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Friday, March 31, 2006

The new Vikings helmet would take our helmets from top-five to Ravensesque. They're an abomination.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear....

Dear Wingnuts:

Get over yourselves.

I know September 11, 2001 was scary. I know a lot of people died. It was awful, and it left scars on our country that are still healing. We still live under the threat of terror. At any time, al Qaeda could strike America again.

That does not, in any way, shape, or form mean that "we're all, in a sense, we're all conscripted in this war."

Right now, there are soldiers serving in Iraq who actually know what it is to face the daily threat of death. These solders are conscripted in this war. They live under the daily threat of attack. They live with the chance that an IED could explode and take a leg. They live with the memories of having to run over children to keep convoys moving--because stopping in the wrong area makes them and their comrades sitting ducks for insurgents.

Those men and women are in a war.

You idiots are safe.

You live under the threat of terror? Fine. You also live under the daily threat of cancer, of flood, of slip-and-fall. Anything can get any one of us at any time. You are not a hero because you get up in the morning and buy a cup of coffee at a gas station when there's a small-but-nonzero-chance that a spark may ignite the gas pumps. You are not a hero because you cross the street despite the chance that a taxi could take you out. You are not a hero because you go to work despite the threat that a meteor could slam into Earth tomorrow, driving H. sapiens into extinction.

I truly believe that there are two groups of people in this country--those who are still more afraid of the terrorists than anything else, and those who have put the terror threat into the proper context: as one mortal threat among many. That doesn't make it a good thing, nor a threat we should ignore, any more than we should stop treating heart disease or stop encouraging people to wear seat belts.

But it does mean that we should go forward and live our lives, not panicking that a dirty bomb could go off at any second.

It could, of course. But by surrendering our lives to the fear, to the terror of potential mortality, we give the terrorists the greatest victory they could possibly achieve. After all, it's not accidental that the root of terrorist is terror. It's terror that is their very aim.

Shorter Katherine Kersten

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

Friday Random Ten
I Should Be Allowed to Shoot My Mouth Off

1. "All Worked Out," Semisonic
2. "Dig Me Out," Sleater-Kinney
3. "I Should Be Allowed to Think," They Might Be Giants
4. "Roundabout," Yes
5. "Dragging the Line," Tommy James & the Shondells
6. "Underground," Ben Folds Five
7. "Sunday Bloody Sunday," U2
8. "A Shooting Star is Not a Star," They Might Be Giants
9. "Atmosphere," Son Volt
10. "Where Have You Gone?" Mike Doughty

Thursday, March 30, 2006
Please Come Forward

There is no honor in covering up rape. Ever. So long as you remain silent, three rapists remain free--and so long as you remain silent, you give your assent that this is okay.

And that makes you almost as bad as them.

So come forward. Now. And if the rapists and their coddlers cry that you've violated some sacred tenet of manhood--well, at least you won't have violated a defenseless woman.


By now you all have undoubtedly heard of the incredibly stupid Howard Kaloogian debacle. If you aren't, Kaloogian is a candidate for Duke Cunningham's open seat, who posted this photo of The Real Baghdad That The Mainstream Media Won't Tell You About:

Of course, the unfortunate thing is that the picture was actually of Istanbul (Not Contsantinople). Well, you know, Turkey is much like Iraq, except for the fact that they speak Turkish, not Arabic, and there are no IEDs.

But hey, it was just a mistake! The Looger picked out the wrong picture from a sea of thousands of similar ones. In fact, look at the similarities between that one and the picture he replaced it with:

Impossible to tell the difference between a street-level shot in Istanbul and a shot from the twentieth floor of a hotel in the Green Zone. Anyone could make that mistake! And I must admit, there's no evidence of violence in the second picture. Nor happiness. Nor human life. Take that, Liberal Media!

Okay, it's easy to snark about how the Looger is an idiot, or how he thought a picture of Turkey would fool people into thinking it was a picture of Iraq simply because it happened to feature brown people, but what you haven't seen is the other photos from his site, the ones the MSM isn't telling you about. I'd point you to them, but his site is currently toasted. So as a public service, here are more Kaloogian Iraq Vacation Photos!

There's nothing like Baghdad on a spring day. Moments after this picture was shot, Hugh Hewitt and I went for some falafel, and the falafel guy (I called him "Abdul") said, "Iraq is paradise! Thank you, American-type people!" But do you hear about that from the media? Of course not. Because they Hate Freedom.

We often hear how far behind we are in providing little things like electricity, potable water, sewage treatment, or food to Iraq. But what those stories don't tell you is how hard your average Iraqi is working. Here an industrious chap (I nicknamed him "Abdul") works overitme to get Oil Derek #7 up and running at the Halliburton oilfields outside of Kirkuk.

An exciting moment came when Karl Rove emailed me Col. Damon "Blood" McBlood came in to our meeting and announced that al Qaeda number two man Abul al-Abul Abdul (photo, left, next to bin Laden) had been captured in Umm Qasr, shouting, "Yes, that's right! Osama, Saddam, and me are homies! And I loves me some WMDs!"

Some people believe there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. yet another MSM lie. In this photo I liberated from a burning dumpster outside the joint CIA-al Jazeera complex in Sadr City, we see proof of an actual Iraqi nuclear test! Thank God we went in when we did.

So there you go. Let that be a lesson to all you doubters. God bless America, and God bless the Looger.

Good News Unless You're a Freeper

Jill Carroll has been released.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Rule of Law! Rule of Law!

Ann Coulter's got problems:

This time, claiming she doesn't even live here — as GOP pundit Ann Coulter has been doing on this spring's college speaking tour when she's questioned about her February election meltdown on Palm Beach — isn't going to cut it.

Palm Beach County's elections supervisor has given the right wing's unofficial mouthpiece 30 days to explain why she voted in the wrong precinct.

In a registered letter scheduled to be sent to her this week, Coulter is asked to "clarify certain information as to her legal residence," elections boss Arthur Anderson said.

But here's the rest of the story:

The letter, however, may be headed to the wrong house.

The bestselling author, whose The New Ann Coulter comes out in June, owns a homestead on Seabreeze Avenue, near Worth Ave. Yet, the missive is being sent to the Indian Road home of Realtor Suzanne Frisbie. Coulter claimed in official elections documents to be living there, which Frisbie denied last month.

"We have to send the registered letter to her address in our records," explained Charmaine Kelly, elections chief deputy. "If it comes back unsigned, we'll deal with that."

Heh deedly dingdong doofus.

Throw Another Platypus on the Barbie

This newfangled intarweb thingy is pretty cool, especially when you discover your site has been linked to by a news outlet in Australia.

Meanwhile, it looks like whatever category she falls into, Glenda is going to be disastrous.

MPR Sues Gatheroo

Gory details here. (Yes, it's a link to a post by me. It's totally "meta!")

Glen or Glenda?

Tropical Cyclone Glenda, off the coast of Australia, has weakened to a Category 3 storm. But at her peak, she was a Category 5 storm with a low pressure of 898mb.

This makes Glenda the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

Nothing to see here, global warming skeptics. Move along.

This Is Aboot Dignity

Scotty McC discusses the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Martin. Whoever he is.

Col. Hewitt Reports For Duty

Leads the glorious 101st Fighting Hellmice into the front line of the War on Terror.

What? Oh--no, not Iraq. Sorry. Actually New York City. But you know, they were attacked once, four years ago, so hey, it's the same as a country where dozens of people are dying every day.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Quote of the Day

Via Sully:

"Though with a very tight margin, I am very glad that the [gay civil unions] legislation eventually made it through parliament. I was most intrigued in the debate by the absurd ideology advocated by the Christian Democrats and Klaus, who argue that family should have advantages since, unlike homosexual couples, it brings children to life. This is the concept of family as a sort of calf shed in which bulls can inseminate cows so that calves are born ... This is nothing spiritual, nothing intellectual. This is a purely material concept of family. This is what made me most upset in the debate."

--Vaclav Havel, Former Czech President

Of course, what does Vaclav Havel know about civil rights?

Poll Watch
The Sound You Hear is Katherine Kersten's Head Exploding

Equality Minnesota [D]/Decision Resources Inc., January 11-19, 625 RV, MOE +/- 4%:

Support Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Yes 40%
No 54%

Agree or Disagree: "Minnesota Already Has a Law Banning Gay Marriage: We Don't Need Amendment."

