Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

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Whither Cheney?

Posted by Greg on June 26, 2007

Whither Cheney?

In the Watergate heyday in 1973 Senator Barry Goldwater had the task of telling Nixon it was time to go. Now, it seems, various members of the GOP are fighting over who gets to take a similar hike to the not-Executive branch to give the same message to Dick Cheney.

Sally Quinn in the Washington Post details:

The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week’s blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.

As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration’s leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party — including the presidential nominee — in next year’s elections.

Politics aside, Cheney needs to go. As much fun as it would be to run against him in 2008, the damage he has inflicted upon the country and the Constitution speak for themselves. We are all better off if he quietly goes away to spend more time with his new grandson who, thanks to his cronies and fellow travelers, lacks the stability of two legal parents.

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New Element

Posted by Greg on June 21, 2007

New Element

Not sure the origin, but sure appropriate. Got this in an e-mail today. 🙂


Densest Element Discovered

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the
densest element yet known to science.

The new element has been named “Bushcronium.”

Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and
224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These
particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are
surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

The symbol for Bushcronium is “W”.

Bushcronium’s mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly
interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant
deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This
characteristic of
moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed
whenever morons reach a certain quantity or concentration. This
hypothetical quantity is referred to as “Critical Morass”.

When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element
that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise,
since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

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I’m who?

Posted by Greg on February 19, 2007

No, I’m not nearly that clever…

You are Oscar Wilde

Charming and Witty. You are incredibly popular because of your wry and satirical sense of humor. You are also incredibly talented at writing, and pushing the conventional boundaries of your society.

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

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Warm fuzzy words

Posted by Greg on February 1, 2007

What exactly is the point of bipartisanship?

Seriously!

Today at TMV I was captivated by a post by Pete Abel entitled, “Bipartisan Cooperation: Maybe There’s Hope.”   The piece itself talks about the cooperation on a non binding slap to the White House on Iraq, but I wonder how much the “hope” for cooperation has been thought through.

The rightwing base isn’t interested in a Democratic Lite GOP, nor is the netroots desperate for a Republican Lite Democratic Party.  It’s true that many people are in the middle politically, but of those who are engaged in politics it’s not that they don’t have opinions so much as their opinions don’t align to any single platform.  That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – the argument has long been that moderates do stand for things and they do have opinions, they just aren’t in lockstep with a “movement” or subservient to an outside agenda.

It has often been said that most people, when they speak of bipartisanship, really mean, “You be bi while I’m partisan.”  With that in mind it is interesting to look at a recent Pew study, as Chris Stoller at MyDD did, which shows a public unified on the idea of bipartisanship, but disinterested in compromising their own principles on any major issue.

Three in four respondents say they like politicians who are willing to compromise, but nearly 7 in 10 say they like politicians who stick to their positions even when unpopular.  In other words, bipartisanship and gridlock both have veto proof majorities.

It gets even stickier when looking at actual issues.  Nearly 3/4 responded that absolutely no compromise is possible on abortion.  And you’re in within the margin of error of majorities on the environment, immigration, Iraq, and tax policy.

As Bowers notes:

The next time the public doesn’t like someone because s/he or is a “flip flopper,” perhaps they should look themselves in the mirror. More importantly, the next time a pundit or reporter states that the country is looking for compromise and bipartisanship, they should note that the country doesn’t know what exactly it wants compromise on, and that they also like leaders who stand on principle.

I’m all in favor of good government – and I’ve voted for candidates of both parties as circumstances warranted.  The problem is that most of the time people who favor bipartisanship don’t really have a clear grasp of what types of policies are to result from the groundswell of good karma.   The least objectionable path isn’t always the one which ultimately leads to the greatet good.

