MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Sigh. When it rains, it pours.
Latop died on me last week -- along with the stuff I had pulled together for the Edward's story.
So, no Edwards story --- yet.
The Blog, however, must go on. So, for the next couple of weeks (and I sincerely hope that it is only a couple of weeks) I'll be updating the Blog from the office. Look for shorter, Fiskin' items rather than original drafts, 'cause I just don't have the time to do original stuff from the office right now.
And, as always, thanks for visiting.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Still working on the Edwards piece. Should be out tomorrow.
In the meantime, I noticed a story today about the Olympics.
CENSORING THE OLYMPICS
by Amir Taheri
New York Post
August 14, 2004 -- THE Greek organizers of this summer's Olympics, which began in Athens yesterday, claim that more women athletes are competing than ever before. Women are also playing a high-profile role in making the whole enterprise, the biggest of its kind in Greek history, run as smoothly as possible. Seen from the Muslim world, however, the Athens game will look like a male-dominated spectacle in which women play an incidental part.
According to officials in Athens, the number of Muslim women participating in this year's game is the lowest since 1960. Several Muslim countries have sent no women athletes at all; others, such as Iran, are taking part with only one, in full hijab.
What are the odds the American media conglomerates will put HER on television, hmm?
About the same as their deciding that educating their children without resorting to crude anti-Semitic rants in school textbooks.
And state-owned TV networks in many Muslim countries, including Iran and Egypt, have received instructions to limit coverage of events featuring women athletes at Athens to a minimum.
Because Allah does not approve of women showing up their men and succeeding. Heck, we're talking about a culture that condoned allowing schoolgirls to burn to death rather than letting them flee a fiery dormitory without covering all of their skin.
A circular from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture in Tehran asks TV editors to make sure that women's games are not televised live: "Images of women engaged in contests [sic] must be carefully vetted," says the letter, leaked in Tehran. "Editors must take care to prevent viewers from being confronted [sic] with uncovered parts of the female anatomy in contests."
Like faces, arms, hands, ankles, etc., etc. You know, if those wacky Islamic men see a bare ankle, they might just go crazy with lust.
Women athletes in Athens are unlikely to wear the Islamic hijab or full-length manteaux that cover their legs to the ankle and their arms to the wrist. The ministry's order thus could mean a blanket ban on images of female athletics.
Fear of Muslim viewers seeing bare female legs and arms on television is also shared by theologians in several Arab states. Sheik Yussuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian theologian based in Qatar, claims that female sport is exploited as a means of undermining "divine morality."
Oh really? How about enslaving your women, treating them as property in the eyes of the law, as LESS THAN A HUMAN BEING in court (where a woman's testimony is only worth half that of a man, making it difficult to defend against rape charges --- if the man says it one consensual adultery, the woman might well be put to death as her testimony does not have the legal weight of that offered by her attacker!).
Ayatollah Emami Kashani, one of Iran's ruling mullahs, goes further. In a recent sermon, he claimed that allowing women to compete in the Olympics was a "sign of voyeurism" on the part of the male organizers.
Right. It couldn't be your narrow-minded bigotry, could it? I mean, let's set aside the fact that you folks make Archie Bunker look positively enlightened.
"The question how much of a woman's body could be seen in public is one of the two or three most important issues that have dominated theological debate in Islam for decades," says Mohsen Sahabi, a Muslim historian. "More time and energy is devoted to this issue than to economic development or scientific research. "
You know, this could be an area of agreement between these 8th century throwbacks and modern America. We too spend a lot of time discussing how much of a woman's body should be seen in public . . . wait, no we don't. We just leave that question up to the individual.
Sorry. I got a little excited there.
Islamist theologians are divided on how much of a woman's body can be exposed in public. The most radical, the Sitris, insist that women should be entirely covered from head to toe, including their faces and fingers. The less radical Hanbalis say a woman should be covered all over, but recommend a mask with apertures for the eyes and the mouth. (A version of this, known as the burqa, was imposed on Afghan women by the Taliban).
Okay, so the liberal Islamic theologians think THIS is permissible:
while the conservatives think even that is TOO MUCH SKIN!