Agree 61%
Disagree 29%

Gay Marriage Amendment a Distraction

Yes 77%

Gay Marriage Amendment Divisive

Yes 60%

So first of all, reality check: this poll was commissioned by a pro-gay group, and will have a bias, even if it's very well-crafted.

Still, it's doubtful that the poll is absurdly off-base, and that is very, very interesting.

What the polling suggests is what I've long suspected: that deep down, while a majority of Americans is still anti-gay marriage, they're just not that concerned about it. It really doesn't matter to most people. Oh, they may not be in favor of making it legal--doubtless a pro-gay-marriage amendment right now would fail.

But more than that, what this suggests is that the salience of gay marriage as a hot-button culture war issue is lessening. When 77% of people view an amendment as a "distraction," it suggests that people aren't going to care too terribly if the Senate, say, blocks another vote on the amendment--and the people that do are almost certainly lost to the DFL anyhow.

In short, this poll gives ammunition to the Senate majority caucus when they find a way to keep this bill from the floor. If Senate GOPers want to shut things down in protest, this poll gives every evidence that they, not the DFL, would pay the price.

And even if the Republicans somehow manage to get this on the ballot, it suggests that the first rule of initiative and referendum is in play, that being that close polls mean failure. Indeed, if it wasn't a horrible idea that shouldn't even be on the ballot, I'd almost say pass the damn thing and let us vote it down.

But I won't. Because two years from now, we'll beat it by more. Let's wait until we're going to not just defeat this thing narrowly. Let's wait until the numbers show 70% opposed. And then let's drive a stake through this bigoted proposal's heart.

Shakeup: The Pointless Edition

So Andy Card has resigned as White House Chief of Staff, and will be replaced with White House budget director Josh Bolten.

Excuse me while I stifle this yawn.

If this is the big shakeup that's been hinted at of late, well, let's just say that it's not exactly going to alleviate doubts about the administration or signal a big change in direction. Nor is it going to energize those who--like Norm Coleman--have been advocating a change.

For that, Bush would have had to reach out beyond the inner circle, tapped someone not loyal to the Bushies. Of course, George W. Bush has shown no ability to do that--and this tells us flatly that anyone who thinks Joe Lieberman is going to be the next Secretary of Defense is high on something. Bush hires lackeys and cronies, and nobody else. If that wasn't clear before, you weren't paying much attention.


I have joined the exciting new Minvolved team, effective today. Which means that I'll have more blog duties than before. I don't know what I'm thinking.

Monday, March 27, 2006
Who Can Take a Sunshine...Sprinkle It With Dew....

The Spongy Man Can! Yes, that's right, Mr. Sponge is back. And a grateful nation rejoiced.

Why Won't the MSM Cover the Schools?

Oh, all right:

Their visit came as more violence was reported across Iraq, including a terrifying incident earlier in the week in the western city of Ramadi. On Wednesday, armed insurgents burst into the classroom of Khidhir al-Mihallawi, an English teacher at Sajariyah High School, accused him of being an agent for the CIA and Israeli intelligence and beheaded him in front of his students, according to students, fellow instructors and a physician at a local hospital.

One teacher, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared retaliation from insurgents, said that most students ran from the classroom but that some stayed to watch. Many stopped coming to school after the incident, he said. Another teacher, who said he moved his mathematics class to his home to accommodate frightened students, said Mihallawi had earlier been threatened because he worked as a translator for U.S. forces in Ramadi, a hotbed of the Sunni Arab insurgency.

Mihallawi "looked at us just like he was telling us that we do not have to be scared. Even as we were running out of the door, his looks were still telling us that nothing will happen and we do not have to be scared," said a student, whose father asked that his name not be used. "I heard him screaming for a few seconds, then stop screaming."

Yay! Schools!

In the meantime, looks like coverage of the new water treatment plant in Kirkuk may have to wait.

Friday, March 24, 2006
Et tu, RedState?

The other shoe begins its drop.

Worst News of the Day

La Spugna Intelligente is quitting blogging after morons harassed his family.

I've always blogged under my real name; I figure that if someone wants to fight me, they can, and if they want to bring my family into it, I'll simply find a way to destroy them slowly. But I certainly can understand why one would want to blog privately; I wasn't particularly fond of the drive to out The Drama Queen, and I'm definitely not happy that Mr. Sponge is going silent. His stuff was consistently entertaining, always on point, and often hilarious. And he had what many of us in the blogosphere lack--common sense.

His voice will be missed. Here's hoping he'll reconsider.

Bye Benny

Domenech resigns. Maybe Jenna is available to take over--or possibly Not-Jenna.

Oh My God

We weren't really calling for a War on Easter. Swear.

"Michelle. Hugh. Rush. Glenn. This is the moment. Where will you stand?"

The soon-to-be-over Ben Domenech affair reached its hilarious crescendo with this RedState post calling on Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Big Pharma, and the Wingnutty Perfessor to rush to the barricades and defend poor Ben.

Pack a lunch.


hIt is one thing to paraphrase basic facts from a wire story. But to filch the original thoughts and distinctly crafted phrases of a writer without crediting him/her--and doing so repeatedly--is unacceptable in our business. Some of the cases occurred while Ben was in college; he is blaming an editor for these transgressions. But at least one other incident involved a piece he wrote for NRO after he graduated. The side-by-side comparisons of these extensive passages is damning.

I certainly understand the impulse on the Right to rally around Domenech. But I can't ignore the plain evidence. And the charges can't be dismissed as "lies" or jealousy attributed to Ben's age.



I've had my differences with Domenech in the past, but I hope there's nothing to this.

Hugh and Rush:

Sound of crickets chirping.

You see, Ben, for those of us who take writing seriously, plagiarism is not minor. It's a big deal. It's an affront to everyone who's ever stared at a blank screen trying to come up with something--anything--to say. Stealing someone else's work to fill that space is as wrong as you get in this profession.

You stole. You lose. I don't think even a teary apology can help you know.

Ben Caught Stealing

First off, I stole that headline from Sadly,No! It's a great headline, and I can't pass up using it--but like any writer with any self-respect, I couldn't just lift it without fully crediting my source. It's not right. It's plagiarism. And as Hilzoy notes, it is writing's mortal sin.

Ben Domenech is not a journalist. He admits as much. But he is--or at least attempts to impersonate--a writer.

And therein lies the problem. I wasn't among those who thought the Post needed to fire Domenech outright. Oh, I thought they were idiots for choosing to hire a 24-year-old college dropout/Bush crony/mediocre blogger as their conservative blogger. Mitch Berg, for example, may be wrong about everything, but he can write well, and has some actual life experience, and journalism experience to boot. Certainly Mitch is not alone; there had to be a conservative blogger out there who had some actual credentials.

But the Post hired Domenech; whatever. Even if--as evidence strongly suggested--he was a closet racist who'd called Coretta Scott King a "communist" on the event of her funeral, even if he was obviously just a home-schooled, politically-connected hack, it was the Post's right to hire him. After his truly crappy Red Dawn debut, I was just looking forward to months of really stupid posts to mock.

But as the evidence mounts that Domenech was a serial plagiarist, the Post is left with no choice whatsoever. Even if Domenech only plagiarized while in college--which has already been shown not to be the case--that Domenech ever plagiarized speaks ill of his care for the craft of writing. In short, it makes him not just a hack, but a dishonest hack.

At this point, Domenech must either come clean, or the Post must fire him. His only chance at keeping his job is to admit he made a number of bad mistakes and hope that people forgive him.

If he doesn't, then the Post must fire him. Because a writer can do anything but copy another's work. That's the most dishonorable thing a writer can do, and for the Post to continue to employ Domenech with the evidence against him would be an affront to every writer on their staff, and every honest writer in America, for that matter.

War on Easter!

What I'm really looking forward to is when Bill O'Reilly starts to take this seriously. That and the pagan fertility rituals.

If This Isn't a Sign of the Apocalypse, I Don't Know What Is

Words fail me:

"A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a "first" for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the "ideal" model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn's Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.

Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears' baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career. "A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision," said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

"Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston," believed Pro-Life's first monument to the "act of giving birth," is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

No, seriously. Oh, and just to have this make even less sense than it already does, Britney's child was delivered by caesarian section.

