Monday, January 23, 2006

Keep Hope Alive

Good satire is effective satire, and it's only effective if truth and fiction can be mistaken for each other. Take this piece of reporting from 'America's Finest News Source'.

Karl Rove should already have put something like this on the political conveyor belt. Having already done a brief interning stint at DC's finest think tank, I'm sure could make a worse career move than to send in my resume to the Please Oh Please Institute.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The New Ad Hominem

I had hoped that with the plateauing of tempers in the torture debate would come the end of a particularly vacuous and sleazy technique of argumentation the Right has used rather liberally in discussing this issue. But as the FISA/NSA debate plods on, so does this cheap trick. I'm too tired tonight to fish out any of the many, many articles and blog posts of Republicans who have pushed their luck with it, but here's the script:

Civil Libertarian: Bush's affinity for secrecy is troubling. First the secret CIA torture prisons, now the news that Bush has all along been playing fast and loose with the law on wire-tapping and surveillance.

Conservative: We are talking about terrorists, damn you! How much of his finite time and energy should the president devote to ensuring that probable terrorists have their day in court?

How does anyone expect progress in the war, let alone progress in legal understanding or other ostensibly less volatile issues, when all conservatives hear, when we libertarians say "the Constitution", is "Protect terrorists now!" Why is solving a basic legal problem such as the constitutional status of American citizens suspected of terrorist activities considered by conservatives tantamount to surrender? How much of the whole cloth of law and civil justice is completely subordinated to the imperative of combatting terror? And for how long?

Gaining Perspective

Jonathan Rauch's new column is typical Jonathan Rauch - fair, dispassionate, analytical:

As egregious and unreasonable (and, frankly, opportunistic) as some of Bush's transgressions against fundamental legal and constitutional protections have been, he has been positively fastidious compared to previous presidents. Realizing that Harry Truman, the man whose prudence bore on the decision to obliterate two major Japanese cities, actually thought that nationalizing the steel industry was not only a good idea generally, but that it was plausibly bolstered by the Constitution, ought to, say, contextualize Bush's thinking. But it also ought to scare the sanguinity out of Bush's partisans over the corroding of checks and balances, and other constraints on unencumbered executive authority, that Bush has contrived for his presidency, and his war policy.

But for God's sake....nationalizing steel? I'd compare that to Bush claiming that victory over al-Qaeda is contingent on constitutionally stewarding the sanctity of marriage. Astounding.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Little Jerk...

I'm sure he's a hero and a brave soul to some. But for God's sake, he's got parents:

I'd strangle him.