John Kerry at Pasadena City College:
You know, education—if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq
The reaction has rightly been furious. From John McCain:
Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country’s call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education. Americans from all backgrounds, well off and less fortunate, with high school diplomas and graduate degrees, take seriously their duty to our country, and risk their lives today to defend the rest of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service. The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night. Without them, we wouldn’t live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks.
From Senator David Vitter:
I was dismayed to hear your recent comments about our military men and women in Iraq, suggesting that they are stuck there because they’re uneducated, perhaps because they didn’t work hard at their studies. I write to demand an immediate apology from you in light of those comments.
On October 30, 2006 at an appearance in California on behalf of Phil Angelides’ Governor Campaign, your comments were truly despicable and offensive. It’s a slap in the face of all of our intelligent, dedicated, brave men and women in the military. Of course, there are many of these from Louisiana, whom I have the honor to represent. I take particular offense on behalf of them.
I interact with our fine military regularly, particularly those from Louisiana. I’m always struck by their courage, dedication, AND intelligence. It’s an objective fact that our military today is better educated and trained than ever before. In light of this obvious reality, your comments suggest that either you don’t interact with today’s military in any significant way or, even more troubling; you have a basic and deep-seated contempt for them.
They aren’t stupid, uneducated, or lazy. They’re heroes. And they deserve your immediate apology.
John Kerry’s response to his critics (H/T):
Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions
Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”
My suggestion for the next Republican campaign ad? Put a clip of John Kerry’s recent comment, have McCain respond, then show John Kerry’s response to McCain.
Hubbard posted this at 5:20 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 as Amer-I-Can!, George Bush Rules!, Politics
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Who works harder?
She said the connection to football is relevant to her campaign because through sports, her father, Ray Akins, taught her a strong work ethic that she would bring to a career as a judge.
She’s been a lawyer for 27 years, but thinks it necessary to point out that her father was a football coach before people will believe that she has a work ethic. Does this say more about lawyers, athletes, or Texans?
Apollo posted this at 4:13 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 as Amer-I-Can!
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One of the disadvantages non-conservatives–or at least those who choose to be ignorant of history (i.e. media types)–have is that they see a phenomenon and presume that it is something new under the sun. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Sebastian Mallaby’s column in the Post, which is, on a pretty frequent basis, a vacuous analysis of a non-pressing issue completely bereft of history. Yesterday Mallaby saw Americans’ decline in trust.
In the 1990s, after academics and pundits began talking about trust, the nation did actually become more trusting. The share of Americans saying they trust government “most of the time” or “just about always” rose from 21 percent in 1994 to 56 percent in 2002.
I remember this polling data, though I cannot find it online and Mallaby unhelpfully does not cite a polling firm. But it had jack crap to do with the 90s or “academics and pundits,” and everything to do with 9/11. It was part of the public reaction, back when the president’s polling numbers spiked to 92%.
Equally, elections became less abrasively focused on accountability. In 2000, according to John Geer of Vanderbilt University, a relatively low 40 percent of the messages in presidential TV spots were negative, down from 47 percent four years earlier.
Mallaby, you doofus! How can you possibly analyze stuff this much out of context? In 1996 there was an incumbent president with a mixed record, so of course the election focused on “accountability.” In 2000, there wasn’t an incumbent, and the closest thing to an incumbent (Algore) had a record that Bush didn’t particularly want to highlight. Moreover, Bush had a record as governor that Gore didn’t particularly want to highlight. It’s difficult to attack your opponent when people like what your opponent did, and chalking this up to “academics and pundits” “talking about trust” and creating a more trusting society is so much poppycock.
But some time after the Iraq invasion, these trends reversed. In 2004 the share of Americans saying they trusted government fell to 47 percent, and this month a CBS News-New York Times poll put it at a rock-bottom 28 percent.
You’d think that when someone used the phrase “rock bottom” they would mean, well, “rock bottom.” But if 28% is “rock bottom,” what was the 21% back in 1994 that Mallaby mentions in the same frickin’ graph? Rock bottomer? Just because Mallaby can’t remember 1996, I guess he presumes that his readers can’t remember what they read two sentences earlier.
