov. 5, after a man told police at 2:30 a.m. that they "had punched him in the face and body, because he told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names," according to court records. Mr. Finnerty’s lawyer in that case, Steven J. McCool, said that the student had entered the District of Columbia’s diversionary program, and that the assault charge would be dismissed after the completion of 25 hours of community service.
Charming. Who doesn’t go out looking for gay men to beat up in order to prove their manliness? I don’t know if either suspect is guilty. (I have my suspicions.) But it does appear that these weren’t poor, innocent naifs who got set up by a scheming, drunk, black stripper. Whether guilty or not, there does appear to be some karmic retribution at play.
Two Arrests in Duke Lacrosse Case
Well, I guess the case isn’t wholly without merit after all
Two 20-year-old Duke University lacrosse players were arrested early Tuesday on charges of raping and kidnapping a stripper hired to dance at an off-campus party.
Reade Seligmann posted a $400,000 bond and Collin Finnerty was in the process of doing so for the same amount, said Col. George Naylor of the Durham County jail. By posting bond, the players avoided making an initial court appearance later in the day.
Now, of course, we enter the twilight phase where there’ll be plenty of ad hominem attacks launched against the victim, because that’s how you defend an accused rapist–by turning the tables and smearing the accuser. I wonder why rape is underreported?
Treason's Just Another Word for Nothin' Left to Lose
God Bless the Blogger Formerly Known as Big Trunk. He’ll never be as big as his co-blogger, the Blogger Formerly Known as Hindrocket. His old nom de guerre wasn’t as homoerotic. His writing, while insane, is not quite as insane as Hinderaker’s. He’ll always be the number two of the Power Tools.
But what do they say about number two? That’s right–he tries harder. And Scott Johnson is certainty trying with this little ditty, where he awards the Pulitzer Prize for Treason:
Following in the footsteps of the AP last year, New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize today for their treasonous contribution to the undermining of the highly classified National Security Agency surveillance program of al Qaeda-related terrorists. As I wrote in a column for the Standard, the Risen/Lichtblau reportage clearly violated relevant provisions of the Espionage Act — a particularly serious crime insofar as it lends assistance to the enemy in a time of war.
What about the Pulitzer Prize committee? When Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for the Times in connection with his mendacious coverage of Stalin’s Soviet Union, he performed valuable public relations work for a mass murderer. He nevertheless did no direct harm to the United States. Today’s Pulitzer Prize award to the Times brings a new shame to the Pulitzer Prize committee that builds on its disgrace last year via the award to the AP.
Yes, folks, that’s right: when the New York Times reported on the Bush administration’s violation of federal law, it was not just being the mean nasty MSM poopyhead soft-on-Islamofascism paper it usually is. No, it was committing treason. And not just any old treason–worse treason than backing Josef Stalin!
Now, leave aside that treason–providing aid and comfort to an enemy during time of war–is a charge that should be leveled with the utmost care and precision. And leave aside the obvious fact that no matter the context, the federal government cannot expect to be able to classify evidence that the government has violated the law. And leave aside the fact that if I told you there were two writers named Hindrocket and Big Trunk, you’d naturally assume that Hindrocket was the receiver in that relationship.
Leave all that aside and just marvel that here, at the dawn of a new millennium, Scott Johnson has declared that outing an illegal Presidential wiretapping scheme is worse than printing Soviet propaganda, and as bad as actually taking up arms for the Taliban.
That’s some serious, weapons-grade wingnuttery, Scott. You’ll never be Hindrocket, but God bless you for trying.
Walz Outraises Gutknecht
PatMN is right--this is an enormous story. For a non-incumbent Democrat to out-fundraise an incumbent Republican--well, it's almost impossible.
The First could be in play. It's a tilt-right district, but it used to be represented by conservative Democrat (and BotML favorite) Tim Penny, and a moderate like Walz should be able to be competitive. In a tilt-left year, it might even be winnable. Walz is a long way from Washington, of course. But this is a great sign that he's running a credible campaign--and that he's got a bit of momentum on his side.
Great Moments in Projection
Man, the Blogger Formerly Known as Hindrocket never fails to disappoint:
Here is why I think so many liberals are anxious for President Bush to replace Rumsfeld: they have staked a great deal on the proposition that the Iraq war has not gone well, and, in fact, has been a disaster. But they are troubled because they are not at all sure that is true. By any reasonable standard, casualties have been low and Iraq's progress toward democracy has been impressive. This doesn't mean the project couldn't still go off the rails; it clearly could. But it is also possible--likely, I think--that the Iraqis will succeed in forming a government, violence will continue to decline, our troops levels will be substantially reduced, and, in a year or two, the consensus will be that the war was pretty successful after all. This, I think, is what liberals fear most. They want President Bush to stipulate, in effect, that the war has been poorly conducted and has been a failure. That's the way in which firing Rumsfeld would rightly be interpreted. This would largely insulate liberals against the consequences if the war does, in fact, turn out to be successful. The same logic, I think, explains why liberals are always hectoring President Bush to "admit his mistakes." What they fear, deep down, is that the President's policies haven't been mistakes at all.
