Friday, February 3, 2006

Quotable: Heather Hurwitz

"You have committed crimes against humanity and BushCommission.org and thousands are coming this weekend to drive you out of office, You and you whole administration. Step down Mr. Rumsfeld, Bush administration step down and take these programs with you. You are torturing people signing off on torture. It's happening. This world needs to wake up, stop this war, this criminal war."

Nerdified Link
Who is Ms. Hurwitz? Part of a group called World Can't Wait, which will be holding a march on DC tomorrow.

In solidarity.

Passings

Stew Albert & Coretta Scott King. RIP.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Quotable: Steve Gilliard on Bloggers

The problem is that we're outsiders. People for the American Way, after sitting on their hands, is now raising money after not fighting Alito, using him as a boogieman. NARAL is still backing Lincoln Chafee, despite his refusal to vote for a filibuster, and the rest remain mute as French mimes. PFAW now says "we did all we could" to stop Alito, which is, excuse my French, utter and complete bullshit. Ralph Neas must think we're idiots.

We were the only people in the fight, and they want to collect the money for it.

Second, the Washington insiders think we're their bitches. We exist to raise money, do field work and shut up.

[...]

...as long as you go along to get along, you won't be respected. As long as you rely on pols to transmit your message, you will be constrained by them.

I value my self-respect far more than party loyalty. It nauseates me to see all the right bloggers defending Bush at any price. What? Did they stop thinking? Power groupies, the lot of them.

[...]

But it's more than that. The old liberal structure is basically founded on the condescening idea that an elite is needed to protect our basic rights and promote progressive ideas, and you can see that from the Nation to NARAL.

[...]

Well, that day should end. We don't need people to fight for us, we need people to fight with us. Steve Elmendorf, one of Kerry's former consultants, said basically, well, let's figure out a way to take their money and not respond to their demands.

The sad part is people defended him because they knew him.

My response to that is "so fucking what."

Anytime someone disrespects you, you have to defend yourself. Even if you like him.


Nerdified Link
I added emphasis to a few passages. Some of the rest of his post I would have some issue with - Gilliard is ultimately a partisan Democrat, albeit one who is strongly reformist, whereas I consider myself primarily a free agent. Where he hits it right is on the observation that the Beltway insiders are elitist to the core (it's just that the Dem's elites experience "white man's guilt" whereas the GOP's elites wouldn't know remorse if it bit them). There is going to be a disconnect between the perceptions of reality within the elites' bubble and that experienced by the rest of us. One huge disconnect is with regard to the ability of the great unwashed masses to think for ourselves and to stand up for ourselves. The Beltway types have their preconceived notions of what is "good for the rest of us" and we're expected to quietly go along and fork over whatever money we have on hand. Screw that.

Gilliard also in the remainder of that post observes that there is no progressive infrastructure. To an extent, there are some bloggers among us who are trying to create one from scratch. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, but given that the wheel was broken a long time ago, and the original builders can't or won't get off their asses to fix it, we have little choice but to do some serious DIY. So it goes.

In solidarity!

Quotable: Rude Pundit Sums Up the SOTU Address

And Bush sayin' that Americans are "addicted to oil" is like your crack dealer standin' over your shakin', shittin' body and tellin' you it's time to get off the crack, but, hey, while you're doin' that, you wanna buy some crack? Nerdified Link
That line's a keeper. I was quite thankful that my wife had sent me out to do some shopping Tuesday night. She, being perhaps a bit more patient or a bit more of a glutton for punishment than am I, chose to watch the damned speech. Needless to say, when I got home, she gave Bu$hCo's performance the Simon Cowell treatment. After hearing her run-down, I figured that yet again one could find more intellectual stimulation in an episode of Ed, Edd, and Eddie or Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (either of which is also infinitely funnier than Bu$hCo). Let's face it, the SOTU is just another vapid exercise in gratuitous wankery. Nothing of substance gets said. Speaking of gratuitous wankery - why in the fuck did the Dems choose Kaine as the person to deliver that party's response? The Dems need to ditch the squares and find a speaker who will really shake things up (Cynthia McKinney would be my choice - or Conyers, or Feingold for that matter). I did regret sitting through that and the moronic babbling and drooling from the ABC commentators. I wish I had stayed out another half hour - but I really really hate shopping.

Hat tip to Conrad Spencer of Cutting to the Chase for the Rude Pundit quote.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Science Tuesday: GOP Appeals to Racists

Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.

That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

[...]

For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.

The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.

"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."

Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said the results matched his own findings in a study he conducted ahead of the 2000 presidential election: Volunteers shown visual images of blacks in contexts that implied they were getting welfare benefits were far more receptive to Republican political ads decrying government waste than volunteers shown ads with the same message but without images of black people.

[...]

"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."

Nerdified Link

Monday, January 30, 2006

Time For a Scalito Post-Mortem

First, a list of the individuals who were willing to sell out Americans' civil liberties by voting "yes" to cloture can be found here. I can honestly say that I was not the least bit surprised when I read the news. Had a filibuster actually occurred, I would have been truly shocked. I have little doubt that the new Supreme Court makeup will be a disaster for women, ethnic minorities, those struggling to make ends meet, and so on. I can see from a perusal of some of the partisan Dem blogs a great deal of anguish. Although I certainly share their disgust, I don't quite feel their pain.

