Thursday, March 22, 2018
Home Authors Posts by lowkell


11701 POSTS 16033 COMMENTS

For Once I Agree With Ross Douthat

I don't think I've ever agreed with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on anything -- before today.  But this op-ed by the conservative columnist had me saying "ditto" - or whatever it is conservatives say these days when they, like, TOTALLY agree with each other. Referring to the back and forth on Palin's responsibility - or lack thereof - for the Arizona shootings, Douthat writes:
...Which, needless to say, gave the press exactly the excuse it needed to continue its wall-to-wall Palin coverage for another 48 hours - and beyond, perhaps, given that she's slated to appear on Sean Hannity's show Monday night.

The whole business felt less like an episode in American political history than a scene from a particularly toxic marriage - more "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" than "The Making of the President." The press and Palin have been at war with each other almost from the first, but their mutual antipathy looks increasingly like co-dependency: they can't get along, but they can't live without each other either.

Exactly right, and yet on and on it goes, further and further down into the sewers, trash heaps, whatever metaphor of sliminess you want to use. And even though, as Douthat points out, Palin is NOT "the most important conservative politician in America" nor does she have "a plausible path to the presidency in 2012." Why would the "lamestream media" make utter fools of themselves in this way (and lower the level of discourse in America, and ignore a gazillion other important stories happening across America and the world)? Perhaps because they're too busy denying the fact that they're in a moral and economic death spiral, largely of their own making, to even notice (or care) what they're doing to themselves? Or maybe this is their last, pathetic effort to try and figure out a way back to relevance, and more importantly for them, a sustainable business model for their industry?

“Sideshow Bob,” Chap and Donald Agree? Politics Sure Does Make Strange Bedfellows!

Thanks to the Richmonder for this video of Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall, Sen. Donald McEachin, and Sen. Chap Petersen coming together earlier today in support  of mortgage foreclosure reform. Truly, politics does make strange bedfellows! In this case, I'm glad to see it as I agree with what's being proposed: 1) "a 30-day notice to foreclose on a defaulted party"; 2) "Forbid the use of fabricated or forged documents in obtaining a foreclosure"; and 3) "Require creditors to register their purchase of mortgages with the Clerk of Circuit Court." Who could disagree with any of that? We'll find out soon enough...

House GOP Prepares to Override Wishes of 70%+ of Americans on Health Care

This week, House Republican'ts are planning to vote on repealing health care reform legislation. Of course, the whole thing's a charade, for two reasons: 1) it has no chance of getting through the Senate or being signed into law by President Obama; 2) Republicans have no health care plan of their own (not counting the one they're about to vote on, which is largely modeled after the Republicans' 1993/94 alternative to what they called "Hillarycare").

But be that as it may, Republicans are moving ahead on their promise to their base, that they will stop the dastardly "Obamacare" (even though it will disproportionately help many of those very people). One of the Republican't main arguments is that health care reform is unpopular with the "American people," that the "American people" want to repeal it. Well, guess what? That's a complete lie according to the polling. In fact:

1. Marist finds only 30% of Americans wanting to "repeal it completely", while 35% actually want it to do more than it currently does.

2. A new poll by AP-GfK finds only 26% of Americans wanting to "repeal it completely," while 19% want to "leave it as is" and 43% want to "change it so that it does MORE to change the health care system."

All of which means that, later this week, House Republican'ts will vote to override the wishes of 70% or more of Americans, in order to satisfy the 26%-30% of Americans who constitute the hard-core Teapublican "base." Just remember that when you hear their outrageously incorrect rhetoric - no doubt that goes unchallenged by the corporate hack media - that "the American people" want to "repeal Obamacare" (it's not "Obamacare" either; again, it's mostly NOT "Obamacare," but instead it's very close to the 1993/1994 Republican alternative health care plan, which is probably why so many Americans want to change it so it does more than it currently does!).

George Allen Honors Dr. “Marin” Luther King, Jr.

Yeah, I realize that George "Felix Macacawitz" Allen isn't exactly the brightest bulb on the block. I mean, this is the guy who criticizes Jim Webb for writing (award-winning, critically-acclaimed, required-reading-at-West-Point) books, yet the best he can come up with is a trite, cliched, lame treatise on "What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports." Brilliant!

Anyway, now, George Allen continues his attempts at resurrecting his image after his disastrous 2006 campaign, in which he infamously used a racist term from his mother's (and grandparent's) native Tunisia to disparage S.R. Sidarth, the Webb campaign's Indian-American "tracker." The problem for Allen is that "macaca" wasn't an isolated incident. As Brendan Nyhan points out:

... Allen's very long list of racially insensitive actions has grown again. He's twice referred to his opponent's non-white campaign staffer using a term that means monkey, hung a noose from a tree in his law office, displayed a Confederate flag on numerous occasions from 1967-2000, featured the flag in his first statewide television ad in Virginia, signed a Confederate Heritage Month proclamation that described the Civil War as "a four-year struggle for independence and state's rights," opposed the 1991 Civil Rights Act, opposed creating a holiday for Martin Luther King, voted against changing a racially offensive state song, and initially defended Trent Lott after he praised Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat presidential candidacy.
There's also this photo (of Allen and the KKK racist CCC. There's also his common use of the "n" word and the little incident where he "stuffed a severed deer head into a black family's mailbox." Lovely.

But now, George Allen is attempting to resurrect his political career, so he's embracing his long-lost Jewish roots and issuing a statement on Martin Luther King Day, even if he can't manage to spell Dr. King's first name correctly. All I can say is, I sincerely hope Republicans are foolish enough to nominate "Felix Macacawitz" for Senate once again. It will be most enjoyable -- but not for them!

UPDATE: Bob McDonnell issues a much stronger, much better-written statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day than George Allen. And no, that's not a backhanded compliment; McDonnell's statement is excellent.

UPDATE #2: Politico reports, "George Allen, the former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, plans to tell supporters within a week that he is mounting a campaign to retake the Senate seat he lost to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in 2006. Allen, 58, the most prominent 2012 challenger to announce so far, has begun to line up key staff members." Yep, get the "A Team" back together! LOL

UPDATE #3: Former RPV Chair Jeff Frederick says, point blank, "I will not support George Allen" for Senate in 2012.

He was complicit in all the big government conservatism that came out of the Congress during his years in the Senate, cheerleading for it all and never leading against it. Allen was a go-along member of the GOP majority that lost power because it lost its principles, and he really is the opposite of the ideal candidate for those of us looking for a constitutional, first-principles, non-GOP-status-quo type of candidate.  George Allen is the poster child for the establishment.
LOL, it's going to be a fun year or two watching this unfold... :)

New RNC Chair’s Law Firm Sought Stimulus Funds, Says Mandates are Constitutional

ThinkProgress has some interesting information about new RNC Chair Reince Priebus. Among other things:

*"Priebus's Wisconsin law firm helped its clients obtain federal stimulus funds, citing the fact that Priebus's name was attached to the 'Stimulus and Economic Recovery Group.'"

*"His law firm says the recently passed health care bill is constitutional: Priebus's law firm not only says the law is constitutional, but has touted its benefits to clients."

Just keep that in mind when Priebus starts spouting his new talking points about how the "stimulus" and "Obamacare" are badevilterriblecommiesocialist. LOL

P.S. In other news, Priebus can't keep the words "Obama" and "Osama" straight. Also, "While Priebus was chair of the Wisconsin GOP, the state party engaged fomented voter fraud conspiracies and hatched a voter caging plot with well-funded right-wing allies to suppress minority votes." Sounds like a perfect fit for RNC Chair. Heh.

DPVA Central Committee Members Respond to My RNC/DPVA Comparison Piece

The following analysis of the state of the Democratic Party of Virginia was written by a DPVA Central Committee member, in part responding to an email I received (which I shared with him) critical of this article, "Is the RNC Chair Election More 'democratic' than the DPVA's?" Note that the critical email was unusual, in that 99% of the feedback I've received on that article has been positive. Also, I welcome anyone - including the individual who sent me the private email - who wants to post a diary defending the DPVA's performance the past few years, its process in selecting a new chair (and, for that matter, 1st Vice Chair), etc. That should be fascinating. ;)  With that, here's the Central Committee member's take on the current state of the DPVA (bolding added by me for emphasis):
The governance structure of DPVA is very bureaucratic and hierarchical. The personality profiles of the members of the DPVA Steering Committee (as distinguished from the DPVA Central Committee) are very well suited to taking orders and carrying them out. Many of the members of the Steering Committee have been members for 8, 12, 15 years or more. The type of person who makes doing this a career, generally speaking, is not a risk-taker, but rather what I would call a "minder": someone who gets a lot of gratification from the limited power of minding the store.