Friday Random Ten
Every Time I Look in Your Eyes I See St. Peter Wave

1. "Luminol," Ryan Adams
2. "Dig My Grave," They Might Be Giants
3. "Real Love/It's Only Life," Mike Doughty
4. "Fast As I Can," Erin McKeown
5. "Anticipate," Ani DiFranco
6. "Violent Mood Swings (Thread Mix)," Stabbing Westward
7. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" The Byrds
8. "Lookin' At The World Through a Windshield," Son Volt
9. "Shock the Monkey," Peter Gabriel
10. "Cruisin' for a Bluesin'," Maynard Ferguson

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Nothing to See Here

Just increasing evidence that over the next few hundred years sea level could increase by thirteen feet. But John Tierney says that we'll have an open Northwest Passage, so that will make up for the loss of New York, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, and the Netherlands.

Poll Watch
Time is On Our Side

Why is the right fighting so hard for anti-gay-marriage amendments? It's not like gay marriage is on the march. Okay, it's on the march in New England. But there's no sign that it's about to move through the South and the heartland. And yet it's being pushed across the country.

Yes, it does drive turnout among the firebreathers, but that can't be it. After all, a number of wedge issues would drive out the fundies, from prayer in schools to abortion. Why gay marriage? Why now?

Because they know in twenty years or so, they will have lost the fight.

A new Pew poll shows declining opposition to gay marriage and rising support of other civil liberties. To wit:

Pew Research, March 8-12, 2006, 1405 adults, MOE +/- 3%

Support Gay/Lesbian Marriage?

Yes 39% (10% strongly) (+3)
No 51% (28%) (-2)

Allow Gays/Lesbians to Serve in Military?

Yes 60% (20%)
No 32% (13%)

Yes 72%
No 23%

Allow Gays/Lesbians to Adopt?

Yes 46% (+8)
No 48% (-9)

Yes 58%
No 38%

No, a majority of the country is not pro-gay. But a majority of the young is. And that has dramatic implications in coming years.

Much as few of us can now understand how it was that at one time, over 90% of whites opposed interracial marriage, I've no doubt that my grandchildren will boggle that at one time, over 60% of Americans opposed gay marriage. Certainly, as the population changes, demographics strongly suggest that a pro-gay majority is inevitable.

This is why the right is fighting so hard--because they know that the situation will never be more favorable for them than it is now. They might be able to get an anti-gay marriage amendment through now; they will not be able to even ten years from now. But they know if they can get it done now, it will make it harder for those of us who support gay marriage to undo the damage when the electorate changes.

That is why they fight so hard--and why we should begin to turn the issue around on them, to begin fighting for the affirmative right of gays and lesbians to marry. Because time is on our side, and the voters of forty years from now will reward us for taking a stand on the right side of this issue.

I'm Waaaaaay Behind

You know, I had this saved for a while now, but haven't gotten a round tuit:

4 Jobs I’ve had: Gas Station Cashier, Loan Officer, Debt Collector, Freight Forwarding Customer Service

4 Movies I Can Watch Over and Over: Clerks, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Shawshank Redemption, The In-Laws

4 Places I've Lived: Freeport, Illinois; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Madison, Wisconsin; Lakeville, Minnesota

4 TV Shows I Love: "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," "The Daily Show," "Robot Chicken"

4 Highly Regarded and Recommended TV Shows I Haven't Seen: "The Sopranos," "Battlestar Galactica," "The Shield," "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

4 Places I've Vacationed: Scotland; Boston, Mass., and Block Island, R.I.; London; Rabat, Morocco

4 of my Favorite Dishes: El Burrito Chicken Mole Burrito, Thai Chicken with Cashews, Turkey Tacos, Khan's Mongolian Barbecue

4 Sites I Visit Every Day: Pharyngula, Pandagon, Eschaton, Power Liberal

4 Places I'd Rather Be Right Now: Low Earth Orbit, Las Vegas, Chicago, Innsbruck

4 People I'm Tagging: Smartie and/or Robin, Mitch Berg, Flash, and PatMN

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Just When You Think You've Hit Bottom

I now have to hope that Condoleeza Rice can somehow help moderate Bush administration foreign policy. Somewhere, Lyndon Johnson is laughing.

It's All About Sex

So are pro-lifers anti-baby-killing? Or anti-women-having-sex? Amp looks at the rhetoric and comes to the only logical conclusion.

Finally, a "Mallard Fillmore" I Agree With

Bruce Tinsley is right: we really should have more coverage of Tom Coburn.

I suggest we start with this:

On the death penalty, he said: "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."

Or perhaps this:

The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda.

Yes indeed. More coverage of Tom Coburn, please. The junior Senator from Oklahoma deserves all the coverage you can give him.

From the Secret Vaults of the Star Tribune

For your reading pleasure, a 1959 column by former Minneapolis Tribune columnist Catherine Kjerstinsen (1908-1977):

If Interracial Marriage is OK'd, Definition of Bigotry Will Expand

Opinion polls in 1959 revealed that a majority of Minnesotans support the proposed marriage amendment to the state Constitution, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman of the same race. That's why a few Senate DFLers are working overtime to make sure that the full Senate -- and you, the voters -- don't get to vote on it.

Amendment supporters are ordinary Minnesotans: baseball moms, Millers fans, the folks next door. But some advocates of same-sex marriage apparently view them as a sinister and unsavory bunch, even comparing them to anti-Semetic bigots.

During the 1956 presidential campaign, Adalai Stevenson likened the push for interracial marriage to the fight against the Nazis. Sen. Hubert Humphrey agrees. "Discrimination isn't just about other nations anymore," he told WCCO Radio. "I still am not sure that if I had to depend on the Minnesota legislature to have my civil rights, that I would have them." Humphrey claims that the proposed amendment would put discrimination in the Minnesota Constitution.

The NAACP, a negro advocacy organization, says that "[p]ublic opinion cannot be allowed to permanently enshrine discrimination into the Constitution."

A recent Minneapolis Star editorial put it this way: "This question should not be one decided by popular vote. It's easy to whip up sentiment against an unpopular minority. The destruction of concentration camps was not put to a referendum in Germany in 1945; neither should this question be put to voters in Minnesota in 1960."

What's the upshot of this view? That, as a group, Minnesotans who support the marriage amendment are foolish, motivated by an irrational animus against interracial couples. If you believe that children need a mother and a father of the same race, you are the equivalent of a German bigot who supported the murder of Jews.

In America today, it's a serious thing to be a bigot. Some of the liberals will complain. You can even get in trouble at your job if your boss isn't understanding.

Supporters of miscegenation often insist that "extending marriage rights" to interracial couples is no big deal. It won't change life for the rest of us, they say. But if interracial marriage becomes a civil right, the belief that having two parents of the same race is best for kids becomes discriminatory, and those who hold it become bigots.

Last year, Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-SC) got a taste of what this might mean. In a speech at Harvard University in Massachusetts, where interracial marriage is legal, he told the audience, "Men, you can have it all—you can find a nice white girl, settle down, and she'll give you a family."

Harvard's NAACP chapter bristled. "Some of the content was extremely racist, and made NAACP members feel uncomfortable," a spokesman complained to the Harvard Crimson. The NAACP demanded an apology. To the credit of Sen. Thurmond, he declined.

You better not speak up for traditional marriage in the Boston public schools. In May 1958 the district superintendent sent a memo to all staff members, stressing the "profound impact on our civic life and discourse" of the court decision that imposed interracial marriage. He emphasized the district's "zero tolerance" for "discrimination" and "hateful speech" on issues of interracial marriage and racial hatred, and stated that students and staff members who breach the policy may be expelled or terminated.

All this suggests the shape of things to come, says Joseph Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School. In the future, she writes, religious organizations that oppose interracial marriage may risk losing tax-exempt status or academic accreditation. As the law changes to allow interracial marriages or their equivalent, religious institutions, including schools, charities and ministries, "may be forced to retreat from their practices, or else face enormous legal pressure to change their views."

In this brave new world, it's the "racist" majority that's starting to feel uncomfortable.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Nobody Puts Benny in a Corner

Red Dawn is many things. It's the third-best Patrick Swayze movie (behind Dirty Dancing and Road House). It's the movie I went to see over at Eric Punswick's house back in fifth grade on that one long-gone movie channel where everything was PG-13 or less. It's the genesis of a hilarious "South Park" episode.

