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An Army Of Morons

[ 5 ] October 1, 2008 |

Blogs of the year, every one!

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The Sexism of Sarah Palin

[ 0 ] October 1, 2008 |

I see we have a key Republican policy so common that even Sarah Palin can repeat it with some measure of coherence. This “principle,” alas, is the idea that women lack the moral agency to be held accountable for actions that are allegedly so bad that assisting someone in such an action should be a serious crime in all 50 states:

Gov. PALIN: I’m saying that personally I would counsel that person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And if you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here should anybody end up in jail for having had an abortion, absolutely not. That’s nothing that I would ever support.

There are two ways of explaining this ridiculous position: either Palin has indefensible views about the rationality of women or she doesn’t believe her own “pro-life” rhetoric. There is no third option.

Bad Strategy and Double-Crosses

[ 13 ] September 30, 2008 |

Yglesias makes a couple good points about the failure of the bailout bill. I especially agree that Paulson isn’t getting nearly enough blame for having completely botched the process at the start. Paulson’s initial proposal reminds me of the great scene in A Civil Action where Schlichtmann opens up settlement negotiations with an utterly outrageous proposal, which rather than bringing a counter-offer simply causes the other parties to walk away from the table, starting a spiral that would lead to him losing his shirt although he had a good case against one of the defendants. While an initial proposal should be more than you think you can get, Paulson’s proposal was so baldly indefensible that it made getting even an improved plan passed much more difficult, and initial negotiations should have occurred in private.

I think this is also right:

The House conservatives who sank the bailout didn’t do so because they were listening to loud and angry voices. They sank the plan by accident. They were trying to double-cross the Democrats. First, they wrung lots of concessions out of Democrats at the negotiating table as the price for delivering 80 votes. Then, by not delivering 80 votes and forcing Pelosi to pass the bill as a partisan Democratic bill, they were going to wage a demagogic anti-bailout campaign. But Pelosi refused to be played for a sucker and so the conservative inadvertently sank a bill that, all evidence suggests, they actually wanted to pass. They just wanted to vote “no” on it for short-term political gain.

It seems pretty obvious that if Boehner can’t get enough of the people sharing his clown car to vote for a bill, then the Dems simply need to pass a better bill and take responsibility for it (since they’ll get it anyway.) If the GOP wants to make a big issue out of maintaining stringent bankruptcy laws in this economic climate, let ’em.

That Will Solve All Your Problems

[ 7 ] September 29, 2008 |

Shorter Bill Kristol: To win, the Drama King needs more drama.

What Do You Mean We, Professional Contrarian?

[ 11 ] September 29, 2008 |

Um:

What does Bush have to do? Not much, just be himself, not the wise and inspiring leader of the Western world — he never quite got that one right — but the amiable, funny, folksy and gregarious guy who tricked himself and the rest of us into thinking he was something more.

This is some sort of David Broder parody, right? [Via]

Besides, if Fish is going to play the centrist Beltway hack he should be aware that being comfortable in your own skin is now a bad thing, seeing how it’s a Democrat who fits the bill and they can’t be likable.

…I can’t resist linking to Terry Eagleton’s critique.

The Sexism of the Palin Pick

[ 0 ] September 29, 2008 |

This gets it right:

In election season, there is a price for being turned into a symbol. When actual journalists, with a rep to protect, show up, they are going to do their job. Which brings me to the sexism of John McCain. He knew full well what Sarah Palin was going to face if he nominated her. He knew that reporters would go through her past, that they’d quizz her on the present, that she would need to be ready, and he shunted concern aside, and tossed her to the wolves. Think on that for a mement. For one last run at the White House, he risked a future star of the party he claims to call home. How do you do that? I don’t meant to rob Palin of agency, certainly she is also a victim of her own calculations and ambitions. But where I am from the elders protect you, and pull you back when you’ve gone too far, when your head has gotten too big.

