Posted by Brad @ 3:32 pm on August 31st 2010

The 911 Christian Center and Other Tributes Respectful of the Solemnity of that Horrible Day

One enterprising pastor is seeking to raise 8 million dollars for a Christian Center, and it’ll be even closer to Ground Zero than Park51, so nyeh! The pastor in question, Bill Keller, is, unlike those Islamic fucks, an avatar for pluralism and the values that make America great.

To get a sense of where Keller is coming from, consider his project’s website, which calls Islam a religion of “hate and death” whose adherents will go to hell. It also says: “Islam is a wonderful religion… for PEDOPHILES!”

Keller is the same pastor who hosted a birther infomercial that encouraged viewers to send him and a partner donations to advance the birther cause. His Internet ministry explicitly calls President Obama the new Hitler. He calls homosexuality a perversion and abomination. And in 2008, he targeted presidential contender Mitt Romney for being Mormon with a campaign called “voting for Satan.”

In related news, what 911 memorializing has really been missing is a rock musical.

Broadway, btw, is a pathetic 10 blocks from Ground Zero, and the Manhattan LDS church a full 5 miles Get with the program abominations!

Posted by Brad @ 1:33 pm on August 31st 2010

Austrian Economist Pitfight of the Day

So, the Wall Street Journal the other day posted a very nice story on George Mason University’s Peter J. Boettke and highlighting all he’s done to popularize Austrian economics, including creating what is arguably the most libertarian academic department at any university in America. It’s a nice piece and, indeed, Boettke has done a lot, and his program and really GMU as a whole have done wonders for creating a mainstream, normalized respectable hotbed for Austrian economics and libertarian thought at large. It’s also a terrific example of a small commuter school suddenly finding itself vaulted into becoming an important university solely by finding an unrealized niche, a blind spot in higher academia. Others have tried this before, but usually in attacking the whole perceived godlessness/secularness/multiculturalness of higher ed, leading to places like Liberty University et al. George Mason managed to take a different tack, choosing instead to sop up wonderful economists, historians, and political scientists, who are all but unhireable in most major universities for not adhering to a certain degree of groupthink (that tendency in higher ed, btw, is less malicious and consciously dogmatic than imagined, and is instead more a kind of soft, but nevertheless very real, prejudice against conservative thought as being somehow of a lesser order than, say, economic philosophy based on Marxism. They don’t TRY to drive out conservatives—they just find themselves much less impressed with conservative thought than liberal thought, and due to that, the trickle down effect is to drive out conservatives and, more importantly, train grad students to be liberal if they want to get ahead, thus leaving them with a nearly unanimous liberalism in higher academic postings, which just feeds the cycle even more).

I digress.

Anyway, the WSJ article was a nice piece and, as mentioned, GWU does good work, and heck, it’s one of the few pieces speaking positively about Austrian economics in a major publication that I can recall. But owing to their philosophy that praising anything that is not Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, or Ludwig Von Mises, or disbanding the Fed, is a veiled malicious attack on one, some, or all of those things, the good folks at have lost their ever-lovin’ minds over this article, leading to the aforementioned pitfight.

You can catch up. In chronological order (also, in ascending order of vitriol): 1, 2, 3, 4. There are actually a few more, but they appear to have been taken down since yesterday.

The Lew Rockwell guys do good work and all, and I still enjoy their blog, but they are also precisely indicative of everything that is wrong with Libertarianism, in particular the need it constantly feels to harangue each other over purity tests.

Posted by Brad @ 12:17 pm on August 31st 2010

Poll Result of the Day

It’s an already semi-maligned poll, but if anything for being an outlier in favor of Republicans. Nevertheless, it might be worth mentioning that in the most recent Newsweek poll, 52% of Republicans believe it is definitely true or probably true that Obama “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world”.

What’s weird to me is that this “issue” is entirely cultural. To my knowledge, the only people who would seriously argue this from a policy point of view (Victor David Hansen, say) have to find some pretty obscure actions to do it (say, a random state department missive on being nice to Egyptians, say, or some circuit court ruling somewhere saying that consideration of international law has a place in American jurisprudence). Otherwise, precisely nothing in Obama’s actual policy strikes me as anything but credibly anti-Jihadist. He’s as vicious as Bush in terms of not allowing civil liberties or the constitution to get in the way of torturing him some terror suspects. He’d doubled down in Af-Pak and extended indefinitely our stay in Iraq. He’s as cow-towing to Israel as any President. But 52% of Republicans don’t care. It seems true, to them, apparently, based entirely on an imagined cultural milieu surrounding Obama. Weird.

