Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oooh. Ahh! Fancy new fonts and colors!

I finally got around to a redesign (I even have an RSS feed now). The structural changes (including that snazzy hierarchical archive listing) are courtesy of a new Blogger template, but the rest was all me, baby! (In addition to the cleaner look, the careful reader will notice that I have also taken the time to update the links on the sidebar.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Earlier this week, the administration turned heads with a few stronger-than-usual pronouncements of doom. Bush:

In Georgia, Bush drew sharp partisan distinctions as he belittled the opposition to the war, which is proving a powerful pro-Democrat issue: "The Democrat approach on Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses," he said.
And Cheney:
"Whether it's al Qaeda or the other elements that are active in Iraq, they are betting on the proposition they can break the will of the American people," Cheney told Fox News. "...They're very sensitive to the fact that we've got an election scheduled."
Now, come on. All's fair in love and politics, but this is starting to piss me off. Not because it's wrong (which it is), or because it's such blatant fear-mongering* (which it so is). But because it's old fucking news. They used the exact same line, and used it effectively, in both 2002 and 2004. Let's go, electorate: demand originality!

* - "The only thing we have to fear... is fear itself! Oh, and the Democrats."

(In related news, Charlie Rangel called Dick Cheney a "son of a bitch." And then apologized by saying, "He is a son of a bitch, but I shouldn't have said it." Hard to argue with that.)

(Playing catch-up, as usual.) From Tuesday's New York Times comes a report on perhaps the most honorable man in politics.

[Kevin] Wiskus is a 42-year-old Iowa farmer and lifelong Republican from the town of Centerville, about 100 miles south of the capital, who is making his first run for public office for a [state] House seat.

He became so outraged by his own party’s efforts to elect him that he resigned last month in protest.

A mailing sent by the state committee told voters that Mr. Wiskus’s* Democratic opponent, a lawyer named Kurt Swaim, had defended a man charged with child molesting.

Mr. Wiskus knew that Mr. Swaim had been assigned the case by the court as a public defender, and decided the attack was unconscionable. He is now an independent, and said he would serve as an independent if elected.
The fact that such a modest display of professional decency passes for show-stopping political integrity doesn't exactly swell one's heart with pride. But in an age of utterly misleading attack ads ("My opponent voted ninety-four times to raise your taxes and steal body armor from The Troops!"), if Mr. Wiskus sticks to his word, I'll be impressed.

* - Do you suppose the Wiskus family has a cat? And if so, do you suppose he is legally obligated to be called Mr. Whiskers Wiskus?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anxious for the chance to disabuse someone of their Republicanism (or, if you must, Democratism), but don't know any good Republicans to practice on? RedBlue has the answer!

RedBlue will create a private, one-on-one online dialogue process by matching participants with contrasting views. "Counterparts" will learn about the ground rules of productive dialogue, then engage on a difficult issue by viewing or reading a fictional narrative scenario that frames a front-page issue in personal, rather than theoretical, terms. Their email-style discussion will be monitored by a "virtual facilitator" that will make suggestions, provide feedback, and offer to step in when the heat of the moment threatens to derail the civility of the dialogue.
The site's not fully active yet, but if you sign up, they'll send you an email when it's all ready to go. I'm quite looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

John Kerry: asking for trouble.

Kerry then told the [Pasadena City College] students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps.
(Link courtesy of Wake-Up Call.)

Update: Well what do you know...

Second update: According to this morning's Wake-Up Call, "Today," "The Early Show" and "Good Morning America" all led with Kerry, who Hates the Troops.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Reportorial bons mots from the White House press corps, courtesy of the New York Times:

The exchanges grew testy at times, especially when Mr. Snow said Mr. Cheney is not someone who slips up. One reporter noted that the vice president had once used a profanity on the Senate floor, and also shot a friend in the face during a hunting accident last February.
Hard to read something like that and not laugh, isn't it?

David Brooks, whose opinion I respect, writes in defense of "the real Rick Santorum," a man who exists outside the realm of "political theater."

Like many people who admire his output, I disagree with Santorum on key matters like immigration, abortion, gay marriage. I’m often put off by his unnecessarily slashing style and his culture war rhetoric.

But government is ultimately not about the theater or the light shows of public controversy, it’s about legislation and results. And the substance of Santorum’s work is impressive. Bono, who has worked closely with him over the years, got it right: "I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette’s disease; he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable."
Needless to say, I remain unconvinced. Santorum does more harm than good, and it'll be nice to see the back of him. But Brooks makes a fair point: lefties who lambaste Santorum every time he does something stupid (ahem) are often conspicuously silent when he does something smart. Accordingly, though I'm not sympathetic enough to actually praise the man, I suppose I can overcome my Rick-loathing long enough to link to a pro-Santorum David Brooks column (a column that I happen to disagree with). So that's a step.

Update: The NYT's Robin Toner has a new Santorum article up this morning, complete with an excellent attack-ad screen grab that seems to have been specifically designed for inclusion in this blog post. "Outside the realm of 'political theater'? I wouldn't hear of it!"