Posted by Brad @ 8:34 pm on December 31st 2007

Some Advice

Next time somebody asks “Would you like to make a difference?”, say “No”.

I’ve been pretty swamped with political organizing of late, and I leave for New Hampshire Wed. morning. I’ll be out there for a week. Trying to organize the freedom movement on a national level, I’ve discovered, is very frustrating and stressful and not very conducive to sleeping or taking good care of yourself or maintaining much sanity. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of why you believed the whole thing was worthwhile in the first place, though I’m trying real real hard not to.

Anyway, as a result of this last week, I’m sick as a dog at present, and would very much like not to be for the trip, so I’m going to spend New Years Eve at home, eating microwave pizza and watching Lost episodes on DVD.

My blogging has mostly consisted of music videos of late, and will probably peter out entirely until January 12th, so for analysis of the first voting primary states, and the repercussions of their (insanely disproportionately influential) decisions, you’ll have to rely on all the other bloggers here who do it much better than me anyway.

I may post some dispatches from the front lines while I’m up there. Will try to, anyway.

Posted by Brad @ 8:09 pm on December 31st 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

There can be no question.

Ladies and gentlemen, the best Music Video of the Week of this year.

1. Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple


Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple!

Parti!

Good for New Years Eve.

Looking forward to annoying my fellow bloggers with music they don’t like for another year.

Posted by Rojas @ 4:25 pm on December 31st 2007

Oops, part 2

It now appears pretty certain that the Paul campaign and the AP had it right all along where the January 6 candidates’ forum was concerned:

NH REPUBLICANS: DON’T LIMIT DEBATE PARTICIPANTS

CONCORD – New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen releases the following statement regarding primary weekend debates:

“Limiting the number of candidates who are invited to participate in debates is not consistent with the tradition of the first in the nation primary. The level playing field requires that all candidates be given an equal opportunity to participate – not just a select few determined by the media prior to any votes being cast.”

“Therefore, the New Hampshire Republican Party calls upon all media organizations planning pre-primary debates or forums for both parties to include all recognized major candidates in their events.”

“The New Hampshire Republican Party has notified FOX News of our position, and we are in ongoing discussions with FOX News about having as many candidates as possible participate in the forum scheduled for January 6.”

So, on a personal level, I apologize for having doubted the veracity of the campaign’s position on the issue and their competence in directing support (though not for reporting on the larger controversy). As I’ve said before, the campaign does a pretty excellent job at a nearly impossible cat-herding task. It seems that in this case it was I, not the campaign, who should have held my tongue until learning more.

One would hope that the quashing of this controversy will restore campaign control of Paul’s volunteers in time for a maximally effective Iowa and New Hampshire push.

Posted by Rojas @ 5:50 am on December 31st 2007

Fred Thompson’s closing statement to Iowa voters

It is probably–no, it is certainly–the single best piece of political rhetoric that this campaign has produced.

If Thompson had executed any other aspect of his campaign even half this well, he’d have won the Republican nomination in a walk.

Posted by Brad @ 8:53 pm on December 30th 2007

The McCain-Romney War

While still fending off attacks from Huckabee and Thompson in Iowa, and mounting his own negative campaign swell there also, RCP has a very good roundup of the current knife fight in New Hampshire between Romney and McCain. It’s hard to even judge the veracity or integrity of these attacks at this point, but I think McCain might be right when he judges that the teeth coming out in such a big way from Romney is a pretty good sign that he’s in a tailspin.

That Huckabee-Giuliani nonaggression pact is starting to look like a damn good move on the Huckster’s part (anybody remember Giuliani?). The fact is, for Romney, that when you’re having to engage in these kinds of battles with everybody, and the other campaigns only have to do it with you, you’re not in great shape to come out unscathed or uncrippled.

Posted by Brad @ 6:18 pm on December 30th 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

My greatest music video triumph was during French Chanson week. I go back to it frequently. In the case of that particular week, I mostly just scoured YouTube for any performances of my favorite songs. Of many I was disappointed, but sometimes I would come across a hidden gem…

2. Georges Brassens & Charles Trenet – Petit Oiseau


Charles Trenet & Georges Brassens – Petit oiseau by jam28

Posted by Rojas @ 6:15 pm on December 30th 2007

Oops.

