Friday, July 30, 2004

Dog Attack!

My father-in-law's dog just tried to attack my daughter. The fight or flight response is amazing: without even thinking, I pushed her behind me.

The dog bit both of my calves, and ripped tooth holes in my nice khakis. Little bastard. When my bro-in-law came to take the dog, he was just in time. I was wading back in to kick that dog's ass.

Acquainted with the Night -- Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain --and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Media watch from Salon's War Room

In pertinent part:

One other note about CNN's at-times head-scratching coverage last night. Following Edwards' acceptance speech, Blitzer, in what may have been a convention first, immediately turned to partisan representatives from the opposing party for a reaction; Bush campaign advisor Ralph Reed and former Bush Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke. We'll be watching closely during the Republican gathering in New York City to see if following Vice President Dick Cheney's speech, CNN immediately seeks out Kerry advisor Mark Mellman and former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart for their analysis.

Indeed we will.

I am the UberDork!

See here.

How will I use my new UberDork powers? Why, to fight crime, of course.

New RNC "Extreme Makeover" talking points

Here are the new talking points for the Dems "Extreme Makeover." Let's see if we can spot them bubbling up in the liberal media.

I'll give you an easy freebie:

The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign said Thursday that Democrats are continuing their "extreme makeover" of their candidate to mask Kerry's "out of the mainstream record."

The campaign pointed out that Kerry voted 98 times for tax increases totaling more than $2.3 trillion, at least 126 times against tax cuts totaling more than $5.3 trillion, 73 times to reduce the size of a tax cut, 67 times for smaller tax cuts and 11 times against repealing tax hikes.

Note the way that the reporter cites the campaign but leaves its conclusions un-fact checked. But, it's Fox News, so no surprise.

Here's one from AP. This one has been picked up all over the country, e.g. at NYT, LAT, etc. Note that the AP piece unabashedly compares Kerry to Dukakis and parrots the EM talking point without any attempt at balance.

Washington Times, another right-wing rag.

The Boston Channel.

Here, the Green Bay Press Gazette posts verbatim a Republican response to Kerry's speech without any pretense of reporting.

(Here, I skip dozens of local papers that parrot the "Extreme Makeover" line.).

A Chicago Tribune article that cites Kerry's vote against the $87B appropriation out of context, and then quotes Zell Miller parroting the Republican talking points. (The Sun-Times also runs an article about Miller.)

National Review Online (no surprise here, either).

Here's a different AP piece on Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This one gets quotes from two different conservative commentators, but the liberal POV is represented by a soundbite from Kerry's speech.

I would like to see someone in the mainstream ("liberal") media actually solicit the opinion of a liberal commentator on the veracity of the talking points. Without that perspective, the figures (voted against this 98 times, that 127 times) are essentially being repeated ad nauseum without verification.

I am almost certain that many, many of the votes cited in these figures followed a format something like this:

Under consideration: Bill pertaining to a proposed tax break.
Poison-pill amendment offered and successfully attached: declaring "libruls official enemies of the state" (or other nonsense)
Voted against tax break bill because of poison pill amendment.

Voila, a vote against cutting taxes. Or this:

Under consideration: Federal budget.
Amendments attached: changing various taxation levels as part of budget process (happens every budget period).

Now, no matter which way he votes on the budget he loses. He votes no on the budget? Well, he just voted against tax cuts (and if there are 10 tax cuts in the bill, we can count it 10 times!). He votes yes on the budget? Well, he just voted to raise taxes!

It's a fun game, right? e-mail

I received this e-mail from

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This cracks me up. I love, and I understand it is an automated mailing, but it is ridiculous to think that I will salivate over the prospect of recouping less than a dollar on a book I recently bought. I would rather just have the book.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Democratic Convention

Yes, I have been watching the Democratic convention every night on C-Span. My coworker at the summer internship here has taken to calling me a "turbo-geek," an appellation that I am for the moment taking as a compliment.

However, since the DNC didn't see fit to credential me for the convention, I don't see why I should give them much free press. I mean, why wouldn't they credential a dyed-in-the-wool liberal like me? Is it because I have a total of three readers?

One convention highlight before I subside back into my mum's the word coverage.

Sharpton: "We're gonna ride this donkey as far as it will take us." (pronounced "dunkey").

Personal Reasons Retirement Watch, Personal Thoughts

Apropos Lithwick's item yesterday, I have been thinking about this, the PRRW. Obviously, I am no longer as convinced as I was at the height of the Abu Ghraib story that Donald Rumsfeld will be forced to resign.

