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(July 25, 2005)

You are viewing the archives for September 2008

If accusations of vote fraud don't work

Sep 28, 2008 by libjpn | 4 Comments
Dino Rossi, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who claimed voter fraud was responsible for his loss in the earlier race, has a new trick, where he lists his affiliation as GOP instead of Republican. Someone tell me why this isn't as slimy as it looks?

What we have here...

Sep 28, 2008 by libjpn | 2 Comments
Is an obituary for Paul Newman. The movie Cars is now on the DVD rotation at the LJ house (if you have kids, you know what I mean) and hearing Newman's voice is going to be a bit harder.

Nate Silver and

Sep 26, 2008 by libjpn | Add comment
Maybe all of you know this site, but I discovered it 2 weeks ago and it's been a site that I go to every day. Their motto is Electoral Projections Done Right, and they certainly do that. Check it out,

Well for all you folks who do want to talk about economics

Sep 24, 2008 by DaveC | 114 Comments
I'm a supporter of the idea of an "ownership society". I think that owning a home and having equity in it is a great idea. It makes you credit-worthy if you keep up your payments. It is cheaper than renting, if you expect to be in one place more than five years. When we bought our first house, we benefited from an FHA loan with less than a 10% down payment, probably 7 - 8%. But when the mortgages got really cheap and easy, I opted to keep mine in the credit union at a higher interest rate, but with automatic payents. I didn't buy into a house that I could barely to make payments on, and I weathered unemployment for 7 months. An odd but fortuitous  feature of the credit union mortgage was that I paid principal, but no interest during that time (Yay! for the higher interest but more safety features.) . But other people bought houses to "flip", consolidated all of their debt into mortgages with no equity, or "bought up" expecting housing prices to keep rising. All of these strategies were pitched by television and radio commercials. Did commercial advertising lead to a 21st century "Tulip Mania"? What can you do, ban all commercials that appeal to peoples' greed?

Get a liberal philosophy

Sep 22, 2008 by libjpn | 3 Comments

Well, for all you folks who don't want to talk economics

One of the ur struggles of the interwubs is the Mac vs PC and the ur-struggle at the mothership is liberalism vs conservatism. So, this take on the Mac vs PC is quite interesting

But the concept reflects the actual business that Apple is in. Apple does not sell operating systems. They sell computers. Microsoft does not sell computers; they sell operating systems. (Apple’s boxed $129 versions of Mac OS X are just upgrades; they only work on computers that Apple has already sold.) Apple and Microsoft are undeniably engaged in one of the longest running and most interesting rivalries in business history, but it is very odd in that it is an orthogonal rivalry. Apple’s direct competition isn’t Microsoft but instead PC makers who sell computers running Windows.

This is not a minor semantic point. There is no argument that the single most distinguishing difference between a Mac and a PC is the OS. The genius in the conceit of Apple’s ads is that they acknowledge this without making Windows the target. They do so by diminishing Windows. Windows is just one element of what it is that makes PC (the character) who he is. The ads are neutral, sometimes even deferential, towards Microsoft. Vista is mocked, but several of the spots have emphasized how Microsoft Office works just great on a Mac. In at least one of the ads, Long’s Mac character even makes it a point that he can run Windows just as well as PC can, via Boot Camp.

Well, being a machead and a liberal, I'm obviously not a neutral commentator, but the point of an orthogonal rivalry is pretty interesting. I've argued that 'liberals' are often more 'conservative' than conservatives, in that they are often interested in preserving various aspects of culture, and end up arguing that free-markets often run over things that need to be preserved. So I'd suggest that liberals often don't have problem being conservative, but conservatives have a hard time being liberal, which is kinda the situation between Mac and Windows. Whatcha think?


A scoresheet for you

Sep 21, 2008 by libjpn | Add comment

I've argued that people claiming libertarian credentials have to be examined closely, because, I suggest, their espousing such principles is just a cover for deflecting criticism about Republicanism rather than any actual beliefs on their part. Well, here is Jim Henley with a useful scoresheet for everyone

Who imagined that the great opportunity for joint progressive and libertarian advocacy and activism would end up being economic? But that’s where we are. This loathsome bailout plan is a slap in the face to anyone who believes in either free-market principles or social justice. William Greider calls it “a historic swindle.” Paul Krugman says, “No Deal.” Radley Balko decries it. Arnold Kling says, dueting with Luigi Zingales (pdf), “the government officials making these decisions are seeing things from the perspective of Wall Street, which is kind of like seeing the auto industry from a Detroit viewpoint or seeing the movie industry from a Hollywood viewpoint or seeing elections from a Washington viewpoint.”


If libertarians fail to oppose this bailout, they stand revealed as the hypocritical apologists for corporate power their detractors have always accused them of being. If Democratic leaders fail to oppose this bailout, they will prove to be the phonies and weaklings of stereotype. If managerialists go along with it, then every argument against the State as guardian of the general welfare will bear out. Right now a corrupt and spent corporate class is on the brink of getting a corrupt and spent governing class to perpetuate its privilege by almost dumbfoundingly transparent means. Anyone with a soul needs to oppose them.

