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"It Was At Trinity Church! OK, But A Place Only 7 Zip Code Digits Away! With Sister Souljah! OK, But I’m Sure Stokely Carmichael Was! He’s What?"

[ 36 ] June 6, 2008 |

It may not be literally true that Larry Johnson is the biggest clown in the internets, but close enough.

Or at least I believed that until he was vindicated by exclusive video footage!

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 0 ] June 6, 2008 |

Woodrow Wilson, speaking about the recent US occupation of Vera Cruz during his commencement address at the US Naval Academy, 5 June 1914:

What do you think is the most lasting impression that those boys down at Vera Cruz are going to leave? They have had to use some force—I pray God it may not be necessary for them to use any more—but do you think that the way they fought is going to be the most lasting impression? Have men not fought ever since the world began? Is there anything new in using force? The new things in the world are the things that are divorced from force. The things that show the moral compulsions of the human conscience, those are the things by which we have been building up civilization, not by force. And the lasting impression that those boys are going to leave is this, that they exercise self-control; that they are ready and diligent to make the place where they went fitter to live in than they found it; that they regarded other people’s rights; that they did not strut and bluster, but went quietly, like self-respecting gentlemen, about their legitimate work. And the people of Vera Cruz, who feared the Americans and despised the Americans, are going to get a very different taste in their mouths about the whole thing when the boys of the Navy and the Army come away. Is that not something to be proud of, that you know how to use force like men of conscience and like gentlemen, serving your fellow-men and not trying to overcome them?

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Winner Pays?

[ 39 ] June 5, 2008 |


Geraldine Ferraro has a plan for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to recoup her sizable campaign debt: Have Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) fundraisers pick up the tab.

After a long primary season, the Clinton campaign’s expenditures have far exceeded the amount of donations it has received so far, and the campaign has accumulated debt of more than $19 million, according to campaign finance reports. Much of that debt consists of unpaid salaries and bills to vendors. . . .

This election, losing candidates have asked for contributions to retire their campaigns debt. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) are engaged in such campaigns and have found help from other candidates.

For starters, I can’t imagine that Dodd’s or Giuliani’s debts approach anything like the sums drawn up by the Clinton campaign. That said, I’ll leave it to others to critique or defend the suggestion on its merits. The fact that this is being suggested by the second most loathsome ex-Vice Presidential candidate in recent history, however, gives me pause. Oh, hell. At this point, if Ferraro recommended that we all spay or neuter our pets, I’d assume she had something against kittens.

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Clinton Disowns the VP Pressure Campaign

[ 4 ] June 5, 2008 |

I’m not surprised to see this. The fact that it was Robert Johnson and Lanny Davis making the public pitch made it pretty clear that Clinton was not interested in mounting a public campaign for the veep slot at this time (what she’s communicating privately to Obama I don’t know.) If you were really trying to get the position, it seems pretty clear that you’d choose a surrogate widely respected by Obama supporters as opposed to the someone who brought up Obama’s brief youthful drug use on the stump or a walking-punchline hack if making your case through a third party.

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The RFK Anniversary

[ 9 ] June 5, 2008 |

I’m not one for Kennedy nostalgia, but it was certainly a moment of immense historical importance. I don’t think that — even had RFK won the nomination and beaten Nixon — that he could have prevented the ultimate pro-GOP realignment that culminated in 1994, but even 4 or 8 more years of a moderately Democratic presidency (with, for example, a Supreme Court with a median liberal vote after 1968) could have made a considerable difference. There’s some interesting coverage here.

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Harriet McBryde Johnson

[ 0 ] June 5, 2008 |


From my privileged position, her writing had more impact than her activism and legal work, although for the world the latter two probably made a greater impact. A civil rights hero has left us. Links to her online writings are conveniently rounded up by Kay Olson at Amptoons. If you’re unfamiliar with her and her writing, I order you to immediately read Unspeakable Conversations.

…Update Nice bio here. Opening line:

She attended self-contained special-education classes until age 13, when she was invited to leave because she was campaigning to get the teacher fired.

