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24 April 2007

Versus/Reversus for 24 April 2007. Hey, The Man Can do a KICK-ASS impression of Nixon. Some Comments on the White House Correspondents' Dinner and Rich Little's "Way-Back Machine" (plus Illustrative links!).

SunspinxlSpeaking of bombing:  Lots of feedback on The White House Correspondents' Dinner and the comedy stylings of Rich Little (a/k/a the "AntiColbert").  Bouncing around the interweb, I found links to both Colbert and Little so you can do your own compare-and-contrast.  Both kind of embarrassed me, though for completely different reasons.

No, that's not true--neither is merely "kind of embarrassing", considered in context;  I reckon---though of course we'll never know---that I'd have died a thousand deaths had I been present at either one.  I'm an old-fashioned gal, keenly addicted to the phrase "That's just inappropriate" (meaning, in this specific context.)

The difference is that Colbert's bloodletting is----considered outside the specific social context---political commentary that tweaked many an exposed nerve, an objective I basically favor.  Rich Little's, on the other hand, was, in Arianna Huffington's words, "a way-back machine."  I remember when Rich Little was cutting-edge enough to piss off my Nixon-loving dad. 

So which would you prefer:  unadulterated vitriol or a big cup of hot milk just like mommy used to give you at bedtime?  To read more, go to Versus/Reversus....

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16 April 2007

Versus/Reversus for 16 April 2007. A Bad, Sad, Terrible Day.

Angel2_2

  I don't really have anything to say about any of it, not yet.

For today's record of the massacre of 32 students at Virginia Tech, go to Versus/Reversus...

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10 April 2007

Versus/Reversus for 10 April 2007. Why Don Imus Should NOT be fired.

Marblestrands_3 There's no need to make a pop culture martyr of him.    I have a much better idea.

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02 April 2007

Versus/Reversus Quote of the Day for 2 April 2007! The Supremes Dis EPA policy on Car Pollution.

Claygoldxl

  The Supremes (well, the five who are not "conservative justices") had a few words to say about the EPA's policy on automobile emissions.  Read more in Versus/Reversus here....

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25 March 2007

Versus/Reversus for 25 March 2007. Paul Slansky, at the Huff Post, on the Bush Administration.

Secretgoldenflowerdamozelxl

   

I think he should stop mincing his words.  Don't you think he should stop missing his words?  I mean....wow.



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07 February 2007

Versus/Reversus for 7 February 2007. Arianna Huffington & Joe Klein---The HuffPost vs. Swampland.

Foldedredxl_1 Okay, here's what happened:  Arianna Huffington, founder of The HuffPost,  wrote a blog at and about Joe KleinIn this blog she called him a "revisionist" with respect to his position on the Iraq war.

Joe Klein deigned to respond in his Swampland blog.  In his blog, he called Arianna Huffington "the doyenne of the Hollywood left"---ouch---and set out his explanation.

Huffington responded.

Reading this back-and-forthing in the first instance got me down; seeing Klein get called out that way depresses me.  I like Joe Klein, if for no other reason than the fact that he isn't completely predictable.  I usually don't agree with him, but he seems to go much further than most in trying to find that lost middle ground. 

And while I've generally been disappointed in the press during the past several years, Joe Klein never struck me as someone who was pushing an agenda.  I always felt, though of course I can't prove this one way or the other, that he was trying to understand the issues and work around to some sort of balanced (not in the Foxian sense) view.  Even though he typically has landed much further to the right than I do, I always felt that he arrived there by a similar process. 

I don't even hold Primary Colors against him; and I love Bill Clinton.  In my experience, most Clinton-lovers are people who are uninterested in Clinton's personal failings.  We liked him as a president, end of. 

But----speaking as a Democrat since the age of Jimmy Carter---I am sincerely sick of people on both sides of the political spectrum who have a position on every issue ready made.   I won't defend Klein's integrity because I don't know a thing about it or him, but I must say I have always felt that he tries to tell the truth as he saw it.   His notion of what is true does tend to fluctuate.  So, for that matter, does mine.  Unlike Democrats of a more extreme stripe (not to mention certain members of the Bush Administration), I don't have my positions all worked out in advance.  I have often lived to retract my opinions...

