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Big Dog Coming Back to Kentucky

[ 1 ] October 21, 2010 |

Dems smell blood in the Bluegrass…

LAWRENCEBURG – Former President Bill Clinton will return to Kentucky a day before the Nov. 2 election to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway.

Conway campaign spokeswoman Allison Haley confirmed Thursday that Clinton will visit the state Nov. 1 for Conway. She said the locations of Clinton’s appearances have not been finalized.

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Does the Obama Administration Have to Appeal the DADT Ruling?

[ 58 ] October 21, 2010 |

Absolutely not.

There’s nothing particularly complex here. The DOJ has no legal obligation to do appeal the DADT ruling, and there’s ample precedent for allowing a ruling of unconstitutionality to stand. And the case for making an exception here couldn’t be more compelling: the law unjustly burdens minority rights and lacks both popular support and the support of legislative majorities. (This case, therefore, can be easily distinguished from refusing to defend the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.) Whether or not one agrees with me on this, however, when the administration claims it doesn’t have discretion here they’re not telling the truth.

Williams: The Bottom Line

[ 28 ] October 21, 2010 |

As gmack also says in our comments, this is correct:

But as in the case of Rick Sanchez it seems to me that if you assume Williams has been doing valuable work all these years, firing him over this single incident is excessive. But as an NPR listener, I’m a good deal more familiar with Williams’ work than I am with Sanchez’s and it seems clear to me that Williams has not, in fact, been doing valuable work all these years. If Williams had never made these remarks about Muslims and NPR announced his firing this morning on the grounds of general lameness and lack of valuable contribution to their programming, I would have applauded the move so I’m hardly going to deplore what actually happened.

He Probably Drunk-Dials at 7AM, Too

[ 18 ] October 21, 2010 |

While Ginni Thomas probably has the Bob Packwood award for the “creepiest act of communication from a conservative to hit the news this week” locked up, it must be conceded that Todd Seavey gave it a strong effort:

Especially priceless: Jonah’s peals of laughter after one of Seavey’s “some of you probably dated her at the same time” crack.

As for the background on Seavey, I would have thought it was beyond effective parody, but Jill has proven me wrong.

End of An Error

[ 34 ] October 21, 2010 |

NPR fires Wan Juilliams over anti-Muslim comments.

I would like to think that this will get Williams to reconsider whether he wants to waste what was once some real journalistic talent as a hack Fox News liberal, but I fear he will become a more committed YoostaBee instead…

…Sarah Palin’s theory that the First Amendment makes any criticism of people Sarah Palin likes illegal continues to be influential.   Apparently, since I don’t have a contract with NPR my free speech rights are being violated.

…gmack in comments is also correct:

I do want to throw this out here: The problem with NPR’s political coverage is not so much that they employ folks who often mouth conservative arguments and framing devices; the problem is that they are utterly banal and tedious. And on that count, I think Cokie Roberts needs to go before Liasson (granted I’ll be happy if they both go, but one step at a time). In this sense, I’m a bit frustrated that Williams left over this flap. His comment was idiotic*, but the real problem is that his political analysis is useless, uninteresting, and uninformative.

More On Things That Go Boom

[ 0 ] October 20, 2010 |

Stephanie Carvin has a long follow-up to my critique of her earlier explosive weapons essay at Duck of Minerva. She provides a lot of interesting history and legal analysis, but never really elaborates on the one point in the post that directly addresses my defense of the explosive weapons campaign:

With regards to blast weapons, it is clear that the authors of Landmine Action’s report want a de facto ban because of the effects that the weapons cause – albeit both intended and non-intended effects. But by focusing on the effects of the civilians, it is clear that an effects-based rather than intention-based rational is at play here – and I think serious questions can be raised regarding this strategy.

What serious questions? Is such a strategy ineffective? Does it lead to suboptimal outcomes? Weak norms? The banning of weapons that in humanitarian terms are actually superior to the alternatives? The only argument against the effects-based approach versus the intent-based approach appears to be Stephanie’s claim that there’s a mismatch between the advocates’ moral claims and the earlier structure of international law. But:
Read more…

Oh my god! You killed qi! You bastards!

[ 62 ] October 20, 2010 |

Well I’ll be damned. Who could have predicted that jabbing pins into someone’s chest to stimulate the flow of magical energy just might be dangerous? Oh, well. At least we now have evidence that acupuncture occasionally produces measurable results.

Game 5

[ 32 ] October 20, 2010 |

I see no reason why this needs to go back to Texas.

“Fairly Respected Writer” Peddles Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Propaganda To Schoolchildren

[ 27 ] October 20, 2010 |

Oh, great:

A textbook distributed to Virginia fourth-graders says that thousands of African Americans fought for the South during the Civil War…

Slaves were totally committed to the Confederate cause, which was totally about tariffs in any case! What evidence does she have for this racist-abetting nonsense?

The passage appears in “Our Virginia: Past and Present,” which was distributed in the state’s public elementary schools for the first time last month. The author, Joy Masoff, who is not a trained historian but has written several books, said she found the information about black Confederate soldiers primarily through Internet research, which turned up work by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Wow, that’s convincing! Hopefully she was able to get Strom Thurmond’s thoughts on the subject before his death too.

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Civ-Milling About…

[ 6 ] October 20, 2010 |

My new column on civil-military relations is up at WPR. I would also heartily recommend that everyone read (or re-read, as the case may be) Charles Dunlap’s 1992 article “Origins of the Coup of 2012.” Dunlap makes some predictions that go astray (including unification of the military), and he doesn’t get the symbolic role of the military in American life quite right, but it’s still worth your valuable attention.

How To Deal With A Ginni Thomas Call

[ 7 ] October 20, 2010 |

Great stuff from Andy Borowitz:

Start apologizing the moment you hear her voice. Remember, like a bear at a campsite, Virginia Thomas does not want to eat you, she’s only after your food, and in this case, your apology is the only thing protecting you from Mrs. Thomas mauling you to death. If apologizing does not work, clap your hands loudly into the receiver in the hopes of scaring her away.

[via]

Death By Fire

[ 5 ] October 20, 2010 |

The Frontline documentary about Cameron Todd Willingham — the man murdered by the state of Texas, led by Rick Perry, after being convicted based on completely worthless junk science and the transparently unreliable testimony of a jailhouse snitch — is available online. No matter how evenhanded the tone, it’s remarkably infuriating.