Saturday, December 27, 2003
Aces and Eights
I don't even know how to "intro" the latest information about the attack in Iraq that killed 13 and wounded at least 172, killing six coalition soldiers in the process. The story tells itself, and the other progressive bloggers will tell it better than I could.
However, I zeroed in on two paragraphs.
"...(an Iraqi citizen) blamed supporters of Saddam, whose arrest was a major victory for U.S. troops, though American commanders believe the insurgency is a loose-knit organization without a rigid command and control structure."
Go to The Defense and National Interest Page , Mister Associated Press Writer. The DNI web site is one of the two conservative sites I read regularly (the other is Soldiers for the Truth ). They call this type of army a fourth-generation army, and we are completely clueless on how to handle it. What Bush doesn't get is that the lack of control structure is a STRENGTH, not a weakness.
The other paragraph:
"Also Saturday, Iraq's U.S.-led administration put bounties of $1 million each on the heads of 12 remaining fugitives from the coalition's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis.
"Administrators already are offering $10 million for information leading to the capture or death of the 13th remaining fugitive -- Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a senior official in the former regime and a Saddam Hussein confidant who now is the most wanted man in Iraq."
Nailing the point that Bush (and the AP, apparently) believe that the true leaders of the insurgents are those guys on the 55 cards. They've captured 42 of them, and things haven't got any better. Face it, Bush could have the whole deck -- but he still hasn't got a winning hand in Iraq just yet.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/27/2003 04:39:00 PM
Picked up some information that the United States government might be trying to feed us the wrong dates about Saddam's capture. And "wrong dates" might be the right term to use, if for the wrong reasons.
From the article by Thomas McCullock : you'll note that in the picture of the US troops showing us around Saddam's hidey-hole, there's a date tree with unripened dates in the background.
Here's the problem: date-harvesting season in Iraq ends in the summer/fall. Meaning that this picture was taken sometime in the Summer or Fall of 2003, if you go by what the lil' ol date tree is telling you.
So was Saddam really captured in December 2003? Or some time earlier? If you set the tin hat to "broil", you might conclude that the US captured Saddam quite early and was holding him prisoner and planned to release him in 2004 in time for the elections. However, Bush's Turkey Surprise didn't go down that well, so maybe Karl Rove....
This is the end of the Tinhat Alert. We now return you to reality.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/27/2003 12:36:00 PM
Dogpile on Dean
More words from John Kerry . Boy, this seems to be real scorch-and-burn politics. What's the next meme going to be? "A vote for Dean is a vote for Bush?" (Trust me, Greens have heard that one before, phrased a bit differently.)
Definitely not the Gore-Bradley debates here. Personally, I can understand if someone thought Kerry was a better choice in 2004 than Dean -- Kerry's politics tilt to the libertarian side, whereas Dean is a "hard core liberal" .
However, let's face it. Kerry hasn't been spellbinding, and the rule of campaigning is "thou must look good on television". Observers say that Kerry's problem is that he's become enamoured with his own oratorical brilliance -- a disease suffered by many Senators. Furthermore, Kerry's campaign has been mismanaged -- he had to fire Jim Jordan -- which lead to two more key members of the campaign staff quitting.
Dean, frankly, has captured the imagination of most of the Democrats -- the progressives chose him as the Most Progressive Candidates, and most of the fence-sitting Democrats believe that he will win the primary so they want to get on board as soon as possible. He might not have understood the Internet, but someone on his campaign staff did and he has the "technological" edge in the primary. He is an energetic campaigner, the "anti-Gore" in his approach, and he has captured the imagination of the electorate.
I understand the inclination to go negative; it's the only hope the moribund campaigns of Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman, and Clark have to pull out the election. However, this is a new meme, not that Dean stands for the wrong things, but that Dean is unelectable -- and presumably, Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman, and Clark will capture people's imagination in the same way Dean did.
As a progressive, I have some concerns. Some people believe that Mondale was hung out to dry in 1984 because Democratic insiders saw the "Carter Wing" as taking over the Democratic Party. Privately, they identified Mondale with All Things Carter, and Reagan's victory indicated that America Had Rejected All Things Carter.
I believe that the same thing is happening with Dean. Dean will be identified -- strongly -- with All Things Progressive. If Dean loses, it will be a sign that America has rejected All Things Progressive, and until another rebel Democrat comes along, progressive will be stuck with Lieberman/Kerry type democrats in 2008 and maybe even 2012.
Bush's victory alone would be a major setback. The death of a better politics in America would be a bigger one. I'm no Dean fan, but given the inclinations of the Bush administration -- and his Democratic allies -- the Democrats would bury their progressive wing. And I would probably go back to voting Green again in 2008.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/27/2003 11:09:00 AM
The Toad Elevating Moment
Or, on the lighter side of things. "Paycheck" was a kick-ass movie. More or less it's a plot driven movie with very little character development. Which is very fortunate since the leads are Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman, either of whom could be outacted by a pop-up picture book.
Just wanted to lighten up from the serious discussion.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/27/2003 02:51:00 AM
"Howard Dean, The Race Opportunist"
One of my favorite web pages is Edward H. Sebesta's Temple of Democracy web page. There, you can find a slew of links that punctures the Neo-Confederate movement quite thoroughly. It provides great ammo against Confederate apologists.
I was even more surprised that he had a blog . And of course, he has something to say about Howard Dean's Confederate flag remarks. You can find it under the November 15, 2003 entry. A word of warning to Deaniacs -- it isn't pretty.
The basic argument of Sebesta is that Dean's remarks on the flag were a three-way coded message. Sebesta deconstructs the message as:
1. Many Southerners identify themselves with the Confederacy on a number of levels . In my opinion, this is merely stating the obvious.
2. The Democratic Party cannot win in 2004 without support from the South. Opposing the Confederate flag is a disaster . I'm not entirely sure I agree with that one, but I don't see that as a particularly controversial statement.
3. The Democratic Party should try to seek an alliance "between African-Americans and Confederate-identified whites". Most of his essay deals with this point.
His first point is that it's not an alliance that can work -- African Americans are not going to form any kind of coalition with racists. His second point -- the more intriguing one -- is that any attempt to appeal to poor whites will be doomed to failure, because any time the Democratic party tries to make inroads, any subtle Republican appeal to white supremacy will undo the effort. The goal for Republicans in the South is to get poor whites to identify with wealthy whites instead of poor blacks. This is done by appeals to white supremacy, to claim that race trumps any set of similar circumstances or interests. And for the Republicans, the Confederate flag is the subtle racial plea because it serves to cloak white supremacy idelogy by reducing it to an argument about a piece of red and blue cloth with a striking design.
