Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Jerry Orbach, Star of 'Law & Order,' Dies

Jerry Orbach, Star of 'Law & Order,' Dies - he was really the only thing I liked about the newer episodes.

As I've said before, my wife got me into watching the shows which were good but in my mind not great. A good show is one that is intelligence-respecting, well-written, and entertaining. A great show is a must watch. Examples of Good shows, for me, are "Seinfeld," "The Shield," and "Cheers."

Great shows are "The West Wing," "the Sopranos," "Arrested Development," and the heliege "Simpsons."

But "Law and Order" was decent and I liked Orbach very much - it was nice seeing a plausible Jewish cop on TV.

Backpost finished 2/15/05

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Israeli Flag for War Crimes

In the description of American "war crimes" (that's what the story, War Crimes [], calls 'em), which includes our friendly torture of the random prisoners in Guantanamo, the interrogators would torment their victims with
"humiliations such as being wrapped in an Israeli flag."
That's a direct quote.

I love this. I love the fact that our government is torturing people. I love the fact that the people in Guantanamo are denied civil and human rights. I love that the legal genius who allowed this to happen is our new Attorney General. I love that Bush is such a friend of Israel that he uses their flag as a tool of torture and humiliation.

Can one of you GOP supporters explain this to us?

Backpost finished 2/15/05

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Oh Great, More Ghraib

According to the newest reports, Guantanamo operated under similar torture rules as did Abu Ghraib: Washpost: "At Guantanamo, a Prison Within a Prison"

Maybe I'd feel better about the torture and rape if we actually were (a) not in a fictional conflict in Iraq, (b) the prisoners were dangerous people, (c) the prisoners knew something about the people who truly are trying to hurt us. Yet there have been no convictions from the torture; no proof that what we're doing is right. We fought a war - back in 1776 - to stop this kind of stuff, no?

As it is, we are just destroying people for fun. This is shameful. Again, I implore the GOPers out there, you have a voice, talk to your commandants about stopping these un-American activities before they actually become considered American activities.

Backpost finished 2/17/05, there was just a title and a link

Friday, December 17, 2004

Kerik and Rudy

So Bernie Kerik has imploded (Lapses Feared in 2000 Vetting of Kerik) - and that's saying something for a Bush appointee. Kerik's big error was to commit his felonies *before* he joined the cabinet. The sad thing is that Kerik is so terrible that Giuliani may go down because he vouched for him!

Backpost finished 2/17/05, started Dec 17 2004 with really just one insight... I don't even know if the link works.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Protocols (Blog) Over

It's big news in the Jewish Bloggosphere, Protocols has closed!

In case that announcement means nothing to you I will explain: it means nothing to me too. There's this whole world of Jewish bloggers, growing daily, with a frightening level of cross-referencing and self-congratulations. "Protocols" was considered the mack-daddy of the Jewish Blogs because it had some important people writing for it - people so important that I'd never heard of them nor felt what they had to say was worthwhile.

I can say all this with the supercilious disinterestedness of an Old School blogger - as it says on my first post, I was blogging in the days before blogs, when Netscape ruled, when Google was still an experimental site at Stanford U, when email was still called e-mail. I don't actually expect anyone to read what I'm saying either (although I appreciate your comments) - I just need a place to release my brainwaves before they begin to rot in my skull.

Protocols is (are?) over. Long live the Blog.

Backpost finished 2/17/05, - I just had the link but I think I remember what I wanted to say

Friday, December 10, 2004

O'Reilly - A New American Hero

By "new America" I mean the world that George W. Bush has created. Fox News is nearly invincible and Bill O'Reilly is the tip of the teflon. He has survived the revelation of disgusting sexual harassment because, hey, Bush is in power not Clinton.

Now, here's some more wonderful behavior this time against Jews (who are not as numerous as women, so this will also blow away): O'Reilly attacks ADL

O'Reilly doesn't like criticism and the ADL reprimanded him for responding to a Jewish caller who said

CALLER: When I was growing up -- I'm Jewish, but I was not in a very Jewish area. There were some Jews there but, I was kind of -- grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity [by introducing Christmas into schools]--

Part of O'Reilly's response:
O'REILLY: All right. Well, what I'm tellin' you, [caller], is I think you're takin' it too seriously. You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don't wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] -- if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then. I mean because we live in a country founded on Judeo -- and that's your guys' -- Christian, that's my guys' philosophy. But overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don't wanna hear about it? Impossible.
Read the whole thing; it's a hoot! Viva Bush! Viva Fox!