 Also, Yglesias has a number of good posts pointing to other folks. I haven't checked him for a while cause his link on the ObWi sidebar is still directed to the old Atlantic place


Contrary to what you may think, this is not me

Sep 21, 2008 by libjpn | 4 Comments

The smell emanating from your convention was that of a beer hall putsch circa 1930s, not anything remotely like participation in a democracy. Now you all know what it felt like to be in a lynch mob minus the hanging. You should be ashamed. But shame is something that apparently Republicans are no longer capable of feeling, at least when you get together in a mob.

If you could feel shame there would have been a series of contrite public apologies at your convention for the incredible fiasco of non-governing that has typified the Bush administration. My pension, other people's pensions, our homes, jobs and economy are in chaos because of you. Young Americans are dying in Iraq because of you. The world is a more dangerous place because of you. America is hated because of you. Yes, that is you personally. I blame all of you.


Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.

First Americans for Obama

Sep 20, 2008 by libjpn | 2 Comments

Below the fold. Too fucking cool.


Is JayS the Blog Guy or was it JayC?

Sep 19, 2008 by DaveC | 7 Comments

MY rememberin aint so good.

Here is the deal. My wife bought online access to databases for her school (K-8, with recent national finalists in History Fair for middle school), but the access is password protected. What she wants to do is to go through the schools website and let the kids access the databases without having to publicly post the password. Can a moderated blog provide a link that automatically enters the password for members?

Oh yeah, they still have World Book and Encyclopedia Brittanica, she just "updated" by buying used editions that were a couple of years old , so that the money would be available to get teh interweb.

Help me strike back against Wikipedia (which kids use now like they used to use World Book... word for word, except who knows who is editing the Wiki page), and bring some sort of credibility to looking up thinks on the computer,

Where I imitate Steve Benen

Sep 19, 2008 by libjpn | Add comment

Don't be drinking anything when you read this introduction of McCain by a black comic. Did I say anything about ridicule?

Is Randy Scheunemann not speaking for McCain? McCain's comments on Chris Cox suggest otherwise

And funny how some things are biting Scheunemann on the ass

New director of Republican outreach George Allen, come on down!

Read up on emergency contraception before someone at the mothership gives you a long lecture, full of link that inevitably ends up with someone being told that they are being pompous.

Please don't tell me that Obama won't help our standing in the world after reading this

kenB might regret pointing me to Larison at Eunomia, but his argument against Hagel sounds very familiar. Still, I think that Hagel is waiting till closer to the election to give an endorsement, which would increase chances of him being named to a cabinet pos. Hagel seems pretty prescient on Russia/Georgia here

The rise and fall and subsequent rise and subsequent fall of Sarah Palin.

Waiting for DaveC to complain about this suppression of the press


Why is this man free?

Sep 18, 2008 by libjpn | 10 Comments
Scott Horton in Harper's has 6 questions with Bart Gellman, the author of a book about Cheney. Excerpts are trickling out from the WaPo about this, and Gellman was on the Daily Show. I'm sure that Gary would suggest that Cheneyism is no worse than the crew Nixon had, or something like that, but these machinations seem to be of a different magnitude than CREEP. If we are lucky, Bush will try to defend his presidency by demonstrating that he was out of the loop, following the example of Bush pere. And I'd give him a pass if it meant we could get a trial of Cheney.

So how dumb…

Sep 18, 2008 by OCSteve | 58 Comments you have to be to hack the email of a VP candidate?

The words "FBI" and "Secret Service" never entered this person's mind?

And another thing

Sep 18, 2008 by libjpn | 10 Comments

Hi guys, sorry to be filling up the front page with stuff, but we've been having a discussion of Christian faith and the election, and this from Hullabaloo about an interview with Fred Clarkson and other things about Rick Warren caught my eye.


And proving that everything is related, this passage leapt out at me

Yes, credit and debt are religious issues! Jesus plainly thought so, to the point where he physically disrupted the largest national bank in Israel during the height of its Passover practices of ripping off poor and even more affluent pilgrims. Temple practices that hooked the poor on high interest credit and drove them into debt were the target of Jesus' anger.


OK, hits the scoreboard, bounces off the third row of bleachers, nothing but net...

Sep 18, 2008 by libjpn | Add comment

Shot number one

OK, we all know about Carly Fiorina, formerly of HP, getting thrown under the McCain Campaign bus, right? I was wondering why she might have gotten hooked up with McCain in the first place, when this comes out. I have to imagine that she must have been fine with that kind of behavior, even though it may have bit her in the ass, so it seems to underline a basic seediness in the McCain campaign. And we already have Malkin complain about the privacy implications of Palin's email getting hacked

 Shot number two

TPM reported on this potential push-polling by the  Republican Jewish Coalition. The news that this group tried to get Clinton and Palin to appear jointly in New York without telling Clinton makes an interesting 2+2


The video inspiration for the title is below the fold.


Tossing a white privilege log on the fire

Sep 17, 2008 by libjpn | 23 Comments

from Tim Wise via Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is some primo rantage

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend five different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.


One order of ridicule, piping hot.

