Unacceptable

 Civilizer

I repeat myself:  why, when a people are apocalyptically stricken by any number of scourges (genocide, natural disaster, starvation), does the world see fit to sit on its hands and allow the government which makes aid almost impossible to continue to govern?  They are killing their own people, either directly through violent repression or indirectly through the incompetent or criminal diversion of aid.  At some point, the right of humans to live in a nation with a bare minimum of humanitarian conditions  must supercede the so-called “sovereign right” of a government to hold power in a country.

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All Things In Their Place Regrets The Passing Of Tim Russert

One of the few people in the news business with the brains to know what questions to ask, and the balls to keep asking until they were answered.  He will be missed.  Desperately.

“Eternal rest grant upon them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.”

 

This Diplomacy Thing Is Working Out Great: Quote Of The Day

From Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737 [2006], 1747 [2007], and 1803 [2008] in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 26, 2008:

17. One aspect of the alleged studies refers to the conversion of uranium dioxide to UF4, also known as green salt. A second aspect concerns the development and testing of high voltage detonator firing equipment and exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonators including, inter alia, the simultaneous firing of multiple EBW detonators; an underground testing arrangement (GOV/2008/4, para. 39); and the testing of at least one full scale hemispherical, converging, explosively driven shock system that could be applicable to an implosion-type nuclear device. A third aspect of the studies concerns development work alleged to have been performed to redesign the inner cone of the Shahab-3 missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a nuclear warhead.

All Things In Their Place Endorses Gay Marriage

 Civilizer

So Califor-ni-yay is all atwitter about the recent gay marriage ruling, and conservative groups are about to put their full weight behind stopping Adam and Steve from destroying the sanctity presently enjoyed by only Adam and Eve (different Adam, I would think). 

And if all these conservatives are as fat as Rush Limbaugh, that’s a lot of weight!  (Hi-oh!)

Look, people: 

   

There are 6.7 billion people on this planet, and counting. Planetary resources – oil, water, greenspace, you name it – are going the other way. The human population is and has been for some time seriously stressing the balance of planet Earth, and more and more people in the same amount of space creates conflict and resource scarcity.  Therefore, marriages that are biologically incapable of producing more of us should be not only legal, but encouraged.

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Trent Reznor Has Enough Ferraris, Apparently

I’m starting to think that somebody at one of the record labels backed over Trent Reznor’s dog. First the guy releases a brand new instrumental Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts 1-4, on the NIN website, completely independent of any industry machinery. And he makes 1/4 of the album available for free. So many people rush to download it that the server crashes, and Reznor proves that an artist at his level of popularity doesn’t need a label to do a damn thing…so Warner Brothers, EMI, and the lot of them can kiss that revenue goodbye. And that’s just off an instrumental album, it’s not like NIN dumped Year Zero out there for free or anything.

And now, gratuitously rubbing salt in the wound, Reznor goes and “drops” the new NIN record, The Slip, a real-album-with-lyrics-and-everything-no-fake, out there on the NIN website, totally for free. Not “download a low-fi version free and give me $9.99 for high-quality MP3,” but any format you want, including the audiophile geeky ones I’ve never heard of, for nothin’.

 

Next up? Oh yes…

Hillary Grabbed Working Class Voters Because Barack Didn’t

Civilizer

I think that an aspect of campaigns that often goes under-reported is how candidates define themselves in relation to their opponent. There is always a lot of ink spent and words uttered about a candidate branding themselves, defining who they are and what they’re about to the electorate. But I think what’s also important to note is how candidates make a conscious effort to contrast themselves with their opponents – not just on policy, because everyone knows that happens, but on who they are inside. Even if they have to make it up.

I think the phenomenon was most perfectly summed up in The Daily Show’s “America: The Book” with their caption underneath a picture of George W. Bush in jeans and a cowboy hat. It said something like “This East Coast, Yale-educated millionaire son of a former president ran as an outsider in the 2000 presidential election and won. Historians are still trying to figure out how the fuck he pulled that off.” Bush packaged himself this way not in a vacuum, but at least in part as a counterbalance to the more cerebral, urbane Gore.

I strongly suspect this dynamic is at work with Clinton’s mystifying appeal to the working class of this country despite her pedigree and prior idictment for snobbery. Stories about her childhood or not, she’s not grabbing Rust Belt voters because she has working class bona fides, but because these voters present a weakness of Barack Obama’s and therefore an opening for Clinton. For whatever the reason – his own Ivy League background, his exotic ethnicity and life story, his polished comportment, the arugala remark – Obama has shown an inability to connect with the blue-collar demographic with anywhere close to the same level of virtuosity he demonstrates with young or more educated voters. So Clinton, possessing a highly advantageous dearth of ethics and well-documented lack of compuntion with regards to lying, sees this as an opportunity to be for the working-class what Barack is not.

What’s basically happened is that Hillary Clinton has met a need. The professoriat turned her down for Obama, a new generation of voters came to the party with eyes only for Obama, African-Americans have thrown their lot in with Obama…but the white working class remained free agents, and free agents who were evidently underwhelmed by Obama’s story and oratory. And since politics abhors an uncaptured voting bloc the way nature does a vaccum, Hillary immediately struck a rhetorical posture optimized to appeal to the broad swath of voters across parts of the south plus the midwest and upper midwest that her campaign rightly identified as her last available redoubt. This strategy is perhaps no more evident than in her utterly stupid endorsement of the gas tax holiday…a populist bone thrown to harried people on strained budgets. She’s not capturing these votes with authenticity, she’s capturing them because in the casting call that is the 2008 presidential election, the role of “White Middle Class Mouthpiece” hadn’t been decided yet; unable to win on her own merits, she has fallen back on trying to win by being what Barack Obama is not for the people he has not been able to reach.

Hitch Strikes Again: Quote Of The Day

Christopher Hitchens in his Fighting Words column on Slate, running down former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith in the wake of Smith’s criticisms of John McCain’s temper:

He combines the body of an ox with the brains of a gnat. Indeed, if his brains were made of gunpowder and were to accidentally explode, the resulting bang would not even be enough to disarrange his hair. He moved from being the most right-wing Republican senator from New Hampshire, switching to the U.S. Taxpayers Party after a distinct absence of what we call “traction” in his presidential run of 2000, tried to rejoin the GOP when he saw a nice, fat chairmanship become vacant on the death of Sen. John Chafee, failed at that, lost the nomination in his own state, moved to Florida, endorsed John Kerry in 2004, endorsed Duncan Hunter for the Republican nomination in December last year, and was last spotted on the Web page of the Constitution Party: a Web page that’s tons of fun to check out. And this cretinous dolt, who managed to do all the above without bringing out so much as a sweat on his massive and bovine frame, is the chief character witness against the impetuous McCain. Nice work.