Posted by Brad @ 11:44 am on August 31st 2010

Schools of Man-Eating Giant Red Squid

A new animal to join the ranks of Man’s Enemies.

Posted by Rojas @ 10:53 pm on August 30th 2010

“Hearing noises from the kitchen, he went to investigate and found the beasts ransacking cupboards. When the child fled upstairs to find his babysitter, three males gave chase and surrounded him as he made a tearful phone call to his mother, while the animals pelted him with fruit.”

More from those damn monkeys.

Posted by Brad @ 1:35 pm on August 30th 2010

Quote of the Day II

From Jay Rosen:

Victor Navasky, the former publisher of the Nation, likes to say that there’s an ideology of the left, an ideology of the right, and an ideology of the centre. The news system is on guard against too much left or too much right. It is defenceless against any excesses in the ideology of the centre. There you can be as extreme or didactic as you like.

Unfortunately, virtually all foreign policy and national security questions are hashed out in “the centre”.

Posted by Brad @ 12:56 pm on August 30th 2010

Quote of the Day

This is pretty central to my worldview (and my #1 complaint against hardcore liberals), so obviously it’s Conor Friedersdorf expressing the thought here.

In the course of American history, if either liberals or conservatives disappeared entirely from the American scene, leaving the right or left to pursue their best ideas and most flawed excesses alike, this country would be in far worse shape than it is today.

And anyone who thinks that completely vanquishing “the other side” in American politics would produce good results for very long is naive at best.

Posted by Brad @ 9:09 am on August 30th 2010

A Tea Party Foreign Policy

Ron Paul continues to challenge his fellow atheists in the foxhole.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:54 am on August 29th 2010

Awesomely bizarre idea of the day

My least-favorite man-made phenomenon, other than Social Security, is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Essentially, several thousand miles of the north-central Pacific–an area somewhere between the size of Texas and the size of the entire continental US–have become the permanent gathering place for a miasma of non-biodegradable plastic gathered together by ocean currents.

Despite the frequent use of the name “Garbage Island” to describe this festering canker sore on the face of the planet, the area is not technically an island–you couldn’t, for example, stand on it, and there are places within it which are actually indistinguishable from normal seawater to the naked eye. Well, these magnificent bastards want to change that by gathering the crap together and actually building a REAL island out of it. Like, with agriculture and buildings and stuff. On which people would live.

Posted by Rojas @ 12:34 am on August 28th 2010

Just a subtle reminder…

…that we’re still “trying” alleged terrorists before military commissions and using evidence obtained through torture to obtain guilty verdicts. The current showcase: a fifteen-year-old captured in combat, the first child soldier in at least sixty years to face trial, up on charges of murder. The judge has already ruled that evidence obtained through the implicit threat of a gang rape–again, this threat levied by US military interrogators against a fifteen-year-old–is admissable. Oh, and military authorities have attempted to bar journalists from the proceedings for reporting information that was already part of the public record.

All of this, needless to say, with the full endorsement of the current President of the United States.

I know it’s old news and all, but I guess I get an occasional thrill out of poking the corpse of American justice with a stick.

Posted by Brad @ 4:54 pm on August 27th 2010

Blogroll Addition – GayPatriot

I haven’t blogged at all about the Ken Mehlman story, because who cares, but in reading around I have found cause to finally blogroll a site I’ve actually been reading with some regularity for years – GayPatriot. GayPatriot (Bruce Carroll and Dan Blatt) is roughly to the right of Powerline, and GAY! Doesn’t that just blow your EFFING MIND?!?

But seriously, they’re a site that have been plugging away with good work for a long time, and for their liberal critics, I’d just add that they are doing more, on their lonesome, to see that Republicanism is not mutually exclusive with homosexuality and that the other half of the country is okay with a gay figurehead than any liberal has ever done (or would care to, so invested are they in the liberalism of gays). Anyway, they are more partisan than I normally care for (they are gay Republicans, as opposed to Andrew Sullivan, who is a gay conservative, or A Stitch in Haste’s Kip Esquire, who is a gay libertarian misanthrope (I love you Kip)), but always a good read. Onto the blogroll go they.

Also: adding GayPatriot to the blogroll is pretty much all I’m going to say on the subject of Ken Mehlman.

