Friday, October 27, 2006

Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?

Most of you know I'm a huge fan of the new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, finding it a huge leap forward in every way over it's predecessor from the 70's. Glen Larson's original series was an amalgamation of a bunch of different religious views and sci-fi stories all coddled together around the central theme of the necessity of a benevolent military dictator to save us from ourselves and our silly democratic ways. Indeed - if there was any message that show felt necessary to repeat over and over it was that democratically elected leaders will always make the wrong choices and put our society in mortal danger.

The new show is just and blatant in it's politics but it's joyfully difficult to pigeonhole just exactly where those politics lie. The producers and writers of the new BG seem to delight in challenging our preconceptions and forcing us to ask questions about our beliefs in the best tradition of science fiction.

So it's more than a little surprising to me that this new incarnation has a good proportion of conservative fans who've recently been turned off by events in the third season which have centered around an insurgency by the human protagonists.

I find it difficult to get my head around the idea that conservatives could be fans of this show. BSG thrives on the biggest conservative bugaboo of all: moral ambiguity. There isn't a single one of it's many characters, including the show's cylon villains, that's drawn one dimensionally. There are no easy answers to the situations that face the characters on the show. Problems which often times mirror those we face in our own society such as terrorism, the origins of conflict, genocide, abortion, religon and guerilla war are all fair game for the Battlestar scribes. It's not a simple show to watch intellectually and conservatives are nothing if not intellectually simple.

I can't imagine that conservatives would come away from an episode in which a cylon prisoner is tortured or another female cylon prisoner nearly raped by her military interogator captors without challenging their own beliefs on the treatment of prisoners issue as intended by the show's creators. I can't help but wonder if they cheered those scenes rather than were revulsed.

In fact the only way I can imagine that a conservative would be a fan of Battlestar Galactica would be that they simply didn't "get" the show. It's funny that now that the third season has started and the message of moral ambiguity has become even more pronounced that the coins are finally starting to come off. But they've never been the sharpest dagget in the frakkin' pack to begin with.

There is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "I" in meat pie. Meat is the anagram of team... I don't what he's talking about.

"Back off" says Secretary Rumsfeld to those of us critical of the war; "No one can predict the future with absolute certainty.”

Of course Rumfeld's also the guy who said in February of 2003 that we'd be "welcomed" by Iraqis and "“It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

The problem, Mr. Secretary, is that you can't even predict the future with semi-correct certainty.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I will not be threatened by a walking meat loaf!

Somewhere in a comment section in one of the numerous blogs I read I came across a comment in reaction to the blow-up over the Michael J. Fox commercial that went along the lines of "this reminds me of the dust-up over the Wellstone memorial." As I continue to see more and more about the ad and Limbaugh's comments I'm inclined to agree. The GOP and their agents in the media are able to create a false controversy by poo-pooing(*) perfectly legitimate behavior by Democrats that hasn't crossed any traditional lines of common sense.

Don snabalus highlights the value of these sorts of fake controversy- they keep us from talking about legitimate issues such as the value of stem cell research in finding a cure for Parkinsons as in the case of Fox. Let's not forget they provide the additional perks of firing up the GOP base and dehumanizing their opposition by making them, us, out to be heartless political automatons.

It's the sort of stuff that leaves most sane people who follow politics throwing up their hands and asking "why in the hell are we talking about this again?"

Along those lines: Tristero seems to be channelling don snabalus this morning. He links Jane Hamsher who does a great analysis of the greater context to Rush "moving the goalposts" on all sorts of issues.

(* as opposed to the act of "pooh-poohing" which involves plotting to steal honey from bees, asking Christopher Robin all sorts of silly questions, and being dragged down the stairs by your foot while hitting your head on each step.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Start pulling your weight guys or you go back to the cemetery.

I'm trying to avoid this Michael J. Fox thing for obvious reasons: it involves Rush Limbaugh and would force me to write a post with a picture of Jabba which would throw me off my whole seasonal horror film motif.

But this bit about Republicans running a counter-ad filled with their own B-list celebs is just too damn funny. Charles P. Pierce over at the Prospect sums the whole thing up
pretty well:

And lastly, in case it escaped the ad wizards who dreamed up this mess -- Michael J. Fox didn't do the McCaskill spot just because he was a famous person. He did it because he is a famous person who has Parkinson's disease, and thus can be reckoned to be more of an expert on the topic than Mrs. Raymond. I was prepared for things to get ugly. Stupid caught me by surprise.

Oh, I'll bet Kong has no chance.

I hate to play the parsing game but Bush's statement today on Iraq begs us to read between the lines.

