Archive for September, 2007

What, Part 2

bottle-armor.jpg

Battle, er, bottle armor:

It takes only a few minutes to down a soft drink, but the plastic bottle it comes in is designed to last for centuries. In the eyes of Kosuke Tsumura, designer for the Final Home brand of urban survival clothing and accessories, the durability and abundance of PET plastic bottles makes them an ideal material for clothing – and armor. At the request of the world’s largest cola cartel, Tsumura made this suit of PET bottle armor by slicing up bottles and sewing the pieces together with transparent nylon thread. The armor may not hold up well in combat, but it looks cool as hell and it won’t biodegrade until long after you are gone.

Alrighty then.

September 30th, 2007 at 10:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

What.

hello-kitty-cards.jpg

Solid gold Hello Kitty playing cards.

I… have no words.

September 30th, 2007 at 09:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Random Getty Villa Photoblogging

Some more photos from Getty Villa, with no particular theme:

Getty Villa 11

Benches haven’t really changed a whole lot through the ages…

Getty Pool 2

That looks a lot nicer, though.

Getty Window 1

And… it’s a window.

September 30th, 2007 at 07:52pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

The Smartest Thing Tom Friedman Has Ever Said

Hard for me to argue with today’s column, especially this part:

9/11 has made us stupid.

Yes, I think that just about sums it up.

5 comments September 30th, 2007 at 10:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Quotes,Terrorism

If It Weren’t For Double Standards, We’d Have No Standards At All…

Not that it’s a surprise, but apparently it’s only bad when liberals accuse generals of betraying the troops…

…[W]hen I clicked on the item, this is the anti-military filth that I found:

And the text of the article — by Fox News Contributor and frequent O’Reilly guest David Hunt — is even more Despicable, as it repeatedly attacks the honor and integrity of members of the United States Armed Forces in one smearing paragraph after the next, beginning with this first sentence:

Our generals are betraying our soldiers . . . again.

To accuse a general of “betrayal” is, in military parlance, the equivalent of accusing him of treason to his country. Yet that is what this Fox News article does in the very first paragraph with regard to many of our brave Generals risking their lives for our country in a Time of War — and it not only accuses Our Military Commanders of “betrayal,” but betrayal of their own troops. It continues in this same Despicable vein:

Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them. The Marines have actually prosecuted a Marine for shooting a terrorist too many times . . . . In Iraq, the story is the same. The Army rediscovered a trick we used in ‘Nam’ called “baiting,” where you leave ammunition and pieces of explosive devices out and shoot whoever takes them. We used to leave exploding ammo to put in your AK — when you try to fire it, the gun blows up. It worked then and it works now . . . but guess what the Army is now putting on trial: Ranger Snipers for doing their jobs. The rules of engagement were once again being followed and once again our generals put their careers over their men’s lives. The chilling effect that these actions have over our soldiers is dramatic; this distrust weakens the very foundations of our military. It causes soldiers to second-guess themselves and their chain of command. We cannot fight like this and hope to win.

We should be putting these generals on trial, first for going along with Rummy and just as important for not trusting their soldiers. . . .

These poor excuse for officers do not deserve the soldiers they dare claim they lead.

So to recap the Hunt/Fox argument: our Generals and other military commanders currently leading our Nation at War are “betraying our troops.” They put their own selfish desire to advance their reputations and careers ahead of the welfare and lives of the soldiers they lead. The corruption and betrayal of these brave American Generals are preventing us from winning. These “poor excuses for officers” should be put on trial.

I don’t recall seeing as vicious and personal an attack on the honor and integrity of the members of the United States Armed Forces — perhaps ever, but certainly during a time when America is at War. As the great American patriot and defender of military honor Senator Mitch McConnell said when urging his colleagues to condemn the attacks on the honor and integrity of the Supreme General, David Petraeus:

It’s been more than a week since the Junior Senator from Texas offered an amendment condemning an ad by MoveOn.Org that appeared last Monday in The New York Times. The ad was, by any standard, abhorrent.

