Tuesday, November 30, 2004

T-Shirt Hell & Rolling Stone's ad policy

No one has t-shirts more offensive (or funnier) than T-Shirt Hell. Juvenile perhaps, but who could resist: "I threw the cup at Ron Artest" or "I bought Christopher Reeve's wheelchair on eBay." My current favorite is: "I support stem cell research -- but only as a byproduct of my support for killing babies."

So I was expecting that TSH's problems getting their second ad into Rolling Stone would involve something really egregious, something that would offender damn near everyone -- instead click here for the story.

Corporate wussies is right.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Child murder in Texas: Is this progress?

Again we have a mother who murders a child in the throes of post-partum depression. And again I fear that her fellow citizens will want to burn her at the stake.

More than 30 years ago, I lived outside Jackson, Michigan, near a woman who had murdered three of her children, slowly, with a knife, while suffering post-partum depression. Yet in her case, as I wrote in Lansing City Pulse, the courageous local prosecutor chose not to prosecute her.

In this era, with toxic right-wing radio, would he be able to withstand the outcry? Is this progress?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Onward Christian soldiers

Past quote from Rep. Ernest Ishtook who is responsible for the clause that would allow Congress to paw through our income tax returns: "The message is really very clear, and if I have a message today for the Republican Party, it is that the most dynamic issues, the winning issues and the cutting edge issues of American politics today are moral and cultural. They are not fiscal and economic."

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Online Clinton Library

Wonkette has some great comments on the ceremohy in Little Rock.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why the surprise?

So Bush bumped Colin to install Condo and told her to clean house. The Dems are not only surprised but horrified. Horrified I can understand. Surprised, no.

Only the Dems think that there is intrinsic virtue in bipartisanship. The Bush folks have a world view beyond just winning, so they are eager to make it happen whenever they get an opening. The Dems forget that the job of the opposition party is to make a case for a different path. Make the case well enough and you win the next election. Then when it is your turn to govern, you push like hell to change the course of the ship of state to further your view.

What's broken is that we have Dem party leaders who forget that Bill Clinton's tepid DLC Republican Lite strategy did not win the hearts and minds of the people. It worked only when Ross Perot siphoned off Republican votes in far greater numbers than Ralph Nader ever cost Al Gore.

Hoping for another corporate whack job to play spoiler is not a winning strategy. Standing for something other than corporate greed and fear of heaven and hell at least offers us a choice.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Politics makes strange bedfellows

No wonder John Edwards has such a bright future





Saturday, November 13, 2004

Boardrooms/congregations a haven for right-wing reactionaries

Conservative pundits continue to froth about the Chronicle of Higher Education study that showed most faculty on college campuses lean to the left. David Horowitz, president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, is therefore pushing universities to adopt "intellectual diversity" (political diversity) as a goal.

Yet even without any research, I can safely say that most corporate boardrooms in the United States are "havens" for right-wing reactionaries, as are the congregations of fundamentalist churches. Where is the outcry for ensuring diversity there?

Years ago, I was taunted by one of our community's right-wing tax resisters about why universities and the media are so dominated by left-wing thinkers. Because you have to be smart to have the job perhaps?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Is Peru in Europe?

Yahoo reports that gays in the military in Peru now have a Constitutionally protected right to have sex, inside and outside their barracks. How heartening that Peru is more enlightened than we are.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thinking with the little head again?

The Smoking Gun offers the details of the $9 million palimony suit that Coco has brought against Bill Maher. She alleges various kinds of nastiness and assures us that he promised to marry her and have kids (though he has made his reputation on TV denying that he would ever do either).


The unhappy Coco
Bill (Maher) & Bill (O'Reilly). Maybe they can kiss and make up and form a little support group?

The lesson to be learned in all this is that blue state guys think with the little head just like the red state guys do, even though they think they are smarter.

"Centerfold model and former flight attendant" -- no doubt they met at a foreign policy discussion or a night class in quantum physics.

