Saturday, August 12, 2006

Meeting Jack Carter

Jack Carter, Walden's Coffee Shop, Reno, NV
Originally uploaded by Bob King.

I was really favoribly impressed by Jack Carter, I have to say. He's an easy-going sort of guy, a man who seems to consider his image without calculating it.

Up close and personal, it was clear there were no artifiical colorants, preservatives or added fillers, unlike some opposing candidates we might immediately think of. What's his name? Enron? Exxon? It will come to me, I'm sure.

He wasn't trying to dazzle me. There was no lingering taint of a Dale Carnegie course. He knows his rhetoric, and he is clearly aware of what to say and what not to say - but it was high-calibre rhetoric, backed up with solid understanding of the issues at hand.

Oh, and there wasn't a instance of the usual emotional appeals to pride or fear. He was aiming at my fore-brain, and I appreciated the respect for my intelligence.

He was asked what his top three issues are and he stated::

National Security
Energy Independence
Health Care

His positions on these are all moderate and pragmatic; appealing to a broad range of folks on either side of the political divide. And on a debate focusing on these issues, he's gonna eat Sen. Enron's lunch.

He's got sensible, pragmatic approaches to all these issues, and a very practical minded view as to what a "national security threat" is.

He's able to talk to a mixed group of supporters and the curious without seeming overwhelmed, anxious or seriously concerned about any question they might ask. I was told that Sen... ENSIGN! yes, that's it. Ensign..

I was told Sen. Ensign's chief of staff was there. He didn't ask any questions. Now, that's what you call a failure of human intelligence.

When I asked him personally about Autism issues and what he knew about disability politics, he told me candidly "almost nothing."

He also told me he really didn't have the time to think about it. Myself, In his place I would have been tempted to let whatever it was flow in one ear and out the other, with grunts at socially appropriate moments. Instead, he cut me off and told me he didn't have any free brain cells for it at the moment. My words, not his.

Anyway, he's very aspie-friendly. And that's important in a couple of ways. First, of course, from the obvious viewpoint that he understands aspie/autie communications and indicated that he'd be more than willing to listen when he had some free disk space.

But from a broader perspective, completely aside from the concerns of a sometime disability advocate, Aspies are disproportionately represented in the technical fields, and of course very concentrated in fields related to national defense. I find his degree in nuclear physics reassuring; it's unlikely that he will be easily baffled by bullshit.

Now, being who I am, I'm sometimes surprised as to what comes falling out of my mouth. I call myself a functional multiple because these days I'm usually favorably surprised. In this particular case, it was in regard to the Internet, and I was hard-pressed to refrain from blurting out that I wished I had thought of what my mouth had just said firstt. Could have been awkward to put that into context at the time, don't 'cha know.

Anyway, the emerging importance of the Internet to the Democratic cause, in particular is a given. But someone insertednto the bit-stream between brain and mouth that to tamper with the Internet - as large commercial firms would like to do - is a very, very bad idea from a national security standpoint.

Katrina proved what a vital national-security asset it is to have a robust Internet that is not routed through dedicated, proprietary choke-points, with priority allocated to high-paying advertising sites.

The origin of the Internet; DARPANET, than ARPANET was mentioned in one or two words, and that is all we needed to say. Vital, viral, unkillable, national security asset. I didn't have to explain what commercial chokepointing implies in regard to it's vulnerablity to subversion and attack in a crisis; he got it in one.

God, I like talking to smart people.

And of course, considering the fiasco we are in, a Senator needs to speak Wonklish just to comprehend briefings on some really complex, intractable issues.

I'll be doing an email interview with him asap, and while I'm clearly also a supporter, I do not play slo-pitch. I'm looking forward to some straightforward answers to some serious questions of principle.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Kudos to Fox News

Whoda thunk it?

But in this case, the spokesmodel kicks ass and takes names, demonstrating either a good knowlege of the bible, or at least good preperation, and proceeds to rip a WBC Unapologeticist a new one. In public. In terms familiar to any God-Fearing Evangelical.