Sep 17, 2008 by libjpn | 16 Comments
I'm not a regular New Yorker reader, but has there ever been anything like this on Bush or Cheney in those pages?

rape kits and Palin links

Sep 16, 2008 by libjpn | 4 Comments

MeDrew as for some links supporting the accusation that about Wasilla charging for rape kits


WASILLA, Alaska — In 2000, Alaska lawmakers learned that rural police agencies had been billing rape victims or their insurance companies $500 to $1,200 for the costs of the forensic medical examinations used to gather evidence. They quickly passed a law prohibiting the practice.

According to the sponsor, Democrat Eric Croft, the law was aimed in part at Wasilla, where now-Gov. Sarah Palin was mayor. When it was signed, Wasilla's police chief expressed displeasure.

 Minnesota Public Radio reports that other jurisdictions do so, but also noted that Obama sponsored legislation to change that.

 The AP has former governor Tony Knowles saying that it was only Wasilla in Alaska

This is a link to the Wasilla local newspaper, the Frontiersman, but I have been unable to get the page to load, and I bet their servers are getting hammered. This link is supposed to have the police chief Fannon protesting the state law that forbade Wasilla from charging the victims or their insurance company.

 The most recent point is the fact that the police chief fired by Palin, Mohegan proposed a comprehensive anti-rape effort, which was stymied because of Palin's dislike for him

Sarah Palin's speech and Westbrook Pegler

Sep 16, 2008 by libjpn | 11 Comments

In her nomination acceptance speech, as Orcinius points out, Palin quoted an anonymous writer when she said

A writer observed: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity." I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

The WSJ identified the quote and the writer as Westbrooke Pegler. There are a number of rather jaw dropping quotes from Pegler, such as the one Robert Kennedy Jr notes, which is that he hoped that

some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his [Robert Kennedy's] spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.

Over at the New Republic, Peretz collects other Westbrook Pegler quotations.  He notes

The fact is--and I've been checking this all day--no one under 65 with whom I spoke had the slightest idea who he was. So who, then, would know to breeze through the writing of Westbrook Pegler, of all people, in search of what is, after all, just a cliche? Surely only someone knowledgeable (and sympathetic to?) native American fascism.

Westbrooke Pegler rings a bell with me, because in studying about the Japanese-American internment, one of the writers who was among the most vociferous supporters of interning Japanese citizens was Westbrook Pegler. The following quote headed one of the chapters in a history paper I wrote on the relationship of The Cunning of History and the Japanese-American internment that Peretz partially quotes:

The Japanese in California should be under armed guard to the last man and woman--and to hell with habeas corpus until the danger is over.

It is funny how these bad pennies always seem to turn up, no?


About last night

Sep 16, 2008 by libjpn | 7 Comments
I'm out of the door on a one family mission to reinflate the Japanese economy, so you have this thread to discuss what's been going on at the mothership. Or not. Knock yerselfs out.

"We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I'm making waffles! "

Sep 15, 2008 by libjpn | 3 Comments

Check this charming notion, placed below the fold



onward Christian soldiers

Sep 14, 2008 by libjpn | 16 Comments

Well, time to put another log on the fire. The japonicus thesis is that as we go further and further, you are going to find the left getting more and more sarcastic. A corollary is that some on the left are going to get upset and throw accusations of not taking things serious enough.

Exhibit one
The idea of linking McCain to Bush is, of course, sound. The execution of this video is poor. This is serious business. Trying to make it funny is not the right approach.

Then, you will have infighting within the left that, if it gets bad enough, will fracture it into lots of little pieces. And the serious conservatives will complain that the serious liberals don't do their part and object enough to the sarcasm that occurs.

Of course, this brings to mind Gandhi's line of "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.". This is always a comforting line for underdogs, but I think that the path for underdog movements that don't succeed is "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they make everyone think you are a laughingstock, then you are really screwed." Which I think is where evangelical christianity is heading.

A bit of a digression here. I moved from Maryland to Mississippi as an adolescent, and I moved from a world of church as a comfortable marker of middle class aspiration to a world of church as the central pillar of the community. And I went into that without too much trouble, and became rather christian. I say rather because I don't have the self insight to know if I believed it because of social pressure or it I actually did believe it. It was also important that we were Methodists, and john Wesley's conversion experience was that his heart became 'strangely warm', so there wasn't the need or the notion for garment rending conversion experiences.

As such I had lots of contact with evangelical Christians, and they are really nice people. And I know people who really try to live their lives in a Christ-like manner and it is really inspiring. And within the community, as long as it doesn't have to extend outside itself, you haev lots of charity. But their ability to suspend critical judgement and not really evaluate motivations, which I believe is founded in a Christian notion, is a huge weakness.

So, when I tell everyone that there is going to be a wave of sarcasm and ridicule, that people who try and bring up what they think are valid points are going to dismissed. I'm thinking in part of Christians in the electorate. Assuming the worst case of a McCain/Palin victory, you'll have some conservatives claim that their choices are supported by the majority of the American people, and crowing that the sarcasm and ridicule backfired. But that assumes that the sarcasm is a thought out strategy, which it is not. (I believe that McCain/Palin will win if they can energize their base enough, and make the talk of lies and misstatements turn off enough Americans that the election is close, and things like this and this will make the difference. But that is a separate discussion) And if Obama/Biden win, you are going to see that ridicule and scorn poured on the sectors that produced the biggest Kool aid consumers.

