Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Weak in (National) Review:Byron York's Own Cave-Blindness - In his latest piece on the current status of the investigation into how internal Democratic Judiciary Committee Member memos were leaked to the public calls for tit-for-tat. York, in his admirable quest for equal justice, thinks not only that the GOP should pay a price for its indiscretion, but also that the Democrat collusion exposed in the memos should also lead to a price that the Democratic Party should pay for its antics. York says it best himself:

"If the memos leak merited the intense investigation that has been going on for months, then certainly the behavior described in the memos deserves scrutiny as well.

It's only fair."
York's naivete here is a bit surprising. What York fails to consider is that the GOP is also likely protecting itself by not going after the Democrats here. I would bet the farm that Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are just as guilty of the type of "collusion" with their own special interest lobbies that York wants the Democrats investigated for. To go after the Democrats for their admittedly less-than-admirable collusion with special interests regarding the judicial nominee and approval process that these memos exhibit would make it acceptable for the GOP and its collusion with special interests to be likewise put on exhibit by the Democrats. And if the Democrats have similar dirt on the GOP, its revelation would make the GOP out to be actually more reprehensible in their duplicity and hypocrisy. I happen to think such dirt on the GOP exists (whether the Democrats have it or not), and the GOP thus can't risk having its own dirty behavior potentially exposed in retaliation for an attack on the behavior described in the Democrat memos -- otherwise, why wouldn't the GOP demand the fairness that Byron York calls for?

Lagniappe: I'm going with Edwards - Well, I've finally come off the fence and decided that my primary vote will be for Edwards. I don't think it will matter all that much, because it seems like Edwards is a respectable 3rd/4th, and unlikely to catch up with Dean and Kerry. Not that I have any major problems with either Dean or Kerry, and I can comfortably vote for either in November; but I just can't get enthused by Kerry and, though Dean gets me enthused, he's also a bit too much of a loose cannon for my tastes. I find Edwards very likable and positive; and I count myself among the numbers that believe that neither Kerry nor Dean can beat Bush in the South, whereas I think Edwards can give Bush a run for it down here. In any case, I'll cast my lot with Edwards come Louisiana primary voting time; and wherever the chips fall, I hope Edwards is somewhere on the Democratic Ticket come November.

Lagniappe: The Ugly Right Rears its Head - I enjoy reading and participating in Rightwign blogs. It keeps me honest and helps me both to question and to sharpen my own liberal thinking on a variety of issues. A theme that has made the rounds on such blogs recently is the ad campaign run by Apparently, two of the more than 1500 ads submitted in this grass roots, web-based competition unfortunately equated Bush with Hitler and found their way onto the organization's website for public viewing (as did every other submission). recognized that allowing these ads to run on its site was improper and should not have happened. The organization issued a formal public apology. Not only could conservatives bring themselves to accept's contrition, they also, for the most part, blew their collective stacks. The bitterness and viciousness of their reaction and attacks on for the Bush=Hitler comparison were beyond the pale, but to a certain extent justifiable. I myself publicly condemned these ads, but I pointed out that both the left and the right were culpable of this type of nastiness. Conservatives generally argued with me that liberals were much more prone to such incivility. Well ... NOT. For example, John Hawkins posted on his blog, RightWingNews a cute little satirical lampoon of Hillary Clinton as a witch with broom engine trouble. Check out his little blurb and the picture. Now, in his comment board for this post, a nice RightWing fellow wrote:

Wait a minute everyone.....

That object in the photograph isn't her airplane. Her crashed plane was a Cessina Citation (not shown) which crashed due to pilot error. The pilot error was miscalculating the weight and balance properly. Hillary left the center of the fusilage to hit the toilet and the plane augered in. (that's aviation lingo for crashed).

THE OBJECT IN THE PHOTO IS ACTUALLY HILLARY'S SEX TOY. She has named it "Wombbroom Willie". Thank goodnesss it was properly strapped IN unlike Hitlerly!

by eddie on 2004-01-31 08:32:18
I think I'll let that speak for itself. Clearly, the left does not have a monopoly on incivility. At least in the case of the Bush=Hitler ads on the website, had the decency to issue an apology and a retraction. This is what I got from "eddie" after I called him on the carpet for his out-of-line comments about Hillary:
My dearest huckupchuck,

I'm not the least bit sorry to have offended your sensitive wittle bitsy liberal ego. As a matter of fact I purposely withheld my more acerbic comments regarding Der Furherina und her pleasure plunger. What are you her personal valet? She's a dirtbag no question about it.

If, and it's highly unlikely, she is elected president they better remove all the mirrors from the White house!

by eddie on 2004-01-31 14:27:05
Give me the "liberal" and its apology any day of the week over "conservative" eddie and his filth mouth/mind.