Myself, I support the right of Westborough Baptist Church to speak their minds in public, anywhere.

I also support the right of Americans in general to Take Umbrage.

I'm a strong supporter of the "fighting words doctrine" which points out that your freedom of speech is reasonably limited by the fact that if the direct intent of your words is to offend someone so badly that they punch you in the face, you can't complain that you got the result you wanted.

Recent lower-court opinions illustrate that the fighting-words doctrine is still a highly contentious area of litigation. In City of Garfield Heights v. Yaro, 1999 Ohio App. LEXIS 5688 (1999), for example, an Ohio appeals court held that a woman who cursed during a confrontation with a police officer could not be convicted of disorderly conduct because her speech did not constitute fighting words. Citing Chaplinsky, the court determined that the applicable test was whether the words used would "reasonably incite the average person to retaliate."

Or, if I may boil down the view of the court: "Say what you like, when you like, where you like, but don't let your mouth write a check your ass can't cash."

In one interesting side note, this video was posted to YouTube BY a church supporter. Apparently they think it portrays them in a good light.

Carter: Libertarian on issues of personal freedom.

Reno and Its Discontents»Blog Archive » Interview With Jack Carter: Future Senator From Nevada:
"I am a Democrat because to me Democrats are for the working men and women in America. That is the Democratic message for which our national party leaders search.

I am a Libertarian in personal freedoms. I believe the Constitution of the United States places the highest importance on our personal freedoms – they are specifically enumerated. The Federal government is potentially the most dangerous to our personal liberties and is therefore the most restricted. The states, of lesser danger, have the remainder."
I'm not sure I'd entirely agree that the states are of lesser danger; to the people as a whole, certainly, but from the individual perspective it's generally the States that are on the vanguard of ensuring that someone who is having fun somewhere stop it immediately.

I put more trust in the "or to the people" part of the enumeration clause.

But it's a very small nit to pick when contrasted with ... Ensign. For some reason I keep wanting to call him either Sen. Exxon or Enron. Can't imagine why. Because whenever I see him, I think I'm looking at Don Wier.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

LAND WALKER -Japanese Robot suit-

Behold the Prototype submitted by the Lowest Bidder for Sith Lord Darth Cheney.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An Insult from the Junior Senator from Nevada

Daily Kos: An Insult from the Junior Senator from Nevada: "An Insult from the Junior Senator from Nevada"

Xpost from my extremely infrequent DKos diary.

I wrote an email via to my elected representatives as a citizen of nevada. I didn't hear from our Minority Leader, whatsisname, which I expected. I didn't hear from George Bush, either. But it appears that Sen. Ensign had a form letter to return on this issue of massive importance.

But just ONE form letter. It's so amazingly arrogant that I just had to share it with you-all.

This is an official communication from the Office of Senator John

Any tampering or alteration of this communication is prohibited and may

result in criminal investigation or prosecution.

Wait. It gets better!

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It's about the Bush Cooties, folks.

What did last night mean? | FP Passport

What it means is simple, folks. The voters had a choice between a rich white guy they knew ALL about, and no clear position on anything other than staying in power and a rich white guy willing to be four million dollars LESS rich to take the bastard on over a single issue of principle.

It's not that Lamont won - it's that Leberman lost. That's a message to all the spineless Dems that repubs like to portray as "moderates" because they mostly vote the way they are told to by the Majority Leader.

Me, I'm a middle of the road kinda guy, most days. But there are some things I hold to stubbernly, and one of them is this: a man who supports a lyin' bastard while knowng he is a lyin' bastard is to be respected and trusted LESS than said lyin' bastard himself.

If Lamont wins the seat in the end, well and good. If the winner is a freshman republican who's bruising experience causes them to have smelled the morning caffinated beverage on this point, also well and good.

The point is that Leberman lost. And sometimes it's a lot more important to be sure who does NOT win than to have backed the guy who does.

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US Foreign Policy Fits on a T-Shirt

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Getting Bill O'Rielly's Goat.