{2009 Update: great pic from here.}

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Shoot the Moon

The last men standing after all the cabinet shuffling is Don "Dishonor" Rumsfeld and John "Freefall" Snow (Snow to Stay on With Bush) - which makes total sense. While Bush has been, overall, one of the worst leaders of a North American republic, his very worst areas have been in economic policy and in war planning.

Then again, if you see things my way, that staying part of the Bush cabinet is a grave punishment, then actually Rumsfeld and Snow are getting what they deserve! Either way it's a clear case of 'aveira gorreret aveira'

Backpost finished 2/16/05.

FBI entrapped AIPAC

Bush is the best friend Israel has ever had - at least better than Clinton - at least better than his father - or actually, I'm not sure if he's such a friend. A few months ago there was a celebrated case where a member of AIPAC was entrapped in a FBI sting. Ya see, it seems that the FBI investigated two members of AIPAC who have been accused of spying for Israel, giving them details of the secret US deliberations with the Iranians. [Recent reports accuse them of leaking the secrets of the McShwarma]. Here's the original story (CBS news)

However, as the Jerusalem Post indicates the FBI set the whole thing up. It's pretty complicated - but as far as I can tell, the FBI entrapped two AIPAC members as part of a strange paranoid witch-hunt. As this article indicates, there's a subtle double-standard against Jews in the intelligence agencies about loyalty to Israel.

Thank you Ashcroft for keeping America safe. How many terrorists have you caught yet? None?

Backpost finished, kinda, 2/17/05. This is still difficult to finish because I still don't have all the right details...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Even the Economist

In case you're wondering what kind of lily-livered pinko bleeding-heart liberals are warning about Bush's economic policies, there's the Leftist smear rag The Economist. True, The Economist is generally seen as a conservative magazine (when they say they're Tories, they mean 18th Century style), but how can they be if they claim that Bush's trade deficits and all-around economic bumbling will soon convince the world to dump dollars in favor of Euros?

Does anybody think that Bush is doing good things for the US economy? Can anyone say that our situation is truly the aftermath of 9/11 and not the results of the first MBA president (who never ran a successful company and doesn't even know what assets he himself owns?)

Thank Jezuz that Bush has a plan to save the economy by gutting social security. His evangelist-hypnotist guru must have told him that if he really wants to channel Hoover he not only needs to lose more jobs but also to plunge the country into depression. This does explain why Bush hates social-security - how else to be Hoover but to reverse everything FDR did? The next step? Bush will un-cure polio and discontinue the dime.

Backpost finished 2/16/05 - all I had was the article link, which still works, so here goes...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Song Hall of Fame: "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen", Ren & Stimpy

Oddly enough, my obsession with Ren & Stimpy is only mentioned once before on the blog. While there is much to dislike about R&S, especially the glacial pacing and almost anything after the first year, there are episodes that are pristine in my eyes. The show is an odd litmus test, you had to have a special attraction to accurate portrayal of edgy, yet cartoonish, psychosis. I understand why people don't like it. But two episodes, Stimpy's Invention and Space Madness are pure art.

The show was known, as well, for their sick humor songs ("Happy Happy, Joy Joy" is the best known). Musically, and humor-ly, the easiest to access is the title of this post: The theme of the Kilted Yaksmen.

Unofficial Website here. Lyrics and trivia from here:
The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen Theme

Stimpy: Remember the royal anthem of the Kilted Yaksmen! (blows into a pitch pipe and begins singing as a lone piano plays in the background)

Our country reeks of trees,
Our yaks are really large,
And they smell like rotting beefcarcasses!
And we have to clean up after them,
And our saddle sores are the best,
We proudly wear women's clothing
and searing sand blows up our skirts!

(now an organ joins in as Ren begins singing)

Both: And the buzzards, they soar oooo-verhead
And poisonous snakes will devooooour us whole
And our bones will bleach in the sun!

Stimpy: That's it!

Both: And we will probably go to h(fart)ll
And that is our great reward
For being the uh-Rooooyal...

Stimpy: C'mon, everybody!

