• That's an interesting defense of the choice to bring a 1-year old baby, but I don't agree with your logic.

  • When you credit the eyewitness testimony of someone who was hiding in a cabin by their own admission, there's not much else to say.

    There are a whole lot of bad people in this story, but as a parent, what I really can't grasp is that someone brought a 1-year old baby on a blockade-running mission.

  • Same experience.  "Login to reply" (which ends up opening the reply box on its own page) tends to hang forever.  I'm on Firefox 3.6.3.  Using the regular reply function, which just opens a box below the comment you're responding to, works fine for me.

  • The videos and pictures of people holding knives and iron bars are pretty indisputable.  Unfortunately, in a situation where all the sympathy ought to be on the non-Israeli side, some partisans are going over the top with their claims ("it was a pure massacre!" "the Israelis started killing people before they even boarded the ship!") which only serve to make it look like another he said, she said situation involving Israel.

    This is a situation where the actual facts are more than sufficient than to paint a sympathetic story, and there is no reason for anyone to go further other than a knee-jerk instinct to propagandize.  It only helps the cause of the right-wingers when people tell easily refuted lies.

  • Of course, the entire point of this flotilla is to engage in non-violent direct action, so there is no way in hell that the activists used knives or iron bars or made any other violent moves.

    Of course!  You know, you can have your own ideology, but not your own facts.

  • comment on a post MYDD 2.0 is like talking to myself over 4 years ago

    The irony of this being the most commented diary is rich.

    The new format feels like it's still in beta, and maybe it is.  I agree that it plays a role.

    I fear we shall never return to the good old days when every diary featured 200 comments arguing over whether Hillary is a racist.

  • on a comment on Obama press conference thread over 4 years ago

    Is it clear that BP withheld the information from the government, as opposed to the public?  What is their incentive to do so?

  • comment on a post Impeaching Obama? over 4 years ago

    The trading of political favors is not bribery, period.  "I'll vote for your bill if you vote for my bill."  "OMG, you just accepted something of value in exchange for your vote, BRIBERY!"  No.

    The message has some salience with the general public only because the nuance of what is bribery and what isn't can be difficult to explain.  But every ethics expert who has weighed in, including conservatives, has agreed that it's ridiculous to call this illegal.

    Let's be very clear about something: it is a virtual certainty that no one said, "Hey Sestak, you can have this job if you agree not to run."  The reason is that if he took the job, he automatically wouldn't be running.  So all anyone had to say was "Would you like this job?"  And if it's illegal to offer someone an administration job because you privately think it will benefit you politically, a lot of people are in trouble, all the way back to George Washington.  Heck, a lot of ambassadors buy their jobs for all intents and purposes, and it's still not a crime unless there's an actual quid pro quo.

    The thing about this "scandal" is that very few people seem to care in the general public, even as the Beltway press goes nuts over it.  I'm not even sure if it is a big story in Pennsylvania.

  • You can find a timeline regarding Truman's desegregation of the military at this link. As you can see, nearly 3 years elapsed between the first study of the desegregation issue by Truman's Defense Department and his gutsy, seat-of-the-pants Executive Order that actually accomplished the task.

    September 1945: Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson appoints a board of three general officers to investigate the Army's policy with respect to African-Americans and to prepare a new policy that would provide for the efficient use of African-Americans in the Army. This board is called the Gillem Board, after its chairman, General Alvan C. Gillem, Jr.

    July 26, 1948: President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, which states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." The order also establishes the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services.

    I'm as big a fan of Harry Truman as you can find, but it's also impossible to separate this decision from the cold political calculations of the time.  Truman's political advisors had long since decided that the key to the 1948 election was a strong civil rights platform that would capture the black vote in several key states.  Meanwhile, there was no need to appease the conservative Democrats since they had already been lost, with Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats campaigning on the idea that desegregating the armed forces was "un-American" and all that.  So the executive order was dramatic but not all that politically risky.

    History has a way of oversimplifying things and making it look as though the great leaders of the past were bold visionaries who always acted on their principles without hesitation.  In reality I'm confident that compromise and political caution were not invented yesterday.

