August 24, 2008

Overplaying the hand

Some of you have probably seen the McCain ad trying to stir shit up amongst the Clintonistas and Obamaoists,



Camp Maverick definitely shouldn't have put out this ad.  Hillary will end up smacking down McCain and McCain's attempts to exploit this if he's not careful, if she isn't going to now already.  McCain should have sat back and let this one fester.  McCain knows that when your enemies are destroying themselves, you stand back and let them.

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 08:28 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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August 20, 2008

Saddleback Forum a Bad Thing?

Kathleen Parker argues the focus of the Saddleback Forum shouldn't be on who won, but was it the right thing to do in the first place. She argues here that events like the Forum are a religious test, and break down the wall separating church and state.  Honestly, after reading the whole thing, sitting back and thinking about it, I think she makes a good point. 

While I oppose the types of people who want really want to use the separation of church and state to bludgeon and destroy faith(Christian faith in particular), the separation is important, and needs to be upheld.  When we mix the two, the results are never good, and the church almost always ends up getting destroyed. That is why I'm opposed to Bush's faith-based initiatives, the second you let the state into the church, the state will try and usurp or destroy the church. 

One of the questions at this Saddleback shindig(of the limited amount I watched) was about imposing standards and regulations on the churches receiving faith-based initiatives.  Sure, McCain said he wouldn't do that, but that the possibility of the ability to impose that kind of regulation on a religious institution even exists is alarming.  That the question even was asked is worrisome. 

I think Parker's argument needs to be given serious consideration, the potential consequences of these types of religious-based events with presidential candidates weighed very carefully. 

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 08:09 AM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
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August 15, 2008

A Texas school district does the right thing

A small Texas school district is now allowing educators and staff to carry if they have their Texas carry permits Malkin calls it good news, I call it great news.  I've talked about it in the past, but we had a minor shooting at the high school I attended.  Thankfully, we were lucky, and it stopped after one shot and no one died. 

That was luck, and not every school this happens in gets lucky.  Most don't.  If they had wanted to, the person could have killed or injured several more at our school without opposition, because no one had the means to oppose it.  I understand why people become anti-2nd after these attacks, particularly those who lose loved ones in them, but I completely disagree with their solutions to the problem.

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 04:15 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Jackson Browne sues McCain campaign for $75K for copyright infringement

Here's the thing, I actually think these open flirtations with copyright infringement on the part of the McCain campaign and the GOP aren't that stupid, depending on what the ad is and how effective it is. 

Let's face it, the GOP is never going to get the go-ahead on using anything involving entertainment outside of Nashville, and even then in some cases.  This poses a problem, because the legal inability of the GOP to get the go-ahead on using music, images and film in their ads and messages makes it even tougher for them to connect with the public than it already is with an overtly hostile media. 

Like it or not, we live in a culture where celebrity is valued as much or even more than civics, which means you have to communicate in a manner that uses pop culture to convey a message to the masses. Sad, I know.  But it is what it is.

So what to do?  Seems like the GOP and the McCain campaign have figured out how to get around this problem of no access to pop culture.  They appear to have taken their cues from the intarwebs, and are just taking bits and clips from the entertainment world and using them. 

Which works, especially if the ad is effective, because then the media will pick it up and start playing the ad even after the copyright claim is sent out.  Even if the ad is up for 12-48 hours online, it is out there, and will likely get plenty of free airtime on all the talking head shows, particularly if the media finds it offensive to their Lord and Savior.

(h/t)

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 01:05 PM | Comments (21) | Add Comment
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August 13, 2008

Making a Stand

The inception of the blogging phenomenon occurred during a  break from worrying about Nuclear Holocaust and for that reason not many pixels have been spent on this topic. Looks like we're unlucky enough to have our opportunity.

The Moron-in-Chief:

You can't say that's not tough... but I am beginning to wonder about the incredible commitments to fight a nuclear war with Russia over these former enslaved states.

As a neocon, I recognize this is the moral position.

As a realist, I also recognize we're talking about global war with Russia over countries not named "America."

Unfortunately for Ace, he just made the same argument the left has been making since 9/11 against spreading freedom around the world.  Simultaneously, he overlooks an argument I know he's made a thousand times.

Correctly, he states the realist's view (and also the majority of the left) of a choice between having a nuclear war over Georgia and Ukraine or not having a nuclear war over Georgia and Ukraine.

On the neocon argument, he makes a mistake. That would be a choice between a nuclear war with Russia now or a nuclear war with Russia later.

Now, I'm not saying we're going to have a nuclear war with Russia nor that any serious conflict is inevitable.  It is entirely possible that Russia can pull out and the status-quo ante can be restored, more or less.  Even if they took over Georgia, it could be made clear that no further advances are acceptable and Putin may listen.  He may not.  The one wildcard is what, exactly, Russia wants out of this manufactured crisis.

What I am saying is if Russia is intent on spreading their influence over poor, defenseless neighbors they will not stop with tiny ex-Soviet Republics.  Most likely, the passive bystanding of the world's police will only encourage a hungry Russian Empire to grab the rest of the old satellites while the gun barrels are still warm.  Hell, why not take over all over Europe?  Seriously, have you see the state of their militaries lately?

Were Russia to be encouraged to continue pushing around their neighbors by American acquiescence, what possible future threat would yield any better results?  What would stop them from Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania?  How would we convince our NATO allies that they were worthy of defense when other, larger nations weren't? 