 Taking a point made by DJ in the comments, he said,
I do get touchy about some secular disdain for religion, though also feeling that evangelicals have done more than enough to earn some of the disdain in the past few decades.

DJ is a lot better person than I am, because I am beginning to think, even more harshly, that evangelical christianity is a cancer on our body politic. I say that despite knowing good Christians and good Christian churches. But the ability to tolerate a Sarah Palin is predicated on an absence of critical assessment. It is predicated on a notion that because she says she is for us, she has to be. The notion that because someone has accepted Christ in their heart then gives them some protection against criticism is something that the Republicans have used and leveraged.

Again, perhaps this is just the anger speaking. But at this point, if someone brings up some sort of notion of Christianity, I feel like I am going to demand that they prove it. Which is the antithesis of a Christian attitude. So it goes.

A sex-ed moment

Sep 13, 2008 by libjpn | 5 Comments
Yeah, yeah, now TiO is turning into McCain/Palin watch dot com. But think about the folks who were arguing about the wording of Obama's education bill when you watch the Republican strategist talk. Placed below the fold, so skip it if you think the hat doesn't fit your head. Read More...

OK, a music thread

Sep 12, 2008 by libjpn | 13 Comments

Maybe all of you know this, but I just found out, and if I'd been a little faster, I would have put it in Publius' thread about the Journey video game.

Anyway, I got my wife an iPod touch and she has been merrily downloading music from her JHS and HS days and she downloaded a Journey album and googling she found out that it's not Steve Perry. Check out this video


Apparently, they found this guy on YouTube and replaced Steve Perry with him. I knew Phillipine cover bands could be good, but jeez...

Being another rant

Sep 12, 2008 by libjpn | 52 Comments

In a thread about Palin's theological beliefs here, Slarti looks at what Palin had to say about God's will in Iraq and argues

Context: not just for breakfast anymore.

Saying we're doing God's will is NOT the same as praying to God that we're doing his will. It's just not, and it's dishonest to pretend that it is.

I lose my cool yet again and ask if she somehow has a different idea for God's will when it concerns a gas pipeline than when it refers to Iraq.

You know, the people who are really getting used by this freak show of a campaign are people who want to try and be fairminded, who want to try and balance the two sides. To use a made up mathematical analogy a la Sebastian, imagine if you have a cynical campaign that, for 100 turns, tells 100 lies, while the other campaign, for 100 turns, screws up on 10% of them. The fairminded person, who tries to balance, catches 5 lies from one and 5 from the other. Or, really turning up the heat, catches 15 from one and 5 from the other. You've just let the cynical campaign use you. Your notions of fair-mindedness are what the campaign is counting on to screw the other campaign. In this case, if enough people can be turned off about politics, depressing the turnout, then the election goes to who can energize their crazies best.

DaveC wants to know why we aren't pointing out all the strong points of the Obama campaign. Hey, you aren't doing that, so, by his (and I use this term in the most generous way possible) "logic", that means that Obama doesn't have any strong points. Now, DaveC probably likes being used, but I have a hard time seeing that all of the fairminded middle thinking that this is fun. The Republicans are counting on you.

Context: not just for breakfast anymore, said Slart. You are helping them everytime you look at the narrow context of some passage and refuse to see the larger context. They are counting on you. Even though you reject them, you are the 12th man, cheering them on. They couldn't do it without you. You complete them.

If you felt the need to register your disapproval of Wright, you are being used. If you felt the need to wonder if Obama's experience and charisma was all surface with no depth, you are being used. If you felt the need to qustion the atmospherics of the Democratic convention, you are being used. They are counting on you. I just hope they give you a big tip when they are finished.

So there is occasionalf loose talk about Rovian McCain Campaign

Sep 12, 2008 by DaveC | 9 Comments

Let's look at the number of Negative or even hateful anti-McCain and Anti-Palin posts on ObWi this month. Of special interest is that there were NO POSTS on the subject of how Barack Obama is good.

 Here's a list: I prefixed "Yay! not a negative post with "!!!", and neutral / not sure with "???". Most of then don't have a prefix, and you might be able to figure out what that means.

 Here goes:

[i]1  The Emperor-to-Be Has No Clothes

2  Palin And The Bush Doctrine

3  More Mavericky Honesty

4  Things That Matter More Than Lipstick

5  Better Metaphors Needed
  "In other news, lipstick."

6  Earmarks Again

7 "A Culture Of Ethical Failure"

8  Yep, She Tried to Ban Books

9  OMG Teh Cub Scouts!!!

10 Sex, Lies, And Videotape

11 Palin's Mirror

12 And Why Not? They Even Look the Same*

13 Better Piranhas Needed

14 Unipolar Melt

15 The Trouble With Being [an] Earmark

16 Which Animals Would Jesus Pay You to Shoot from Airplanes? And How Much?

17 ??? Surface Politics

18 !!! Public Service Announcement

19 Naked David Broder Speaks

20 Pwned!

21 Oops! She Did It Again

22 More Of The Same

23 Oh, Please.

24 !!! Weekend Thread

25 Comparisons

26 Bailout

27 !!! Voter Registration
28 Daily Show on Community Organizers
   "Probably the nastiest part of the entire Wednesday night 60 Minutes Hate was the attack on community organizers."