Why? The thing of it is, look who makes up the Democrats' elected leadership in the Senate (and to a great degree also the House) - they're predominantly well-to-do, white, men. The same is also the case of the folks who run the party's main recruiting and fundraising organs (e.g., DLC, DNC, DSCC, etc.). These organizations and these individuals have proven time and time again by their deeds to have no understanding nor inclination to understand the worldviews of their rather diverse constituent base (or what we've been generally assuming is their constituent base). All the Dems need do, as they see it, is to keep their voters in their back pocket while they go off and play footsie with corporate elites. Perhaps it is more fair to say that it's this corporate elite that form the true Democrat base, much as it is also the GOP base - with perhaps just a bit more contrived "white man's guilt" distinguishing Dem-leaning CEOs from their GOP counterparts. To the extent that the above is the case, it follows that the Dem party has only failed its voters and activists to the extent that they have misperceived the Dems as actually representing their interests. Truth is, the Democrat party as it currently stands, does not. And I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the demise of Roe v Wade becomes the spark for all sorts of fundraising and votegetting efforts for the next generation of Dem leaders in much the same way that Roe v Wade's existence was for the current generation of GOP players. In other words, expect left-leaning activists and voters to be kept in line with "promises" that once their party is "back in power" that the protections established by Roe will be once more the law of the land - and then lift nary a finger to actually DO anything once back in power. The fact that countless poor and lower-middle-class young women will end up dead or mutilated in the wake of the soon-to-be-overturned Roe v Wade decision will be "unfortunate" but "worth the price" in order to raise more funds and hang on to power for another electoral cycle - or so we'll be told.

Perhaps I'm a bit cynical, but it's a cynicism borne of four decades of life experience. Anyone who continues to believe in either one of the two major US parties is being punked.

Quotable: Charles Bukowski

“Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything ... there has to be great pauses between highs, where you do nothing at all ... How many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry, and hateful ... So, yeah, leisure. And I don’t mean having profound thoughts. I mean having no thoughts at all. Without thoughts of progress, without any self-thoughts of trying to further yourself ... It’s beautiful.”
Hat tip to Mickey Z.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

From the mailbag: Alito filibuster edition

Worth passing along:
WE CAN STOP ALITO THIS WEEKEND
http://www.democrats.com/we-can-stop-alito

The last two days have been amazing.

Early Thursday afternoon, we broke the news that Senator John Kerry would lead a filibuster against Judge Sam Alito if he could get 41 Senators to sustain the filibuster. Three hours later, CNN confirmed our story.

Naturally, the White House freaked out and told Senator Bill Frist to schedule a cloture vote as quickly as possible - Monday at 4:30 p.m. - to prevent Democrats from uniting behind Kerry.

Then the White House called its media whores at the NY Times (David Kirkpatrick), AP (Jesse Holland), Pentagon Post (Charles Babington), CNN (Miles O'Brien), and MSNBC (Chris Matthews) and told them to trash John Kerry for daring to challenge the will of Emperor Bush, and to repeat over and over that Democrats did not have enough votes to stop Alito.

But even as Karl Rove was doing his dirty work, progressive activists like you were calling your Senators urging them to support John Kerry's filibuster.

And one by one, Democratic Senators began to turn around.

http://democrats.com/alito-48

At the start of the day, only Dick Durbin and Debbie Stabenow supported Kerry and Kennedy. Just before noon, Hillary Clinton's office called to say she supported us. Then Harry Reid came on board, along with Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Ron Wyden, Chris Dodd, and (I think) Chuck Schumer.

Most importantly, we even picked up Dianne Feinstein, who just yesterday said she opposed a filibuster.

That's 12 votes for a filibuster - and exactly 12 more votes than we had two days ago!

I believe we really can stop Alito by Monday at 4:30 p.m. - but here's what we must do.

1. Ignore the media whores. Karl Rove is feeding them lies as he always does, and they are swallowing those lies as they always do. The only media that matters is the media we are creating right here by calling each Senator and getting a YES or NO statement from them.

2. Keep calling the Senators who are undecided or opposed to a filibuster. You can call their DC office all weekend and leave polite but firm voicemails urging the Senators to support Kerry's filibuster. When offices open on Monday 9 a.m. ET, make another round of calls. Let's shut down the Capitol switchboard on Monday!

http://democrats.com/alito-48

3. Call the DNC (202-863-8000) and the DSCC (202-224-2447) and tell them your 2006 contributions will depend on the success of the Alito filibuster. Tell them they need to get every Democratic Senator on board.

4. Wake up the sleeping bloggers. Where are the biggest blogs, including DailyKos.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, CrooksandLiars.com, and AmericaBlog.com? (Complaining about how Democrats played last week won't cut it -we're in the Super Bowl and we can win this damn game if we get Democrats to play their best game on Monday - and hopefully the rest of this coming week.) Thanks to Agonist, BobGeiger, BradBlog, BuzzFlash, CultureKitchen, The Democratic Daily, DemocraticUnderground, Eschaton, Firedoglake, Mahablog, MakeThemAccountable, Mark Crispin Miller, NewsDissector, PoliticalWire, RudePundit, Vichy Democrats and everyone else who's plugging this.

5. Lend a hand to real-world groups like NOW, People for the American Way, Feminist Majority, Backbone Campaign, Moveon, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Democrats of America, and Working Assets Long Distance, which have worked tirelessly for two months to Stop Alito.

6. Call talk shows like Air America, C-SPAN, etc. and talk about what we're doing on this blog and how we're killing ourselves to stop Alito - and how we can win if everyone who cares about the future of our Democracy joins us.

7. Keep hope alive - because American Democracy is worth it!!!

http://democrats.com/alito-48

Bob Fertik

I'm considerably less optimistic than Mr. Fertik, although I've certainly done some phoning and so on recently in the faint hope that the Dems might actually do the right thing. Maybe we'll get lucky. I'm not holding my breath, and instead am already preparing the basic letter that I'll be sending to any Dem party org that dares to send snail mail or email my way in the wake of a failure to filibuster - essentially telling 'em that they'll have to pry my hard earned money from my cold, dead hands and to take me off their goddamned mailing lists once and for all.