Friday, February 29, 2008

A Palestinian Holocaust?

In the past, if you accused the Israelis of carrying out a holocaust against the Palestinian people you'd likely be accused of hysteria, if not out-right antisemitism. My, how times have changed.

Israeli leaders warned Friday that the army may unleash a “holocaust” on the Gaza Strip if Islamists there do not end their daily barrages of rockets, the Times of London reports.

"The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said

The Hamas rocket attacks are reprehensible, surely self-defeating, terrorize and traumatize Israeli civilians, and have produced numerous casualties among the Israeli population. However, it seems obscene, frankly, for an Israeli official to use the term "holocaust" in describing potential IDF reprisals for actions that, let's face it, have claimed the lives of less than twenty people in all.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Memoriam: Wm. F. Buckley Jr.

In Memoriam: Wm. F. Buckley Jr.


Has Bush Doomed the McCain Presidency?

John McCain's favorite news source, The New York Times, runs a story today highlighting the prickly issue of McCain's presidential ambitions vis. a vis. the presumptive Republican candidate's foreign birth. For while the U.S. constitution stipulates that only a "natural born citizen" can become president, John McCain was not born in the United States proper, but rather in the Panama Canal Zone in the year 1936.

“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone, where his mother and father, a Navy officer, were stationed. His campaign advisers say they are comfortable that Mr. McCain meets the requirement and note that the question was researched for his first presidential bid in 1999 and reviewed again this time around.


Ms. Duggin and others who have explored the arcane subject in depth say legal argument and basic fairness may indeed be on the side of Mr. McCain, a longtime member of Congress from Arizona. But multiple experts and scholarly reviews say the issue has never been definitively resolved by either Congress or the Supreme Court.
So far so good. McCain seems to be in relatively good shape (better than 50/50 odds, at any rate), even if a court challenge were mounted should McCain win the presidential vote. But then I came across this playful comment by newzhound, an astute reader of the blog Wonkette:

Since the Bush Administration has argued for several years that "Gitmo" in Cuba isn't part of the US - and US laws don't apply there - clearly Sen. McCain can not be president...

And indeed, the Bush Administration has made a great deal of the fact that our base on Guantanamo Bay Cuba is not American soil in mounting its claim that prisoners held there are not subject the the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.

Should a legal challenge be mounted to a hypothetical John McCain victory, I strongly suspect that the Bush Administration's arguments with respect to Guantanamo will be used in some fashion against the Republican senator. Oh, irony of ironies!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whither the negative ads, Barack?

Why hasn't Barack Obama run any negative ads against Hillary Clinton this season? Perhaps it's because someone else is doing his dirty work for him. You may be surprised just who that is.

It Was Gonna Happen Anyway

It was only a matter of time before conservatives rallied around John McCain anyway, but the Daily Kos has a sampling of conservative media personality reactions to the New York Times "McCain in bed with lobbyist" story that suggests that this may just have given them the excuse they needed to abandon their "principled opposition" to McCain and book a first class ticket on the "straight talk express."

Not a huge suprise. Once the election truly gets under way you can expect to see a slew of well funded, big-gun, 527s launching a barrage of anti-Obama attack ads and smears across the radio and TV spectrum. Those are the groups to truly worry about.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

John McCain's Bimbo Explosion

By now almost anyone with a blog and an interest in politics has likely read the New York Times story of John McCain and the not so disinterested lobbyist, Ms. Vicki Iseman. By tomorrow, everyone else in the world will have also. I won't go into the gory details. Suffice it to say that there was a period during the 2000 presidential election campaign that McCain campaign officials suspected the straight talking Senator from Arizona was having an affair with Iseman:

...By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman.
The Right is, quite predictably, throwing a fit over the story in ways that echo their principled anger at similar spurious allegations that were leveled against Democratic candidate John Edwards a few months ago... oh wait... they didn't complain then? Nevermind.

I will say that I'm most amused by one overly defensive Fox News story, particularly this line:
The Times article... also discusses how campaign aides kept the two apart during the 2000 election for fear they were giving the impression they were having an affair.
Heh... Roger Ailes' boys are too scared of this story to even accurately reprint its allegations. Concern that McCain and Iseman were having an affair is recast in the Fox version as concern that they were giving the impression they were having an affair.

At least Fox was honest enough to report that McCain has hired attorney Bill Bennet to help him wade through this bimbo explosion. Who's Bill Bennet, you ask? Why he's the guy who represented Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Apparently McCain is as tone deaf to the implications of his carousing as he is to the symbolism inherent in the particular lawyers he hires to help him ride out the storm it caused.