It accused a four star general who has the trust and respect of 160,000 men and women in Iraq of betraying that mission and those troops, of lying to them and to us.

Who would have ever expected anybody to go after a general in the field at a time of war, launch a smear campaign against a man we’ve entrusted with our mission in Iraq.

Any group that does this sort of thing ought to be condemned.

Unless they’re Republicans.

2 comments September 29th, 2007 at 04:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Getty Villa Non-Creepy Statueblogging

Some more… conventional sculptures from Getty Villa.

Hope you like armpits!

Getty Statue 7

Getty Statue 5

Getty Statue 6

September 28th, 2007 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Eureka!

I just read a very cool article in the Stanford alumni magazine about a long-lost Archimedes manuscript. There’s too much good stuff to even attempt to excerpt, but it’s fascinating both in terms of the history of the document, its restoration, and perhaps most of all, its contents. Also a lot of Archimedes tidbits I didn’t know about – that guy had skills.

September 28th, 2007 at 11:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science

Friday Quote & Otter Blogging

This week’s quote is from Insignificance, a bizarre little Nicholas Roeg film starring Theresa Russell as Marilyn Monroe, Gary Busey(!) as Joe DiMaggio, Tony Curtis(!) as Joe McCarthy, and, um, Henry Jaglom’s brother as Albert Einstein:

Did you know that according to the laws of probability, you drink a little piece of Napoleon’s crap? Maybe Mussolini’s. But more likely Napoleon because he’s been dead longer.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s otters…

Otters 1

Otters 2



I like otters.

September 28th, 2007 at 11:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging,Photoblogging,Washington DC

We Finally Win One

Yes, the hate crimes and SCHIP bills passed, but they’ll be vetoed and probably not overridden, so they’re moral victories at best. This is an actual final victory, and it’s HUGE:

Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California’s 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.

In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday’s print editions, The Times’ Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.

The reality is hundreds of thousands of signatures must be gathered by the end of November to get the measure on the June 2008 ballot.

Awesome. This really is a huge win. LAT credits Chris Lehane, but Rick Jacobs and The Courage Campaign deserve huge props for all their great work on this.

September 28th, 2007 at 07:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

Republican Race To The Bottom Continues

First we have President George W. Bush, who has vowed to veto:

  • The anti-hate crimes bill which just passed the Senate 60-39. Even Lieberman voted for it, so you know it has the Centrist Stamp Of Approval.
  • Expanded healthcare for children, which passed with a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but not the House. ‘Cuz, y’know, Americans hate children almost as much as they hate terrorists, gays, and illegal immigrants.
  • A family leave rights bill which allows a wounded vet’s relatives to take time off to care for him or her. ‘Cuz, y’know, Americans hate our troops almost as much as they hate children, terrorists, gays, and illegal immigrants.

And then, of course, we have the reliably vile Rush Limbaugh, declaring that any troop who speaks out against the war is a “phony soldier.” Others have already pointed out the irony of a chickenhawk who never served calling actual soldiers and vets phonies. And the fact that this follows right on the heels of the Senate’s condemnation of MoveOn for questioning General Petraeus’s integrity (with considerably more concrete evidence to back them up, I might add).

In fact, The Left Coaster notes that one of the most prominent “phony solders,” the recently killed Omar Mora, is from Texas, represented by John Cornyn, the sponsor of the anti-MoveOn bill, and challenges Cornyn to show the same outrage for a dead constituent that he showed for a real live Republican shill.

Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath. The GOP’s disapproval for smears against the military only applies to pro-war military, because, quite frankly, most Republicans agree with Rush. Sure, it’s always bad to smear soldiers, but if they’re speaking out against the war, then they’re obviously not “real” soldiers, so they’re fair game. If we’re really lucky, some of the Republicans might even be dumb enough to say this out loud.

So, to sum up, Bush, Rush, and most of the GOP are in favor of war and hate crimes, and opposed to children and troops. Good luck with that platform in 2008, fellas.