But it is not, in any way, shape, or form, a good movie. It was hilarious in many ways, and it was a nice fantasy about nuclear war (in contrast to the reality, which primarily would have involved nuclear winter and a casualty rate among humans upward of 95%) and in retrospect, it's unbelieveably homoerotic. Sort of like Top Gun.

But a great movie? Please. Only an idiot would view Red Dawn as great. Which, I suppose, is the point.

Compare and Contrast

I can't add anything to this.

Craig Westover: Voice of Reason

I disagree with Craig on whether the Marriage Amendment should get a floor vote--kill it wherever it can be killed, says I. But other than that, there's not much here I can disagree with:

Although I oppose the Defense of Marriage Amendment, I agree with Minnesota for Marriage that it is an issue that ought to be debated on the Senate floor. One of the lessons of the Dean Johnson controversy is that legislators can spin issues with “embellishments,” or worse, when speaking to small groups. When they speak on the Senate floor, they can be held accountable.

Nonetheless, this release by Minnesota for Marriage unfairly exploits the Johnson controversy and makes some assumptions that I cannot agree with.


Just because the people want to vote on the amendment, that doesn’t mean that they should. This is first an foremost a legislative issue. This is a great example of why we have a republican form of government and not a true democracy. The public’s response to the issue is visceral. Legislators should vote on the amendment considering a broader view of what constitutes constitutionality, the impact on other laws, the broader social consequences -- that’s why we have a committee system. No legislator should vote for the amendment bill just because people want to vote and he or she wishes to please constituents. Each vote for the amendment should be cast because the legislator truly believes the amendment would be good for Minnesota.


I'm unequivocally opposed to "letting the public vote" on most issues, from gay marriage to the stadium issue. Am I a surly totalitarian? Not at all. I'm instead a fan of representative democracy--which means we elect people to make decisions, and if they make bad decisions, we vote the bums out.

That doesn't always lead to "the will of the people" being done--but "the will of the people" isn't always practical. Indeed, "the will of the people" may in fact not even be "the will of the people if they sat down and studied the issue." This is why we elect representatives--and why we should entrust them with the power to make these decisions.

If they make bad ones, by all means, vote against them; if you're one of Dean Johnson's constituents, by all means hold his statements against him. But none of that means you deserve a vote on any issue of the day. You had your vote when you elected your leaders. If you don't like them, there will be another vote in November.


Okay, Dean Johnson was wrong. He was just wrong. He lied. That's wrong. Hard to argue with that.

Of course, it doesn't matter, because liar or not, the marriage amendment will not come to the floor of the Senate this session. If the DFL has the votes to keep it from the floor now, they'll still have 'em four weeks from now. As long as 33 senators continue to block the bill from coming up, it won't--and that's true no matter what Dean Johnson says.

Monday, March 20, 2006
Protecting our Senior and Our Kids

Tim Anderson, GOP candidate for MN-5, rocket scientist. (Via PatMN.)


The Wingnutty Perfessor notes that casualties in Iraq are super-low.  And he's so right!  After all, they're not nearly what they were in Vietnam.  I mean, look at the tiny number of people who have given their lives in Gulf War II: The Vengeance.

Groundhog Day

Yglesias: fourth verse, same as the first.


Robin doesn't even know where to start with this abomination:

President George W. Bush, who is pro-life, includes himself among some who believe that there should be exceptions for rape and incest. While not impugning the good intentions of President Bush and others, there is reason to encourage them to think past the visceral reaction we all feel about rape and incest, and consider the consequences for both victims—mother and child.

No one disputes that rape and incest are serious crimes, and those convicted should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, victims deserve the support and assistance of the public in recovering.

The truth is that rape rarely results in pregnancy.

So hey--just because rape only occasionally results in a forced pregnancy--who are we to stop it? I'm sure in our brave new world where it's legal to impregnate a woman forcibly, not one man desperate for a child would go out and do so, knowing she would have to carry the child to term.

Of course, then he'd have to pay child support. Yep, the bitch trapped another one by using her feminine wiles to get herself raped. Ain't it always the case?

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Mea Maxima Culpa

Sunday will mark the third anniversary of Gulf War II: The Vengeance.

While the military sees fit to mark the anniversary with a potemkin assault, I choose to mark it with an apology.

Every so often, righty bloggers will note that I am not so much a moderate. Well, I probably am not anymore. But when I started this blog I most certainly was. I was a big believer in working across the aisle, a big supporter of working with the Republicans to get things done, and an apostate Democrat.

One of the things I was willing to weigh carefully was the war in Iraq.

In the months leading up to the invasion, I was far from skeptical of this administration. Indeed, I was all but a pro-war cheerleader. Oh, sure, I occasionally expressed misgivings, and even decided at the eleventh hour that we should delay invading. But I was never strongly anti-war, even though I had predicted the way that the Bushies were going to conduct the post-war period.

I was wrong.

Had I been paying more attention at the time, I would've recognized that we didn't really have a plan for post-war Iraq, that our plan was to remove Saddam in the hopes that something would materialize in his place to stabilize Iraq. Hope, of course, is not a plan. And we have found that out repeatedly over the past three years.

I should have been more strongly against this war. I should have listened to voices on the left who were raising really, really good points. I should have recognized the incredible level of incompetence in this administration, and questioned what we were doing more. Mostly, I should have remembered that war is a terrible thing, the last resort of all last resorts--and something that should never be engaged in without complete certainty and moral conviction.

I had my Road to Damascus moment in April, when I noticed that there weren't so much any WMDs in Iraq. From that point to now, you can watch my posts veer left as I became increasingly angry at this administration's mendacity, incompetence, and insouciance.

But my posts have not veered left because I veered left. They've veered left because the lefties were correct about this war. They were always correct about this war. Would that our nation had listened better to them in 2002 and 2003. Would that I had.

For what little it's worth, I'm sorry.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

In Boston, a number of young single women in their twenties are going out to bars, drinking with friends, hooking up with members of the opposite sex (and, presumably, the same sex), and generally behaving like they need not live their lives in perpetual fear of something bad happening.

This is evidently a very bad thing.

Do bad things happen? Yes they do. Undoubtedly they do. But bad things are always going to happen, no matter what. I could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow, or get blown up by terrorists next week, or live to be 190. I don't know which is most likely, and I won't know until it happens, so why should I spend my life worrying about it?

Yes, it's possible that something bad could happen to one of the women profiled in this story, but it is even if she stays home every night, knitting, drinking warm milk, and dreaming of the man who will marry her and then take her virginity on her wedding night. Presuming she ever leaves home, there's always a chance she'll get hit by a bus or mugged or find out one day that she has breast cancer, and never really lived.

I'm increasingly realizing that there is a large segment of our society that spends its life perpetually afraid of what bad may come. There's no excuse for stupidity--and if you can take reasonable, common-sense precautions, like getting life insurance or walking with friends when you're out and about, then certainly you should.

But a life lived in fear of the bad leads inexorably to bad results anyhow. Choosing to disengage from life in order to avoid the unlikely scary event is choosing to disengage from life. That's a cure worse than the disease.

As for these women--have fun. Enjoy life. This may be all there is. It would be a shame to waste it.

Better than a Sharp Stick in the Eye

For what it's worth, this little site has now gone over 100,000 page views. So I've got that goin' for me.

Friday, March 17, 2006
Martin Sabo Retiring

Will not seek reelection. Five will get you ten that Julie Sabo seeks the seat. For the love of God--no.

Please, DFL, I'm begging you. The fifth is totally safe. How 'bout endorsing someone who's not the son or daughter of someone, 'k?

This is the Way the World Ends, Not with a Bang, but a Whimper

V for Vendetta is good.

Very, very good.

In fact, you should get up from your computer and go see it right now.

I'm not sure I've fully digested it, but it is, indeed, phenomenal. And yes, there is some resonance with today's America.

I have a long rant on that, but not now.

Poll: Plurality Supports Censure

46%-44% Per ARG. Certainly, this suggests the panic-stricken minority in the Senate could calm down. With absolutely nobody outside of Russ Feingold and a few lefty bloggers backing censure, things are basically even. What would happen if (gasp) somebody else pushed it, or even professed to be open to it?

Asimov vs. Heinlein: Smackdown!

