July 30, 2005

From the folks who brought you the Schiavo Memo and the Swift Boat Vet Scam, comes this embarassment. Starboard bloggers seem to encompass a disproportionate percentage of the low-hanging fruit our society provides. If they weren't at their terminals, they would be trying to outrace oncoming trains at busy intersections, or licking frozen poles. Thank god they're all chickenhawks; if they actually had the courage of their convictions concerning the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, we would probably be battling Iraqi insurgents on the streets of Los Angeles.
Big Bill: Not to put too fine a point on this, but is it really good advice for the labor movement to follow the example of a man whose mentality was little different than Osama bin-Laden's?
Dog Bites Man !!

July 29, 2005

Regarding the Turley Column: What with all the talk about whether an attorney-client privilege compels the non-production of John Roberts' papers from his time with the Solicitor General in the early-90's, I'm surprised that the revelation that he would recuse himself if his legal judgment were to contradict his religious conscience hasn't gotten more play. Until this gets cleared up, I can't see how any self-respecting Democrat can allow the Roberts nomination to go forward to a Senate vote. This isn't a matter of extremism; if Roberts would allow his religious views to trump any contrary interpretation he might have to make concerning the Constitution, he simply can't be a judge. If Antonin Scalia, by all accounts a devout Roman Catholic, is able to rule in favor of the state on death penalty cases, in clear defiance of the stated views of his church, then Roberts has to be able to assure the public that he can do the same, on that and other issues. No one should be allowed to sit on the highest court of the land who cannot give our laws and precedents his absolute loyalty as a judge.

July 28, 2005

YBK [Part 12]: Bankruptcy filings were up 14% last month from the comparable total in June, 2004. Even more troubling, the number of filing last month increased from the previous month, which is almost unheard of; the summer months traditionally see a lull in personal filings. Yikes.

July 27, 2005

The Cancer of Hate: It seems to be metastasizing. Oriana Fallaci pens her Mein Kampf.
Defamer points out that while love letters purportedly written by Jennifer "Overrated" Aniston are going for over $100,000 on E-Bay, fake love letters not written by the former "Friends" star are going for over $12.
YBK [Part 11]: Houston, we have a problem...bankruptcy filings were up 12% nationwide for the months of April, May and June of this year. Also, the housing market is beginning to flatline in "bubble states", with national figures now being kept high only through increased sales in the Midwest and of multiple-unit housing, both of which had heretofore seen a much lower rate in their expansion of value. Consumers will also soon receive the unpleasant surprise of having their monthly credit card payments double.

[Previous YBK posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.]

July 26, 2005

I think I've mentioned this a few times before, but right now we are living through a unique period in the history of the Democratic Party. For the first time ever, the party is really competitive only in its pursuit of one branch of government: the Presidency. Our nominee has captured a plurality of the vote in 3 of the last 4 elections, and the one time we didn't, we lost to an incumbent President in the middle of a war with an improving economy, by 2.4% of the vote. In the last two elections, the Democratic nominee lost the election by one state.

Down ticket, the Republicans have a mathematical advantage in Congressional races that is disproportionate to their actual vote totals, so even though the Democrats and Republicans are roughly even nationwide, the GOP will still win a larger share of seats even if the vote is divided 50-50. By having only a tiny edge in the party preference, the Republicans gain a significant lead in Congress. And, of course, the federal courts have a partisan slant in favor of the Republicans that will probably continue through the lifetime of most of the people reading this blog.

That's why it is hard to take the DLC seriously when they hold one of their annual corporate junkets, and take turns knifing every liberal in the back. It's not just a counter-productive strategy; obviously, the minority party can never hope to gain its footing if significant players on the political scene insist on violating what should be the Democrats' Eleventh Commandment. More to the point, the DLC brings nothing to the table. Nothing.

Gore and Kerry may have run to the left in their losing efforts the last two elections, but at least they came close enough to get screwed by the other guys. The Deaniacs and Move On may have questionable appeal south of the Mason-Dixon line, but at they find a way to win elections everywhere else. But the "centrist" hacks the DLC consistently put up for the down-ticket races have gotten their asses handed to them the past decade. As blogger Steve Gilliard, in discussing Hillary Clinton's pandering to the DLC, points out:
Her enemies will ALWAYS paint her as a liberal, regardless of her real stands. Her name is a byword for liberalism and corruption among the right. They will fight her to their last breath. The DLC wants to use the same failed playbook it has always used, run down the middle of the road and lose to the GOP.

