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Archive for August, 2007

Not that I Follow Such Things

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

…But apparently, in Hollywood, pregnant is the new super-thin and going to jail because of an act linked to a drug addiction, well that’s just what everyone is doing (Lohan, most prominently and publicly). Doing pregnancy and jail together, as Nicole Richie is about to, now that’s just plain trendsetting. Or so says HuffPo’s Verena von Pfetten, tongue firmly planted in her cheek.

Of course, Richie’s going for only four days (out of a possible 3 years), and was offered the pay-for-privacy cushy prison experience (which she declined; she will complete her sentence in the county jail). For most women who battle addiction and end up in jail because of their addictions alone (thousands each year and rising), jail is a lot less glamorous. Jail while pregnant is the nightmare that comes true for 7% of all incarcerated women.

"A Hell Exists On Earth? Yes. I Won’t Live In It."

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

I suppose it’s my job to report on such things, but seeing that Robin Givhan and the extremely desperate homeless person’s Robin Givhan are discussing Camille Paglia discussing Hillary Clinton’s decolletage, all I can say as that I’ll get to it just as soon as I watch every film in the oeuvres of Michael Bay and Tom Shadyac 10 times followed by a 24-hour loop of Yankeeography: Derek Jeter.

Sometimes, You Have To Return to the Classics

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

Fourteen-star general Ralph “Blood N’ Guts” Peters actually dusts off the “our inability to prevent massive gas truck suicide bombings that kill hundreds of people proves that…Al Qaeda is in its last throes and we’re winning” routine. And merits an approving link and quote, of course, from the most popular conservative blogger. These people really have no dignity. Or shame.

You Have The Right To Never Be Let Alone

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

I’m not sure why Gary is so worried that a broad array of federal and local officials will have access to satellite survey data with virtually no safeguards in place. After all, if the blogosphere is to be believed even “classical liberalism” now requires that branches of the government be self-policing and statements of state officials be taken at face value. So what’s the problem?

Ressentiment

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

It’s funny because it’s true!

Creeping Originalism

[ 0 ] August 16, 2007 |

It’s bad enough that we’re saddled with “originalism” as a theory of constitutional interpretation. But it takes Fred Hiatt & Co. to advance the argument that Congress should be bound by the “original intent” of past laws. What the hell?

Mark Tushnet argued in The New Constitutional Order that the key domestic norm of post-Great Society American constitutionalism was not so much “government can’t solve any problems” as “government can’t solve any more problems.” This would seem to be the reductio ad absurdum of this — Congress gets one crack at the civil rights apple, and if they want to adapt to new problems made clear by the bad judicial decisions of (WaPo-approved) justices, too bad! Bizarre.

Epic Poetry the Way it Should Be

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

I don’t know how I missed The Wingnuttiad, but this is apparently how Thers has decided to conclude his summer vacation. Time well spent, I say. Here’s a sample:

Right Blog Wingnuts come in many flavors:
There are war-fiends, dopes, and homo-haters;
Photoshop fanatics, all full of phlegm,
Doggéd denouncers of the MSM!
Because they can bravely use the Google,
As they chew Cheetos and Toaster-Strudel –
“Fact-Checking” CBS with Wikipedia –
They squawk that they’re the Brand New Media:
“We’re all Fierce Foes of Islamofascism!”
The Wingnuts wail as they shake & spasm,
Their keyboards caked with weeks-old jism
(This is called “Cit’zen Journamalism.”)

Brilliant.

Richardson?

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

So, I took this test; in order of finish, here are my results:

Bill Richardson
Mike Gravel
Barack Obama
Dennis Kucinich
Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd
Ron Paul
Joe Biden
John Edwards
Mike Huckabee
Sam Brownback
John McCain
Tom Tancredo
Rudy Giuliani
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

Predictably, there was a substantial gap between Edwards and Huckabee. I’m kind of surprised Edwards was the lowest Democrat. Paul was so high because of foreign policy, I’m sure.

No Perfection in Presidential Politics

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

I’ve expressed my frustration before (in posts I can’t seem to find right now) that none of the serious Dem. presidential candidates (apologies to Kucinich and Gravel) appear willing to take a stance against the Drug War or at least, more narrowly, against the 100-to-1 crack/cocaine sentencing disparity. I had hoped that Obama might prove me wrong. He hadn’t said anything about the issue on his webpage, but given that he is in many ways more progressive that Clinton (or at least, was before he got political consultanted into oblivion) and that he has a personal history of drug use (which perhaps necessitated a harder line stance on drugs), I still had some hope.

Disappointing, then to read today, via TalkLeft, that those hopes are dashed — or at least quelled. A Boston Globe column today exposes Obama’s ambivalence and equivocation with regard to drug war issues.