Wow. I am at a loss here. The scary thing is, this is accepted as literal truth by these folks.
The Khomeinist version of the hijab, invented in the 1970s and now popular in many countries, including the United States, covers a woman's entire body but allows her face and hands to be exposed.
One more thing we can thank that wacky Ayatollah for. Strict Islam views this crap as a virtue!
Hijab theoreticians agree on one claim: a woman's hair emanates dangerous rays that could drive men wild with sexual lust and thus undermine social peace.
Are you guys serious about this? "Dangerous rays" emanating form women's hair?
To what ends will these fascists go to justify their intrusion into every aspect of their slave/citizen's lives?
But the problem of women athletes goes deeper. Some theologians claim that any form of sporting activity by women produces "sinful consequences." In 2000, for example, the Khomeinist authorities in Tehran announced a ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles. The rationale? Riding bicycles or motorcycles would activate a woman's thighs and legs, thus arousing "uncontrollable lustful drives" in her. And men watching women on their bikes in the streets could be "led towards dangerous urges."
Bike riding makes women horny? And makes men watching the horny female bike riders horny, too? News to me -- but I suppose that if I lived in such a medieval, repressive society, I might get excited at the most mundane thing imaginable, too.
What really gets me, though, is the implicit claim that these rules "protect women" from rape. I mean, if the law doesn't let them make those poor, out of control Muslim men get all hot and bothered, then the men won't be driven to rape the women (which, as we learned earlier, could mean the death sentence for adultery).
The problems don't end there. According to some theologians, a woman should not be allowed to venture out of her home without a "raqib" or male guardian. But that guardian must be either her husband or her father, brother, grandfather, uncle or son.
Even if a woman is accompanied by such a "raqib" at a sporting event, the problem isn't solved. One woman's "raqib" will be a stranger to the other women playing, say, a game of volleyball. Thus any sport involving more than one woman produces complex chaperonage problems.
Reminds me of the stories I've read about the segregated south. "Hey nigger! That's the White Folk's bathroom! Y'all's bathroom is on the fifth floor."
"But the fifth floor is closed!"
"Don't talk back to me, boy!"
Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, have tried to avoid these by imposing a blanket ban on physical education and sports for women. Some Saudi women resent this and have been trying to persuade the government to change its mind.
In June, the kingdom's appointed parliament passed a bill legalizing physical education for girls. But last week the Ministry of Education announced that it would take no notice of the act of parliament because there has been no decision by the Council of Ministers, which is headed by the king (who also acts as prime minister).
"Coming on the eve of the Athens Olympics, this is a big disappointment," says Fa'ezah Ahmad, a Saudi women's right campaigner.
And a brave woman to stand up for something so small. I seriously mean that. She risks her safety and even her life (should her husband treat her activism as a threat to his control) for something as simple as going to gym class (an activity most Americans learned to hate by fifth grade).
"The place would look like a lepers' colony," says Soheila Karimi, a women-rights campaigner. "These people live on another planet and in a different epoch."
Well put. We are dealing with an anachronistic, medieval, and brutally repressive culture that does not value individual freedoms and liberties. Stories like this confirm that analysis.
Let us not forget that they would want to impose this bizarre, misogynistic social order on the rest of the world, if they but could.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
FT.com / World - US plans to cut forces overseas by 70,000
And it's about time.
The US is expected to announce on Monday that it is pulling 70,000 troops out of Europe and Asia in the largest restructuring of its global military presence since the second world war.
People briefed on the plan say two-thirds of the reductions will come in Europe, most of them military personnel stationed in Germany who will be sent back to US bases.
An additional 100,000 support staff and military families worldwide will be part of the realignment.
And that means nearly 200,000 fewer people to support the local economies of our "allies" around the world.
What took you so long to come up with this, George? Heck, this is something that should have been proposed, started, and finished by last spring.
The changes are expected to be announced by President George W. Bush at a speech to the Convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cinncinatti, Ohio, on Monday.
Although Germany will remain home to the largest contingent of American forces on the continent, both army divisions now based there the 1st Armoured and the 1st Infantry could be moved to US bases.
