Posted by: paulwiley | August 26, 2009

RIP Teddy

News out of Massachusetts: Senator Edward Kennedy died at home in Hyannis.

Too early for me to put into words my thoughts on his remarkable life, but for now, let this stand: Our nation has lost a giant, at precisely the moment we need one.

Posted by: paulwiley | August 20, 2009

Death to the death panels

Jon Stewart just DESTROYED Betsy McCaughey, the LG of New York who gave rise to the idea of “death panels” in the healthcare bill. Video will be here as soon as I can get it off the Daily Show website.

**UPDATE**

As promised, video. Also, the interview was almost a week ago, last night was apparently a rerun.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Note to “real news”: this is what an interview looks like. McCaughey tries to be cutesy and funny to squirm out of the face of logical reality, and Stewart has none of it. Phenomenal journalism. This interview alone should win Stewart another Peabody Award.

Posted by: paulwiley | August 19, 2009

Barney the not-so-friendly dinosaur **UPDATED**

Hells yes, Barney. Go get ’em.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Barney Frank Confronts Woman At Town …“, posted with vodpod

**UPDATE**

Speaking of “vile, contemptible nonsense,” that massive blustering bigot of the airwaves, Rush “Oxys Are Like Flintstone Vitamins” Limbaugh has responded with an attack on Rep. Frank’s sexual orientation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Rush Limbaugh Makes Gay Joke About Ba…“, posted with vodpod

There is absolutely no place for that kind of bullshit in any political discourse. For decades, Limbaugh has made his millions by spewing ignorance and hatred, but this is absolutely a new low even for him. Embrace him, GOP; hug him close. You may not have made the bed, but you’ve been lying in it for long enough that this is your demon to die with (although calling Limbaugh a demon may not be fair to those creatures of the underworld).

Posted by: paulwiley | August 19, 2009

Oh for the love of….

Great video clip from the most trusted name in news, Jon Stewart:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jon Stewart Mocks CNN For New Segment…“, posted with vodpod

Here’s an idea: you want people to watch your news network? Do something new and innovative. Like report the freaking news. Like grow a pair and call a spade a spade and unequivocally destroy these stupid “death panel” lies. Or stop putting on every Joe Schmo/the Plumber who does something outrageously stupid like bringing guns to town halls with the President. For pete’s sake, there’s enough stuff going on in the world that you can fill some of that 24-hour frame with, oh I don’t know, international news. How about raising the level of discourse in this country by making sure people know what’s going on beyond their own shores, so they can see how the actions of this country affect every corner of the earth. THAT’S a news network I’ll watch: one without Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann or Sean Hannity or Chris Matthews or Glenn Beck or Rachel Maddow. I’ll make my own opinions, thank you, but bring me news that’s actually news, not the dreck you culled off Twitter for a day. Yeesh.

{/end rant}

Posted by: paulwiley | August 15, 2009

The most Scottish thing ever written

The Declaration of Arbroath, penned in 1320 and sent to the Pope, beseeching him to support Scottish independence. Scholars say it influenced the American Declaration of Independence 450 years later, and both certainly follow the pattern of appealing to concepts of popular sovereignty and divine rights, and including a list of the King’s transgressions.

As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself…

May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own.

Translation: Tell the King to leave us alone, that greedy bastard, or else we’ll bloody well fight to the last. Yea, sounds like us.

Also, I’m living here.

Also, our clan has a bad-ass crest

Clan Gunn

Posted by: paulwiley | August 15, 2009

Grand Old Party–Emphasis on “Old”

Balloon Juice did a great piece on the demographics of the TEA Party healthcare protesters, and what that means moving forward in the foreseeable political future. Money quote:

Did you see a lot of town hall screamers who are under 30? Any who aren’t white? Any who look like they have post-graduate degrees? Any who make over 200K a year (even Rick Santelli hasn’t been talking about death panels)?

Of course not. The teabaggers are old, white, uneducated, and not particularly well-off. In short, they’re part of a demographic where Republicans are already maxed out. The presence of unions and the fact that Republican policies are not economically advantageous to lower and middle-income voters put a ceiling on how much of this demographic Republicans will ever capture. And they’re pretty close to that ceiling right now.