Posted by Brad @ 11:42 am on August 27th 2010

Poll Result of the Day

A new CBS Poll shows that only 19% of Americans are opposed to gays and lesbians serving openly in the United State military. 75% are in favor, including 61% of veterans and active duty servicemembers. For the record, roughly 19% believe that Barack Obama is a muslim and that 911 was an inside job.

This sort of reinforces my inherent belief in the American people. Or rather, my inherent unbelief in Washington partisan politics as an accurate representation of them. I, personally, don’t think gay marriage, for instance, is a big deal to most people. Even those that tell pollsters they’re against it, my guess most would just shrug and go on about their lives if it came to pass – not take to the streets. I think what tends to polarize is the Washington political take on things, and to make issues which are important, yes, suddenly seem like vital tears across the heart of the populace when, in fact, they’re just as likely a collection of half-thoughts and soft knee-jerks that, when pressed against reality, usually either dissipate entirely or just kind of dull to a barely perceptible background throb. This is also why I believe in leadership – an issue may be 60-40 one way, until somebody actively decides to use their platform to show some leadership on the question; meaning, quite often, if you give people an opportunity to move past a prejudice or old political habit, very often they’ll take it.

Posted by Brad @ 5:07 pm on August 26th 2010

Music Video of the Week

I named Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine the best hip hop album from the 00s (and third best overall), and although Cee-Lo has certainly been visible since that 2004 release, he hasn’t put out another another solo record. So thanks to Chris Bodenner for hipping me that he’s got a new one coming out. Man, this and Sufjan Stevens in the same day, and after The Books and Joanna Newsom already dropped this summer? Hooray!

Anyway, the song is pretty much the greatest thing music has ever produced. Also, totally safe for work.

Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You

(seriously, don’t let the title fool you – what a fantastic song)

Posted by Brad @ 3:51 pm on August 26th 2010

Sarah Palin: Kingmaker

Good post from Talking Points Memo on the sheer power that Sarah Palin is beginning to wield in GOP primaries. It is not that she can simply swoop in and declare anybody she likes the winner – her win % is good, but not phenomenal. But likewise, she isn’t just picking winners, and her winning percentage is good despite picking some pretty dark horses. But the key is that her endorsement has shown an enormous power to transform races, in a way almost unique in the recent history of political endorsements (normally a fairly flaccid business). She almost overnight brings in a swoon of national media attention, a sudden powerfully strong brand loyalty that she can practically merely anoint people with, and immediately puts who she doesn’t endorse in an incredibly uncomfortable defensive position that has them not just having to push back against Palin and her brigades but, in a sense, the larger energy and ranks of the grassroots right—never a good thing to suddenly have to do a week before a Republican election.

I have guffawed at claims to Palin’s political importance before, but she really is starting to turn into an enormously interesting and influential figure on the right. And I’m further beholden in my belief that she will, in fact, sit out the 2012 race. Better to be the Queen than the Prime Minister. Why have to get on the record and do hostile interviews and debates and be considered for your governing potential, when instead she can sit out, have the entire political and media landscape hang on her every tweet, and be the most coveted potential endorsement – and most potentially fatal non-endorsement – since…I don’t know when. Can you imagine the level of prostration Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Gingrich, et al will go to to woo her? More to the point, is there any more surefire way to advance her brand, clout, and earning potential—all while entirely and eternally insulating her? In some ways, it would be BETTER if Palin ran in 2012…then people will have to run against her. Not if she sits out and plays the game the way she’s been playing…then they have to run for, and to, her. If you’re a relatively vapid but media savvy egomaniac who who loves the spotlight of politics but hates the pressure of, you know, governing, or knowing anything about policy, which would you choose? I don’t think it’s even close.

Posted by Brad @ 11:36 am on August 26th 2010

Tits for an Ass; or, Today in Political Crankery

Alan “Abe” Simpson, former Senator from Wyoming and now co-chair of President Obama’s deficit commission, for some reason decided to personally respond to a Huffington Post piece about Social Security written by the Executive Director of the National Older Women’s League, whatever that is. In his email reply, Simpson was very generous with the caps and exclamation marks—always a good sign—and closed with this.

“If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know. And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ’em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!”

For some reason, characterizing Social Security as a milk cow with 310 tits doesn’t go over well with the liberal community. Simpson has since apologized, and the White House says they aren’t going to fire him over it.