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 10:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Bookcellers

And I thought blogging from my Treo was kinda weird…

When Satomi Nakamura uses her cellphone, she has to be extra careful to take frequent breaks. That’s because she isn’t just chatting. The 22-year-old homemaker has recently finished writing a 200-page novel titled “To Love You Again” entirely on her tiny cellphone screen, using her right thumb to tap the keys and her pinkie to hold the phone steady. She got so carried away last month that she broke a blood vessel on her right little finger.

“PCs might be easier to type on, but I’ve had a cellphone since I was in sixth grade, so it’s easier for me to use,” says Ms. Nakamura, who has written eight novels on her little phone. More than 2,000 readers followed her latest story, about childhood sweethearts who reunite in high school, as she updated it every day on an Internet site.

In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation’s staid fiction market. Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s who long ago mastered the art of zapping off emails and blogs on their cellphones, find it a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies and get their stuff onto the Internet. For readers, mostly teenage girls who use their phones for an increasingly wide range of activities, from writing group diaries to listening to music, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.

Most of these novels, with their simple language and skimpy scene-setting, are rather unpolished. They are almost always on familiar themes about love and friendship. But they are hugely popular, and publishers are delighted with them. Book sales in Japan fell 15% between 1996 and 2006, according to the Research Institute for Publications. Several cellphone novels have been turned into real books, selling millions of copies and topping the best-seller lists. “Love Sky,” one of the biggest successes so far, is about a boy with cancer who breaks up with his girlfriend to spare her the pain of his death. It has sold more than 1.3 million copies and is being made into a movie due out in November.

Methinks that maybe I am not using my phone to its full potential…

(h/t Carolyn Kay)

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 09:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Technology,Weirdness

Strange Moments In Legal History

Hard not to notice a headline like Court Won’t Declare Chimp a Person, but the story itself is pretty interesting too:

He’s now got a human name — Matthew Hiasl Pan — but he’s having trouble getting his day in court. Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to Austria’s Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.

A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp’s behalf.

The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a ”person” so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.

Group president Martin Balluch insists that Pan is ”a being with interests” and accuses the Austrian judicial system of monkeying around.

”It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can,” Balluch said.

(…)

The legal tussle began in February, when the animal shelter where Pan and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for 25 years filed for bankruptcy protection.

Activists want to ensure the apes don’t wind up homeless if the shelter closes….

Their upkeep costs about euro4,800 (US$6,800) a month. Donors have offered to help, but there’s a catch: Under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Pan, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But they contend that only personhood will give him the basic rights he needs to ensure he isn’t sold to someone outside Austria, where he’s now protected by strict animal cruelty laws.

In April, a district court judge rejected a British woman’s petition to be declared Pan’s legal guardian. That court ruled that the chimp was neither mentally impaired nor in danger, the grounds required for an individual to be appointed a guardian.

(…)

The Association Against Animal Factories points out that it’s not trying to get Pan declared a human, but rather a person, which would give him some kind of legal status.

Otherwise, he is legally a thing. And with the genetic makeup of chimpanzees and humans so strikingly similar, it contends, that just can’t be.

”The question is: Are chimps things without interests, or persons with interests?” Balluch said.

”A large section of the public does see chimps as beings with interests,” he said. ”We are looking forward to hear what the high court has to say on this fundamental question.”

I suspect that Pan and his friends don’t have much of a legal leg to stand on, but I’m rooting for ‘em.

September 27th, 2007 at 08:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Great Headlines,Weirdness

How To Tell When It’s Time For A New Puppet

From Rick Perlstein’s great review of two recent Republican revisionist Vietnam War histories:

With Diem overthrown and assassinated… two generals worthy of Diem’s thuggish legacy, Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu, acceded to the civilian leadership of South Vietnam. “Ky, Thieu, and the other generals began their rule,” [author Mike Moyar] rhapsodizes, “by holding what they termed a ‘no breathing week.’” (Ky… had recently been asked who his heroes were. He said he had only one: Hitler.)

I would really prefer not to have any Hitler fans on my team, but maybe my standards are just unreasonably high.

