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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

GDub is set to announce today our Iraq victory strategy. We at the Blog of the Moderate Left have an advance copy. View the wonder!

  • Invade Iraq
  • ????
  • Victory!

It looks foolproof to me.

Sunday, November 27, 2005
Vox Day is one Sick Ass Motherfucker

Ah, Hindrocket, never despair. So long as breath passes over Vox Day's slimy lips, you will never be the most reviled blogger in Minnesota.

Vox, for those of you who've forgotten, is a Christian Dominionist Libertarian. Yes, all three. No, he doesn't see a contradiction in his belief that government should force you to believe in Christ with a political theory that argues all people should be left alone by the government. Why do you ask?

Of course, Vox really shows his greatest antipathy toward women. He hates women. Hates 'em. Hates 'em with the white-hot burning passion that can only come from long-term abuse. I assume. That, or he's just a sociopath.

At any rate, thanks to PZ, I ended up reading Vox's latest insanity. It--oh, hell, I can't summarize. Let's go to the tape:

From the Telegraph:

Twice this week the rape laws have been called into question. First, Amnesty International expressed its shock at the findings of a poll suggesting that many people believe that if a woman flirts, fails to say no clearly, wears sexy clothes or drinks too much, she is partly or totally responsible if she is raped.

I'm shocked too, mostly because it demonstrates that the duplicitous equalitarian ethic is disintegrating faster than I'd hoped. The reason many people believe a woman is at least partly responsible for her own victimization is because in many cases that is demonstrably true. In no other circumstance is it argued that a victim of a crime is must be considered wholly innocent of responsibility regardless of his actions - just ask your insurance company if you don't believe me. As Camille Paglia pointed out, a woman who gets drunk and goes to a man's bedroom deserves no more sympathy or understanding from society than the man who leaves his unlocked car running with the key in the ignition or the woman who leaves her purse unattended on a public park bench.

Well, isn't that crazy.

Actually, your insurance company might raise your rates if you left your car running and it was stollen, but they'd probably have to pay, and the police would have to investigate, and if they found the guy who stole your car, they wouldn't ask a whole bunch of questions about whether you were "asking for it" for owning a car and driving it in the first place, because everyone would keep focus on the main thing, which is that someone stole your car

Hit me with the crazy:

Now, this responsibility doesn't make the thief any less a thief, or a genuine rapist any less a rapist. (I use the term "genuine rape" because most so-called "date rape" is not rape nor a crime of any kind, because he said-she said is no basis for a system of justice. If sex without written permission is a crime, then all sex is rape and all men are unrepentant criminals.) Responsibility is not a zero-sum game.

Ah, but it is, at least in the justice system. Either you raped someone, or you didn't. Either you stole my car, or you didn't.

Oh, and let me say again: if you're not sure that the person you're with wants to have sex with you, here's a thought: don't have sex. I can honestly say I've never been confused about the matter. I doubt Vox could say the same.

Anyhoo, continue:

Women have demanded freedom from paternalistic protection they enjoyed/endured in the past. Now they've got it, and many of them are finding that they don't like it and thus have, as usual, turned to the State in search of the security they crave so badly.

I have to confess that I don't understand this ceaseless quest for victimhood. Being raped doesn't confer some mystical moral superiority on a woman, it just makes her a victim. And unfortunately, in all too many cases, it just makes her a stupid one.

Yeah, damn victims. I know when my friend was mugged, I attacked him. "Damn it, Don!" I said. "You know that part of Des Moines is dangerous! Going out drinking you were asking to be mugged!"

Oh, wait--no, I didn't do that. Instead, I talked to him about it, sympathized, was glad that all he got assaulted with was a flashed gun from a crackhead, that Don handed over the wallet and didn't get hurt. That was good.

He was a victim of crime. Put himself in a bad situation? Maybe, but it didn't cross my mind. And frankly, he's not "stupid," even if he did.

You see, when people are "attacked" by "someone," whether they were "asking for it" or "not," they are "victims." And most people would say that these "victims of violent crimes" are, I don't know, "deserving of our sympathy and support." Not Vox though. You rascal! You're my kind of guy.

All right, nutjob, big finish:

I'm just curious what basis the moral relativists have for condemning rape in the first place. If I deem the slaking of my desire for lust - or violence, if you prefer that theory of rape - to be an intrinsic good, who are you to condemn it? Certainly, one could argue that it is a violation of private property rights, but then, what of those moral relativists who reject the notion of private property. If all property is held in common, then how can a woman object if I decide to make use of that which belongs to me?