The National Organization for Women, however, are not satisfied. Why they are leading the charge against Grandpa Simpson, I’ve no idea—referencing milk cows is, apparently, sexist…because they have tits, you see—but they are nevertheless choosing to take the high road, and…

For those who believe Social Security belongs to the workers who earned it, not to the government and certainly not to the Fiscal Commission, NOW announces its “Tits for an Ass” campaign. NOW will be asking our 500,000 members and supporters to use our website or Twitter account to help us buy baby bottle nipples, which we’ll hand deliver to the White House with a letter urging President Obama to fire Alan Simpson.


In any case, nothing like a good cranky quasi-misogynistic cranky Senator v. national feminist organization fight to bring a little joy and tit-jokes to the world on a slow news week (Jim Webb and Emily’s List were, apparently, unavailable). Also, had this just been some guy, I would have thought to myself “man, make that guy the co-chair of Obama’s deficit commission.” Sometimes, dreams do come true.

Posted by Brad @ 9:18 am on August 26th 2010

The Bizarro Case of the Julian Assange Rape Accusation

If you’re wondering what that whole Julian Assange rape-accusation-then-24-hours-later-withdrawn-accusation-then-24-hours-later-“molestation”-charge thing was about, read this.

Posted by Rojas @ 9:53 pm on August 25th 2010

So where is Ron Paul on Park 51?

Like you even need to ask.

Posted by Brad @ 12:35 pm on August 25th 2010

Quote of the Day

A lot could be said of the recent 9th Circuit ruling that found that police sneaking onto a dude’s property and sticking a GPS tracking device on his jeep, without a warrant, was, in fact, legal. But as an interesting sidebar, absent the issue of whether a GPS device on a car requires a warrant, there is the question of whether sneaking onto a dude’s yard to plant on constitutes entering a person’s property. The 9th Circuit argued that no, in this case it did not, because dude didn’t have a fence. Therefore,

The dissenting judge, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, makes a good point as it relates to judicial “diversity”:

The very rich will still be able to protect their privacy with the aid of electric gates, tall fences, security booths, remote cameras, motion sensors and roving patrols, but the vast majority of the 60 million people living in the Ninth Circuit will see their privacy materially diminished by the panel’s ruling…

There’s been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there’s one kind of diversity that doesn’t exist: No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter. Judges, regardless of race, ethnicity or sex, are selected from the class of people who don’t live in trailers or urban ghettos. The everyday problems of people who live in poverty are not close to our hearts and minds because that’s not how we and our friends live. Yet poor people are entitled to privacy, even if they can’t afford all the gadgets of the wealthy for ensuring it.

Posted by Brad @ 12:27 pm on August 25th 2010

Smart, Qualified People Behind the Scenes Keeping America Safe: ‘We Don’t Exist’

The Onion is there.

Fictitious sources also confirmed that the so-called “masterminds” behind our country’s security and strategic defense are in fact people of moderate to reasonably above-average intelligence just like us who perform their jobs with more or less the same degree of competence and zeal as any regular person with a job would.

“Obviously, it would be very comforting, and pretty cool, if there were stealth groups of resourceful, naturally gifted secret agents like me scouring the planet, rooting out terrorist sleeper cells, and tracking down Osama bin Laden,” said a multilingual computer/ explosives/espionage expert who most Americans actually believe is a real guy out there. “I’m not denying that would be amazing; my only point is that it just isn’t true.”

“Believe me, I wish I existed, too,” the fake man added. “I would probably be great.”

Often, when I’m arguing with a guy like James, he likes to point out that, for instance, I’m naive to think that America hasn’t tortured people before Bush, and that somewhere, at some point, there was an agent of government torturing somebody long before it became a public controversy. I take the point…to a point.

But I also, in other contexts, like to point out the Myth of the Hypercompetent Government that American Greatness conservatives trade on. The idea that we’ve got Jack Bauer CIA agents who clearly are only torturing the right suspects in moments of incredible dire emergency and know precisely what they’re doing, or the military is filled only with brave, selfless, salt of the earth people staring up and off to the distance slightly as the Iraqi sunset paints their profile, or that the guys that are monitoring out phone calls without a warrant are doing so professionally, expertly, and perfectly collating the data, or that the private contractor mercs working outside the Green Zone in Iraq are tough-as-nails Schwarzeneggers who have seen the real shit and cast a steely eye, protecting us from the dirty job of keeping the world safe. Or that, put simply, the people in charge are somehow of a different caliber than you and I, know what they’re doing, so we should just trust them and assume that someone somewhere knows more than us and is doing their job surely in the most positive possible way we can fantasize them doing it.

Posted by Brad @ 3:57 pm on August 24th 2010

For the Record…

Shirley Sherrod has declined Vilsack’s offers for a few different jobs at the USDA.