There’s an intersting comparison here: Four years of the supposed disastrous debacle in Iraq dropped trust to 28%, but two years of Democrat-controlled government (1993-1994) dropped trust to 21%. As bad as people might view Congress and government now, it doesn’t approach how badly they viewed it before the Republicans took over. For all of the ravings about the evils of Bushism, it’s taken six years of Bush and a Republican Congress to drive voters to the point where they might give the Democrats a small majority in one house. After two years of Clinton with a Democrat Congress, there was a swing in both houses much larger than anything people are predicting today. A president in his sixth year nearly always loses seats. F. Roosevelt lost 80 House seats and 6 Senate seats in 1938. Truman lost 30/5 in 1950. Ike lost 48/13 in 1958. Clinton gained 4 House seats, which was strange, but so was his loss of 1994. If you follow that chart I linked (scroll down to find the partisan balance in Congress since the 40th Congress), you’ll see that sixth year losses happened also to Reagan (1986), Wilson (1918), and Grant (1874)–who was the last president before Wilson to face a true 6th year election. Pretty much Clinton was the only one to avoid it, but since Congress still maintained nearly the exact same partisan balance as after the 1994 election (between 1995 and 1999, Republicans gained 3 in the senate and lost 7 in the house), it was hardly a ringing endorsement.
Sixth year losses happen. It’s why I’m not too bothered about the upcoming sixth year loss, and–for conservatives thinking that not voting Republican will “send a message”–it’s why a lot of Republican insiders, after a few weeks of recriminations, will mostly blow the loss off as “something that happens.” Democracies are finicky creatures.
Apollo posted this at 9:53 AM CDT on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 as Conservatism, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Interesting quiz. Perhaps I’m in the wrong line of work.
Hubbard posted this at 3:27 PM CDT on Monday, October 30th, 2006 as Belles Lettres, Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
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Some wit once noted that the love that dare not speak its name has become the issue that won’t shut up. I’ve seen several variants of this, and can’t remember who came up with it first, but it’s still an appropriate summation of gay rights and the courts. I haven’t had time to study the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling, but it sounds inflammatory. I suspect that voters as a whole have mixed feelings about gay people, which explains the muddled policy towards us. But voters have unambiguous feelings about court imposed orders: they hate them. It’s why going through the courts may well be counterproductive to gay equality.
My own suggestion, in regard to courts, is a sort of benign neglect. Fighting court cases isn’t going to change hearts, so let that front die down. Instead, try for gradual change through legislation and referenda. I’m particularly interested in seeing what happens in Colorado this election cycle. There’s no state that’s a perfect microcosm of the nation as a whole, but Colorado comes pretty close: articulate conservatives in Colorado Springs, articulate liberals in Boulder and Denver, close partisan balance. Amendment 43 and Referenda I are both on the ballot:
Colorado voters can decide next Tuesday whether to support a constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage or an initiative allowing same-sex couples to register as domestic partners.
The measures, which at first glance appear to cancel each other out, are actually legally compatible, said lawyers and political analysts.
Amendment 43, the marriage amendment, says that marriage is only between one man and one woman, with no mention of same-sex relationships. Referendum I would establish legal domestic partnerships for same-sex couples, but states that such an arrangement “is not a marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman.”
In other words, both could become law without the added drama of a protracted court battle, a likely scenario given that both are now leading narrowly in the polls.
I’m hoping for more Colorado style initiatives.
Hubbard posted this at 10:36 AM CDT on Monday, October 30th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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I promised not to gloat about the Cardinals’ world championship, and indeed I won’t. This, for obvious reasons, will be my last post about baseball for a while. But I think there’s a story of justice here that I don’t expect anyone else to make.
The Cardinals only lost one game in the World Series, game two when Kenny Rogers absolutely shut them out. Rogers was unbelievable throughout the playoffs, finishing with an uninterupted string of 23 shutout innings. However, in his game against the Cardinals, in the first inning the cameras caught a strange brown substance on his pitching hand. Pretty much everyone not cheering for Detroit could tell that he had pine tar on his hand, which in baseball is cheating. Had the Cardinals’ manager, Tony La Russa, requested it, the umpires could have searched him and, finding the obvious, ejected him from the game (and suspended him for 10 days, effectively removing the Tigers’ most effective pitcher from the Series). Instead, between innings La Russa brought it up to the umpires, without formally requesting that they search Rogers. The umpires then told Kenny Rogers to wash his hand. He did, and then without the assistance of pine tar he threw seven more shutout innings against the Cardinals. He was dominant with the pine tar, and he was dominant without it. Many Cardinals fans were upset that La Russa didn’t press the issue, but La Russa didn’t want to win a world championship by appealing to the rulebook. He wanted to win by beating the Tigers, and he did the right thing.