Sebesta doesn't come right out and say that Dean is a racist. But he identifies Dean with Tom Delay in being a racial opportunist. It's a good read; neither the current slew of Democratic candidates nor the Republicans come out the good guys in his piece.
Basically, Sebesta is arguing that the Democratic arguments -- both by Dean and by the other candidates attacking Dean for his statements -- are foolish because no one has come out and stated the obvious. To quote Sebesta:
"The Confederacy has been central to defining a white nationalist identity in the South. That is what prevents a biracial appeal in the context of civil rights in the South. To have a successful interracial coalition, there must be the understanding that the politics of separatism and racial superiority must be abandoned. What has to be said is that if you vote for a plantation politics, don't be surprised if you end up on the plantation. It has to be explained that the politics of white supremacy is inevitably the politics of some whites being supreme over most of the other whites."
In short, the way for the Democrats to win the South is not to appeal to the Bubbas out there on economic issues. Rather, the way for the Democrats to win is to attack white supremacist ideology. If you can make the ideology an issue, you deprive Republicans of their striking power. If the Republicans can't make a subtle appeal to Bubba with a wink and a nod, they lose the South.
Maybe what should be said is that, "You may love your flag, Bubba, but there are a lot of evil people that love that flag too. They know they can get your vote if they wave it enough. They'll tell you that your shared love for the Stars and Bars means that deep down in your heart, you both look at the world the same way. They'll tell you the worst kind of lies and try to sweeten them with an appeal to the Confederate dead. Don't let them." It's going to be a hard argument to make. Can subtle appeals to racism be defeated through reason? How do we, as progressives, do it?
posted by Green Voicemail 12/27/2003 02:31:00 AM
Friday, December 26, 2003
Three Feet High and Rising
FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE
And I thought this was going to be a wonderful December. We captured Saddam. In terms of a casualty ratio, this looked like it was going to be one of the safer months of our Iraq Occupation.
Not so lucky. CENTCOM just "confirmed" a slew of casualties over the Christmas holiday. I'll bet dollars to donuts CENTCOM KNEW these soldiers were dead, but in the most cynical and craven of ploys, they held off on reporting their deaths on Christmas Day. After all, it would make the administration look bad if parents got the Worst Christmas Present Ever. "Yeah, your son's actually been dead for two days, but we didn't want to spoil the Hawaii Bowl for you."
So now December 2003 hasn't been that much safer than any of the other months of our occupation. We're at Orange Level. Almost five hundred dead. And no end in sight.
American Military Casualties. Required Reading. Maybe we should have a monument for those sacrifices to Bush's foreign policy foolishness -- and that monument should be built somewhere in Crawford, Texas, so that Bush can read the names of the dead and have those names reproach him -- if he weren't already immune to such things.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/26/2003 03:59:00 PM
Suspicious Typing Activity
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform released its report card on federal computer security. Chaired by Adam Putnam (R-FL), it gave pretty shitty grades to just about every major branch of government. The USA Today report can be read here , the press release from the subcommittee can be found here .
Two items of interest:
1. Homeland Security gets an "F" in the security of its computer systems, and
2. These grades are actually an IMPROVEMENT over last year's. (What did the DHS get in 2002? An "M"? A "K-minus"?)
You can read the full report at the URL at the bottom of the press release. Too bad it's broken. Since you CAN'T read the report, all I can say is that if the person next to you at the library or at Kinko's looks suspicious, or unkempt, or foreign, use their web-based e-mail at the Department of Homeland Security Web Page (actual e-mail address kept secret -- looks like they may be having a problem with their e-mail....)
posted by Green Voicemail 12/26/2003 03:16:00 PM
The Ugly Truth About Blogging
...is that my wife doesn't know that I'm doing it. Seriously, I spend enough time hunched in front of the computer; I can hear the sighing and the rolling-of-eyes on her part, now. But let's face it...I don't WANT to watch "Trading Spaces" and all of the home-improvement stuff on TV. Not that I don't like trash TV -- I love Survivor -- but HGTV type of shows bore me.
Actually, to new readers (all three of you!), you are looking at GVM 3.0. The first one I tried and gave up on. The second one was quite interesting -- I started work and created my own list o' links on the side. The next thing I know, NTodd is writing me a letter wanting to know about the new blog. Apparently, he has a magic doohickey that lets him know who links to his blog. I told him, "no, don't post it, I want to know if I can *sustain* a political blog". There's nothing worse than a blog that hasn't been updated in a few months. THAT one fell by the wayside.
However, with 3.0, I reached sustainability. The very first time I added it as a link to my sig on the Haloscan contents, NTodd asked if he could repost the URL. So here I am! Big thanks to NTodd, Andante, Evil Mr. S., and Wanda for the housewarming party. If I slack off on content, bang on the side of the monitor for a few minutes and I'll update like a good person. Content, people...CONTENT!
posted by Green Voicemail 12/26/2003 02:35:00 PM
Homeland Security Explained Good
I've been trying to figure out this Homeland Security alert system for some time, at last, I find a great explanation from quite a while back. Makes perfect sense.
But seriously, during this season of Yuletide, we are in ORANGE ALERT, so we're supposed to be super-duper prepared. Or something. But it's still safe to shop.
Not knowing how to explain Homeland Security Good, I decided to research a history of threat levels. Since no one has ever established a Homeland Security timeline, here it is, straight from Ol' Tinheart.
1. The Threat System for Homeland Security was established on March 12, 2002. The five colors were introduced for the first time and the alert status was set on YELLOW.
2. For some brief time during the beginning of July 2002 -- around the Independence Day Holiday -- the status was elevated to ORANGE. From what I can learn, this was only for a few days; a week at MOST. The excuse given was that terrorist attacks were being planned over the holiday. The status was then lowered back to YELLOW afterwards.
3. We would get relative peace and quiet for about half a year. Then, on February 7 2003 we were back up to ORANGE again. This was during the time that the United States was trying to get the United Nations to March Along With George.
4. When the UN didn't march along, Bush played it alone. He gave Saddam "forty-eight hours t'git!" on March 17 2003. To show the world the danger we were in, he raised the threat level to...ORANGE? I couldn't find any sign between February 7 and March 17th that the level had EVER been lowered back to YELLOW. Maybe this is a special ORANGE PLUS level, kind of like the "double secret probation" at Faber College.
