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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Upping the anti

Over at Political Animal, Kevin Drum lets Jonah Goldberg off way too easy:

BUSH HATERS....Jonah Goldberg, in the middle of a post about Clinton haters and the people who hate them, says this:

“The Bush-haters ˇ who are just as extreme and nasty as the Clinton-haters were, and in many ways more so....”

Tell you what, Jonah. As soon as the most popular liberal editorial page in the country accuses George Bush of murdering one of his aides, maybe I’ll give your argument a hearing. And as soon as one of the most influential liberal interest groups in the country starts distributing hundreds of thousands of videos suggesting that George Bush ran a coke ring out of Austin, then I’ll really perk up. And when Senate Democrats spend $70 million investigating the Valerie Plame affair ˇ compared to the current $0 ˇ and end up bringing impeachment charges against George Bush, then you’ll have me. You’ll really have me.

But until then, sell it somewhere else. Michael Moore calling Bush a liar and a moron just isn’t in the same league as what your side did to Bill Clinton, and nobody who was sentient during the 90s can find the contrary suggestion anything but laughable.

Well, Kevin, I’m with you in spirit here, but actually, the cherubic Child of Lucianne has to meet a few more conditions before he really has you.  First, he has to find members of a major liberal organization at their annual convention, selling and wearing buttons and bumper stickers asking where Lee Harvey Oswald is now that we need him, just the way the Christian Coalition did in the mid-1990s.  Then he has to find a prominent Democratic senator-- say, Barbara Boxer-- saying that George Bush will “need a bodyguard” if he ever visits California, just the way Jesse Helms threatened Clinton in North Carolina.

And then he has to go around the country, from Arkansas to Washington, D.C. cleaning up after his mom.  That should take him a while.

UPDATE:  So much for my memories of 1994.  The major Oswald-yearning that year wasn’t at the Christian Coalition convention, but at the Virginia state Republican party convention (see comments).  Assuming you draw the distinction, which Pete Hamill suggested we don’t really need to do:  “The Christian Coalition commandeers the Republican state convention in Virginia, and among the slogans on the wall is one that says ‘Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when America really needs him?’” “Endgame,” Esquire, December 1994.  See also Sid Blumenthal’s account of the convention in the July 18, 1994 New Yorker:

Most booths did a brisk business in buttons, which expressed just a few simple themes: “There Are Americans And There Are Liberals”; “AIDS Abortion Euthanasia-- Don’t Liberals Just Kill Ya”; “Sodom and Gomorrah Had Gays in the Military”; “Clinton Doesn’t Inhale-- He Sucks”; “Real Men Are Not Called Hillary”; “If the Clintons Divorce, Who Gets the House?”;
“President Clinton: ‘You Can Play with the Dog, but Leave My Pussy Alone!’” and “Where Is Lee Harvey Oswald When America Really Needs Him?” One booth displayed a T-shirt reading “Justice for Clinton.” It featured a picture of an aborted fetus.

Remember, this wasn’t just a bunch of lunatics calling in to G. Gordon Liddy’s talk show.  It was the Republican Party of Virginia.

Over to you, Jonah.

Posted by Michael on 08/17 at 04:31 AM
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Monday, August 16, 2004

Vote for me and I will fight to ensure that you can never vote for me again

Alert reader Antonio Ceraso of State College, Pennsylvania brings the following better-than-satire story to my attention (and isn’t it great that this Internet can bring together people who only see each other a couple times a month?):

Keyes Wants to End Election of Senators

Sat Aug 14, 7:14 PM ET
By MIKE ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - Alan Keyes said he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said Friday the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

“The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level,” Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue” program.

He said it was one of the reasons “there has been a steady deleterious erosion of the sovereign role of the states.”

Keyes’ Democratic rival, state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago, issued a statement saying he supports popular election of U.S. senators.

“I certainly trust the people of Illinois to choose who they want to represent them in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “That is the very basis of our democracy.”