Regardless, everyone knew that he was a cheater. Flash forward to tonight’s game five. With the Tigers facing elimination, they should have had their best pitcher on the mound, and Rogers was fully rested. But the game was in St. Louis, and everyone knew that the 46,000 Cardinal fans on hand would be unrelenting in their jeering against Rogers. Having been a Cardinals fan for many long years, I have only see them really get on to one visiting player (Ron Gant, who played for the Cardinals for three years and then made a ridiculous accusation of racism against La Russa after the team let him go). Still, with a championship on the line and a cheater on the mound, there’s no doubt in my mind that every time Rogers missed the strike zone the crowd would have eruptted in raucous cheer and every called strike would have been met with ground-shaking boos. Only a pitcher of rare psychological makeup could survive the treatment Rogers would have received had he taken the mound tonight, and Rogers does not have such a makeup.
So the Tigers went with another pitcher, who pitched well but not well enough. Tony La Russa didn’t have Rogers thrown out of game two, but he effectively had him removed from game five. And now the Cardinals have a shiny new trophy, and Kenny Rogers will have a cloud hanging over him every time he pitches.
Sounds fair to me.
Apollo posted this at 1:03 AM CDT on Saturday, October 28th, 2006 as Philosophy
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…blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.
Well, at least that’s what WaPo’s Joel Garreau seems to be singing. Though when his mind broke, there wasn’t much knowledge to spill out, providing another data point for my comment a couple days ago that, “Most media types haven’t a clue about what happened pre-Vietnam.” This piece is so dumb they had to print it in the Style section to keep it away from knowledgable eyes.
The U.S. is building an unmilitarized fence on the Mexican border to control the flow of immigration. What does Garreau compare this to? The Great Wall, Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, the Maginot Line, the Nazis’ Atlantic Wall. Obviously Garreau has no clue a) the difference between a military wall and a non-military wall, b) the fact that some military walls have different purposes (the Great Wall and Hadrians to keep out barbarian raiders, the Maginot Line and Atlantic Wall to keep out massive armies), c) the scope of history. His graph on the Great Wall:
Starting 2,200 years ago, Chinese dynasties built walls to keep the Mongols at bay. The most famous of these is the Great Wall, which is twice as long as the U.S.-Mexico border. It did not prevent the Manchu from conquering China in 1644.
1,600 years of success sounds pretty good to me. If building the border wall means that the Mexicans may conquor us some time around the year 3600, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall across 74 miles of what is now northern England to keep the tribes from Scotland in their place. This did not prevent the Romans from eventually abandoning this outpost of empire.
I’ll insert the words that are missing from the end of this graph: “after 250 mostly peaceful years.” The Roman Empire didn’t fall because Hadrian’s wall failed, Hadrian’s wall failed because the Roman Empire fell. If the Romans could have held the rest of the empire together, they could have held Hadrian’s wall indefinately.
Once walls existed to keep one culture from taking over another culture, but in this case, that battle has long since been lost by both sides. There is a broad swath of North America from the Pacific to the Gulf, and from Denver to very deep into Northern Mexico — as far as Cabo San Lucas and San Luis Potosi — where it is increasingly difficult to know where abstractions like the United States and Mexico begin and end.
Obviously Mr. Garreau does not do much travelling along the border. Standing in El Paso looking at the hillside slums of Juarez, or standing in San Diego looking at the hillside slums of Tijuana, I could pinpoint the exact location of the border. There’s a line, and on one side is prosperity and modernity, democracy and mass immigration. On the other side is poverty and antiquated technology, cities run by drug cartels and mass emmigration. If Mr. Garreau cannot figure out where these “abstractions” begin or end, 12 million illegal immigrants did not have a problem.
So far as I’m concerned, his final graph takes the cake:
According to the book of Joshua in the Bible, Jericho was a city of walls. When determined enough people challenged them, they came tumbling down.