Why are people who know what they think and are certain that they're right so offended by people who lack that sort of certaintyt?  And why do they get so damn wrought up about it?   

I used to think of myself as progressive---because, after thinking the issues through, I almost always land on that side of the fence---but then a friend (a pretty close friend, actually)  told me I don't qualify for the club because I'm not "committed" to progressivism.  Evidently to qualify for membership, you have to buy into a certain minimum number of items on some agenda somewhere, sight unseen.  That's not how I get my opinions.  Maybe it's not how Klein gets his.  Who the hell knows, except JK himself? 

Anyway, the Huffington/Klein debate, or quarrel, or feud, got me thinking hard about why I feel so uncomfortable when I read the writings of certain people who identify as liberals or progressives.  Even when I agree with their conclusions, I often can't see how they got there.  In many cases, they seem, just like the right-wingers I most dislike, to get their opinions all ready-made.  They're consistent and predictable, and I don't trust people who are always consistent. 

TO READ MORE, JUMP TO VERSUS/REVERSUS HERE.

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06 February 2007

Versus/Reversus for 6 February 2007. Party Games: "Let's Play Twister; Let's Play Risk!" "Ashes, ashes, all fall down!"

Roseflower2xl

It's hard to have faith anymore in the political process.  But then again, that's been the case ever since political institutions first came into being. 

"What have the Romans ever done for us?"

But after the first heady taste of victory in the final election, the question of just how the Democrats should wield their newfound power has been the two ton donkey in the room.  Should they be conciliatory and strive for bipartisan solutions for the good of the country?  Or should they administer salutary kickings all round, for the good of the country?

It seems as if they're not yet that sure how they want to play it.  In the end though, the Republicans might make up their minds for them by refusing themselves to play the bipartisan game.  That will put the Democrats in the awkward position of not being able to get anything accomplished.  It will also permit the Republicans to avoid doing anything that might upset anyone they don't want to upset, while making it the Democrats fault---assuming we're all as stupid and credulous as Republicans (notoriously) believe.  Or perhaps it will force the Democrats to throw up their hands in defeat, allowing the Republicans to rush in and save the day.

Maybe we are as stupid as the Republicans believe.  Maybe we will just patiently wait for them to stop fiddling around before the whole earth starts to sweat and burn and it's too late for anything:  Iraq, alternative fuel sources, peace in the mideast, affordable health care, educational reform, anything.

Somehow, though, I have managed to preserve my simple faith in the process.  After all, we've had our backs against the wall before and---despite venal and self-serving politicians---have managed to pull together at the 11th hour.  All we can do now is hope that the 11th hour won't be too late.

In the meantime, I'm comforted by the wise words of Garrison Keillor, who gave me "A Prairie Home Companion" and the spiritual oasis of Lake Wobegon back in the Eighties when all anyone cared about was deregulation, arbitraging, mergers, and disco-dancing. 

On the other hand, I remain disconcerted by the spectacle of two Democrats who totally agree with one another in all important respects take contrary positions on the same issue.  Who is right and who is wrong?  Hell if I can figure it out.

TO CONTINUE, JUMP TO VERSUS/REVERSUS.

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04 February 2007

The Flatland Chronicles for 4 February 2007. Polar Bear Games.

Curlywurlyxl_1 You'd think that if there was ever an issue that could unite people around the globe, it would be this one.  Maybe that will happen if people will shut up screaming at one another for being the wrong color and believing the wrong things long enough to pay attention.

Deadly tornadoes, in Florida, in the wintertime?   Yes, definitely unusual.   Or, to quote, Naomi Foner, "You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing." 

In the meantime, even the people who understand what's at stake, and how exceedingly soon, seem to be moving in slow motion.  Do politicians and pundits really think that things can continue as they are, or that once the first wave of the changes can no longer be denied,  the people who don't (presently) believe in global warming aren't going to be seriously pissed with them?