Lagniappe: My Travels - As you can see by the following map of my travels through the U.S., I am definitely a Southerner/East Coaster:

create your own visited states map.

And my travels across the world as indicated in the tidy little map below belie my Western Civilization propensities:

create your own visited country map.

Where have you been?

Friday, January 30, 2004

Kingfishery & Kingcakery: Bush Campaign Headquarters at the Archdiocese of New Orleans - Reading the Archdiocese of New Orleans's publication, the Clarion Herald, and especially the political commentary of Fr. William Maestri, it becomes painfully clear that the Archdiocese is a "de facto" campaign headquarters for George W. Bush. First, we have Maestri, in his comment on the "virtues of truth, respect, faith, trust, compassion and justice" comparing GW Bush to Howard Dean. His "unpartisan" thoughts regarding this comparison are the following:

The political world (narrowly defined as those addicted to cable TV news channels) remains abuzz at the verbal meltdown of Howard Dean. We can be forgiven for missing the State of the Union speech, having been drowned out by the "Dean Screech."

Next to the spectacle of Dean making a spectacle of himself was the president offering plain speaking sense about moral values. Yes, Bush's State of the Union speech offered a mini-course on the fundamental virtues which are required of a free people. Liberty requires moral truth, or so the Founders believed. So does Bush - and a good many of his fellow Americans.
When you see such obvious partisanship emanating out of an organization that supposedly represents ALL CATHOLICS (Anti-Bush Democrats among them), you begin to lose faith in your Church leadership. The Catholic Church, as presented by Maestri, is NOT a home for those who don't agree with Bush. Moreover, it really seems like Maestri doesn't want to welcome us Catholic Democrats who think the Bush Administration is against the Social Justice teachings of the Catholic Church in the communion of faithful believers. And when you add Maestri's obvious partisanship to the Archbishop's recent edict that any Catholic who supports or votes for a political candidate who happens to be pro-choice should refrain from communion, you can't help but be disillusioned by the politicization of the Catholic Church. And this is all the more poignant when one realizes that, at the same time the Archbishop is effectively ex-communicating most Catholic Democrats, he's giving a pass to anyone who votes for a pro-death penalty, anti-life Republican. If he ex-communicates those of us who vote for a "pro-choice" candidate who more completely embodies the Catholic Social Justice Teachings in his or her other politics, he is effectively privileging one measure of a Catholic citizen's social and political obligations over another. Furthermore, he's also privileging one measure of respect for life over another.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Lagniappe: Amending the Constitution regarding Marriage - All the recent bluster about the "constitutional process" to codify marriage as exclusive to the relationship between a man and a woman is absolutely incredible. Regardless how people feel about the issue of gay versus straight marriage, is this somethine we want to enshrine in our CONSTITUTION? Imagine, next to all those worthy amendments that seek to outline universal and equal rights relating to liberty and justice for all, we have an amendment about marriage that is "prohibitive" and "exclusive." I think sullying the Constitution with something so clearly partisan and divisive is not the right way to deal with this issue. Bush is foolish for even suggesting as much; and I can only take his SOTU address as nothing more than a pandering to the intolerant fringe of his party.

Lagniappe: Bush's Aversion to Humility - Well, now that David Kay, the WMD inspector-darling of the Conservatives, has tilted pretty decisively towards the No WMD in Iraq position, the rightwing war-mongers are spinning, spinning, spinning, in order to try to salvage something worthwhile out of Bush's clearly false pre-war rhetoric that relied heavily on the WMD argument.

Now, I don't think that Bush LIED about the whole WMD thing; but it is fairly clear that he acted out of what we now know to be seriously flawed intelligence gathering. Moreover, Bush does need to take some responsibility for irresponsibly over-downplaying the available intelligence that did question the accuracy of the WMD claim and presented such claims as sketchy. But that still does not make Bush a liar. He chose to emphasize the flawed intelligence that gave him his justification for war, and he chose to marginalize any (apparently correct) intelligence that raised questions about this justification for war. He got it wrong ... and this is what chafes me most about this whole issue as it relates to Bush.

