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March 6, 2006

I never really understood the meaning of the world until I discovered the lovely Ann Althouse.
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Damn ferrets. C&P the link if you're interested.
Categories: Blogs
Is jealous of the fact that the governor of South Dakota just declared all uteruses state property. Wants in on the action.
Categories: Blogs
The worst bit last night was the stern little lecture we were given about how we must watch movies on the big screen because watching them little screens is awful. I'm a fan of seeing movies on a real screen but it's really stupid to tell people how they should and shouldn't enjoy your product.
Categories: Blogs
If wingnuts weren't opposed to anyone who wasn't fully on board their cowardly authoritarian cultist agenda they'd be applauding Jon Stewart's performance last night. Stewart repeatedly mocked Hollywood and not in the Billy Crystal "ha ha we're so cute and funny" way but by puncturing its self-importance in a way which wasn't entirely well-received by the audience. It's what his brand of comedy, especially on the Daily Show, is about - skewering the pretensions and authority of the powerful. On the Daily Show the primary focus is the media, with a secondary focus on politics and politicians, and it was fitting that he aimed his guns at the pretensions of Hollywood during his hosting duties.
Categories: Blogs
Amy Sullivan writes:

A sign that Democratic leaders are beginning to get it is the plan—promoted by leaders such as Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton—to lower abortion rates by preventing unwanted pregnancies. Full-throated support of this effort, and a recognition that abstinence education plays a role in lowering teen pregnancy rates (along with birth control), puts Democrats alongside the majority of voters on this difficult issue, and it is especially appealing to moderate evangelicals.

This is a rhetorical sleight of hand which entirely ignores the relevant policy debate. The question is whether sex education in public schools should be "abstinence only," which involves telling teenagers that they shouldn't have sex and not providing them with any actual information that might be useful should they decide to actually go ahead and do it, or whether sex education should be more comprehensive and actually include information about contraceptive methods. I'm happy to be corrected but I'm not aware of any evidence that "abstinence education plays a role in lowering teen pregnancy rates (along with birth control)" because I don't believe there's any sex ed program in this country which doesn't include, in part, abstinence education.

I'm not especially convinced that a "full-throated" effort to package all this stuff as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is really going to swing this voting bloc. I could be wrong. But there's nothing new about "we'll tell kids not to have sex but also tell them about condoms." That's pretty much how sex ed worked until the abstinence crowd showed up and decided without evidence it was much more effective to just make shit up.

Does "reducing unwanted pregnancies" trump "sex is evil and icky" among a big group of evangelical Christian voters who vote Republican but could be convinced to vote for Democrats if only they'd improve their messaging? I'm pretty skeptical. And making this argument by trying to brush the sexual morality issue under the rug doesn't help to convince me. The point is not that there isn't an evangelical Christian Left, the point is I just doubt that there's a big bunch of evangelical Christians who currently vote Republican and could be persuaded to switch sides over stuff like this. The concept of abstinence education doesn't appeal to people because it actually reduces unwanted pregnancies, it appeals because they have serious sexual morality issues. We're talking about appealing to the "sex is icky" crowd by pointing out that "sex is icky but abortion is ickier so your daughter should know how to get a birth control prescription just in case she has icky sex." This doesn't sound like much of a winner.

The women on the left I know aren't single issue voters, they're concerned about a whole range of issues. But the ones I know who are politically active in a serious way are active in large part because of sex and reproductive rights. Perhaps we should start pandering to them a bit more. There are a lot of unmarried single women who aren't much interested in hearing about how icky sex is.
Categories: Blogs
Think Progress is suffering under the strange delusion that the cowardly authoritarian cultists that comprise the conservative blogosphere actually care about reality. They don't, they just need little stories from Daddy Bush that maintain their bizarre fantasy existence.
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Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

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February 21, 2006

Michael Allan Wolf for this faux populist NPR report in which he claims that all over the country university faculty members are gearing up to devote their existences to making fun of NASCAR.

