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Straight Talkin’ Torture

[ 5 ] February 14, 2008 |

I’m not even going to pretend to be surprised that St. McCain is now facilitating the CIA’s use of techniques that are unlawful, including some that are torture even by Senator McCain’s own lights.” McCain’s public opposition to torture has been nominal when it comes to actually preventing (at least Republican) presidents from doing it for a while now. And since none of this will stop the media from almost uniformly lauding him as a principled opponent of torture with 100% more maverickitude, there’s no political (as opposed to moral) downside!

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Strangely, My Views Change Over Time…

[ 26 ] February 14, 2008 |

Saletan:

British activists called for a ban on “ultra-sonic dispersal devices.” The devices drive away teenagers by delivering unpleasant noise at high frequencies that can be heard only by people under 25. Activists say 3,500 of them are in use. Merchants’ rationale: We use them to drive away “anti-social gangs” that “deter customers, intimidate staff and can commit vandalism and violence.” Objections: 1) The devices “target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are … misbehaving.” 2) “Young people have a right to assemble … without being treated as criminals.” 3) “Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender.” Device inventor’s solution: I’ll “introduce a contract which stipulates to shopkeepers how it can be used.”

Odd; ten years ago I would have been strongly in favor of such a ban. Now, for some reason, I don’t have a problem with it. On the other hand, would anyone be surprised to find the McCain campaign installing such devices outside polling places in November?

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Things I Am Not Making Up

[ 11 ] February 14, 2008 |

Shorter TIDOS Yankee:

It’s a shame that some ignorant young Americans choose to hoist a flag that evokes terrorism and reminds an ethnic minority of its collective historical pain.

Yup. Sharp as a goddamn tack that boy is.

On a completely unrelated note, here are Bob and his friends protesting the enrollment of Autherine Lucy at the University of Alabama in 1956.



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Don’t Forget About John Davis!

[ 17 ] February 14, 2008 |

Lanny Davis argues that the superdelegates were intended to be an “independent” check on the whims of those meddling voters. I’m sure this will convince Clarence Thomas, but since I’m not an originalist it seems to me that delegates are free to vote by whatever criteria they choose, which includes doing what’s best for the party, and which would therefore include ratifying a clear choice by the party’s voters. I’m also confident that this will, in fact, happen.

For comic value, though, Sirota notes this gem in Davis’s historical argument:

We were also reminded that before these reforms, the “smoke-filled rooms” of Democratic Party leaders had led to the nomination and election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy.

Jeez, countless of tickets to work with and when picking random anecdotes he can’t even identify three decent candidates? It’s this kind of rhetorical skillz that have made Davis such an effective defender of progressive values on Fox News.

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The Candidate of No Substance

[ 6 ] February 14, 2008 |

Via gratifying convert to the anti-McCain cause Jon Chait, John McCain and an equally well-informed candidate discuss policy:

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Great Moments In Projection

[ 7 ] February 14, 2008 |

I was set to write a post about today’s MoDo. In today’s installment, she actually writes a couple of lucid paragraphs about the “media’s” sexist coverage of Hillary Clinton, while of course leaving out the little detail that she’s long been one of the major purveyors of said sexism. From there, however, she proceeds to the usual psychobabble and double standards that you would expect. Fortunately, Somerby has already taken care of it.

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Molly Ivins Would Be Proud

[ 30 ] February 14, 2008 |

Today, a federal court of appeals struck down Texas’s ban on sex toys, which criminalized the promotion and sale of vibrators, etcetera. It’s obviously ridiculous (patently so) that there are still states in which state law limits with what devices people can get pleasure in their own homes. But at least now there’s one fewer. And perhaps this decision will signal changes in other states, too, especially given that the decision was on federal constitutional grounds.

Molly Ivins would be proud.

(via)

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The Chances

[ 28 ] February 13, 2008 |

Jerome Armstrong seems to think that even if Clinton doesn’t have the advantage right now, she’s still in pretty solid shape. Kos disagrees. By my own analysis, she looks to be in terrible trouble. When I made this analysis, based on some very simple assumptions about delegate distribution (55% to the winner, 45% to the loser), the race came to a dead heat. What’s taken place since then is that Obama won Maine, and won considerably higher than 55% of the delegates in all of the other races. Consequently, I have Clinton winning Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and Wisconsin, plus a few other states, and still being down by eighty pledged delegates at the end of the day.

And it’s actually a bit worse than that for Clinton, because it seems to me that, even assuming all of the states go the way I predict, Obama stands a better chance of getting more than 55% in the races he’s likely to win than she does in the races she’ll win. Now maybe I’m wrong about this, and she’ll blow Obama out of the water in Texas and Ohio, but the problem is that she needs to blow him out of the water; narrow wins aren’t going to cut it. Also, while I think a good case can be made that Clinton can contend in both Wisconsin and Hawaii, it’s notable that the campaign doesn’t seem to think that this is the case. There’s a difference between lowering expectations in these states and ensuring defeat, and the apparent indifference of the campaign to next Tuesday’s primaries goes a long way towards the latter.