Michelle Sings

Michelle Malkin sings, and it sounds a lot like Vogon poetry.


Lynch Michelle Obama? Not just yet.

Bill O'Reilly doesn't want to lynch Michelle Obama... at least not until all the facts are in.

What a class act, eh?

Dumbesthingeverwritten Prize

And today's prize for the dumbest thing ever written goes to Lisa Schiffren over at the National Review Online for this doozie:

Political correctness was invented precisely to prevent the mainstream liberal media from persuing (sic.) the questions which might arise about how Senator Obama's mother, from Kansas, came to marry an African graduate student.
Congratulations, Lisa! For your eminently credible theory on the origins of political correctness, you win the contest. You can come in to our studio office and claim your half-pound can of finely ground, Colombian stupid any time between 9:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

American Taleban

A Kansas city Catholic school bars a female referee from officiating a boys basketball game saying that it is improper for her to "have authority over males." Crooks and Liars has the video.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wonketting Kirstol

Jim Newell does his own piece on Kristol's column, today, in Wonkette. It's far better than my all too serious ruminations, below.

Vulgarizing the New York Times

I wonder how much the editors at the New York Times are regretting their decision to hire William Kristol to write a weekly column for the paper? The stuff he's writing is simply awful. It's not just awful from an ideological standpoint (that was a given from the start) but from a purely literary perspective it is equally bad. For one thing, Kristol has no idea how to write for an audience of anything but mindless correligionaries. That much is clear. His columns come off as vulgar attempts to goad his readers as opposed to honest efforts to convince them of his thesis. And there is nothing of interest in them beyond that.

Consider today's column entitled "Democrats Should Read Kipling." It gets off to a seemingly good start, as Kristol brings in both George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling to help make his case. But this literary gambit soon vanishes into clouds of empty puffery and we discover that there's "no there there." Kipling and Orwell make an appearance in Kristol's column only so that he can drop a pair of impressive names that will be familiar and intriguing to the Times' haughty readers, but there is little substance to back up Kristol's appeal to these esteemed literary figures.

Kristol doesn't seem to realize that to pull this sort of thing off, a writer must be either surprising, ingenious, or instructive. He must surprise us by using the literary figure in a way we would not have thought possible. Alternatively, he must demonstrate ingenuity by using the literary figure in a completely inappropriate way, while leaving the reader with knowing smile ("Too clever by half, Mr. Kristol!"). Or, finally, he must genuinely instruct us, revealing aspects of the cited author's beliefs that we did not know and which are apposite to the discussion at hand. Kristol does none of this. He brings in Orwell and Kipling, uses them to support something that is more of a banality than an actual argument ("Kipling 'identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition.'") and then immediately throws them both away as he continues to make his rather scattershot mess of an argument. A clever columnist (say Christopher Hitchens) understands that, at he very least, if you are going to bring literary figures into the opening of your piece, you must return to them at the close to neatly and tidily wrap the argument up. But Kristol is not such a writer, and seems to think that just dropping Orwell and Kipling's names will imbue his ruminations with an undeserved degree of dignity.

Finally, there's the writing itself. There's no need to go into the gory details. Instead I'll simply cite directly from the piece:

If I may vulgarize the implications of Orwell’s argument a bit: substitute Republicans for Kipling and Democrats for the opposition, and you have a good synopsis of the current state of American politics.
Eeeew! Vulgarizing, indeed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Liberal Fascism

The guy who wrote:

When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.

Thinks that Jonah Goldberg's laughable new book Liberal Fascism, is right on the money:

Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is too rich a book to be summarized in a newspaper column. Get a copy and start rethinking the received notions about who is on “the Left” and who is on “the Right.” It is a book for people who want to think, rather than repeat rhetoric.

And as proof of just how right Goldberg is, consider that:

Famed British novelist and prominent Fabian socialist H. G. Wells called for “Liberal Fascism,” saying “the world is sick of parliamentary politics.”

Hmmmm, sounds like Wells might have felt that politics was degenerating and a military coup was in order to set things aright... oh, wait. Nevermind.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Be My Valentine? Please...

The GOP has several humorous Valentines day cards that Republicans can e-mail one another this season. You can see them by going here. In the spirit of playful banter, I offer them one more if they'd like to use it:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yes We Can

This video is simply stunning. Words escape me. You've just got to watch it. The hope Obama inspires in people is just unreal: