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[ 0 ] February 8, 2007 |

What I really don’t get about this is in what sense the actual anatomical term “vagina” could be more offensive than its slang replacement. (Evidently, there would seem to be a lot of misogyny involved.) What’s next, if the word “breast” shows up on a sign some guy will phone and demand it be changed to read “funbags?” I guess I just don’t understand the Prissy-Woman-Hating-American community.

(If, however, somebody wants to declare a moratorium on describing breasts as “boobs” or any of its derivatives, I will sign on immediately.)

Happy Jonah Goldberg Day!

[ 0 ] February 8, 2007 |

Has it really been two years since his self-immolation? Yglesias solemnly celebrates the occasion:

Got it. So we have a prediction, along with the insinuation that Professor Cole is a terrorist whereas Goldberg is a patriot. Obviously, Goldberg’s prediction was incredibly wrong. The prediction, of course, came in the context of a larger argument about credibility and Goldberg’s wildly off-base prediction tends to confirm precisely Cole’s position in this argument — Goldberg, while certainly a clever rhetoritician, basically has no idea what he’s talking about. Meanwhile, somewhat hilariously, Goldberg thinks that pointing out that Cole turned his wager down should somehow spare him from mockery. The point, however, is still about the very, very poor prediction, not about Cole’s skills as a gambler.

Indeed. But at least when he called Cole a terrorist-lover, there was no swearing. That would be unhinged!

Evidence Is For the Unhinged

[ 0 ] February 8, 2007 |

Ah, first Treason-In-Defense-of-Slavery Yankee shared his pensees on civility, and now self-appointed protector of online integritude Josh Trevino has weighed in. Sure one could–and somebody probably will–note the cherry-picking worthy of someone who would tout Michelle Malkin’s “book” on the subject (in the context of a highly non-hinged rant about how liberals have a bottomless hatred of parents, yet!), the actually bigoted right-wing media figures who are invited to meet with the President, etc. etc. in detail.

But I’m tired and have a paper to write, so I’ll start with a contest. Find any substantiation in the post–even based on Trevino’s own wingnutty standards for what constitutes a valid example–for his rather serious assertion that Melissa McEwan is “genuinely unhinged” and “insane.” The first person to uncover any evidence of such in Trevino’s post will receive a 1986 O-Pee-Chee Steve “Bye-Bye” Balboni card in very good condition. Happy hunting!

…And if that wasn’t enough, Jonah “liberals, from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton, have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism” Goldberg has solemnly weighed in on the degradation of our political discourse. Heavens to betsy, somebody said a curse word, fetch me my smelling salts so I can get back to comparing Nancy Pelosi to Mussolini!

Our National Arbiter of Civil Discourse Has Spoken

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Shorter Bob Owens: The fact that Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan oppose using state coercion to enforce reactionary conceptions of human sexuality, sometimes using language that should only be used by Republican Presidential candidates, shows that they are beyond the pale of legitimate political discourse in this fine nation. Clearly, what constitutes civilized discourse should be judged by someone who proudly displays a symbol of treason in defense of slavery and lawlessness in defense of apartheid on his webiste’s banner.

…see also Ilyka Damen and and this great roundup by Liza.

People Who Are Paid to Use The Language Of Anti-Bigotry to Mask Crackpottery: To Be Ignored

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Atrios beat me to it, but given all the talk recently who people who use spurious accusations of anti-Semitism as cover for nutty foreign policy views it seems worth noting that this is hardly limited to any one religion. Right-wing identity politics buffoon William Donahue is joining many other highly selective critics of arbitrary state power and un-civil discourse in trying to get Amanda Marcotte (and, in his case, Melissa McEwen) fired from the Edwards campaign. Among his examples of alleged anti-Catholic bigotry is Melissa’s post arguing against social conservatives who “don’t understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds, and our families?” (Admittedly, she did use a word that should only be used by Vice Presidents on the floor of the Senate, which gave me the vapors.) Apparently, being a liberal is ipso facto anti-Catholic, which of course is the point.

It seems worth noting at this time that if opposing Catholic teachings on contraception makes one an anti-Catholic bigot, I think about 90% of Catholics are anti-Catholic bigots.

…A good list of links at Feministing.

Small Stakes Ensure the Mimimum Credibility

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

A very important point made by GFR:

No one wants to admit this. But Josh is right. If our future were truly at stake — if we really, really had to win in Iraq — we would never stand for the president’s piddling surge proposal, because it’s just not going to be enough to fix the situation. To really stabilize the situation on the ground in Iraq would require a military draft and sending several hundred thousand more troops to Iraq for a period of years. After four years of botched plans and incompetent leadership, no one, left or right, wants to entertain such an idea. Heck, we did not want to entertain a commitment of that scope before we went to Iraq in the first place, because it was a war of choice, not of survival. Another radical proposal that’s been floated calls for dissolving the military war colleges for a few years and putting all those strategic minds into the war effort, instead of teaching. We will never do that, either.