(now a big orchestra starts playing as various animals such as mudskippers, a whale, etc. start singing in bold, male voices)

Chorus: Our country reeks of trees,
Our yaks are really large,
And they smell like rotting beef carcasses!
And we have to clean up after them,
And our saddle sores are the best,
We proudly wear women's clothing
and searing sand blows up our skirts!
And the buzzards they soar oooo-verhead,
And poisonous snakes will devooooour us whole,
Our bones will bleach in the sun!
And we will probably go to h(fart)ll
And that is our great reward,
For being the uh-Rooooyal...
Backpost finished 2009-12-14.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies

Remember this about Holland: they are the first to legalize drugs, prostitution, and euthanasia - all in the name of social liberalism and progress - and it makes Holland feel like the front-lines of Sodom. Need proof about how libertines become cruel and inhuman? Check today's news:
Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies

AP - AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A hospital in the Netherlands — the first nation to permit euthanasia — recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.
If I ever get sick in Holland - if MY KID gets sick in Holland - drop everything and get me the hell out of there. Drag me to Germany even, just keep me away from that charnel-house.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ridge Resigns Homeland Post

This makes what, 7? 8? resignations (AP: Ridge Resigns Homeland Post). Wouldn't it be great if Bush, dizzy with all the resignations, high on crank, gets confused and resigns as well? Yeah!

{2009 Update, great clown Ridge pic from here.}

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Biur Biur Biur

It turns out that the "Biur Chametz" dude (dudette?) is a friend of mine. He/She links to my post, and comments on it, here. Our conversation will soon be featured on the Fox telecast of "When Blogs Collide!"

Friday, November 26, 2004

More Support for the Psak

Turns out that I was not the only one dealing with this halakhic issue. Some blogger wrote about it and you can see his discussion here. DO NOT BE FOOLED - his blog "Biur Chametz" looks exactly like mine. Rackenfracken templates, now I have to change the colors!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Real Cheese

For those who are skeptical about the dollar value for the hello kitty grilled cheese, see this story in Slate about the $28000 original. Note, I made a cheese sandwich this morning (and am in the process of eating it) and, hey, it looks like a cloud.

Hello Kitty Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Bid quickly - especially if you were outbid on the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich, the Hello Kitty Sandwich is still available:
eBay item 5536791340 (Ends Nov-25-04 14:19:11 PST) - A Cute Miracle! Hello Kitty Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Psak Reaction

I wrote that two weeks ago I ruled that the shul wouldn't say tachanun in reaction to the death of Arafat. While most of the congregation applauded the loss of tachanun, if not the loss of our enemy, there was some opposition. One member asked me for the sources of the halakha and I have spent the time since shoring up the halakhic support for the psak.

First of all, the Shulchan Arukh is very clear in Orech Chaim 575:11-13 that when we fast for rain, and the rain falls, we can say Hallel. Siman 576 then expands the need to fast to all difficult situations - including a feared enemy.

In any case, every shul Rav I've spoken to agrees that we have the power to suspend tachanun for a communal simcha, but that wasn't enough for the textually minded. Two poskim - one black, one white - ruled on the matter. Rav Nachum Rabinovich, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ma'ale Adumim, agreed with my decision (said that I did the right thing) and said that since tachanun was a minhag, I as Maara d'Atra could make that decision.

Rav Ephraim Greenblatt (the famed Rivevot Ephraim, whom I know from Memphis) was less enthusiastic about my ruling but said that I had halakhic grounding, specifically the Chaya Adam, klal 155, siman 41.

Rav Greenblatt pointed out that people associate omitting tachanun with the death of a tzadik and thus my psak was difficult. I explained that the omission of tachanun is only with the yahrzeit of a tzadik - the death of a tzadik (according to the Shulchan Arukh) requires everyone who hears to tear kriah! However, the death of an enemy requires rejoicing and the yahrzeit is forgotten (because of the yimach-shemo stuff)

Since then, it was pointed out to me that there were those in Israel who ruled the same as I: see this story from (ugh) Arutz-7.

It's gratifying to know that my halakhic-intuition was on the mark.

Elvis Has Arrived

A successful low-ball purchasing spree from Digitaleyes yielded [dramatic music] Bubba Ho-Tep! You remember, the Elvis vs. Mummy movie with Bruce Campbell. Yeah, that one.