Consider this from the Omaha College Democrats Blog

My fear from the beginning, when Nelson and Warner came out with this tamer resolution, was that it set the bar so low, no progress could come from it. In the name of getting as many Republican Senators to sign on as possible, the proposal was basically neutered of any effectiveness. And the further right you go on something, you inevitably will lose someone on the left. This couldn’t be any more transparent a political ploy if they tried: it’s simply a meaningless resolution designed to give cover to Senators like Warner and Collins who have to seek reelection in 2008.

Exactly.  I am often wont to cite an eleventh commandment, “Cover thine own.”  But it’s true.  Resolutions like the one Abel hails are largely symbolic, designed to provide political cover to both sides of the aisle, not actually solve any of the questions that will still need to be addressed.

Liberaltopia has good words too.  Yes compromise is sometimes necessary.  But:

The thing is, our system is set up, in both the courts and in Congress, to be adversarial and partisan. The competition of ideas keeps democracies from bogging down in the sludge of one-party rule and narrow-minded thinking.

All in all…some perspective is in order.  Bipartisanship for its own sake accomplishes nothing.  Compromise when appropriate, and always seek out the best solution for a given situation.  But when the opposition is WRONG they must be opposed. And don’t apologize for it.

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Cherokee nation

Posted by Greg on January 22, 2007

My friend Michael van der Galien at TMV has had his interest captured by the stories and history of the North American indian tribes.  The first installment of what I expect will be a lengthy and worthwhile series has been posted HERE.

This quote covers some history I wasn’t that familiar with, but the whole thing is worthwhile.

There is a lot of controversy within Cherokee Nation regarding the so-called “Freedmen”. Who are they and what’s the controversy all about?
P.B.: Before the Trial of Tears, many Cherokee had assimillated into white culture. Since they were in the South, this included plantation economics and slavery. One Cherokee, James Vann, was actually the richest man in George, with a large brick house, hundreds of acres and hundreds of slaves. During the removal, most Cherokee brought their slaves with them and continued to keep them until after the Civil War. Cherokee fought for both the North and the South, but in the end, the tribe was treated like the defeated Confederates. A treaty imposed in 1866 required the Cherokee to not only free all slaves, but make them members of the tribe. Many of the slaves intermarried with Cherokee. In 1896-1907, the Dawes Commission tried to break up the Cherokee Nation and allot individual plots of land to individual Indians, with the “surplus” being then opened to white settlers. The so-called Dawes Rolls are really a mess, incredibly inaccurate. The names are frequently wrong, because some Indians objected to being forced to give “English” names. The blood quanta listing is usually wrong, because if an Indian claimed he was a “full blood,” he was considered incompetent and the land would be held in trust for him by the federal government. The Freedmen were listed, but were not given a blood quanta rating due to the prevailing racist belief at the time that “one drop” of “negro blood” made you a “negro.” In fact, the whole idea of blood quantum or “Indian blood” is a racist invention of whites that has no precedent in Indian history or culture. ohn Ross, the greatest chief in modern Cherokee history, was only 1/8th! For decades after the Dawes Rolls, the Freedmen descendents were considered members of the tribe. Some even served on the Tribal Council. When a new constitution was adopted in 1975, the tribe stopped enrolling Freedmen, on the grounds that they weren’t “Indians by blood.” This was challenged in the courts and last year the Cherokee Supreme Court ruled that the tribe had to allow Freedmen descendents to enroll as full tribal members. A petition (which was riddled with fraud and inaccuracy) was circulated and now a vote is scheduled to limit tribal membership to those who can “prove” that they have “Indian blood.” Of course, this is a Catch 22 for the Freedmen descendents, since they weren’t allowed to list their “Indian blood” on the Dawes Roll in the first place.