That said, Lithwick's piece reminds me how strongly I feel that he should. The administration has somehow managed to elude any prolonged scrutiny of high-up accountability for the breakdown at Abu Ghraib, and it is desperately needed. The media is quick to express its skepticism that Ebbers or Lay didn't know about the actions of their subordinates, and both men were indicted. Why?

Because they should have known. Certainly, it is fairly clear in both cases that they did, in fact, know about the abuses that were happening at their companies. I don't think they would or should get off the hook, though, even if they didn't know -- when you are responsible for the operation of an organization, you have a responsibility to know what's going on.

What's the answer? Donald Rumsfeld should take responsibility and step down at DOD immediately. If he doesn't, his boss should be held accountable.

UPDATE: Check out this story about a Canadian who the U.S. turned over to Syria for investigation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Lithwick Grabs me by the Balls

...not literally, you sicko:

I keep thinking that one speaker at this convention needs to stand up at that podium tonight and say: "Ladies and Gentlemen. Abu Ghraib. Thank you. Goodnight." Because shouldn't this election ultimately be a referendum on the rule of law? Shouldn't the only issue before us be whether or not there will be legal constraints on executive power? Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general under Bill Clinton and star Slate contributor, puts this far more eloquently when he warns that if we don't cast our votes about Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib and those torture memos, we will someday look back on this election as emblematic of a national moral failure.

What is at stake, in this election, is whether we value the notion of being a nation that's ruled by law as opposed to rulers. This isn't just a voting issue. It's what used to launch revolutions.

As my wife would say, "Hello?!?!?"

(click the title above for the article)

Safire Shills for the RNC

Safire writes a column expounding on Kerry's habit of "straddling" complex issues. Of course, its fatuous simplicity rests on the mistaken premise that an acknowledgement of an issue's complexity is an admission of weakness.

Oh, and Safire's "straddles" come to us straight from the RNC's "Who is John Kerry" talking points. (see "KERRY HAS A HISTORY OF CONTRADICTING HIMSELF AND TAKING BOTH SIDES OF AN ISSUE").

About Kerry's position on abortion, he says:

People who are resolutely pro-choice believe that life begins at birth, and that a woman has a right to abort what is taking place in her own body any time during a pregnancy. People who are resolutely pro-life believe that life begins at conception and that aborting that embryo or fetus is akin to murder.

Or you can believe that life begins at conception, but acknowledge that your belief doesn't give you the right to seize control of a woman's body.

About Gay Marriage:

3. He says he is against same-sex marriage, on one hand, and against a constitutional amendment to ban it, on the other. His position: leave it to the states to battle out.

Pollsters show this neat dodge to be popular. But the Supreme Court may well declare the federal Defense of Marriage Act, signed by Clinton, unconstitutional. If not, the Supremes are likely to decide that marriages legal in one state cannot be illegal in any other. To overturn that decision would require amending the Constitution, and the necessary huge majority for that is not there.

I think it is a pretty big stretch to say that the USSC is "likely" to decide that marriages legal in one state are legal in all states. Standards for marriage have long been left to state control.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

John Kerry and Capital Punishment

John Nichols points out that the Democratic platform, for the first time since 1980, will not endorse the death penalty. He (quite correctly) attributes this to Kerry's personal beliefs rather than political pragmatism, but I can't help but feel that it is also a ripe moment in American history, where the opportunity exists for us as a society to finally back away from the increasingly draconian punishments inflicted over the last 25 years.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Suggestions, please!

I was recently named Student Editor for the subject area of "Employees" at the new Law and Entrepreneurship Blog. I will be writing about developments in labor and employment law throughout the year to come. I am in the process of aggregating sources so that I get the absolute newest, tip-top information about the subject as it develops, and I need suggestions of tools (like aggregators) or sources (like blogs or news sites) that will help me accomplish my goal.

So far, I have:

Established Google News alerts for the various combinations of the words labor, employees, and law.

Put "George's Employment Blawg" into my Kinja blog aggregator, and am in the process of screening through George's Labor/Employment/HR blawg links.


I still need to contact a spokesperson for West and LexisNexis to get some help setting up their newsalerts system.  If you know how to set up alerts through Eclipse and WestClip (?), please e-mail me with details.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

John Kerry Parties in Madison

If you are interested in a John Kerry party on nomination night, look here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Seeing Connections

David Brooks has an op-ed in the Times today, which concludes:

Why aren't there more scholars, like Hill, Gaddis and Kennedy, who teach students to be generalists, to see the great connections? Instead, the academy encourages squirrel-like specialization.