Keyes said he did not consider repealing the 17th Amendment a high priority.

“But if I ever see an opportunity in politics to promote it, I will,” he said.

So let’s take a moment out from venting at the collective insanities of the Swift Boat Vets and the idea of anyone’s wartime service being challenged on behalf of the deserter-in-chief and his sneering, sniveling, cowardly vice president.  Instead, let’s think with a smile and a nice cold beer of Barack Obama and his campaign managers, who surely must have the easiest jobs in the country in this election season.

Remember, Keyes also supports the repeal of Amendments I, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, XIV, XVI, and especially XIX, and now that I think of it, I’m not sure where he stands on the whole Third Amendment quartering-of-soldiers-in-houses-without-the-consent-of-the-owner controversy.  If I were on the Obama team, I’d begin drafting statements in support of those amendments now, to save time in October when I’d want to begin planning the victory party.

This one’s going to be fun.  Thanks, Illinois GOP!  We needed that.

Posted by Michael on 08/16 at 05:16 PM
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Friday, August 13, 2004

Family and friends night

I’ve been deluged with one letters asking how last night’s Summer League championship game went.  We won, 7-1, and I contributed a goal and an assist.  But that’s not why I’m bothering to blog about it.  I’m bothering to blog about it because for the first time since I started playing again four and a half years ago, a whole bunch of people came to see me play˝ Janet, Jamie, Nick, and (a major surprise) four of Nick’s friends, Dan, Peter, and the blog-reading Arthur and Jane (the latter of whom made a “Berube for Vice Prez in 2020” shirt for the occasion).  Hello, blog-reading kids!  Thanks for showing up.  Now stop reading this blog and get back to the salt mine.

Really, it was very sweet of you all.  The only thing was that Nick also brought a sign reading, “B╚rub╚˝ score a point?!  Paid for by Obama-B╚rub╚ 2020.” While it was good of Nick to suggest that an assist would be as meaningful as a goal (thus assuring my linemates that I wouldn’t be doing any puck-hogging/grandstanding on Nick’s behalf), the curious punctuation troubled my team, who consequently were not at all sure what I was being urged to do.  As for me, I wondered whether the sign wasn’t going to be a classic jinx: on my first shift, I hit the left post from 20 feet out, and the inside of the post, at that.  A big loud clang in a scoreless game˝ a horrible sound (unless you’re a goaltender).  Later in the period I came in on a one-on-one, froze the defenseman with a faked slapshot, beat him cleanly to his left, and then threw another fake at the goalie, tucking the puck under him as he did the splits across the crease . . . only to see him smother the puck on the goal line.  So I began to worry about this point-scoring ?! injunction and its material effects on the game.

Finally, picking up a loose puck in the corner toward the end of the second period, I did manage to slide a pass (while down on one knee for some reason) to my linemate Jim, who scored from the slot to make it 5-0.  Then in the third I put a shot over the goalie’s glove, off the crossbar and in to make it 7-1 . . . a truly meaningless goal that did nothing to advance the cause of peace, love, and understanding.  Even worse, it was the eighth goal of the game, which, as King Kaufman pointed out this past June, is a deadly goal that almost always leads to defeat:

The real hypothesis, courtesy of reader Scott Van Essen, was that the first goal was no more important than any other goal, that all goals are tremendously important in a sport where 3-2 is a high-scoring game.

Here are the records, updated through Game 7, for the entire playoffs, for the team that scored each goal in a game:

First goal: 70-19 (.787)
Second: 66-17 (.795)
Third: 60-18 (.769)
Fourth: 31-26 (.544)
Fifth: 29-13 (.690)
Sixth: 16-5 (.762)
Seventh: 8-6 (.571)
Eighth: 1-4 (.200)
Ninth: 3-0 (1.000)

So the lesson here is to try to avoid scoring that eighth goal, but if you can get to the ninth one, you’re home free.