For whatever reason (and I think it is his hubris), Bush refuses to even acknowledge even the possibility that he got it wrong. There's no shame in admitting this fact. Indeed, 99.9% of all of us, Dems and Repubs alike, got it wrong. The virtue is in accepting this truth, and not trying to spin it away. The more Bush holds out, the worse he appears. And I think this will show up in the polls come November.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Lagniappe: Blister Bombs a Bust - Well, I'm not disappointed that Saddam is gone. That is a good thing. But the WMD claim is getting thinner and more desperate all the time. Folks who supported the war should just fess up and admit that, no matter the justice of the war, the hyped-up WMD threat (potential threat ... whatever) is just that: hyped-up. Sure, based on deplorable intelligence, but still hyped-up nonetheless. I just don't get what the Bush administration and conservative war supporters have to lose by admitting what is obvious.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The "Weak" in (National) Review: Nordlinger's Zingers - Jay Nordlinger, uber-conservative columnist for the National Review, writes glibly in his most recent "Impromptus" column:

Guys, I know I keep calling leading Democrats crazy — or implying such a condition — and I feel a little sheepish about it, because I hate to sound Soviet. But, according to The Drudge Report, Al Gore said to advisers, "The Bush policies are leading to weather extremes." This apparently is what he is also telling (speaking of crazy).

Look, is it my fault that leading Democrats — including former vice presidents — are saying lunatic things to groups happy to link Bush to Hitler? [Emphasis added.]

I mean, come on!
Imagine this! And from the man who has written a number of times for the New York Post, a supposed "news" outlet that likes to say "lunatic things" that "link Dean to Goebbels." I mean, come on!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Liberal Lighthouse: Matt Bivens and his 'Daily Outrage' - Bush=Hitler vs. Dean=Goebbels - I am a fierce critic of those on my side of the ideological divide who would stoop so low as to equate Bush with Hitler. It is just reprehensible and uncalled for. I am by no means a Bush supporter. I didn't vote for him in 2000 and rest assured that I won't vote for him this year. But I do, at least, think we should be 'civil' in our disagreements and debates. The Bush=Hitler comparison has no place in a civil debate. But Matt Bivens has a great little blurb in his blog at The Nation, an ultra-liberal magazine. This is what Bivens has to say about the hypocrisy of the rightwing outrage over the Bush/Hitler clips run on's website as part of a Bush in 30 Seconds Contest:

As The Nation's John Nichols reports, is being pounded upon hysterically by the Republican Party over two ad contest entries -- mailed in from the public, not endorsed by MoveOn and even apologized for and pulled from the website -- ads that compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

MoveOn notes sourly, however, that none of this indignation was around when Democratic Senator Max Cleland -- a decorated veteran who lost both legs and an arm serving in Vietnam -- was smeared by the Republican leadership with television advertisements comparing him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

And Timothy Karr at observes, even as the mainstream media has raised cries of shame at the Bush-Hitler ads -- which were mailed in to a "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad contest and promptly rejected -- there's been silence about the still-truculently defiant decision by The New York Post to run a column devoted entirely to comparing Howard Dean supporters to Hitler's Brownshirts, and Dean himself to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Kerr suggests you ask your favorite news outlet to explain the double- standard: Two citizens send in speech comparing the Bush Administration to Hitler -- speech that's promptly rejected by progressives, even apologized for, out of embarrassment to even be briefly associated with -- and it's a sordid national news event. But leading citizens and editors at a major metropolitan newspaper craft and print a detailed comparison of Howard Dean to Hitler -- they don't apologize -- they don't back down or disavow -- and there's smug silence.

While you're at it, ask them how it wasn't a national disgrace that a man who left three of his limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam could be called, in Republican Party-sponsored ads on television, an al-Qaeda lover -- just because Republican operatives coveted his Senate seat, and becase he had dared question the president's war in Iraq. That was probably the closest thing we've seen yet to a Goebbels moment -- where was The New York Post's crack Goebbels-watching team then? Maybe if the Republicans policed their own ranks, a minority of the American public wouldn't be entertaining dark fears about homegrown fascism. [Emphasis and links are in the original citation. -- JH]
Reprinted in full for your benefit; but check it out at The Nation anyway. Is Bivens being unfair? Is he trying to fight fire with fire? Not at all. He's not defending nor is he in any way supporting the Bush=Hitler comparison. What he is doing, however, is pointing out the hypocrisy of the right. What is really ironic is that on the comment boards of some conservative blogs that I visit regularly, this Bush=Hitler subject is met with outrage at the same time that The New York Post's article referenced above is either praised or ignored. Just to give one example ... If you go to conservative blogger John Hawkins's blog entry on the subject, and if you link on the comments section of this blog, and scroll down to my entry at time 2004-01-05 15:07:05, in which I write:
As a leftist liberal, I repudiate such trash no matter where it comes from. Comparing Bush to Hitler is flat-out wrong. For God's sake, the man is our president - agree with him or not, at least give him some respect for his office.
and if you compare this to a response I got on the very same comment board at time 2004-01-06 17:35:12 by a sincerely nice fellow (nom de web: decypher):
huckupchuck, you should read the editorial. It actually makes sense and wasn't in bad taste and made sense. The TWO ads that appeared on were trashy and tasteless. They used the holocuast as a political prop. And if Howard Dean doesn't want to be compared to Hitler, he should stop adopting his political methods.