Too many universities have become professionalized information-transmission systems, when teaching should instead be this sort of relationship between the experienced Hill and the young Worthen, on whom little now is lost.

This strikes me as very true. I had a class on Modern Critical Theories as an undergraduate that seems very like Grand Strategy in many ways. I was lost in a morass of seemingly-incomprehensible critical theory, like Derrida, Foucault, Adorno, Hockheimer, and Wittgenstein, among others. I was hopelessly lost, and if I were the quitting sort, I probably would have dropped the class.

Then, one fine spring day, I was walking down Bascom Hill after class, and SNAP! A whole framework of criticism snapped into place for me, allowing me to see connections between all the works we had studied. Suddenly, I was in a wonderland of ideas, able to discuss in an erudite fashion the way that the Kurtz's fateful utterance in Heart of Darkness could be related to a breakdown between signifier and signified, or the revelation that Mailer's Armies of the Night, a subjective historical account of an anti-war event, was no more subjective than any historical narrative.

This kind of learning experience, I think, is necessary if we want students to be able to apply their learning once they get out of the class. I had probably read Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" half a dozen times before my critical theory class, but I wasn't able to concretely apply it to new things I read until I had that framework in place in my mind.

Here's to the Big Picture!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Blogging qua blogging

Today, I posted the piece about Iran and Elephants using Blogger's new text editor. When I inserted the blockquote from the article I referenced, it did something strange with the html code (that the old html editor didn't do), which resulted in my menu being displayed at the bottom right hand corner instead of its proper place.

Looks like there are still a few bugs in the new editor. Mental note has been made.

Iran and the Elephant in the Room

From the AP:
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Monday the United States is exploring whether Iran had any role in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a scenario discounted by the CIA.

"We're digging into the facts to see if there was one," Bush said in an Oval Office photo opportunity. Bush noted that acting CIA Director John McLaughlin has said that there was no direct connection between Iran and Sept. 11.


Bush accused Iran of harboring al-Qaida leadership, seeking a nuclear weapons program and financing terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.

McLaughlin said on Sunday that the CIA has known for some time that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers were able to pass through Iran.

Having passed off the war in Iraq as a war against proliferation of WMD and against regimes connected with terror, the Bush administration makes the opening moves to do the same to Iran.

The administration attempts to connect Iran to 9/11 by innuendo: hijackers "passing through" and connections to Hezbollah. No intelligence report so far published has linked Hezbollah to 9/11. Although some of the hijackers may have passed through Iran, some narcotics dealers pass through Mexico. It is not a justification for a preventive war against the Mexican or Iranian states. Borders (including our own) are incredibly porous.

What has been conclusively demonstrated is that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. What has been demonstrated is the support of the Saudis of the radical Wahabbi sect of Islam. What has been demonstrated is the link between certain Saudi charities and Al Qaeda.

I guess if you go to enough Republican conventions, you get used to seeing the elephants everywhere.

Ehrenreich answers her critics

Friday, July 16, 2004

PRRW: Day 32

"Donald Rumsfeld has gone from being the most popular spokesperson for the Bush administration policies to something of a pariah," said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a think tank.

Genius and Madness

Bobby Fischer is about to be extradited to the United States for violating U.N. sanctions against Yugoslavia by going there to play chess in 1992.
It's always sad to me to see the all-too-frequent correlation between genius and madness.  It always seems a terrible waste of a precious gift.  Maybe there is an element of madness in genius -- genius being an extraordinary, unconventional intelligence.  Maybe in order for a mind to be so transgressive, it needs to be just a little unchained from barriers that the rest of us run up against all the time.
Yes, Bobby said some bad things.  Yes, violating U.N. travel sanctions is a bad thing.  My instinct is still that he should just be let go -- his madness seems to be of the harmless crank variety, and his chess is so brilliant. 
Or maybe the correlation between genius and madness is just a literary trope that I have taken too much to heart.

UPDATE: Here is a great 2002 article about Bobby Fischer.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Holden over at Eschaton links to a series of Australian news stories which report that interim Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi may have personally executed six suspected insurgents.  (See here).
At what point does the argument that we were bringing democracy to Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people collapse under its own groaning weight?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Personal Reasons Retirement Watch, Day 31

From Sy Hersh, we hear there may be videotape of atrocities being committed on children on Abu Ghraib. Cue the drums, please.