Er, I’m guessing Mr. Garreau does not attend Sunday school on a weekly basis. There are two assertions in this sentence. The first, that Jericho was a walled city, is explicitly attributed to the Bible, but is actually an archeological fact. The second, which is implicitly attributed to the Bible, is a seemingly Marxist interpetation of an historical account found only in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t explicitly say that God tore down the walls, but I’ve never heard anyone actually suggest that a lot of people shouting at walls would cause them to collapse. Certainly if “determined enough people” shouting (sans divine intervention) were a workable weapon against walls, this tactic would have become pretty common, since walls were a significant obstacle in the ancient world. But Mr. Garreau excludes God completely from the story and says that the people tore the walls down. People power is not the moral of Joshua at Jericho.
A couple of thoughts on the bizarre border fence-Jericho connection: 1) If the Mexicans are “determined enough” to destroy our fence that they stand in the desert shouting at it, that’s a risk I’m willing to take; 2) If God actively sides with the Mexicans to knock down our fence with an obvious exertion of divine power, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the destruction of the fence will not be our most serious concern. Yet another risk I’m willing to take.
I suggest you read the whole WaPo article, if only to reinforce to you the sort of ignorant drivel that can pass for journalism so long as you put it in the Style section.
Apollo posted this at 3:55 PM CDT on Friday, October 27th, 2006 as Journalism
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My Cardinals are now up 3 games to 1 in the World Series. When last I mentioned this here, The Anchoress gently reminded me of the conventional wisdom: “The Tigers are going to eat the Cardinals for breakfast. A sweep in four, says I!”
Oh how four games have changed it all. Watching the games, the Cardinals are playing much better baseball (pitching, hitting, defense) than the Tigers. Since it is unseemly to gloat after a victory, I thought I should mention this all now before the Series is over. ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski had a nice conclusion to sum up the shock of the Cardinals’ performance:
As assorted media members waited in the interview room for Looper to finish out the ninth [in game three], a well-known national baseball writer (sorry, no names) muttered, “I can’t believe the Cardinals are going to win the World Series.”
He’s not alone. Neither can the Tigers.
Wojciechowski again today:
All those not living within the shadow of the Gateway Arch raise your hands if you thought the Cardinals would be leading this Series 3-1 after four games. Raise your hands if you even thought the Cardinals would have a win in this series after four games.
The shadow of the Arch does not quite reach to Virginia, so I’ll go ahead and raise my hand. After watching the way the Cardinals played in that amazing series against the Mets–with heart, doggedness, precision, and good pitching–I knew that this team had something that previous Cardinals playoff teams (see 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) did not. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell best summed it up:
Call me crazy. Call me a homer. All I know is that the Redbirds have been defying odds all October, so why fight the feeling?
The Anchoress’s prediction was not the only one that was off. She at least has the excuse that she doesn’t earn her living writing about baseball. Of the 10 “experts” ESPN asked to predict the World Series winner, 8 of them are already wrong because they picked the Cardinals to win fewer than 3 games (5 picked the redbirds to win fewer than 2). Only one picked the Cardinals to win. Back in the series with the Mets, 5 out of 5 people for ESPN picked the Mets.
But if you go back to ESPN’s original picks at the beginning of the playoffs, you’ll find an astounding level of incorrectitude. 19 people, eaching picking the winner of four series. So that’s a total of 76 picks, of which they got 18 correct. That’s less than one per “expert.” 7 (out of 19) “experts” accomplished the statistically difficult (1 out of 16, if selected at random) feat of getting all four series wrong. Not a single person picked the Tigers to beat the Yankees, and a single “expert” picked the Cardinals to win their first round.
So, Anchoress, don’t feel bad that the Tigers are choking on their breakfast. It seems that no one saw it coming. Except for me, of course.
Apollo posted this at 12:36 PM CDT on Friday, October 27th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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Elections are not the wholly-owned domain of democracies. Communist countries quite famously have sham elections; Saddam Hussein was several times reelected as the president of Iraq. Yassir Arafat was also legitimized through a sham process called an election. The Communist dictaroship in North Korea fits both the words “Democratic” and “Republic” into its official name, even though it is patently neither. My point here is that we can throw around words like election and democracy and never mean them.
This is worth remembering today as we read the borderline facetious (I can only presume) reactions to yesterday’s New Jersey supreme court decision and its supposed “third way.” Take this line from an editorial in the Post:
The New Jersey legislature has not — as was the legislature in Massachusetts after its court acted in 2003 — been denied the democratic prerogative of deciding state policy on this question.