Give it a read. I don't see anything that was untrue. And I don't see where in this editorial it says something anywhere near as bad as "What were war crime in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003."

Also, The NY Post is a newspaper, a minor media outlet. It does not raise money for the DNC and is not actively campaigning for a president.

Sorry, kiddo, but you got duped. And now you're doing their deflecting for them. is beneath contempt.

Also, I find it interesting that the left is still residing to typical deflection, trying to detract from their own horrific behavior by pointing out what they perceive to be other bad behavior.
you can see what I mean and to what Bivens is accurately referring. Partisanship blinds even the best of us ... that is, if we let it. Conservatives should see the hypocrisy of their outrage over the Bush/Hitler ad while at the same time giving the Dean=Goebbels article a pass, if not a thumbs up.

The "Weak" in (National) Review: Deroy Murdock's Defense of Marriage - Actually, I have to say this piece by Deroy Murdock on the question of gay marriage and the sanctity of the institution of marriage is actually quite strong. I find myself agreeing with Murdock in spite of myself. A rare occurrence for anything published at the National Review Online. Sample this by Murdock:

Whatever objections they otherwise may generate, gay couples who desire marriage at least hope to stay hitched. Britney's latest misadventure, in contrast, reduced marriage from something sacred to just another Vegas activity, like watching the Bellagio Hotel's fountains between trips to the blackjack tables.

Consider David Letterman. His hilarious broadcasts keep Insomniac-Americans cackling every weeknight. Last November 3, he got a national standing ovation when his son, Harry Joseph, was born. Those who rail against gay marriage stayed mum about the fact that Harry's dad and mom, Regina Lasko, shack up. What message is sent by this widely hailed out-of-wedlock birth?

And then there's Jerry Seinfeld. This national treasure's eponymous TV show will generate belly laughs in syndication throughout this century, and deservedly so. The mere sound of those odd bass notes on Seinfeld's soundtrack can generate chuckles before any dialogue has been uttered.

But while Seinfeld boasts millions of fans, Eric Nederlander is not among them. Shortly after the Broadway theater heir and his then-wife, Jessica Sklar, returned from their June 1998 honeymoon, she met Seinfeld at Manhattan's Reebok Club gym. He asked Sklar out, she accepted and, before long, she ditched her new husband and ran off with the comedian.

Where was the social-conservative outrage at Seinfeld's dreadful actions? Can anyone on the religious Right seriously argue that the real risk to holy matrimony is not men like Seinfeld and women like Sklar but devoted male couples who aim neither to discard one another nor divide others?
Read the whole piece. It's very good.

Cuaderno Latinoamericano: The Rising Tide of Latin American Assertiveness -- The Latin American countries are demanding that the United States treat them with respect. Moreover, they're not only talking this talk, but they're acting the part, too. I think this is good for the L.A.-U.S. relationship. It will force "Big Brother" to finally recognize that "Little Sister" is now a grown woman.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Lagniappe: The Sanctity of Marriage and the Civil Rights that Go with It - Andrew Sullivan really nails it regarding the whole conservative Defense of Marriage movement that really seeks not to "defend marriage" but rather to exclude gays from the institution. First it was convicted parent-killer Lyle Menendez who got to enjoy and parse out the legal benefits of marriage from his prison cell, and now it's Britney Spears who gets married and has the marriage annulled all within 48 hours. What's better for the institution of marriage? What do you think will "defend" the insitution of marriage more? Sanctioning the institution for the whims of people like Menendez and Spears, or counterbalancing their damage to the institution by brining committed homosexual partners into the institution who really seem to actually VALUE the institution seriously. More and more, I see the folly and the hypocrisy of the anti-gay marriage cause.

Cuaderno Latinoamericano: The Bush Immigration Plan - Good for President Bush. He's doing the right thing by working towards legalizing undocumented workers. Not only will this be a way for hard workers from other countries to meet the demand for their services without having to slink around and hide from Immigration Authorities, but it will bring billions more dollars of legitimate tax revenues to the federal treasury. It's good for America all-around, both as a domestic and a foreign policy issue. I hope to have more detailed analysis of this latest development in an upcoming blog posting.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Kingfishery & Kingcakery: LSU! - I am a die-hard Tulane fan, who always wants Tulane to whip up on LSU whenever they play in any sport. But, when the two aren't playing against each other, I pull for both ... And so, I can say with the full pride of a Louisianian: "Congratulations, Tigers!" National College Football Champions. It's a shame that the Tigers have to share the honors with USC, because I think LSU is the better team; but splitting the title doesn't demean at all LSU's incredible accomplishment. Geaux, Tigers! We're all happy for you!