  • comment on a post Ron Johnson: sign trasher over 4 years ago

    The place is practically plastered with his opponent's signs.  The video does not show him "ripping down signs," it shows him taking down a single sign out of many and placing it off to the side. While this is a brief video snippet with no context, the most logical inference was that he was going to stand in this spot and greet people and he didn't want the other guy's sign directly behind him.  Maybe this is a federal crime but I'm just not feeling it.

  • comment on a post Bob Menendez should be fired as DSCC chair over 4 years ago

    I do not agree that Ellsworth has no prayer of success.  Even in Indiana, the county sheriff has a chance to knock off the bank lobbyist.  I won't bore everyone with a list of the things you swore would never, ever happen that ended up happening, but let's just say your prediction isn't exactly the nail in Ellsworth's coffin.

    As for Massachusetts, you seem to have mistaken the head of the DSCC for a campaign manager.

  • I couldn't really tell you what this student meant.  It seems implausible to me that she would be bashful about responding to a question about Hamas but then, a minute later, cheerfully volunteer that she favors the genocide of the Jews, so it seems likely to me that she meant something else.  I might have been annoyed in her shoes if I had asked a perfectly reasonable question - can you back up your claim that the Muslim Students Association is funded by the international jihad movement? - and instead of an answer I get this gotcha cross-examination game.  5 seconds with Google tells me that this student vehemently denies that she intended to express anything like support for genocide.

    But let's put that aside, because I really don't care about this woman, and unlike David Horowitz I do not think that just because she wears a headscarf she is a spokesperson for Muslims everywhere.  You know what really struck me about this diary?

    In like the third paragraph we learned that "free speech is America's number one value," a sentiment I can get behind.  And then by the end of the very same diary there is screaming indignation over the fact that a college - a public college no less! - could "allow" a student to express these views.  Wow!

    Let me ask the diarist a question.  Do you know how common it is in this country to hear people casually remark, jokingly or otherwise, about a genocide of the Muslims?  How often do you hear people say things like "we need to wipe 'em out" or "that whole part of the world should just be a sheet of glass"?  My guess is that you've heard such things.  Heck, there was a guy who sang a little song about wanting to bomb Iran and one of the major parties nominated him for President.

    My suspicion is that when you hear those remarks you don't especially think that the world is ending.  You probably don't report that friend to the authorities as someone who advocates genocide.  Assuming you think such rhetoric is over the top - which I'm giving you credit for - at worst you think that person is a little ignorant.

    I think if you start thinking of this student as an individual who might be a little ignorant - as opposed to the spokesperson for the vanguard of Islamofascist jihad - you'll find that life goes on pretty much as before.  Look, let's take the worst-case scenario for what she meant.  I'll still say, wake me up when she gets elected President of Iran.

    P.S. We can agree that Nasrallah is a bad guy, of course, but did he really say that?  I have a funny skeptical feeling.

  • You're not looking at the WH's options the right way.  The support they gave Specter was a quid pro quo for getting him to switch parties in the first place.  It's not as though Specter switched out of a clear blue sky and then the WH had to think about who to endorse.

  • It is entirely possible that the seat is going Republican no matter what.  My view is that Lincoln, as a known quantity, has no chance to overcome a Santorum-like 20-point deficit in the polls.  Halter, without the drag of incumbency in an anti-incumbent year, at least has a shot.  My guess is it's not a great shot.  In a state like Arkansas I am far more interested in holding a Democratic seat than in electing the most progressive individual possible, although Halter seems to be superior on both counts anyway.

    I don't really believe in the one-dimensional theory which holds that the better general election candidate is always the person closest to the center.  While I certainly wouldn't recommend running a flaming liberal in Arkansas, I'm pretty sure Halter isn't too progressive to win statewide considering he currently holds a statewide office.  Either way, we'll find out what happens at the same time as everybody else.

  • Easy with the rhetoric there, buddy.  An endorsement is not a diktat unless you want to sound like Glenn Beck.  I would hope we all understand the reason why the White House had no choice but to endorse these two incumbents even if we aren't necessarily thrilled about it.  In my opinion, it was well worth all those promises of love and support to get Specter as the 60th Democratic vote.

    I don't think there are exit polls for primaries, but I'm betting Obama's popularity rating was quite high among Sestak voters.  I think it would be silly to cast that result as some kind of repudiation of the President.


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