Archive for April 16th, 2007

A Subpoena Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

Well, I guess this doesn’t really surprise anyone:

Today, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) issued the following statement in response to the Justice Department’s failure to comply with the Committee’s subpoena response deadline of 2 p.m. today. The subpoena seeks information the Department has continued to refuse to provide or has provided only in redacted form.

“We are disappointed that the Justice Department failed to produce the documents and other materials for which we issued a subpoena last week. While we understand that the Department considers this effort a priority and we plan to continue working with them, we will review all available legal options to secure compliance with the subpoena.”

Gee, I think that last part might have been a threat…

Okay, I know the Bushies think that everything in the Executive branch, and even everything that touches the Executive branch (*coughcoughRNCmailserverscough*) is covered under the magic veil of executive privilege, but shouldn’t they at least have the balls to go to court and assert it, rather than just passive-aggressively ignoring the subpoena like they do so many other requests from John/Henry? Is there some legal principle or strategy at work here? Or are they just stalling for time, like until maybe after Gonzo testifies? It’s not like he’s real hard to trip up…

1 comment April 16th, 2007 at 07:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Republicans,Rove

Horrible

Just awful:

At least 33 people were killed today on the campus of Virginia Tech in what appears to be the deadliest shooting rampage in American history, according to federal law-enforcement officials. Many of the victims were students shot in a dorm and a classroom building.

(…)

Witnesses described scenes of mass chaos and unimaginable horror as some students were lined up against a wall and shot. Others jumped out of windows to escape, or crouched on floors to take cover.

There were two shootings on the campus in Blacksburg, Va., and in both instances there were fatalities with “multiple shooting victims,” Mr. Steger said.The attacks started early in the morning, with a call to police at 7:15 a.m., as students were getting ready for classes or were on their way there. As the rampage unfolded over nearly three hours, details emerged from witnesses describing a gunman going room to room in a residence hall, and of gunfire later at a building where classes were held.When it was over, sidewalks were stained with blood. Among those dead was the gunman.

The identification of the gunman was proving difficult, because the suspected shooter did not have identification among his effects and because of the severity of an apparently self-inflicted wound to the head, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Jaysus.

Of course, the right wing (or at least Instapundit – I really don’t want to look at any more of them than I absolutely have to) has immediately concluded that this just proves that there aren’t enough people walking around with guns:

These things do seem to take place in locations where it’s not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns, though, and I believe that’s the case where the Virginia Tech campus is concerned. I certainly wish that someone had been in a position to shoot this guy at the outset.

Argh. Tell me again about the “Culture Of Life”?

4 comments April 16th, 2007 at 06:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, At Least He Said One True Thing…

The only part of Going, Going, Gonzo’s testimony that I believe:

I am committed to assuring the Congress and the American public that nothing improper occurred here.

Yes, I’m sure you are. But most of America would prefer the truth instead, and the rest of that WaPo story demonstrates that you’re incapable of telling it.

Of course, for BushCo, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

1 comment April 16th, 2007 at 11:53am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Retroactive Outrage

Well, apparently Tom DeLay is terribly offended by Rosie O’Donnell’s “ching ching chong” parody of Chinese:

On the heels of Imus’ dismissal from CBS and MSNBC, the national debate on racist language has taken a very bizarre turn. Remember Rosie O’Donnell’s “ching chong” remarks?

(…)

All week, I have been wondering why Imus says only three words and becomes the target of national vile, while Rosie O’Donnell can repeatedly deny the concerns of the Asian American political community and receive 30 second spots on E! Entertainment News….

Well, surprisingly, the Asian American community may have an unlikely ally. Last week, in response to Imus’ firing, the Republicans were up in arms to try and declare the act a liberal bias in media. They have tried to draw a comparison between Imus’s racist and sexist comments with Rosie O’Donnell’s repeated harping about conspiracies surrounding 9/11. On Tom Delay’s blog, he wrote:

And for the contextual icing on the cake, where are the repercussions for Rosie O’Donnell’s hateful, idiotic accusations that President Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks? And her ignorant parody of the Chinese language? Or her comparison of conservative Christians to Islamo-fascist terrorists? Why has ABC not suspended her from The View? Why has she not been frog-marched up to some radio show to apologize to 9/11 victims/Chinese-American activists/evangelical Christians?

(…)

[C]ertainly Delay is not particularly interested in helping Asian Americans combat racism; he is just using the hullabaloo around Rosie’s “ching chong” remarks to help support his argument that conservatives are victimized in American and the liberal bias of the media is keeping Rosie on the air.

But, hey. If conservatives succeed in getting Rosie tossed from “The View”, I’m also not going to cry for her.

I agree with all of this, plus some additional thoughts:

The title of DeLay’s post (I’m still tickled by the idea that he has a blog) is “If The Left Takes Imus, We’ll Take Rosie.” That right there makes it clear that he’s not targeting Rosie out of any kind of genuine outrage, but simple score-settling, much like the Clinton impeachment was partly revenge for the fall of Nixon.