Is that attitude based on racism, pride, economics or something else?
P.B.: That’s a hard question to answer. It’s not money; the Cherokee Nation makes enough off casino gambling to pay for services, but nobody gets a rebate check as with some other smaller tribes that have periodically tried to kick out members. Yes, it would put a strain on the nation to absorb as many as 10,000 (by some estimates) new citizens, but they would also be contributing to the nation. I don’t want to believe the exclusionists (led by Principal Chief Chad Smith) are motivated solely by racism but some of their comments (like saying the Freedman “haven’t contrubuted to the life of the nation”) make me wonder. The whole issue of “Indian blood” is very sensitive to many Indians, especially among Cherokee who have been intermarrying with whites (and blacks) for 200+ years. In fact, the Cherokee have kind of a reputation among other tribes for being “apples” (red on the outside, white on the inside).

Read it in full.

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More warantless spying

Posted by Greg on January 15, 2007

This time on Americans’ bank records.

The Pentagon, and to a lesser extent the CIA have been using a little-known power to look at the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage within the United States, officials said Saturday.Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Saturday the Defense Department “makes requests for information under authorities of the National Security Letter statutes … but does not use the specific term National Security Letter in its investigatory practice.”

Whitman did not indicate the number of requests that have been made in recent years, but said authorities operate under the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the National Security Act.

When are we going to wake from the nightmare that is the Bush presidency?

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Adieu Moose

Posted by Greg on November 17, 2006

The Bull Moose will be taking a break from blogging.

It’s been a good run. The Moose has tremendously enjoyed musing, observing and holding forth on the issues of the day. But, for the time being, this cervine creature will not be seen in cyberspace.

The great and grand political development of the past year has been the triumph of Independent – Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman. Joe has bravely revived the great tradition of Scoop Jackson that is so critically needed at this time of international challenge and crisis. The Moose is leaving the blogosphere with the deep satisfaction that in a small way he was part of this historic and monumental victory for the vital center.

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Still a big fat liar

Posted by Greg on October 23, 2006

Rush Limbaugh again opens his mouth and removes all doubt.  Fortunately, Jonathan Cohn at The Plank got actual medical information:

What you are seeing on the video is side effects of the medication. He has to take that medication to sit there and talk to you like that. … He’s not over-dramatizing. … [Limbaugh] is revealing his ignorance of Parkinson’s disease, because people with Parkinson’s don’t look like that at all when they’re not taking their medication. They look stiff, and frozen, and don’t move at all. … People with Parkinson’s, when they’ve had the disease for awhile, are in this bind, where if they don’t take any medication, they can be stiff and hardly able to talk. And if they do take their medication, so they can talk, they get all of this movement, like what you see in the ad.

All good and fine, but nothing Limbaugh couldn’t have googled, if he was interested in truth instead of scoring political points.

I used to be a fan.  Too bad he’s gone downhill and become nothing more than a sycophant.

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Great piece by Peter Biernart at TNR …

Posted by Greg on October 12, 2006

Great piece by Peter Beinart at TNR on why Bush’s supposed lack of “conservatism” shows a memory of convenience among conservatives.

If conservatives were so angry with Reagan at the time, why do they worship him now? It’s simple: Because his policies seemed to work.

And that’s precisely why they are so scornful of Bush today. Think about it. Bush’s second term has actually proved more conservative than his first. Since January 2005, he has nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito, fought to privatize Social Security, and signed the two leanest budgets of his presidency–budgets in which domestic discretionary spending actually drops (when adjusted for inflation). And yet conservatives–who turned out for him in historic numbers just two years ago–now can’t stand the guy.

Conservatives aren’t turning on Bush because his policies aren’t conservative. They are turning on him because his policies, from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, have dramatically failed–and failed policies, by definition, cannot be conservative. Poor George W. Bush. His supporters fear the Democrats, but they fear cognitive dissonance far more.

Alas, that pretty much summarizes the situation. Since “conservatism” can never be wrong, failed policies, however much they agreed with them when implemented, cannot be conservative. Hence, Bush is apostate.

Morons.

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Musings on Iraq

Posted by Greg on October 3, 2006

I was recently asked in an exchange to pontificate on the current state of Iraq and why it pisses me off…

An excerpt follows:

—–Original Message—–
>
>Does anyone else feel like me that the preemptive war in Iraq violates
>the standards of war outlined [scripture]?