Kevin Drum muses on whether to buy For Us, The Living, and whether there's a difference between Asimov fans and Heinlein fans. I'm a fan of both, which is probably why I'm in the rightward sector of the DFL.

Punditry Inaction

A nice roundup of incredibly bad Iraq predictions.

Friday Random Ten
I've Got a Grip on Myself, and it Feels Nice

1. "Get a Grip," Semisonic
2. "Man on the Corner," Genesis
3. "Narcolepsy," Ben Folds Five
4. "27 Jennifers," Mike Doughty
5. "Beautiful Hysterical," The Blue Up?
6. "Deacon Blues," Steely Dan
7. "Another First Kiss," They Might Be Giants
8. "Landed," Ben Folds
9. "Jet Pilot," Son Volt
10. "Pecan Pie," Golden Smog

Thursday, March 16, 2006
The World Chris Matthews Walks In

Evidently not the same as everyone else.

People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am totally, totally geeked about V for Vendetta. Just sayin'.

Just About Had It

Okay, I'm almost to the point where I'm gonna give up on blogger. Of course, that would mean a new domain, a new program to run my blog, and everyone updating blogrolls and stuff--if people don't just see it as an excuse to finally delink me.

So should I do it? Or should I just accept that blogger's down 35% of the time?

Goalpoast Moving, Ad Hominem Attacks, and a General Misunderstanding of a Modern Free-Market Economy

So anyhow, yesterday I noted that Demente got a wee bit strident in his attack on those horrible, slutty girls and their wish for contraception. Dementee reacted with class:

The idiot can’t address the core point so he babbles on about the mask slipping and showing the true desires of pro-lifers – preventing every and all abortions regardless of what the consequences might be, ignoring the fact that it takes two to conceive and giving the guy a pass....Jeff must be a complete knob to not understand my point and he obviously doesn’t understand the fine art of embellishing to make a point.

Au contraire, I'm quite a fan of hyperbole. But what Dementee was engaged in wasn't so much "hyperbole" as a "Kinsley gaffe"--accidentally saying what one actually believes. (I'm not so much a fan of attacking one's ideological opponent as "idiot[s]" and "complete knob[s]." As longtime readers of this site know, I don't believe conservatives are idiots. That epithet I reserve for the president.)

Now, in my post I was addressing Dementee's own analogy in a post about analogies--very meta, I know. Had Dementee wanted to know whether I'd ever addressed the issue he could have, say, tried google, but whatever. I have addressed this repeatedly, and didn't realize that in order to comment on Dementee's comment on someone's letter, I would have to restate my position, but Dementee did: "C’mon, Jeff, argue the point: whose rights should be trumped. Don’t make shit up because you have no leg to stand on."

So I did:

I have no right to refuse to do my job. I work in shipping. If tomorrow we start shipping weaponry, I have a choice to quit my job or work. I can't say, "I'm a pacifist, I don't want to ship weapons."

I'm contracted to do a job. I can do the job, or not. I don't have the right to do the parts of the job I like and refuse to do the parts of the job I don't like. You have no right to do your job without compromising your moral beliefs. Don't like it? Tough. Go found your own company.

Now, I can go further than that, and be ideologically consistent: I tend to believe that in an industry as highly regulated as the pharmaceutical industry, it's reasonable to require pharmacists to dispense all medications. But the issue at hand is H.F. 3032, which is pretty clear in its intent:

[151.415](b)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a pharmacist shall dispense drugs and devices, as described in section 151.01, subdivision 30, pursuant to a lawful order or prescription unless one of the following circumstances exists:


(3) the pharmacist refuses on ethical, moral, or religious grounds to dispense a drug or device pursuant to an order or prescription. A pharmacist may decline to dispense a prescription drug or device on this basis only if the employer has previously been notified by the pharmacist, in writing, of the drug or class of drugs to which the pharmacist objects, and the pharmacist's employer can, without creating undue hardship, provide a reasonable accommodation of the pharmacist's objection. The pharmacist's employer shall establish protocols that ensure that the patient has timely access to the prescribed drug or device despite the pharmacist's refusal to dispense the prescription or order.

Now that's clear to everyone, right? Essentially, the bill would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription, as long as they notified their employer in writing in advance. It doesn't specifically state that an employer can't fire a pharmacist for doing so, but I'd hate to be on the employer side of that wrongful termination suit.

Dementee missed that point:

For the love of God, are you really this ignorant. Do you not understand the concept of a free market? How F&%$ing stupid are you, really?

The pharmacists in question are practicing in a free market economy (emphasis on the word free) by refusing to do something that goes against their beliefs. If their boss doesn’t like it, they’ll get fired.

Sort of the opposite, really--or else there's absolutely no point to this legislation. After all, a pharmacist has the right now to tell their boss that they don't want to do something, and their boss has the right to fire them.

So it's either a pointless bill or a bill that imposes new restrictions on employers; either way, it's a bad bill and should be shot down forthwith.

And Dementee joins a long line of conservatives who just can't admit he might be wrong. Too bad. It would almost make me say he's fucking stupid, if I was the type to resort to ad hominem attacks. But I'm not, of course.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Off Message

Every so often, the mask slips.

Over at the Kool Aid Report, Dementee takes issue with a letter in the Star Tribune:

Some people are just plain clueless and Don Warner of Ham Lake is no exception. There are two letters in today’s Star & Sickle regarding pharmacists who don’t want to dispense birth control because of moral reasons, but Don’s is the most idiotic.

This moron presents three scenarios he claims are analogous to the pharmacist refusing to dispense birth control on moral/religious grounds....

I'll give Dementee this--the letter was somewhat weak. But that's not what interests me in his response.

As we all know, the "objection" to Plan B is that it's is supposedly an abortifacient. Never mind that it works exactly like any other hormonal birth control, and that even in the extremely unlikely it's "aborting" something, it's aborting a clump of cells less alive than a sponge--the reason that Plan B is supposedly controversial is that it causes pharmacists moral pain by making them accomplices in the eeevul abortion business.

Of course there's another explanation for the opposition to Plan B. And Dementee makes it in no uncertain terms:

If a doctor refuses to treat your teenage daughter Syphilis because she arrived at the office driving a Hummer, he’s way off base because the treatment and the reason for refusing it are in no way related.

If, however, a pharmacist won't dispense birth control because he refuses to support your hose-bag teenage daughter’s desire to give more than a hummer, at least there’s a correlation.

So, Dan, it appears you have two problems here: First is your inability to create a analogy that stands up to scrutiny.

Second, your daughter is a slut who needs to be reined in before she makes you a grandfather before your time.


It's beautiful. Like a nuclear explosion or a dead bird, it's flawlessly horrible. It's the exact way these people really think, the exact reason these people really believe that Plan B must be stopped.

Note the logic--"Your daughter is a slut" who wants to "give more than a hummer." Never is there any consideration that, say, a boy could be involved in conception, nor that your daughter could be a "rape victim" who had been "raped."

No, it's her fault for wanting TEH SEX, and all the good pharmacist is doing is making sure she pays for that lapse in judgment with an unwanted pregnancy.

It would be easy to lash out at Dementee here, but I won't. Because he's done a service for us all. He's pulled back the mask, and let slip the real reason that the GOP wants to outlaw Plan B. It has nothing to do with abortion, and everything to do with those awful women who are out having dirty sex, and who must be made to pay.

Just as long as men don't have to pay child support when those bitches trap them.

Seasoned Republican Veteran

I guess Dick Cheney doesn't count. If Bush listens, my money's on James Baker. If Bush listens.

Smartie pwns Mitch

Bloody peasants.

Best Conspiracy Ever

Bush's poll numbers bad because the news is bad. Damn biased facts.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
It Was a Nice Run

Daunte is a Dolphin. Lotta boats in Miami.

Yes, You're Very Smart. Shut Up.

So all the non-Christian liberals out there are very annoyed with Steve Waldman, for saying this:

I had been making a narrower point – that many liberals carry an elitist attitude toward evangelical Christians. [Rabbi Michael] Lerner's indictment is far more sweeping. Is he being unfair? I think a distinction should be made between the elites and the rank and file on this. The fact is that most Democrats are religious. But secular liberals, who made up about 16% of the Kerry vote (more stats here) seem to have a disproportionate impact on the party's image and approach.