29 Angry
   "nUFF SAID"

30 Paglian Chthonic Fecundity Subrational Frequencies

31 Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

32 ... First Thoughts

33 ,,, Speech Open Thread



Out of 33 posts, 30 were way negative; I cannot quantify how hateful the comments were. So where is all the positive and uplifting stuff about Obama?


Sorry about the shoutin, but y'all might want to rethink the approach. Obama is a nice guy, and perhaps can even agree on a moderate viewpoint, but his most earnest supporters willmake hin lse the election.

vetted in 24 hours

Sep 12, 2008 by libjpn | 5 Comments

I'm a little slow, and when coupled with slack jawed amazement, that really slows things down. But I recall von's claim that 24 hours is enough for vetting when I read Robert Reich's description of how he was vetted

 Sixteen years ago, Bill Clinton’s “vetting” team asked me and other prospective cabinet members for (1) our tax returns, going back at least five years, (2) our bank records, (3) a detailed listing of our assets, (4) the names and places of everywhere we had lived, and the names and phone numbers of neighbors whom they could call about us, (5) a description of every job we had ever had, every client we had ever served, and the names of employers and clients with whom they could check, (6) the names of our family members, their ages, their occupations (if any), (7) a description of any civil or criminal investigations or prosecutions in which we had been involved (8) and – perhaps most importantly – “anything we should ask you about, the answer to which might cause you or the administration any embarrassment.”

It didn’t stop there. Investigators checked our answers, interviewed our friends and neighbors and former employers, asked for more records if uncertain. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation did their own background checks. Staff members of the relevant congressional committees, representing both parties, looked over the files and added questions of their own.

It didn’t even stop there. I recall two large, three-ring black binders containing passages from books and articles I had written that might prove troubling to some of the Senators. My vetting team suggested I be prepared to answer questions about them.

The process took well over a month, not including the Senate confirmation hearing. I don’t recall doing anything during that interval except responding to questions from the vetting team, the FBI, and oversight committee staffers, both Republican and Democrat.

All this in 24 hours!

OMG The Craziest Election Evar!

Sep 11, 2008 by DaveC | 8 Comments
Joe Biden says Hillary is well qualified to be President, Veep, and quite frankly would have been a better pick than himself! Can he possibly be saying that he wants to get off of the ticket and make way for Hillary?!?

Being the post about anger, ridicule, sexism, Palin and the conservative presence at the mothership

Sep 10, 2008 by libjpn | 94 Comments
I want to try and tie some threads together. The first one was the discussion of sexism. To paraphrase the question, how do people who claim to uphold progressive/liberal ideals end up tossing off sexist cracks about Palin? (or previously Hillary)

Say you want to buy some t-shirts. Before you go to the store to pick up some new t-shirts, you read something like this (which I agree with btw), and you think, well, i better simply make my own clothes. And you find that making your own clothes doesn't quite work because the materials are also sweatshop produced. So you decide to weave your own material, in order to make your own clothe. But they you find that the raw materials are often obtained in terrible conditions, so you decide to grow your own cotton, and dye it, and weave it and then sew it together to make your own clothes.

I'm obviously exaggerating, but the parallel is this. You are angry and you want to express your anger. Simply saying X gets me mad doesn't cut it, cause you want to ridicule Palin, you want to slip the shiv in rather than go berserk and scream imprecations. So you reach for an insulting frame that is within everyday discourse, be it uncaring mother/spouse, or fashionplate woman or some such. The fact is that trying to create a frame that is insulting but avoids plugging into notions that are carried around by society is nigh impossible, because frames have their power because they are easily accessible to the listener. So when someone complains of sexism inherent in those frames, it feels like you are told that you are supposed to disarm yourself. I suggested posting something about Obama or Biden, but there are no number of 'change we can believe in' videos that are going to match the sensation of delivering a cutting, sarcastic remark that other people will nod their heads to.

That links sexism and anger, and what I see is that there are a lot of angry liberals. And the anger is profound. So, as I have tried to point out, these comments shouldn't be taken as sexism on the part of the commentator, but as anger. It's like the scene in 12 angry men, where Lee J. Cobb, after previously asserting that the angry words that the defendant was heard to say show that he was a killer, ends up having this dialogue with Henry Fonda

    Juror # 8: I feel sorry for you. What it must feel like to want to pull the switch! Ever since you walked into this room, you've been acting like a self-appointed public avenger. You want to see this boy die because you personally want it - not because of the facts. You're a sadist! (# 3 lunges at # 8 but is held back)
    Juror # 3: Let me go! I'll kill him! I'll kill him!
    Juror # 8: (softly and defiantly) You don't really mean you'll kill me, do you?