With bonus 1000 word picture.

Posted by Jack @ 10:35 pm on August 23rd 2010

Miss Guatemala wants you to know that her dress exposes her personality.

I am reading blogs while my wife watches the Miss Universe pageant. There is a lot of fodder for analysis in that, no doubt. My wife is rolling on the floor in tears after seeing Miss G’s dress, and then hearing her claim that it reveals her personality. Yes. That is what it reveals. Nothing else at all.

Incidentally, the wife is guessing Ms Albania for the win.

Posted by Rojas @ 6:08 pm on August 23rd 2010

The worst traffic jam in human history

It’s outside Beijing, stretches sixty miles, and is now entering its ninth day.

Kinda puts the energy bill debate into perspective, doesn’t it? Ain’t no way we’re making a dent in global warming while Asian development proceeds apace.

Posted by Brad @ 12:59 pm on August 20th 2010

Quote of the Day

Screw it, I’m going to stop apologizing for post a lot about Park51.

Ross Douthat had a column in the NYT in which he argued that we shouldn’t automatically dismiss mosque critics as bigots or, even if they are, we should respect the wisdom of the commons, or some damn thing (like his posts on same sex marriage, I’m not entirely clear what his point is). The column has engendered a lot of thoughtful discussion.

But, perhaps there is a time when it entirely appropriate to just say “screw them, screw you, and screw anybody who is accepting this premise even for argument’s sake.” Enter Tom Scocca.

Not all opponents of the Lower Manhattan community center are bigots. Some are shameless opportunists. Many are simply ignorant people who have heard from the bigots and the shameless opportunists that something awful is being done, and who would prefer that awful things not be done.

In the real world, the world where nudie bars and an Off Track Betting parlor already occupy the sacred ground around the site of our national tragedy, none of these people are worth listening to. Not the bigots, not the demagogues, and not the ignorant ones. Their opinions are worthless.

A very nice approximation of how I’m feeling on the matter.

Off for a vacation!

Posted by Brad @ 2:17 pm on August 19th 2010


Sorry for being down this morning. Technical issues have presumably been resolved. Your Crossed Pond thirst may now be sated.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:21 pm on August 18th 2010

Blogroll addition

Not a blog, but the Park 51 website. Donate if you’re so inclined.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:16 pm on August 18th 2010

Things that are the same distance from the WTC as the proposed Cordoba House facilities

History Eraser Button has the photos.

Posted by Brad @ 3:08 pm on August 18th 2010

The Terrorists Do NOT Win

Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of Park51, stands firm on plans for the community center at the site of the ruins of the Burlington Coat Factory. Watch the interview, and cheer for the guy (semi-sleazy NYC real estate developer that he is—God bless America).

Glenn Greenwald, who passed the interview along, also has a very good New York Times column on the subject, which begins simply, accurately, and devastatingly:

It is difficult to believe that America is having a debate over whether to impose, in essence, a Muslim-free zone near ground zero.

It is strange to me that, of all people, Michael Bloomberg and a group of lower Manhattan muslims appear to be the only people in the country willing to stand up for the values that ostensibly make this country great and contrast us most sharply with the sort of religiously-intolerant states that the handful of Islamic extremists we are fighting against wish upon the world, but here we are.

I am literally at the point now where I—a Catholic from Kansas—am considering a donation to a for-profit mosque in lower Manhattan. But here, indeed, we are.

Posted by Jerrod @ 11:00 pm on August 17th 2010

Google flipflops on net neutrality: FCC to finally act?

Last week it emerged that Google and Verizon had collaborated on a proposal for establishing particular rules and regulations that would more or less preserve net neutrality, which seems like a pretty good thing, at least to those of us who realize how important net neutrality is to the internet as we know it. But there was a little catch, namely that these proposals only applied to wired networks. Wireless networks were to be explicitly exempted from the neutrality protections and would thus be allowed to arbitrarily limit access and create “tiers” of service for wireless networks.

This is seen as a bad for many reasons. All information on the internet travels between computers as data packets. These data packets are all treated exactly the same, regardless of what kind of data it is, who is requesting, or who is providing it. This is fundamentally what makes the internet so great. Some content providers and ISP, however, want to break this core functionality of the internet and introduce a system whereby, for example, those who pay more, get more. This includes internet customers who would get preferential treatment when using the internet (i.e. Top tier users get to load their pages first) but also can be used to give preferential treatment to content providers (i.e. websites who pay more will get better performance or, the nightmare scenario, those who don’t pay, won’t load at all).