It also reminds me of the scene in Enemy Mine (the book; I haven’t seen the movie) where the human and alien fighter pilots exchange the Deeply Offensive religious insults that their Psyops people have given them, and the alien’s is “Ya stupid Mickey Mouse is.” (The human’s is probably equally lame, but I don’t think we ever find out for sure) The idea that losing Rosie would sting us liberals to the quick and make us rend our garments and wail, “My God, what have we done???” is almost quaint in its misguidedness (probably about as much so as expecting conservatives to mourn the loss of Imus). If Rosie had been fired for her ching-chongery, I would have applauded.

But it’s too late now. There are two enormous giveaways when it comes to outrage. One is timeliness: Did you have an immediate, visceral “Oh my God, that’s horrible!” reaction, or did you go fishing through media archives to find something to be outraged about? Admittedly, this can be a bit tricky, since it’s certainly possible for someone to be outraged and not speak up because they’re more focused on other issues (I’m as guilty of this as anyone, since my primary focus tends to be politics, news media and awful music videos).

Which brings me to the other giveaway: Is your outrage in character? Is it congruent with your overall ideological alignment? How many white conservatives crusade against bigotry? How many deliberately use it as a vote-getting and decision-making tool? How many bigoted conservative pundits and radio/TV hosts are there vs. liberal ones?

The only times I ever see conservatives speaking up against prejudice is when non-whites like Arab Muslims or gangsta rappers are trashing or oppressing women, or when liberals are attacking a female, minority or gay conservative for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their gender, race, or sexual orientation (it’s usually something to do with the fact that they’re incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, full of hate, or some foul combination thereof). However, we do play into their hands whenever we bring their demographics into our critique of their words or actions, which gives us both a tactical and moral reason not to do so.

So, to sum up: If you and your party have a long history of indifference (at best) towards bigotry, and you suddenly find yourself outraged by something that progressives have been speaking out about for months or years, you’ll have to forgive me if I doubt your sincerity.

(h/t Sylvia)

9 comments April 16th, 2007 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Conventional Wisdom Vs. Common Sense

Krugman has noticed it too:

Normally, politicians face a difficult tradeoff between taking positions that satisfy their party’s base and appealing to the broader public. You can see that happening right now to the Republicans: to have a chance of winning the party’s nomination, Republican presidential hopefuls have to take far-right positions on Iraq and social issues that will cost them a lot of votes in the general election.

But a funny thing has happened on the Democratic side: the party’s base seems to be more in touch with the mood of the country than many of the party’s leaders. And the result is peculiar: on key issues, reluctant Democratic politicians are being dragged by their base into taking highly popular positions.

Iraq is the most dramatic example. Strange as it may seem, Democratic strategists were initially reluctant to make Iraq a central issue in the midterm election. Even after their stunning victory, which demonstrated that the G.O.P.’s smear-and-fear tactics have stopped working, they were afraid that any attempt to rein in the Bush administration’s expansion of the war would be successfully portrayed as a betrayal of the troops and/or a treasonous undermining of the commander in chief.

Beltway insiders, who still don’t seem to realize how overwhelmingly the public has turned against President Bush, fed that fear. For example, as Democrats began, nervously, to confront the administration over Iraq war funding, David Broder declared that Mr. Bush was “poised for a political comeback.”

It took an angry base to push the Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base — which was infuriated when Barack Obama seemed to say that he would support a funding bill without a timeline — to push them into confronting Mr. Bush over war funding. (Mr. Obama says that he didn’t mean to suggest that the president be given “carte blanche.”)

But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush’s leadership and doesn’t believe anything the administration says. Iraq was a big factor in the Democrats’ midterm victory. And far from being a risky political move, the confrontation over funding has overwhelming popular support: according to a new CBS News poll, only 29 percent of voters believe Congress should allow war funding without a time limit, while 67 percent either want to cut off funding or impose a time limit.

(…)

There’s no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants — an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all — are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians. Or, to coin a phrase, the only thing Democrats have to fear is fear itself.

This is an excellent reminder of just how toxic and self-defeating the Democratic leadership’s deference to the DLC and punditocracy is. Those “sensible” centrists want the Democrats to pander, not to the center, but to the right. Look at the polling on almost any issue, and the Independents are already aligned with the Democrats. To capitulate to the Republicans will alienate the oh-so-precious middle just as much as the Democratic base. (I think the importance of the middle is overrated, largely for turnout reasons, but if the Democrats want to appeal to the middle, then they should, y’know, appeal to the middle.)

2 comments April 16th, 2007 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Politics

Monday Media Blogging – Big In Japan

More bizarre videos from Japan, or at least using Japanese source material…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGGWgp5_UhQ
Numa Numazilla!

(h/t Kyklops)


Anime robot freakout!!!

(h/t Pink Tentacle)

5 comments April 16th, 2007 at 07:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging


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