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Air Force Brass Nuked

[ 0 ] June 5, 2008 |

As is being reported everywhere,Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne have been asked to resign. The proximate cause appears to have been the mishandling of nuclear weapons last year, but it’s fair to say that’s only the tip of the iceberg; SecDef Gates has been extremely critical of the Air Force, both regarding its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan and its public relations strategy in the United States. It’ll be no secret to the readers of this blog that I believe the problems with the Air Force run too deep to be solved with firings like this; the reason that the Air Force is having difficulty figuring out its roles in the Middle East, its public relations strategy, and its force structure is that it’s an organization without a coherent 21st century mission. It doesn’t help, of course, that the Air Force brass decided to try to seize greater slices of the bureaucratic and procurement pie just as it reached the height of organizational incoherence…

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The Effects of History Stopped In 1964

[ 11 ] June 5, 2008 |

Shorter Tom Maguire: All institutionalized racism ended immediately after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, because these changes to formal law both ended racism and erased the ongoing impacts of past racism. So it’s crazy to think that any person of color born in the United States after 1970 could suffer from any disadvantage based on their race!

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[ 39 ] June 5, 2008 |

It’s hard to get much worse than getting swept at home by an Angels team without Guerrero (and not pitching Lackey). But I’m sure McLaren and company can find a way!

In other news, this has been building since several commenters argued last year that it was logically impossible for him to have allowed a run in Game 2 without the bugs, but Sweet Jeebus am I already sick of Greatest Pitching Prospect In Known World History Joba Chamberlain and the ceaseless hype surrounding him. If Saint Derek of Pasta Diving goes on the DL I think he can slide into the Most Irritating Yankee role right away.

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[ 22 ] June 5, 2008 |

Clinton to drop out and endorse Obama on Friday. I am, once again, inclined to a more charitable view than Matt expresses here. I have been very critical of several aspects of Clinton’s campaign, although this was for specific acts (particularly the negative comparison of Obama and McCain and the increasingly farcical Michigan/Florida demagoguery) as opposed to staying in per se. But I really don’t think that it will be a serious problem in the general, and endorsing the candidate three days after defeat (especially given that many runner-up candidates have declined to do so, although why Clinton-to-Denver advocates bring up 1968 and 1980 as positive precedents I can’t tell you) is well within the range of acceptable behavior. Claims that Clinton was out to sabotage the party to set up a run for 2012 or some such have always been silly, and I think this should end that unproductive debate.

So let’s congratulate Clinton for her valiant and historic campaign, rejoice in Obama’s remarkable victory, and hope that the latter ends up in the White House.

…Farber declares Clean Slate Day.

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Presidential Statement of the Day

[ 7 ] June 5, 2008 |

Benjamin Harrison, remarking on the Johnstown Flood, 4 June 1889:

It would be wholly superfluous for me to attempt to set before you more impressively than the newspapers have already done the horrors attending the calamity which has fallen upon the city of Johnstown and the neighboring hamlets in a large section of Pennsylvania situated on the Susquehanna River. The grim pencil of Doré would be inadequate to portray the distress and horrors of this visitation. In such meetings as we have to-day here in the national capital and other like gatherings that are taking place in all the cities of this land, we have the only relief to the distress and darkness of the picture. When such calamitous visitations fall upon any section of our country we can only put about the dark picture the golden border of love and charity. It is in such fires as this that the brotherhood of men is welded. And where more appropriately than here at the national capital can we give expression to that sympathy and brotherhood which is now so strongly appealed to by the distress of large bodies of our fellow-citizens?

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[ 25 ] June 4, 2008 |

So I turned this gem up while doing some research this afternoon:

He and his aides have outlined a quick and successful overthrow of Hussein and rebuilding of a democratic Iraq that spreads peace through the Middle East. Establishing unchallenged world dominance for the United States, it cows the leaders of Iran, North Korea and al Qaeda. In this view, the domestic economy would soar, and help Bush and his party in 2004 to a victory that would realign the country’s political allegiances.

One reason for Bush’s confidence under pressure is the unshakeable belief of his advisers that this scenario is likely. Bush’s serenity “comes from the conviction he’s on the right course,” said Richard Perle, an influential conservative who leads a Pentagon advisory board. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows where he’s going.”

Another member of that panel, former Reagan administration official Kenneth Adelman, says the Iraq war “will transform the region towards peace and decency.” Adelman believes Bush shares the view. “The only thing I’ve heard from him is, ‘Imagine if we didn’t do something like this,'” he said.


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