Yeah.

That January 6 Fox News roundtable? The one that Ron Paul was being “excluded” from?

There’s still some confusion about the subject, but the most authoritative report on the subject indicates that it was cancelled several weeks ago. The culprit in this instance appears to be an inaccurate press release by the AP.

However, as I posted below, the vast majority of Paul supporters took no action upon hearing the initial release; it was only when the official campaign website confirmed the charge and pointed us in the direction of Fox News that a big bunch of us got up in arms on the issue.

And that’s a major problem. Because Paul’s supporters are hard enough to coordinate under any circumstances. If they can’t depend on the campaign staff to act as the responsible adults in any given situation, then there will be NO controlling them. Already, there’s significant backchannel anger to this effect, as in this snippet from the Melinda Pillsbury-Foster Newsletter:

There are some things this chain of events makes very clear.

First, you cannot trust the Official HQ to do anything competently and you certainly cannot trust their communication skills.

Second, they do not share Ron’s virtue of thrift, especially with our money. They act more like drunken bureaucrats…

A bad, bad business to have happening the week of two key primaries.

Now, if only New Hampshire libertarians and Ron Paul could come up with somewhere to be on January 6th…

EDIT: For the campaign’s current take on the situation, which differs strongly from the one linked above, click on Laura’s link in the first comment to this post.

Posted by Rojas @ 2:48 pm on December 30th 2007

Ron Paul and the Impending Federal Matching Funds Fiasco

As of yesterday, Ron Paul had raised $19 million for the quarter.

Unfortunately, that isn’t apparently going to be enough to keep him competitive. The wild, crazy $12 million goal specified by the campaign was intended for spending in Iowa and New Hampshire specifically, and to their credit was always framed as such. And to their credit, the campaign’s donors more than came through.

Yesterday, the campaign made known to its supporters the anticipated price tag for the February 5 primary blitz: a whopping $23 million above and beyond what has already been raised. In, um, one month.

Yeah. You know how I said the $12 million would never happen?

$23 million will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER happen.

Indeed, the general reaction I’m gauging among ground-level campaign supporters has been something akin to stunned disbelief. Surely the campaign must realize how insane this request is, right?

Well…maybe they do. But if they’re crazy, they just might be crazy like a fox. Because, as free market news notes, there is a scenario in which this request makes sense: as a setup presaging an application for federal matching funds. (more…)

Posted by Brad @ 5:04 am on December 30th 2007

Save Our Generation

From Freedom Democrats writer ka1igu1a, something that had escaped my attention. As he says:

The night before the last RP money bomb, I posted a rumor that a professional commercial had been shot by RP supporters in LA that was intended for national broadcast distrubution and not necessarily for early primary state consumption. That commercial has now made it’s way onto the internet and I’ve embedded it below. That commercial also provides a hint as to at least one of the grassroots organization structures that will survive beyond the Paul campaign, in this case “SaveOurGeneration.com” organization that will ascribe to antiwar, fiscal restraint positions and couch such positions in “generational” language. Is this also the first salvo in the coming generational wars that have been predicted to arise when the baby boomers begin to retire en masse?

The ad is obviously great, that they mean to run it nationally is also great. But as ka1igu1a notes, the conceit is particularly interesting/intriguing.

Posted by Adam @ 11:14 pm on December 29th 2007

50 most loathsome people of 2007

They are filthy liberal pinko swine* and you’ve probably already seen it, but buffalobeast.com have put together an amusing and occasionally profane list of their 50 most loathsome people of 2007.