Seriously, Rush, the very people you are most likely to persuade with the whole "polar bear games" line of argument are the very ones who are going to want your head on a spike when it turns out you've misled them.  They aren't going to read the scary bad news and work out for themselves what they think, because they trust you.  Does it ever occur to you that there are degrees of being wrong, and that being wrong about an impending global cataclysm is likely to be much more dangerous than being wrong about, well, everything else? 

I suppose human beings just naturally need a human enemy.  If only we could prove that global warming was being driven by someone else.  If we could pin it on the greed and overconsumption of people who are not us, then you'd see action.

TO CONTINUE, JUMP TO THE FLATLAND CHRONICLES.

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23 January 2007

The Flatland Chronicles for 23 January 2007. The State of the President.

Sun_flowerxlHe said nothing tonight that would have surprised anyone who has been paying attention.  I didn't want to watch it after the first three minutes, so I just read the text after it was over. 

For links to that, to the Democrats' response and to some first reactions from progressives, JUMP TO THE FLATLAND CHRONICLES.

Because this blog feels both personal and political, I also linked to it at VERSUS/REVERSUS HERE.

Continue reading "The Flatland Chronicles for 23 January 2007. The State of the President. " »

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Versus/Reversus for 23 January 2006. "How to Speak Republican" at Salon.com.

MetallicsunxlIt's always interesting to hear a political tactic revealed, discussed, mulled over.  I have been hearing and reading a lot lately about Frank Lutz, wordsmith to the GOP, and though his book is unlikely to tell me anything I don't already know, I am giving some thought to purchasing a copy.  Though I'm afraid it will simply annoy me. 

His interview with Salon includes a passing reference to the brouhaha that ensued when Barbara Boxer correctly pointed out that she and Condoleeza Rice have in common one thing:  That neither will pay the ultimate price in Iraq, the loss of a son or grandchild.  This, more than anything else he said---that the Dems harm themselves by hyperbole and rhetoric---set me thinking. 

Why would a bald statement of fact be considered a slur against the Secretary of State?  She is childless.    She isn't going to be sending a child to Iraq.   She and I are alike in that respect.  Is childlessness now supposed to be a sign of inadequacy?  If not, I can't understand why all the fuss or  how in the world Boxer's comments are construed as some sort of female tactic to hurt or embarrass her.

I'm sure as hell not embarrassed to be childless.  To me, feminism means that Condi and I don't have to be hurt or embarrassed if someone mentions that we aren't breeders.  But somehow, some way, Tony Snow and various media fools and spinners have spun this into "anti-feminist" or "homophobic."  I mean, my God, what piffle.

And Luntz in speaking of this seemed to me not to distinguish between a statement which, though politically maladroit, has the ring of truth and between one which is "rhetoric" or over the top.  Which disappointed me and also amused me a bit, because apparently everyone in the media, not excluding the lovely progressives at Salon, actually believe that Americans are too stupid not to be able to separate a raw truth from some sort of slur.  Or---if you want to insist on the slur---on a raw truth embedded in an unpalatable (but then why? why? why is what Boxer said unpalatable?) characterization.

Rebecca Traister, bless her, did point out in a note at Salon Broadsheet called "Penalty Boxer" that the sainted Laura Bush made a similar statement about Rice without raising so much as an eyebrow:

All of the huffing and puffing from right-wing media about Boxer's observations that Rice doesn't have any immediate family in the military is pretty hilarious, considering that in December, First Lady Laura Bush told People magazine that Rice probably wouldn't run for president, in part because she is single and has no immediate family. "Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate [for president], is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job."

[quote ends; links in original]

Anyway, for discussion of adroit and maladroit use of language to win a political advantage, and for why I'm certain no language would be sufficiently enough to sell "realignment" ("surge") in Iraq, JUMP TO VERSUS REVERSUS.

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20 January 2007

Versus/Reversus for 20 January 2007. Bush's Face.

StonyflowersrxlOkay, first of all, let's be honest:  George Bush is a good-looking middle-aged man.   Even I can see this if  pretend when I look at him that I don't know who he is or anything about him, though I say this with pain.

