Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for September, 2006

Getting it wrong

Posted by Greg on September 29, 2006

That would be the GOP controlled Congress, that pissed all over the Constitution.

Joe Gandelman has a good roundup of the latest torture approval bill.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Civil Rights, Congress | Leave a Comment »

Another Republican’t paragon of virtue

Posted by Greg on September 29, 2006

UPDATE: 

He’s resigned, from what is a safe GOP district.  Is it still safe?  Time will tell.

This is just creepy:

A 16-year-old male congressional page concerned about the appropriateness of an e-mail exchange with a congressman alerted Capitol Hill staffers to the communication.

Congressman Mark Foley’s office says the e-mails were entirely appropriate and that their release is part of a smear campaign by his opponent.

Americablog observes:

Up for even more creepy? Foley’s congressional home page is all about child sex offenders. Why, because Foley is the Co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Yes, this is the guy the Republicans put in charge of taking care of child sex offenders. Seriously, this is sick. From Brownie, to Bernie Kerik, to Harriet Miers, to Mark Foley, can the Republicans ever EVER appoint someone to a position who is not totally incompetent? 

Pam Spaulding has some good comments too:

A couple of notes here — the age of consent in DC is 16, and there’s nothing overtly sexual in these emails, it’s just pretty darn dumb for any elected official to be doing this sort of thing and expect it not to surface in an election campaign. Particularly when your reputation is that of a “protector of children from sexual predation.”

Posted in The Right | 2 Comments »

Another take on torture

Posted by Greg on September 27, 2006

An astute reader of Andrew Sullivan observes:

When Americans think of torture they think of Dirty Harry standing over a serial killer whose next victim is running out of air at a remote location. Americans think of Harry as a hero for doing everything he can to save the victim. But what most people fail to realize is the thing that makes Harry the hero is not the act of torture. It is the choice to torture given he will face consequences for his action. If the consequences are removed then Harry becomes a meter maid.

Once the torture bill passes it won’t take long before many, many more terror suspects will be tortured. A time will inevitably come when a detainee is found to contain some information that could have stopped a loss of life or property.  At that time interrogators will have to account for not getting the information.  Torture will become a cover-your-ass technique.

This is a sad time for morality and accountability.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Civil Rights, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Entering the heartland

Posted by Greg on September 27, 2006

Devouring everything in their path, sweeping across the landscape like a plague of locusts, the Republican’ts have announced St. Paul, Minnesota as the locale for their 2008 nominating convention.

The AP reports:

By choosing the Twin Cities for 2008, the GOP will ensure plenty of news converge in media markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa _ all battleground states in the 2004 election and ones expected to be competitive in the next presidential race.

Minnesota had been seen by some as an unlikely host, with just 10 electoral votes and the nation’s longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates.

In 2004, Democrat John Kerry won the state 51 percent to 48 percent. The last Republican to win a presidential race in the state was Richard Nixon in 1972 and the last national convention happened in when the GOP backed President Benjamin Harrison in an unsuccessful re-election bid.

But Minnesota’s national image as a traditional Democratic bastion has become outdated and the state was a hard-fought battleground in 2004 and 2000. Republicans hope to court voters in a region Republican and Democratic strategists alike say will play a critical role in winning the White House in 2008.  

The Xcel Center is like 10 minutes from my home, so forgive me if I’m less than impressed.  While the resulting chaos won’t affect my surburb like it will the downtown areas, I remember well the logistical issues that arose every time Bush slipped into town campaigning during 2004.  I can do without a repeat on a larger scale.

The GOP convention is first of September, and the suggested Democratic convention would be a week earlier.  While the Democrats were more focused a week earlier and on Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities is a large area, it’s too much to put two large conventions back to back.  So maybe it’s Minneapolis in 2012?

Other voices:

Captain’s Quarters thinks it’s a smart move:

Norm Coleman will run for re-election in 2008, and he’s expected to square off against Al Franken for the Democrats. Regardless of his opponent, though, the Democrats will work hard to take the seat from the GOP, especially if Mark Kennedy can beat Amy Klobuchar this November. It will also spotlight Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has built a solid approval rating and demonstrated an ability to work across party lines to get things done — even if it has irritated Republicans here. Having the GOP at the Xcel Center will also remind people that Norm Coleman got that facility built and helped energize the economy of Saint Paul.

