Shorter Bobo: We (well, not we, but never mind) fought for the rights of women and African Americans so that everyone can live sterile lives of abject conformity.
Honeymoon over? Looking forward to a US-Danish coalition to control expansionist Canadian tendencies in Arctic waters?
U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins clearly struck a nerve with prime minister-designate Stephen Harper when he criticized the Conservative plan to bolster Canada’s presence in the Arctic.
“I want to address one other question before I go,” Harper said Thursday in response to an unasked question as a lengthy session with reporters wound down.
“I’ve been very clear in the campaign that we have significant plans for national defence and for defence of our sovereignty, including Arctic sovereignty. It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the U.S. ambassador.”
The issue of jurisdiction over the frozen archipelago and iceberg-cluttered waterways is clearly heating up in Ottawa and Washington.
An expert in Arctic defence and sovereignty predicted that the issue will become a sore point in relations between the Bush administration and the newly elected Harper government – which had campaigned in part on a warmer rapport with Washington.
“The sovereignty of the Northwest Passage is a red button issue for Canadian political leaders and for the Canadian public,” said Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.
Heh. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
UPDATE: Dave at Galloping Beaver was all over this, and suspects the same thing I do: It’s all kabuki.
One thing is certain. David Wilkins didn’t start making statements on his own. He doesn’t know the difference between a polar ice-pack and a peanut farm. He was speaking the words of the administration and in that, the timing is important.
Wilkins initially jumped in with comments during the election campaign which fed into the Conservative platform taking issue with Paul Martin’s criticism of US trade policy and the fact that USS Charlotte had transited Canadian waters to reach the North Pole. Wilkins snapped that Canadian politicians should stop bashing the US as a means to get elected, yet totally ignored the Conservative platform which has now supposedly raised an issue.
Harper, after being elected, spends at least 15 minutes (or more) in a phone call with Bush. Harper would have made at least two things very clear: His rise to office was, at best, very tenuous; and, he needed to be able to appear to be strong when dealing with the US since Canadians would not tolerate a prime minister who pandered to the Bush administration. The ability to retain and hold power depends on how Harper appears to be dealing with the US.
Newly elected House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he opposed efforts to ban privately funded travel for members of Congress and provisions in spending bills that fund lawmakers’ pet projects.
The views of Boehner, elected by his GOP colleagues on Thursday to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), make it less likely that the more far-reaching proposals to restructure lobbying will become law. In interviews on a pair of television talk shows, Boehner amplified his earlier concerns about such broad responses to the Jack Abramoff scandal, including proposals offered by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
“In the past, when these scandals have erupted, what’s happened is Congress has overreacted, and two days later nobody knew what happened,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He said he would favor more disclosure of dealings with lobbyists but would not seek complete bans on travel or “earmark” provisions. “Bringing more transparency to this relationship, I think, is the best way to control it. But taking actions to ban this and ban that, when there’s no appearance of a problem, there’s no foundation of a problem, I think, in fact, does not serve the institution well.”
Yes, let’s wait for a problem! Sure, in some hypothetical world where a new Majority Leader took office because his predecessor was indicted you may want to do something radical like considering policy changes. But for the time being, changing the name on the office door is more than enough!
The fact that several conservatives have resorted to the “why aren’t the moonbats talking about this” routine makes me even more reluctant to comment (I generally don’t bother to write when I think the analysis is obvious, and I assume our readers are smart enough to find news online on their own), but since Shakes asks some good stuff has been written that gets it right.
Slacktivist supplies the short version:
A quick review of the abstract principles involved.
Freedom of Speech: Good.
Bigotry/Deliberate Disrespect: Bad.
Wanton Rioting/Violence: Bad.
The first doesn’t excuse the second, and the second doesn’t excuse the third.
I think this is obviously right. I’m certainly not going along with calling the cartoonists heroes or some such. We’re not dealing with The Satanic Verses here; these were cartoons with no purpose but to be offensive, and each newspaper who printed them was compounding extremely bad judgment. But of course freedom of speech protects the hack as well as the artist, the bigoted no-talent as well as Salman Rushdie, and the violent reaction is of course appalling and indefensible.
