Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
1)We are wide open to terrorist infiltration; 2) We privilege illegal immigration from Mexico, while penalizing and delaying legal immigration from Asia, Africa, and Europe; 3) We serve as a safety valve and enabler for Mexico, which therefore will never make needed reforms; 4) We are creating a chauvinistic tribalism, a race industry that tries to convert the presence of 15 million illegal aliens into some sort of political movement; 5) We use cheap illegal labor to ensure our own entry level workers cannot bargain or organize.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
And then there is the more dangerous sort of bias. A few months ago, while participating in an early-morning panel discussion in the heart of Manhattan, I was startled fully awake when a man stood up to declare that Democrats who reached out to religious voters, especially evangelicals, were akin to those who collaborated with the Nazis. I put on a sweet smile of Christian charity and counted to 10.
Comments like that explain why so many of us liberals who also happen to be evangelicals have stayed in the closet for so long. It is hard to overcome decades of suspicion, much of it richly earned by leaders of the religious right who used faith in the cause of a political power grab and in the name of intolerance and fear. But the lingering misconceptions are also painful reminders of the price people like myself have paid for staying silent while others claimed a monopoly on faith. And the country has paid, too.
A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.
The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.
One, he is an extremely good speaker, quick and humorous, perhaps the best natural orator and politician we’ve seen since Ronald Reagan and JFK—far better than Bill Clinton, inasmuch he rarely loses his temper or pouts on camera. So far, in Clinton fashion, he has not started shaking his finger.
I note in passing he almost never receives hostile questions. His debates have been limited to those with like-thinking liberal Democrats,. His political races were against other liberals or a weak conservative. And in general the press has bent over backwards to be considerate. Bottom line: we have no idea how he will react when crossed, although Hillary’s dig about his plagiarism in the Texas debate made him squeamish and moan.
MCCAIN AFFAIR AND NEW YORK TIMES:Is this more of the same—when we remember the Jason Blair mess, the leaks of National Security information, the Moveon.org discounted ads, and the serial stories about defeat in Iraq and relative silence about the surge? The Times in the ideological sense has become indistinguishable from the Nation, and in its lack of craftsmanship no different from the British Tabloids or National Inquirer. Like Dan Rather and the crash of CBS, its directors know what their disease is, but also that the medicine is worse, so they will keep at it until they will expire.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
They stomped and cheered and used their cellphones to take pictures of themselves to post on their MySpace pages.
Maybe it was the representation of youth in the crowd that lends the oft-cited air of a rock concert that has been attributed to Obama rallies.
But that wasn't quite it, not entirely. It was more like church —not the stuffy kind, but roof-shaking soul church where people testify and dance in the aisles when the spirit's upon them.
"It's electric! Can't you feel it?" said one man, who told me he was headed for work at the IRS after the rally. I could feel it, because it's a fundamental element of crowd psychology that the expectation of "electricity" creates it.
In addition, in the column "Join the Debate: The Obama Rally," the following was written by Tod Robberson:
The rally struck me as having the quality of a religious revival, and I found that a little troubling. The opening prayer, with all heads bowed, turned into a campaign speech that ended with the weird phrase: "Barack Obama, in Jesus' name, yes we can." Obama got on stage and apologized for having a cold, then said, "If my voice starts faltering, just know that my spirit is still strong." I don't know, I just started feeling that there was too much of a religious overtone to the opening of the rally, as if we were brought there to witness the arrival of the chosen one.
I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if Mike Huckabee's rallies were like this? Or where is Barry Lynn and the separation of church and state crowd? I have to admit this kind of crowd psychology bothers me no matter who the candidate or preacher might be--I have too many visions of Nazi or Soviet crowd manipulation. We need to be a thinking people, not just an emotionally reactive people as we face the challenges of 2008.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Democratic primary in the Memphis area’s 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.
“Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus,” blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail — inducing gasps — last week.
Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn’t even in Cohen’s district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to “see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election.”
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I try to refresh the memory of people whose memories need refreshing that those who spoke in support of the Iraq war before the Iraq war did not speak only of WMD and the terrorist threat; they also spoke of the human rights dimension and of regime change for democratization.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Why are Republicans happier? The Post considers several hypotheses: (1) Wealth: Maybe Republicans are richer. But the effect is robust even controlling for wealth. (2) Power: Republicans have been winning the Presidency. But Republicans are happier even when Democrats are in the White House. (3) Religion: Republicans are more likely to go to church, and church-going correlates strongly with happiness. So, this explains some, but only some, of the effect. (4) Marriage: Republicans are more likely to be married, and marriage correlates strongly with happiness. Again, this explains some but not all of the difference. (5) Ignorance: Maybe Republicans know less, and ignorance is bliss. I don’t know the data, but, in my experience, among PhDs, Republicans are far happier on average than Democrats. So, I conjecture that the difference will remain after controlling for education.
Monday, February 11, 2008
More importantly, Power provides a window into the thinking of Obama, who in 2004 reportedly told Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada, “hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” Pro-Palestinian sympathies, but no courage of conviction. Who says Obama is a blank slate?
Friday, February 08, 2008
Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she [Kathleen Geier] writes, "Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of 'coming to Obama' in the same way born-again Christians talk about 'coming to Jesus.'...So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work."
It's clear that Obama should not subordinate himself to the Clintons. He doesn't need it to set up his next run for the presidency. Vice Presidents haven't been doing too well running for President these past few decades. Obama will have already distinguished himself as the frontrunner. It would be a comedown for him, and he'd be saddled with whatever goes wrong in the Clinton presidency — or her failed campaign for it. And Obama's distinctiveness is that he offers a clean break from the politics of the past. Why on earth would he want to connect himself to an icon of the politics of the past?
Thursday, February 07, 2008
He says that Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court. He added Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".
A critic of the archbishop weighs in.
Dr Williams means well; a lot of such people do. But frankly, he gives lapsed Christians such as yours truly plenty of reason for wanting the Church to be shorn of its state privileges.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Hillary Clinton survived a Super Tuesday scare. But there are five big reasons the former first lady should be spooked by the current trajectory of the campaign.
Longtime Clinton friends say she recognizes the peril in careening between near-death primary night experiences and small-bore victories.
In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% is only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion), and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
In the United States, the two groups that most ardently support Israel are Jews and evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Jewish support is easy to explain, but why should certain Christians, most of them politically quite conservative, be so devoted to Israel? There is a second puzzle: despite their support for a Jewish state, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are disliked by many Jews. And a third: a large fraction of African-Americans are hostile to Israel and critical of Jews, yet Jewish voters regard blacks as their natural allies.
One day, while the boy was away to school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects-- a Bible, a silver dollar, a bottle of whisky, and a Playboy magazine.
"I"ll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself. "When he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me and what a blessing that would be!
If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too.
But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and Lord, what a shame that would be.
And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing bum.
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.
Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's centerfold.
"Lord have mercy," the old preacher disgustedly whispered. "He's gonna run for Congress."
Monday, February 04, 2008
On the other hand, I have seen news coverage of Mormon bigamist cults in Utah that also have all their wives and children on welfare.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.
Daschle said that throughout April and May of 2001, he and McCain “had meetings and conversations on the floor and in his office, I think in mine as well, about how we would do it, what the conditions would be. We talked about committees and his seniority … [A lot of issues] were on the table.”