In his latest essay, noted anthropologist and social critic Dana Milbank thoughtfully explores the proposition that short people are inferior to others. He does so by means of a fascinating case study of the press conference held yesterday by Dennis Kucinich. Mr. Milbank introduces his theme by referring to Kucinich as a "leprechaun", and he goes on in numerous ways to weave Kucinich's inferior physical stature into the case for his inferior political stature.
The extraordinary prevalence and durability of the "death panel" lie in the current health care debate requires an explanation that goes a little deeper than attention to the usual suspects. Palin, Gingrich, and Grassley certainly deserve their share of credit for the lie, as does that segment of the public hungry for false and inflammatory rhetoric.
But a demonstrably false and empty-headed lie of the "death panel" calibre cannot continue to live without a wider network of enablers and deeper roots of support. A lie of this magnitude is only sustainable by virtue of an interlocking system of parts all working together to give it life.
There is nothing mysterious about the components of the system. There are the entrenched corporate interests with their army of lobbyists. There are the elected officials whose campaign coffers are filled by the corporations. There are the media outlets that are dependent upon ratings and advertisers. There are the radio and TV personalities whose stock-in-trade is politics as entertainment and marketable angry rhetoric. And so on.
Dear Keith Olbermann,
I'm sure you must have seen the story in the current NY Times that kind of ridicules you for pretending there was never any truce between you and O'Reilley and Fox news.
What place do animal welfare and animal rights have in a progressive political agenda?
Where do animals stand in the calculus of the Daily Kos community?
Anyone who reads Daily Kos diaries regularly is aware of the wealth of intelligence, variety, and sheer fun that collectively they exhibit. So it is a little bit baffling why so many diarists resort to putting the word F**k in their titles.
The Daily Kos rules which appear right above each diary draft clearly state, "Do not use profanity in diary titles." Do diarists believe they are circumventing this rule by inserting those two little asterisks in place of two letters?
What is the point of DK diary rules if the rules are systematically ignored?
Governor Sarah Palin has released a public statement attacking the mainsteam environmental organization Defenders of Wildlife as "an extreme fringe group."
She has done so in response to an ad featuring actress Ashley Judd that castigates Palin for advocating the practice of aerial hunting of wolves.
Palin's public statement repeatedly accuses Defenders of Wildlife of distorting reality and falsifying facts -- but the statement does not cite a single error or actual distortion in anything that appears in the ad.
Defenders of Wildlife, by the way, is the organization that Reader's Digest in 2005 named America's Best Wildlife Charity. It is an organization dedicated to preserving endangered species and their habitat.
Calling an organization an "extreme fringe group" is Sarah Palin's way of suggesting they might be aliens, lunatics, or perhaps terrorists.
To those of us who occupy the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, Sarah Palin is an object of ridicule, a person so abjectly unprepared for high office as to invite unqualified scorn and contempt. But in spite of demonstration after demonstration of her ineptitude, she is not going away. In fact, she has formed a Political Action Committee with the evident intention of preparing to run for the Presidency in 2012. And Rush Limbaugh has stated outright that he hopes and expects her soon to assume the position of unofficial leader of the Republican Party. Insofar as he represents the spokesman-in-chief for all the baser instincts of conservatism, his opinion in such matters cannot be ignored.
Which raises the question: What is the true source of Sarah Palin's continuing appeal? Why has she not been abandoned by the Republicans as damaged goods? Is it all just based on her looks? Or is she truly charismatic? Or is she actually more intelligent than she appears to be?
Like a drunken teenager who discovers a shotgun in the closet, Dana Milbank (in today's Washington Post) has fired a volley of potshots in the general direction of Al Gore, who testified yesterday before two committees of the Senate.
With a stunning lack of originality, Milbank refers to Gore as "The Goracle" -- EIGHTEEN TIMES in a single column.
Because Gore dares to anticipate a future that Milbank evidently does not foresee, he describes Gore's predictions with words like "premonition" and "prophecy" and "riddle" and "vision," and he ridicules the lawmakers who have finally begun to take Gore seriously.
There's lots of talk these days about prosecuting Bush and Cheney for authorizing torture. Questions are floating around like, should we do it? can we do it? will we do it? And plenty of arguments pro and con.
