Pausing for History

by matttbastard

Photo: Barack Obama, Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence.

“It’s times like these we learn to live again.”

Foo Fighters

(Sorry for the recent lack of updates — have been furiously livetweeting the DNC on Twitter. Follow me: http://twitter.com/matttbastard. Also, big ups to my #dnc08 snark-buddies Sylvia, Elle, Donna and Carmen D. You guys rock.)

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DNC ’08 Tweet Watch: Bipartisan Sleep Aids

by matttbastard

Republican Jim Leach’s speech gave us a view into how Obama would break partisan gridlock in D.C: by creating a mass wave of narcolepsy.

John Dickerson

Post-partisan FAIzzzzzzz.

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Kyle Payne Sentenced

by matttbastard

Lynda Waddington reports that Kyle Payne was sentenced today to 6 months in county jail:

Payne received 360 days, with 180 days suspended on each of two counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor charge. He was also given one year of probation on each count. On the charge of 2nd degree attempted burglary, a felony, Payne received an indeterminate term of prison not to exceed five years, with incarceration suspended. He will placed on probation for three years.

In addition, under a new portion of Iowa law that involves sexually-related crimes, Payne was given a 10 year period of parole. That sentence begins at the end of his regular term of probation. Because of the nature of his crime, he will not be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Iowa.

[…]

“This is the type of thing that happens, but not to you,” said the victim as she read a pre-prepared impact statement in court today. “… You might be given jail time, but for me this is like a life sentence.”

She added that since she was unconscious, Payne is the only person who truly knows what happened that night and left the implication hanging that there might have been more to the event than him partially undressing her, touching her inappropriately and shooting photographs and video.

The victim’s mother, who also provided an impact statement in court, said that the incident had “crushed the spirit of her daughter” and has fractured her ability to trust others.

“You are a sick young man,” the mother said. “I think you’ve done this before and will do it again. Our family does not accept your apology. We do not care about your self-inflicted suffering. You reap what you sow.”

So that’s it.  Justice is served.  Cold comfort for the most important person in all this: the woman Payne victimized.

h/t Lauredhel

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Quote of the Day: Literalizing a Metaphor

by matttbastard

To me, one of the problems of the paradigm of global war is that it has not signified war in the metaphorical sense, like war on AIDS, war on drugs, and war on poverty. It has signified war in a literal sense that the employment of military power, on a large scale, in pursuit of very large ambitions—like the liberation or dominance or transformation of Iraq—ought to really be the principle instrument in order to achieve our purposes. I think that takes us down the wrong road. I think, and others have argued, that a new version of containment actually provides the basis to begin thinking about how to prevent another 9/11. Not a new war, not a global war, not a protracted war. The answer to the problem is not to invade and occupy countries, which we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, but relying on other instruments of power to try to prevent Islamic radicalism from increasing its reach and its influence in the world.

I’ve reviewed [Robert] Kagan’s new book [The Return of History and the End of Dreams] in the most recent issue [of Foreign Affairs], and I was very critical of the book. I really didn’t like it, but the one thing that really bowled me over, and that I emphatically agree with, is that what the Islamists have on offer cannot win. The plan that they have, the concept for how people should live, is simply not responsive to what ordinary folk want for their lives. I mean, they are fighting against modernity, and as Robert Kagan says, that is a fight that they cannot win.

Almost everything on this struggle is on our side, and therefore we should approach it with the confidence and patience, and shouldn’t run pell-mell into these military adventures that the Bush administration has approached. Our adversaries are contemptible. Our adversaries are criminals. Our adversaries are murderers. We ought not to dignify their cause as if it were the equivalent of Marxism or Leninism or National Socialism or something of the last century, because they don’t deserve that type of status.