Thank you... thank you very much.

Monday, November 22, 2004

And this was a Blue State

According to this New York Times story (5 Killed in Hunting Dispute in Wisconsin):
BIRCHWOOD, Wis. (AP) -- As several deer hunters made their way through the woods of northern Wisconsin, they were startled to come upon a stranger in their tree stand. .... Asked to leave, the trespasser, wearing blaze-orange and carrying a semiautomatic assault rifle, opened fire on the hunters and didn't stop until his 20-round clip was empty, leaving five people dead and three wounded, authorities said.
Makes you feel glad the assault weapon ban was led to die in Congress. Or else these men would have been killed by a crazed deer!

{2009 Update: link fixed to this CBS story. And pic of crazy gun from here.}

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Here We Go With Stage Two

If I ever run for public office, I believe my platform will begin with a public condemnation of PETA. The "animal rights" organization is filled with pernicious wrong-headed views (that would allow me to bash the Left). The newest stage of their lunacy: Fish Rights.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Hatzoloh Should Recruit Him

According to this AP story, David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame is becoming an EMT in New York City.

He's Jewish, so I think Hatzoloh should give him a call. How cool is that?

Monday, November 15, 2004

Political Discourse: Texas Style

Put up your dukes.

Getting Messy

The world is getting messy quick. Colin Powell resigned from Sec. of State today and considering who they have to replace Ashcroft, I expect Zell Miller to be the replacement. Goss, the new CIA chief is leading a "shakeup" (to use the Times term), Condeleeza Rice may be the new State (which means a new Nat Sec Director) and ODB died. A full week.

The CIA story is the most important in my eyes. This is simultaneous with a shakeup in the FBI and the new department of concentrated Intelligence Agencies (or whatever) being created. This means (a) our intelligence agencies are being gutted and will spend more time keeping their bureaucracies alive than keeping us alive, (b) in a battle between the FBI or CIA and the President, back the FBI/CIA.

I'll explain. As soon as I admitted that, yes, Goofy was elected in '04, I said to whatever Republican wandered into my path, that they could have done this the easy way - by having Bush go down gracefully - but now we gotta go the impeachment route.

Unless Clinton, who basically did nothing, Bush and his Band of Happy Elves have done so many prosecutable actions that only their tight control of information and curtain of radiating fear keeps them in power.

Bush is Nixon. Nixon was finally caught. Who did it? Yup, Woodward & Bernstein.

Actually, they didn't. They were just young and ambitious enough to be witting pawns of two very powerful agencies. The first was the man "Deep Throat" (whose identity we still don't know) but who was leaking all the damning info to Woodward.

The second, and most important agency was the FBI. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was the most powerful man in America - he had secret info and surveillance on hundreds of politicians and he knew all the skeletons. He died on May 2, 1972. His successor, L. Patrick Gray was cut from very different cloth (e.g. Gray appointed the first women as Special Agents, see the FBI website).

Gray and the new FBI leadership did not play Hoover's games and they went hard and heavy after the Watergate break-in. The key elements to the Woodstein stories were the grand-jury investigations opened by the FBI.

Put simply, the FBI put the President out of business. And I pray to God that they do it again.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Thunder & Lightning

My thunder & lightning theory of babies crying:

Just as you wait after seeing lighting, counting the seconds before the thunder, to see how far away the storm is. Well, that works with babies too - when you hear the first little "weh" you wait for a few seconds, each second will tell you if it's a cry of wet or tired or aliens from planet zoombah.

Kill Sears

This article in Slate (Jeers and Cheers for Sears ) says that some real estate tycoon may be buying Sears so he can raze the stores and sell/rent the real estate. Whatever. I just applaud anyone's effort to destroy Sears. They were utterly horrible to me when I moved in and I hope they go under fast and painfully. I told them that I was going to tell everyone I knew how horrible they were and they didn't care in the least.

In sum: don't ever ever ever shop in Sears if you can avoid it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Another good source about the Monster

Some more good pieces about the 'Monster':
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: Arafat Terrorism

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I Apologize

Seriously, I need to apologize. My brother asked me if I should be so happy that Ashcroft was resigning because 'maybe they'll find someone worse.' I said, well sometimes the Devil You Know is already bad enough.