This note isn't about his looks, but about his apparently rather poor control of his face (which isn't that much better than his control of his diction).  He's taken a lot of crap for both.

I don't understand what the deal is with him.  How does someone who is basically really very good-looking for his age, with regular, well-balanced facial features manage with such regularity to make such inadequate use of them?

Some of it has to do with what I have to say seems to me---this is of course a matter of opinion--- to be poor control of his face in situations where he needs to be aware of it.  While he is talking on grave matters of urgent national interest, his face has a disconcerting tendency to be (or to seem, which in politics comes to the same thing) busy sending out supplementary messages on its own account.  It ends up getting him called callous, indifferent, smug, smirky, arrogant, and other things that may not--or may because obviously there's just know way to know--- be fairly reflective of his true state of mind in the particular context.

I don't necessary agree with the conclusions that Bob Cesca reaches in his note on certain recent Bush interviews about the meaning of Bush's expressions to Bush himself, but the note did contain some photographs that nicely illustrate why Cesca and others might draw certain conclusions about Bush's feelings and beliefs.  For example---though I am a Democrat with no incentive to cut him any breaks--- I actually don't believe that Bush is completely indifferent to the gravity of the Iraq crisis and I certainly don't believe that he wishes to come across that way  when he discusses it.

But if you look at the photographs that appear in the blog entry (link appears in the note), you can see how someone, even someone completely objective, could reach that conclusion. 

JUMP TO VERSUS/REVERSUS TO READ MORE.

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23 October 2006

The Marginal Christian's Handbook (The Heretic's Handbook) for 23 October 2006.

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At the Huffington Post, there's a blog by Richard Dawkins of The Blind Watchmaker fame.  I loved that book and I like him, but I do wish he'd give up arguing that tbe truth of natural selection somehow disproves the existence of God.  It doesn't.  It only proves that God didn't literally create the earth in the exact manner described in Genesis (which only exceptionally uneducated fundamentalists now believe). 

I don't agree with him (obviously) but I don't have the time at the moment to take his argument apart the way it needs to be.  But it doesn't matter because none of the people he is apparently trying to persuade (if only by providing those who might hypothetically wish to persuade them with ammunition) are persuadable by appeals to reason.  Their beliefs might be flat-out wrong, but you won't get anywhere by trying to move them from the position "There is a personal God who created the world 6000 years ago" to "There is NO God."

It wouldn't be kind to do that if you could.  If the objective is to get them to understand that science has ruled out certain theories of how creation came about, then you first have to show them how to believe science AND retain their belief in God.  Other atheists may read Dawkins' blog and say, "Yes!  It's all so CLEAR!  How can anyone doubt this?" but he's not going to persuade anyone whose views are based on faith.

What he fails to understand is that MOST Americans have some form of religious faith.  It just isn't (usually) the crazy-ass sort that was able to hi-jack Congress after the GOP decided to pander to them specifically.  Some very intelligent people are believers.  The smartest ones take only the sayings of Christ literally and ignore everything else.

But thanks for trying, Richard Dawkins.  JUMP TO THE HERETIC'S HANDBOOK

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08 October 2006

Versus/Reversus for 8 October 2006. Real Time, Scientists and Engineers Unite, and Much Else.

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UPDATES TO VERSUS/REVERSUS:

The most recent Real Time had (in addition to my hero Bill Maher) Chris Matthews AND Richard Clarke AND John Kerry AND Lincoln Chafee.  Yes, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (who---for a Republican who won't get off the talking points--- I quite like).  Unfortunately, it also had Robin Williams.

It could have been so great.  As it was it was just really pretty good.  As a would-be centrist coming from the progressive end of the party, I was really pleased to hear from a Republican I truly respect. 

Scientists have organized to push for a presidency that properly values science.

The press continues to dwell on Foley---who seems to have unleashed the whirlwind for a fact---and, more to the purpose, various Republicans who knew about his smarmy and rather wistfully pathetic flirtations. 