5. The world was safe again on April 16, 2003. Bush had declared "major combat over" on April 14th. Huzzah!
6. Oops. On May 20, 2003, we went back up to ORANGE after a series of timed suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere indicated that no, the world was NOT safer after we declared "major combat over". We stayed there until May 30, 2003, when Bush was finally convinced that an al-Qaeda terror squad was not after him. During this brief ORANGE alert spell, the president was replaced with a lifelike Muppet until we went back to YELLOW.
7. Back to sanity until December 21, 2003. France suspected that terrorists had somehow circumvented international airline security -- it had happened before with the "shoe bomber" -- and America went back up to ORANGE. As of this writing, the French have decided that there really wasn't a substantial threat, so I suspect we'll go back to YELLOW before January 2004.
Summary of above:
1. America only elevates its threat level when:
a) There is a suspicion, based on intelligence, that America is particularly vulnerable to terrorist activity, or,
b) When George Bush wants to make a point.
2. Despite a rainbow of colors, we have only ever used two: YELLOW and ORANGE. We have NEVER been to BLUE or GREEN; going to RED would bring shooting in the streets and the hoarding of cans of peaches. Think of America's threat level system as an autistic, color blind child.
I suggest a new terror alert system. Simple, and easy to understand:
Stage One: SAME OLD BULLSHIT.
Stage Two: MORE OF THE SAME.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/26/2003 12:01:00 AM
Thursday, December 25, 2003
On the new bill of sale for the Bush Administration is the new idea of faith-based prisons . The idea is being beta-tested in Florida, where Gov. Jeb Bush reigns supreme and is sure to go along with anything floated down river from Washington.
A lot of hoo-hah is being floated about by examples of inmates who "saw the light", which is then being used to justify spending huge portions of your tax dollars and mine to give to religious organizations to run these church/prisons.
The Cons are claiming from the highest mountain that these programs will dramatically roll back the crime rate. The only studies I've read are is based on data from a Brazilian prison, which states that the rate of recidivism -- the chance that a released inmate will return to prison -- is lower from graduates of these programs than for non-graduates. The other study is from data out of a New York prison -- it is inconclusive. (Sorry, no links.)
The idea is that Christian prisoners can decide to enroll in faith-based programs. No non-believer is required to participate in the program. Certainly, if one could demonstrate that participating in a faith-based program lowered one's risk of crime, I'd be all for such programs. Here, however, are the problems:
1. This is a "self-selecting study". It might be that Christian prisoners are the ones least likely to commit crimes, or that the kind of prison who signs up for these programs is the type that is least likely to commit crimes. Without strict control groups, lots of subjects and a real examination of the content of the programs, the conclusions are just about meaningless. It would be as if Gov. Bush decided to open a special prison for People Who Are Sorry For What They Did and Don't Want to Commit Crimes Again. Then, when this group of people had a lower rate of return to prison, one could imagine Gov. Bush saying, "See? My special program worked!"
2. Due to prison overcrowding, some prisoners might have to stay in these kind of prisons because they can't be moved out to a non-Christian prison. So are they going to exempt these guys from the program? Put them in solitary? Let them be preached to 24-7 by overzealous inmates? What?
I suspect that this is the reason the fundamentalists like these programs...I'm sure it would be used as a frequent excuse. "Sorry, we can't move these people out. But hey, prison is about not getting your choices. And besides, a little preaching won't hurt them. It will be GOOD for them." From there, we begin the slow roll down the slippery slope. More excuses based on "inability to transfer", and finally, the abandonment of even that flimsy excuse and mandatory 24-hour prayer services, paid for by you and me out of our money.
3. Objections are already being raised that these prisons are being offered better amenities and more privileges than non-Christian prison. Which means that the government is PROMOTING an establishment of religion. "Hey, come to our Christian prison, and we'll give you what you want, as long as you listen to our sermons. If you refuse, however, fuck you, you can sit in the holding tank with Pepe The Axe Murderer."
4. And then, we're led down the slippery slope of...whose prison? What about a Black Muslim prison? A Mormon prison? A Scientology prison? Whose beliefs will be deemed "worthy of promotion", and whose beliefs will be considered "bad"?
It's ugly. Joe is prison for raping a woman. He learns through his faith-based ministers that women are inferior to men and should be subservient to them. Ralph is in prison for killing a man who made a pass at him at a bar and learns that homosexuals are abominations and deserving of death. Toby has problems with authority and is taught that every fetus is a full-fledged human being. Jeff, his cellmate, says that abortion providers are murders. You jump to the conclusions.
Tell you what. I don't want a faith-based prison. I don't want to have to pay for a preacher; it's been years since I put money in the collection till of some hostile fundamentalist. But it makes perfect sense. God is good enough for the prisoner; neo-cons answer to a higher authority - that of money and power.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/25/2003 10:20:00 PM
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Christmas Turkey Surprise
I've been looking for Bush or the Republicans to do something sneaky while the news cycle is slow and all the reporters are on holiday. And now, Mr. Limbaugh has served a big steaming helping of bullshit to Americans. Eat up!
So, Rush, then tell me, something. If we can't look at your records and see if this "back problem" you claim is legit, are you:
a) a crook, or
b) a moron? Or did Democrats grab you and shove pounds of narcotics into your mouth?
posted by Green Voicemail 12/24/2003 03:37:00 PM
Mo Betta Christmas, Part II, or "The Top Five Christmases Since The Big One"
We'll continue to countdown.
5. Crowning of Charlemagne, 800 AD . On Christmas Day, 800, Charles Magnus, King of the Franks, was crowned in Rome as "Emperor of Rome in the West" by Pope Leo. This was an important event for a number of reasons.
First, it was a step toward an "internationalization" of the Dark Age states as the Church began to reassert its power after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Papacy was strengthened by its alliance with the powerful King of the Franks.
Second, it was the spark of the idea of a veto in one way or the other on absolute power -- by allowing himself to be crowned, Charlemagne recognized that the Pope had the RIGHT to crown him, and therefore, to withhold a crowning of a king if it so chose. Of course, the papacy would take this too far, eventually coming to the point where it believed that the Roman Catholic Church was not only the spiritual ruler of all kingdoms, but the temporal ruler as well. However, it was an introduction of a good idea -- no person's power should be absolute.
