Archive

  • Ding-Dong, DeLay is Dead?

    Via the Stakeholder , all I can is Wow : House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's footing among his constituents has slipped drastically during the past year and a majority of his district disapproves of how he handled the Terri Schiavo case, according to a Houston Chronicle poll. Nearly 40 percent of the 501 voters questioned Wednesday through Friday said their opinion of the powerful Sugar Land Republican is less favorable than last year, compared with 11 percent who said their view of him has improved. Half of the respondents gave DeLay a somewhat or very favorable rating. Yet 49 percent said they would vote for someone other than DeLay if a congressional election in the 22nd District were at hand; 39 percent said they would stick with him. "There seems to be no question that there has been an erosion in support for the congressman," said John Zogby, whose polling company, Zogby International, performed the survey. "He is posting numbers that one would have to consider in the dangerous...
  • I see dead people

    On a personal (vaguely non-politicial) note, I find the whole idea of viewing bodies lying in state quite creepy. There's something kind of disturbing about this photograph here . Maybe Catholic readers will think differently. If so, I'd be interested in knowing why. When I was in Russia in the late 1990s, I remember going to see Lenin's body, which could be viewed in his mausoleum in Red Square. His body was this kind of indescribable greenish-gray color, and his features were all exaggerated. He looked more like a wax figure than flesh, which led some people to speculate that he was, in fact, a wax figure. I tend to doubt this, because you could see the place on the side of his head where the sewed his ear back on after it fell off. In any case, it was a truly gruesome sight, made all the more horrifying by the fact that the body in front of you was somehow responsible for one of the worst tyrannies in human history. It's a difficult feeling to describe. Not to compare John Paul II...
  • Weird wingnuttery

    Powerline's Hindrocket has a strange post about an apparent error that the NYTimes made in posting its article about the pope's death. They seem to have accidentally published it before it was finished, and so it read as follows: Even as his own voice faded away, his views on the sanctity of all human life echoed unambiguously among Catholics and Christian evangelicals in the United States on issues from abortion to the end of life. need some quote from supporter John Paul II's admirers were as passionate as his detractors, for whom his long illness served as a symbol for what they said was a decrepit, tradition-bound papacy in need of rejuvenation and a bolder connection with modern life. "The situation in the Catholic church is serious," Hans Kung, the eminent Swiss theologian, who was barred by from teaching in Catholic schools because of his liberal views, wrote last week. "The pope is gravely ill and deserves every compassion. But the Church has to live. ... Powerline has a...
  • Letter to the Washington Times

    Our new hobby is writing letters to people that are sure to disregard us. Today's letter is to the Washington Times with regard to their coverage of a study on the political orientation of university faculty. We talk about it here and here , and Ezra talks about it here . The study itself is problematic (more on this later), but what caught our attention is that the Wash Times article quotes one of the study's authors as drawing conclusions that are the exact opposite of what he himself said in the study. Here's the letter, with emphasis added: On March 30, the Washington Times published a piece by Joyce Howard Price, entitled “Study Finds Liberals Dominate Faculties.” The article quotes one of the study’s authors S. Robert Lichter as saying the following: "…this is the first study that statistically proves bias [against conservatives] in the hiring and promotion of faculty members." However Lichter’s study itself says: “The results do not definitively prove that ideology accounts for...
  • Just what was Tom DeLay saying?

    It's important that Dems play their cards right on Tom DeLay's statement from the other day. There's been a lot of talk about the not-quite-veiled threat that it represent: Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo’s friends in this time of deep sorrow. But while it's been widely circulated, it hasn't been widely parsed. It seems to me likely that it's deliberately ambiguous; they're not off the cuff remarks. It's a press release; it was planned for a certain effect. It kind of seems like by "men responsible for this" he means the custodians of the "legal system" that he mentions in the previous sentence...
  • Sin City

    Like so many other bloggers ( August , Julie , Matt , Josh ) I put on non-pajama pants and emerged into the sunlight yesterday so I could see Sin City. Verdict? See it for the style. Aesthetically, the movie is like nothing I've ever watched before. And I'm shocked by how well it worked. Experiments that radical rarely run so smoothly on the first try, but Sin City's visual inventions made the film. The acting, too, was quite good, particularly from Clive Owen, who turned in a hell of a performance. So far as the dialogue goes, I disagree with August, the super-cliched 40's film noir was jarring at the outset, but settled into the movie perfectly. Unlike him, I found it so stilted as to be totally natural -- it was just part of this world, and in that context, I couldn't imagine the characters speaking differently. That said, Sin City is enormously violent. More violent, probably, than any movie you've ever seen before. There's more torture, both physical and psychological, than you'...
  • Goes to the Top

    Over at TAPPED, guest-poster Dave Meyer takes on Russ Feingold's rationale for dithering over Bolton and concludes : Without being too dismissive, Feingold's principled position comes off as a bit quaint. He wants the president to be able to pick his own team both so that he can trust his advisers and so that the people can hold the executive accountable. Fortunately, the first argument hardly applies to Undersecretary Bolton. He's up for UN ambassador, not a cabinet position; his duty is to represent the American people to the world rather than to advise the president. The second argument has been superceded by the reality of the administration's attitude. For five years, the administration has refused to hold anyone in its inner circle accountable for anything but disloyalty . I'm not sure I can buy this. First, the UN ambassador doesn't really represent America to the rest of the world, s/he represents President Bush's foreign policy prerogatives to an international organization. I...
  • Great moments in cable news

    I'm not Catholic, and I don't have any particular allegiance to the pope; but call me old-fashioned, I tend to think we should have a sense of propriety about a dying public figure. Here's from last night's Larry King . I'm not making it up: KING: Joining us now on the phone is former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who I know met with this pope on several meetings. What are your thoughts about him Nancy? NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: It was more than several. I met with him seven times, and twice alone. Which was a really wonderful, wonderful experience. But, you know, he and Ronnie had so many things in common, they both were actors. KING: Yes. REAGAN: They both loved the outdoors, loved sports. They both adored young people. They both had great senses of humor. They shared the title of a great communicator. When Ronnie was shot in '81, the pope was shot in '81. When Ronnie died in June of this year, the pope looks like he's going to die in this year. It's amazing how their lives...
  • Weekend Stuff

    Posting relief this weekend will be Michael and Heather from Here's What's Left . I'll be saying stuff too, but you're used to that already. Onward.
  • Let Go of the Lakoff

    In presenting his case for why Howard Dean's determination to make George Lakoff the Democratic Frank Luntz is the wrong strategy, Brad Plumer forgets to mention why it's completely insane. Geroge Lakoff -- I'm sorry to say -- is absolutely horrible at framing things. No, I mean it, the guy is atrociously fucking bad at it . He's a perfectly good guru because he understands what framing is and why it's important and I'm glad that Democrats are realizing we need to put some thought into our language, but Jesus Christ, has anybody actually read his book? He's the worst goddamn framer I've ever read. Democrats should be the nurturing parent? Are you kidding me? After the election, I read Lakoff's book for a review I was doing. I was stunned. The guy's recommendations seemed completely ignorant of everything else he said. Frames, for instance, bring to mind a host of contexts and other information. So the strict father frame the Republicans use immediately paints Democrats as mommy. And...

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