The objection to this, of course, is put very well by Duncan:

I am sick of people who keep claiming that the Democratic party is hostile to religious people and controlled by secular liberals who are hostile to religion. If by "Democratic party" you mean "some people who post anonymous comments on the internet" you may have a point. Otherwise, the idea is ludicrous.

Do the Democrats have a perception problem about religion? Sure. We have a political party which has been claiming to be God's Own Party for decades. We have a mainstream media which equates Christian with Religious Right most of the time, and news anchors who don't think liberals can be "good Catholics." We also have some left-leaning Christians who seem to think this perception problem is due to hostility to religion by secular liberals who (see below) have no public presence. I don't understand this. People who perpetuate right wing talking points about Democrats always piss me off especially when they have no basis.
Okay, fair enough. And I can tell you certainly that it gets annoying at times to have people complain about we irreligious Democrats, especially when you're a non-Christian.

But by the same token, it wasn't some secret cabal creating the Jesusland graphics. There is a tendency among some of us on the left to sneer at the religious as simplistic or deluded or otherwise not urbane enough. And that hurts us.

I have no problem calling shenanagans on the right when they gin up the faux War on Christmas or try to push soi disant Intelligent Design into schools. And I'm not an Amy Sullivanesque "just give them school prayer and they'll go away" guy. Give them nonsectarian school prayer and they'll demand sectarian prayer; there is not a point of compromise with the leaders of the religious right.

But while we may not be able to make policy compromise, that doesn't mean we need be openly hostile to religion qua religion. The Democratic talking points on religion shouldn't stress ignorance or put-upon Unitarians. They should stress faith.

But faith is an amorphous term, and faith can encompass all sorts of things. Democrats should point out that we're supportive of all faiths--and that means yours, and yours, and yours. We need to stress that the religious liberty we seek includes not just to keep Christianity from becoming "the" religion, but that we seek to keep any particular flavor of Christianity from becoming that religion. It means we believe in your right to believe what you want--and if you're Catholic, we don't think your local school shoud be leading Protestant prayers, and vice versa. Indeed, this was the genesis of religious freedom in this country in the first place.

We need to note the liberal meanings of religion--tolerance for your neighbor, caring for the poor and the sick. These are Christian values, and if those values coincide with liberal values, let's recognize that there may be a correlation there.

More than anything, though, we need to treat religion like any other dispute on issues of moral value, only less so. Reasonable people can disagree. But that doesn't mean that they're wrong, evil, or stupid, unless they take that belief and put it to use in a wrong, evil, or stupid way.

In short, we should respect people with other religious views, and demand respect across the board. Tolerance is a liberal value. And we forget that at our peril--because while those of us who are non-Christian can jabber all we want about how we're right and they're wrong, but the truth is this is still a majority Christian nation. And they've got more votes, and if we spend our time on insulting them then we will lose.

Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill.

So some English convert to Islam makes a threat on behalf of al Qaeda.

Well, maybe he did. After all, the article appeared in WorldNetDaily, which is slightly more reliable than the Washington Times, and slightly less reliable than the Weekly World News. And given the fact that it sounds like a rejected plot for the new Bond movie:

You cannot uncover or stop them except by letting them be carried out. Furthermore, the best you could do would be to accelerate the day of carrying out the operations. In other words, if we schedule the operation to take place tomorrow, the best you could do is to make it happen today.

I'm inclined to say nothing to see here, let's move along.

But not Jeff Goldstein. Yep, he's ready to Destroy All Arabs!

Sure, it’s a pointed barb at Atrios—but should the attacks described by Rakan Ben Williams take place, I don’t think the American left, the civil liberties right, or the international “peace” movement will be able to hold back a US public, backed by an administration with a documented willingness to use military force, from insisting on the kind of fierce retaliation that will send a very clear message to the Muslim world: your fantasies of a new Caliphate are just that; and should you continue with your war against our way of life, we have the capability of visiting upon you unprecedented—and terribly thorough—destruction.

That's right--if al Qaeda blows stuff up good, it's on to Tehran and/or Damascus and/or Detroit! (Hey, a lot of them in Detroit). But of course, that's not Jeff's plan--it's just what a rabid public would want, of course:

Don’t believe we’re capable? Look at how Americans reacted to the Dubai Port deal: seems the relentless news of “insurgent” attacks and American troop deaths—all in the service of bringing “these people” freedom—have had the effect of making the majority of Americans distrust all things Muslim. Even as the Eeeeevil Bushco has been pushing precisely the opposite message, whereby Islamic fanaticism is to be distinguished from mainstream Muslim faith.

Here's a thought: there's a difference for distrusting all things Muslim and desiring the destruction of all Muslims.

Here's another: if the Bush administration is pushing a message other than "brown people scare me," I've yet to see it.

And finally: if Iraq has taught us one thing, it's that simply hitting a Muslim country to hit a Muslim country is the dumbest possible thing we can do. Indeed, if going after the homes of terrorists is what we have to do, then I guess should al Qaeda pull this off we'll have to nuke London.

I mean, we'd just have to. The American people would demand it.

Monday, March 13, 2006
Fuck Bob Lieberman

I've given $10 to Ned Lamont, and this is exactly why. Joe Lieberman is as much a Democrat as Zell Miller. Dump him, Connecticut.

UPDATE: Looks like firedoglake is moving to a new, funky-fresh server, so the link's dead. Suffice to say that Bob Lieberman thinks there's no problem with hospitals denying emergency contraception to rape victims. I mean, why would there be?


Jews are indeed damned. Thanks, Jerry, for letting us know.

Happy Birthday to Me

Light posting today, am busy, it's the 2006 Tourney Blizzard, and it's my 32nd birthday.

Until then, nothing to see here...just global warming causing the slow demise of Minnesota's winter tourism industry....

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Rest in Hell

Slobo is dead. Nobody will miss him.

Friday, March 10, 2006
It's Hard for a Pimp

I don't usually cry racism, but shazam, this site all but says Harold Ford likes him some white women. But hey, all the GOP needs to win the African-American vote is vouchers. Well, that and to stop being racist. But that's crazy talk.

Friday Random Ten
Aspera! Per Aspera! Per Ardua! Ad Astra!

1. "Every Time It Rains," Randy Newman
2. "Working Undercover For The Man," They Might Be Giants
3. "32 Flavors (Live)," Ani DiFranco
4. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2
5. "Aspera," Erin McKeown
6. "Mr. Tambourine Man," William Shatner
7. "Children of Sanchez," Chuck Mangione
8. "Come to Jesus," Mindy Smith
9. "Jesus He Knows Me," Genesis
10. "6 String Belief," Son Volt

Thursday, March 09, 2006
Belgravia Dispatch Makes Jeff Goldstein Cry

Greg Djerejian joins the chorus of the shrill:

No, I don't think civil war is inevitable. But it's still very much a real possibility. And, frankly, blaming the horrible MSM, in the main, for this sorry state of affairs strikes me as the height of idiocy. Breathtakingly so. Did so awful MoDo fail to insert sufficient troops to maintain order after the fall of Saddam? Did Nick Kristof fail to adequately secure the Syrian border from foreign infiltrators? Did Paul Krugman drop the ball on adequacy of detention facilities/interrogation tactics and the first year or so of the training and equipping effort? And was it, I forget, Bob Herbert who failed to anticipate or game-plan an Iraqi insurgency? Look, have I reached George Will and William Buckley levels of frustration, ie. that the project is inevitably doomed to failure whatever we do? No, I haven't. But we are currently engaged in an effort fraught with massive difficulty and peril, one where I continue to be concerned that fresh thinking and leadership is urgently needed at the Pentagon. Focusing on the actual war leadership, rather than beating up on the media like fooolish hysterics, might just get us somewhere....

Greg, stop blaming Chimpy McHitlerburton! It's E. J. Dionne's fault, and we all know it!

(Via S,N!)

Bonds Uses Steroids?

The Onion has the shocking story:

According to hundreds of thousands of reports coming out of every city in the U.S., Bonds' steroid use has been widely reported and well-documented for years, with sports columnists, bloggers, people attending baseball games, memorabilia collectors, major ballpark popcorn and peanut vendors, groundskeepers, roommates, significant others, fathers-in-law, next-door neighbors, fellow fitness club members, bartenders, mailmen, coworkers, teachers, doormen, parking-lot attendants, fellow elevator passengers, Home Depot clerks, servicemen and women serving in Iraq, former baseball players, Congressmen, second-tier stand-up comics, Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly, and random passersby all having stated at some point in the last five years that Bonds was obviously taking some sort of performance-enhancing drugs.

