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Oh, That Too?

[ 16 ] May 18, 2008 |

Alex Blaze collects data suggesting that Barack Obama isn’t just a radical angry black Christian liberation theologizin’ Muslim ex-Muslim communizin’ hippie terrorist; he’s probably a gay radical angry black Christian liberation theologizin’ Muslim ex-Muslim communizin’ hippie terrorist.

I, for one, would like to set as many precedents as possible with this election…

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 7 ] May 17, 2008 |

Calvin Coolidge, speaking to the American Medical Association, 17 May 1927:

What part the physician will play in the further advancement of the well-being of the world is an interesting speculation. It is a well-known proverb that “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” No one can doubt that if humanity could be brought to a state of physical well-being, many of our social problems would disappear. If we could effectively rid our systems of poison, not only would our bodily vigor be strengthened, but our vision would be clearer, our judgment more accurate, and our moral power increased. We should come to a more perfect appreciation of the truth. It is to your profession in its broadest sense, untrammeled by the contentions of different schools, that the world may look for large contributions toward its regeneration, physically, mentally, and spiritually, when not force but reason will hold universal sway.

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Stevens Update

[ 7 ] May 17, 2008 |

This is encouraging:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that Republican Senator Ted Stevens is trailing by two percentage points in his bid for re-election. Stevens attracts 45% of the vote while Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) earns 47%. A month ago, it was Stevens with 46% support and Begich at 45%.

Any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered potentially vulnerable, especially when they trail a challenger early in the campaign season. Stevens is supported by just 68% of those who plan to vote for John McCain. Twenty-four percent (24%) of McCain voters say they’ll be splitting the ticket to vote for Begich.

Stevens — along with the rest of our congressional delegation — has become a majestic national embarrassment, and his miserable standing seems even to have made an impression on Alaskans, who typically regard Stevens as the state’s great official sugar daddy. I’m pessimistic enough to guess that Stevens will eventually win re-election in November, but the fact that he’s even facing a serious challenger is still really good news. In 2002, his strongest challenger was this guy, who cleared 10% of the vote:

Facts, reality, science and objective truth are avoided or ignored religiously. Like Galileo, Gen. Billy Mitchell, Andre Sakharov and Nelson Mandella before me, I and anyone else telling the truth to, or about, powerful fascist criminals within the government become political prisoners, are sent to psychiatric wards, or worse.

I voted for him, but I would have voted for a talking peanut ahead of Stevens.

In other Alaska political news, it looks like Don Young set up a special “legal fund” — separate from his campaign funds — so that potential donors would know that they weren’t contributing to any legal problems that might be looming on the horizon. Having done that, he went ahead and paid his legal bills with general campaign funds. Integritude!

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Clashes of the Titans

[ 12 ] May 17, 2008 |

Tim Marchman says that the Subway Series this year “is no battle for honor between two hardened champions, but a pair of bums fighting over a ham sandwich in an alley.” There are, however, considerably more pathetic rivalry series. Such as the Mariners/Padres, which is more like fighting over a half-eaten McRib that’s been sitting for a day in a dumpster outside of a medical waste facility. However, it must be conceded that the white-hot intensity of this traditional rivalry overcomes the abysmal quality of the teams. I hope everyone will be showing up to Safeco with their “Bevacqua sucks” and “F^%$ Archi Cianfrocco” shirts.

When your team crashes, burns, and falls into the swamp, you can at least get some quality snark, such as this from USS Mariner‘s Derek Zumsteg on the Bedard/Jones/Sherrill trade:

What a horrible trade, made worse by how it took so long to complete. It was like being tortured by watching Miss Congeniality 2 on a loop tape, where time gets slower and slower, giving me more time to dwell on the never-ending horror playing out in front of me, the pain of which slowed time even further.

Any time you get fleeced by the Orioles, you should just quit. Just turn in your laminated RFID pass to the office doors, hand over the company cell phone, and walk out onto the street. You’re done.

And it’s not just that the Mariners decided to sell out the future in a trade, and then do it in a half-assed way (if you’re going for it this year, you can’t keep Vidro and Sexson, keep Ibanez in LF, etc.) What’s even worse is that the organization in 2002 and 2003 — when a sacrifice of long-term interests actually would have made sense, as they had a competitive but very old team — Stand Pat let them die on the vine.

And then there’s the manager. It’s one thing if, as in the case of Joe Morgan or (in an obscure but more egregious case, and what I think was an even greater factor in the death of my beloved Expos than the cancellation of the World Series in ’94, Jim Fanning) when the in-over-his-head organizational time-server you hire as a mid-season replacement lucks into the postseason, and you probably have to keep him for another year. But McLaren took over the team last year, it collapsed down the stretch in no small part due to his atrocious bullpen management and inexplicable lineup decisions, and…you bring him back anyway? If you’re going to trade away an Adam Jones for a short-term fix, and you start the season with John McLaren as your manager…it really is time for a full housecleaning in Seattle.