Perhaps, though mileage may vary on how meaningful that is with regard to a secular republic governed by a Constitution rather than a theocracy.

On Iraq you have several issues.

1. They cooked the books to justify invasion. In fairness, it was a global intelligence failure, not just the US agencies. But part of the problem is the administration wasn’t looking for proof, they were looking for excuses and opportunities. They withheld contradictory information, they gleaned intelligence via torture which is notoriously inaccurate, and they pressured the world wide community to fall into step.

2. The administration really had no clue what they were doing once they got there. There was no coherent plan beyond “stay the course” to bring Iraq into the fold of nations as a stable, independent partner.

3. What little they did do, was mismanaged through administration cronies who were usually woefully unqualified and inadequate to the tasks at hand. Shrubya campaigned in 2000 against nation building, then tried it himself. But rather than trying to build a nation they put in sycophants who were driving toward ideology, not meeting the needs of the people on the ground. Billions upon billions of dollars are up in smoke and we (and the Iraqis) have precious little to show for it.

This brings us to new issues.

1. Iraq wasn’t directly involved with 9/11 and while a mess was stable. Now Iraq is a quagmire and Iran and North Korea are heating up.

2. Our military is exhausted and depleted – just as REAL hot spots are starting to develop.

3. We never finished the job in Afghanistan which is now sinking back into chaos. And al Qaida has been given time to regroup and re-establish itself in Pakistan.

4. For all the billions that have been spent, and all the fear that has been mongered, in meaningful, quantifiable terms what precisely has been done to make us more secure as a nation than we were on 9/10/01? From where I stand, shamefully little.

I should be clear – I, like many others, gave the president the benefit of the doubt and, based on the information available at the time, supported the decision to go into Iraq. But we have learned that things weren’t what we had been led to believe.

And in terms of politics/governance/competence, Iraq is an utter disaster and a stain on the record of the administration.

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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.

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This is a test

Posted by Greg on September 21, 2006

If you see it, I passed.

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A new career for Razi?

Posted by Greg on September 18, 2006

Andy Borowitz comes up with a great new use for his Papal talents:

 ‘The Pope Benedict XVI Factor’ to Debut Next Week

In what many in religious and broadcasting circles are calling an unprecedented development, the Fox News Channel today announced that it had offered Pope Benedict XVI his own show as part of their weekly primetime lineup.

The program, which will be broadcast live from a specially built television studio in Vatican City, will be called “The Pope Benedict XVI Factor” and will feature the outspoken pontiff shooting from the hip on a variety of topics.

Fox, which is currently home to such conservative commentators as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, surprised many in the television industry by reaching out to one of the world’s most powerful religious leaders to host a nightly news program.

But according to Fox spokesperson Carol Foyler, the Pope’s recent comments about Islam, which succeeded in alienating millions of Muslims around the world, showed that the pontiff and Fox were “a good fit.”

“If Pope Benedict XVI can offend and insult that many people right out of the box, imagine how good he’ll be after a few weeks of working here at Fox News,” Ms. Foyler said.

Ms. Foyler said that the format of the Pope’s show was still “a work in progress,” but she hinted that there would be a nightly segment in which the Pope would take a gratuitous shot at one of the world’s leading religious faiths.

“Our thinking is, let the Pope be the Pope,” she said.

Elsewhere, a new study shows that vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and watercress can help kill cancer cells, while spinach can kill the entire the person.

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She will be missed

Posted by Greg on September 17, 2006

Well known author and journalist Oriana Fallaci passed away at age 76.

Veteran journalist and writer Oriana Fallaci, a former war correspondent best known for her abrasive interviews and provocative stances, has died, Italian news reports said Friday. She was 76. 

If you haven’t read The Rage and the Pride, you should.

Hat tip:  Mick.

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R.I.P.

Posted by Greg on September 14, 2006

Former Texas governor Ann Richards passed away at age 73.

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