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 07:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Quotes,War,Weirdness

Bitter Irony

By way of ellroon, Asia Times is reporting on al Qaeda’s plans to take over Pakistan, which, as you may remember, is where they and the Taliban ended up after an inattentive and Iraq-obsessed Dubya failed to finish them off in Afghanistan.

So, in other words, because Dubya falsely claimed that we had to invade Iraq to prevent Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons, al Qaeda is now in a position to acquire nuclear weapons.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

4 comments September 27th, 2007 at 11:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Terrorism,War

Getty Villa Creepy Statueblogging

It’s the eyes…

Getty Statue 2

Getty Statue 1

Getty Statue 4

I have more, but I haven’t processed them yet.

2 comments September 27th, 2007 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Please Stop Folding

Okay, so the Senate voted to condemn MoveOn for calling a liar a liar 72-25, voted to condemn Iran 76-22, and today the Senate Rules Committee voted to advance Baron Hans von Spakovsky, a truly horrible man who exemplified the partisan rot at the Justice Department, to the full Senate for confirmation. But without a recommendation, so it’s totally not a cave-in.

My disillusioned prediction is that he’ll be confirmed, oh… 75-23, give or take a few yeas and nays here or there. It just doesn’t matter how godawful the Republican bill or nominee is, roughly half the Democratic caucus will support it. The individual members change from vote to vote, but the total number is always about the same.

However, if von Spakovsky is confirmed with anything less than the 60 votes that are supposedly now required to get anything done, then Harry Reid should be summarily fired as Senate Majority Leader, effective immediately. Not that that would ever happen, of course. The Democratic party establishment never holds anyone accountable for failure. Only the voters do, and only some of the time.

September 26th, 2007 at 08:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Iran,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Too Good To Be True

By way of the Schecterverse, this would be totally awesome if it came to pass:

Former “Evening News” Dan Rather choked back tears on several occasions today when discussing his decision to file a lawsuit against CBS and he left many audience members with a sense that he may call President George W. Bush as a witness should the lawsuit proceed to trial (and Rather said he hoped it would).

When asked by Carol Joynt, host of the “Q&A Cafe” held at Nathans restaurant who worked with Rather at CBS in the 1970s, whether “he’d like to” call President Bush as a witness in the trial, Rather said “I’d like not to answer the question,” leaving both Joynt and audience members wondering whether the newsman has Bush in his sights.” Joynt later told Yeas & Nays, “From the look in his eye — and he gave me a definite Ratheresque look — I got the impression he will call the president as a witness. Possibly both of them: 41 and 43. He implied the suit is not against them, but what the suit is about stems directly from his antagonistic relationship with them.”

Wow. I was also very intrigued by this quote towards the end:

Still, Rather insisted that his lawsuit is not born out of resentment: “I’m not angry, I’m not bitter — never have been. I’m a reporter – and this is a story.” He denounced the “interference, intimidation and manipulation in newsrooms” caused largely by the corporatization and consolidation of news outlets and said that, despite the largely negative response his lawsuit has received in the court of public opinion, “people might come around when they find out what really went on.”

This makes it sound like Rather isn’t in it for the money, isn’t even in it for his own reputation – but rather (heh) that he wants to get the story out. If that really his primary objective, then this is going to be a very interesting trial indeed, and Rather may end up performing an enormously valuable public service. If it pans out really well, it might even turn into the media scandal that I think we need to drive serious media reform.

I know, too much to hope for. But a guy can dream.

2 comments September 26th, 2007 at 07:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media

They Took Our Jails!

Apparently it’s no longer enough to simply lock up illegal immigrants. Now they have to be locked up in Special Immigrant Jails:

A panel studying illegal immigration in Virginia wants to build a 1,000-bed state jail solely for people arrested for being in the United States illegally. The Illegal Immigration Task Force agreed to 11 recommendations Monday in an effort to tighten enforcement of immigration laws. The new jail was one of them.

According to a presentation given at the last task force meeting, some 10 percent of inmates in Virginia’s jails over the past year were suspected illegal immigrants.

Latino leaders have disputed those statistics.