I can honestly say that in all of my time in academia I doubt I heard a single joke about NASCAR. You actually have to be aware of something to make fun of it. Academics certainly can be elitist in ways both understandable and stupid, but they aren't obsessed with mocking the things they're elitist about. Usually they're obsessed with ignoring them.
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Try not to shoot anybody in the face.
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Wolf, this may be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back, this deal to sell control of six US ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates. There are now actually Senators and Congressmen and Governors and Mayors telling the White House "you're not gonna do this." And it's about time. No one has said "no" to this administration on anything that matters in a very long time. Well this matters. It matters a lot. If this deal is allowed to go through, we deserve whatever we get. A country with ties to terrorists will have a presence at six critical doorways to our country. And if anyone thinks that the terrorists, in time, won't figure out how to exploit that, then we're all done. Nothing's happened yet, mind you, but if our elected representatives don't do everything in their power to stop this thing, each of us should vow to work tirelessly to see that they are removed from public office. We're at a crossroads - which way will we choose?
Here's the question: What should be done to stop a deal that would allow an Arab company to run US Ports?? here.
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Bush does, of course, have inherent authority under Article II to make all decisions relating to national security.
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Drudge has:

Bush called reports at about 2.30 aboard Air Force One to issue a very strong defense of port deal... MORE... He said he would veto any legislation to hold up deal and warned the United States was sending 'mixed signals' by going after a company from the Middle East when nothing was said when a British company was in charge... Lawmakers, he said, must 'step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard.' Bush was very forceful when he delivered the statement... 'I don't view it as a political fight,' Bush said.... MORE... MORE...

It isn't a "company from the Middle East." It's a company controlled by a foreign government.
Categories: Blogs
Rumsfeld is on the board which unanimously approved the port deal he'd never heard of.
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Ricky has even MORE problems:

In 2001, he launched the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation. The charity, which seeks to award money to faith-based groups and other organizations that combat poverty and social ills like teen pregnancy, has a Web page loaded with photos of a smiling Santorum, posing with oversized checks and leaders of community groups. So far, according to the site, the Senator’s charity has doled out $474,000.

But public records show that the group has raised considerably more than that since its inception in 2001.

A review of federal tax returns filed by the foundation for 2001, 2002, and 2003 shows that the charity spent just 35.9 percent of the nearly $1 million raised on its charitable grants, while spending 56.5 percent on expenses like salaries, fund-raising commissions, travel, conference costs, and rent. Charity experts say that charitable groups should spend at least 75 percent of their money on program grants, and that donors should beware of organizations that spend as little as Santorum’s has.

“The majority of organizations are able to meet that 75 percent figure,” says Saundra Miniutti of Charity Navigator, a watchdog group. Without addressing Santorum’s charity specifically, she noted that nonprofits spending in the range of just one-third on programs are “extremely inefficient.”

Moreover, the foundation is not registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State. A spokeswoman for the state agency said that any charity that solicits and raises more than $25,000 in Pennsylvania is required by law to register. Records included on the foundation’s 2002 tax filing list $94,000 in donations from sources in the state. State law says that violators of the registration law run the risk of civil penalties and possible legal action by the state.

The list of 2002 donors -- displayed on a Web page marked “not open to public inspection” -- includes several major donors to Santorum’s political campaign. Most notable is Philadelphia Trust Company, the same private bank that refinanced Santorum’s Virginia home in 2002, which gave $10,000. The CEO of Philadelphia Trust, Michael Crofton, is chairman of the charity’s board of advisers. The foundation also raised $25,000 from the PMA Foundation, the charitable arm of a risk-management firm in suburban Philadelphia; $25,000 from the suburban Philadelphia development firm Preferred Real Estate; and $10,000 from J. Brian O’Neill, the brother of that firm’s founder and himself a developer. The charity also received $10,000 from the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, owned by Louis DeNaples, a controversial Scranton businessman who is fending off published allegations that he associates with organized-crime figures.
Categories: Blogs
CNN: Bush would veto any legislation to block UAE port deal.

Interesting what he thinks is important. That would, of course, be his first veto.
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Kieran Healy mentions the other student email issue - their tendency to use rather unprofessional yahoo email accounts.
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I mean, at least this guy didn't shoot anybody in the face.
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