That makes sense; now I understand why even the left-hand side asterisks (which I used literal strings to render) look different from line to line — sometimes they're bolded as carryover from the right-hand side of the previous line.
Do not troll rate (rating as 0) another user's comment unless it is a comment that is an attack on another user. Abusing this privilege will result in all your ratings being erased and/or getting a warning, or being banned.
There seems to be a fairly large problem with this formulation, in that it doesn't seem to allow for zero-rating comments that clearly deserve it, but which don't mention other users.
For instance, suppose that someone simply cuts loose with a horrid, profanity-filled, obscene screed about Hillary Clinton, calling her a... well, calling her all kinds of words which I do not use, but which should be easy to imagine. Or heaping racial epithets upon Barack Obama. Or hate speech directed at, say, Iraqis.
There is not a single reasonable community-moderated site in existence where such things would not be buried under an avalanche of zeros or their local equivalent; and yet, under the guidelines you've listed there, none of them could be zero-rated (unless there is an actual Iraqi user here, I suppose, in which case the last one could possibly be).
Similarly, what if someone were to spam the same trollish message over and over, say, twenty or thirty times in a single diary? Even if the comment itself was barely on the "1" side of the 0/1 border, what kind of cockeyed community moderation system would not allow it to be zeroed out as a result? Hell, even non-trollish comments are generally considered to become trollish when spammed.
This is pretty basic stuff.
A community moderation system which, to grab an admittedly extreme hypothetical example, wouldn't allow someone posting "NANCY PELOSI IS A **-LOVING ** ***!!!!" fifteen or twenty times in a single diary to get all fifteen or twenty of those comments hidden, is a community moderation system with some pretty serious flaws.
The astounding thing about Romney, in comparison to McCain, is that it took John McCain eight long, painful years to transform himself from a conservative Republican into George W. Bush; but it only took Mitt Romney something like 48 hours to transform himself from a pro-choice anti-gun liberalish republican into George W. Bush.
That sort of gymnastic ability is rare indeed to behold.
Well, to be fair, Governors have traditionally (or at least recently) had much more luck running for President than have Senators. I mean, it's been, what?, Forty-eight years since a sitting Senator won a Presidential election? So in that respect, a relative lack of Congressional candidates shouldn't be very surprising.
Judicial Watch is one of exactly two right-wing activist groups that have any real credibility (the Rutherford Institute is the other).
Yes, they were an over-the-top pain in the ass when Bill Clinton was President; but, unlike all of the other Republican hit groups who suddenly evaporated or forgot their ostensible deep concerns over the fate of America once Bush slipped in to the White House, Judicial Watch actually kept on being a pain in the ass. They worked with the Sierra Club to try to pry the records of Dick Cheney's energy task force out of the White House, just for starters, and they've continued to poke away at the most secretive "administration" in history (albeit with no more real success than anybody else who has been trying to force some measure of accountability on the Bush White House).
As for the Rutherford Institute — the folks who brought the world Paula Jones — they have morphed into fairly outspoken critics of the Bush junta across a wide variety of civil rights issues. They filed amicus briefs alingside the ACLU in Hamdam; they've hammered the Patriot Act repeatedly (dubbing the whole War on Terror as "Operation Eroding Freedom"); and they've published editorials supportive of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas (!); and, more recently, in defense of Jeremiah Wright. These days, they seem to be essentially a parallel version of the ACLU which simply has different opinions on the precise boundaries of the Establishment clause, and, unfortunately, Roe v. Wade. But even with their divergent view of the Establishment clause, they still actually do recognize that there should be a separation between Church and State (which is why they felt Lawrence was correctly decided, for instance), which certainly puts them one-up on most theocon legal advocacy groups.
By the way, Jonathan, what makes you think that this makes the Obama-Hamas attack "off the table for McCain and the hard right?" When have they ever thought twice about dishonest attacks before?
The all-time exemplar of this was the Mel Martinez vs. Betty Castor Senatorial race in Florida in 2004, where the right-wing idiots kept attacking Betty Castor because, as President of the University of South Florida, she failed to fire Sami Al-Arian, a tenured professor, back in the mid-1990s when the Tampa Tribune accused him of having ties to — wait for it — Hamas.
Okay. So she didn't fire a tenured Professor (against whom no criminal charges had been filed) back in 1995 or so.
By contrast, her opponent, Mel Martinez, had introduced Al-Arian to George W. Bush and invited him to the White House, several years later (obviously), in both 2000 and in 2001.
In anything even remotely resembling a logically consistent universe, that would pretty much take Al-Arian off the table as a GOP talking point in the election, right?
If Karl Rove were caught eating babies tomorrow, the GOP would be airing an attack ad by next week accusing Barack Obama of having ties to Karl Rove.