Saturday, October 07, 2006

There was a short op-ed about grief in today's New York Times, written by a sociology professor at GW who recently lost a son:

In my eulogy I divulged that I believe in a God who brings meaning to the world, but that my belief has been severely tested. I missed seeing God in the killing fields of Cambodia, and he seems too busy to show up in Darfur, or to shine his face on either the Sunnis or the Shiites in Iraq. With a rising voice, I asked: How could God allow a son to be taken from his aging, ailing father? A devoted husband to be torn from the arms of his loving wife in the middle of the night? How could he allow a 2-year-old to be left searching for his father in vain, or deny an infant the chance to see the father even once?
It's a lightweight piece (to the extent that any essay in which a grieving father questions God can ever be called "lightweight"), but if you've got five spare minutes, it was one of the better articles I've read today.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

From the "Fun with Appropriations" file: the Defense approps bill passed last week includes $20 million for the "commemoration of success" in Iraq. Because Congress likes to be ready.

Update: It was Mitch McConnell (who supports the troops, goddammit).

On Monday morning, Wake-Up Call posted a whole series of new Senate poll numbers, all released by Mason-Dixon within the last 72 hours. Some were better than others, and some were more believable than others, but the sum total of those numbers was this: nothing but good news for Chuck Schumer. (Two things to point out before going on: first, I normally take Mason-Dixon polls with a grain of salt; and second, nearly every single one of these was within the margin of error. But all the same.)

By way of refresher, the Republicans currently hold the Senate 55-44 (and 1). There are 33 seats up for election this year; of those, 19 are pretty safe (12 D, 7 R). That leaves 14 competitive seats, eight of which are currently held by Republicans. To regain the Senate, the Democrats have to protect all of their seats (including the seat Jeffords is vacating in Vermont) and take six of the Republicans' eight. So, to the polls:

There were new numbers for nine races. Of the nine, two were tied: Virginia (thank you, George Allen) and Missouri. Both are currently held by Republicans, and neither was expected a year ago to be as competitive as they've become.

In each of the remaining seven races (Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington), the Democrat was ahead. And four of those (OH, PA, RI, TN) are seats that are currently held by Republicans.

A month ago, the idea that the Democrats could actually retake the Senate was somewhere between "quaint" and "unfathomable." Now... well, I'd like to see the Democrats ahead by actual margins, in an actual poll (no offense, Mason-Dixon). But short of that, this was an awfully nice way to start the week.

So that's how the Republicans are planning to limit the Foley scandal's damage.

Update: Crazy Katherine Harris (D-GA) (I-LA) (R-TN) (D-SC) (R-FL) approves.

Katherine Harris says the media would be "quite disingenuous" to blame the Mark Foley case on Republicans.

In an interview with WESH Channel 2 in Orlando, Harris said, "if anything, the Republicans didn’t know about these issues and we’re going to be very anxious to find out who in the media and on the other side of the aisle (Democrats) knew about it and kept this from the public interest, because our children were at stake."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bill O'Reilly: Hero of American Journalism.

"Politicians used to be able to come on TV and read a rehearsed answer, and Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley and those guys had to swallow it," O'Reilly says. "They couldn't give them the O'Reilly arched eyebrow or tell them they were a pinhead."