Friday, October 26, 2007

What Am I?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ha Ha!

Gore and U.N. Panel Win Peace Prize for Climate Work

OSLO, Oct. 12 — The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to Al Gore, the former vice president, and to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its work to alert the world to the threat of global warming.

The bat-shit crazy right-wing America haters can be duly expected to hit the airwaves today and denounce this one right quick. Because Al Gore? He craaazy! Just ask Charles Krauthammer! Besides, global warming is just God's way of giving us all a nice tropical vacation before the rapture. Or so my literal reading of synopses of "Left Behind" tell me.

I guess Mr. Gore will just have to take solace in his loving family, his piles of money, his Oscar, his Emmy, and now his Nobel frickin' Peace Prize.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Screw 'Em All


Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.


Although willing to oppose the White House on the Iraq war, they remain nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence.

The Democrats won the midterms last year because people are tired of this president and they are tired of his wars. They don't feel safer; they don't like the erosion of their civil rights; and no one likes the idea of the government sniffing into every phone call, every email, and every envelope that comes into or goes out of their home.

And yet, they don't get that. They're more concerned with how the Republican America-haters see them than anything else. So they sell us out, in the hopes that an unpopular president and unpopular members of Congress of an unpopular party with unpopular ideas will say nice things about them.

As we head into the next presidential election, I've noticed a lot more chatter that sounds like a replay of the 2000 race: That you can't tell the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, with "Democrats" calling talk radio to say that if Hillary gets the nomination, why they can't see how voting for a Republican could be any different, so they might just vote for the GOP next time around. It's something that seemed to have been designed to shore up the chances of the Republicans back then, when the choices were between an effective extension of a popular presidency and the functionally retarded offspring of an unpopular one. I think it's serving a similar purpose this time, when none of the Republicans are an appealing counter-representation of the party, which comes across as rich old white men who want to stay in power and for you to stay frightened. But right now, when the Democrats are caving in on every important issue, I'm starting to feel the same way, like there's not a damn bit of difference among any of them.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Real Reason Most Newspapers Lock Up Their Archives

I've been picking around the New York Times' newly liberated archives, and it's interesting what one comes across.

I did a search of "Haymarket" and "Chicago," with a date limit of 1886 to see how the Haymarket Square Riot was covered in real time. The first was this:
CHICAGO, May 7.--The war is over, unless indications are out of joint. The Anarchist has sought his hole and is burrowing as deeply as fear and the police will allow him. His braggadocio is a thing of the past, and when he comes within sight of a blue coat he no longer looks ferocious and shakes his fist; he has an attack of ague and slinks out of sight like a whipped hound. The police enjoy the situation. They feel the public is on their side, and handle their clubs with a vim they lacked a week ago. Woe to the Anarchist who forms the nucleus of a crowd. He is shown no mercy.

Sounds familiar. Anarchists, communists, terrorists ... there's always a boogeyman lurking under our beds, isn't there?

But I really liked this one, "The Plot of the Anarchists":
CHICAGO, May 22. --Police Captain Schaack, who has made himself rather ridiculous in the eyes of most people by the profound mystery with which he has surrounded his investigations into the bomb throwing on the night of May 4, has told to the Grand Jury a story which, if true, justifies his course and will cover him with glory.

The obsequious press is nothing new. I mean, they stop just short of calling the man incompetent, but if his latest tall-tale proves true, then he'll be a genius! Why shouldn't we trust him this time?
He says he can prove that a plot had been perfected which was spoiled by the premature explosion of the bomb, having in view destruction such as has not even been suggested. It was planned that on the night of May 4 a number of large fires should be started in the northwestern part of the city, and so thoroughly should the work be done that the presence of a large body of police would be required in that quarter. Then when attention was concentrated on the fires, men detailed for that purpose should visit each station house and throw bombs into each building. At the same time a concerted attack would be made on the police at the Haymarket meeting. The plot was frustrated by the explosion of the bomb before the appointed time.

Why, those wacky terrorists. Er, I mean, anarchists. They come up with huge, elaborate plans that require a clockwork precision to pull off, which is supposed to scare the bejeesus out of us, because it proves how crafty they are, but they always turn into the gang who couldn't shoot straight at a crucial moment, which is okay because the police/FBI/CIA knew about them all along and would never let anything happen to us. Except when they do. Which wasn't their fault, and besides nobody could have seen THAT coming...

But this was the part that made me feel a kind of inverse nostalgia (what DO you call it when you read something written in the past and feel an immediate connection to something in the present?):
He also says that the man who actually threw the bomb is not in custody, but that he could connect every man now under arrest in the county jail with the plot.

And because of that, nothing bad ever happened again in the city of Chicago.