Finally, it was a great way to top off Charlemagne's reign. Charlemagne was an able fighter and an able administrator -- and an even better builder. He put the legal codes on the tax codes on more equitable bases, he was a firm believer in education (for the nobles, anyway), and he didn't seem to have an absolute contempt for the poor. Sounds like a good way to run a kingdom, if you ask me.
4. Crowning of William I of England, 1066 . After defeating the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings, William I was crowned King of the English on Christmas Day.
The populace celebrated with a riot. Among the Normans, the feeling was mutual -- it was their mistake that started the riot.
Indeed, to the victor went the spoils as William began deposing the old Saxon nobility and replacing it with Norman appointees. What makes William's rule so important was that even though his power was shaky, he was a big believer in the rule of law. He had been crowned to uphold the laws of England, and by God, he didn't consider himself exempt. He decided that rather than get rid of his Saxon enemies by force, he'd use the cover of English law to do it. He wasn't perfect, mind you, but he used English law as much as he could to get away with something.
The final results? English law was strengthened. The monarchy was strengthened. William was strengthened. England now had a tie to continental Europe, as William was also Duke of Normandy. Of course, there was over 100 years of warfare with France in England's future. But that's another story.
3. Washington Crosses the Delaware, 1776 . It's hard to really remember how bad Washington's situation was in late 1776. The British had control of Boston and New York. Washington had been forced to abandon New Jersey and was stuck in Pennsylvania. The enlistments of his troops were about to expire; it seemed that the Continental Army would vanish.
Washington might not have been the best general, but he was certainly unconventional. He decided to cross the Delaware in the dead of night and attack Trenton, one of the southernmost of the holdings of the British. Trenton was garrisoned by German mercenary troops from Hesse, the "Hessians". He had to attack, because if the Delaware completely froze over, the Hessians could cross and attack Washington's position. (They had no boats because Washington had seized them.) With floating chunks of ice in the river, it wasn't the safest of river crossings.
The Hessians were still encamped when Washington arrived and the Continentials had the garrison virtually surrounded when they launched their assault. It was over in about an hour and a half, with the Hessians being completely routed. The victory gave the undecided of America notice that the Continential Army would NOT give up the fight. And the victory broke the myth that the British would have an easy time of it. Washington's Crossing might be the most important event of the Revolutionary War.
2. The Christmas Truce of 1914 . There's not much I can say about it, but it definitely happened. What it was was basically a large-scale act of fraternization with the enemy. The rumor has it that German troops began celebrating Christmas on their side of the trenches during the first year of World War I with caroling and candle-lighting.
It was common on the Western Front for the entrenched sides to shout out comments to each other -- some friendly, some joking, some threatening and hostile. Apparently, the British applauded the Germans and began singing Christmas carols on their side, which the Germans applauded.
Before long, both sides were exchanging Christmas greetings and daring the other side to come over for a visit. Slowly, hesitantly, both sides crawled out from their positions and met in no-man's land, not shooting, exchanging greetings, impromptu gifts, even playing soccer.
The commanders of both sides made sure this was never repeated, even going so far as to order increased shelling on Christmas Day. Still, the Christmas truce was probably one of the greatest examples of the Christmas spirit overcoming all, even Europe's Great Bloody War.
1. Andrew Johnson pardons the Confederates, 1868 . The path of reconciliation between the Northern states and the defeated South was a long and hard one, going through three amendments to the Constitution, loyalty oaths, Reconstruction, and the desire of the Radical Republicans to punish the South for its rebellion and Lincoln's desire to "Let 'em up easy".
By now, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's former vice president, was the lamest of lame ducks, not even able to win the Republican nomination, having been impeached by the Senate under the flimsiest of excuses (sound familiar?). Johnson seemed to be of two minds about amnesty -- probably due to his political position, he probably had sympathy for the Southerners (he was a Tennessean), but had no wish to alienate the Radical Republicans of his party.
By this time, almost all of the Confederates taking part in the rebellion had been pardoned except for high-ranking officers. On Christmas Day, 1868, the soon to be ex-President declared a general amnesty for those formerly excluded.
Why was this so important? Because it adhered to Lincoln's philosophy that the South should be handled gently and not as a conquered state. Because it saved America from a contentious set of treason trials. And finally, because it was a great step in binding the wounds of America and a great Christmas gift.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/24/2003 03:27:00 PM
Bush Victory Assured in 2004 .
I know it's assured, he's leading Dean by 18 points. There's no way Bush won't kick Dean's ass in November.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/24/2003 11:55:00 AM
In the spirit of Christmas and in the spirit of making big ass lists, I hereby present to you the....
Ten Best Christmases After "The Big One"
10. Evangeline Booth born, 1865. A good Christmas, but we didn't know it yet. Evangeline was the child of William Booth, a ex-Methodist minister who had come up with some bizarre idea after preaching to the poor in England and getting his teeth kicked in every night.
When Elizabeth was born, Booth's new mission to the poor was about six months old. Her father's work was rough work; it certainly must have made an impression on her. When she was twelve or thirteen, Booth decided to take the discipline of his mission one step further by wrapping it up in military trappings -- calling it the "Salvation Army".
Unlike today's fundamentalism, the Salvation Army ministered directly to those at the bottom of the ladder and did everything it could think of to give the poor food, shelter, and work. "General" Booth was "promoted to Glory" on August 20, 1912 -- we might not know who he IS, but the Salvation Army is one of the best, long-lasting examples of the "social gospel" of the 19th Century.
But Elizabeth Booth would not suffer the same fate as Billy Graham's daughter, passed over for inheritance on behalf of a no-account brother. She would devote herself to her father's work, becoming a Field Commander in England, working in Canada, and in 1934 becoming the fourth leader of the Salvation Army. Even though her work isn't as well known as her fathers, no one can say that it was not as hard, or arduous. By her sacrifice and love of the downtrodden, the Salvation Army remains strong today.
9. Clara Barton born, 1821 . Clara Barton didn't HAVE to do what she did. Her upbringing might be said to be middle-class. She was a teacher. Her only experience in nursing was to take care of her brother for a couple of years. However, she was a young woman always looking for challenges.
She got one. The Civil War. She quickly threw herself into what would become her life's work, caring for the dying and wounded in the worst, most unsanitary of conditions and getting little but abuse for it. Other organizations didn't care very much for this lone Angel of Mercy being out on battlefields with a bunch of men and did what they could to stop her, but Barton was indefatiguable, making a place for herself. This alone would have been enough to earn her no small fame.