As an example, here’s Alberto Gonzales

10. Alberto Gonzales

Crimes: The most truckling, amoral flunky to ever serve as Attorney General. A jurisprudent organelle, he manifests no concept of the law independent of its expediency to the president. Would smilingly accuse himself of providing material support to al Qaeda at President Bush’s request, hurriedly plead guilty, sign his own death warrant and flip the switch himself. His testimony before congressional committees is to public service what cholera is to the small intestine. As first Hispanic Attorney General, Gonzo typifies the self-betrayal and ethical compromise necessary for minorities to become successful Republicans. Been felching sweet approval from Bush’s lily-white ass since Texas. A conscienceless, memo-drafting, loophole-crafting liar for hire, pushing for all the worst administration policies, including nixing habeas corpus, denying and then defending rendition, torture, political firings, and a ton of other evil stuff. He even visited a seriously ill and disoriented John Ashcroft at the hospital, attempting to coax him into reauthorizing a clearly illegal wiretapping program. The only Attorney General who ever could have made John Ashcroft a sympathetic character by contrast.

Exhibit A: “The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away.”

Sentence: Death by dull guillotine, head bent by Beckham.

Feel the love.

*But they really don’t like anyone very much. Quite right too.

Posted by Brad @ 10:34 pm on December 29th 2007

“Why I am Endorsing Chris Dodd For President”

One of the guys at Blue Hampshire, the premier progressive NH blog, put out a Dodd endorsement today that I like quite a bit, so I thought I’d repost it here. I had a hard time writing up my own case for Dodd, mostly because I’m a conservative, a Republican, writing for a libertarian/conservative audience, and trying to explain to them and to Democrats why they ought to endorse Dodd for President. Being a progressive writing for a progressive audience (as the Blue Hampshire folks are), they can make a much cleaner case.

There is a recent bit of analysis out that says the election is boiling down not to policy difference, but to different theories of change. Under this analysis, Hillary believes you use corporations and the establishment to leverage change while building in protections for the little guy. Obama believes that you find hidden middle ground, and discover a consensus out of supposedly competing interests. Edwards believes you apply force and pressure to the system, until the system is ready to compromise.

I completely agree with the analysis, but I find the more interesting division is between those that are theorizing and those that are doing.

When you have a proven history of change, the theory is a footnote.

Dodd entered the Senate the very year the conservative movement arrived to dismantle the the progressive dream wholesale. Yet in that environment, in the 25 year period that will go down as the Conservative Era, he found ways to expand and extend that progressive dream.

Sometimes it was by getting on TV and telling the truth, no matter how offensive the civilized members of his party may have found it.

Sometimes is was through thoughtful negotiation with enemies. Other times it was through skillful navigation of complex rules of parliamentary procedure. Sometimes it was a late evening bulldozer push. And yes, sometimes it was about waiting to the 17th hole of golf to bring up the question of Gerry Adams’s visa.

But it was always about how to get things done.

I’ve seen this on the campaign. Confronted with any new tool, the first question that occurs to Team Dodd is not “Can we use this for marketing?” but “How can we use this to advance our progressive agenda?”

So while Hillary took online suggestions for a campaign song, Dodd took online suggestions for filibuster reading material. While Obama built up his MySpace account, Dodd and his team built tools to route anti-FISA calls to Senators. While other campaigns invited bloggers to phone calls where the latest talking points were recycled, Dodd invited us into war-room like sessions where the strategy for cutting war funding was discussed and explained.

Personally, I believe we are at a 1932 moment in history. The last gasp of the Reaganism that tainted even the Clinton administration is being played out on that Republican debate stage. After November, they will sweep the remains of that grand movement into the dustbin of history.

You could choose those that stood back, and waited until history was on their side before they moved bold agendas forward. You could hope that their theories of change were correct.

Or you could choose the person, who, against all odds, advanced the progressive agenda through every means at his disposal.

I’ve seen Dodd sailing against the wind and been amazed. I can only imagine what he will do with the wind at his back.

Please join me in supporting Chris Dodd.

Were I a Democrat, there’s no question who I’d be voting for. I absolutely understand, and share in, the appeal of Obama, but primaries are about wide slates and choosing a direction in which you want the party to go, and for libertarian Democrats, agenda progressives, civil libertarians, or just people that want a robust and effective Democratic President with proven experience and the ability to get things done, pick the right battles, and fight them hard, Dodd seems the obvious choice to me, unless one is overly concerned with electability and only supporting candidates who they’ve been told have a good chance to win (which obviously I’m not).