Those damn illegals are trying to take away American criminals’ hard-earned jail cells! It’s all part of their Nefarious Secret Plan To Take Over America! At least Virginia is doing something about it – no more illegal immigrants living the high life in the luxurious conditions our own American convicts enjoy, nosireebob.

Perhaps there is hope after all.

(h/t Pachacutec)

2 comments September 26th, 2007 at 06:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Racism

Getty Villa Architectural Photoblogging

Just some architectural shots from the Getty Villa:

Getty Villa Stadium 2

Getty Villa 9

Getty Villa 10

Getty Villa Stairs 2

September 26th, 2007 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Alas, I think the Weekly World News has stopped updating their website, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep this feature going. I might still have some old back issues from when I had a subscription…

This week, more Headlines From Tomorrow!

2008 BUCHAREST, Romania – Vampires realize that the blood of tuna fish suits their macabre nutritional requirements as effectively as human blood. The undead begin lurking near the shores of the Black Sea, sucking fish dry and discreetly throwing their bodies into the water.

2009 BUCHAREST, Romania –
An unexpected side effect of the new vampiric diet occurs when the discarded fish themselves return to life as vampires. The fishing industry comes to an abrupt halt while authorities try to capture and kill the thousands of bloodthirsty “nosferatuna.”

(…)

2015 MANHATTAN, N.Y. – Since women adore men who make them laugh, cosmetic companies make a cologne for men that contains nitrous oxide – Guffaux. Any woman who talks to a man wearing Guffaux laughs for the entire evening.

(…)

2020 SANDY, Utah – To make vegetables more appealing to men, farmers try to make certain foods more masculine. Their first project is to stop growing chickpeas and grow a manly version, called studpeas.

2021 HOUSTON, Texas - Aerospace engineers discover that the best way to power a space station is to harness solar wind and turn it into energy. To accomplish this, they build a gigantic solar windmill in Earth orbit.

2022 HOUSTON, Texas - NASA and its European allies are forced to delay the project when a Spanish astronaut, suffering from space madness, becomes convinced that the solar windmill is an E.T. and attacks it.

I would totally buy the studpeas and then brag about it.

September 26th, 2007 at 07:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Just Makes You Proud To Be An American…

This is really, really depressing:

In the largest and most comprehensive project of its kind to date, 13 young male applicants, presenting the same qualifications and experience, split into teams and went on nearly 3,500 entry-level job interviews with private companies in supposedly left-leaning, “progressive”, multicultural New York City, jobs ranging from restaurants to manufacturing to financial services. After recording which applicants were invited back for interviews or were offered jobs, two sociology professors looked at the hiring practices of 1,500 prospective private employers, focusing specifically on discrimination against young male minorities and ex-offenders.

(…)

Some of the study’s findings are depressingly familiar. For instance, young white high school graduates were twice as likely to receive positive responses from New York employers as equally qualified black job seekers. It also reaffirmed not only that former prisoners are at a distinct disadvantage in the job market, but also that, again, black ex-prisoners are in a much worse position: positive responses from employers towards white applicants with a criminal record dipped 35 percent, while for black applicants similarly situated it plummeted 57 percent.

However, the study revealed that our society’s racism extends even deeper: black applicants with no criminal record were no more likely to get a job than white applicants with criminal records just released from prison! In other words, while whites with criminal records received low rates of positive responses, such response rates were equally low for blacks without a criminal background. Further exposing the overt racism at play was the study’s finding that minority employers were more accepting of minority applicants and job applicants with prison records.

Well, that’s just great. A black person applying for a job with a white employer is on the same footing as a white ex-con. Wonderful.

My simplistic interpretation of this is that there is an implicit assumption that criminality is the default condition for black people, but an aberrant condition for white people. So the straight-arrow black applicant with no record simply hasn’t slipped up yet, while the white ex-con has obviously learned his lesson and paid his debt to society.

See also: “Looting” vs. “Finding” in the reporting of the Katrina aftermath.