A trip to Europe after the Civil War cemented her place in history. She had heard of a organization called the Red Cross, a service organization devoted to providing help and care to those on BOTH sides of the battlefield. It was the rigor of the training of Red Cross members that impressed Barton; she served with the Red Cross in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War and was determined to found a Red Cross group in America. The group she founded is known today as the American Red Cross.
8. Isaac Newton born, 1642. Newton wasn't exactly the most friendly of people. He could be quarrelsome, boring, prickly, and was a bit of a fanatic about trying to decipher the book of Revelations. He probably cared more about deciphering Biblical numerology than her ever did about science.
However, he did the work of several. Being the co-creator of calculus ALONE would earn one fame. Being the man behind the theory of gravity, the laws of motion, optic refraction...I could go on but there's no point in it. Until Einstein was born, Newton was the person who was considered the Master Authority on Thing Scientific. He was the ultimate reference point of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, which means that every way you live your life today depends on what Newton did in the 17th and 18th centuries. The loss of Newton to the world would have been incalculable; we would probably be living at an 19th century level of technology today. As a mathematician and physicist, he had no peers -- his peers would come much, much later. I don't know if anyone around on December 25, 1642 would have thought it was a particularly GREAT Christmas, but I do.
7. The Penance of Theodosius, 376 . The Penance of Theodosius was one of the earliest of the great battles between church and state. Theodosius was the Emperor of Rome at the time, and was seen as more or less a no-nonsense ruler, not particularly fond of heretics, either -- this was Christianized Rome.
Theodosius had heard that his Master of Soldiers had been assassinated in Greek Thessalonica. His solution was to put 7000 Thessalonians to death. This put Theodosius at odds with Bishop Ambrose of Milan (who would become Saint Ambrose), who did not want to pretend in public that he could ignore this. He wrote a letter to Theodosius telling him that what Theodosius needed to do was a serious act of penance for the crime he had committed.
Whether Theodosius was singularly impressed by Ambrose or whether the Church was twisting his arm, it wasn't important. Theodosius prostrated himself so thoroughly that people felt sorry for him.
The act revealed the greatness of both men -- Ambrose, for being bold enough to ask for penance, and the Emperor, for not being afraid to offer it. THAT was a good Christmas. So tell me -- when is Pat Robertson going to write Rush Limbaugh a letter?
6. The Execution of Ceaucescu, 1989 . You'd think that somene dying wouldn't exactly be a good Christmas, but you might not have heard of Nicolae Ceaucescu.
Ceaucescu was the President of Romania during the Cold War era, if a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union could really be said to have a presidency. Ceaucescu committed the same sad litany of crimes that most Eastern Bloc leaders committed -- cults of personality, repression of the people, execution of political enemies...the same story could be told in a lot of places in Eastern Europe.
However, Ceaucesu turned his country into the virtual Basket Case of Eastern Europe, probably only slightly above Stalinist Albania. He was obsessed with getting rid of the country's $10 billion dollar debt, and begin selling the very country itself out from under the people, even forbidding Romanians from possessing more than one 40-watt bulb. He had the entire country virtually wired for sound, with a microphone in every pot and a spy on every corner.
Ceaucesu's vision of Romania had very little to do with anything approaching reality.
He hated Romania's Hungarian minority and did everything he could to hinder it, forbidding the teaching or speaking of Hungarian and arresting Hungarian men of stature. Entire villages were bulldozed under the Ceaucescu regime. The death toll mounted up.
As for a quick, quiet, death, forget it -- this was a man who sent the old out into the snow to die. He invented a new technique -- death by radiation, where you would literally be irradiated and left to die in slow, painful agony.
Finally, the Hungarians had had enough. They began to protest in the city of Timasora. Romanians began to join in, and on December 17th, Ceaucescu ordered his soldiers to fire into the crowds, killing hundreds. He thought he had broken the back of the protest.
Then the citizens of Timasora declared a general strike. The military and Securitate (Ceaucescu's Gestapo-like spy organization) were expelled. Ceacescu cut the city off from Romania...but the Timasorans WANTED to be cut off, declaring themselves independent. Ceaucescu was losing his hold.
On December 22, Ceaucescu ordered a public gathering of his supporters in Bucharest for a pro-Ceaucescu rally. Whether the group was followed by workers and students or whether rogue Securitate members sabotaged the gathering is unclear. However, Ceaucescu was surprised -- to say the least -- that his pro-Ceaucescu rally had suddenly turned into a "Death to Ceaucescu" rally. The government collapsd, and Ceaucescu and his wife (a piece of work herself) tried to flee the country as hitchhikers, but were caught, put on a quick revolutionary "trial", and executed on December 25. The videotape of their dead bodies proved shocking to say the least, the final proof that the Monster was dead.
It might not have been a *great* Christmas for Romanians, but really -- how could the future be that much worse than before?
Next Time: The Top Five
posted by Green Voicemail 12/24/2003 11:21:00 AM
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
The article almost makes you think that Ranch Rescue is some group of innocents fired on by the mean ol' Mexican Army. Until you learn about Ranch Rescue's extremist history .
Any one of a number of theories explain the truth. The two most likely are:
1. These guys are lying through their teeth, since it makes them look like Rambo facing down the Enemy Army.
2. These militiaman-wannabees took their highly explosive toys south of the border to round up dirty, filthy immigrants and ran smack dab in the middle of a Mexican Army patrol. ("Close to the US-Mexican border", my ass. I'll bet dollars to donuts these Redneck Rambos were crossing the border.) Whatever the Mexican Army was doing down there, good or bad, probably doesn't matter much.
These homegrown militia have a reputation for hassling, pistol-whipping and otherwise abusing Mexicans. I suspect that the Mexican Army put two and two together and decided not to let these guys fuck around with them-- and that's IF the incident happened at all. It would take one dead body for the Federal Government to come down on Ranch Rescue like a shitstorm.
The problem is that these Rescue guys probably wouldn't mind starting an incident of some kind, and right-wing militia squads mixing it up with a foreign army is something Bush DOESN'T need in his campaign for election (not "re-election"). Sounds like Ranch Rescue is telling tales and getting big for its britches. I smell arrests any time soon. We'll keep you posted.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/23/2003 04:41:00 PM
The current sound of crowing you hear is from those on the conservative side, now that Moammar Qadaffi has stated that he wishes to turn in whatever weapons of mass destruction the Libyans have for the cold, hard cash that comes from lifting sanctions.