– Andrew Bacevich, from a recent interview with Greg Bruno of the Council on Foreign Relations

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From the Desk of John Sidney McCain, R-POW

by matttbastard

NBC Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell transcribes reports from the Straight Talk Express:

Advisors say if Obama gets “nastier” on [the ‘how many houses’] issue that opens the door for them. Advisors say the “Rezko deal stinks to the high heavens.” They will be prepared to show McCain’s “home” in Hanoi by using images of his cell. They claim they have not overused the POW element and insist they have “underused it.”

Since O’Donnell is apparently angling for a lucrative new position as McCain campaign stenographer, I’ll happily do her current job for her and challenge the notion that McCain has ever been reluctant to play the POW card:

  • McCain aired a December 2007 television ad in which Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said: “McCain has been tested like no other politician in America. As a prisoner of war, he turned down an offer for early release because he refused preferential treatment.”
  • In a January 1 Washington Post article, reporter Alec MacGillis wrote that “[a]t many of his [McCain’s] events, his campaign sets up a screen and plays for the crowd a three-minute film called ‘Service With Honor,’ telling the story of McCain’s more than five years of captivity in a North Vietnamese prison after his Navy plane was shot down in 1967. ‘He was offered early release, and he told ’em to shove it,’ says one fellow prisoner of war, Paul Galanti.”
  • At a June 26 campaign event in Cincinnati, McCain said: “When I was allowed the opportunity, given the opportunity to return home early from prison camp. I decided against that because I knew the effect that it would have on my fellow prisoners.”
  • In a June 28 speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a July 8 speech to the League of United Latin American Citizens, and a July 14 speech to National Council of La Raza Convention, McCain repeated this statement: “When I was in prison in Vietnam, I like other of my fellow POWs, was offered early release by my captors. Most of us refused because we were bound to our code of conduct, which said those who had been captured the earliest had to be released the soonest.”
  • In a July 8 McCain campaign television ad, an announcer states of McCain: “John McCain: Shot down. Bayoneted. Tortured. Offered early release, he said, ‘No.’ He’d sworn an oath.”
  • At a July 17 campaign event in Kansas City, Missouri, McCain said: “[T]he Vietnamese came to me and said, we’ll allow you to go home early because my father happened to be a high ranking admiral. Our code of conduct said that only those go home early in order of capture. It was a brave young Mexican-American by the name of Everett Alvarez who had been in prison a couple years longer than I had. So I knew I had to refuse.” Similarly, at a July 18 campaign event in Warren, Michigan, McCain said (retrieved from Nexis): “One time when I was in prison in North Vietnam and the North Vietnamese came and said, ‘You can go home early,’ because my father was a high-ranking admiral, I chose not to do that.”

A noun, a verb and POW.  That really is all they’ve got. And–surprise, surprise–instead of calling out the McCain campaign’s rank bullshit, his base is once again eagerly swallowing it without even bothering to ask for ketchup.

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What Sully Said

by matttbastard

"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"
"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"

New Political Animal head honcho Steve Benen has penned the ultimate smackdown of Ron “keep up the fight” Fournier’s bullshit op-ed-masquerading-as-analysis re: the newly announced Obama/Biden ticket (sample dingleberry of wisdom: Biden “talks too much”–yep, that’s why they pay Ron the big bucks, folks), both of which y’all should check out (assuming you haven’t yet done so). But I want to highlight something that Andrew Sullivan also noticed regarding Fournier and his blatant (if inconsistent) use of “aggressive Republican spin”:

Last spring…Fournier was lambasting Obama for arrogance [link added–mb]. Now, apparently, it’s a lack of confidence. Whatever works, I guess. But please, get a blog.

From “ooz[ing] entitlement” to lacking confidence–apparently even the DC bureau chief of the Associated Press has trouble keeping GOP talking points straight. Forget blogging — methinks Fournier should just get out of the beltway entirely, maybe score himself a nice quiet job behind the counter of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Whatever works, natch.