Why? Because America’s failure in Iraq is not an existential threat to the United States. It is a horrible outcome for U.S. power, prestige, and authority, and it is a disastrous outcome for the Iraqis, to say the least, as well as a destabilizing outcome for the region, and for America’s regional allies.

This is exactly correct. When evaluating assertions of great importance, it’s always useful to see whether people talking hysterically actually act in ways consistent with their rhetoric. I’ve said many times that I’ve never found the ethical questions surrounding abortion particularly troubling, for a central reason: I won’t take the “pro-life” moral position seriously until its supporters do. The anti-choice lobby uses lots of language that suggests a moral issue with stakes large enough to override a woman’s fundamental rights–”life,” “killing babies,” etc.–but this given that most American pro-lifers (among many other inconsistencies) think women should face fewer legal sanctions for obtaining an abortion than for spitting on the sidewalk, there’s no reason to take their moral claims seriously. (And given that abortion laws on the books were essentially unenforceable against doctors who stuck to performing abortions on the right kind of women, there’s little reason to believe that most citizens in states where abortion was formally illegal believed this either.) When high-stakes language is combined with small-stakes, obviously incommensurate policy objectives, there’s no reason to take the former seriously. As Garance says, the same is true of the Iraq War. Many of its dead-end supporters will talk about how we can’t afford to lose–with the implication of existential threat–but given that most of them (including, most importantly, the President, who seen through his policy sees success in the war as less important than upper-class tax cuts) don’t act in ways that reflect such a belief when it comes time to actually make tradeoffs and sacrifices. In the context of the policies actually being advocated, high-stakes claims about the Iraq War are propaganda, nothing more. And, relatedly, someone should ask the few people willing to advocate actual high-stakes policies–like Max Boot–why they support the war despite the fact that the policies they consider essential to accomplishing a desirable outcome have never had any chance of being implemented.

They’re Both Right!

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Having been accused of running a propaganda mill here, allow me to point out some points of agreement with political opponents. Kaus on Joe Klein:

In the same 2003 interview, Klein admits, “I go back and forth on this war from day to day.” That’s probably the real truth. But then he shouldn’t pretend now that he cleanly “disagreed” with the war. [You admit you "waffled"--ed I did! I had trouble making up my mind. Klein made up his mind, then made it up a different way, and now writes as if only one of those events occurred.]

When he’s right, he’s right. (And I know I recently said that “should Mickey and I ever agree on anything again, you definitely want to bet the other way”, but this is the exception that proves the rule.)

Sully on Kaus:

Mickey Kaus accuses Joe Klein of having it both ways on the Iraq war. I’d say that’s better than having no coherent position on the war at all, except fathomless bitchiness toward anyone who ever had the balls to take a stand. But that’s Mickey – circling the drain of his own irrelevance. And bitchily attacking anyone who’s trying honestly to do better.

Can’t argue with that either!

A Hack Never Leaves His Door Ajar As He Swings His Whip From The Boer War

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Max Boot jumps on the Boer War bandwagon, explaining calmly that what we need is such things as many more people rounded up and held without charges, although he’s careful not to say how much more violence will be necessary. Since most of these things–especially moving the soldiers out of the Green Zone and other secure quarters–have no chance of being implemented, somebody should ask Boot why he actually supports the war.

Virgin/Whore Complex of the Day

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Dan Riehl.

Say It Ain’t So, Veronica!

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Speaking of the temptations of aesthetic Stalinism, I see that Veronica Mars has a script that involves Plan B causing a miscarriage. Ugh. (I haven’t actually seen VM since the second episode of the year, so I can’t verify its widely rumored artistic decline until I see the DVD.)

[HT: Prof. B]

…According to Wendy in comments, it was RU-486, so it just just a wrong title. Good.

Ann Freidman says there were significant problems with the episode, however.

That Argument Is Almost As Good As Delta Force 2!

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Chuck Norris has endorsed Gingrich, so I guess we can declare the primary race over. I did enjoy his claim that “we need someone at the helm of our country who holds to old-fashioned values.” Hmm. Like this?

But the most notorious of them all is undoubtedly Gingrich, who ran for Congress in 1978 on the slogan, “Let Our Family Represent Your Family.” (He was reportedly cheating on his first wife at the time). In 1995, an alleged mistress from that period, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair’s Gail Sheehy: “We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, ‘I never slept with her.’” Gingrich obtained his first divorce in 1981, after forcing his wife, who had helped put him through graduate school, to haggle over the terms while in the hospital, as she recovered from uterine cancer surgery. In 1999, he was disgraced again, having been caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Well, those are “values” of some sort…

[via PZ.]

Peretz: The Evidence

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

In response to Yglesias’s request, Matt Duss has compiled a dossier of Marty Peretz’s anti-arab bigotry.