Precisely who are women with brains supposed to date if both the red guys and the blue guys prefer bimbos? Why is it that many bright and otherwise enlightened males inevitably get the hots for women whose IQ rarely registers higher than than the mean temperature in Fairbanks.

Brilliant and beautiful single women over 40 have good reason to worry that their chances of marrying are less than contracting ebola (and, yes, the there is some equivalence there), while watching some of the smartest men drive right into the ditch when choosing a mate.

Anyone have any insight into this phenomenon?

How Christian of him & sore winners

Bob Jones III, of the eponymously entitled university, wrote an open letter to George Bush after the election, urging the president not to give an inch to those nasty liberals "despise you because they despise your Christ." How Christian of him.

And how would you like to sit down to dinner between Alan Simpson and Zell Miller -- maybe put Andrew Sullivan in the seat across from you. Simpson and Sullivan graced Bill Maher's show last Friday. Simpson did a full paranoid meltdown about how us blue state people are evil for mocking the good people in the country (good people are apparently defined as those who routinely dine on Bob Jones' God-fearing bilge).

Then Sullivan went ballistic about Noam Chomsky as an opportunistic and rapacious millionaire who rips off Europeans who pay the big bucks for his "anti-American" rants. Wonkette and others did a good job of bringing him down a peg or two for his ass fondling antics during the credits.

Then Zell Miller lit into Maureen Dowd, whom he called Maureen Loud and a "hussy from New York," on Don Imus' MSNBC morning show. What are these guys so mad about? They won.

Can you imagine what these sore winners would have done if they lost?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The lessons of Goldwater & Rove

When Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in a rout far worse than the one suffered by John Kerry, the Republican Party faced a choice -- adopt more of the Dems mainstream positions or continue to make the case for convervatism. Karl Rove merely inherited the legacy of decades worth of conservatives who have worked hard to make their case and win converts.

Yet today we see the Dems on the verge of taking the opposite course. Instead of energizing progressives and helping them find a way to make their case and win converts, the Dems are demonizing people like Michael Moore who could be their salvation. We have already wasted decades on Republican Lite ideas like the Democratic Leadership Council. It's time for people who care to take back what's left of the party (pun intended), or to forge a new party of their own.

Dumping on Mike & dumping Terry

Why has it become so fashionable to use Michael Moore as a whipping boy for the Democrats' loss? Mike knows how to put together a coherent narrative, combining humor and insight, which is something that the Kerry campaign never did, for all of Bob Shrum's supposed eloquence. Mike galvanizes people with a populist message, which is something that the Dems dearly need.

The only ray of sunshine coming out of the recent debate is that there is word that Howard Dean may replace Terry McAuliffe as head of the Democratic National Committee. The end of the Clintons' bloodless neoliberal reign cannot come soon enough for me.

According to Alexander Cockburn's book Dime's Worth of Difference, it was McAuliffe who put the screws to Howard Dean's campaign. Cockburn argues that McAuliffe wanted to squash Dean in case someone else might follow his example in raising money on the Internet independent of the party. For people like McAuliffe who doesn't stand for anything but winning, a candidate who takes a principled stand on the war as Dean did, whether it's a majority position or not, is dangerous.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Calculate points to get into Canada - you need a 67

This website allows you to calculate your point score for immigrating to Canada. I'd go, but I can't speak Canadian.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Politics is not sports

I dimly remember hearing Chris Matthews and Craig Crawford expounding in the wee hours of the morning how the Dems need to do more to court Southern, god-fearing, gay-baiting Bubbas if they are ever going to win again. Yet that reduces rooting for the Dems to the political equivalent of rooting for the Yankees.

Poor Ron Reagan tried to make the argument that the Dems won't win until they actually stand for something. But I fear that the party hacks see the world only in terms of winning or losing. Need to join the witch-burners to get back in the game? No problem, in their mind.

It's going to be a long four years until the next go-round.