But one thing is getting lost in this discussion. As Bush made clear in one of his exit interviews, he went well out of his way to get legal counsel and legal backup for every bit of torture he authorized.
Now we all know that a so-called Nuremberg Defense doesn't cut it any more. In the Nuremberg Defense, the one who commits war crimes knows they are illegal, but he maintains he was forced to commit them anyway. But war crimes can't be excused any more on grounds that, "He made me do it."
But Bush has a new defense. His defense is, "The lawyers told me it was legal." He maintains, "I asked them specifically, 'What can I do that is legal?', and this is what I was told."
No doubt about it -- Obama has inherited a lot of serious messes to clean up. With an eye on the big picture, rather than all the details, we might examine his priorities in terms of the following categories:
- The economic mess: the stock market meltdown, the housing market collapse, unemployment, credit crunch, etc.
- The war mess: Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, etc.
- The civil rights mess: illegal wiretapping, torture, Guantanamo, politicizing DOJ, etc.
- The environmental mess: global warming, energy policy, habitat destruction, species loss, etc.
It may be too early to make any assessments of his priorities, but we do have some evidence to consider: his cabinet selections, his first few press conferences, his Inauguration Address, and his first week in office. Based upon this early evidence, it is my contention that so far Obama has given the environment less attention than any of the other big picture issues. Of the four major priorities, in other words, it looks like the environment is coming in last.
So....let's see here....... Kirsten Gillebrand has a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT approval rating by the NRA and is a proud member of the Blue Dog Democrats...... and Markos declares what a great choice she is for the cause of progressives!
Because EITHER she will shift left once she starts representing all New Yorkers......
OR, she will face a primary challenge from somebody with better values.
Now let's see. Just how logical is that? She's a good choice because..... she's so bad, therefore she is bound to get better? She's a good choice because..... she's so bad, therefore she is bound to get challenged in the next primary?
So here's the question: Is Kirsten Gillebrand, as Markos suggests, so bad she is actually good?
Dear sweet Caroline has treated her many fans, not only in NY but across the land, to several weeks of high suspense. First and foremost was the prolonged suspense of whether Gov. Paterson would have the good sense to appoint her, in view of her many superb qualities. Then there were the long hours yesterday afternoon and evening of acute suspense regarding whether in fact she had withdrawn her nomination.
But all that was mere prelude to the current state of uncertainty, which threatens to become rather prolonged as well. The present question being: Why oh why did Caroline withdraw her name from contention for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary??
Could it really have been her concern with the health of her uncle?
Or was it because she got wind that Paterson was leaning toward someone else, and she wanted to spare herself the ignominy of being passed over?
Or was it because -- as the NY Times reports today -- she learned that some minor personal issue regarding taxes or a household employee might throw a monkey wrench into the works?
Or was it something else? If so, please explain in the comments!!
Recommended by daveinojai
- My twitterfeed, my facebook, my RSS reader, my blogroll and much of my email has been full of comments - short and long - about tonight's amazing votes and speeches and actions and change. So many ...27 comments 23 Recs
- Climate skeptics have challenged the accuracy of surface temperature measurements. They have said "Look at the satellite data". They should.143 comments 273 Recs
- "Missing e-mails" are the common denominator of every single Bush-era scandal, from the authoring of the torture memos to the U.S. Attorney Massacre. Since the Justice Department has proven itself ...221 comments 539 Recs
- I remember many years ago reading a very interesting article about President Kennedy. The article spoke about how the late President surrounded himself with all the 'brightest and best' in terms of ...1002 comments 605 Recs
- A new and accurate technique has found that current CO2 levels are higher now than at any time in the past 15 ...379 comments 339 Recs
- Unexpectedly rapid increases in the acidity of the Arctic Ocean , affecting the Arctic food chain, reported Sunday ...139 comments 292 Recs
- From www.washingtonpost.com A General Within Bounds By Michael O'Hanlon ...50 comments 10 Recs
- Living the dairy-free life is a very, very green ...316 comments 11 Recs
- At first it seemed little more than a bizarre rant, only slightly worse than those to which we've grown accustomed, given the source. To wit, Rush Limbaugh, who on September 11 condemned President ...1346 comments 1129 Recs
- According to data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, this summer was the second hottest ever recorded. Global temperatures during ...20 comments 27 Recs
- No current results.
- No current results.