Pat Tillman's Death

Is the sporting community going to be politicized as well?
Condolences and praise poured forth from former teammates and opponents. Defensive tackle Corey Sears of the Houston Texans, who played with Tillman on the Cardinals from 1999 to 2000, said: "All the guys that complain about it being too hot or they don't have enough money, that's not real life. A real life thing is he died for what he believed in."
Sounds like more people are breaking out of the cycle of complacency.

Bad Habits

Whether it's the canard that Democrats don't support religiosity or are too ideologically demanding, 'reasonable centrists' often just can't help themselves bash liberal interest groups for being liberal. This cuts two ways; it's important to criticize and offer strategic insight, and pressing a micro-issue is often not the best way of achieving liberal ends. However, it's important to recognize the validity of the concern, and press for power sharing arrangements that validates the community seeking political redress. Reasonable centrists do the first without doing the second.

I used to be a reasonable centrist, and I still consider myself a New Democrat. I liked Clinton's policies (I still do). And I was pro-war. But Iraq proved that policies are kind of irrelevant when it's all about power hungry creeps trying to policitize everything.

Can I mention how stupid I was for being pro-war?

3000 Casualties in North Korea

Chernobyl helped bring down the USSR, because it revealed the practical consequences of tyrannical government. Iraq will probably bring down reactionary politics, because the practical consequences of an invasion done for domestic political purposes are more expensive than the public has been told.

And there's North Korea, where a train wreck just caused 3,000 casualties. Now, I know little about North Korea (Rebecca MacKinnon knows a lot... and blogs it), but these types of accidents are caused by rigid hierarchical systems where adherence to ideology is more important than evidence. I wonder what the political impact in North Korea will be.

Beta Maxed Democrats

Kerem at the NDNBlog has an interesting post about the Democrats' long-term trends.
Since 1992, the percentage of Americans who identified themselves as Democrats has fallen from 45% to 31%. During the same time period, Republican self-identifiers rose from 26% to 31%. Despite these trends, significant majorities support core Democratic policies and values when questioned about them independently. 72% of Americans support stricter gun control, 63 % support affirmative action, and 62% agree with Roe v. Wade.
Is this purely a marketing and distribution problem?

Congressional Shifts

Even though Bush is still considered a strong leader (wtf?), the Republican Congress is becoming increasingly disliked. There are some big political shifts going on, and they are fundamentally progressive.

Presidential Race Just Plain Sucks....

Jon Carroll is on point:
But there are other things to talk about. For instance: John Kerry thinks that George Bush upbraiding Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for withdrawing his troops was "appropriate." Wait: The Spanish people are against the war in Iraq, the Spanish president promised to withdraw the troops in his campaign, and it's OK to get shirty with him? Didn't we already make this mistake with our allies once before? John Kerry also supports Bush's sudden support of the revised modified this-land-is-my-land Israeli government approach to dealing with the Palestinians. Bush's approach caused our good friend, the enlightened king of Jordan, to cancel a trip to Washington. If Jordan is turning against us, that pretty much leaves us with ... oh, right, the Saudis. Oh, and John Kerry supports the hugely stupid boycott of Cuba. I guess South Florida really is in play, huh? Are we really going to allow all politically convenient views to go unchallenged? Let's at least have a conversation, huh?
I don't like either candidate, and I'll vote for Kerry. But if he thinks that fucking over your base by acting like Bush-lite is the right way of running for President, well, it'll be interesting to see what his metaphorical health care debacle will be.

Georgia Turncoats

Apparently, four state Senators in Georgia who switched parties in 2002 (from Dem to GOP) are getting the boot. Nice.

Approval Ratings Bouncing around 50

Bush's approval ratings are bouncing around 50... Atrios thinks that Josh Marshall's discounted words are on point:
A contrary reading of these polls might suggest that the president gains as national security and war issues become more salient, even if they are becoming more salient because of what seem to be objectively bad news about his policies."
A smart friend told me that Bush and Kerry are standing around, waiting for the media war to begin. Digby also has a brilliant analysis. What do you think?

Stock Market Tumbling, Tumbling

The market is down about 2% on the year. Quietly, 'finance guys' are losing confidence in Greenspan and the general handling of Iraq and the economy. From Robert Marcin, value investor:
I continue to disagree with Greenspan's handling of the inflation/leverage issues in the economy. I thought that his remarks today should have been much more forceful about the risk to overleverage, ranging from interest-only, no doc ARM's through hedge funds and the carry trade. Not only should the Fed continue to avoid the "P" word(patience), they should relentlessly stress to the markets that substantial rate hikes are coming soon. Maybe this jawboning will help investors unwind leverage before a panic decline forces it. Apparently, many investors are holding on to the carry trade until the rate hikes begin. This makes a 7 or 8% long bond possible, and that would have a disastrous impact on the real economy.

There's more...

South Dakota Update

Matt Stoller also writes for BOPnews.

Tim Giago, a Native American activist running against Tom Daschle for Senate as an independent, dropped out of the race. This is good news, although keeping this seat will still be tough.

When Tim Giago, a native of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, decided to run for the Senate as an independent, he did more than shake up the state's tight, closely watched race between Senate Democratic leader Thomas A. Daschle and John Thune, a former Republican representative.

He made South Dakota's Indian Country the focal point of the campaign.

Daschle, who had the most to lose from Giago's run, now has the most to gain. After a meeting with Daschle on Saturday, Giago, a nationally syndicated columnist and advocate for Indian causes, said he is withdrawing and throwing his weight behind the Democrat.

Giago, founder of the Lakota Journal and Pueblo Journal, said in an interview Monday: "I laid out what is considered most important to the tribes of South Dakota. I went there as a sounding bell for them. And Tom listened."

I'm not a Nader-basher. Still, Ralph, this is how you influence the national dialogue.


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