I was wrong. The new AG candidate, Alberto R. Gonzales, is another one of the GOP tokens but this time, with his own baggage. According to many reports (This from, Gonzales may be responsible for the "legal" decisions that threw away the Geneva conventions and led to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

My brother was right, I was wrong, I apologize. In the future, when trying to predict the actions of the President, always choose the most despicable path.

Faces of the Fallen

For a long time, I was looking for a way to recognize all the soldiers who were dying in our two wars - the same way that I acknowledge the fallen in Israel's wars. The government was hiding the information for a long time and so I stopped looking. Just today, I found that the names have already been released.

This is one of the resources, from the Washington Post: Faces of the Fallen

Columbia Journalism Review's Too Late

When I did my senior thesis (almost 10 years ago, egads!) I used the CJR as a necessary balance to the excesses of journalism back in the day. The freakshow that exists now was barely imagined in 1994 and CJR (and other watchdogs) have not kept up.

In this post-mortem of the 2004 political coverage CJR tries to make up for the collective lack of talent and restraint of the whole industry.

{2009 Update: broken link because CJR decided to close it's domain name; cheap bastiches.}

More Arafat im"sh Stories

Some good pieces about the 'Monster'

Arafat is Dead

In my power as Ma'ara D'Atra I declared that we would not say Tachanun today. No, it wasn't just because it's Thursday; after weighing the proper responses to the death of Arafat, no tachanun was a start. This is what I said:

We're told in Pirkei Avot, 4:24:
Shmuel HaKatan said: "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles let your heart not be glad, lest God see, and regard it with displeasure, and divert His wrath from him [to you]."
Our response is tempered; despite our joy we cannot respond with Hallel. But we recognize that with the death of Arafat, God has shown us mercy and we acknowledge that by not saying Tachanun.

Arafat was the greatest enemy of the Jews since Hitler.

He is called "the father of modern terrorism" - he gave the world suicide bombers, children as targets, the car-bomb. He also created the falsehood of a "Palestinian" - there is no such thing, no such person, no such state, and Arafat's evil made that falsehood live [one of the only things he let live]

The IDF claimed that for Arafat to die from natural causes outside Israel was the best possible scenario. And for that we're grateful as well.

In response, we will say three chapters of Tehillim: 121, for the ongoing war; 124 - which is about God saving us from enemies, and 125 - where we acknowledge that we must respond to God's mercy with mitzvot. We must increase our tzedaka and other good works today.

[After the tehillim, I had to say a quick comment and "Rebbi Hananya ben Akashya" so I said:]

There's a popular joke about Hitler and now Arafat that whatever day he died would be declared a Jewish holiday. It didn't happen - because we don't celebrate the death of enemies; we ask God to "yimach shemo" - to blot their names out from the world. No day to commemorate the obliterated names.

P.S. Psalms 124 & 125
A Song of Ascents; of David. 'If it had not been God who was for us', let Israel now say; 'If it had not been God who was for us, when men rose up against us, Then they had swallowed us up alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul; Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.' Blessed be God, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of God, who made heaven and earth.

A Song of Ascents. They that trust in God are as mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so God is round about His people, from this time forth and for ever. For the rod of wickedness shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; that the righteous put not forth their hands unto iniquity. Do good, O God, unto the good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. But as for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, God will lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Canada's View of America

Evidently, Canada has been receiving quite a number of investigative requests since Bush's overwhelming crushing stunning majority victory. The Toronto Star suggests that this be the new map of North America.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

AWRIGHT!! Ashcroft is Gone

Finally, a silver lining! Ashcroft is leaving the government! (Ashcroft, Evans Resign from Bush Cabinet)

Oh my! He was the absolute worst of the gang of thugs. Worse than the lying thief Cheney; than the incompetent torturer Rumsfeld. True, Ashcroft should be wearing handcuffs, but sometimes you gotta celebrate the small wonders.

Kerry is what now?

According to the AP wire, Kerry hints White House run in his future. He's hinting that he wants to run in 2008.

I must admire the type of abject idiocy that makes someone think he can prevail in what others would think are hopeless circumstances. However, this ain't that. Didn't Kerry get the memo? He was running against the most hated man since Richard Nixon and HE STILL COULDN'T WIN! It wasn't because there weren't enough Democrats, or "swing voters" or "get out the voters" - it's because he was so profoundly unappealing as a person and 'leader' that more Americans went with the inbred frat-boy thug.