Barbara Bush Sex Tape?

Maureen Dowd, polemicizing against the Bush administration, compares the Bush twins to the Hilton sisters?

To quote Jon Stewart: WHAAAAAAAA?

Then she concludes:

The nub of this election is that John Kerry has so far failed to convince voters that he'll do what Mr. Bush promised to do and hasn't: go after Osama and Al Qaeda and destroy them. Unless Mr. Kerry can make that sale, Americans face not a false dilemma, but a real one.

Yeah, great. Stake the whole campaign on going after Osama and Al Qaeda, and then be a weathervane for how the WoT is going in late October. Sounds like an invitation to a dinner party hosted by disaster.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Variations on the Word Sleep

by Margaret Atwood.

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Republican National Convention Schedule

More good stuff.

Nader: Unhinged? posts the transcript of a phone conversation with Ralph Nader.

So many juicy quotes:

Nader: We're not going to play the fascist game of the two-party monopoly barricading itself from any competition, with all kinds of statutory obstruction that cost third parties immense time and money if they can surmount them. This is a dictatorship, which you don't seem to understand...


Talbot: [Conservative groups are] not just giving money. These conservative groups are working behind the scenes to get you on state ballots. You're basically saying it's all right to work with the devil, Ralph, because you've lost your perspective.

Nader: OK, now I've flushed you out. Now you've come out. I'm an expert in flushing out bias, prejudice and prejudgment. And you've demonstrated all three. Until you go after the Democrats for obstructing us with dirty tricks and using both Republican and Democratic money -- they used a Republican law firm, by the way, among their three law firms -- until you're even-handed, I will declare you hopelessly prejudiced.

To quote more would be to stretch the limits of fair use.

Fair and Balanced

Wonkette has posted a group of memos from Fox News Chief John Moody. Bias in news coverage? Shocking!

Kerry's Inner Circle

Interesting article on the way the campaign creates policy. One amusing highlight of the "words have meaning" variety:

This spring, when Kerry was pushed to put policy flesh on his political rhetoric about "Benedict Arnold CEOs" and jobs moving abroad, it took weeks and "innumerable meetings" to formulate a proposal, said one of the participants.

Unsolicited career advice: If you are a prominent economist, it might not be a good move to announce that you couldn't count the meetings you had over a few weeks.

I know "innumerable" has a certain rhetorical punch, but you are either saying "the meetings were infinite" or "I lack the ability to count them."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Pretty Busy Day. Read this.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Subliminable Message? You be the Judge.

After touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory, President Bush made some brief remarks to the press.

From the article:

``We know that terrorists are preparing to attack us again,'' Bush said after touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where Libya's weapons are now being stored. ``This policy was set in motion by policies declared in public'' after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said. ``Terrorism and proliferation now carry serious consequences.

I heard these remarks on NPR news on the radio. The end of the last sentence was pronounced:

"Terrorism and proliferation now (pause) carry (pause) serious consequences."

You make the call.

Katharine R. on Torture and Human Decency

Read it here. That's an order.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Daily Show last night

Was it just me, or did the bit about Tom Ridge announcing imminent Al Qaeda activity seem a little bit angry? Certainly, the idea that Ridge gives random terror alerts on vague intelligence to cover his own ass and steal the limelight from other news events (ahem) is more than enough to make one angry, but Jon, we watch you because we want to laugh!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Draft Ehrenreich

Good Ehrenreich column today.

The Most Liberal Ticket Ever?

Bill O'Reilly (I know, easy target) has anointed Kerry-Edwards the "Most Liberal Ticket Ever."

He says they are more liberal than Mondale-Ferraro (and I guess, implicitly, Carter-Mondale in '76). He argues on the basis of the rating that each Senator got from Americans for Democratic Action.

Of course, O'Reilly doesn't provide ADA ratings for Mondale or Ferraro, so it is unclear how he is using their ratings for Kerry and Edwards to determine that they are the most liberal. Mondale actually rates a 90, substantially similar to Kerry (at 92) and more liberal than Edwards (at 81). Ferraro, despite being a NY Congresswoman, is not rated on ADA.

So Mondale-Ferraro was probably at least as liberal as Kerry-Edwards, if not more liberal. What about Carter-Mondale? Despite running on a fairly moderate program, Carter's agenda was certainly what we would call liberal: national health care, resistance to big ticket military expenditures (the B-1, in this case), environmentalism, and medical cost controls.