At the same time, all this does is alienate liberal supporters who are perplexed by her insane and pointless manuvering. Video games, abortion, all these issues do not help her. They just make her look weak and vaciliating.

John Kerry ran to the left and lost by 110K votes. He didn't hide from being a liberal and he came close enough to winning that Bush was sweating out election day. So what lesson does Clinton take from that: run to the middle. Despite every poll, every focus group that wants a strong, active Democratic party, the Democratic Loser Council wants to stay in the middle.

She keeps this up, she'll be watching John Kerry or John Edwards take the oath of office in 2009.

Why does the DLC not get it? Why does the DLC think that they can recreate 1992 when they can't even hold on to Senate seats. All their bright shining boys like Brad Carson got waxed by hard core GOP nutters. Why does she think Vichy can do anything more than appease and lose?
In other words, getting advice from the DLC on winning elections is kind of like listening to Colin Montgomerie give advice on how to win PGA tournaments. As someone who agrees with the DLC on issues like welfare reform, the death penalty, and free trade, and who has a decidedly agnostic position on abortion, it irritates me no end when this influential group wastes so much of its time running down allies who will work their asses off to get Democrats elected, including Hillary Clinton should she win the nomination in '08. Why don't they try to win something, somewhere in 2006 first?

July 25, 2005

Twelve Hours: Depending on the type of shredder used, the White House may have been able to shred up to 10,000 pages of Plame-related evidence on the night of September 29, 2003. And that's just with one shredder !

July 24, 2005

Some of you may have noticed some new additions to my blogroll, as well as other bloggers who are now missing. The explanation is, I've discovered the joys of syndication, and I can now track many more sites than I could before. The blogroll has always been mainly a tool of convenience for me: the sites listed on the right are the sites I read every day, and what has resulted is simply a lazy man's way of assembling different links without having to go through the trouble of saving them on my computer. Thanks to RSS/Atom feeds, I don't need to do that anymore, so I can prune the blogroll accordingly.

In the past, my standard for blogrolling was threefold: it had to be a site I visited everyday; it had to be published by someone accountable (ie., no pseudonyms, unless I have actually met the proprietor); or, in the alternative, it had to be someone who linked to me first. That's it; no political test, no e-mails suggesting a "link swap", or anything like that.

Recently, something has begun to bother me about a number of sites that I link to. The use of substitute bloggers, to maintain a site while the real author goes on vacation, gets operated on, or deals with events in the real world, has started to become more prevalent with the Big Feet in the blogosphere. Rather than losing that all-important ranking in the Blogger Ecosystem, or see any diminishment in the number of page visits that advertisers demand, the guys at the top of the mountain have started foisting assorted friends, flunkies and knob polishers in their stead.

I happen to believe that practice pertrates a fraud on the public. And obviously, I'm not talking about group blogs, such as the Kos universe or Hit&Run, or sites like the ones run by Drum, Marshall or Alterman (whose site is more of an on-line daily newsletter than a blog), where other writers appear as a routine policy. I'm referring, instead, to blogs such as the one you're reading, only bigger, sites that present themselves to the world as the individual expression of the person (or persons) writing them.

There is simply no substitute for the original. Bringing in a replacement while you go to the Bahamas shows utter contempt for your audience, who, after all, have made it a point to visit your blog because they want to hear your voice, not some understudy's. It is also degrading to the understudy, because it puts him in the position of an underling, existing only to maintain your traffic levels, not to develop his own audience or communicate his views.

So as to this noisome practice, I draw a line in the sand. Henceforth, my blogroll will omit any reference to blogs, even blogs that link to me, during any period that a substitute blogger is employed in place of the real thing. I regret the inevitable massive loss in traffic to those sites, but someone has to say no to this scam if this emerging medium is going to maintain any ethical standards.
This is precisely the sort of thing that will make people like me suspicious of John Roberts. Not a "dues-paying member" of the Federalist Society, just a Grand Kleagle....
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that actress Mira Sorvino has purchased a home in the Venice section of Los Angeles. The Times, which won seven Pulitzer Prizes the past two years, also published the exclusive that Ian Ziering (TV's "Steve Sanders", from Beverly Hills 90210) has put his home in Vail, Colorado up for sale.