Yeah! That's just batshit insane right there, the kind of babbling, rambling tripe one doesn't usually see outside of mental wards and Little Green Footballs.

Vox, being a "libertarian," knows that since person A's good (getting his jollies) comes at the expense of person B's good (the right to be secure in their personhood), then Person A would be committing a crime against Person B's right to property of themselves. In this case, that crime would be rape. I think, oh, 100% of sentient humans would agree with that.

But building the biggest strawman since Burning Man '04, Vox declares that since some liberals think that taxes are okay, why shouldn't rape be, too?

You've put me in a box, Vox, and all I have to say is that PZ is right.

You are totally asking to be raped.


By the way, I have reached 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo.

Those Cowardly Republicans

Ready to cut and run from Iraq.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Why Won't City Pages Do a Lovely Spread on Me? Oh Yeah, It's 'Cause I Don't Rock Like PZ Rocks.

City Pages has a nice article about blogger, professor, and aspiring pirate PZ Myers, whose site you must check out. Seriously. Go do it now. I can wait.

Done? Good. I'm of the opinion that given the GOP's current War on Science, it behooves liberals like me (whose post-high school science education is four credits of "Biological Thought and its Impact on Society") to pay attention to liberals like PZ who, you know, actually know science.

If nothing else, I can credit PZ with two things. First, thanks to him, I've told my three-year-old enough about evolution that she has volunteered that we look like monkeys. Second, I've (very loosely) based a character in my current NaNoWriMo Novel on him. So congrats, PZ! I'm sure of the article in City Pages and the book thing, at least one of them is something you take pride in.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
What The Hell?

Okay, pop quiz: why are we defending a government that states that its citizens have "a legitimate right of resistance" against U.S. troops?

Is there any way of spinning that in any way that doesn't mean the Iraqi government just said it was okay for Iraqis to kill our soldiers?

And if not, what are we still doing there?

Monday, November 21, 2005
Why I Oppose the Death Penalty

Because I don't want to see innocent people get executed. People like Ruben Cantu.

Until we create a foolproof way for us to determine guilt or innocence, it behooves us not to make an irrevocable mistake. It appears such a mistake was made in Cantu's case. May God have mercy on our souls.

Sharon Leaves Likud

Wowzers. That's major. I have no idea what it means, unfortunately, though Josh has some thoughts.

Down with RCE? Yeah, you know me.

So if you're wondering how the novel's going, the answer is not as well as I'd hoped. But there's still time.

Friday, November 18, 2005

OSM launches with a lie. I'm sure their awesome fact-checking will catch it.

Pajamas Media Open Source Media OSM Explained

Jack Grant figures it out. Rum tum rummy tum hay.

Fitzmas Comes Again!

As much as I enjoyed the Scooter I got lats Fitzmas, this time I'd really like a Rove. Or maybe a Cheney:

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.

In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

So...that's not a good sign for Turd Blossom, is it?

Friday Random Ten
This is Not So Much a Holiday-Oriented Song As it is an Exclamation of Dismay at the Sight of a Beautiful Woman

1. "Fuckin' Up My Christmas," mc chris
2. "Ol' 55," Sarah McLachlan
3. "Mixed Bizness," Beck
4. "To Be a Millionaire," Spacehog
5. "The Golden Dream," Erin McKeown with Juana Molina
6. "White Lexus," Mike Doughty
7. "mc chris Ownz," mc chris
8. "Jet Pilot," Son Volt
9. "They Got Lost," They Might Be Giants
10. "Blue Eyed Devil," Soul Coughing

Thursday, November 17, 2005
And The Bottom Drops Out

House fails to pass Labor, HHS, and Ed appropriations bill.

New. Nifty. Thrifty.

So how much fun is it watching the slow-motion catastrophe that is the brand-new Pajamas Media Open Source Media OSMâ„¢? As has been noted, it's not remotely open-source, it's eminently mockable, and it's not Open Source Media because there already was one.

Meanwhile, Ann Althouse is seeking cover from feminists, given that Little Green Fascists are all up in her grille, and even Jeff Jarvis is puzzled.

As for me, I'm just enjoying the show. Any time Steven Den Beste is going after Roger Simon, everyone wins.

GOP Coup in House?

So says RedState.