1 comment September 25th, 2007 at 08:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Polls,Racism

Shorter Bobo: Smart Peeple Ar Stoopid

If it’s Tuesday, it must be another pile of fatuous concern-troll garbage from Bobo Brooks. Today he argues that the netroots are irrelevant foolish losers, and that Matt Bai and Mark Penn are brilliant political analysts, and that Hillary is the strongest Democratic candidate because of her disdain for the netroots.

So, I have to ask… Did Bobo sleep through the 2006 elections, or did he have them professionally removed from his memory like in The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind He reminds me of those “Thanks for 2004, loosers!” trolls who would gloat about how none of Kos’s candidates ever win. But most of them mysteriously disappeared this year – I guess a “Boy, we really screwed the pooch with that Iraq war and rampant corruption thing, huh?” troll wouldn’t be very effective.

It’s very hard to take seriously anyone who manages to extol the brilliance of Matt Bai and Mark Penn in one column – I’m surprised he didn’t start rhapsodizing about about Bob Shrum’s mad campaign management skillz. But it never surprises me to see yet another wingnut talking about what a great nominee Hillary would be. Because it’s true… if you’re a Republican.

She would have the most difficulty differentiating herself from a Republican opponent, is quite possibly the only candidate that both bases hate, and if she did win, she would have the most Republican-friendly policies of any Democrat this side of Joe Lieberman. Meanwhile, the right-wing noise machine and the corporate media would be able to pick up right where they left off in 2000, demonizing Hill & Bill as corrupt ultraliberal archfiends who will sell us out to China, Iran, and al Qaeda.

2008 will be a very long year if Hillary is the nominee, and all that Republican talk about what a strong candidate she is will dry up before Obama even finishes his concession speech.

September 25th, 2007 at 06:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Media,Politics

Getty Villa Interior Photoblogging

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the Getty Villa was the result of J. Paul Getty deciding to recreate a Greco-Roman village in Southern California. So, lots of cool Greco-Roman art and architecture. Absolutely none of that is visible here, right next to the gift shop.

Getty Villa Light 2

It’s an authentic Greco-Roman overhead light!

Getty Villa Light 1

Here it is again!

Getty Villa 3

The stairs leading up to the surprisingly upscale cafeteria.

September 25th, 2007 at 11:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Racist Republicans

First Krugman:

…Southern white exceptionalism is about race, much more than it is about moral values, religion, support for the military or other explanations sometimes offered. There’s a large statistical literature on the subject, whose conclusion is summed up by the political scientist Thomas F. Schaller in his book “Whistling Past Dixie”: “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters to depict American conservatism as a nonracial phenomenon, the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”

Republican politicians, who understand quite well that the G.O.P.’s national success since the 1970s owes everything to the partisan switch of Southern whites, have tacitly acknowledged this reality. Since the days of Gerald Ford, just about every Republican presidential campaign has included some symbolic gesture of approval for good old-fashioned racism.

(…)

One of the truly remarkable things about the contest for the Republican nomination is the way the contenders have snubbed not just blacks — who, given the G.O.P.’s modern history, probably won’t vote for a Republican in significant numbers no matter what — but Hispanics. In July, all the major contenders refused invitations to address the National Council of La Raza, which Mr. Bush addressed in 2000. Univision, the Spanish-language TV network, had to cancel a debate scheduled for Sept. 16 because only John McCain was willing to come.

If this sounds like a good way to ensure defeat in future elections, that’s because it is: Hispanics are a rapidly growing force in the electorate.

But to get the Republican nomination, a candidate must appeal to the base — and the base consists, in large part, of Southern whites who carry over to immigrants the same racial attitudes that brought them into the Republican fold to begin with. As a result, you have the spectacle of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, pragmatists on immigration issues when they actually had to govern in diverse states, trying to reinvent themselves as defenders of Fortress America.

And both Hispanics and Asians, another growing force in the electorate, are getting the message. Last year they voted overwhelmingly Democratic, by 69 percent and 62 percent respectively.

In other words, it looks as if the Republican Party is about to start paying a price for its history of exploiting racial antagonism. If that happens, it will be deeply ironic. But it will also be poetic justice.