Anyway, despite choking a couple of times and not really having any “jump” all game, and despite scoring that kiss-of-death eighth goal, I didn’t do too badly, and we won, and no one can take that away from us for ever and ever.  Thanks again to the family and friends for coming out˝ and doubling our attendance figures for the night!

Back next week with more serious matters.

Posted by Michael on 08/13 at 12:53 PM
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Monday, August 09, 2004

Affleck:  dump and change.  Neely:  your line up.

Another four-goal game last night, kicked off by what has been my signal contribution to my Summer League team, the goal that gives us a two-goal lead (on a 2-on-1, with a perfect pass from my center, Pennsylvania State Trooper and serious hockey guy Craig Polen).  For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 16 goals and 9 assists in seven games (I missed the first three while I was on vacation).  The championship game is Thursday night, and we’re expecting to play in it, being 9-1 and all.

This is not a trivial or merely personal matter.  With each four-goal game I become that much more qualified to serve as an informal advisor to the Kerry campaign on matters related to hockey, like health care, taxation, NATO, education, disability law, Iraq, and keeping guys out of the crease.  And passing along a suggestion recently sent my way by fine writer and occasional Altercationist Charles Pierce, I think the Kerry campaign should tap former Boston Bruin great and Kerry buddy Cam Neely as the campaign’s official enforcer.  Click the link and check out those career stats-- more career goals than assists, a man after my own heart, and some serious penalty minutes, befitting a talented player who wasn’t above the task of defending himself. 

Now the question is: how to get Ben Affleck off the tour bus.  Seriously, Kerry’s most likely got the Gigli/Daredevil/Chasing Amy vote sewn up already, and that terrible “laff” line in the stump speech (about how Kerry’s got something in common with Affleck because Ben was one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People and Kerry reads People, ha ha ha), far from being ingratiating and casually self-deprecating, is actually so annoying that it leads 30 percent of swing voters to consider voting for the guy who says things like “tribal sovereignty means that your sovereign entity is sovereignly sovereign in a sovereign kind of way.” Trust me-- I’ve done independent research on this.  Affleck is a drag on the ticket.  With Neely you take Ohio.

Sit Affleck.  Play Neely.  It’s the right thing to do.

UPDATE:  Jim Rassmann steps up in defense of his teammate-- and Eric Alterman rightly benches McCain for the rest of the game.  (Registration required for the Rassmann op-ed.  And whaddya know, it ran in The Wall Street Journal.  How about that.)

Posted by Michael on 08/09 at 04:06 PM
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Alan Keyes is making sense

. . . as the Illinois Republican Party’s candidate for the Senate race against Barack Obama.  No, really:  finally the people of the great state of Illinois will have a devout believer and master logician fighting to represent them, not just some skinny kid with a funny name.  Take for example the question of the homosexual agenda and how to stop it.  Other conservatives may talk casually about men having sex with dogs and box turtles, but only Alan Keyes will perform the actual intellectual labor involved in proving that gay and lesbian Americans have the moral status of children:

Now, given that that’s the basic difference between the distinction between adults and children, and that it involves the ability to deal responsibly with the impulses of passion, let us say we accept the premise of the homosexual movement-- that premise being that we treat homosexuality and other sexual inclinations like race, and based on that treatment, we assume that individuals cannot govern their impulses and inclinations.

Well, if an individual who is thirty years old cannot govern their impulses and inclinations, somebody tell me what is the difference for that purpose between that individual and a child. There is none, because the basis for making that distinction has to do precisely with that ability, maturely and responsibly, to deal one’s impulses and inclinations.

So if we accept the premise that no matter how old you are when a sexual feeling comes over you, you are pulled into a whirlpool of inclination and condition that, like race, is ineluctable, that “must be the way it’s gonna be,” then for the purposes of that particular passion, in this case sexual passion, you’re a child. You’re a child at ten, you’re a child at twenty, you’re a child at thirty, you’re a child at seventy-- because if, in fact, you do not have that fundamental ability, in light of rational and moral and ethical standards, in light even of your own purposes, rationally, to respond to the impulses that you are subject to, then you are no better off than a child, and your consent and your inclination has no different quality that than of a child.