Posted by Brad @ 9:03 pm on December 29th 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

Man, I have the first and second ones set; getting in the third was seriously hard. I should have put more thought into this list I think rather than randomly going through the media category and picking whatever video strikes me. There’s no way this order makes any sense.

Anyway, I’m settling on this one. F it.

3. William Shatner and Joe Jackson – Common People

The addition of Jackson elevates it from just another great Shatner oddity to a really great song, period. At around the minute forty-five mark they start hitting their stride, and by the two and a half minute mark they’re in the friggin’ zone, man. A total reinvention of the duet. God Earth is so lucky to have Shatner.

(more…)

Posted by Rojas @ 6:22 pm on December 29th 2007

Paul supporters hitting their stride

God knows there are still plenty of fools and cranks riding the Ron Paul bandwagon. However, I’ve found myself incredibly encouraged, over the last several weeks, at the fact that a newer, politer standard of conduct seems to be prevailing among net supporters at large.

As recently as a couple of months ago, the paradigm online Paulite seemed to be a fellow who’d vote in online polls, send in donations, but whose main purpose for existence seemed to be to EXPRESS HIMSELF IN ALL CAPS IN THE COMMENTS SECTIONS OF NEWS ARTICLES NOT ENTIRELY FAVORABLE TO RON PAUL!!! AND TO LEVEL ACCUSATIONS ABOUT MEDIA BIAS!!!~!

I don’t quite know when the change started, but increasingly, as press coverage has grown more favorable, the tenor of Paul supporters’ online commentary seems to be changing. (more…)

Posted by Rojas @ 5:34 pm on December 29th 2007

Ron Paul evolution

This clip is just gnawing on me this week.

At a conscious level, I realize that it ought to be entirely irrelevant to me. The President of the United States is in no position to make any decisions about what will and won’t be taught in the secondary schools. Nor is there any real argument to be made that Dr. Paul’s views on evolution, or the mindset that led him to them, impacts in any way on his decisionmaking process. On every issue–except perhaps the issue of its very existence–the Paul campaign rejects fantasy in favor of what empirical evidence demonstrates to be likely and true.

But maybe that, in itself, is what makes this whole thing so hard for me to swallow. (more…)

Posted by Brad @ 9:46 pm on December 28th 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

4. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine

Posted by Jack @ 9:26 pm on December 28th 2007

A 3-Post Convergence: Rudy’s Albatross, Huckenfreude, and Libertarian Resistance to Ron Paul

Three posts:
1. Earlier today (ok, an hour ago) I wrote about Rudy’s latest albatross, in the form of anti-Islamic trash talker John Deady, New Hampshire co-chair of Veterans for Rudy. Point: Supporters can hurt you something awful.
2. In yesterday’s Huckenfreude post, I included a few loose compare and contrast points between the criticisms directed at Huck and Ron Paul, and highlighted Huck’s old earth creationism and Paul’s unfortunate evolution response. Point: I included YouTube video of Ron Paul discussing evolution.
3. And earlier yesterday I posted some thoughts from libertarian Ed Brayton as to why he will not support Ron Paul’s nomination. Point: Ed has the same YouTube video, got linked by the big boys, and has been getting deluged with Ron Paul detractors and supporters in comments.

Now I want to tie them all together under the rather obvious theme, and a favorite of Our Brad: Sometimes your supporters are your worst enemies. I refer you back to Ed Brayton’s Ron Paul post, which is receiving exceptional traffic from Sullivan, TPM and others apparently due to his inclusion of the Ron Paul/evolution YouTube video that I also included in the Huckenfreude post. I do this repeat linking in order to highlight the damage, though on a small scale, that one condescending supporter can cause. Within Ed’s 68 (and counting) comments, you will find a variety of responses; some supportive, some contradictory, some well considered, some reactionary. For an excellent example of how not to support Ron Paul, particularly on blogs that are not yours, I refer you to commenter Mark Watson, whose embedded web address is a Ron Paul fundraising site, whose signature lines are all about Ron Paul and whose defense of Ron Paul is a virtual “How Not To” guide.