Oh, well then. The people’s representatives get to decide the name of something, but the courts will dictate the rules of it. That’s really a meaningful “democratic preogative.” The court is getting lots of credit for not explicitly redefining marriage to include same-sex couples; an honest appraisal, though, is that they’ve
redefined created a definition of same-sex couple that means “married.” That same-sex marriage advocates are trying to sell this as something other than same-sex-marriage-by-judicial-fiat tells us more about such advocates than it does about the actual decision. If a drill sergent tells a recruit, “Lower yourself to a horizontal plane and use your arms to elevate your body twenty times to a position parallel with the ground,” only someone being facetious would tell the recruit, “At least he didn’t tell you to do twenty pushups.” But now the Post is, with apparent straight-face, telling us just that. “A court’s order on same-sex partnerships leaves plenty of room for democratic decisions,” the Post’s subtitle tells us. Uh huh, so long as you agree with the court that same-sex couples are equal to different-sex couples. Value judgement are for judges, democracy is for applying names to the results of judges’ value judgements.
Again from the Post:
No reasonable reading of this decision could argue for, say, changing Virginia’s constitution to ban same-sex marriages that are already illegal there or for adding a noxious amendment to the federal Constitution. It argues only for letting the residents of New Jersey digest what their court has said and decide how best to make same-sex couples equal under the law.
A reasonable reading of this decision for an opponent of same-sex marriage is: If a) your state constitution has any sort of phrase that a creative lawyer might be able to interpret as an equal protection clause, b) your state does not actively discriminate against homosexuals, and c) the judges in your state are lawyers (meaning they have the pompous, anti-democratic, overly logical tendencies that so often come from being a lawyer), then you damn well better have a constitutional amendment explicitly barring same-sex marriage. The decision made exactly this point:
There is no rational basis for, on the one hand, giving gays and lesbians full civil rights in their status as individuals, and, on the other, giving them an incomplete set of rights when they follow the inclination of their sexual orientation and enter into committed same-sex relationships.
“Full civil rights in their status as individuals” is an exceptionally broad phrase. A reasonable interpretation of that sentence is, “Are not explicitly denied normal civil rights the way felons and soldiers are.” But since Lawrence v. Texas, I’m not sure if states can discriminate against homosexuals. So, in essence, with this sentence the court would put states into an implicit catch 22. “If you don’t actively discriminate against homosexuals as individuals, then there’s no rational basis for discriminating against them as couples. And if you discriminate against them as individuals…oh, you can’t do that because of Lawrence. So now there’s no rational basis for not recognizing same-sex couples. Thanks for playing.”
The New Jersey Supreme Court made a powerful argument for voting yes on Amendment 1 here in Virginia. Before yesterday I was on the fence, which means I would have voted against the amendment–why change something if you’re not sure? Well now I’m sure: Yes on 1.
Apollo posted this at 12:05 PM CDT on Thursday, October 26th, 2006 as I, For One, Welcome Our Judicial Overlords!
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As usual Olberman’s rhetoric outstrips his grasp of the facts.
Watch the video and try and pick out which part of history he missed. In talking about the suspension of Habeas Corpus I find it very odd that Olberman sees fit to omit the only time in American history that the Writ of Habeas Corpus was ever suspended – Lincoln during the Civil War. Curious, no?
In truth I am sympathetic with Olberman here, even though I despise his overblown rhetoric and casual misuse of history. I do not think that the current situations meets the necessary conditions to allow the suspension of one of the most fundamental constitutional rights. However, the fact that Olberman deliberately omitted a key historical fact is inexcusable. I’m sure he did it for the most vital, most urgent and most inescapable of reasons but it is still always wrong. You words are lies, Mr. Oblerman, and they would imperil us all – that is if anyone watched your network.
Oh, that liberal media.
Jamie posted this at 10:31 AM CDT on Thursday, October 26th, 2006 as Dirty Hippies, Journalism
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“Not since the medieval church baptized, as it were, Aristotle as some sort of early — very early — church father has there been an intellectual hijacking as audacious as the attempt to present America’s principal founders as devout Christians. Such an attempt is now in high gear among people who argue that the founders were kindred spirits with today’s evangelicals, and that they founded a ‘Christian nation,’” – George F. Will, New York Times 10/22/06.