Wow. I mean, I don't really even know how to respond to that. Usually, in an argument, you try to point out how your opponent is wrong. But Hinderaker isn't wrong here--he's simply not describing reality.
Violence is declining in Iraq? Really? Democracy is on the march? Really?
This isn't misinterpereting facts; this is completely ignoring them and making up a happy place in your mind where we were greeted with flowers and candy, and "Democracy, Whisky, Sexy" is Iraq's national motto, and Power Line really has credibility, damn it. And that little voice in the back of your mind that whispers that 1435 civilian deaths in Iraq in the past two months--not to mention 82 coalition deaths--might indicate that things there are not a glorious victory for America...well, one can tell that voice to shut up, because we're winning, damn it, and only those liberal traitors to America think differently.
Real Men Don’t Fight for “Men’s Rights”
I have some sympathy for the Men’s Rights crowd.
For the most part, what the MRM claims to be for is good, even laudable. They support the idea that fathers should be given equal consideration in custody proceedings, and the idea that fathers are as important as mothers in the lives of children. They talk about how we need to recognize men’s contribution to children, how we should encourage society to accept that women and men both have a responsibility to parent–and to let the other parent parent, too.
All good. And all things I believe. I do think that men are undervalued as parents, and subtly discouraged from viewing themselves as a primary caregiver to their children. One need only look at how few men are stay-at-home dads to see that as far as society has come, we still view men as the second-most-important parent.
So we need to find a way to move to equality in relationships. All well and good, and it seems to me that there are two strategies one could adopt.
The first is for Men’s Rights advocates to recognize that they have common cause with feminists. Women are pressured to stay in the home as much as men are pressured to be good providers. For every man who secretly would like to stay home with the kids, there’s a mom who would love to get back into the workforce. By stating that we oppose the ideal of declaring one sex the “nurturing” one and the other the “providing” one, we could work toward a future where men and women were truly able to make decisions based on what was important to them.The second would be to bitch incessantly about how women get too much child support.
Guess which tactic the Men’s Rights crowd has chosen?
Much as is the case with abortion, the Men’s Rights movement isn’t really about gaining equality in the home. MRMers don’t want equality, they want fealty. They complain about how “their” money goes to support “her.” They complain that feminisim destroys marriages by making women too critical of their mates–never questioning whether any of that criticism is valid.
Perhaps if Men’s Rights activists really seemed to have the best interests of their children at heart, I could forgive that. But they just don’t. Complaining that too much of your money is going to your children, scheming to ensure that their mother is left in penury if you can pull it off, launching custody fights designed to bankrupt your ex–these are the actions of petty little men more stung by rejection than animated by a love of their children.
And that is why I have no time for them. Not that their stated goals are not worthy, nor that the current child support system is flawless, nor that women are “better” than men. No, my problem with the MRAers is that they don’t give a damn about their kids, not really. Real men–the men who do care about their kids, who fight for custody not to save a buck but because they think it’s in their children’s best interests–these men I can find common cause with. But those men are too busy helping their children grow into adults to complain about women–and if those men are honest, they know that whatever the faults of the woman they were not able to build a life with, their children benefit from having her.
Things I Believe
When I started this blog, I was much more conservative than I am now.
I’m still a moderate overall, but the past four years have pushed me further to the left than I once was. In part this is a natural reaction, I think–above all else, I’m a pragmatist, and if the Bush administration hasn’t proven the moral bankruptcy and intellectual vacuity of the right, I don’t know what else could.
This is not to say that I’ve abandoned everything I once believed. I remain a believer in fiscal responsibility–keeping the budget balanced, being very sure about programs before funding them, striving to continually improve governmental efficiency, and looking for the most cost-effective solutions to the problems that bedevil our society. I continue to be a free-speech absolutist; I may not support the war in Iraq, but I am not averse to using force to defend American interests abroad.
But there is no doubt in my mind that my views on a number of subjects have changed; thus, I’ve decided to examine my views on a variety of topics. Narcissistic? I’m a blogger. We’re all about the narcissism. But hopefully, I’ll write in the entertaining manner which has attracted literally some people to this blog.
Shorter Jeff Goldstein
It truly is a shame that our military is so anti-military
Iran So Far Away....
Like brown is the new black, like “Family Guy” is the new “Simpsons,” like Tom DeLay is the new Dan Rostenkowski, so Iran is the new Iraq.
Contentious history with America? Yes! Thuggish leader everyone loves to hate? Yes! Neocons claiming that Ragnarok could be just days away–unless we act? Yes!
There is, however, one big difference between Iraq and Iran, and it’s not just a closing consonant. Is George W. Bush trusted by anyone other than frothing wingnuts?
Not at all.
Therein lies a thin reed of hope, if we can grasp it. Look, I’m not absolutely opposed to military action against Iran. Were it Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan or–well, any President of the last seventy years save George W. Bush or Lyndon B. Johnson–then I’d be happy to listen to arguments for and against, and I would trust that no matter what decision was made, it would have been the result of careful consideration. If we went in, I’d believe that we knew what we were trying to do, and had a plan for getting out.
I don’t trust the current administration to order lunch.