In the last decade, with two Democratic governors in a row, DPVA's culture got even more entrenched in taking orders from the Democratic governor on major issues--for both good and ill. When McDonnell beat Deeds, this group of "followers/minders" was left at sea, but they did not change their personalities.

Enter Senator Mark Warner, a former DPVA Chair, who decided that he would "hand-pick" the new Chair and line up all other major Democratic leaders (Saslaw, Whipple, Armstrong, Webb) before anyone else...even knew there was an opening. Warner's reasons for annointing Brian Moran may have been complex, but insuring that DPVA got the best Chair available, or a Chair chosen in a truly democratic process, certainly was not a paramount consideration. Mark Warner himself wants DPVA to do things that are in his own complex mosaic of interests. This is is never good to have a Democratic committee--at any level--overly dependent on any one individual.

Whipple Clips Dozen: Sunday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Sunday "Clips."


UPDATE: I just noticed the following cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," by two of the best musicians I've seen on YouTube -- Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider.  It's dedicated to the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting on January 8, 2011 and the speedy recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Violence solves nothing."

Cuckoo Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Gotta love it, "Sideshow Bob" and bat**** crazy Dick Black (yes, that's his real name!). Don't believe me that Black is nuts? Click here, or even better here, and listen as Black rants about how teh gayz=teh evil, etc. And for more background on Black, click here to read about his plastic fetuses campaign, his efforts to "shut down a drama performance at Ashburn's Stone Bridge High School that supposedly featured two male characters kissing," and much much more.

As for Bob Marshall, it's hard to know where to start, but you can't do much "better" (in terms of proving he's nuts) than this. If that's not sufficient for you, there's tons more here, including "When asked about abortion in the case of incest, Marshall replied that sometimes incest is voluntary," and this: "In response to abortions in the case of rape, Marshall said, 'Your origins should not be held against you [referring to the victim's unborn child]. The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman.'"

So now, "Sideshow Bob" is endorsing gay-obsessed Dick Black for state Senate, and even the "Too Conservative" (the name pretty much describes the blog) gang is in hysterics. Gotta love it...if you're a Democrat, this is! :)

P.S. Please click on the image to "embiggen" it.

h/t: Too Conservative

“Netroots Rising,” Tunisia Version?

I've been watching the events in Tunisia with great fascination for a number of reasons: 1) because I studied the Middle East in graduate school; 2) because I'm always happy to see corrupt, oppressive, slimy regimes like this one - and many others in the world - fall, especially to "people power"; and 3) I'm fascinated with what role, if any, social/new media played in this case, and in other cases around the world, in undermining authoritarian regimes.

On the latter question, there's been a good amount of academic work done, in particular by the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Back in 2009, Nate Wilcox and I had a chance to speak at Stanford, in the context of publication of our book, "Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists is Changing American Politics," and to speak with some of the leaders in the "liberation technology" program. The question that came up then, as well as now, is whether that "citizen army" - and, more broadly, the citizens "armed" with a variety of social media tools -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, WikiLeaks, ubiquitous video recording and photographic technology, etc. -- is not just changing American politics, but politics in Tunisia and elsewhere around the world as well?

According to the Stanford Liberation Technology program:

The last few years have seen explosive growth in the use of information technology to defend human rights, improve governance, fight corruption, deter electoral fraud, expose government wrongdoing, empower the poor, promote economic development, protect the environment, educate consumers, improve public health, and pursue a variety of other social goods.  Lying at the intersection of social science, computer science, and engineering, the Program on Liberation Technology seeks to understand how (and to what extent) various information technologies and their applications -- including mobile phones, text messaging (SMS), the Internet, blogging, GPS, and other forms of digital technology -- are enabling citizens to advance freedom, development, social justice, and the rule of law.
Specifically, what I'm wondering is whether we just saw an example of "liberation technology" -- or one could say "Netroots Rising" -- at work in Tunisia?  Here's what the New York Times had to say:
- Blue Virginia Sponsor -

Daily News Briefings

Popular This Week