Anyway, it looks to me as if Clinton is going to have to do very, very well across the rest of the calendar, and get the delegates from Florida and Michigan on the most favorable terms, and win the superdelegates in order to be competitive. This isn’t impossible, but it doesn’t seem very likely.

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The Dumbest Congressional Use of the Word "Lynching" since 1991

[ 28 ] February 13, 2008 |

So I happen to be watching Roger Clemens’ testimony on C-SPAN 3, and I just heard Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) describe the hearings as “a new definition of the word ‘lynching.’”

Just so we’re clear:

Pictured at left:
Actual Lynching

Pictured at left:
A “new definition of the word ‘lynching’”

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"The tree of progressive politics must be watered with the metaphorical blood of sellouts"

[ 7 ] February 13, 2008 |

I think this correctly assesses the significance of Donna Edwards defeating Al Wynn in the primaries last night, with the caveat that I get the sense that Wynn and a lot of blue dogs aren’t so much sellouts as just straightforward conservative hacks. Either way, while you have to live with blue dogs in conservative districts there’s no reason to tolerate them when they waste safe seats.

Meanwhile, although I am amused that Rudy!’s campaign manager has endorsed Clinton’s campaign strategy, presumably as recently consistent with his own (“1.Lose state after state by resounding margins. 2. ? 3. Victory!”), I also agree that burials of Clinton are very premature. Evidently, she’s not comparable to Giuliani, as 1)she’s actually won several important states, and 2)she’s a good campaigner well-liked by Democratic primary voters. Obama deserves to be favored because he’s generally increased his support as he’s had time to campaign (a primary reason, of course, why trying to claim that Florida can be treated like a normal primary just because lots of people voted is silly.) But Clinton can at least take a very close race to the superdelegates if she pulls of strong wins in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and these states are demographically favorable states in which she leads in the polls. These leads may evaporate as her leads in a lot of other states have, but until they actually do she has a reasonable chance of winning, and her buy option at 25 is probably a decent bet.

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No You Can’t

[ 0 ] February 13, 2008 |

A parodic McCain response to the viral Obama Yes We Can video.

I particularly like the signer.

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Alan Keyes Watch

[ 20 ] February 13, 2008 |

So Alan Keyes wasn’t on the Republican ballot in either Virginia or the District of Columbia. Nevertheless, with nearly 70% of Maryland’s precincts reporting (9:26 PM Alaska time), he’s locked in a battle with Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson for fifth place.

I’m going to stay up all night if I need to, but after the ass-kicking he delivered to both of them in Kansas last week, I’m confident the 500-vote gap will disappear and Keyes will be wearing their ears on a necklace by tomorrow morning. (This is a guy, you’ll recall, who wasn”t afraid to expel his lesbian daughter from the family, so I doubt a pair of has-beens are going to keep him down.) If my predictions hold true, Keyes will have beaten four candidates who lacked the oysters to continue fighting, leaving Mittens as the only withdrawn candidate to out-poll him in the Potomac. This, to use a term of art, is what’s known in the political trade as “momentum.”

Earlier in the week, Alan Keyes was understandably buoyant about his prospects of winning the Republican nomination through a brokered convention. In an interview with The Beaumont [Texas] Enterprise, he quickly brushed past the question of whether he could actually overtake McCain before the party gathers this summer in Minneapolis St. Paul.

Of course I can. I am both the most experienced in every respect, and the best candidate. I proved that back in 2000, when I won every single Republican debate.

I think it is just a matter of getting the word out, from the grassroots to the media, to overcome the effort of the elite to destroy the freedom of choice of the American people.

If you don’t see the choice, be the choice. Americans should not accept the other choices. We are the masters of the political realm in this country, not a bunch of self-serving elites.

People should step forward and offer leadership. I happen to be in a positon to do that, it is not only my right, it is my obligation.

When the history of this political season is written, I’m confident the Keyes campaign will have completely revolutionized the way we think about the nomination process. Unlike Fred Thompson, for example — who blew his wad fighting in vain for an early-stage victory in South Carolina — Alan Keyes is a patient man. And unlike the Mayor of 9/11, Keyes has wisely chosen not to spend tens of millions of dollars only to pull in one lonely convention delegate. In preparation for the state’s March 4 primary, he’s campaigning non-stop in Texas, hoping to catch the rest of the Republican field when they’ve either given up or taken victory for granted. He’s got a lot to overcome, of course. The media treat him as if he were some kind of clown, and even the political futures markets ignore him, which is a total mound of fucking bullshit, since Alan Keyes is the only candidate who actually believes in free markets.

Anyhow, the next few weeks will be crucial for the Keyes campaign. He’ll be spending Valentine’s Day at the Houston Pachyderm Club (look for him in the Spaghetti Warehouse room) before heading to League City for a Friday evening engagement at the Shrine of the True Cross Church. And if anyone knows Mike Kinsky — Keyes’ point man in Southeast Houston — you’ve probably received your invitation to the reception he’s generously hosting at his home.

In case you’re not quite as worked up as you should be about this, go listen to “Yes Keyes Can!” — an excellent mash-up from fellow Keyes enthusiast Undercover Black Man.

. . . UPDATE (6:34 AM): A recount is in order. Like the man says, “If you can’t see the change, be the change.”

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