October 12, 2007

SmythesWorld Revisited: On why Kaus is wrong about any long-term damage this might have to the Edwards campaign (and yes, the denials are vague enough even for Clinton to drive a semi through them). Just a reminder: Edwards is the same candidate that Ann "Jew Complete Me" Coulter was calling a "faggot" not too long ago. As long as there are no videos or love letters lying around, no one can prove nothing, and no liberal politician ever lost a vote because he was "rumored" to be a ladies' man.

October 10, 2007

At some point in the past, the British civil legal system appears to have jumped the track on certain issues. It's laws concerning defamation and libel are a disgrace to anyone who cares about free speech, and this decision, where a judge takes on the power to censor the documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is really disturbing. It might be a tad understandable if the corrections concerned misstatements of fact, although not tolerable in any country that values civil liberties. But to excise portions of the film because the judge believes them to be "alarmist" is, how shall I say it, BULLOCKS.
Shorter Mark Steyn:
"Arbeit Macht Frei "
[link via TBogg, who has a litany of other examples of poor-bashing by the fringe right]

October 09, 2007

The Kaus Curse: President Obama? It looks that way, after Mickey Kaus' prediction of the imminent doom of his candidacy.

Speaking of Mickey, his preceding post commenced thus:
Crops Rotting in the Fields! ... Oh wait. That's last year's crops-rot-in-fields story. Sorry. Here's this year's. They haven't rotted yet... [Thanks to reader C.B.] .. Update: Is the Bush administration rushing to declare a crisis and use it as an excuse to open the door to more illegals? I don't know the answer.
I'm not sure if it's sloppy editing or what, but I can swear that he's using the word "illegal" as a noun in that passage. In polite society, that's considered to be a faux pas comparable to referring to Clarence Thomas or Barry Bonds as "colored," or using the word "Jew" as a verb. It's a clear reference to a specific ethnic group (no one calls Irish or English immigrants who overstay their visas "illegals") and it's meant to be derogatory. "Illegal alien" is scarcely better, what with its origin in early-20th Century anti-Semitism and its allusion to non-humans from other planets, but at least it has some connection to immigration status. The word seems awfully harsh for what is, after all, a violation of a malum prohibitum law. Using "retard" in a sentence is no less offensive.

I'm biased, of course. As an Angeleno my whole life (so far), I live in a community that is, at its very core, Latino. Its architecture, its style, its music, its dialect, its cuisine: all have been shaped by the great and steady migration from south of the border, and that influence has been uniformly positive. L.A. has its faults, and there are times when I wished everyone spoke the same language, but I wouldn't trade a minute of living here for any other city in the world.

As far as immigration is concerned, I say, the more the merrier. The U.S. does not have a high population density, as nations go, and our past experience has shown that more immigration boosts the economy for everyone. Immigration has been the fuel that has led to the constant reinvention of American society. America as a nation can no more succeed without immigration than it could without an army.

And if there's one thing the Democratic Party has stood for over the years, it's that the party has always been pro-immigration. It was a pro-immigration party when Jefferson was President, when the party was dominated by planters and farmers, and during the Age of Jackson, when it was a coalition controlled by the slavocracy. It was pro-immigrant when it also supported Jim Crow, as well as when it was pro-silver and anti-imperialist. In fact, it was precisely the fact that immigrants constituted such a large portion of its coalition that it eventually became the engine that drove the New Deal, and later repudiated its states rights, Southern base to become the tribune of civil rights for blacks, women and gays. Believing that Americanness is something that anyone can earn through hard work and ambition is the party's birthright.

Given the choice between living in a country that provides an opportunity for someone who crosses the border without permission to work hard and earn enough money to buy a house and have his children go to college, and a country where third-rate bigots of the Malkin, O'Reilly and Limbaugh variety can whine about how the border fence isn't high enough, I know what I'd prefer. It's too bad we can't trade.

UPDATE: As to the first point, noted actor and all-around nice guy Val Kilmer writes in to suggest that, in fact, Kaus wasn't suggesting that Obama was going down, only that certain "experts" were trying to return to the Clinton fold based on a presumption that he's going to lose. Insofar as he does note a possibility that Obama can still win (just as there are some college football writers who say that USC can still "win" the BCS Title), I guess it's not exactly like his infamous prediction of Kerry's doom before the Iowa caucuses in '04. So thanks Val, and thanks Iowa.

October 08, 2007

The Republican War on the Middle Class: Apparently, living in a house you own and supporting government aid to the uninsured is enough to earn the scorn of right wing tools. Digby is in fine form here:
This is so loathesome I am literally sick to my stomach. These kids were hurt in a car accident. Their parents could not afford health insurance --- and sure as hell couldn't get it now with a severely handicapped daughter. And these shrieking wingnut jackasses are harassing their family for publicly supporting the program that allowed the kids to get health care. A program, by the way, which a large number of these Republicans support as well.

They went after Michael J. Fox. They went after a wounded Iraq war veteran. Now they are going after handicapped kids. There is obviously no limit to how low these people will go.

They'd better pray that they stay rich and healthy and live forever because if there is a hell these people are going to be on the express train to the 9th circle the minute they shuffle off their useless mortal coils.

Ditto. More here on what may be a nadir in the culture of attack politics.
Let it be said that perhaps the most significant thing Joe Torre did as Yankees' manager for a dozen seasons is the manner in which he altered the public perception of the team, from arrogant, rich symbols of corporate sports into a scrappy, classy collection of athletes. It wasn't easy to root against the Yankees while Torre was their manager. Without doubt, a class act.

Also, he skippered the team to four championships. I guess that's significant, too.