The discriminatory abilities that would be introduced by net neutrality would destroy the internet as we know it, and the worst hit would be innovative uses. Imagine how something like Youtube or Twitter or even Facebook would have been impacted if they weren’t “preferred” content providers. Abandoning net neutrality would create huge barriers of entry to new uses of the internet, shift power away from end users by killing point-to-point access, and empower ISP and other large content providers to essentially control the internet. It would give deep pocketed entrenched interests (for example, Microsoft) the power to “promote” (= protect) its search engine at the time when an upstart called Google was taking market share.

Right now, wireless internet is a huge domain for innovation. With the introduction of Android and iPhone smartphones, more and more new ways of using the internet are being developed. It’s wide open and habits haven’t been established as much as they have on desk/laptop computers. Trying to introduce “preferential packet shaping” (i.e. non-neutral internet access) on computers might meet with a backlash, as the difference is likely to be rather noticeable. But for handheld devices, as popular as they are, there are so few people using them and its such a new way of accessing the net, now is the time to make fundamental changes to how that system works.

Google has always, at least till now, been a huge defender of net neutrality, so this change has gotten people pretty riled up, (or in some cases just a little riled up.). It really is a big chance in their position, though, and even though seems happy, which says a lot about who’s interests this kind of proposal is in).

It’s a political issue, not least because of the language typically used by anti-neutrality PR schmucks who continually portray the effort to protect net neutrality via legislation as “onerous regulation.” This is pure tripe, plain and simple. Any legislation protecting net neutrality would only accomplish one thing, namely formalize the structure of the internet that has served us so well thus far. Yes, it would prevent companies from breaking up (and by definition, limiting) our access, but that isn’t “onerous” for anyone who likes to use the internet. It keeps the internet fair, free, and open.

So what does Congress thing? It’s the purview of the FCC and some in Congress are calling on it to finally act. It’s a nice summary of the stakes of net neutrality and they want the FCC to treat wired and wireless networks the same AND regulate them in a way that protects open access to the net. Ars Technica has more discussion of why Congress itself isn’t likely to pass any legislation on this issue. They mention the high number of House Democrats opposed to FCC net neutrality regulation, but I’m convinced these positions are uninformed, or rather informed only by the anti-net neutrality lobby that is rather active and doing a good job of portraying net neutrality as a “bad thing™”.

The debate has kind of lagged over the summer. Here’s hoping that this Google flip-flop is enough to reinvigorate discussions on the importance of complete net neutrality, across the spectrum, and we finally get it legislated and can put it to rest.

Posted by Rojas @ 8:44 pm on August 17th 2010

Smokin’ Joe smokes the Green Party

A rather one-sided account from a Philadelphia daily accuses PA Senate candidate Joe Sestak of “bullying” the Green Party candidate out of the race through ballot challenges. Needless to say, I’m not a huge fan of the hurdles third parties have to clear to make the ballot, but it would be nice to hear a more objective version of the story.

Posted by Brad @ 12:55 pm on August 17th 2010

What He Said

Conor Friedersdorf, in a post addressed to Tea Party grassroots conservative voters, says all that needs to be said on the Ground Zero Mosque nonsense.

The bottom line is that there is a reason that Republicans have made no measureable progress in shrinking the size of government since Reagan. Because shrinking the size of government is hard; making hay about “shiny object” culture war fluff is easy. You take one at the direct expense of the other.

That brings us back to the so-called Ground Zero mosque. It’s the latest battle in the culture war, and soon enough it’ll be over. Either the project will be built 2 blocks from Ground Zero, or else the organizers will bow to pressure and relocate elsewhere. Maybe 20 blocks from Ground Zero. And what a victory that would be for the right. The New York Post would get its momentary hike in newsstand sales, its readers would feel 10 minutes of fleeting emotional satisfaction, and the politicians most adept at exploiting culture war issues would be marginally more likely to win a Congressional seat.

And when some Republican member of the ruling class is next faced with an issue where a party whip or a lobbyist wants him to do one thing, and his conservative constituents want him to do another? He’ll think to himself, “I wonder if I can afford to lose some support from my base on this vote, and make it up by taking a populist stance on a culture war issue that doesn’t cost me anything.” In the past, the answer to that question has usually been yes.

Dear voters who feel invested in this kind of idiocy: you are “the problem in Washington”, not the politicians you train to cynically take advantage of you and deliver nothing of real significance.

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