They're Up There, Sharpening Their Skates

Brian Maloney (not to be confused with my old friend Brian Mahoney) will fit in on Malkin's board just fine:

Keep a sharp eye on fresh developments in both Canada and Cuba, two countries with rogue, corrupt and repressive regimes that don't know when to cut their losses and leave town.

Yep, those damn Canadians, with their toques and their backbacon and their Kraft Dinner. Back in high school, a student once asked, "We're so worried about the Soviets, but what about the Canadians? They're right across the border!" Good question, lad. Good question.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Ted Kennedy Wrong...Zell Miller Right....

No, this is not a spoof. It is, quite possibly, the worst song ever recorded though, breaking the long-standing record held by Starship's "We Built This City." Good job, Right Brothers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Fool Me Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Times....

I have watched with bemusement as the right, led by the President, has adopted with full-throated stupidity the line that hey, Bush may have been completely wrong about Iraq, but some Democrats were too, so therefore...something. Given that Bush was the one who ordered the troops to attack, I fail to see how Jay Rockefeller matters much, but whatever. He was wrong. As wrong as the President of the United States was.

Of course, I don't even really think it matters what Bush says. 57% of Americans think he deliberately misled us into war. A majority no longer considers him trustworthy, period. This is, of course, Bush's biggest problem: when you're branded a liar, nobody gives a damn what you say, because nobody believes your BS anymore.

But just in case anyone was even buying the "You screwed up--you believed me" meme, EJ Dionne shows even that one isn't true:

There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.


The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate" who "voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power" thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

Exactly. The cynical use of foreign policy as an electoral weapon by this administration has been one of their worst failures. George W. Bush had a united country on 9/12/2001; he systematically cleaved people from that united front in order to maximize political gain. That is one of a myriad of sins of this administration, of course, but it is one of their worst.

For Bush to now declare foreign policy discussions off-limits, to insinuate that those who question the way we got into an ill-conceived and horiffically bungled war are almost traitors is beyond the pale. Bush is a terrible president. He's an even worse human being.

One Man, 0.25 Votes

Scalito: against reapportionment.

Democrats, I'm a moderate. I generally believe in giving deference to the President on judicial appointments. I supported John Roberts.

Alito must be stopped, and if you have to filibuster, damn it, filibuster. Someone who can't sign off on one man, one vote has no business being on the court.

MN pwns MD

As you all know, I'm a part of the National Novel Writing Month thingy. As you may not know, the Twin Cities are currently #1 in the world for wordcount, ahead to the cheaters from Maryland by 200,000 words, and killing Austin and LA by nearly and over a million, respectively. We rule.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This is disgusting:

As I listened, I wished the senators could meet my client Adel.

Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.

The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.

The only time in our nation's history that habeas corpus has been suspended was during the Civil War--a time when our nation literally was tearing itself apart. We somehow made it through the War of 1812, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, Gulf War I, and the entire Cold War without limiting civil liberties this way.

It's shameful that this man is still held by this country. And it's worse than shameful that anyone thinks we should still trust Rummy and Dick when they tell us to trust them. It's unamerican.

Boycott Target

So just when I thought Target couldn't get worse, they go and get worse.

I've found Fleet Farm and Kmart are good places to shop; I get all my groceries now at Cub and Rainbow. I haven't bought anything at Target since this happened. If I've lasted a month, I can last indefinitely.

Target:quit whining. You were happy to take the blue state dollars when everyone was loving on you for not being Wal-Mart. You can say all you want that your policies are "similar." Whatever. There's a really simple answer here: do your damn job.

Again, I am your customer. If you don't want to sell me one legal product, how do I know you'll sell me other ones? I don't. So to save me the hassle of finding I can't buy Strattera because my pharmacist is a Scientologist; to save me the hassle of not being able to buy cheese because the cashier is a vegan; to save me the hassle of finding I can't buy anything on Saturday because the cashier is an Orthodox Jew, I will simply not shop at your store.

When you're willing to commit to selling me any legal product on sale at your store, when I want it, every time I'm there and it's in stock, I'll come back. Until then, go cheney yourself.

Why Lies Matter

So why does it matter that we went to Iraq on shaky intelligence? Well, for one thing, we have evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. And our allies aren't sure they believe it's real.

Alito: I Do Not Believe in Roe v. Wade

Really, it doesn't get any clearer than this. The Democrats now have no choice: they must oppose his nomination. By filibuster, if necessary.