Related: Jack and Jill Politics rounds up a cross-section of responses to the veep announcement from POC commentators; Jimmy Orr Peter Grier provides a more, um, traditional (read: analytical) analysis; Cara is underwhelmed, skdadl is optimistic, publius is “psyched” and Hilzoy is thankful Obama didn’t pick Bayh (aren’t we all); Delaware native Shawn Mullen paints an informative (if at times fawning) portrait of Biden; various reactions from NARAL, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Wolfson, who notes that Obama’s pragmatic, traditional veep choice “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.”

Update: This is interesting:

The Washington Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier, may command speaker’s fees of up to $10,000 per appearance.

As of this writing, Fournier appears to be available for booking through the All American Talent & Celebrity Network‘s website. I called to confirm that he was still listed with the agency, but I haven’t heard back yet.

According to his speaker bio, Fournier co-wrote a book called Applebee’s America with Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd and former high-level Clinton adviser, Doug Sosnik. Appropriately enough, the 2006 book is a treatise on political marketing for politicians, captains of industry, and mega-church pastors.

AP’s ethics policy on outside appearances:

OUTSIDE APPEARANCES:
Employees frequently appear on radio and TV news programs as panelists asking questions of newsmakers; such appearances are encouraged.

However, there is potential for conflict if staffers are asked to give their opinions on issues or personalities of the day. Advance discussion and clearance from a staffer’s supervisor are required.

Employees must inform a news manager before accepting honoraria and/or reimbursement of expenses for giving speeches or participating in seminars at colleges and universities or at other educational events if such appearance makes use of AP’s name or the employee represents himself or herself as an AP employee. No fees should be accepted from governmental bodies; trade, lobbying or special interest groups; businesses, or labor groups; or any group that would pose a conflict of interest. All appearances must receive prior approval from a staffer’s supervisor.

h/t Steve Clemons

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CMA Opposes Bill C-484

by matttbastard

The Canadian Medical Association voted Wednesday (“by a wide margin”, according to the Edmonton Sun) to come out against C-484, The Unborn Victims of Crime Act:

Dr. Robert Ouellet, who assumed the CMA presidency yesterday, said the physician group opposes the bill.

“It’s not about abortion, being for or against abortion,” Ouellet said. “It’s being against making doctors criminals.”

Ouellet said the CMA has a legal paper suggesting the bill, if passed, could make a doctor who performs an abortion vulnerable to charges.

h/t Fern Hill

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The McCain Residences: A Google Earth Tour

by matttbastard

h/t cleek

The Politico (h/t Liss):

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.

“I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

John McCain: man of the people.

Also, from the ‘ruthlessly flogging parody’s lifeless carcass’ file, John Hinderaker (h/t Jeff Fecke):

The latest campaign kerfuffle is Obama’s effort to make hay out of John McCain’s inability to tell a reporter how many houses he owns. McCain mumbled something about condos and said the reporter should talk to his wife. Predictably, Obama is trying to spin this exchange as showing that McCain is “out of touch.”

I can relate, though. For example, if a reporter asked me how many ties I own, there’s no way I could answer. Just like McCain, I’d tell him he has to ask my wife. Likewise if someone wants to know how many Wii games my kids have.

[…]

Touche, I guess. The truth is that McCain isn’t out of touch with “ordinary people” because he’s rich, he’s out of touch with his own domestic arrangements because he cares little about material things, and for many years has devoted his extraordinary energies not to enjoying his wife’s money, but to serving the American people. Given the number of nights he’s spent in hotels or on military bases over the last few years, it’s no wonder he hasn’t seen much of his wife’s condos.

Apparently the wingnuts are now hell-bent on adding ‘logic’ and ‘argumentation’ to the post-9/11 rhetorical body count. (What, y’all thought they’d stop with slaying parody, irony and reality?) Alas, it seems Hindrocket didn’t get the official McCain campaign memo re: generic response to criticism before posting–noun, verb, POW:

“This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years—in prison,” referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

I’m amazed someone hasn’t yet come up with a drinking game for superfluous McCain POW references.

Related: publius on why the McCain housing gaffe transcends ‘gotcha’ politics.

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