Congrats to gmack and the Steelers for a terrific run. Evidently, it’s hard for a Seahawks fan to be anything but frustrated tonight. The comment below notwithstanding though, I don’t mean to imply that the Steelers didn’t deserve to win. They made the plays, and game was lost when they failed to cash in again and again after having the Steelers on their heels in the first half. The officiating certainly was atrocious; even leaving aside the reviewed TD (I didn’t think he was in, but Rob is right that it wasn’t unambiguous enough to reverse), I maintain that the pass interference call was marginal at best, and the 3rd quarter holding call (and, of course, the subsequent inability to distinguish between a block and a tackle on the follow-up interception) farcical.
But, of course, it doesn’t matter. The game in which I’ve had the strongest rooting interest in the previous decade–Flames/Canucks Game 7 in 2004–had similarly bad officiating. As background, when the Flames last played their archrival Canucks in the playoffs, they had a 3-1 lead and lost 3 straight overtime games. In Game 6 in 2004, they came back from a 4-0 deficit and then lost in triple overtime. In Game 7, the Flames had a 2-1 lead in the last 30 seconds. Jarome Iginla, who scored both goals, had a shot at the empty net and just missed. But as he shot, someone threw a jersey on the ice. By NHL rules, the play has to be blown dead, which means faceoff in Vancouver end, goalie back in, game over. But, OK, maybe they should ignore the formal rule in that context. Much worse is that on the ensuing rush, Canuck forward Markus Naslund knocked Iginla’s stick out of his hands, and Iginla tripped over the stick. No call, although a slashing the stick call that had no impact on the play had been called in the previous minute. The Canucks, now on a effective 5-on-3, scored with 6 seconds left. At that point, it felt to any Flames fan like the world was about to end. What happened next is what a team has to do–the Flames scored less than 2 minutes into overtime, with Iginla setting up the winning goal. And, of course, that’s what the Steelers did after being the victims of a call even worse than those.
So the Seahawks have no excuse at all; they didn’t lose because of the refs. Holmgren didn’t react well to the calls that went against him (the 2 bizarre, ill-designed running plays after the Jackson call and the atrocious clock management after the touchdown review being nadirs.) The difference in the game–which certainly isn’t surprising in retrospect–is the Steelers’ huge edge in the receiving corps. Stevens–who really needs to shut his yap (see, Porter can trash-talk because he, you know, backs it up)–was horrible of course, but Jackson’s inability to keep a second foot in bounds at the end of the 1st half may have been the most important play of the game, and any halfway decent NFL receiver has to get a touchdown on that. Ward and Randel-El are on a whole other level from these guys. The officiating was irritating because it nearly ruined the game, and it’s just unacceptable in a Super Bowl, but a good team has to overcome bad breaks. The Steelers did last month; the Seahawks didn’t.
So the Steelers are full credit; they won, and they certainly earned it several times over this year. They’re the better team.
No game can ever turn on a call in the first quarter (or even the fourth quarter, as the Steelers have already proved) and in fairness I don’t know what the Seahawks were doing with the sequence that followed, but Jesus Christ that pass interference call was a joke. (If you’re going to call every one of those, this game will last until Tuesday.) Is it too much to expect at least a marginal standard of competence in the playoffs?
In other news, nice pick!
Just for the hell of it, I’ll avoid idiotic NRO-esque attempts to discuss which kind of blue city is better, or even about running slightly more (even in situations when you should pass–cf. Bill Cowher’s playoff record before he became less conservative this year) confers some inherent moral superiority on the team that does it, and talk about football.