This link of course, tells a different story. Once again, George W is born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. The link makes a fairly convincing argument that Qadaffi had already given up the idea of being the Grand Strongman of the Mediterranean as early as 1998, and has been fumbling toward a mellowing out since then.
The real problem for the conservatives, however, will be this one: once Libya gives up whatever ancient WMDs it might possess and if Iran decides, "What the hell? Inspect everything, we have nothing to hide", then what excuse does Israel have in possessing WMDs? I thought nuclear disarmament meant EVERYONE disarm, not "you have to disarm, but our friends don't." The Arab states will be pounding that point home for years to come, to the embarassment of the conservatives.
The fact is, once a country GETS nuclear weapons, no one ever asks it to nonproliferate. No one has asked Great Britian, France, or India to give up its nukes. Hell, no one would think of such a thing. Once you have nukes, yer in the big boys club!! My opinion is that Bush shakin' his thang in Iraq HARMS, not helps, the idea of lessening America's global stockpile.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/23/2003 10:28:00 AM
Coming up on the 26th of December is Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is probably the only celebratory holiday created for African Americans. It can be celebrated in just about any number of ways. Without going into the Swahili, the holiday promotes unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
For the most part, Kwanzaa passes without notice, since not many whites socialize with blacks enough to be invited to the celebration (c'mon, even progressives know that's true) and there are no kick-ass songs or cartoons about Kwanzaa -- YET -- so it hasn't penetrated the popular culture.
Of course, conservatives absolutely go pigshit whenever you mention Kwanzaa.
They go apeshit, and give four excuses for it.
1. Kwanzaa was founded by a bad man, so Kwanzaa must be bad.
2. Kwanzaa is a holiday for blacks, so it must be racist.
3. Kwanzaa celebrates collective action and thought, so it must be socialist.
4. Kwanzaa doesn't state that "Jesus is the reason for the season", so it must be undermining the Precious Bodily Fluids of our Unspoiled (White) Youth. Or something.
I can shoot down those arguments with four bullets.
1. No one knows who started Kwanzaa, except maybe black intellectuals. No one else gives a shit. It's an excuse to get together and chow down.
2. Conservatives are probably the last people on earth to have any credibility when they cry "racism".
3. So what's wrong with a little collective action and collective economics? Or should the spirit of the holidays be "I got mine, now you get yours?" (I suspect a libertarian Christmas must be awful, since no one actually GIVES anyone presents, you have to pay for them. Let's not even go into an Objectivist Christmas. Maybe they just celebrate the Ascension of Rand, or something.)
4. So how many fucking holidays does Jesus have already? He can't even give up a few spare days? Who the fuck celebrates the Twelve Days of Christmas anyway, except for that dumbass in the song whose lover had a bird fetish?
Here's a clue I'll sell to my conservative brethren. Most people use a holiday as a time to get together with friends and family. No one really cares about the historical origins of a holiday. Christ is RARELY mentioned during Christmas. (if someone says, "atheist shouldn't celebrate Christmas", just reply, "so when has Christ ever been mentioned during Christmas?) Hanukkah has the lighting of the candles and a story about magic oil -- frankly, Hanukkah was a minor holiday that moved in because Christians got a little too in-your-face about Christmas to the Jews.
As for Kwanzaa having no unified tradition -- being supposedly a hodgepodge of customs from distant geographical regious in Africa -- well, where's the unified tradition of Christmas?
The reason you might read this is that you might here some grumbling in conservative corners about Kwanzaa. There are attempts to discredit it every year, but not all the teaching and preaching in the world can overcome the warmth of friends and family. Frankly, if conservative white people want to "defeat" Kwanzaa, the best thing they can do for that is to start celebrating it themselves, and begin commercializing it in the great tradition of cultural assimilation. So put on your Mkeka and have a Kwazy Kwanzaa!
posted by Green Voicemail 12/23/2003 09:55:00 AM
Monday, December 22, 2003
How did Iraq threaten the United States?
A thought exercise for conservative readers.
1. Where do you stand on the idea of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Are they there, or are they not? If they ARE there, then where are they and why have thousands of dedicated searchers been unable to find them? If they are NOT THERE, then wasn't Bush's justification for the war deceitful?
2. What is Iraq's connection to al-Qaeda? If there is one, why did Bush finally admit that there wasn't one?
3. If you conclude that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and there is no Iraq-al Qaeda connection, can you give us a justification for this war?
Note: "Saddam was a bad man" is not a justification. There are bad men all over the world. The United States, in retrospect, has not only been allied with bad men in the recent past, but actively supported them with money. Including Mr. Hussein. So how does his being a "bad man" endanger Americans directly?
4. Now that Saddam has been captured, what is today's excuse for remaining in Iraq? Consult your local RNC Talking Points.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/22/2003 06:32:00 PM
Blogging on my break from work.
My link for the day , given that Rush Limbaugh has joined the spin parade. His current claim is that he was somehow being blackmailed by his housekeeper, but at the same time he doesn't want any of his medical records subpoenaed. Something about not being able to get proper care, of course. Not that he was shopping for doctors, or anything.
The reason for the link is that Mr. Limbaugh claimed that whites and blacks were not arrested at disproportionate rates for drug use. And the argument he gives his fans for those who claim otherwise? To make sure that more white abusers serve jail time. Wealthy white guys, like, oh, I'll give an example -- LIKE RUSH LIMBAUGH!!
What's really funny is to watch conservatives try desperately to apologize for Limbaugh. The problem is that their standard line of argument -- "Rush is a productive member of society, he hasn't harmed anyone but himself, what would be gained by imprisoning him?" -- sounds exactly like the progressive argument. Conservatives turning into LIBERALS when it comes to Rush; they love him so much! The libertarians have no problem with an argument like this; most of them believe in decriminalization.
And this is the crux of it. Rush is a CRIMINAL. If he were black and poor, this would be an open and shut case, since someone black and poor wouldn't be able to afford a wealthy, agressive lawyer. If he were Latino and poor, conservatives would mutter something about mandatory sentencing.
So either Rush doesn't deserve punishment -- which turns a conservative into a liberal thinker on drugs, automatically -- or Rush DOES deserve it, meaning he's a criminal. There's the tightrope.
I'd bet $20 that Rush serves no more than 30 days of jail time at the most. Rush lives in Florida. Remember the extremely harsh sentence they gave Noelle Bush? No? Of course not. Rush, like Noelle, is wealthy, white, and a friend of those who afflict the afflicted. He's now in the middle of a plea bargain, and I saw something recently that I agree with. That "plea bargain" simply means "guilty, but a rich white guy".