Then why not Poland?  Why not Slovakia?  The only thing that would eventually stop them is to finally draw a line in the sand somewhere.  The allies in World War 2 drew that line in Poland far later than they should have.  Are we to draw the line in Poland as well?  Or Germany?  France?

I leave it to people in positions of power to determine what the Russians want but if it is to rebuild their empire, it must be stopped and they must be told in no uncertain terms that we are willing to stop them. 

This aggression cannot stand. 

Posted by: Moron Pundit at 04:41 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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August 07, 2008

Surprise: MSM Columnist not some kind of scary economic genius

No, really. No economics degree, hell, not even any Journalism School training is needed if you've got killer insights like USA Today columnist Craig Wilson, who titles his most recent column—and I shit you not—The key to saving money? Just don't spend it:

With the year more than half over, maybe now is a good time to revisit the pledge I made back in January: the pledge not to buy anything for a year.

I did this five years ago and found the experience cleansing. And not that difficult, oddly enough. Many of you even joined me in my crusade to simplify. Others wrote in to question my sanity.
While he doesn't mention growing his own food or raising and slaughtering his own livestock, I'm sure that was part of his "buy nothing" ethos. Right? Well, maybe not...
The rules, which I cleverly made up myself, remained the same and give me an out every now and then. I'm allowed to buy books and music because they are nurturing things. I can buy gifts for friends and spend for travel. Those are also good things. But just going out and buying things for myself, the answer remains the same.

I'm guessing that with those "rules," he still shops for groceries.

He goes on to mention that one of the purchases he reluctantly made was "a prayer stick, which I probably do need, but an unnecessary purchase nonetheless," which he bought during a visit to Ethiopia.

I'm also guessing he's an Obama supporter.

(h/t)

Posted by: Sean M. at 04:48 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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August 06, 2008

Politics and Sports

I have always been a Braves fan. I was a fan when they lost 100 games and were terrible throughout the 80's, and I was still a fan in the 90's when they went on their unprecedented division-title-winning run. During this time, they won exactly one World Series.

 

I am also a Colts fan. Over the last several seasons, the Colts were a super-scary team in the regular season, only to fall flat in the playoffs. During Manning's impressive tenure, the Colts have won exactly one Superbowl, and that one only barely.

 

Both teams have a very similar flaw: they peak too early. The regular season is impressive, but then they fail in the postseason.

 

I thought of this as I read the recent polls showing McCain and Obama virtually tied in the presidential race. This really shouldn't be: McCain is the successor to an unpopular president during an economic crisis not well-loved by his party, while Obama is the fresh face adored at home and abroad who has captured hearts and minds all across the political scene.

 

Yet consider this: in 2006 the Democrats captured congress thanks in no small part to widespread Republican incompetence and corruption. The electorate had had enough of GOP foolishness, and rewarded Democrats with their chance to run things, because the Dems promised they'd do better.

 

Their results? Not so spectacular, and not terribly different than their predecessors. A minimum-wage hike, some corruption scandalry (from both parties), several high-profile losses to a lame-duck president, and now stonewalling into a recess in the face of energy-price spiking Voters in the center (which include me) are seemingly faced with two choices:

Republicans, who are saying "we were stupid, but now we're smarter," versus Democrats, who are saying "we were smarter, but now we're stupid."

Which of those sound like the group that's peaking at this very moment? Thus the sports analogy about momentum:

The mid-term elections were very much the regular season, and Democrats won a resounding success. But now it's the postseason, and having floundered away their advantage (think of it as squandering a bye week) the Democrats have got to be worried that they're about to fumble an eminently winnable election.

Is it possible the Democrats (and Obama) have peaked too early?

Posted by: plebian at 04:23 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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Timetables? Hold on a minute.

Remember last year's NYT op-ed piece by the two guys from the liberal Brookings Institution who returned from a trip to Iraq suggesting that the war could be won? Well, along with Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack (not conservatives, by any stretch) have just returned from another trip, and while they acknowledge the security gains that some have argued will benefit Obama's position on troop withdrawal, they say not so fast:

ALMOST everyone now agrees there has been great progress in Iraq. The question is what to do about it.

Democrats led by Barack Obama want to take a peace dividend and withdraw all combat brigades by May 2010. Republicans like John McCain want to keep troops in Iraq until conditions on the ground signal the time is ripe. And now the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has endorsed a timetable for withdrawal, though he seems to favor a somewhat slower pace than the Democrats propose.

If the Iraqi government tells us to leave, we should go. But this would be a bad deal for both Iraqis and Americans. Iraq is indeed much more secure than it was two years ago, thus it seems safe to suggest timing goals for significant withdrawals. Yet having recently returned from a research trip to Iraq, we are convinced that a total withdrawal of combat troops any time soon would be unwise.
Read the whole thing. Oh, and don't miss the comments. As one might guess, most of the Times' readers take what you might call a dim view of the authors' opinions. My personal favorite:
These mens' opinions are worse than useless. They are traitors to our peace and should be vilified.
I was, frankly, unaware that "our peace" demanded allegiance. Thanks for enlightening me, Rance Spergl. Your tolerance for the opinions of others is remarkable.

(h/t)

Posted by: Sean M. at 02:53 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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