Basically, Matt ends up in roughly the right place, although much of his analysis is highly problematic. I happen to agree that Barber had a marginally better year than Alexander, but the more relevant question is whether he’s better than Willie Parker, and he is (let alone the washed-up Bettis.) I don’t think this is a big deal, though, because both teams have good rushing games and good rush defenses, and these games tend to be decided in the air anyway. The better news for Seattle is that Hasselbeck is an excellent QB. The worse news is that Matt, like many Giants fans, not only somewhat overrates Eli “Trent Dilfer with a famous name” Manning but underrates the QB the Giants inexplicably avoided so they could trade significant value to draft Manning instead. Roethlisberger is, in fact, an exceptional QB; you’ll note that he was the 3rd-ranked QB in the league despite playing several games with a hand injury. He’s not significantly over his head in the playoffs; he’s really, really good. I might still give a slight edge to the veteran Hasselbeck, but the Steelers have a better secondary, so in terms of passing game it’s again pretty even. Essentially, the matchup is about as even as it could be, maybe a slight edge to Pittsburgh on paper. So to try to convince myself that the Seahawks are the elect, a few tiebreakers:
- In response to Dave, I think the line is actually quite rational, given the perception that the AFC is far better than the NFC. On the other hand, I think this effect has been somewhat overstated, and is further washed out by the fact that the Seahawks are so clearly the class of the NFC. The inter-conference record was actually a lot more even than the previous years–the AFC was only 6 over–and that effect is largely because the AFC has more depth: the Chargers are a better team than the division-winning Bears or Giants, I think. But I don’t know how much that’s relevant here. I’ll say this: I think the Seahawks are a clearly better team than the Broncos, the #2 seed in the AFC. Much better QB, running game just as good, defense as good or better. Alas, the Steelers are better than the Broncos too, but if you’re a betting person certainly take the points and/or line and the Seahawks. The game is more even than the line.
- Here’s where I think Matt is on to something: many people have used the more impressive road the Steelers have had to travel in the playoffs in their favor, but there’s an obvious downside. You may remember that the same people talking about the Steelers’ “momentum” or whatever were picking the Panthers last week too, and you may remember how that worked out. The fact that the Steelers have played more and tougher games is, on balance, an edge for Seattle, and certainly if Polamalu is banged up that’s a major advantage for the Seahawks. Given the even-ness of the game otherwise, I think this is the factor that should make Seattle a very slight favorite.
- And, finally, I’ll take Holmgren over Cowher in the playoffs. (Although, in fairness, it must be noted that Cowher looks a lot better now that he has a real QB.) Perhaps more importantly, the Steelers aren’t going to surprise everybody by throwing in the first quarter this time; the Seahawks, who can generate a good pass rush and rush defense without flooding the box, will be ready for it. Roethlisberger is good enough to win anyway, but I’ll be interested to see how Cowher reacts.
So Seahawks 27-24. But I’m a Seahawks fan and that’s the best I can do, so judge accordingly.
From Rob: This should serve as a game open thread.
- NARAL continues to stand beind the egregious Linc Chafee. Baffling. Even more remarkably, Paperwight discovers that in addition to the generous contributions and endorsements of the Rhode Island Milquetoast, NARAL has given more than 15 grand to the even more hapless Collins and Snowe, and couldn’t even get a symbolic no vote out of them. Look, I understand ideally that it would be nice if choice wasn’t a strictly partisan issue: better outcomes, more leverage, etc. It’s not inevitable that Republican pro-choice legislators effectively cease to exist. But that’s the situation we’re in now, and this fact needs to be faced. NARAL needs to get out of this relationship.
- Having said that, Ezra makes a very important point, and it should be noted that my critiques of NARAL’s strategy are about looking forward. Let’s be absolutely candid: Alito’s confirmation was inevitable, and would have gone forward not matter what NARAL had given or not given to Republican moderates, or if NARAL’s leadership (of PFAW or any other progressive group’s) had started a hunger strike over the issue. There’s the bizarre perception,a point of alliance among DLCers and Naderites –perhaps we can call it “The Theorem of Perpetual Potential Democratic Omnipotence”–that it’s possible for minority caucuses and/or interest groups to accomplish anything if they just really want it badly enough. I think these arguments like also (as with Saletan on abortion) vastly overestimate the power of discourse and underestimate simple raw legislative power. In terms of “anti-Alito narratives,” I think NARAL et al. had a perfectly cogent and accurate narrative: Alito is a judge with a consistent hostility to reproductive freedom, civil liberties, and civil rights. It doesn’t matter, because the majority party in the Senate considers these characteristics features-not-bugs, and the public pays very little attention to Supreme Court debates. The Bork nomination wasn’t defeated by incredible narrative framing or because Democrats in the Senate were brilliant questioners. It was defeated because the Dems had a majority, and the crucial swing votes were Democratic senators in southern states who relied on huge African-American turnouts pondering a nominee who publicly opposed the Civil Rights Act and Shelley v Kramer.