Now, mentioning no names, you can see the pattern above play out at ObWi when accusations are thrown, and I really dislike that, which is why I try and stick up for OCSteve and to a lesser extent, DaveC. And across the aisle in this thread, you see an ur-troll named Adam keep trying to get people to take a swing at him. The basic principle is the same.

But the anger that I am thinking of is the anger that I think is building up among the majority of liberal regulars at ObWi, and for liberals (this is just a cover term, glossing over various differences of position, I should add) the way that rage is often sublimated, I think, thru ridicule. After rewatching last week's episodes of the Daily Show, I am thinking that the ridicule is going to keep coming, increasing in both volume and shrillness, with the aim as not simply laughing at the foibles of the Republican party, but really trying to cripple them. And how do you cripple a party with ridicule? The same way you do it with the outsider in high school. You don't acknowledge any of the circumstances that may have given rise to the outsider's characteristics. You tease them for not looking like everyone else, and then trying to look like everyone else. You take every action and you use it, regardless if it becomes contradictory. You might get busted, but if, like a high school, you are able to get a large enough population going for it, you won't. The hits will keep on coming.

I'm not saying that we need to be nice to Republicans, but I am saying that we are going to, despite our better angels, stop being fair to Republicans. Some may suggest that the Dems and the liberal commentariat have never been fair to the Republicans, and my response is if you think you haven't seen fairness, you really ain't seen nothing yet. (I feel like I have to say that this is not a threat on anyone here or at ObWi, this is how I see things evolving) And it's not going to be manifest in Malkin-esque things like publishing people's addresses, it is going to be manifest in constant ridicule. And people who try to defend it are going to get ridiculed as well. It's not going to be 'perhaps you aren't as familiar as you should be with X', it's going to be guilt by association, guilt by referencing. Ideas are not going to even come close to the light of day.

This can be a tactical problem, because the Republican Right, especially the Christian phalanx of that grouping, thrives on ridicule. The ridicule binds them together, and stands as proof that they are on the right track. It encourages them to be even less understanding, which is why they can see no contradiction with Rudy Guiliani complaining that Obama thinks Republicans aren't 'cahsmapalitan' enough.And the Republican defense is going to be sniffing at the nature of the attacks. Here's out newest troll Adam

First, I must say that I'm loathe to try to discuss anything one someone who's so eager to pepper posts with references to child-beating and "buttplugs."

Second, the appropriation couldn't have been spent on (I can't believe I'm typing this) "buttplugs. So your hypothetical is inapt.

After pushing the buttons, Adam wants to retreat behind a cloak of civility. This is like the ombudsman for the WaPo, Deborah Howell, complaining at how darn rude the emails to her have been. But we come to find that in some transcripts, she swears like a pirate.

But stepping past that hypocrisy, this is why, I think, we have so many people telling us 'be careful about ridiculing Palin', There is some truth to the warning, but there is also an acknowledgement that this may be the most powerful weapon in liberal arsenal.

Any number of pundits have begged the Obama campaign to be more hard hitting, match accusation for accusation. But hard hitting, when it comes from the liberal side, is going to be wrapped up in gloves of ridicule. This may leave some people really horrified because ridicule relies on traditional frames, and because the ridicule will embolden the right. There will be less and less discussion. Already, Obama's stump speech is getting more and more caustic, and the phrase 'They must think you are stupid' is delivered with the timing of a borscht belt tummler. The whole purpose will be to make everyone laugh at the Republicans. 

I don't know if it will work. But if it does or even if it backfires, it will be more, not less, uncomfortable to be anywhere near the Republican camp on ObWi. If there are any people who fit that description reading this, you might really want to think about stepping up and pointing out the contradictions of people like Adam, kenb ken and others. Relying on liberal goodwill is not going to cut it, I think. 

updated with a maxima mea culpa. I accidentally typed kenb, when I meant to type ken in the last paragraph. 

name dropping

Sep 08, 2008 by libjpn | 74 Comments

OCSteve sez

 you get up in the morning and find your name mentioned half a dozen times in a thread you never saw before…

First of all, apologies, I cracked that open by defending you to Jes. But, when your name is mentioned half a dozen times by one person, I'm not sure what can be done. Any suggestions?



Sep 07, 2008 by OCSteve | 12 Comments

These no-knock raids are insane. If officers killed my dog like this I would be their worst nightmare for years and years to come.

Give me a candidate who is going to end this stupid War on Drugs....

Who's campaigning, who's not

Sep 06, 2008 by libjpn | 27 Comments

I've mentioned that I think the Obamas are sacrificing more than anyone else in the race, sacrificing their safety and increasing the possibility of any number of things befalling them, and if we don't acknowledge that asymmetry, we are missing part of the bigger picture.

I think a look at the youtube channel for the Obama campaign supports this. Jill Biden is out campaigning, but we see no videos of Michelle Obama. I suppose the von/DaveC argument would be that she is so radical that the campaign is keeping her under wraps (cf Sarah Palin campaign schedule for an example) but I don't see Michelle Obama being requested to appear in front of any investigative committees. And after the DNC speech, do you think it is possible that she is going to suddenly rip off her mask and starts her talks off with readings from Malcolm X?