Post-mortem - Part 2

YOUNG PEOPLE: The youth vote last time, 17%. The youth vote this time . . . 17%. Does this mean that P. Diddy, with his Vote or Die t-shirts, will do the right thing and self-immolate? (The over-60 crowd actually increased.)

THE BLOGOSPHERE: It turns out that the Internet is great for raising money($80 million for Kerry's campaign) and lousy for getting people off their collective asses. This is the message from Howard Dean's bubble, from the MoveOn.org rallies in Miami where Cher and Rosie O'Donnell ended up with embarrassing small crowds, and now the Kerry surge that wasn't.

Meanwhile, in fundamentalist churches natiownide, ministers were preaching about the evils of homosexuality from informational packets produced by right-wing groups organized by the Ralph Reeds of the world.

As a practical matter, how can the left compete with fundamentalist churches where the faithful get together at least once a week, often more, to reaffirm their "values"?

NEW "CENTRIST" WISDOM: Brian Williams, the new Tom Brokaw, says that the Dems are already re-thinking a way to attract the born-agains -- that the left must stop patronizing of people of faith. Yeah, great -- let's jump on the creationist bandwagon.

Religious right rules

The loathsome anti-gay "defense of marriage" initiatives in 11 states mobilized the born-again mullahs to bring out the faithful.

And yet again we have a Democratic candidate who relied on attracting undecided votes by adopted "centrist" positions. The Democratic Party needs to get the message before we slide into a full-blown theocracy, with no separation of church and state.

Bye bye, Terry McAuliffe. Bye bye, Bill and Hillary. Does anyone honestly believe that Howard Dean would have done worse?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Detroit News has cool blog page

The Detroit News blog contains stories from bloggers around the state. You can also post on their polling place wrapup about what you found at the polls. Very cool, DetNews!

Cliches in the making - Part 1

Lester Holt, MSNBC, on learning that turnout is high: "It looks like apathy will be the big loser tonight."

Thanks to Tricia

Tricia Heinz of Utah agreed to swap votes with me, so I cast my vote for John Kerry here in Michigan and she voted for Nader for me there. My friend Ray thinks this is all too cute, arguing that a duopoly offers no real choice at all. While I cede the point, there is some hope an energized left might be able to persuade Kerry to undo at least some of the erosion of our civil rights.

Like Ralph, I was appalled to find how ugly the Dems could get in trying to stamp out any competition. But maybe the answer lies in working from within? I noted with alarm that all of the candidates running for our Township Board were Republicans. So my plan is to run against them as a Dem or a Green the next time.

Links from Zenzi

Before the election, here are some sites that may be of interest.

The League of Women Voter's website for information on all candidates and measures on your ballot, voter rights, etc:

Info on voting rights & hotline number for problems:
http://www.electionprotection2004.org/ (People for the American Way Foundation)

For advice on how to protect democracy, MoveOn.org's inspirational ads, and election protection card for printing out (& potentially distributing):

Information about each state's laws on being able to leave work to vote:

Not the most neutral of names, but also interested in protect voter rights with on-line reporting (probably underfunded with not enough servers, so report elsewhere if possible or in addition):

See a hysterical and educational (well, maybe) play in the spirit of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, "43 Plays for 43 Presidents" on Nov 1 at the Carter Center (Jimmy saw the play last time it was in town but he may go again):

Political Eminem video that rocks (with dial-up option):

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Donald chimes in

Bush in the boardroom

Does a Kerry win will guarantee a never-ending DLC strategy?

In Slate, Chris Suellentrop argues that Karl Rove's strategy of energizing the base will be branded a failure if Kerry wins. Conversely, that means that Kerry/Clinton/Democratic Leadership Council strategy of going to the center while exploiting "small differences" to lure the "median voter" would be vindicated. And this means that the Dems will embrace the Terry McAuliffe Republican lite approach forever.

In my mind, if the Dems do win tomorrow, they should thank their lucky stars that they did. Throwing at least a little more red meat to the party faithful on our side of the spectrum could have resulted in a blowout. But with candidates like Kerry, we will never have the chance to find out.