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Archives for February 2004
Ezra Klein has up a long post about the bible and homosexuality. As I am no biblical scholar (I might even turn into a pillar of salt if I went into achurch), I have no comments. Go check it out though.
Looks like the Democrats are having another one of their own bigot eruptions:
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown verbally attacked a top Bush administration official during a briefing on the Haiti crisis Wednesday, calling the President’s policy on the beleaguered nation “racist” and his representatives “a bunch of white men.”
Her outburst was directed at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Noriega, a Mexican-American, is the State Department’s top official for Latin America.
“I think it was an emotional response of her frustration with the administration,” said David Simon, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Democrat. He noted that Brown, who is black, is “very passionate about Haiti.”
Brown sat directly across the table from Noriega and yelled into a microphone. Her comments sent a hush over the hourlong meeting, which was attended by about 30 people, including several members of Congress and Bush administration officials.
Noriega later told Brown: “As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man,” according to three participants.
Brown then told him “you all look alike to me,” the participants said.
As usual, I doubt the Democrats will be outraged. Remember, only Republicans can be racist.
*** Update ***
As usual, I am so jaded by the political climate that I fail to give Democrats enough credit when they deserve it. Kudos to the Calpundit and Matt Yglesias. I do take issue with one aspect of his comment denouncing Ms. Brown’s statement:
Calling our policy racist is OK
Atrios rightly notes that many Democrats are waffling on the FMA issue, and getting a free pass:
I’m quite disappointed in the response of many of the Democrats on the issue of marriage rights and the Hate Amendment. I recognize that politics is always to some degree local, and at the end of the day of people can’t get elected there isn’t too much point in fighting courageous but self-defeating fights. On the other hand, people respond to leaders, and leaders are people who can get people to follow them despite disagreements. We need a few more leaders.
As I’ve said many times, I’m not a fan of the “I’m personally against same-sex marriage but we should leave it up to the states and I’m for this civil union thing which is just like marriage under a different name” position. I’m against it in principle and perhaps more importantly I’m against it in practice — I don’t for the most part think it’s sensible practical politics either. But, I recognize that it is the default position of the Democratic party and it’s sadly the best we’re going to do.
Which is precisely theposition of Kerry and Edwards. Atrios continues:
The Herseth campaign should sit down with Daschle’s people and come out with a position which is consistent with the principles of the Democratic party.
Waffling on the issues and slandering the opposition are key Democratic principles, Atrios.
See also, Iraq war, the War on Drugs, and today, the indecency hearings.
After reading Sullivan’s review of the Passion, there is no chance in hell I will go see the movie. I have found that as I age, I simply can not handle horror movies or movies with a great deal of graphicviolence. I just won’t sleep for weeks.
At any rate, Iam not much on the blogger triumphalism, but I did want to point out that I find it amusing that the only two movie critics I listen to are Andrew Sullivan and Oliver Willis.
I hate arguments like this:
When castigating Democrats for attacking Bush’s jobs record, Robert Samuelson seems to have conveniently forgotten that Bush has been predicting job growth specifically tied to his economic policies for the past three years, and Democrats are reacting to his promises.
One would think that you could remember that the President promised job creation based his policies when complaining about Democrats attacking the President’s policies for not creating jobs.
I think it is fair to make a criticism of Bush’s policies in regards to them not living up to the lofty predictions this administration made regarding rising employment. But that is not what Jesse and the Democrats are doing. Instead, they are essentially engaging in a dishonest argument that can not be disproven.
Because we do not know what the employment rate (and, conversely, the unemployment rate) would be if Bush’s tax cuts HAD NOT BEEN PASSED, there is simply no way to refute the argument the Democrats are advancing. No one with half a brain would argue that the employment rate would be lower if the tax cuts had NOT BEEN PASSED, and Jesse, as one of the smarter people out there, knows this.
As it is inarguable that the recession started prior to Bush’s policies took place, there is no way to avoid the fact that the economy itself and the impact of 9/11 caused the job losses. However, the Democrats are not content to state that Bush has not done enough to help job creation, and instead they rely on arguments such as the previous one which state either that Bush has done nothing or, when they are feeling really pluckish, to state that Bush’s policies have caused or added to the job loss.
Either way, it is a lie.