Shocking. Simply shocking.

I'll Buy That for a Dollar!

Tbogg is writin' a book.

Happy Birthday, PZ!

He's spending it teaching high school students that God is dead. Or evolution. A horse apiece, I suppose.

He's a Liar

But at least he's not gay.

Absolute Moral Authority?

Mitch Berg has declared LTC Joe Reppya (yes, that Joe Reppya) to be the most moralestest person evah. But Mitch also thinks FOX News is overrun by liberals, so his judgement isn't all that good.

To Alcohol! The Cause Of--and Solution To--All Of Our Problems!

Finally got out to Drinking Liberally last night, and a swell time was had by all. I have now shaken the hand of PZ Myers, though I didn't get much of a chance to chat--the turnout was good. But I met the Martys and The Wege and a number of other genial liberal folk, and assuming I have a Wednesday without my daughter in the future, I may very well go back.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The Best Puckett Obit Going

I think Jeremy Derfner nails it here:

True, we don't know what really happened between Puckett and his accusers. Moreover, he was cleared of the sexual-assault charges brought against him (though it's clear the jurors didn't believe his story). For the most part, however, I have to admit that I believe he did what they say he did. So, what do you do when you find out your effervescent childhood hero is a violent, potentially evil man? You can repudiate him, forgive him, or try to compartmentalize and love the ballplayer while deploring his actions. I'm trying to do the latter.


Completely Unserious About Homeland Security

By executive order, George W. Bush has created a center for faith-based and community initiatives within the Department of Homeland Security.

Now, it would be easy to make jokes about this. So I will for just a moment. Excuse me.

Well, we've had to take Homeland Security on faith for some time now.

Next, they'll replace the colors in the Terror Alert System with Gold, Frankincence, and Myrrh.

Hey, if Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson came charging after you, wouldn't you be scared?

Great! Now when the terrorists strike, we can blame Jesus.

Okay, now that I've got that out of my system.

Really, even more than Portgate, this shows what little regard the Bush administration has for the actual war on terror, as opposed to the War on Terror Strawman, which primarily involves demonizing Democrats. The actual war on terror involves things like fighting terrorists, working with allies, securing ports, stuff like that.

Instead, the Bush administration is trying to expand its faith-based dogma to DHS, so that we can evidently hold pot luck dinners to buy radiation-detection equipment.

They don't care, folks. They don't care about the war on terror any more than they have to in order to win. For the Bushies, the War on Terror is about politics, and politics alone. And I'm tired of the President playing politics with our nation's security.



The Second Pig Had a Poll Made of Straw....

DFL Caucus Straw Poll, 75% Reporting (Percentage Reporting Only)

Governor (Pawlenty-R)
Attorney General Mike Hatch (DFL-Burnsville) 38.3%
State Sen. Becky Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) 22.7%
State Sen. Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins) 22.4%
Kelly Doran (DFL-Minnetonka) 6.4%
Ole Savior (DFL-Minneapolis) 0.3%
Uncommitted/Other 9.8%

Senate (Open--Dayton-DFL)
Hennepin County Atty. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Minneapolis) 76.9%
Ford Bell (DFL-Minneapolis) 15.9%
Uncommitted/Other 7.2%

Attorney General (Open--Hatch-DFL)
House Minority Leader Matt Entenza (DFL-St. Paul) 81.8%
Uncommitted/Other 18.1%

State Auditor (Anderson-R)
Fmr. State Rep. Rebecca Otto (DFL-Stillwater) 46.8%
Reggie Edwards (DFL-Mankato) 12.1%
Uncommitted/Other 41.1%

Secretary of State (Kiffmeyer-R)
Mark Ritchie (DFL-Minneapolis) 38.3%
Christian Sande (DFL-Minneapolis) 15.4%
Dick Franson (DFL-Minneapolis) 5.4%
Uncommitted/Other 40.9%


My first thought is that Ford Bell is toast. His only realistic shot at the nomination was to win the party's endorsement--or, failing that, make a very strong showing that "convinces" him to go for the run-off. That isn't going to happen. Even assuming Bell's supporters are significantly more committed and organized than Klobuchar's--a really questionable assumption, given the numbers--then you'd still be looking at only 25-30% of the vote at the convention and an easy first-ballot endorsement for Amy Klobuchar. Maybe the other 25% of the precincts are all from Ford Bell's living room, but unless they are, we can stop referring to this race as contested. It is not. Amy Klobuchar will be the nominee, and for the good of the party, Bell should run gallantly and pull out after the convention.

The governor's race is wide-open. Mike Hatch has a plurality of the vote, but hardly enough that he can be assured endorsement; assuming that Kelley and Lourie voters represent something of an anti-Hatch bloc, it's easy to see a scenario where the third-place finisher tosses the baton to the second-place finisher, denying Hatch the endorsement. That may not be a bad thing--I know that Lakeville is not representative of the DFL as a whole, but I thought Hatch's presence down here was surprisingly lackluster, especially given that Hatch comes from one suburb north. Doubtless he's working the Range again (Hatch was born in Duluth), but that's not going to cut it. Kelley and Lourie are in a virtual tie, with Lourie having the slight advantage at the moment; it's going to be a dogfight at the Senate/County level for delegates. As for Doran--look, I know Kelly Doran's strategy has always been to bypass the endorsement process, but when your DFL bona fides are questionable, you should at least pretend that you're seeking the endorsement. There wasn't a sign at my caucus site in territory that should be receptive to Doran's message. Finally, good to see Ole Savior's still alive.

The down-ballot races look somewhat interesting. Entenza's obviously going to be the nominee for Attorney General, and I'd suspect Otto will emerge for State Auditor. The Secretary of State's race lacks any heavy hitters, and consequentially a clear frontrunner (I suppose Mark Ritchie fills the role, but when Dick Franson tops 5%, you can't say anything for sure). At least there's no Buck Humphrey.

Finally, down here in the second, I was surprised that Sharon Marko didn't make some sort of appearance, at least with a lit drop. If your raison d'etre is that you're going to run hard--run hard. Still, at least she didn't have someone reading a seven-page "letter to caucus-goers" like Rowley did. Colleen, if you can't be somewhere, have someone get up, say, "9-11 Whistleblower. John Kline's a moron. 9-11 Whistleblower." Then have them sit down.

All in all, another swell night at the caucuses. It should get interesting from here.

UPDATE: PatMN has thoughts:

Hatch’s raising-of-the-nose at activists and the endorsement are obviously not playing well with DFLers. Lourey is the 2nd place finisher, though not by much. If trends continue, Lourey and Kelley are dead even. In short, this is bad news for Mike Hatch and good news for DFLers that want to win in November.

I tend to agree; I've noted before, I don't like Mike Hatch. I don't dislike him as much as I dislike Gov. Timmy--any of the DFLers would get my vote in November, even Ole Savior. But Hatch still has to convince me--and obviously, a number of others as well.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yes, it's caucus day. First off, if you're at all sane, please, go to your caucuses. DFLers, Republicans, Greens, and IPers all could stand the addition of smart, sane, non-crazy people, and if that describes you, go--especially if you're one of those people who thinks the parties are all out of touch.

If this is your first caucus, don't fret--these things are easy. You're a lock to move on as a delegate, and at this point, it's likely you won't even have to support a candidate. In the unlikely event you have to, setting yourself up as "Uncommitted/Uncommitted" for Governor and Senator should do the trick.

One word of advice--the die-hards tend to take caucuses far more seriously than, say, brain surgery or thermonuclear war. Don't let it faze you. It isn't.

As For Me...

At this point, I plan to go as a delegate for Steve Kelley, Amy Klobuchar, and Sharon Marko. Mike Hatch is probably more electable, and Kelly Doran is probably more my ideological counterpart. But Doran seems like an opportunist to me--the switch from senate to governor seems, well, odd to me. And Hatch--I just don't like Mike Hatch, and I swore after Kerry '04 that I'd never back a candidate based solely on electablility. I like Becky Lourey, but as a legislator; that leaves Kelley, who's solid. Bad news, Steve--in 1990, I would've backed Hatch over Perpich, in 1994, I backed Anyone But Marty, and in 1998 I cast my primary vote for Mike Freeman. Fecke jinx in full effect.