Germany will continue to be home to sophisticated training and command facilities and to a mobile infantry force which will be equipped with the new light-armoured Stryker vehicles and is expected to form the core of a restructured European presence.
And that's STILL too many of our boys over there. Let the Europeans keep their own peace -- they sure as heck haven't been interested in OUR efforts at peacekeeping and elimination of threats.
When I see some European forces intervene in, say, Sudan or North Korea, we can re-evaluate all of this. Until then -- so long, God bless, and may the good Lord take a liking to ya'.
The Bush administration has been re-evaluating the US military's global posture almost since its first days in office. Senior Pentagon officials emphasised that the move was not intended as a punishment for Germany's lack of support in the Iraq war.
SUU-UURRRE it wasn't. Nope. No coincidence here at all. We just 'happen' to be withdrawing a bunch of troops from Germany at this particular time.
I guess Gerhard could ask *spit* the French *spit* to send in some troops.
Heck, given the history, he might get a good surrender out of it, too.
In Asia, the reduction is expected to include the 3,500-soldier brigade from South Korea, which was recently deployed to Iraq.
There will also be a shift of some European command headquarters. The navy's European HQ, which has been in London since the second world war, will be moved to Naples.
Another good move. The threat our Navy must deal with is in the Med, not the North Sea.
Why do I suspect this will be scrapped if Kerry wins in November?
P.S. I am working on an analysis of the Democrat nominee for Vice President, John Edwards. I hope to post by Monday.
Friday, August 13, 2004
Exciting site information
(Well, exciting to ME, anyway!)
Traffic stats have skyrocketed since Emperor Misha was kind enough to recommend my blog on his website. Lest anyone doubt the power of Misha's recommendations, this site had a mere 400 hits or so up until two days ago. It just broke 1100. Wow.
LC Random Numbers> has also helped with traffic from his site. He just started a new category on his blogroll for what he calls "often overlooked blogs". He has been kind enough to list this blog as the first in that category.
I'm honored by all the attention.
I started this blog as a collection of, well, random thoughts that occurred to me in the minutes between projects or hearings at the court house. For years, I have passed the time reading about politics and arguing issues of the day with whomever I could get to listen. Finally, I decided to memorialize them here.
Posting hasn't always been consistent, though that is changing. With the new laptop, I have the ability to blog on the run, and am going to use it.
As for me, I'm just a father of four practicing law in the big city (Dallas, TX, to be exact). I've been married for ten years (I have NO IDEA how I've managed to pull that off), am generally conservative, and trying to stretch too little time into too many things (just like everyone else). Anyway, I hope you enjoy these missives.
Comments are turned off right now due to problems with Blogspot. I hope to resolve that soon, and am searching for a new blogging engine (can I use movable type on blogspot?) to try some format changes (particularly in regards to quotes -- I would like to be able to put a border around quotes to make them easier to distinguish from commentary). I will also be updating the Bloglinks soon.
Anyway, welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy the local fare.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Apparently, back in 1996 Kerry wrote an article condemning the DOMA and was published in the gay newsmagazine The Advocate.
Among the excerpts:
Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage. I will not be party to that. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained 30 years ago, "Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married."
We will win this fight for civil rights. We will win the fight for equal protection under the law. We will win the right for all Americans to live with whom they love without the fear of discrimination and violence. I learned from the struggles of the ‘60s and ‘70s that the wheels of progress turn slowly.
Sounds to me a lot like he wants the Courts to do his dirty work.
The Advocate also contains a 2003 interview with Kerry in which he states he is opposed to gay marriage, but states that the Courts may make law, and ducks the question of whether he would oppose any such court ruling. He also ignores his earlier hyperbole about the Full Faith and Credit Act (see my earlier entry related to the California Supreme Court) by agreeing that recognition of gay marriage by one state would make the issue a state by state battle.
Kerry also states he 'had a sense' that some of his fellow G.I.'s in 'Nam (question -- is a sailor a 'GI'?) were gay, and that some of his good friends today are gay.