But what conservatives don't understand is that in the end, the truth will out. Everytime these haters try to shoehorn their hate into something socially acceptable, it fails. They can't cover it up; it repulses decent people. Rush couldn't keep from blurting out that Donovan McNabb got where he was only because he was black. Savage couldn't stop his gay bashing even though he knew thousands (well, maybe HUNDREDS ) were watching him on TV. Dr. Laura couldn't put a sweet spin on her homophobia.
Rush Limbaugh. Drug addict. Criminal. We should have known all along.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/22/2003 06:23:00 PM
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Man of the Year?
Thank God for the American soldier. Face it, Frank Hewlitt said it best,
"The Battling Bastards of Bataan, No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam, No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces, No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces, And nobody gives a damn!"
It is the soldier's fate to be forgotten in times of peace, praised in time of war, and then quickly and immediately forgotten again. Perhaps, more immediately than usually expected .
So a toast of eggnog to GI Joe. They deserve just about every award you can give them, but I wonder if they should be named Time's Person(s) of the Year of whatever.
Some background: at one time, one pristine time in the past when everything was good and pure (of course), the idea was that Time would give their Man of the Year designation to the biggest newsmaker of the Year. Hitler got the nod in 1938, and Stalin got in it 1939. They were pretty damn big newsmakers in the late thirties and these evil sons of bitches wouldn't be stopping any time soon for the next decade.
However, there was a major outcry about Hitler getting the "award". I believe that the idea was that MOTY would be a "distinction" rather than an "award", that in no way did Time Magazine believe that these guys were worthy of any praise or commendation. Rather, it was the recognition of a fact, that these figures had more to do with the news in those years than any other.
But even back in the halcyon days of yore, Time had a reputation for...flakiness. The American Fighting Man (or GI Joe -- is he somehow a different entity than "The American Soldier") picked up his first Lucey in 1950, called out of retirement to beat his helmet against the North Koreans, and later, the Chinese. But did each of these guys actually make NEWS? Say, the guy at the PX in Fort Bragg? At least, it listed, "The American Fighting Man", guys who actually did some shooting instead of guys in the Coast Guard off Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
The Hungarian Patriot picked up his first (and maybe, only) win in 1956. As the article stated, "What the Hungarians, a people of a special heritage and a unique language, did have was an overpowering common impulse, spirit or emotion, which suddenly united all classes against their enemy without the necessity of planning or leadership." In short, they were completely crazy, like the two other completely crazy Hungarians I've met in my life. (My wife, BTW, is a smidgen of Hungarian.) So who better to fight the Soviets than those magnificent Hungarian bastards, men who would fight Darth Vader, Superman, and King Kong if they thought their obscure sense of honor had been violated by one of the above?
American Scientists (all of them, even the guys at Phillip Morris) picked up a Lucey in 1961, and to top that, Young People got their Lucey (which was shared equally among all of them, none allowed to bogart it) in 1966. United States Astronauts, like Major Nelson, got a collective Lucey in 1968, and the exhausted Middle Class was given one as a consolation prize in 1969.
American Women got their recognition, every single one of them, in 1975. With such a large group, you only knew the list of designees would get screwier and screwier. In 1982, "The Computer" got a Lacey, proving that you didn't even have to be a human being to be the Man of the Year. By 1988, Time took its credibility and threw it in the dustbin by naming the Earth the "Planet of the Year".
In 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeni was named Man of the Year, which triggered a firestorm of controvery, denunciations and angry letters to the editor. Since then, Time has caved in and never named anyone who was a Bad Guy That Good Americans Hated.
I believe it is time for Time to go back to its roots and pick a single, HUMAN newsmaker to get its Man of the Year award. And in a fair, and just universe, the distinction would have to have been given to Saddam Hussein.
Frankly, he's made more news than George Bush. First, we had the Defiant Saddam Hussein, shaking his fist at the world and daring Bush Junior to make a move. After that, Saddam begin shedding identities like Madonna. During the brief Iraq War, he became the Crafty and Dangerous Saddam, the Weapons of Mass Destruction serving as his backup band. Then, Military Commander Saddam. Then Milk Carton Saddam, when he went missing. Finally, Saddam on Tape, where we got to hear Saddam praising the resistance to the American war effort from somewhere unknown.
While he was busy making the transition to Saddam on (Desperate) Tour, everyone in America was talking about Saddam. First, "What will Saddam do?", then "we beat Saddam!", then "where is Saddam?", then "why can't you find Saddam?"
Finally, he showed up as Sewer Rat Saddam. I suspect his next incarnation will be Embarrassing Saddam, where he talks about Reagan and Bush back in the days when the US was a Good Friend of Iraq and was happy to make sure Iraq satellite pictures of the Iranian Army that might help him gain the upper hand over the Ayatollah. Finally, he will either be Imprisoned Saddam, or more likely, Died In a Mysterious Accident on the Way To His Trial Saddam.
So, Saddam, wherever the hell you are, you get the Man of the Year designation from Green Voicemail. I hope it gives you comfort and you shove it up your ass and you bleed to death, very painfully, even though it is probably a teaspoon's worth of the agony you inflicted on your own country.
And, for those Cons who just can't stomach the idea of Man of the Year being Saddam, you can substitute This Guy:
as Runner-Up. Even though he didn't make half the news that Saddam made.
posted by Green Voicemail 12/21/2003 11:05:00 PM
Another Killer Nurse (TM)
From the link here.
I think I can draw a few conclusions. I remember when I worked as a nurse in Florida. I don't know if this is true -- some astute reader can answer that -- but I've been told that most employers fear lawsuits stemming from background checks, to the point that the only thing they'll reveal to your new employers is that, yes, you DID work there on the days that you claimed.
Furthermore, on most nursing applications, there is a spot that says, "have you ever been fired from or quit a job?" The applicant is given a space to explain everything. Of course, if an applicant checks "no", how is anyone to know otherwise?
The fact is, there is a severe nursing shortage in the United States. You can hit Google news and find out the details for yourself. Trust me -- hospitals were GLAD to have this guy walk in the door and agree to work. Given what I suspect, they were probably glad to see him leave, too. I'll bet they're not so glad now.
The question is, what are you going to do? How are you going to fix the system? Most of the nurses I know care for their patients. They go beyond the call of duty.