Amy Klobuchar gets the nod over Ford Bell in my book for a variety of reasons. She's a politician, first of all--she's run for and won races. That matters. She's a she, which isn't a major factor for me (see: Lourey, Becky), but as a good liberal is a tiebreaker. And she's more moderate than Bell, and at the end of the day, I am a moderate.

As for Marko, I know, it's heresy for me to support her over Colleen Rowley. Rowley's swell, she has great name recognition, but she hasn't really done a whole lot to convince me that she means to put up a strong fight. Look, the second is undoubtedly hostile territory for Democrats. If you're going to win, you have to work hard. Marko shows signs of understanding that.

Batting Third, the Right Fielder, Number 34....

Kirby Puckett was not a perfect man. He was flawed in the way so many professional athletes--and for that matter, men in general--are. His reputation, which had been flawless in this town, was tarnished somewhat by these revelations; we wanted Kirby to be as flawless off the field as he was on it, as good a person in private as he seemed to be in public.

No, Kirby was flawed like everyone else, perhaps a bit more, perhaps a bit less. But much as we may wish our sports heroes to be the people we want them to be, in the end, what they owe us is to perform on the field of play--to hustle, to try their best, to work as hard as they can, to win.

By that measure, there can be no doubt--Kirby Puckett gave everything he had to the game of baseball and the fans in Minnesota, and his too-short twelve-year career gave Minnesota its greatest moments in sport in its history, and the greatest athlete ever to grace a Minnesota sports franchise--Bronko Nagurski and George Mikan notwithstanding.

As we look back on Kirby Puckett's career, fans can't help but remember the first-pitch, bottom-of-the-eleventh home run in game six of the '91 world series--a dramatic punctuation mark in a game Puckett willed his team to win. Perhaps others will remember more the catch Puck made against the wall to rob Ron Gant of extra bases to send the game into extra innings.

But for me, the memory I'll always have of Puckett was of the thousands of times he grounded out. He never lollygagged, never jogged to first on a routine grounder. He ran it out, hard, every time. Maybe the shortstop bobbles the ball, or throws wide. You never know.

He played the game hard, like it was meant to be played, like he actually cared about more than what his contract guaranteed or who was offering him what endorsement deal. He gave everything he could for his team and his town, and that's all we as fans can ask.

Kirby Puckett died last night at the age of 45. Thanks, Kirby. Touch 'em all.

Monday, March 06, 2006
Pictures of Pandas Painting Pictures

The Editors have noticed the ineffable stupidity of the wingnutty professor:

The press had better hope we win this war, because if we don’t, a lot of people will blame the media. […]
Others write that if we lose the war it won’t be the press’s fault, but the fault of Chimpy McHitlerburton. Well, maybe. But even so, that won’t change the fact that a press that looks in many ways as if it’s rooting for defeat won’t make an appealing scapegoat for a lot of people. Given the press’s concern for how it’s perceived in various communities, you’d think it would care enough to avoid being perceived as unpatriotic by the patriotic-American community. Yet the exquisite sensitivity that we see in other settings is not so apparent here.

Dang liberals! Blaming the President for a war he started and prosecuted in conjunction with a Congress controlled by his own party. How could they, when clearly it's all the media's fault?

My God, it's full of stars stupidity!
Or as The Editors say:
The idea the President of the United States may bear the actual responsibility for the failure of this war, while possibly true, is dismissed with a wave. The real problem is that (with the active encouragement of people like Glenn Reynolds some people may perceive that the press is to blame … because the press made others perceive the wrong perception of the war! We’ve moved from images now to images of images of images. Very meta. It’s hard to imagine how the wingnuts can place still less value on reality, but they always seem to manage.

Reality, schmeality. We have always been at war with East Asia Eurasia. We love Big Brother.

Step by Step, Heart to Heart, Left Right Left, We All Fall Down....

Like toy soldiers.

What He Said

My friend Don's heterosexual man-crush on George Clooney will only deepen thanks to this.

Don't Want Kids? Don't Have Sex.

That may be a good line to use on fifteen-year-olds. Though I was fifteen, and I don't think I would've thought things through that well.

But it's the dumbest thing ever to suggest to married adults. Amanda sums up better than I can:

That last sentence there made me nearly spit out my drink in astonishment. Nothing is going to happen? Nothing? I’m trying to imagine the average woman telling her husband or boyfriend that she’s done with sex now that she’s had as many children as she wants, and whether or not that would result in nothing happening.

Well, no! Duh, he'd go get a mistress. 'Cause that's good for marriage. And she'd be sexually unfulfilled forever. But she's a woman, so who cares?

Once more, with feeling: sex is generally a good thing. Like any good thing, from fire to single-malt scotch to the internet to chocolate malts to interior decorating, it can be overdone and it can have unfortunate consequences.

But the fact that sex has consequences sometimes doesn't mean it is something that must be avoided unless one wants a child. Especially since I don't often hear that argument being made to men.

Is Hindrocket Nuts?

I think that's an affirmative. (Incidentally, given the chance to correct the record--he didn't. Yay, self-correcting blogosphere!)

Friday, March 03, 2006
TMV: Heckuva Job, Brownie

Well, in fairness to Brownie, he certainly seemed to be a tad more engaged than Dear Leader. That doesn't mean he was the right guy for the job--he wasn't. But it does mean that we should remember that in this administration, the person least competent in his job is the one who we "re"elected in 2004.

The New Timmy Slogan!

From Mr. Sponge: "He's a nice guy; we'll let it slide." Well, it worked for Bush in 2004.

In Which Mitch Berg Departs from Reality

Damn, but it's hard when everything you've said in the last three years turns out to be wrong. Mitch Berg is at that point, and it never shows more than in this comment:

I caught the Fox reference. Fox *news* is not a whole lot farther to the right than ABC.

As Jonathan Swift once noted, "you can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into." At this point, about all that's left for Mitch by way of news coverage is to watch Steven Colbert unironically and listen to the Hugh Hewitt show. That's what happens when reality gets so bad that even FOX can't rescue it.

Whatcha Gonna Do When Roger L. Simon Comes for You?

Ooh, that wascally MSM! They cover Robert Byrd and don't talk about his membership in a certain organization:

Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of the Senate, counts only a few regrets in his 47-year career: filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act, voting to expand the Vietnam War and backing airline deregulation....

Only a "few" regrets indeed. Missing from this article is the biggest one all of all - membership in the Ku Klux Klan. That's like leaving out membership in the Nazi Party. How do we take these people seriously?

Yeah! Pwned! Never once in an article on Byrd's regrets about his 47 years in political office did they mention that he belonged to the KKK. Bias!

Oh, I suppose it could also be because Byrd left the KKK at least 55 years ago, and certainly before he ran for office for the first time. That would make it not exactly part of his career. But that would be crazy talk!

(Incidentally, I'm far from a Robert Byrd fan, and his experience with the KKK was shameful and despicable. But come on.)

Nothing to See Here

Just the Antarctic ice sheet melting:

The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, according to scientists using data from a pair of satellites orbiting the globe. This is the first time scientists have been able to survey the entire ice blanket. The study confirms prior studies that the sheet is melting.

The Antarctic ice sheet is responsible for 90 percent of the world's ice. Studies over the past several years have showed that the sheet is losing mass, causing a rise in global sea surface levels.

But the conclusions have been reached based on snapshots of parts of the ice blanket, such as its thinning edges.

I know, by writing this I contribute to the belief that global warming may be real, thus handing our enemies (the liberals) a victory. I apologize.

Friday Random Ten
I Was Once Misinformed About Your Intentions

1. "Misinformed," Soul Coughing
2. "No Holdin' Back," Tina and the B-Sides
3. "Wish You Were Here," Ryan Adams
4. "Violent Mood Swings (Thread Mix)," Stabbing Westward
5. "Boys," Ryan Adams
6. "To the Teeth (Live)," Ani DiFranco
7. "Kill the Sexplayer," Girls Against Boys
8. "Fast As I Can," Erin McKeown
9. "Army," Ben Folds Five
10. "Straightaways," Son Volt