Following an intro in his best concern-troll, reasonable-man voice, Mark moves straight into condescension and Jedi mind tricks:

Since we already now know that the mud-slinging(1) regarding Ron Paul’s alleged racism, has ultimately and finally been discredited(2), and since this was the reason Mr. Brayton was withholding his support- I think I can safely assume that he will now support Ron Paul for President of the United States.

Got that? All criticism regarding Ron Paul and race issues has been completely discredited, (“we already now know that”!) and therefore he can safely assume that Ed will now vote Ron Paul. First: I think the race critcism has been well overdone, hyped out of proportion by ideological adversaries, and is mostly smoke without fire, but I don’t dismiss it entirely, particularly Paul’s inartful handling of the white nationalist donation issue. But let’s be honest, Ed’s post contained a whole slew of issues that serve to preclude his support, most of them centered around constitutional interpretation. So do get real, Mr. Watson.

A lot of the social concerns some have about a Paul administration are taken up at the Legilative level or up to the state level. So anyone worried about their precious right to make sure their girlfriend kills her baby so they do not have to pay for it, will not have Paul to kick around – that is a legislative function. Paul will only remove the judicial over-reach from the legilative process.

Watson, You have now shifted from condescention to outright douchebaggeryness. Please elucidate a point for me: Are you here to grind your personal axe or are you here to convince others to vote for your candidate? If the latter, you’re doing it wrong, ‘cause it’s best not to let the cat (and by cat I mean your personal douchebaggeryness) out of the bag too soon. If the former, why this blog, why this post? Can’t you just go shout into the echo chamber at a social conervative blog? And really, is that the only reason people support reproductive choice? If I were to characterize you as a supporter of the “precious right to force, by incarceration if necessary, your girlfriend to have her rapist father’s baby,” would I be close to your level of extremist reactionary strawman generation? And finally, what the hell does “remove the judicial overreach” really mean? How will he do this, cause it sounds ominous as hell to me. It sounds like press for removal of judicial review, which is abso-fucking-lutely guarenteed to push people away from Ron Paul. If you mean “appoint judges who will likely overturn Roe v Wade” then why not say so? And how will this convince a blogger who places a high value on right to privacy to support your candidate? Did you even read his post? So many questions.

(more…)

Posted by Jack @ 7:25 pm on December 28th 2007

The Trouble With Supporters

I approach this issue with some trepidation. Given the glass house within which we Ron Paul supporters must live, I do not throw stones lightly at a candidate based upon the type of whack-job supporters they attract and the unfortunate things these supporters will say. Given the Paul campaign’s apparent siren call to various loonies, fringe element conspiracy theorists, and white supremacists, that dog just won’t hunt. Is this different?

Deady — and the key here is that he is a Rudy campaign official — says that Rudy should be our President because he has what it takes to tackle one of our “most difficult problems,” which he identifies as the “rise of the Muslims.” Deady adds that we need to “chase them back to their caves” or otherwise “get rid of them.”

And if this isn’t bad enough, if you are willing to assume the guy has Biden-like levels of grampa-ism, if you are brush this off as simply poor word choice; consider the update from TPM:

Late Update: Greg Sargent just interviewed the guy. He is John Deady, the co-chair of Veterans for Rudy in New Hampshire, and he is not backing off his original comments, telling Greg: “I don’t subscribe to the principle that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims. They’re all Muslims.”

It is tempting to go for the jugular, to consider this kind of speech from an official campaign coordinator in an early primary battle ground state as just cause for early and repeated condemnation of the candidate himself. That is certainly Wonkette’s position:

Our “beloved” President has reminded us all over and over again that just because the terrorists are Muslim doesn’t mean all Muslims are terrorists. Even though it’s just a pre-written talking point and no one’s real sure that even he buys it, it’s actually both true and one of the smarter things he’s ever said. But, this is a campaign season and little nuances like “not all Muslims are hell bent on the extermination of life as we know it” sometimes don’t fly with voters who need short, quick talking points, like the only helpfully provided above by John Deady the New Hampshire State Co-Chair of Veterans for Rudy. This is a clash of civilizations, people, and just because we weren’t quite able to exterminate the Muslims with those crusades lo those many years ago doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try again which is why we should all vote for Giuliani on ‘08. Obviously.