Of course the irony of all this is how conservatives have, for years, lampooned the liberal pursuit of multiculturalism/identity politics. But here’s the thing, even when done haphazardly, awkwardly, and imprudently, the fight against bigotry and ignorance has rewards. But when you decide to not be a leader in the fight against sexism/racism and simply criticize those who do, you rob yourself of political experience. Put differently, there is a price–bigger than the black vote–to be paid for disengagement. You become ignorant of a growing sector of the world. They expected Hillary. And if it were a black man, they never even knew it could be someone like Barack Obama. So these guys go to the well one more time, and ressurect the old spectres of “Us against Them.” But the fools haven’t been paying attention–the “Us” has changed. This isn’t Alabama, and it ain’t 1968. There is a whole class of educated, working women, themselves, the children of educated working women. And this is what McCain has to say to them, “I don’t care if you know a thing about foreign policy. I don’t care if you know a damn thing about the economy. Here is what you are to me–breasts, hair and a lovely smile.”

And, of course, the campaign’s determination to cordon her off from all but rare and highly controlled media appearances is even more egregious. The Drama King’s recent claim that it’s dirty pool to report statements from her public appearances gets us to the full reductio ad absurdum.

Embarassing Admissions

[ 0 ] September 28, 2008 |

On the way into Shea yesterday, I expressed with my agreement with metsgrrl’s partner, believing that since the Mets would probably have to win two games anyway it would have been better to start Santana on full rest and try to get through Saturday with the kid. I was very, very happy to be extremely wrong in terms of result. That was just amazing pitching. (However, I was completely right when I wrote repeatedly at the beginning of the year that Ramon E. Martinez and Robinson Cancel would be key players in the last week of the season. Unfortunately, these posts were erased by the same people who hacked Joe Lieberman’s website. They also seem to have written a fake post under my name that said that you should take the Tampa Bay under at 76 and the Twins would finish last in the AL Central. Damn those shrill dirty hippies!) Now I wonder whether the Mets will bring in Tom Glavine to throw out the ceremonial first seven runs in the top of the first today.

It should probably be noted that while Santana may not get it because sportswriters are almost as obsessed with W-L records as they are with RBI, but in a rational world he would be the Cy Young winner. I’d also like to thank Brian Cashman for not trading talented pitcher who may throw 100 major league innings one day Phil Hughes and vaguely adequate fourth outfielder Melky Cabrera for him, leaving us free to acquire him for an even more underwhelming package. (And, while we’re at it, thanks to the Yankess for passing on the game’s best CF, too. It’s frightening how bad the Mets would be if the Yankees had made smarter decisions on these guys.)

Open thread for last scheduled regular season day…we’d better get at least one play-in game this year.

…the DFHs also seem to have deleted my confident prediction that on day 162 I would be lamenting the injury to Fernando Tatis because it would mean playing an significantly inferior player in left field…

Google Does the Right Thing…

[ 50 ] September 28, 2008 |

And, abjuring the wrong side of history, comes out against Prop 8.

The Great One

[ 0 ] September 27, 2008 |

Paul Newman has passed away. As a Canadian male of a certain age my choice of image from a particular aesthetically minor film was inevitable, but the oeuvre is remarkable: The Hustler and The Verdict are among my favorite movies, and that barely scratches the surface. Like too many actors he didn’t get the roles he deserved late in his career — although he added real pleasure to throwaways like Twilight — but his accomplishments were already towering.

Extensive obit here.

…added by Rob:

Inept Wanker of the Day

[ 6 ] September 27, 2008 |

Chris Cox.

Tax Cuts Solve Everything!

[ 0 ] September 26, 2008 |

House GOP says we can solve the problems created by companies possessing now-worthless securities can be solved by…a temporary suspension of the capital gains tax cut. I can’t see any problems with that logic!

Evidently, no deal is better than a Republican solution crackpot scheme.

A Deal

[ 11 ] September 25, 2008 |

Doesn’t look awful at first glance, although of course we’ll see what makes it into the final deal. This is the key:

They also said that there would be limits on pay packages for executives whose firms seek assistance from the government and a mechanism for the government to be given an equity stake in some firms so that taxpayers have a chance to profit if the companies prosper in the months and years ahead.

Will these provisions survive?

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