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Kaus Calls Me Out

[ 21 ] May 17, 2008 |

Having been in possession of the following incendiary clips since last week, I have agonized over whether to subject the fair readership of LGM to the blistering visage of Mickey Kaus. I had decided that whatever value the clips had didn’t fully make up for the fact that our dear readers would have to, well, pay attention to Mickey. But now it appears that I’ve been called out; Mickey is implying that I’m not blogger enough to post clips of him getting his ass kicked by Jon Alter. As always in war, it is the civilians who suffer:

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Easy Answers To Stupid Questions

[ 15 ] May 16, 2008 |

Glenn Reynolds:

CALIFORNIA’S SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN the state’s ban on gay marriages. Did it just hand the state to McCain?

No.

This has been easy answers to stupid questions. Although, admittedly, the massive Republican landslide in the wake of the New Jersey civil union decision in 2006 and their shocking upset victory in Massachusetts in 2004 certainly does give one pause.

…UPDATE: I see that Steve M. actually beat me to this. With data!

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Easily Dismissable Whining of the Day

[ 33 ] May 16, 2008 |

Sounds like the new HBO movie about the 2000 recount got it right, which understandably has displeased the embalmed corpse the Gore campaign chose to oversee its strategy:

Warren Christopher, the former secretary of state who served as the public face of the Gore team in the early days of the recount effort, said this week that he believed the film, “Recount,” was “pure fiction” in its portrayal of him as a weak strategist unprepared to stand up to the aggressive tactics of James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state who was the chief Republican adviser.

Baker helpfully adds that “I don’t think I was as ruthless as the movie portrays me, and I know he was not as wimpish as it makes him appear.” Well, I’m convinced!

Admittedly, perhaps Christopher absolutely getting his clock cleaned by Baker in his public actions and statements doesn’t reflect the passionate intensity he brought behind the scenes. I know how I’m betting! But, at any rate, it’s the public failures that matter, and it’s good that the film seems not to shy away from that.

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 6 ] May 16, 2008 |

John Tyler, commending the soldiers who fought in the Second Seminole War, 16 May 1842:

The history of the hardships which our soldiers have endured, of the patience and perseverance which have enabled them to triumph over obstacles altogether unexampled, and of the gallantry which they have exhibited on every occasion which a subtle and skulking foe would allow them to improve is so familiar as not to require repetition at my hands. But justice to the officers and men now in Florida demands that their privations, sufferings, and dauntless exertions during a summer’s campaign in such a climate, which for the first time was witnessed during the last year, should be specially commended. The foe has not been allowed opportunity either to plant or to cultivate or to reap. The season, which to him has usually been one of repose and preparation for renewed conflict, has been vigorously occupied by incessant and harassing pursuit, by penetrating his hiding places and laying waste his rude dwellings, and by driving him from swamp to swamp and from everglade to everglade.

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Re-Raising MoDo

[ 16 ] May 16, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim Camille Paglia: “I for one have renewed questions about the 1993 suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, Hillary’s former law partner and longtime friend, whose files were purged by Hillary’s staff before they could be examined for evidence.”

Heckuva job, Salon!

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Friday Cat Blogging

[ 87 ] May 16, 2008 |

Don’t judge him.

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Say What?

[ 0 ] May 16, 2008 |

Another McHistory lesson:

“I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’

Asked if he thought that former President Jimmy Carter, who struggled with the hostage crisis, was an appeaser, Mr. McCain replied: “I don’t know if he was an appeaser or not, but he terribly mishandled the Iranian hostage crisis.’’

The historical error in that first paragraph should speak for itself, but I’ll simply note that (a) the hostage release had been negotiated prior to Reagan’s inauguration; (b) the hostages were released literally minutes into his Presidency; and (c) if nothing else, the Reagan campaign was deeply concerned that the hostages not actually come home before the election in November. As for appeasing the religious extremists in Iran, I’ll leave it to John McCain’s memory to recall which of his favorite chief executives presided over a batch of illegal arms sales to the very people calling for “Death to America” throughout the early 1980s.

I understand that John McCain is going to continue to get away with saying flat-out-wrong shit about the contemporary Middle East, so I won’t expect the press to ask any serious questions about his understanding of America’s history in the region. But Christ….

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The Political Impact of Same-sex Marriage Rulings

[ 17 ] May 15, 2008 |

David Weigel says that “Politically, I suppose this is bad news for the Democrats, but not nearly as much as in 2004. For one, it’s not coming out of a candidate’s home state.” Tom Maguire, meanwhile, asserts that the California Supreme Court may have done the GOP a “favor.” As I’ve been through before, though, while I know I’m supposed to see 2004 results in which Bush underperformed structural models as proof of Karl Rove’s strategic super-genius the allegedly large effects of gay and lesbian marriage on the 2004 election have been greatly overstated. And needless to say, predictions about how the New Jersey court’s ruling were supposed to have a major impact on the 2006 elections will vanish down the memory hole.

I don’t really find this surprising. People overstate the extent to which people vote on social issues, and people who get outraged by decisions permitting gays and lesbians in other states to get married are overwhelmingly likely to be Republican voters anyway. I don’t think that the decision today will have any significant impact on the 2008 elections. It may increase turnout in California, but since the state isn’t in play it doesn’t really matter.

On a final point, Weigel over optimistically says that “John McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment: He can’t demagogue this, and he won’t.” Yeah, just like how his alleged “federalist” opposition to Roe stops him from supporting every piece of federal abortion legislation to come down the pike. I don’t know what McCain will do but I am sure that an alleged commitment to “federalist” principles won’t stop him from doing anything.

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