Andrew Sullivan endorses, possibly with tongue in cheek, immediate condemnation based upon the assumption that this is Rudy’s Actual Position.

Alternatively, we can wait for the Rudy response. Does he request the guy step down from his position? Does he adequately distance himself from the statements and underlying sentiment? Or does he pooh-pooh the issue and move on (so to speak) so as not to alienate like-minded morons? Even staunch Ron Paul supporters like Our Brad find fault with Paul’s inadequate response to the white supremacist support issue, and those bigots were not actual campaign coordinators.

Even with a proper distancing and a demand that Deady step down, does that put Rudy in the clear? Keep in mind the overwhelmingly negative lasting reaction to Hillary Clinton following the various campaign worker fiascos. Even after firing the worker who forwarded the Obama/Madrassa stories, she still bore quite a bit of aggressive criticism, for setting the campaign climate where these incidents would happen, if for nothing else. Given that this guy has an official position, I will certainly hold Rudy to a high stand, but I will at least await his response. How ’bout you?

Posted by Brad @ 6:05 pm on December 28th 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

5. Billy Bragg – Milkman of Human Kindness

Posted by Rojas @ 4:10 am on December 28th 2007

Thud.

You know, I can’t for the life of me figure the Huckabee movement out. They’ve got some wildly enthused people over there and a fine internet presence with Huck’s Army and the Huckabeez. They’ve got a candidate who riles up a crowd like no other. Everything about the movement screams “populist uprising.” And yet none of them are willing to give him money.

Today was the great big Huckabee money-bomb; it’s been in the works for over a month. Their twin goals were 1. A million dollar day, and 2. To raise sufficient money to get him to $5 million for the quarter–the latter would have required about $450k.

They achieved neither. The final figure was $85,000.

Seriously. What the hell here? I’m starting to wonder how many of the people who answer phone polls in Huckabee’s favor are actually willing to go to the trouble of getting off their couches and voting for him.

Hat tip: Laura.

Posted by Brad @ 2:10 am on December 28th 2007

12 Days of Music Video of the Week

6. Bronski Beat and Marc Almond – I Feel Love

There is not a single way in which this track is not awesome.

Posted by Jack @ 6:42 pm on December 27th 2007

Tempering My Huckenfreude

While I admit to continued Huckenfreude at the Republican establishments gnashing of the teeth and rending of the cloth over their possible Huckacide, and I acknowledge the need to respect the conviction and energy that drive’s his campaign, we must not shy from pointing out the frightening aspects of a Huckabee presidency. It is particularly worth exploring given that the nature of the criticism directed against Ron Paul is, in many ways, similar to that which is, or ought to be, directed against Huckabee.

Consider George Will’s column from last week in which, during the course of comparing Hillary and Huckabee to Nixon, he contrasts Huckabee’s demonstrated ideology with actual conservatism, and finds it wanting:

Huckabee’s campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy is misdescribed as being — a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues — abortion and the recognition by law of same-sex couples. Huckabee’s radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America’s corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity.

While I think George Will downplays Giuliani’s conservative apostosy, ignoring his 2nd amendment problems for instance, the quote is a rather nice contrast of the two candidates. Republican, conservative, and libertarian columnists have spent the better part of December desperately driving this point home: Huckabee is not a conservative. While Huckabee’s 10 years as a big spending, big government Governor of Arkansas give ample evidence as to his fiscal views, criticism for Huckabee mirrors that for Ron Paul: not only is he supported by extremists, he actively courts them. As Brink Lindsey at Cato@Liberty reports, Huckabee attended a fund raiser at the home of noted Christian Reconstructionist Dr. Steven Hotz. For those unfamiliar, Christian Reconstruction is the movement pushing for an American Christian theocracy.