Sigh. Substitute 'black' for 'gay' and you might understand how this could be conceived of as, well, patronizing.
Kerry also drags out the QuotaBeast, saying that, since there are no openly gay members of the United States Senate, the gay community had an obligation to stand up for it's rights.
That's the same argument many Democrats make to Black Americans (unless, of course, the Black American is someone like J.C. Watts, who is merely a tool of the Man).
What an idiot.
Back to work, deadlines and all.
California Supreme Court braver than it's Massachusetts Counterpart
Aug 12, 1:28 PM (ET)
By DAVIT KRAVETS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court on Thursday voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco this year and ruled unanimously that the mayor overstepped his authority by issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
The court said the city violated the law when it issued the certificates, since both legislation and a voter-approved measure defined marriage as a union between a man and woman.
At last -- a Supreme Court that actually considers the LAW when deciding a case (as opposed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court's blatant efforts at legislating from the bench last fall).
The justices separately decided with a 5-2 vote to nullify the marriages performed between Feb. 12 and March 11, when the court halted the weddings. Their legality, Justice Joyce Kennard wrote, must wait until courts resolve the constitutionality of state laws that restrict marriages to opposite-sex couples.
Of course the marriages are invalid -- the marriage licenses were not properly issued because the mayor had no authority to issue them to the participants. In essence, the entire San Francisco fiasco was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
The same-sex marriages had virtually no legal value, but powerful symbolism.
Not true. While valid, they allowed holders of the license to sue for spousal benefits, divorce, etc. They also entitled that couple to move to another state and demand legal recognition of their status as a married couple.
Their nullification by the high court dismayed Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in San Francisco.
"Del is 83 years old and I am 79," Lyon said. "After being together for more than 50 years, it is a terrible blow to have the rights and protections of marriage taken away from us. At our age, we do not have the luxury of time."
Nobody took that right from you, Phyllis. You have ALWAYS had the right to get married. You simply DO NOT have the right to 'get married' to a person of the same gender.
Oh, and I hate it when the Left tries to drag out the Children or the Elderly to support their ideology. Try arguing the facts and avoiding the emotional pablum, 'kay?
The court did not resolve whether the California Constitution would permit a same-sex marriage, ruling instead on the narrow issue of whether local officials could bypass state judicial and legislative branches.
Chief Justice Ronald George noted that Thursday's ruling doesn't address "the substantive legal rights of same sex couples. In actuality, the legal issue before us implicates the interest of all individuals in ensuring that public officials execute their official duties in a manner that respects the limits of the authorities granted to them as officeholders."
Without seeing the petition, it is difficult to criticize this aspect of the decision. If, indeed, the issue as to the constitutionality was not raised by the litigants (though I find that difficult to believe) then the Court properly refrained from ruling on that issue.
The justices agreed to resolve the legality of the weddings sanctioned by Mayor Gavin Newsom after emergency petitions were filed by a conservative group and the state's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
San Francisco's gay weddings, which followed a landmark ruling by Massachusetts' top court allowing gay marriage - prompted President Bush to push for changing the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, an effort that has become campaign fodder this election year.
Will someone PLEASE inform Senator Kerry of this development? Please? I mean, his campaign website refuses to take ANY stand on the issue (though he is opposed to a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as only existing between a man and a woman AND he opposes conservative judges -- you do the math).
John Kerry now says that he opposes an amendment to the United States Constitution because he believes "the American people deserve better than this from their leaders." Note that he neatly sidesteps the issue as to why an Amendment is necessary -- to prevent out of control courts like that in Massachusetts from forcing gay marriage on the rest of the nation due to Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution -- the Full Faith and Credit Clause. The Full Faith and Credit clause mandates the official acts of one state (such as granting of a marriage license) be given full faith and credit in every other state.
John Kerry understands that. In fact, that is the very argument he gave on the floor of the United States Senate regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) back in 1996:
142 Cong. Rec. S10100-02, S10107.DOMA is unconstitutional. There is no single Member of the U.S. Senate who believes that it is within the Senate's power to strip away the word or spirit of a constitutional clause by simple statute.