And now Herbert:

Last week the Republicans showed once again just how anti-black their party really is.The G.O.P. has spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans. Last week, the residents of Washington, D.C., with its majority black population, came remarkably close to realizing a goal they have sought for decades — a voting member of Congress to represent them.

A majority in Congress favored the move, and the House had already approved it. But the Republican minority in the Senate — with the enthusiastic support of President Bush — rose up on Tuesday and said: “No way, baby.”

At least 57 senators favored the bill, a solid majority. But the Republicans prevented a key motion on the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to move it forward in the Senate. The bill died.

At the same time that the Republicans were killing Congressional representation for D.C. residents, the major G.O.P. candidates for president were offering a collective slap in the face to black voters nationally by refusing to participate in a long-scheduled, nationally televised debate focusing on issues important to minorities.

The radio and television personality Tavis Smiley worked for a year to have a pair of these debates televised on PBS, one for the Democratic candidates and the other for the Republicans. The Democratic debate was held in June, and all the major candidates participated.

The Republican debate is scheduled for Thursday. But Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have all told Mr. Smiley: “No way, baby.”

They won’t be there. They can’t be bothered debating issues that might be of interest to black Americans. After all, they’re Republicans.

This is the party of the Southern strategy — the party that ran, like panting dogs, after the votes of segregationist whites who were repelled by the very idea of giving equal treatment to blacks. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. (Willie Horton) Bush, George W. (Compassionate Conservative) Bush — they all ran with that lousy pack.

I think there might be something to this racism idea. Herbert also provides this truly chilling quote from Lee Atwater, which removes all doubt:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,’ ” said Atwater. “By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

My God. The GOP is morally bankrupt in pretty much every conceivable direction.

1 comment September 25th, 2007 at 11:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Racism,Republicans

Ships That Have Already Sailed

I could have sworn this already happened last year:

It is the document that laid the foundation for fundamental principles of English law. Angry colonists complained long before the Boston Tea Party that King George III had violated it. The men who drafted the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights borrowed from it.

It is Magna Carta, agreed to by King John of England in 1215 and revised and reaffirmed through the 13th century. The tail dangling off the page is a royal seal.

And it is about to go on sale.

Sotheby’s, which today is expected to announce plans to auction it in New York in mid-December, estimates that the document will sell for $20 million to $30 million. It is the only copy in the United States and the only copy in private hands. Sotheby’s says the 16 others are owned by the British or Australian governments or by ecclesiastical or educational institutions in England.

(…)

The Perot Magna Carta dates to 1297 and was endorsed by King Edward I. The National Archives said that of the 17 original versions that still exist, 4 are from the reign of John; 8 are from Henry III; and 5 are from Edward I. Mr. Neilson said that some jurists consider the Perot Magna Carta to be the most important one because it was the one that was entered into the statute books in England.

This just in: President Bush has declared his intent to buy it, stating that it will occupy “a very special place” in his bathroom for a brief time before embarking on an ocean voyage.

1 comment September 25th, 2007 at 07:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution

They Hate Us For Our Freedoms

That’s what we’re in Iraq for, right? To protect our freedoms from the Evil Islamofascist Oppressor Hordes that will invade the Homeland the second we withdraw? Freedoms like… freedom of speech (emphasis Greenwald’s)?

As the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prepares to address Columbia University today amid a storm of student protest, state and city lawmakers say they are considering withholding public funds from the school to protest its decision to invite the leader to campus.

In an interview with The New York Sun, the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, said lawmakers, outraged over Columbia’s insistence on allowing the Iranian president to speak at its World Leaders Forum, would consider reducing capital aid and other financial assistance to the school.

(…)

“There are issues that Columbia may have before us that obviously this cavalier attitude would be something that people would recall,” Mr. Silver said. “Obviously, there’s some degree of capital support that has been provided to Columbia in the past. These are things people might take a different view of . . . knowing that this is that kind of an institution” . . .

“It’s not going to go away just because this episode ends. Columbia University has to know . . . that they will be penalized,” an assemblyman of Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, who also attended the rally, said. The lawmaker said Mr. Ahmadinejad should be arrested when he sets foot on campus.