Media Matters - The wisdom of Bill O'Reilly

Bill has asserted that the ACLU is a bigger threat to freedom than Al Qaeda.

"How," you may well ask, wondering if he's thinking of the same ACLU that has defended the civil liberties of Americans of every conceivable form, from outright commies to Nazis to Klansmen, so long as they were just talking.

Is any liberty more important to the American people, and particularly Bill, than the freedom to be loud, rude and obnoxiously wrong in public?

I mean, why waste the time of the courts in disputation of the right to speak foolishly? And if it is not so obviously foolish, then forestalling it by law might just choke a good idea. That was how the founders thought - as they mostly refrained from choking one another.

If you have an idea you think important, have the guts to get up in public and defend it against all comers, without presenting the excuse that such an exercise might provoke people into harming you, as Bill commonly suggests "we liberals" wish to do.

But then, this is WHY "conservatives" of a certain sort screen their calls, their "live" audiences and try to silence their critics. They are incapable of defending the positions they take because they haven't the wit or the willingness to establish a defensible position - all they wish is to be legally protected from criticism.

Now, if the ACLU is shut down, such conservatives think that will mean it will be ok to shut down THEIR critics, while they are free from any review whatsoever. Five bucks says that if they MANAGE to succeed in suppressing the ACLU, the major casualties will NOT be "liberals," it will be idiots at the hands of outraged Americans.

Goddess knows, people of the intellectual quality of Bill O'Rielly are certainly not comfortable with the idea of "review" by any intellectual superior - such as the goat he's so afraid of.

And 10 years, this is gonna be a totally different country than it is right now. Laws that you think are in stone -- they're gonna evaporate, man. You'll be able to marry a goat -- you mark my words!
Yes. Perhaps in ten years I will be free to marry a goat, should I choose to do so. I'd think that silly. But there are old ladies that settle their estates upon their cats. I do not therefore assume that said old lady had carnal knowledge of Fluffy and Fuzzynuts.

To be blunt, it would neither interest me one way or the other, nor would it be my rightful concern, even if it did.

But perhaps Bill is afraid for the future of whatever quasi-legitimate spawn he may have, as clearly goats would be preferable to anyone sharing his genetic predisposition toward willful stupidity.

How can more liberty be a threat to Liberty?

That's not a rhetorical question.

The idea of liberty is that you are free to do things that I might object to, be revolted by, find unaesthetic, unpleasing or even totally offensive - like, say, the Fox News Network. But so long as you are within the tested bounds of legitimate free speech, and/or within your inarguable bounds of private concern, it is NOT the place of me or anyone else to interfere.

It is none of my proper business, and none of yuors if Bill O'Rielly is fond of masturbatory phone calls at $4.99 a minute.

We become concerned when Bill feels it is his right to pressure colleagues to indulge his monkey-spanking at the price of keeping their jobs. That is interfering with their right to say "no," as well as a cheesy attempt to extort a valuable service - or at least a service he obviously deems valuable.

It would not surprise me, considering some of the public behavior Bill is apparently insufficiently embarrassed of, if he were a closet zoophile. Generally folks see in others the very things they are most guilty of themselves. I mean, who's subconcous DID that goat leap from? Certainly not mine.

And while I and many others would say "Ewe!" at the very idea, it's only fair that if he wishes to be guaranteed such dubious comforts in the night, it's proper that there be provisions in the law to account for varying tastes such as that in order to decently provide for the innocent livestock involved.

I mean, don't take my word for it, go ask PETA about their stance about the exploitation of animals without concern for their future or feelings.

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Ann Coulter might sound like this, with some real facts to play with.

But Brain, where can we get meat hooks and a gaggle of sadistic children at this time of night? at

"Which is why you should always do the right thing, instead of trying to be so fucking politically cunning, if you try to play pretend you’re a politician with actual power in politics you’ll end up eating shit and knowing you deserve it because guess what? you supported the devil and he, as always, screwed you over in return.