New numbers from a Research 2000 poll show the trendlines in approval polls. Basic breakdown is that both Dems and Republicans are not viewed favorably, but the Congressional Democrats have a nearly 60-point edge on their Republican colleagues. When you can’t get anyone new, and the people you have are starting to leave… that’s the beginnings of a death knell.

Posted by: paulwiley | August 12, 2009

Sounds about right

Took one of those “political spectrum” quizzes this morning. Don’t usually put much weight in them, since I guess I’ve full-on gulped the Tom Perriello “right and wrong, not right and left” Kool-Aid, but it is fun to see what those limited definitions would yield. So, results below.

My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 4.82, Libertarian: 4.12

Don’t touch my guns, and let my gay friends get married. Sounds like me.

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -2.41

This one needs a little more refining in the questions. A lot of it was geared at domestic response to military action, and not so much the military action itself. I generally consider myself a Hitchens-esque human rights hawk, so I quibble with these results a tad.

My Culture War Stance
Score: -6.94

Yea big surprise.


Political Spectrum Quiz

Posted by: paulwiley | August 8, 2009

OK I lied

This is funny, drugs or no drugs.

Posted by: paulwiley | August 8, 2009

Streptococcus pharyngitis

Aka strep throat. I has it. And now I have hydrocodone too. So in the interest of no drug-addled prose, might be a quiet couple days. Enjoy the Hall of Fame game tomorrow night. Bills-Titans, 8 PM, NBC.

Posted by: paulwiley | August 5, 2009

The Jewish Hubris

God’s Chosen People.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of history or religion knows that that phrase refers to the Jewish people. A Jewish friend of mine once joked that with the millennia of oppression endured by his ancestors, it was about time God chose somebody else. The concept stands at the very core of the Jewish identity. My argument is that it also stands at the core of Israel’s six decades of strife.

To be clear, I am not defining hubris in the strictest sense of its Greek origins. It’s not, for the purposes here, divine retribution for prideful action. I am not saying the Holocaust or the Babylonian exile or Egyptian slavery or any of the other unconscionable horrors imposed on the Jewish people in the name of religion were in any way deserved or brought upon themselves. I instead mean hubris in a slightly modified manner: acting in a manner presupposing the importance of oneself without regard to the legitimate objections of others, and facing their very human disdain and anger that results from such actions.

The creation of a Jewish state at the end of World War Two was justified. The millions of survivors had been chased by their homes by the Nazi regime, and upon reemerging from the hell of concentration camps, found Poland and Eastern Europe under the total control of a Soviet regime that had killed more Jews than their German counterparts. Leaving the Jewish people in Europe was inviting upon them squalor, starvation, and systematic execution.

Understandable also, if not wholly justified, were the territorial expansions resulting from the wars of the 1960s. The young state faced a united Arab world that was hell-bent on Israeli extermination. Israeli tanks rolling into the Golan Heights and Sinai sent the message that Israel had the strength and will to defend herself. Negotiating to hand back over those territories later also signaled that Israel was ready for peace.

But the actions of the hard-liners to expand Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory is where the Jewish Hubris comes into play. The rhetoric of Israel’s hawkish leaders pivots on the idea of Israel being The Promised Land, promised by Yahweh to His Chosen People. The theology behind such thinking is a complicated enough matter, but basing on it an argument regarding international law is asking for trouble. Israel seems to have forgotten what it was to be a nation outnumbered, clinging to the shores of the Mediterranean without sufficient food, shelter, or medical care. That is now the reality for the Palestinians. Any argument about a possible Palestinian state ends with Israel and her supporters insisting on massive cessions from the Palestinians, for after all, this is Jewish Land, promised them by Their God as His People.

Such prideful ignorance breeds only hatred. Any man may believe whatever he believes, and should be allowed to practice that belief in peace. But when actions based on belief obscure reason and justice, the actors are not innocent victims. Unless Israel overcomes its obsession with divine choices and promises, and instead chooses to live as an equal member of the international community, her people will continue to live in perpetual fear.

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