Wednesday, 21 January 2004

Slumming in the blogosphere

Visiting today some regions of blogspace I usually avoid, I found one of Clayton Cramer’s observations about racism:

In general, racism of any sort tends to be strongest among people that are at the bottom of the economic ladder—and need someone below them to look down upon. If you can’t take pride in anything that you have accomplished, you can at least take pride in your race!
I wonder how Clayton would explain vile anti-gay bigotry.

The Arar Saga Deepens

Obsidian Winger Katherine R has been all over the Maher Arar case for the past couple of weeks; today she notes Juliet O’Neill’s reporting on the case, which has landed Ms. O’Neill under investigation by Canadian authorities. This report reinforces my previous suspicion that the whole situation was orchestrated from Ottawa, with U.S. authorities playing an important role of being all-too-willing to go along in making the dirty work happen. It’s clear Ottawa couldn’t have deported Arar to Syria themselves without there being domestic hell to pay—so they got us to do it for them.

Bottom line: I’m with Katherine on this: there need to be investigations on both sides of the border.

What's a fiscal conservative to do?

Juan Non-Volokh complains that fiscal conservatives have nowhere to turn:

Last night’s State of the Union included the usual laundry list of costly new proposals, further cementing President Bush’s record as a profligate spender. Even with increased economic growth, pursuing these initiatives will further delay deficit reduction. Alas, fiscal conservatives don’t have anywhere else to turn, according to this study by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. To the contrary, based on their campaign platforms, NTUF found that every one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination would increase spending even more than it has grown under President Bush.

But the question should not be “what Bush will spend” vs. “what Democratic candidate D says he will spend“. The question should be “what Bush will spend” vs. “what Democratic candidate D will spend“. Any Democrat in the White House would have a powerful brake on his profligate spending plans that President Bush does not, viz. a Republican Congress. Andrew Sullivan has realized this, even if he can’t bring himself to support any of the Democratic candidates because of such important matters as endorsements by obnoxious jerks.

Of course, the worst federal spending (being not just wasteful but downright counter-productive), viz. farm subsidies, aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But aside from farm subsidies, a Democratic president would have a hard time finding enough common ground with a Republican Congress to pass any major new spending initiatives. And with the House gerrymandered into Repblican hands for the forseeable future, there’s not much danger of a Democratic Congress coming around and allowing a Democratic president to have his way with the Treasury.

In SOTU operation

I didn’t watch much of the State of the Union Address (still working on syllabi, natch), but I did catch the tail end of it, and I sort of half-watched Chris Matthews anchoring MSNBC’s “postgame report”—the most interesting bit of which was the Frank Luntz focus group, I thought, mainly because I think those dial things they use are cool. Yes, I’m weird.

A few random thoughts:

  • Do the dipshits who applauded when they heard the PATRIOT Act is expiring realize that they almost all voted for the bloody thing? That was probably the most lopsided vote since they passed the hideous, not to mention blatantly unconstitutional, Communications Decency Act in the mid-90s. (Incidentally, blatantly unconstitutional laws appear to have this interesting habit of getting lopsided votes in Congress; someone should research this scientifically.)
  • I like the $300m for post-prison rehabilitation programs. Of course, I’d rather we decriminalize drugs and save ourselves the money, but that’s just me.
  • I suspect the gay marriage thing was actually aimed at SCOTUS, or more specifically, Sandra Day O’Connor. Guess we’ll see if she was listening.
  • At least Bush didn’t let out that Dean “crow sqwak” noise at the end of his speech.
  • Speaking of Dean, I’m shocked he failed to include Mississippi in the list of states he promised to win (Olbermann had a map thingy of the list tonight, which was entertaining). Must not be any of them voters with Rebel flags on the back of their F-150s down here…

Anyway, cover letters to write then bedtime. Toodles!

By the way, James Joyner of OTB has all the reactions linked to one convenient post.

Them's fightin' words

Patrick Carver is a wee bit upset by the one-sided nature of USM’s upcoming speaker series. I think he called Andrew Sullivan a “liberal” somewhere in there, too, but I won’t swear to it.

Fun fun fun 'till Mozilla took the T-bird away

My transition to living with Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client is complete, now that I’ve discovered the bliss that Seth, er, I mean, is the Debian packaging of enigmail (and, for that matter, T-bird; for some reason, I didn’t think it was packaged until I started fooling around today). The anti-spam features are easier than futzing with Bogospam, the IMAP support with the dovecot server seems pretty robust, and it seems reasonably fast for my purposes.