I'm going to spend a little more time on my opening comments than I usually do, but I'll save plenty of time for questions.

(Not that it'll do you any good since my answers are usually nonsensical)

Over the past three years, I have often addressed the American people to explain developments in Iraq. Some of these developments were encouraging, such as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the elections in which 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists and voted for a free future and the demise of the brutal terrorist [Abu Musab al-]Zarqawi.

When he's not the "decider" he's the "explainer." Because his version of geopolitics is just way to complicated for us common folks.

Other developments were not encouraging, such as the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, the fact that we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the continued loss of some of America's finest sons and daughters.

Yep, the death of U.S. troops can be defined simply as "not encouraging." Along those lines he could have said American soldier's deaths were "an annoyance" or, perhaps, a "bothersome development." Of course I might have used the term "a fucking crime." But that's just me.

(BTW- Bush didn't seem to think the failure to find WMDs was discouraging enough that he couldn't joke about it with the White House Press Corps a couple of years ago.)

We learned some key lessons from that early phase in the war. We saw how quickly al Qaeda and other extremist groups would come to Iraq to fight and try to drive us out. We overestimated the capability of the civil service in Iraq to continue to provide essential services to the Iraqi people.

We did not expect the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, to melt away in the way that it did in the face of advancing coalition forces.

Despite these early setbacks, some very important progress was made in the midst of an incredibly violent period

I don't understand why this last about the Republican Guard was included in the list of setbacks. This is a bad thing how? Seriously, it's just an idiotic statement and for that reason probably the only part of Bush's statement that was his own.

Iraqis formed an interim government that assumed sovereignty. The Iraqi people elected a transitional government; drafted and adopted the most progressive democratic constitution(*) in the Arab world; braved the car bombs and assassins to choose a permanent government under that constitution; and slowly began to build a capable national army.

(* Unless you happen to be a woman)

I'm confident this generation will answer that call and defeat and ideology that is bent on destroying America and all that we stand for.

Correct. That's why Republicans are trailing in polls. Conservatives and their ideology bent on destroying America will be stopped.

There's a bunch more there but it's all I can stand for now.

Norman Bates' mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cemetery for the past ten years!

"Hastert presses need for quick action in Foley case."

Also- he hoped congress would soon reach a resolution in the Clinton impeachment investigation, the Watergate scandal, the investigation into the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the congressional review of why the Japanese were able to take us by surprise at Pearl Harbor.

The man's on top of things.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What an excellent day for an exorcism.

With a hat tip to the all powerful OVERDROID and the semi-powerful Digby and Chris Bowers I dedicate this Googly-bomby. Bombs away...

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

They're coming to get you Barbara.

It's pretty obvious there's some google-bombing going on when the quality of political news articles at the top of the page has dropped so dramatically over the last few weeks. This piece is a perfect example: "Are Democrats too cocky?"

It's got all of the usual conservative bugaboos:
  • Speaker Pelosi? Check.
  • Barney Frank? Check.
  • Incoherent Democratic agenda? Check.
  • Higher taxes, more abortions and communism run large? Check.
  • Terrorists winning? Check.

Sam Seder's recently taken to inviting John Amato from Crooks and Liars onto his show where John will play clips of Republican politicians making any of the above statements during debates and getting literally laughed at. It's really enjoyable to hear some Republican congressman get pissy because the crowd thinks his claim that they had a "robust response to Katrina" is hysterical.

Still I have to wonder about the backwashers like the author of the above article that still hold on to the delusions for dear life. I'll admit that there's a certain part of me that holds a certain respect for their certainty in the face of, well, objective reality. On the other hand I realize that should the Democrats meet conventional wisdom and eke out a victory the conservative dead-enders won't just go quietly into the night. They just have way too much invested in the delusion.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You've fooled them, haven't you Michael? Well, you haven't fooled me.

Peggy Noonan is one of the craziest conservative writers out there but this new column sinks to a heretofore unimagined low. She conflates dancing, political skills and sense of humor into some sort of mishmash of a call for more bullshit in politics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has dance. In a debate the other night he accused challenger Phil Angelides of reflexively backing tax hikes. The Los Angeles Times: "At one point, smiling across the stage at his rival, the governor taunted: 'I can tell by the joy you see in your eyes when you talk about taxes, you just love to increase taxes. . . . Look out there right now and just say, 'I love increasing your taxes.' " That's a gift for the game.

I didn't watch that debate but the moment she describes reads as Arnold being more sadistic, that funny. But that's probably because I come from a strange worldview that realizes that nobody WANTS to raise taxes, they just have to once in while to balance the budget.