DOMA would, de facto, add a section to our Constitution's full faith and credit clause, article IV, section 1, to allow the States not to recognize the legal marriage in another State. That is in direct conflict with the very specific understandings interpreted by the Supreme Court of the clause itself.
The clause states-simple words-"Full faith and credit shall be given"-not " may be given," "shall be given"-"in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State." It says:
And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Later, in that same speech, he noted that DOMA was unnecessary:
Id.Right now, as we speak, there is no rash outbreak among the States to recognize same-sex marriage.
In fact, States-one after another-are moving in the opposite direction. For example, the State of Michigan passed a law which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman and declares Michigan will not recognize a same-sex marriage conducted in another State.
This bill is a solution in search of a problem.
Madam President, even if the Hawaiian Supreme Court decides to recognize same-sex marriage, Michigan and a dozen other States have spoken against it. Resolving this tension rests squarely with the judicial branch, not the Congress. This is a power grab into States' rights of monumental proportions
And of course, we can't have a Constitutional amendment that might impair the court's ability to create a right to gay marriage, can we?
Note: the above transcript from the Congressional Record can be viewed (in .pdf format) by going here, clicking on the appropriate volume (1996 Congressional Record Volume 142) and entering the page number (S10107)in the appropriate blank.
The California court sided with Lockyer's arguments, ruling that Newsom's actions would foment legal anarchy and sanction local officials to legislate state law from city halls or county government centers.
When the justices agreed in March to hear the case, they said they would decide only whether Newsom overstepped his mayoral powers for now, but would entertain a constitutional challenge - that gays should be treated the same as heterosexual couples under the California Constitution - if such a lawsuit worked its way to the justices through the lower courts.
And such a lawsuit is as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning.
Gay and lesbian couples immediately acted on that invitation, suing in San Francisco County Superior Court alleging laws barring them from marrying were discriminatory. Mayor Newsom filed a similar lawsuit.
The now-consolidated cases are unlikely to reach the California Supreme Court for at least a year or more. California lawmakers have refused to take a position on the matter, and have left the politically volatile issue to its Supreme Court.
See what I mean.
Newsom argued to the justices in May that the ability of same-sex couples to marry was a "fundamental right" that compelled him to act. Newsom authorized the marriages by citing the California Constitution's ban against discrimination, and claimed he was duty-bound to follow this higher authority rather than state laws banning gay marriage.
Right. The fact he was an elected political official of the city with one of the largest gay populations in the nation had nothing to do with his decision, right?
The Arizona-based Christian law firm Alliance Defense Fund, a plaintiff in one of two cases the justices decided Thursday, had told the justices that Newsom's "act of disobedience" could lead other local officials to sanction "polygamists."
Absolutely. If the state cannot discriminate against issuing licenses to same-sex couples, what is the compelling interest in limiting licenses to two people per marriage? If no line is drawn here, then why does anyone think one would be drawn there?
Frankly, there's more historical and cultural arguments to support polygamy than gay marriage. But let's not let that stop these activists.
Newsom's defiance of state law created huge lines at City Hall by gays and lesbians waiting to be married, and ignited a firestorm engulfing statehouses and ballot boxes nationwide.
Missouri voters this month endorsed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage - a move designed to prevent that state's judiciary from agreeing with the arguments Newsom is making in California.
A state constitutional challenge by gays in Massachusetts prompted that state's highest court to endorse the gay marriages that began there in May. A judge in Washington state this month also ruled in favor of gay marriage, pending a resolution from that state's top court.
Louisiana residents are to vote on the same issue Sept. 18. Then Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah are to vote Nov. 2. Initiatives are pending in Michigan, North Dakota and Ohio.
Four states - Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and Nevada - already have similar amendments in their constitutions.
And none of those constitutional provisions will matter one whit unless we amend the United States Constitution. Oklahoma may have a constitutional provision barring gay marriage, but if a gay couple gets married in Massachusetts, then moves to Oklahoma, Oklahoma must recognize that marriage under Article IV, section 1 of the United States Constitution.