Well, I’m sure those are just isolated opinions. They’re both Jewish, and Ahmadinejad is anti-semitic; New Yorkers feel strongly about 9/11, and Iran was… umm… well, I’m sure they were responsible for it somehow. Surely no-one outside of New York would react so strongly…

Earlier today, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said in a statement that if Columbia University President Lee Bollinger “follows through with this hosting of the leader of Iran, I will move in Congress to cut off every single type of Federal Funding to Columbia University.”

(…)

Appearing on Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto after the speech, Hunter said that he plans to follow through on his threat and will now “initiate legislation, and try to get as many people as can see it my way, to cut off funds to Columbia University.”

Wow. Good thing Ahmadinejad didn’t say anything bad about Petraeus, or the entire campus would have been shipped to Gitmo by now. What exactly are these people afraid of? Is Teh Islamofascist as contagious as Teh Gay, where our young impressionable students just have to be exposed to it once to be turned to The Dark Side?

Anyway, why make such a big fuss about Ahmadinajad? He’s just a buffoonish frontman for the religious extremists who are really in charge of the government. Why would anyone want to make such a clown out to be more important than he really is? Oh… right.

September 24th, 2007 at 06:52pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iran,Republicans

San Diego Quasi-Vehicular Photoblogging

Some photos from Balboa Park in San Diego:

El Cid 3

El Cid, I think. I didn’t get a good look at his face.

El Cid 2

Gah! I think this is that thing where I line up so that the sun is directly behind what I’m shooting…

Bike Lock Coils 1

I think this is El Cid’s horselock.

September 24th, 2007 at 05:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

I’ll Take The Dissenter Over The Decider Any Day

The NYT Sunday Magazine has a fascinating profile of 87-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens. Among other things, we learn that:

  • He considers himself a conservative.
  • He speaks in italics. Like, a lot.
  • The major elements of his judicial philosophy have all been shaped by important events and cases in his pre-Supreme Court life.
  • He has absolutely no desire to retire, thank God.

And then there’s this:

Stevens’s work on the Commission of 1969 brought him to the attention of Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, a moderate Republican who had decided to promote merit appointments to the federal bench instead of political cronies or ideologues. On Percy’s recommendation, President Nixon appointed Stevens to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago in 1970. And five years later, when President Ford was looking for a replacement for Justice William O. Douglas, a liberal icon, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, he, too, decided to emphasize merit and competence over ideology or cronyism. Rejecting the advice of Barry Goldwater, who urged him to appoint the archconservative Robert Bork, and of his wife, Betty, who urged him to choose a woman, Ford chose Stevens as “the finest legal mind I could find.” The Senate enthusiastically agreed, by a vote of 98 to 0.

As a sign of how significantly the Republican Party has changed since 1975, President Ford, until the end of his life, embraced Stevens’s jurisprudence even as a younger generation of Republicans was denouncing it. In a warm tribute to Stevens in 2005, Ford wrote, “I endorse his constitutional views on the secular character of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, on securing procedural safeguards in criminal cases and on the constitution’s broad grant of regulatory authority to Congress.” I asked Stevens what he thought of Ford’s letter. “It was amazing to see that,” Stevens said, grinning like a proud schoolboy. “I was delighted, as I’m sure you understand.”

*wistful sigh*

Oh, for the good old days.

September 24th, 2007 at 11:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Judiciary

Our Next President.

dilbert2814780070924.gif

Well, it worked for them the last time.

September 24th, 2007 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Polls,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

Just a few random videos I ran across this weekend:

YouTube Preview Image
“Nature Anthem” by Grandaddy. Just a delightfully joyous video. Um, just don’t think about The Shining. By way of Open Left(!).

Grandaddy are also responsible for another personal favorite, “Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland” (be warned, the homemade video is pretty lame).

YouTube Preview Image
Animated shopping robots! It takes about a minute for the cool animated stuff to actually get going. By way of Pink Tentacle.

YouTube Preview Image
A very sweet student video for “Bleeding Heart Show” by The New Pornographers. By way of NYMary.

September 24th, 2007 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

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