Archive for June 16th, 2005

Talking Downing

The Big Brass Alliance bloggers are probably all over this already, but if you haven’t read WaPo’s online chat with Michael Smith, the Sunday Times reporter who’s been covering all the Damning Downing Documents, you should do so right away.

He has all kinds of interesting tidbits, like his belief that there’s more out there that could ultimately create a public outcry for impeachment, the fact that he’s a Conservative- voting ex-soldier who initially supported the war, and that the Geneva Convention obligates an occupier to stay until the occupied country can stand on its own (how quaint!).

He also agrees with me that all the impeachment talk is probably counterproductive right now, and makes Democrats look, well, a lot like Republicans did in ’98.

Go! Read! Now!

2 comments June 16th, 2005 at 06:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Downing Street Memo,Iraq,Politics,War

Loud Is Good

Here’s another idea that I’ve floated here and there but never given its own post. This one’s pretty simple: A large part of Dean’s role as DNC chair should be that of a promoter. By this I mean that whenever another Democrat has an especially important message to get out and is being ignored by the media, Dean should make an address to underline and call attention to it.

I know this is far from the traditional role of a party chair, which I understand to be more behind-the-scenes fundraising and strategizing. But Dean is unique among all the Dems (except possibly the Clintons) in his ability to get media coverage, which is an absolutely invaluable counter to the Republicans’ media stranglehold. Better yet, his blunt and confrontational style is exactly what the Dems need right now, not the mush-mouthed equivocation and appeasement that has garnered their current milquetoast reputation. A few well-timed “Joe Biden/Joe Lieberman/John Edwards does not speak for the Democratic Party” jabs wouldn’t hurt either, but I emphasize “a few,” and only when they wander off the reservation and start making Republican noises.

I say we ride the Ho-Ho horse as long as we can, until Howard Fatigue sets in, if ever. In the meantime, we need to build up a bullpen of firebrands to reinforce the message, take some of the burden off of Dean, and provide a pool of strong successors as DNC chair and/or voice of the Democratic party.

June 16th, 2005 at 04:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Media,Politics

A Practical Question

I could be mistaken, but given the diminishing effectiveness of my popup blockers, I’m pretty sure that there is an ongoing arms race between popup blockers and popup advertisers. My question is, Why would you want to force popups on someone who has gone to the trouble to install software to block them? Isn’t it more likely that you’ll just piss them off and make them vow to never buy your product? Are they really going to admire your popup’s spunky can-do attitude?

Anyway, it’s just a thought, and perhaps too perplexing for the pestilent popup people.

4 comments June 16th, 2005 at 09:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Technology,Wankers

Dealing In Death And Donuts

Well, this is creepybadwrong. Bob Herbert on the Army’s “School Recruiting Program Handbook”:

“The football team usually starts practicing in August,” the handbook says. “Contact the coach and volunteer to assist in leading calisthenics or calling cadence during team runs.”

“Homecoming normally happens in October,” the handbook says. “Coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade.”

“Recruiters are urged to deliver doughnuts and coffee to the faculty once a month, and to eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times a month. And the book recommends that they assiduously cultivate the students that other students admire: “Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist.”

That last quote is a particularly creepy microcosm of the “only the little people fight wars” mentality..

“If you wait until they’re seniors, it’s probably too late,” the book says. It also says, “Don’t forget the administrative staff. … Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary’s week, with a card or flowers.”

The sense of desperation is palpable: “Get involved with local Boy Scout troops. Scoutmasters are typically happy to get any assistance you can offer. Many scouts are [high school] students and potential enlistees or student influencers.”

I’m not a parent (nor likely to be), but this is still disturbing as hell. Herbert also points out that these efforts are, of course, targeted primarily at lower income public schools where the students have limited life options after graduation.

Democrats really need to start publicizing this – I can’t believe a whole lot of parents would be okay with the idea of recruiters cozying up to scoutmasters. If we can’t get poor red-staters on pocketbook issues, let’s appeal to their concern for their children. Make them decide whether they’re really more afraid of gay recruiters than Army recruiters. Highlighting the desperation also underlines just how close to a draft we really are, and how unprepared for another pre-emptive war of choice.

Right now, every time the White House talks tough about Iran, Syria, or North Korea, the blue-collar red-staters puff their chests out and say, “That’s my brave, manly president! USA! USA!” I want them to start nervously pulling their children closer instead.

2 comments June 16th, 2005 at 09:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

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