*** Update ***
Steve Verdon has a great post in response (in addition?) to this post, and it is based on research rather than the rhetorical devices and election-year sloganeering that Jesse and others seem to rely on with recurring frequency.
Many of you often wonder I put the sarcasm quotes around ‘moderate’ when I discuss Kevin Drum. Here is a classic example. Yesterday, when discussing Bush’s position on gay marriage, he wrote:
I thought this was clear in my post, but maybe not. All I’m saying is that I suspect that Bush is not personally especially homophobic. Rather, he’s supporting FMA mainly because he thinks it will help him win votes.
Then today he puts up this cartoon:
Ok, Kevin. Since Democrats are so much smarter than Republicans, explain to me how this is more than just calling Bush stupid and homophobic?
The answer is that it is doing just that- but Kevin reads his comments and knows when to throw red meat to his readers.
If you look up populism in the dictionary, it should read “shameless pandering.” True to form, Edwards unveils his ‘plan’ to lift 10 million people out of poverty:
Unlike President Bush, Edwards will reward and encourage work by raising the minimum wage by at least $1.50 and increasing the earned income tax credit and the refundable child credit for the working poor. Together, these proposals will raise the earnings of an individual making the minimum wage by $3,500 or more. His proposals help both parents and workers without children, and include relief from the heavy marriage penalty that falls on the working poor. These steps will offer as much as $500 per year to millions of Americans earning less than $15,000. Edwards will also create new jobs with good wages and benefits in struggling communities by offering billions of dollars in new venture capital to businesses that create quality jobs. Finally, Edwards will guarantee free health care for every person in poverty and offer generous tax credits for lower-income Americans to purchase health care, so that poor families will not have to worry about losing their health care if they enter the workforce.
New ideas from the Democrats in this new millenium- raising the minimum wage, transfer payments, and corporate welfare.
I will never understand the left’s fetish for the minimum wage as anything other than an election tool. If you raise the minimum wage, it would seem to me all you are doing is reducing employers willingness to hire new employees, and increasing the production costs to all producers. Thus prices rise, and although you may temporarily inflate the paper wealth of the working poor, in essence you are actually decreasing their purchasing power. Then, when the poverty rate is re-indexed, you are right back to where you started or worse.
Of course by then it will be another election, and you can propose increasing the minimum wage another $1.50.
Are there things I am not considering?
The conclusion they want you to come to here is just dumb:
A woman collapsed in an East Wichita theatre this morning, during a showing of “The Passion Of The Christ”. The woman, in her 50’s, was pronounced dead a short time later at a Wichita medical center.
People viewing the movie at the Warren Theatre East say the woman collapsed during the portion of the movie where the crucifixion of Christ was shown. Nurses who were in the audience gave the woman CPR.
All I have to say is post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was about to give the invocation at a Republican Governors Assn. fundraising event Monday night when his cellphone rang. Huckabee answered and began a mock conversation with God.
After mentioning that the president was at the event, Huckabee looked at Schwarzenegger, standing on the stage with the other GOP governors, and said: “Yes, he’s here, too.
“You say you need an autograph?”
Just a note to elected GOP officals- it is a little tough to deflect charges that all Rpeublicans are right-wing theocrats when you pretend to have phone calls with God during your press conferences, particularly on the same day that your party leader proposed amending the constitution to define marriage.
If you are coming from the Seattle Times blog, the post you are looking for is here.
Bush’s speech last night had this little zinger, which most would find amusing:
“The other party’s nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions – for tax cuts and against them, for NAFTA and against NAFTA, for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act, in favor of the liberation of Iraq and opposed to it.
“And that’s just one senator from Massachusetts,” Bush said, getting a roaring response from the Republican crowd.
A fair shot- and aimed at the record, and not the man- in other words, about the issues. Which brings up an important question- ‘What exactly is John Kerry’s voting record?”
This AP write-up highlights some of the cuts that Kerry supported:
he AP review of Kerry’s votes in the Senate for more than a decade show that he often has backed or spearheaded targeted cuts in the Pentagon budget.
In the early 1990s, he voted to limit funding for the B-2 stealth bomber, which for years was plagued by cost overruns and had an eye-popping pricetag of $2 billion per plane. Under the direction of then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, the Pentagon decided to buy fewer planes.
Kerry also voted to trim $3 billion to $4 billion from the defense bill in 1991-92. And in 1995 and 1996, he voted against both major defense spending and authorization bills.