Maybe I'm wrong, and Michelle will appear towards the end. But, if I am right, the asymmetry is striking: One woman associated with a presidential campaign keeping away because she'd have to actually answer questions about things like this and another keeping away because of the possibility of this, who are not being charged with plotting to assassinate Obama. On the other hand, this incarcerated inmate mails white powder to McCain and gets charged.

Another link discussing the comparison

Is there an alternative explanation for this?



Defining and correctly spelling disingenuous

Sep 06, 2008 by libjpn | 59 Comments

So LJ's justified in calling me disingenous (sic) and demanding an apology on your behalf when, if fact, I had understood you correctly?

von, in this comment

just for the record, disingenuous is, to me, ignoring what you know and pretending that it doesn't exist in order to score points. To me, when Hilzoy says 'I didn't want to write about that. It's still pretty close to the bone.', she is talking about events within the community of bloggers at ObWi. She says

as though none of the rest of us has ever put the interests of others before our own, or loved our country, or lost friends in combat

Hilzoy comments that I didn't specifically ask for an apology, but von is correctly reading between the lines, cause I do think he owes her a huge one and the apology should be for pretending the above doesn't exist. I don't want to try and stoke myself into a righteous anger on Hilzoy's behalf, but after trying to point it out obliquely and have it thrown in my face (and used as evidence of piling on), I am finding that I am not having to do anything to be really pissed off. 

Either von has become so focussed on being the defender of McCain that he doesn't think that anything that came before matters or he is using Hilzoy's (and the community's) restraint to throw punches after the bell and below the belt. And the more he contorts himself, the more it seems to be the latter.

Hanna and Ike

Sep 04, 2008 by OCSteve | 10 Comments

Not really digging that forecast track.

That dotted line goes right over my head.

That should be down to tropical storm strength or less when it hits me, so I'm not too concerned about it at this point.

But Ike looks to be a more powerful storm and follow right behind Hanna by a few days, possibly impacting the same general areas. Yikes.


an accounting

Sep 03, 2008 by libjpn | 55 Comments

Dutchmarbel gives her list of problematic statements, so I will try and attribute them

The first 4 are from this post which had 156 comments

oh, BTW,

This is cleek's comment.

but how about the Downs kid? I couldn't bring a kid with Downs into this world,

This is redwood's, whose first comment is in March, followed by a silence and then regular comments from July. Note that several others get upset with this.

As far as the Down Syndrome child, I believe I have read that -- even more than ordinarily -- the bonding between mother and child in the first six months is particularly important. But, instead of understanding the importance of this, she will be campaigning throughout the country. This (and I would argue only this) is what is an issue here.

Prup, who has posted a bit, but I wouldn't define as a regular
On the morning of 9-11, the stress on the president must have been so great I can't imagine dealing with that AND a 5-month-old baby.
If that's sexist, so be it.



The next 10 comments (out of 205) come from this post

You have to admit that Sarah Palin is pretty hot (remember she was in the Ms. Alaska Pageant) and MUCH BETTER on the eyes than Joe Biden

Bobby Ewing, his/her first and only comment

Maybe McCain can offer Palin up to compete with Cindy in the Miss Buffalo Chip 'pageant' in NV. It's what the country needs! MORE PANTOMIMED SEX ROLES! Boys should have names like 'Trick' and 'Trig'! Masculine names! And more pickles! Say no more, say no more, wink wink.

jonnybutter,a regular

But who knows, maybe she charms America and changes the conversation.

Carleton Wu, whose comment dismisses her chances, 

Womanhood? Check -- just look at her 5 kids! Potential problem: do contemporary American women really identify with a mother of five?

Tony P, who has commented irregularly, but has started to comment regularly since July

Why is a mother of five, with her youngest both disabled and still an infant, abandoning her family? What kind of traditional family values does that demonstrate?

(The original) Francis
A scene from The Princess Vice President

[Palin kisses the senile McCain]

McCain: What was that for?

Palin: Because you have always been so kind to me, and I won't be seeing you again since I'm killing myself once we reach the honeymoon suite.

McCain: Won't that be nice. She kissed me, she's the vice president!

From Ugh

As long as I'm wallowing in immaturity: It speaks well of the blogosphere that I have not as yet heard any jokes about Palin and drilling. (It speaks far less well of me that I thought of this.) But is it possible that Rovians are trying some subliminable ploy, hoping that the sight of a former beauty contest winner and the repeated uttering of the word "drilling" will hypnotically win votes from the Penthouse Letters crowd?

Andy K, irregular with only 56 comments over two years

Not on the blogosphere but on, either the Daily Show or the Colbert Report I think, last night when mentioning the rumors about her. They mentioned something about her, drilling, then comedic pause and ironic look. So it shouldn't take long to hit the blogosphere.

Perpetual Memory Loss, with perhaps 5 comments total at ObWi (note that the google search, if it takes a snapshot when the person's name is in recent comments, will show them in the search results even though there is no comment there)

Bill Maher was on fire last night during the fall debut of his HBO show.

On McCain-Palin: That's not a presidential ticket. That's a sitcom -- "Maverick and the MILF."