Though the candidate easily recognized that it was wrong to implement a 100-to-1 disparity in the first place, he backtracked when asked whether he would push to get rid of it as president (something Bush has – not surprisingly – opposed):

That vacillation became evident as he kept talking about crack-vs.-powder sentencing, which has come to symbolize racial injustice in criminal justice. He said that if he were to become president, he would support a commission to issue a report “that allows me to say that based on the expert evidence, this is not working and it’s unfair and unjust. Then I would move legislation forward.

Another useless study that would just get thrown on the pile of the thousands that have already demonstrated that the law is discriminatory and that it serves no legitimate penological purpose.

Obama claims that his priority is preventing young men and women from getting involved in the drug trade in the first place, at least in part by creating better economic opportunities for them. That’s an important — and worthy — goal. But the problem is larger than that; the crack sentencing disparity creates a cycle of using/dealing, arrest, and then release to use/deal again because of the amount of time served and lack of support upon release. Prevention is important. But it’s not, as Obama himself would say, the only place we should be spending our political capital.

No Respect!

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

I shouldn’t be surprised. Some milblogger compiles a list of quotations from “largely clueless” folks “living in ivory towers” who mocked the wingnut flash mob that appeared around the Beauchamp articles in TNR. He also suggests that everyone on the list “probably regrets” what they wrote, but that “Google’s cache” will — ha! — prevent any of them from deleting their totally embarrassing attacks on impeccably credible folks like Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Yankee, Ace O. Spades (Heterosexual), and “Fragmaster” Jimbo at Blackfive.

So who gets quoted from this site? Rob!

I call bullshit. Why not link to me? I’m unserious, too! [/sad Althousian desperation] If anything, I’m twice as clueless as him, and I wake up each day with a millstone of regret around my neck. More importantly, unlike the merely metaphorical ivory tower in which Rob lives, I live in an actual ivory tower, from which I peer down upon a world that nauseates me. Don’t believe me? Behold:

The waterfall is a nice perk, as it speeds me effortlessly to my office (also comprised largely of ivory), where I have written all sorts of regrettable things like this, from July 19:

What’s certain, of course, is that most of the frothy reaction to [the New Republic articles] will come from people who at other points have minimized the significance of the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Baghram; doubted the occurrence of massacres at Haditha and elsewhere; and stupidly questioned the veracity of perfectly valid survey instruments used to estimate excess Iraqi deaths since the start of the war. What’s more, these are folks who generally reaffirm anything Michael Yon has to report — baked children and all — while assuming that every dispatch coming across the AP wires has been ghost-written by Jamil Hussein and that every Reuters photo has been through several rounds of Photoshop. They’ve accepted every home-brewed argument set forth by the Kagan family to the effect that the surge is working; they’ve cheered the pardoning of convicted criminals like Scooter Libby; and they’ve written breathlessly about every domestic “terror plot” as if they were not, in fact, holding a warm sack of shit. And they’ve accomplished all of this with Cheeto dust wafting in the air, as if sprayed from an aerosol can.

I clearly need to be nastier and more unserious.

The Death Penalty: Arbitrary in Application

[ 1 ] August 15, 2007 |

Texas is about to execute someone for a murder he did not commit and was only peripherally involved with. During every discussion of the death penalty around here, at least one commenter will recount an anecdote of an especially horrible crime committed by someone who was executed, which would be relevant if the states systematically limited the death penalty to very worst crimes, but of course it does no such thing. Foster deserves some jail time, and carries some measure of moral and legal responsibility for the killing he didn’t commit, plan, or intend, but he obviously doesn’t deserve to be executed even if you support the death penalty.

On the other hand, I’m sure getting Fredo Gonzales involved in state death penalty prosecutions will make the system much more fair. In case you had any illusions that reducing the habeas power of federal courts was about “states’ rights…”

Manliness Is For the Wealthy Exurban

[ 0 ] August 15, 2007 |

Jane and BT note Dr. Helen’s bizarre claims in her Pajamas Media advice column that “manliness” means that you should “get The Dangerous Book for Boys [wow, Insta or Mrs. Pundit plugging that book, what a surprise!] and build a treehouse, make a go-cart…” One strain that runs through both Reynolds and Smith is they apparently have never even considered that not every single person in the country lives in a massive house in a dreary exurb somewhere, and hence everyone has plenty of space to build go-karts. Anyway, given that I’m not sure where I’d put a treehouse in my apartment or who would use it, and that her hubby’s “manliness” seems to be instantiated primarily by advocating killing lots of foreigners in ways that also undermine American security interests, I think I’ll take a pass on having them evaluate my masculinity.

I do wonder when she’ll get a tenured position at Harvard, though…

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