Remember Kant’s universal maxim folks, and make damn sure you’re always on the side history will look back on and say “they did the right thing.”

That’s what progressive politics is all about after all - doing the right thing."

And the point is that progressives should not be supporting Lieberman simply because he has a "D" after his name. That's exactly the same sort of stupid as supporting Bush because he sticks an "R" there. The two men think exactly alike - to the extent that they do, of course - and neither represent anything that real democrats and progressives or real conservatives would approve of. They are of a kind; both men are for sale to the highest bidder, and that is all you really need to know; all else is protective camouflage, without substance or meaning.

By the way, I do not think Lieberman is the sort to approve of the willful napalming of babies, or the meaningless sacrifice of young men and women in the name of a corporatist adventure.

I just think that's a price he's willing to pay. Omelets and eggs, you know.

Actual slavering approval would indicate that he at least had some character, some juice to him. But I'm sincerely convinced that human beings exist to him only as factors in a political calculation, along with expressed faith and the moral absolutes he so loves to wrap himself in. It's all about demographics to him; appearing to do the right thing to the right audience at the right time; with as little commitment to actual commitment as possible.

Were you to sum up his career in two words, it would be identical to that of the majority in the house and senate at the moment.

"Cynical Ploy."

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fake Foonotes and False Facts - Yes, Another Ann Coulter Post.

Media Matters - Endnotes in Coulter's latest book rife with distortions and falsehoods

Media Matters actually checks out the pages and pages of end-notes in Coulter's book to find this:

Among other things, Coulter:

  • misrepresented and distorted the statements of her sources;
  • omitted information in those sources that refuted the claims in her book;
  • misrepresented news coverage to allege bias;
  • relied upon outdated and unreliable sources;
  • and invented "facts."
I think the end-notes do substantiate the general nature of Coulter's work and the quality of her scholarship. That is to say, they prove that she knows how to create the appearance of credibility, but depends on that credibility to forestall any actual fact-checking.

If she offered this twitter-pated, hysterical screed as, say, a master's thesis, she would have been laughed out of University, so if she doesn't know exactly how to do it right, she at least knows how to cheat better than this!

Of course, it would have been beyond the resources of most individuals and many publishers, in a practical sense, to research many of her critical footnotes; one of the oldest tricks is to rely on ephemeral and obscure sources so that harried teacher's aides and research assistants will not bother to check.

That was probably still true in a practical sense for her previous books - but it is not at all true now. Anyone with an Internet connection can fact-check her ass, your ass, or mine.

Personally, I like being fact-checked; it keeps me honest. And it's always the things that you know absolutely to be true that turn out to be - well, wrong. I like learning of these things. Color me odd, if you will.

But Coulter is clearly not just incorrect, she is knowingly trying to misinform, mislead and misdirect. And to the extent that Coulter's arguments parallel those of more respectable people who agree, you have to start to consider that they are either self-deluded, or simply better liars.

I say this, because if Coulter had a factual case that "liberals" in general were actually "Godless" and out to destroy the Christian faith inside and out of Church, she clearly would have made it. She knows how to do it, and obviously believes in the cause, or at least the financial rewards of supporting it.

So why couldn't she come up with a more plausible case? Largely; there is no such case. It's a transparent fraud, on the order of an incontenent cat trying to blame their crap on an invisible puppy.

I don't consider myself a "liberal" in any usual, meaningful sense, though I'm sure that Coulter would have you think of me that way. But then, Coulter's idea of "Liberal" is mainly someone who Questions Authority and expects a coherent, sensible answer with evidence to support it.

Far too many people like being "Right" without having to do the hard work involved in first being Correct.

Coulter consistently relies on superficials, false dichotomies and (to put it charitably) oversimplifications while beating the drums of unthinking hatred and judgmental prudery.

I am minded of a pop-culture quotation from the latest Star Wars movie; "Only the Sith believe in absolutes." Specificly, such people believe that those who do believe in either or politics are easily misled in profitable ways.

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