He’s awful optomistic that Pawlenty will still be there.  There’s even money right now that he’ll get the boot come November.

At Cold Hearted Truth:

Very cool for me as a suburban Twin City Republican leaning dude. The main site is supposed to be the Xcel – just blocks from where I work. Gotta start figuring out how to get in early. Who do I know, who do I know??

This should give the Tim Pawlenty for V.P. rumor some serious legs.

It would behoove them to focus on Pawlenty’s reelection before starting unfounded rumors of a possible vice presidency.

Left Word:

I’m not sure if I should say Minneapolis/St. Paul “wins” or “loses”. 

The Hedgehog Report:

This would have been a really interesting choice if Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was still considered a viable presidential contender. He may still be, but Pawlenty needs to win his own re-election for Governor before that can even become a possibility. Of course, John Kerry having the Democratic convention in his hometown didn’t do much for him….

Ah, a smart person.

Wonkette:

So, if you live anywhere near a great big hideous sports arena in the Twin Cities, you might want to sell now and move someplace nice, like California.

Presidential conventions aren’t just vulgar displays of the corporate world buying its next White House administration — they’re also horrible city-wrecking events that turn nice cities into police-state hellholes. Plus, hippies. Thousands and thousands of hippies protesting everything.

Posted in Election 2008, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Never say never

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2006

Kos has the latest on what’s turning into a horserace for the At Large US House seat in Wyoming.

So much for dissing the 50 state strategy.

Posted in Election 2006 | Leave a Comment »

The bigotry vote

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2006

The Reaction has a good post on attempts by the religious wrong to reassert itself in the 2006 mid term elections.  Check it out.

Posted in Election 2006, Religious Wrong | Leave a Comment »

Understanding the Taliban’s Perspective

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2006

You’ve probably heard of the murder of Safia Ama Jan, a women’s advocate in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban.

Suspected Taliban gunmen shot dead a leading women’s rights campaigner in Kandahar yesterday in the latest assassination of a government official in the restive southern provinces.Women’s Affairs director, Safia Ama Jan, was killed on the city outskirts as she left for work yesterday morning. The assailants shot her four times in the head, through a burka, before fleeing.

Ms Ama Jan, 56, has been an advocate for women’s rights in Kandahar, the former Taliban headquarters, since the fundamentalists were ousted five years ago. Her murder appeared to mark a return to a strategy of intimidation and assassination after the defeat of Taliban fighters at the hands of a Nato force in western Kandahar this month.

Relatives described Ms Ama Jan as religious and a champion of women’s education for more than three decades. She stayed in Afghanistan under the Taliban to give secret classes to local girls at home.

CQ gives a concise observation:

Jan reveals the Taliban and their Islamist ilk for the cowards and oppressors they are. She did not enter beauty contests or convert to Christianity, two of the myriad reasons why the Taliban might choose to kill a woman. Jan even wore the burqa even after the Taliban fled from power. She modeled Muslim modesty and lived her life in a devout manner — but she refused to allow her fellow Afghani women to live in the darkness of ignorance. She dared to educate girls instead of leaving them as chattel to be bartered by Islamist men for their own purposes.

Posted in International, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

It’s not just me

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2006

I saw this the other day at Kevin Drum:

Since 1992, the National Election Study has asked respondents four questions that collectively make up an “authoritarian index.” The four questions ask you to specify which of two attributes you value more in children:

  1. Independence vs respect for elders
  2. Self-reliance vs. obedience
  3. Curiosity vs. good manners
  4. Being considerate vs. being well behaved

The first item in each pair marks you as less authoritarian and the second item marks you as more authoritarian. After you’ve answered all four, the scores are added up and normalized on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the most authoritarian.

I thought it was a strange survey and would have commented on it earlier but ran out of time.

I’m glad to read similar feelings at Coyote Blog:

I am sure this does not “surprise” Kevin Drum’s leftish readers, since they so want to think of themselves as freedom- and individual-rights-loving vs. the mean old Republicans, whom I certainly have no desire to defend on this score.

But are these weird false dichotomies or what? 

Why is independence the opposite of respect for elders?  Isn’t this like saying Kleenex is the opposite of pudding?  Isn’t the opposite of “independence” actually “the desire to mooch off other people”?  Why isn’t the opposite of “self reliance” in fact the “desire to have the government run your life for you?”  I mean, I personally have strived (striven??) to have my kids simultaneouly be both curious and have good-manners. 