So where do you stand, John Kerry? The crisis has come, and you must decide whether you are opposed to gay marriage and are willing to do something about it or whether you agree that a leftist court in a small state should have the right to impose gay marriage on the rest of us.
I'll be waiting for an answer, but I won't hold my breath.
Group Runs Anti-Kerry Ads on Black Radio Stations:
You gotta love any group with cojones this big. Some quotes from the ads:
On Kerry's failure to vote on a bill to extend unemployment benefits for 13 weeks:
"It needed 60 votes to pass. Ninety-nine out of 100 senators voted -- Kerry did not! It lost by one vote! Maybe Kerry thought the more of us who are unemployed and hurting, the more likely we would vote Democrat."
Ouch. I thought the Democrats were the party that tried to protect the weak and powerless. Who knew they were the party that tried to keep people weak and powerless?
Or this one:
"What's the deal with John Kerry? Nobody knows what he's for. Even John Kerry doesn't know what he's for. We don't need another white, wishy-washy politician."
That's gonna leave a mark!
And my personal favorite:
"His wife says she's an African American. While technically true, I don't believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies."
I guess that's the point when Theresa would tell this member of the black community who refuses to be hoodwinked by the race peddlers of the Left to "shove it."
Very nice -- and good to see conservatives willing to start fighting back (for once).
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
NUCLEAR DRINK ALERT IN EFFECT!
In fact, I highly recommend the entire site.
But that nuclear drink alert IS in effect (as well as a PG rating warning).
I saw this post on National Review's 'The Corner' and it got me thinking about the claim that evil Republicans only use blacks as tokens, etc., etc.
One particular line that stood out was:
"Not only do Republicans not do that, but we demoralize and undermine what few black Republicans manage to get elected on their own! Like that J.C. Watts fellow. We use him to raise money, articulate our agenda, and undermine himself in the black community by attacking black leaders and running interference for Bob Barr and Trent Lott over that Council Of Conservative (Segregationist) Citizens scandal, and we repay him by refusing to even vote on his bills in committee and drawing him out of his district (but protecting all the white GOP incumbents though)."
That's patently untrue. J.C. Watts' district was redrawn by the Oklahoma Legislature. The Democrats have maintained control of BOTH houses of the Oklahoma Legislature for decades, and they have used that power to entrench their political positions and marginalize or eliminate political opponents on numerous occasions. This is part of the reason that Oklahom passed term limits in the early 1990s.
I can recall a particular Republican candidate who ran a very close second against a long-time Democrat incumbent back in 1990. The next year, the Democrats in the Legislature redrew the district lines. The Republican in question found the new district lines were drawn in such a manner that his home moved from the district in which he had competed to a new district. Not too unusual, but the fact his family farm was on the far end of a four mile long, 400' wide finger of his new district that was obviously designed solely to separate him from his political base was, quite frankly, pretty obnoxious. Legal, but obnoxious.
The same thing seems to have happened to J.C. Watts. Democrats in the legislature had two objectives. First, they wanted to eviscerate J.C. Watt's political base, so redrawing his district to include a number of new Democrat voters was a good way to do it. Second, as many Democrats in the 2000-2001 Legislature were running up against their term limits, they wanted to try to draw a nice seat for themselves in what had, until JC Watt's election, been a relatively safe Democrat congressional seat.
Of course, for some in the professional victimhood game, it's all a plot of the man.
It's sad. Most people in that mindset do more to harm themselves and others than "the Man" ever did.
Nice to see the idiots at Democratic Underground haven't lost touch with reality . . . much . . . well, okay, they sure have gone off the deep end here:
Democratic Underground Forums - Sludge: U.S. OFFICIALS: AL QAEDA PLANS MAJOR ASSASSINATION...
The consensus seems to be that al Quaeda LOVES President Bush and will do anything to keep him in office. In the words of one poster, "bin laden NEEDS bush to further his agenda. once Kerry gets things going smoothly over in Iraq and has cooperation from everyone, the terrorist cells training and being recruited in Iraq will be threatened."
Of course, the poster says NOTHING about how he thinks Kerry might magically "get things going smoothly" or obtain the "cooperation from everyone" (who is "everyone"? the Shi-ites? the Euros? the Iranians?).