Gay Republicans are feeling the blowback.  Let 'em.  I have no sympathy for people who enable those who reject them.  10.14.06.   Okay, but it's getting out of hand.  I hate what's happening, now that it's happening.  But gay people have no business in today's GOP.

Arianna Huffington pointed out that Bob Woodward's book, though well-timed (thanks, Bob!), isn't exactly news to progressives. 

Katherine Harris attacks fellow Christian Bill Nelson for not being Christian enough.  In contrast to this feebly transparent and cynical attempt to court the most ignorant practitioners of the religion of Christ for political, the Amish demonstrate hardcore Christianity---the sort that requires you to mourn the death of the fallen sinner who wrecked your life.

Finally, Jeb Bush flees protesters at a Santorum rally; and ends up hiding in a closet.  Hee.

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29 September 2006

Versus/Reversus for 29 September 2006. A Multiplicity of Things.

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Brief commentary on a multiplicity of issues---it's so hard to stay caught up with things when I never have time to blog properly during the week. 

  • A blurb about Bill O'Reilly's demo of typical neocon debating tactics.
  • The Washington Times: a commemt on Max Blumenthal's article in The Nation and George Archibald's blog at The HuffPost.
  • George Soros writes about the "war on terror" as a false metaphor; not exactly unique, but better than most.
  • Rumsfeld's surprise at "the strength of the insurgency" in Iraq and his comment that no one anticipated it (though even I did).
  • C.C. Goldwater on how the G.O.P. has changed.

Did I ever mention that I cast my first vote ever for Gerald Ford?  It's true.  And I still don't like Jimmy Carter, however good a person he may be.  He made a crap president and was the impetus for the Moral Majority which morphed at some point Christian Right.  That was back in the days when the Republican Party was still the party that believed in individual rights of privacy, of course, before Ronald Reagan decided to get in bed with the Moral Majority (okay, there ought to be a joke in there somewhere, but I'm not up to finding it) and show them where they really belonged.

I didn't like Barry Goldwater, even though I was well under 10 years old.  I didn't like him because we had African-American nannies, and they didn't like him.  What they didn't like, I didn't because when I was very young, I was closer to these amazing women who were paid very little to spend all day looking after me than I was to my parents (or anyone else, including God). 

So my first political argument ever with my parents was over Barry Goldwater when I was in elementary school, and I've been arguing ever since, even though I signed on temporarily with the GOP when I first started voting because I didn't like Jimmy Carter.  I still don't much, though of course I honor his humanitarian and diplomatic undertakings.      

But now Barry G. is looking pretty good.

Anyway, this round up demonstrates why I am no longer a Republican and doubt I could ever vote Republican again, unless of course Goldwater comes back from the dead to lead us back to the source.

CLICK HERE TO GO  TO VERSUS/REVERSUS, WHERE I STRUGGLE TO MAKE SENSE OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL REALITIES.

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23 September 2006

Versus/Reversus from 23 September 2006. The Republicans Who Stood Up Stand Down. Sigh. Other things as well.

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Since I'm not able to blog much during the week anymore, there's always way too much catching up to do on the weekends. 

UPDATES TO VERSUS/REVERSUS:

So...the magnificently principled stand by a trio of Republican Senators ends in....this.  For someone who is desperate to see someone take a nonpartisan position for the long-term good of the country----with due reference to its international reputation----this is a letdown to say the least.  As for the Democrats?  The bloggers at The HuffPost are busy ripping the party a new one for sitting the whole thing out and assenting to the outcome.  If I correctly understand the meaning of the accord,  I have to say it's not what I was hoping for.

But on the plus side, here's a comment on Bill Clinton's interview with Fox News, where he rips them a new one.  Bonus link to the full transcript, published at "Think Progressive."  Being a centrist, not a true progressive, I still love BC, so I was happy....

Finally, I hate to have to call out my own dear husband, but I couldn't let his "Reality Check" blog stand without comment.  I disagree with him about racial profiling, even when airport secuity inconveniences his beloved J.K. Rowling.

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