Now, the reason I make this point is so we’ll think through the implication of this agenda, because if we accept the agenda, you do understand then that the line between adulthood and childhood for sexual purposes is erased. Accept this premise, and you cannot sustain it.

Therefore, and furthermore ergo, Keyes, who has thought and thought hard for decades now about the implication of this agenda, has come to the conclusion that gays and lesbians are uniquely dangerous children-- the kind who threaten the innocence of our children:

What is the implication for this society, for the entire social contract or compact on which it rests, if the government takes steps that withdraw its support for the privileges without which the marriage-based heterosexual family cannot be sustained? At that point the government will have betrayed its compact with the people.

So, I think it obviously has to be thought through carefully-- not just in terms of its individual consequence, but, in terms of what happens when we have so defined our understanding of human sexual passion, purposes, and of human nature itself, that we take sexual behavior out of the realm of moral judgment and accountability and put it instead in a realm like race, where you are not responsible for what you do.

And I think that to do that will ultimately mean, what? The demise of all these institutions: the protection of our children’s innocence, the ground cut out from under it; the expectation of fidelity in marriage, the ground cut out from under it; the restriction of marriage, by the way, to marriage between one person and another person instead of between one person and several people.

But wait, candidate Keyes hasn’t even started to make sense yet.  A propos and quondam non propter hoc, homosexuals will destroy individualism and establish tyranny:

And of course, there are people, I guess, who don’t care about this. But I believe they are people who, therefore, do not understand the interconnections between our social institutions and their consequences. Destroy the heterosexual marriage-based family, destroy the notion of family as marriage between one person and another person, and you re-introduce in our society those things which have, throughout human history, been the premises of tyranny, not of freedom.

And if we then allow the social institutions of tyranny and despotism to prevail, what makes us think we will be able to sustain the individualism and the spirit of liberty without which self-government cannot survive?

He’s got a point there, you know-- once the social institutions of tyranny and despotism prevail, it’s really hard to sustain individualism and liberty.  So maybe all you Nathan Lane and Martina Navratilova fans should think carefully through the implications before you go around destroying the very foundations of freedom.

For the entire speech, “Against Civil Unions and the Homosexual Agenda,” delivered in April 2000 in Vermont, go here-- and then feel free to root around in the incomparable Alan Keyes archives and send some stuff to the Obama campaign just in case Illinois Democrats decide to take this clown seriously.  You know, the way the mass media do.

Posted by Michael on 08/09 at 08:06 AM
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Friday, August 06, 2004

. . . and why I’m glad I’m not a real leftist, either

From Paul Street’s righteous takedown of the liberal bourgeois ideologist Barack Obama on ZNet:

Serious left vision is about all-around leveling before, during, and after the policy process. The world view enunciated in Obama’s address comes from a very different, bourgeois-individualist and national-narcissist moral and ideological space. . . .

Real leftists are suspicious of those who downplay internal national divisions, “patriotically” privileging “homeland” unity over class differences and over international solidarity between people inclined towards peace, justice, and democracy. We are deeply critical, of course, of war and empire, which advance inequality and misery at home and abroad. Global humanity - the species - and not “fatherland” or nation-state, is the “reference group” that matters to us.

That’s why many leftists cringed when they heard the newly anointed Great Progressive Hope Obama refer to Americans as “one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

OK, so Street didn’t care for that bit about how “If there’s a child on the South Side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.  If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.  If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.” National-narcissist smokescreens for US imperialism, like this one, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea—I understand that.

But for future reference, folks, that’s how you can tell who the real leftists are in the Popular Front rallies—they’re the ones over there cringing.  “Cringe, cringe,” they cringe.  “We wanted to work with the people—just not these people.”

Posted by Michael on 08/06 at 10:53 AM
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