I'm going to venture a few suggestions:
a) Nationwide licensing. Every state in the country will fight it, due to the fact that the money one pays for licensing puts money in the state coffers. But frankly, it's an idea whose time has come. Even though each state asks about invalid licenses in other states -- and why they are invalidated -- there needs to be a rule -- "invalid in one state, invalid in ALL states".
b) A National Nurse Ombudsman. Sort of a snitch line, where nurses can call and report on colleagues violating standards of practice and be assured complete anonymity. Face it, in health facilities, nurses are as tight as cops. They know who is good and who is bad. They keep the secrets to themselves.
In case you want to know how they found the guy, here's how .
posted by Green Voicemail 12/21/2003 07:36:00 PM
The Three Stages of Conservatism
There are basically three stages to conservative thought. We have seen each of them since 1980 and I believe we are now in Third Stage Republicanism.
First stage . The "true believer" stage. This is the stage where you'll find the most Young Republicans. Most Stage One conservatives are committed to the ideas of conservative thought because they believe implementations of these ideas will help people. Most of these discussions are devoted to the debate of policy. The Howard Jarvis "tax revolt" and the Reagan Revolution are parts of first stage conservatism.
Second stage . More pragmatic than the first stage. A first stage conservative enters the second stage when the policies implemented by first stage conservatives don't work.
There are many ways out of the quandary. To admit that one was wrong. To say that the idea hadn't been implemented properly. Or, the second stage, where one knows that the idea is wrong but acts as if everything is well because admitting the idea was wrong would hurt the cause of conservative thought. Strict ideology is not abandoned, but it is shaken. Newt Gingrich's revolution came aground on the rock of the second stage.
Third stage . After one's truest beliefs come to naught too many times, one has either two choices. To abandon conservative thought, in whole or in part, is the first option. The SECOND option is to keep the trappings of conservative thought, but abandon any devotion to the ideology. "I know I'm wrong, and I'm going to act as if I'm right, but I don't care." It is pure cynicism, treating politics as a football game where your side wins and the other side loses, where winning is the "only thing" that is important.
This is neo-conservatism.
There are many definitions floating around regarding neo-conservatism, but this is the one I will use: "conventional conservatism stripped of its Christian underpinnings". It's a sort of very cynical conservativism -- it is not the atheist conservatism of Objectivism, but rather a conservatism adrift from any other moral thought other than the control of human beings.
Basically, neoconservatives believe that people, in mass, are dangerous and need to be controlled somehow. This is why they are "conventional moralists", since they like the idea of fundamentalism but not the handicap of having to adhere to Christian teaching. They are Christians only in the sense that being a Christian gives them some cover -- they are definitely NOT fundamentalists.
As a result, the neos can be very charming people at times, not at all rigid like the fundamentalists. However, their world view is Machiavellian at best and Darwinian at worst. Democracy works only to the extent that it keeps the mass of Americans under control. Other than that, it is an inconvenience that should be disposed of when necessary in the name of expediency.
It worships corporate power, and threatens to come close to Objectivism/libertarianism, but is rather cynical and doesn't really believe in the free market if it means that neoconservative pockets can be lined. It definitely believes in an American empire, since, well, if the world is going to be ruled someday, why shouldn't the neoconservatives run it? Besides, you can make lots of cash and get lots of pleasure in running an American empire.
Nixon was too much a true believer in anticommunism to be a true neoconservative, but his inroads to China might have revealed what he was thinking. Ford wasn't a neo, and neither was Reagan -- Reagan really believed in his own spiel, to some extent, like any good actor. Bush I was open to the idea, but probably realized the dangers of letting neo-conservatism loose on the world. He also owed much of his electoral base to Reagan. Perot was too much of a true believer to be a neoconservative. I don't know what the hell Dole was.
But Bush is a neoconservative through and through. His entire coterie are neoconservatives, with maybe the exception of Colin Powell. The only hope I have is that the Third Stage of Conservatism is its final, corrupt stage where breakup occurs. Then, we move on to the Three Stages of Liberalism....
posted by Green Voicemail 12/21/2003 03:48:00 PM
Interesting link to ponder.
Could it happen? Could Bush actually use the Phony War on Terror as an excuse to cancel the 2004 Presidential Elections? Well, according to the US Constitution, there's a problem -- Bush's term of presidency is for four years only, and not all the powers of fantasy could change that. To extend a Bush presidency indefinitely would require a constitutional amendment. Neither the House nor the Senate have the numbers for a two-thirds vote of both houses.
Even a Bush appeal to cancel the elections couldn't save him in the blue states and would once again cast the legitimacy of his presidency in doubt. What if New York REFUSED to take him up on his offer, or California? This would leave only one way to cancel the 2004 election. Force. And if that happened, Bush would become the Most Evil Man in American History.
Bush isn't going to cancel the election. Not legally, anyway. But when has THAT ever stopped a conservative before?
posted by Green Voicemail 12/21/2003 03:38:00 PM
I always like to go to www.tradesports.com and follow the bumps of the primaries and presidential election. It's quite amusing.
For betting purposes, contracts are scaled between 0 and 100. I don't know exactly how the system works, but 0 indicates "impossible to happen" and 100 indicates "has happened/absolute certainty".
Right now, the gamblers are putting Bush up 369-169 against the Unnamed Democratic Candidate. Basically, the Democrats own Hawaii, California, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland. (There is no betting for the District of Columbia, but I'm going to guess that the Dems will pick up the votes there).
So certainly, it doesn't look THAT great for the progressives. But here's a few things for conservatives to chew on:
a) The chest beating that Bush will pick up an electoral college landslide is unjustified.
Hawaii and California are Democratic locks for 2004 and it looks like the Democrats have a chance to sweep New England. Maine is 50-50, but at this point in the race, that's bad for the incumbent so I give Maine to the Democrats. Only New Hampshire, home of P. J. O'Rourke, remains in the Bush column.
b) These numbers are numbers for an UNNAMED Democratic candidate. Maybe Dean. Maybe not. But a nice chunk of money is on the progressive side, not just pocket change as the Republicans would like to claim.
c) Gambers are notoriously conservative in that they like to bet on "sure bets".
d) The election hasn't really "formed" in that the undecideds are still undecided for the most part. There really isn't anyone for Bush to actually BE against, so there's no real choice and many Dems are committed to candidates like Kerry who have little chance of getting the nomination. Those candidates will show up on the progressive side of the tally.
Now if I could figure out how to download a MAP of these predictions....
posted by Green Voicemail 12/21/2003 03:21:00 PM