In Drum’s defense, the questions are looking at which you consider more important rather than opposites.  But in general I agree with the criticism.  It seems a rather narrow and arguably biased way to approach the question.

Posted in Culture War, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap | Leave a Comment »

Romney questioned in South Carolina

Posted by Greg on September 26, 2006

It’s a question that just won’t go away:

Will fundamental wingnut types really be willing to overlook Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith as a presidential candidate?

Here’s a South Carolina example.  Note, the party leaders agree it’s in bad taste…but it’s going on in a lot of people’s minds:

The quarterly meeting of the S.C. Republican executive committee Sept. 16 ended on a sour note when one of its more prominent members cornered Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and grilled him about his Mormon faith.

It was not a pretty sight, according to witnesses.

Romney, a possible Republican candidate for president in 2008, was in town to address the state executive committee.

Cyndi Mosteller, chairwoman of the Charleston County Republican Party, one of the largest GOP organizations in the state, came armed with a bunch of material — and questions — about the Mormon church.

The incident only underlines what could become an uncomfortable debate over Romney’s faith if he runs for the White House. The issue will be on the table in South Carolina’s early primary contest, where roughly 35 percent of GOP voters are evangelical Christians, many of whom view Mormonism with skepticism.

Mosteller, an evangelical, said she especially was concerned about the church’s attitude toward African-Americans and its stand on polygamy.

Hat tip: Pam’s House Blend

Posted in Election 2008, Religious Wrong, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Stepping in it

Posted by Greg on September 25, 2006

TNR highlights a typical pivotal House race.  Gotta make you wonder what happened to the GOP:

Kicking back at the horsepull rather than joining the lawn-sign brigade might be a reflection of this confidence. But it might also be a way to hide out and avoid pressing the flesh–a potentially freighted activity for this embattled congressman. For, in addition to the considerable liabilities that come with being a Republican incumbent this fall, Sherwood has a highly original one of his own: In 2004, his 29-year-old mistress accused him of trying to strangle her during a massage. That’s right. Dennis Hastert and his party could lose the House thanks to a backrub gone awry. 

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Election 2006, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Spanking Faux News

Posted by Greg on September 25, 2006

Chris Wallace tries to ambush former president Clinton, and gets taken to the woodshed.

Watch the first part of the interview.

UPDATE:  Legal liability?  Haven’t had your daily drama Mike?  But thanks for the heads up, sometimes the hands type faster than the brain is thinking…

Posted in Media, Terrorism | 1 Comment »

An engineering triumph

Posted by Greg on September 22, 2006

Who’d have thought of this?  Not me…

 legocube.jpg

A Lego robot that solves Rubik’s Cube.  Someone has a lot of time on their hands, and the creativity to use it well.

Posted in Entertainment | 1 Comment »

The dead cat

Posted by Greg on September 22, 2006

A great bit on polling from Coyote Blog . While I like his observations on the rise and fall of the approval ratings, the following line is the money quote:

Bush’s recent rise in the polls reminds me very much of that great investment term “dead cat bounce.” (If it falls far enough, even a dead cat will bounce). I’ve always suspected that many of the technical analysis used on Wall Street to analyze stock trends could be applied to political polls, since they encompass some of the same group distributed consensus building.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

So much for independence

Posted by Greg on September 22, 2006

Glen Greenwald comments on the torture legalization bill.

Money quote:

I have a plea (directed to myself as much as anyone) to declare dead — forever — the Myth of the Independent, Dissident Republican Senator and bury it in a coffin deep in the ground where it belongs. At this point, I think encountering the Lochness Monster is more likely than finding a genuinely independent Republican Senator willing to impose meaningful limits of any kind on the President.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Let Harry Live

Posted by Greg on September 22, 2006

Ross Douthat at The American Scene comments on the ongoing discussions over book 7 in the Harry Potter series, and the speculation that the young hero will die.

It’s worth a read, and follow the links. Count me among the “Let Harry Live” crowd.

Among the better lines:

There are creative gifts besides the talent for crafting gorgeous prose, and what Rowling has done is similar to what Tolkien did, or L. Frank Baum, or James Barrie: She has created, not great literature, but a great new myth, one that future generations may treasure as much as today we treasure Oz and Middle-Earth and Never-Never Land.

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a Comment »