(more…)

Posted by Rojas @ 5:26 pm on December 27th 2007

If you’re disappointed by your Xmas haul…

…then visit the true stories in SomethingAwful’s “Worst Christmas Gifts,” and you’ll come away feeling a lot better:

A knockoff of one of those Hummel figurines that’s supposed to be a child praying to Jesus. This was from an alternate universe in which it was okay for the giant, mismatched eyes on the child’s swollen head to be looking in opposite directions from each other, for the hands to be fused together in a solid lump, and Christ’s name to be spelled Jasus.

During a 5th grade gift exchange dealy, we had to pick a name out of a hat. The kid who picked my name gave me a box with neon blue tigerprint thong underwear.

A few years back, my mom gave me and each of my brothers something that we can use to (supposedly) break our car windows after we crash into a river

Hey, it coulda been bees…

Posted by Jack @ 1:15 pm on December 27th 2007

Libertarian Resistance to Ron Paul

Of the world’s 20 brazillion bloggers, libertarian jack-of-all-trades Ed Brayton was the first I bookmarked, the primary catalyst for my blog fetish, and the probably root cause of my decision to give it a go myself. And thus it is with some dismay that I read his post explaining his reluctant rejection of Ron Paul. In recent months he has posted several pieces highly critical of Paul, and in response to a commenter’s question, he fleshes out his objections. First, he freely admits it’s not all bad:

Ron Paul says and really believes a lot of things I really, really like. He has been unwavering in his criticism of a wide range of constitutional abuses – suspension of habeas corpus, the weakening of the the 4th amendment, unconstitutional hate speech rules, etc. He has called for a complete ban on torture and for the closing of the gitmo detention center. He has called for the unequivocal end of warrantless wiretaps under any circumstances. He’s the only candidate from either party with the guts to call for drug legalization. Those things are very important to me and I find the unequivocal nature of his stands on them refreshing. There’s a lot about Ron Paul that I like a lot and I’d like to support him.

This intself is refreshing: Most Ron Paul detractors seem over the edge, screaming racism racism racism without a second thought. Ed’s objection are centered around the nature of Ron Paul’s libertarianism as evidenced by his advisors and courted supporters, his 14th amendment interpretation, and his stance on abortion, gay rights and other social conservative issues:

Over the last few weeks I have reached the reluctant conclusion that Paul is what Sandefur calls a “doughface libertarian.” The evidence is clear to me that he supports what I consider to be the reactionary elements of libertarianism, the neo-confederate, anti-14th amendment wing. It isn’t just that he takes money from them; he has actively courted their support. He’s spoken to their organizations, he writes for their websites, he’s put their most prominent voices, like Lew Rockwell and Gary North, on his Congressional staff. This is going far beyond the “any libertarian is going to attract some kooks” argument (which is undoubtedly true in and of itself). And for me, that is enough to make me decide that I can’t support him.

These are, by and large, the critiques I have for Ron Paul, although with less emphasis on the supporters he attracts and more concern regarding his inconsistent stance on civil liberties. As we have debated at length, Ron Paul’s political philosophy strikes me as more hardcore federalist than libertarian, he grants great deference to state power (as opposed to Federal) even at the expense of civil liberties, and he seems comfortable using the full weight of federal power when certain social issues arise, particularly related to gay equality and reproductive choice. But in the end, I have to go with Ed’s interlocutors, who ask:

isn’t there enough good in his bold stands for ending government abuses to justify supporting him anyway? They may also ask, when will you get the opportunity to vote for a major party candidate who takes such strong, unwavering positions on these issues again?

While Brad and Rojas likely will take exception to Ed’s characterization of Ron Paul’s positions and beliefs, I tend to accept it in very general terms and choose to support him despite the areas of strong disagreement. My question to Ed and others of similar thought: assuming you don’t simply opt out of the election in general, whom do you support? For whom will you vote? Which candidate is superior across the range of issues? My Ron Paul concerns are largely in areas he has limited power to effect, and my Ron Paul admiration comes in areas where he truly can make a difference.