Saturday, November 12, 2005
Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth

I've long contended that there is less to the differences between men and women than meets the eye. Oh, there are some obvious differences, but they're not the major, overwhelming differences people like to suggest they are. Men are just as capable as homemakers as women; women are just as competent as businesspeople as men.

Shockingly, that just may be the case:

...Janet Shibley Hyde, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has just published "The Gender Similarities Hypothesis," an academic article drawing one mind-bending conclusion:

On most psychological measures, such as how men and women process information, how we communicate, even how we feel about ourselves, we are actually quite alike. In short, it turns out we are all from Earth.

"Saying, 'We can't communicate because you're a man and I'm a woman' doesn't work anymore," Hyde said. "Better, 'Let's work on it.' "

Are there no differences? Of course not--men masturbate more, and men can throw a ball harder. And men are a little more violent--though not as much more as one would think.

Essentially, though, the differences are not mental, but physical--men have a bit more active sex drive (though interestingly, not more sexual satisfaction) and a bit more muscle, but they can't think more logically, and they aren't emotionally dead. They're just human, like their female counterparts, who are--suprise--also human.

Will this end the stupid and self-defeating debate about sex differences? Of course not. People will see what they want to see, whether it's women who can't do math or men who can't change diapers. But in truth, in the end, that which separates women and men is far less than that what unites us--and far less than we think.

Friday, November 11, 2005
Friday Random Ten
Superior, It's Said, Never Gives Up Her Dead When the Gales of November Come Early

1. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Gordon Lightfoot
2. "Suckerpunch," The Refreshments
3. "World Waits for You," Son Volt
4. "Lucky Day," Erin McKeown
5. "West of Hollywood," Steely Dan
6. "Gravel," Ani DiFranco
7. "Circles," Soul Coughing
8. "When it Rains it Snows," They Might Be Giants
9. "Soundtrack to Mary," Soul Coughing
10. "The Luckiest," Ben Folds

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Lessons For Today

  • If you are a pro-choice, pro-gay Republican in a Democratic city, and your opponent suggests that the police has gotten a bad rap, just because they shot an unarmed man 29 times, you may just win.
  • If you are a pro-life Democrat in a Democratic city, and you endorsed an incompetent doofus Republican in the last Presidential election, and you campaigned with the Republican Governor and the Republican Senator, then you will be vulnerable to a challenger who is, in fact, a Democrat.
  • Texans don't like gay people very much.
  • Virginians don't like George Bush very much.
  • Things are trending to the Democrats. But they've been trending that way before.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Is it too early to start a draft Obama '08 movement?

Friday, November 04, 2005
Friday Random Ten
And the Only Way to Beat It Is To Bat It Down

1. "Looking At The World From the Bottom of a Well," Mike Doughty
2. "The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas (Why Does the Sun Shine?)," They Might Be Giants
3. "The Drugs Not Working," Ryan Adams
4. "Shy," Ani DiFranco
5. "Destination Moon," They Might Be Giants
6. "Drink," They Might Be Giants
7. "Speed of Sound," Cold Play
8. "Tremendous Brunettes," Mike Doughty
9. "Annie," Elastica
10. "Hey Ya," Outkast

Thursday, November 03, 2005
A Good Question

Someone on the Judiciary Committee needs to ask Will Saletan's question: Judge Alito, why do you treat women like kids?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Poll Watch

A few things jump out from the newest Gallup poll. The biggie--and it's huge--is that only 37% of Americans would want Alito confirmed if they knew him to be pro-life. 53% would not want him confirmed--including 35% of Republicans.

This is, of course, a green light for the Dems to oppose however they want. The key, obviously, is to force Alito to state clearly his support for Roe as a precedent--a legitimate question based on his opinion in Casey. If he opposes or hedges, then the Democrats can safely take to the ramparts.

But if the Democrats do flilbuster, won't they pay a massive political price? No. 50% already support the Democrats' right to filibuster, while 40% oppose--and the opposition is only strong among the GOP. Meanwhile, support for the Nuclear Option is weak (45% for-47% against), and again is only significant among the GOP.

In short, the right wanted a culture war; this poll suggests the Democrats should tell them to bring it.

Gallup, November 1, 2005, 603 Adults, MOE +/- 4.0%

How do you rate choice of Alito? [Parenthetical numbers for Miers, Bracketed for Roberts]

Excellent 17% (11%) [25%]
Good 26% (33%) [26%]
Fair 22% (25%) [20%]
Poor 17% (16%) [14%]
No Opinion 18% (15%) [15%]

First Impression?