- Or, to expand on Ezra’s historical analysis, look at it this way. Clarence Thomas (as Matt points out) was confirmed by a Democratic Senate, although he was similar ideologically to Alito but far less qualified and replacing a liberal icon rather than a moderate conservative. Defeats of nominations virtually always occur it times of divided government. The only modern precedent for stopping an Alito would be the successful filibuster of Abe Fortas. But that’s pretty clearly not comparable; Fortas had serious ethical issues, was a personal crony (although able and independently qualified to sit on the Court) of a President whose administration was in collapse, and (most importantly) the Democratic majority in the Senate was mitigated by the substantial number of pro-apartheid Democrats who had a particularly strong reason to stick it to LBJ. There was simply nothing comparable about the Alito situation.
None of this is to say that we shouldn’t be learning lessons from the nomination, or that it isn’t possible to develop better strategies. But all of it is small potatoes; as long as the Republicans control the White House and the Senate, we’re going to get extremely bad Supreme Court justices unless the President completely screws up. Whatever criticisms one can have if liberal activists, to attack them for not preventing something they had no power to prevent doesn’t make sense.
Some good news–and it’s particularly welcome this week–from Kansas. I wrote last year about an attempt by the Kansas attorney general to obtain the unedited medical records of patients who obtained abortions, an excellent case study in the Trojan Horse application of purportedly “reasonable” abortion regulations that are irrational on their face. Fortunately, some courts are still willing to protect the privacy rights of women (while also making the importance of health exemptions clear):
The Kansas Supreme Court today ordered a district judge to reconsider subpoenas issued at Attorney General Phill Kline’s request for abortion clinic medical records.
The unanimous ruling orders Shawnee County District Judge Richard Anderson to use tightly drawn restrictions on any requests for medical records.
Kline has also said he’s investigating cases of illegal late-term abortion. Kansas law prohibits abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy unless the continuation of pregnancy could severely injure the woman. Kline has gone on record opposing an earlier court decision that injury to a woman’s mental health was sufficient reason to allow a late-term abortion. In the court records, the judge discussed the issue of “interpretation of whether a mental health exception is reasonable basis for protecting a woman’s health.”
Kudos to the Kansas Supremes for not allowing this particular attempt to shred privacy and reproductive rights. Which is a good reminder: choice needs to be fought at the level of state as well as federal institutions. State courts will be critical actors in fights to insure that abortion regulations do not become licenses for government officials to abirtrarily harass abortion clinics.
…although, since Planned Parenthood believed that the records should not be produced at all, it’s not an unequivocal victory; the AG using records for a legitimate, narrowly drawn purpose is far less troubling. Still, I’m inclined to believe is clearly a strong net positive (and PP themselves, at least, are portraying it as a victory.) Much more, including details about the arguments, from Josh Roseneau.
Somebody asked me the other day how it’s possible to love Seattle and consider it a great city while at the same time hating a)the Sonics, b)the Huskies, c)the Seahawks, and d)the goddamn rain.
It’s not easy. It’s just not easy.
I hate the Sonics because I grew up a Trailblazers fan. I hate the Huskies because I attended the University of Oregon as an undergraduate. I hate the Seahawks because I was a Raiders fan as a kid. I hate the rain because it’s wet.
Nevertheless, I love Seattle, and will grudgingly cheer for the Seahawks in the Superbowl. First, I pay so little attention to the NFL anymore that the rivalry issue is almost irrelevant. It doesn’t hurt that the Raiders suck and the Seahawks are now in a different conference. Second, the fact that Shaun Alexander is from northern Kentucky gives me a bit of local cover. Third, regional pride kicks in; it’s hard to take the Seattle-bashing without lashing out a bit.
What’s more, Seattle is a frou-frou town playing a frou-frou football style
*Ahem* Go Seahawks.
Long title for a short post; my minor quibble with Yglesias post on the QDR is that, while it’s hard to envision the F-22 being useful in any situation other than a high intensity conflict against a peer competitor, the DD(X) actually does have capabilities that would make it useful in low intensity situations. The AGS is an improvement over our current fire delivery systems, and the vertical launch system could prove useful in any number of situations.
Of course, this is not to say it’s worth the money. But I am inclined to believe that DD(X) would be helpful across the combat spectrum.