Wednesday, September 28, 2005

There Goes The Meanest Man That Ever Took A Breath Of Life

One of the "moral leaders" of the Republican party, former Secretary of Education and current talk show host William Bennett, has a novel idea to reduce the crime rate:
CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I've read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn't -- never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they're all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don't know what the costs would be, too. I think as -- abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

CALLER: I don't know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don't know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don't know. I mean, it cuts both -- you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well --

CALLER: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.

BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know. But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
That's right, it'd be "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible"... but you thought about it, and you think it would accomplish the goal you thought about it in regards to, and then you said it in out loud, knowing that at least some of your audience would nod and go, "Makes sense".

Why does anyone listen to or support these foul creatures?

(Cross-posted to the Digital Acoustic LiveJournal.)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Why Am I Not Reading It?" "... Because... I Haven't Given It To You Yet?"

Recently, the NY Times did something incredibly stupid: They put some of their content, including all of their columnists, behind a pay-wall. The reason this is stupid was pointed out on a blog -- I wish I could remember where I saw it -- the gist of which is, it's through their editorial section that any newspaper, and especially the Times, can influence the public dialogue. By preventing internet readers from reading the columns of Krugman, Brooks, Herbert, Tierney, Dowd, and Friedman unless they pony up fifty bucks a year, they remove them from a large part of the international conversation, effectively constraining them only to those who can physically get a copy of the Times.

Unless, of course, you're willing to wait a few days, when the columns are syndicated to sources which don't charge. Which is the idea behind Never Pay Retail.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It Is Only Out Of Sheer Morbid Curiosity That I Am Allowing This Freak Show To Continue

And, so, the highest court in the land is reduced to a game show:
Frustrated by two days of sparring with John Roberts, Democrats are down to their final chances to coax answers from the chief justice nominee on abortion, privacy and other hot-button issues before he heads to likely Senate confirmation.

Six Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats — Roberts' biggest critics so far — will try one last time on Thursday to elicit his views on a host of legal subjects before ending confirmation hearings on the man President Bush wants to replace the late William H. Rehnquist.

But Democrats expressed little hope of cracking what New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer called Roberts' "cone of silence."

"This process is getting a little more absurd the further we move," Schumer groused.

Roberts has successfully sidestepped and parried questions on how he would rule on controversial cases, and committee Republicans were so confident in the 50-year-old judge's ability to emerge unscathed Thursday they've waived any time they could use to help him recover from any potential slip-ups.

This is not a prize, you Republican gamesplayers, you scumsucking powermongers. This isn't a Kewpie doll. This is our goddamn legal system. And it's a fucking job interview.

Candidates for such positions are asked questions because We The People need to know the answers. We need to have an idea of what someone who may direct the Supreme Court for the next generation may think about the most pressing legal issues of the day. We need to know if he's interested in upholding the law or advancing an agenda, and we need to know his philosophical basis for doing so.

If you were interviewing a candidate for a job who "sidestepped and parried" your questions, would you hire him? If you were a candidate playing these games, would you honestly think the interviewer would admire your evasive witticisms -- and then make you CEO?

And the headline on the story makes me just as crazy: "Democrats Get One Last Shot At Roberts". As if it's the last reel of an adventure movie. As if it's a WWE storyline.

As if it's a foregone conclusion that Roberts will be confirmed.

There are a lot of questions about this man's record and legal thinking, questions which both he and the White House refuse to answer. Some records have been released, but nowhere near enough, and not the ones asked for. Under those circumstances, John Roberts doesn't deserve to be a judge in any court of law, let alone leading the highest one.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Careereth Ith Over - I Am Making A Horseth Asseth Of Myselfeth

Really, Colin? Glad to hear it:
The former secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, says in a television interview to be broadcast Friday that his 2003 speech to the United Nations, in which he gave a detailed description of Iraqi weapons programs that turned out not to exist, was "painful" for him personally and would be a permanent "blot" on his record.
I'd think it's slightly more painful for all the people who've fucking died because of it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Maybe I Could Turn This Thing To My Advantage

One of the biggest disasters to face our nation, ever, and BushCo is still playing politics and trying to avoid blame. The most recent talking point is that it's the locals' fault, both for not declaring an emergency until Sunday and for not requesting help, and even if they did ask for help not specifying what was needed.

This, of course, would be bullshit.

Here is the official declaration by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babnieaux Blanco of a state of emergency starting on Friday, Aug. 26, until Sunday, Sept. 25.

Here is a four-page letter, dated Aug. 28, laying out in ridiculous detail the assistance Louisiana wanted.

Thanks to The Democratic Daily for this one.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Open The Door! In The Name Of King Arthur, Open The Door! has set up a clearinghouse site for temporary housing. Hurricane Housing is both for people trying to find a place to stay and people who have a place to offer.

In a similar vein, SF writers Larry Dixon and Mercedes Lackey have set up, a relief effort site for their friends in SF/Fantasy and gaming fandom.

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