Very Positive 17% (14%) [26%]
Somewhat Positive 27% (28%) [28%]
Neither 23% (34%) [21%]
Somewhat negative 12% (10%) [7%]
Very Negative 7% (4%) [7%]

Do You Believe Alito Mainstream or Too Extreme?

Mainstream 51%
Too Extreme 26%
No Opinion 23%

Bothered That Bush Did Not Appoint Woman to Replace O'Connor? [Brackets Roberts]

Yes 23% [21%]
No 75% [77%]
No Opinion 2% [2%]

If Alito Confirmed, Do You Think He Would Vote to Overturn Roe v. Wade?

Yes 38%
No 38%
Unsure 24%

If You Believe Alito Would Overturn Roe v. Wade, Would You Want Him Confirmed?

Yes 37% (D 26, R 56, I 33)
No 53% (D 67, R 35, I 60)
Unsure 10% (D 7, R 9, I 7)

If Democrats Oppose, Justified in Filibuster?

Yes 50% (D 75, R 29, I 50)
No 40% (D 17, R 63, I 43)
Unsure 10% (D 8, R 8, I 7)

If Filibuster, GOP Justified in "Nuclear Option?"

Yes 45% (D 23, R 67, I 44)
No 47% (D 70, R 26, I 52)
Unsure 8% (D 7, R 7, I 4)

Running It Down Their Throat

It's a bit early to suggest that Harry Reid is the best Democratic leader in the Senate since Johnson, but damn, if he keeps this up the comparisons are going to come. His decision to force the Senate into closed session is brilliant on two major fronts--both as a means to turn the discussion away from Alito and back onto Scootergate, and as a massive shot across the GOPs bow with regard to the nuclear option.

First, the obvious. When the best the right can do is compare the Democrats to Republicans or trot out hoary old chestnuts, you know you've launched a shot to the solar plexus.

Frankly, there's no downside to Reid's actions. Pace the right, the Democrats didn't shut down the government; they shut down the Senate for a few hours. They successfully turned the discussion away from Alito and back to the question of whether the intelligence was cooked in the run-up to war. As a nice bonus, they reach a receptive populace: 53% of people think the administration misled us on Saddam's WMD capabilities.

So that's great. But there's a deeper game going on, too, and that has everything to do with why Frist was fit to be tied. And that has everything to do with the Nuclear Option.

It's probable, but by no means certain, that Alito may be the triggering mechanism on Bill Frist's tactical nuke. Certainly, a nominee who is in many ways to the right of Scalia should give the Democrats pause, and likely a reason to filibuster. Of course, if a filibuster occurs, we're back to the gang of 14 and the overriding of two hundred years of Senate precedent.

But cast your mind back to the last time this came up. What was the Democrats' planned response should the bomb explode? That's right--using arcane rules to grind the Senate to a halt by bringing Democratic issues to the floor.

Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

Make no mistake: Reid was sending three messages yesterday. The first was that the Democrats are serious about this whole intelligence failure thing. The second is that the Democrats have their own nuke armed and at the ready, and that should Frist detonate his there will be Mutually Assured Destruction.

Finally, Reid was sending the message that the Democrats are ready to fight, and that win or lose, they're willing to go at it hammer and tongs. About damn time.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I Am An Idiot

So if my posting is spotty this month, here's why. I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month, in which one tries to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. (Yes, 50,000 words is on the short end of novels, but one must crawl before one can walk, no?) At any rate, I'm unsure of whether I can get it done--that is about 1700 words a day, or five pages a day, which is a pretty good clip, especially since I'd like this to be, you know, good. But I've had an idea for a novel in mind for a good year now, and I keep putting it off; the way I figure it, even if I only get 25,000 words written this month, that's 25,000 more than I had before.

Of course, then it's on to trying to sell the thing, and good luck with that. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. And continues with a lot more steps. For a long, long time.

UPDATE: Just in case you care, I am blogging the contest at The Valkyrie's Tale's Blog. Hilarity will ensue.


This is problematic.

Trenton, New Jersey

Ezra Klein notes something depressing: if Alito is confirmed, there will be more justices from Trenton than there are justices who are women. Lovely.


Is Rove still on the hot seat? maybe, maybe not. I think it's safe to say he's at least not yet free and clear.