Posted by Adam @ 10:09 am on December 27th 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani president and candidate in the upcoming Presidential elections, was killed by a bomb that went off at a rally earlier today. MSNBC have a party security guy saying that she was shot first:

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, then the gunman blew himself up.

This is pretty bad news. Musharraf was pressured into lifting the “state of emergency” and will presumably now re-impose it and say this is why it shouldn’t have been lifted in the first place. The question of who is behind this is going to be important (Islamists would be the obvious suspects, but Musharraf may be the obvious beneficiary although he’s no particular friend to the Islamists). This is the second bombing attempt since her return to Pakistan; the last one killed over 100 people and was followed with claims that the Musharraf government didn’t do enough to stop it.

H/t to Jerrod for alerting me to the announcement of her death (last I saw, she was ‘critical’).

Posted by Brad @ 2:22 am on December 27th 2007

The 12 Days of Music Video of the Week

Close to my heart. And as I said when I first posted it:

Another bit of year-old weirdo Brit pop. This time a lady, writing about her record label trying to put her in rehab, making the worst case possible for not needing it, God bless her.

7. Amy Winehouse – Rehab

Direct link here

Good note to hit as I return from my debaucherific Christmas vacation.

Posted by Brad @ 2:15 am on December 27th 2007

The 12 Days of Music Video of the Week

Been gone; now I’m back.

8. Fatlip – What’s Up Fatlip?

Trivia: The very first Music Video of the Week.

Lethargy rap at its best. I have a hard time figuring why I like this record/video so much, but goddamn I do.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:19 am on December 26th 2007

Ronpocalypse!

For a contrary perspective on the Ron Paul campaign, check out Ronfiction. Well-written forecasts of the anarchic dystopia that awaits us should Ron Paul ever reach the Oval Office. You’ll be shocked at all the evils our government is saving us from.

Seriously: they’re classic efforts at demonization, and they can’t seem to make their point without alleging racism, and they’re very ugly in that respect. But they ARE well-written thought experiments, and many of them are damn funny.

Posted by Rojas @ 6:50 pm on December 25th 2007

All we want for Christmas is the complete submersion of the nation of Vanuatu

Minnesotans for Global Warming rally at the state capitol.

Posted by Rojas @ 6:28 pm on December 25th 2007

Bees on Earth; goodwill towards men.

Merry Christmas to The Crossed Pond! A gift of a beehive and beekeeper training has been sent to a needy family somewhere in the world, in recognition of TheCrossedPond’s dedication to bee-related causes.

Heifer International provides livestock and training so that families can improve nutrition and earn income for health care, shelter and education for children. Each gift multiplies because every family that receives a Heifer animal promises to “pass on the gift” by giving one or more of their animal’s offspring and knowledge to another family in need.

The gift that keeps on stinging. Much thanks to our reader(s).

Posted by Rojas @ 2:03 pm on December 25th 2007

Defending Ebeneezer Scrooge

An instant classic from Butler Shaffer. Reagan’s wasn’t nearly as good. A brief snippet:

It is instructive that Dickens tells us virtually nothing about the nature of Ebeneezer’s business. We know that he is something of a banker or financier, but we are told nothing about the nature of his investments. Even if he has not been a creative entrepreneur himself, he has, presumably, been responsible for financing many successful enterprises, which have not only benefited the rest of the community in terms of goods and services they provide, but afford employment to countless individuals, including Bob Cratchit. For all that we know – and it would seem to be beneath Dickens’ sensibilities to ask such a question or care about the answer – Scrooge may have provided capital for researchers seeking a cure for the very ailment from which Tiny Tim suffers. We know that, at the very least, by managing to stay in the lending business these many years, and accumulating handsome earnings in the process, Scrooge’s decision-making has been beneficial to others. All of this goes unmentioned by Comrade Dickens, who prefers to focus upon the fact that Scrooge has actually profited from these many benefits that his sound business decision-making has indirectly bestowed upon his neighbors.

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