Bedtimeforbonzo again--

If you think of it as a marketing strategy, she's actually a pretty clever one.

There are, today, millions of Americans who are saying to themselves, "I'm not sure I like McCain, but that Palin is one spunky little filly!". Or, something to that effect.




These comments obviously anger you, but only half of them are regulars. Some of them are more observations about the way Palin is predicted to be viewed (for example, Russell's last one) rather than the way the commentator actually views the situation. Others are, as I have tried to explain, rooted in an anger at what the Republican party is doing. I have a very bad temper and I have spent a lot of time thinking about what makes me angry and trying to deal with just that rather than the surrounding points, so it seems clearl to me that some of these remarks are born of a bitter cynicism at the possibility that the Republicans may actually get 4 more years. Speaking only for myself, the smallest prospect that we could put in this pack of power hungry liars has me furious at everything. It is the kind of anger that expands to touch everyone, not just the cause. It may reflect unthinking sexism, but asking people to deal with the sexism is not a solution. 

Working in a Japanese university, there are many times when I come home angry at the way things are run. I mean really really angry. I know that I have said things like 'what is the problem with these damn Japanese? Are they stupid or what?'. If my wife lit into me about how racist it is to do this and how racism should have no place in anyone's thoughts, we would be divorced. Not because she is wrong, but because she would be ignoring what the problem is to deliver a lecture on what would be, at that time, basically an unrelated issue. Meeting anger with anger is not a satisfactory solution, and if you fail to understand the seething anger that a lot of us feel as we watch our country go down the toilet, you are missing a big part of this conversation.

converting the unbelievers

Sep 03, 2008 by libjpn | 5 Comments

One of the hidden, but I think constant, streams of thought over at the mothership is 'how do we deprogram conservatives?' Or maybe "How do we get them to accept some of the premises we believe in?' Or, if you are a conservative feeling cynical "how do we construct an echo chamber that doesn't sound like an echo chamber?" However one wants to represent it, I do think that it is not simply that we want a place to exchange views, we want to change views, which may be the ultimate liberal calling, or the ultimate liberal sin.

 At any rate, in the fascinating Vanity Fair piece about Rupert Murdoch, a method is suggested.

This most unsocialized of men is becoming socialized—sort of.

This is, in part, the Wendi transformation. The woman from Shandong Province, 38 years his junior, whom he married after breaking up his 32-year marriage to his second wife, Anna, has brought him into the liberal world. The angry outsider, the anti-elitist, the foe of airs and pretension (“Ole Grumpy,” as he’s known by various of his employees), has become part of the achieving, glamorous, clever, socially promiscuous set. Davos, Cannes, Sun Valley, Barry Diller’s yacht—this is now Rupert Murdoch’s world.


All right, he’s not quite a liberal. He remains a militant free-marketeer and is still pro-war (grudgingly, he’s retreated a bit). And there was the moment, one afternoon, when over a glass of his favorite coconut water (meant to increase electrolytes) he was propounding the genetic theory that the basic problem of the Muslim people was that they married their cousins.

And yet, he’s come to like the liberals more than the conservatives. Bono and Tony Blair and the Google guys and Nicole Kidman and David Geffen are his and Wendi’s circle. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and real-estate scion and New York Observer owner Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are regular invites to the Murdochs’ for dinner. Liking Wendi’s friends so much better than his own (actually, he really had never had any friends), he finds himself with an increasingly divided temperament.

It’s life with Wendi versus life with Fox. (And, too, it’s The Wall Street Journal—and maybe The New York Times—versus Fox.)

Fox has been his alter ego. For a long time he was in love with the Fox chief, Roger Ailes, because he was even more Murdoch than Murdoch. And yet now the embarrassment can’t be missed—he mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it; he barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O’Reilly. And while it is not possible that he would give Fox up—because the money is the money; success trumps all—in the larger sense of who he is, he seems to want to hedge his bets.

Interesting stuff and to coin a phrase, read the whole thing.



While Palin in comparison

Sep 02, 2008 by libjpn | 13 Comments

I imagine that Hilzoy is busy and can't put a thread up, and I've noticed that most of the regulars have been replaced by newbies, some with axes to grind, or, given the fact that some of them have Bronze age notions of ethics, reforge. So this is no Palin as granny thread. Some things I've been thinking of (I'll come back this pm and sprinkle some links in.

The advice given to Gary about depression about getting up, changing clothes, turning on the water and sitting in the bathroom, was a lifesaver for me. I'm still having problems getting anything done, but the underlying advice made a difference for me

What is everyone hearling about the hurricane? When Katrina hit, my late mom missed her last few treatments because the center was in Slidell. I think that some of her records were lost as well. I always wonder if that, and the stress of being without power for 2 weeks, made a difference. 

China seems to have handled protetst much better that the St. Paul/Minneapolis police, eh?

Japan's PM just resigned, with no apparent warning to his colleagues, even though he had complained that a predecessor, Shizo Abe, had done precisely the same. A friend of mine thinks that he did it because he was fed up with his party forcing him to do stuff he didn't agree with. Would that some Repulbicans follow that example.

 Other than that, how's life?