Another poster notes "I suspect Kerry . . . if anyone will be Wellstoned! Must wait until any chance of a viable candidate is past. See the Louisiana turncoat, Carnahan, JFK."
Sigh. These people need to seek psychiatric help, or up their current meds.
Monday, August 09, 2004
What European Anti-Semitism?
A shocking story of a group of Israeli students being physically and verbally assaulted while visiting Auschwitz!
I'm really confused by this, particularly given all the claims from my European friends that European anti-Semitism is "overstated."
P.S. Sorry for the dearth this week -- I just got back from vacation and have three major deadlines coming up.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Bands Gather to Stump Against Bush
Hmm. The nutjobs are out in force this year.
NEW YORK (AP) - In an unprecedented series of concerts in nine swing states, more than 20 musical acts - including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks - will perform fund-raising concerts one month before the Nov. 2 election in an effort to unseat President Bush.
The shows, which will begin Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach: as many as six concerts on a single day in cities across the states expected to decide the November presidential race. Other stops on the tour are North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the key state in 2000, Florida.
"We're trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House," Springsteen told The Associated Press in the most overtly political statements of his 30-year career. "That's the success or failure, very clear cut and very simple."
Hmm. Wouldn't this be a violation of the new McCain-Feingold Campaign laws? As I understand it, if the concerts are broadcast, that would be a violation -- but would it be a violation if they advertised the sale of concert tickets?
See what happens when you start screwing around with the central protections of the First Amendment, like the inviolable right to political speech?
The artists of different generations and genres will tour under the name "Vote For Change," with shows Oct. 1-8. But the money generated will go to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to "derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush."
The anticipated millions of dollars will be spent in the swing states before the presidential election, said ACT president Ellen Malcolm.
This is why McCain-Feingold must go.
It is an interesting tactic, to be sure. It will give more money to the Kerry campaign, but the concert attendees are unlikely to have much of an impact on the election -- few people in the average concert-goer's age range actually get out and vote.
The shows will be presented by MoveOn Pac, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group MoveOn.org, with an official announcement expected Wednesday.
There was no immediate word on prices for tickets, which were going on sale for all shows Aug. 21. The shows will pair artists, such as Springsteen and REM or the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor. There will be 34 shows in 28 cities.
Natalie Maines, of the Dixie Chicks, who memorably told a London audience last year that she was ashamed to share her home state of Texas with Bush, echoed a Springsteen comment that this was the most important election of their lives.
Natalie Maines is still gagging on that foot she put in her mouth a couple of years back. Wah.
"A change is in order," Maines said. "There's never been a political climate like this, which is so the polar opposite of me as a person and what I believe in."
That much is true, sort of. I've never seen the Left feel so impotent and enraged as they do this year. Last gasps of a failed ideology, IMHO.
The idea was hatched by several of the acts' managers, and quickly expanded. "Once we started talking to each other, ideas started percolating and other artists started reaching out to us," said Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager.
Other artists participating in the shows include hip-hoppers Jurassic 5, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Babyface, Bright Eyes and the Dave Matthews Band. Most have a history of social activism, from Browne's anti-nuclear concerts to Mellencamp's Farm Aid shows. Pearl Jam front man Vedder was a Ralph Nader backer in 2000.
"At some point, you can't sit still," said Vedder, a harsh critic of the Iraq war. "You can't spend your life, when people are getting killed, without asking serious questions about why."
Springsteen said he didn't fear any backlash over going public with his personal politics.
"It's a pretty clear-cut decision in November," said Springsteen, whose songs have provided a backdrop for some Kerry events. "We're chipping in our two cents. That's all we're trying to do."
And you'll have as much of an impact as that other group of has-beens, Bon Jovi, had back in 2000.
The real question, though, is what stunts like this will do to campaign finance laws. There is little question that the 527s are having a severe impact on finances, and are being used ot dodge the strict limits of McCain-Feingold. I just wonder whether this election will be enough to get those unconstitutional limitations repealed.
Sorry for the tone today -- I'm still recovering from vacation.