In fact, my rage over Kerry has redoubled with this rumor. How dare he?!?

{2009 Update: French Kerry pic nabbed from a lost part of the interwebs and recreated on my computer - enjoy you image-googlers.}

Shiva Over

Depending on how you count, Shiva for the world ends today. The election was on Tuesday, but the concession was on Wednesday... hard to tell when I can get off the floor.

For those who wish to retain some sanity and clarity in the past week's horse-sheiss storm, especially as it relates to the "Republican Mandate" - see these proportional population electoral maps.

Just like Greenland, the red states of our vast Midwest & south and rendered as mere bulges of pitiful red-neck splotches.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Still No Blogger

Blogger still isn't allowing me on - or putting up my recent posts. I'm sitting here exhausted and furious. I'm especially angry at Kerry for not coming himself with a public statement of confidence. All I see from the online NYTimes and WPost is Andrew Card and a big banner headline "Bush Confident of Victory." Kerry needs to come out strong, and he's not and I want an explanation.

Note, the "confidence" thing is all part of the Rove playbook. By playing the press into declaring him the victor, all attempts to actually count the votes are called "recounts" instead of, uh, ya know, "counts."

I've heard and read some frum Jews saying that this is God giving another victory to George W. I want to remind ya'll that this is a vote, not a lottery, and so our fate is being sealed by human action - but even then, God's invisible Hand could very well be giving Bush victory but as a punishment. That's how it feels to me.

Four More Years of Abu Ghraib

Just in case the recent pronouncements of the domestic agenda and the 'political capital' of a razor thin victory have confused you, the reports are coming in of systemic abuses in Guantanamo prison (AP: Guantanamo Abuses Reported.)

This was one reason why Bush had to lose: so the abuse, which was ordered down from the highest levels of the Executive Branch, could have been exposed and the 'evildoers' brought to justice.

I won't say that anyone who supports Bush or voted for he and his mobsters is guilty of suppressing these crimes. As I said before, you Republicans have a chance to communicate to your Embarrassment in Chief that you want justice done. As non-base, I will be ignored (to say the least).

But if Abu Ghraib, and now Guantanamo, doesn't keep you up at night, then there's not much hope for you as a moral person.

Doubled Posts

It seems that the emailed posts I sent on Wednesday morning have taken two full days to actually be processed by blogger. If you see doubled posts, that's the reason. I will attempt to eliminate them as they arrive but we will be in Cornell this Shabbas and I'm not sure how accessible computers are in Cow Country.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Arafat in a Coma

Yup, so sez the AP. And it would be glorious poetic justice if he died on November 4th - 9 years to the day after his partner, Yizhak Rabin ob'm, died.

{2009 Update, Arafat-Fish pic from here.}

The New Republic: 51-48

"51-48," by the New Republic Editors
Post date: 11.04.04

This hurts. The convictions and the dreams of American liberalism have genuinely failed to carry the day; and so, for the sake of liberalism, but also for the sake of America, it is the hour for making discriminations among the varieties of despair.

There certainly are grounds for despair. In their first term, without a popular mandate, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney governed in a radically sectarian manner, in conformity with only the wishes of their hallowed base; and there is no reason to think that the popular mandate that they have now secured for a second term will provoke them to reconsider their virulence and their smallness and their indifference to the evidence of experience beyond their own. In the aftermath of this election, the president speaks about unifying the country, but he spoke that way in the aftermath of the last election, and he became the most spectacular disuniter of America in contemporary history. We must not expect the Bush administration to rise above its theology, its secrecy, its instrumental attitude toward the courts, its sympathy for the rich, its economicist approach to health care, its easy conscience about the exploitation of the environment, its belief in its own infallibility, its regular sensation of perfection. There is no sign that the Bush administration has any good idea about how to correct its course in Iraq or to put an end once and for all to Osama bin Laden; or that it regards anti-Americanism as a serious impediment to American values and American interests abroad. The Bush administration may now be expected to behave triumphally and (as the talking heads say) to move forward with its agenda. Hard times, brutish times, lie ahead.