“In the early stages of his (Senate career) he looked to squeeze the fat out of some of the big defense budgets,” said Michael Meehan, senior Kerry campaign adviser. “We had enormous deficits and he would oppose big ticket weapons systems that were very expensive.”
Kerry, a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at times argued for spending restraint and on other occasions was at odds with the first Bush administration, the Clinton White House and even some Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for the annual defense authorization bills.
In one 1990 debate, Kerry pushed for cuts in an anti-satellite weapons system, which had increased in cost from $73 million to a proposed $208 million in a single year. He said the funding should stay at the $73 million level, but that any savings should go to other defense programs.
In other instances, Kerry:
–Voted to eliminate the B-2 bomber program in 1992.
–Voted on several occasions to reduce funding for long-range missile defense programs. Derisively referred to as President Reagan’s “Star Wars” program by some in Congress, missile defense was a constant source of controversy in the 1990s as lawmakers questioned the feasibility of a missile shield, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Christine Iverson, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said Kerry voted against spending on weapons systems that have proven valuable in the Persian Gulf, including the F-16 and F-15 fighter aircraft.
“There is a canyon of difference between his voting record in the Senate and his rhetoric on the campaign trail,” Iverson said.
Meehan said that early on, officials questioned whether some of the aircraft, such as the B-2 bomber, would be successful in the Gulf wars.
My question- do these votes reflect actual up and down votes on weapons systems, or are they merely procedural votes on amendments that Kerry objected to and seem to look as if he was voting against the weapons systems, but later he voted in favor of different versions of the authroization bills?
*** Update ***
Jim taranto raises a good point when he notes that the Democrats are shooting themselves in thefoot when they try to pretend that questioning Kerry’s voting record is questioning his patriotism:
This is what Democrats call “fighting back,” and as we’ve noted many times before, it is an utterly self-defeating approach. Republicans are arguing that Kerry is weak on defense. By raising the question of his own patriotism, Kerry has changed the terms of the debate. Now it’s: Is Kerry just weak on defense, or is he unpatriotic too? For the record, we say he’s a patriot who’s weak on defense.
Things like this just tear me up:
Beleaguered Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said on Tuesday that rebels had attacked another city in the north and that the violence could spark an exodus of boat people to the United States.
With insurgents controlling half of the country of 8 million people and promising to march on the capital within days, civilians barricaded roads into Port-au-Prince with buses and old refrigerators.
Efforts to find a political solution were moving slowly, with the United States awaiting a response from opposition politicians to a power-sharing deal, already agreed by Aristide, which it hoped could defuse the conflict.
On the streets of the capital residents anticipating possible attacks shook their fists at cars that tried to pass the barricades. More than 60 people have died in clashes across the country so far.
“Last night criminals, terrorists and killers went to the northwest of the country, Port-de-Paix, and there they burned public and private houses, killing innocent people,” Aristide told a news conference in the presidential palace.
“We may have more Haitians leaving by boat to Florida,” he said, apparently trying to touch on U.S. fears of a repeat of the exodus in the early 1990s, when tens of thousands of Haitians fled political violence and tried to reach America.
Port-de-Paix, a city of about 100,000, is a traditional exit point for Haitians leaving for Florida by boat.
90% of me wants to say “LET THEM IN.” I wish everyone had our opportunities.
Forget the Zone.
Screw the South Beach Diet.
Nix the Atkins Diet.
I want whatever diet plan Jason Giambi is on:
And it had NOTHING at all to do with steroid use. Sign me up!
I have already had my say on gay marriage, and it is safe to say I am agnostic. I would rather not have government involved in the whole marriage issue, but at the same time, I recognize why there are those who wish to codify marriage as between a man and a woman.
What I do find a little amusing is the blogger reactions. Hyperbole will be in overdrive on this issue for a while (as Jon Henke capably demonstrates).
*** Update ***
I might add, that in the big picture, this decision by Bush makes me less likely to vote for him in the general election. Not because I think he is a gay-basher, not because I think he is mean-spirited, but because this is the sort of thing that clearly shows a lack of priorities.
*** Update #2 ***
I note that I am not the only one who seems to think this is reflective of a clear lack of priorities, as Michele and Alex Knapp state their similar opinions. BTW- I remember when Alex started blogging, and he just keeps getting better and better.