With rhetoric like this George is fast on track to becoming a Christ-punching, Cindy Sheehan loving, member of the far left. Except, he’s George F. Will and all you “conservatives” can suck it. (sorry, I’m just no where near as eloquent as George.)
Jamie posted this at 5:36 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 as Conservatism, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Another fire alarm, another leisurely 10-minute stroll down the stairs thanks to slow government employees. In the event of an actual disaster, I’d put my odds of survival at 50/50.
Apollo posted this at 10:31 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 as Ourselves
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Thomas Sowell is a writer of rare insight, and I am pleased to see that NRO has started publishing his syndicated column. That makes my life a few clicks easier.
That said, he is not a particularly gifted stylist. Which is unfortunate. Sometimes he makes points quite eloquently, other times not so much. In his column today, he makes the point that, since the Democrats aren’t really campaigning for anything, a Democrat victory will be the equivalent of giving them a blank check. Also, he argues, the Democrats are incapable of dealing with the international crises because their first, last, and only instinct is to negotiate. By the end of the essay, this all comes together in one of the strangest political images I’ve seen a writer use:
This is no longer about hawks and doves. It is about ostriches who bury their heads in the sand — and about those voters who are prepared to give a blank check to ostriches.
Er, excuse me? Wouldn’t an ostrich–presuming it took its head out of the sand–eat the blank check? Or at worst drop it on the ground? Which, come to think about it, may actually be a pretty good metaphor for what the Democrats will do with a victory.
Apollo posted this at 4:04 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 as Politics and the English Language
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As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m always amused by people making observations about how one side wins elections without really winning elections. I noted the “small state” myth about the Republican majority. I see another classic trope on Andrew Sullivan’s site today, where he says the following:
The key to the narrow Republican victories in the past three election cycles has been increasing turnout among [rural] voters. Bush and Rove haven’t persuaded, in other words. They’ve mobilized.
Oh, okay. I will freely admit that Sullivan’s mind is vastly more subtle than my own, so perhaps I’m just an ignorant country bumpkin because I don’t see the distinction between “persuading” someone to vote for you and “mobilizing” someone to vote for you. Sure, I guess “mobilizing” has all sorts of mechanistic and militaristic overtones, but perhaps that’s more of a sign that the word is inaccurately applied to voting than it is a sign that small cadres of Bushbots are somehow outvoting the vast Democrat majority.
If you persuade someone that you’re right but don’t persuade them to vote for you, you haven’t actually persuaded him so much as you’ve made him tired of arguing with you.
Apollo posted this at 3:40 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 as Politics and the English Language
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Richard Cohen has a rather frivolous op-ed in the Post today about the frivolous idea of a Barack Obama presidential campaign. I don’t really want to get into that idea, but Cohen’s last paragraph is worth commenting on:
In some respects — in the Roman way of cursus honorum — an Obama candidacy would be a joke. He has no executive experience, and I don’t know — neither does he — if he can make a decision. But if he could sharpen the focus of the other candidates about Iraq, if he could somehow disengage the United States from Iraq — if he could, in other words, stop wasting American (and other) lives — then his candidacy would hardly be an insult to the system, as some insist, but a gift.
Wasted lives? When we decided to stop “wasting” lives defending our South Vietnamese allies, the Communists massacred 850,000 of them. And then the Khmer Rouge had a free hand to kill a few million Cambodians. In our decade in Vietnam, we lost 60,000 men. Had we lost another 60,000 preventing the post-war attrocities, would those lives have been wasted?
There are good men fighting and dying for freedom in Iraq. A lot of them are Americans (despite Cohen’s laughable jibe at “eight years of George W. Bush and his narcissistic foreign policy — me, me, us, us –”), and a lot of them are Iraqis. Even if Iraq is in a civil war, that does not mean that both sides are equally tyrannical, or equally bad for America’s interests. These lives are not being wasted.
Lives would be wasted, however, if we took the truly narcissistic path and abandoned our Iraqi allies in the face of fewer than 3,000 dead, and we left unchecked violence in our wake. Right now there is no group of men better at killing terrorists than the battle-hardened American soldiers in Iraq. For us to bring the soldiers home and sit out the rest of this fight would be as calamitous for Iraq as our retreat from Vietnam was for South Vietnam and Cambodia.
Apollo posted this at 9:47 AM CDT on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 as Iraq
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