But there is a kind of despair, a glamorous pessimism, that liberals must at all costs avoid. The cartography of the electoral college may show a continent of red with some blue lesions at the extremities; but the popular vote in the election of 2004 was 51 percent for Bush and 48 for Kerry, and those are not the numbers of a political or philosophical rout. Fifty-one to forty-eight: Those are the numbers, rather, of a conspicuously unclear and unthrilling Democratic candidate, whose advantage in money did not offset a disadvantage in authenticity. But the important point is that, all the healing pieties of the morning after notwithstanding, this is a country divided against itself about many matters of first principle. The diversity of worldviews upon which we pride ourselves is haunting us. In such a welter of fundamental differences, the work of argument and organization becomes even more necessary. American liberalism did not die on November 2. It merely lost an election.

There is honor, moreover, in a certain kind of loss. In our distracted and accelerated and gamed society, with its religion of winning, we sometimes forget this. But the many millions of Americans who believe that the tax code should be more fair; and that one of the ends of government is to bother itself about its neediest and least fortunate citizens; and that the morality of the market is not all the morality that a society requires; and that the Bible is not the basis of a democratic political order, or of our political order; and that robust stem-cell research, and science more generally, is a primary social good; and that gay marriage is a question of equality and not the beginning of the end of civilization; and that American troops must not be sent to war ignorantly or dogmatically, or without the means to win; and that the good reputation of the United States in the world is one of its most powerful historical instruments--the many millions of Americans who believe these things are not wrong. They are merely not a majority. But they are a very large minority.

This is not to say that the wounding outcome of this election should fill liberals with a sense of their own purity. Not everybody to the left of Bush is like everybody else to the left of Bush; and it would be catastrophic for the Democratic Party to wallow now in the sort of Michael Moore leftishness that made many Americans worry whether John Kerry was sufficiently obsessed with American security, and sufficiently excited about American power, to protect them at home and to promote their purposes abroad. (On the question of American power, the American people are right and Ted Kennedy is wrong.) An internecine quarrel must now begin. But it cannot begin where there is only alienation, and the self-fulfilling confusion of the Bush administration with the United States of America. This country is bigger than its every president. This Constitution is not easy to destroy. This is not the apocalypse. But it is the most formidable challenge to American liberalism in our time.

{2009 Update, all the Epic Fail pictures from all over the interwebs}

Why the election results are devastating

It's not because "my man lost" - as you know, I did not like Kerry and thought the Democratic Party base that chose him in the primaries were dead wrong. It's because I believe - and have mountains of fact to back me up - that Bush and his cronies have been deceiving the public and the world in the worst way. And I felt that after the election of Kerry the truth would finally come out; that the frightened and muted Press would finally open their mouths and report what they already know and have been hiding.

And then a sizable majority of America would see that Bush was not what he claimed to be. That this government is *not* what America wants.

I still believe that. I believe America was robbed. And maybe now the Press will realize that they have been complicit in this agony and will start doing their jobs.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Terror Alert!

Hey, according to my Sesame Street Alert, there's no longer an Orange Alert in NY and DC!

And, sure enough, that's what the Homeland Security Page says. When was the level reduced? After Kerry's concession or after Bush's victory speech?

Worth Seeing

From Michelle Cottle in The New Republic online:
"Early indications are that this election laid to waste a couple of fundamental pieces of the conventional wisdom that we all heard in the closing days of the race: one, that high voter turnout benefits Democrats; and two, that undecided voters tend to break in favor of the non-incumbent. Figuring out how these two tidbits turned out to be so wrong will give the hard-core electoral handicappers something to obsess about for the next several weeks.

Meanwhile, the rest of us might want to turn our attentions to a more basic question: What the hell happened with the exit polls? I understand that these samplings are always less-than-spot-on. But come on, people, these babies were so wrong last night that Bush backers looked ready to kill themselves--and each other. (And as a result, I have more than a few dear friends, not to mention a husband, now finding it very hard to cope with their dashed hopes.)"
To be honest, the numbers are waaaay off. And, as my brother points out, says
"One thing that is very strange is how much the exit polls differed from the final results, especially in Ohio. Remember that Ohio uses Diebold voting machines in many areas. These machines have no paper trail. Early in the campaign, Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell, a GOP fundraiser, promised to deliver Ohio to Bush. He later regretted having said that."
Kerry conceded for *what* reason?