Of course, we can probably find some pretty liberal tickets if we go farther back, too. McGovern-Eagleton/Shriver? Either of Adlai Stevenson's campaigns?

It seems a dubious assertion, to say the least.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Irony Defined

Bush Challenges Democratic VP Candidate's Qualifications

From the article:

During a question and answer session with reporters, the president was asked to compare Senator Edwards' credentials to those of his own vice president, Dick Cheney. His response was brief.

"Dick Cheney can be president," he said.

John Edwards never held public office before he was elected to the Senate in 1998. Supporters of the president's re-election bid note that by the time Mr. Edwards came to Washington, Dick Cheney had already served as a congressman, White House chief of staff, and secretary of defense.

Let's look at President Bush's Bio:

He served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers until he was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998, with 68.6 percent of the vote.

So Edwards is too inexperienced to serve as VP, having served only six years in the Senate. President Bush, on the other hand, was experienced enough to serve as President after six years as a state governor.

Next thing you know, they'll be attacking him for being too rich to serve the American people.

Bizarre Quote of the Day

Robert Gerald Lorge, an Appleton attorney and farmer running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Russ Feingold, stated his principled opposition to stem cell research at UW-Madison, thus:

"I oppose all the Frankenstein-type, Brave New World false hopes of Michael J. Fox"

It's about time someone stood up to Michael J. Fox, that purveyor of false Frankenstein-type Brave New World hopes. Curse you, Michael J. Fox!

(you can see the original article, here)

UPDATE: The article was reposted here. Lorge's quote was apparently cut off in the original version, and has been corrected. Unfortunately for Lorge, it still doesn't make a lot of sense:

"I oppose all the Frankenstein-type, Brave New World false hopes of Michael J. Fox and that Superman actor," said Lorge.

Now his quote has Michael J Fox joining some sort of Stem Cell Axis of Evil with Christopher Reeve!

Another Lifetime Appointment

...of a Federal judge. This one believes that a wife must submit to her husband. It seems that at one time he believed that rape doesn't cause pregnancy. I'm sure he changed his mind because of the facts and not because of political expediency.

(Link via Fark)

Follow Your Money!

Check this out.

You can look up which companies support which political parties. I always find this sort of aggregated information really interesting, much better than wading through countless filings written in bureaucratese.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Three point strategy for the Left? (part II)

When I discussed Emma's Three Point Strategy, I failed to mention an important tactical point about political strategy.

You must be prepared to explain in as few words as possible how any specific proposal benefits the individual.

The dominant paradigm exists because of the persuasive power of the argument that more government equals more taxes, and less taxes equals more money in the individual's pocket. To win progressive reform, we must show that government spending can also create wealth that we all share, whether in benefits or actual financial remuneration.

That's darn difficult, though.

Draft Ehrenreich

I agree with Chatterbox:

On the strength of two columns thus far on the New York Times op-ed page—to read them, click here and here—Barbara Ehrenreich has established herself as the Times's best columnist. This is, of course, a snap judgment, but Ehrenreich has long been one of the most eloquent voices on the left, which, as distinct from liberalism, has not had much access to the mainstream press for many years.

I love Ehrenreich's writing, and I agree with Chatterbox especially that Dowd's Op Eds are dreadful, vacuous, and a poor imitation of Molly Ivins (but maybe that last part is just me).

The Times should keep Herbert, though. I remember his reporting on the Tulia story, which I thought was captivating (link goes to the Tulia story; Herbert's NYT Tulia columns are now for paying subscribers only).


Kerry selects Edwards!

Reuters story here.

(Just glad it wasn't Gephardt).

Friday, July 02, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

My God, what have we done?

Yeats wrote a poem.


Others because you did not keep
That deep sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.

Three point strategy for the Left?

Emma has posted a three-point strategy for the left to retake political power. I think it's problematic.

You can see the full strategy here.

Point one: Win Back Political Morality

The Democrats were defeated in the rhetorical battle over political morality. They didn't "lose" their political morality, as Emma suggests. It was taken from them by careful Right strategy which emphasized individualism, small government, and the free market as solutions to America's problems.

It is true that the Left will have to reforge some notion of political morality that breaks the Right's iron triangle of values. Emma's plan doesn't propose how to do this. Perhaps this is because she believes the Left merely "lost" something that they can again find. I would argue that the Left will have to wage a rhetorical war using its own values.

Point Two: Lead with Positives.

Certainly, it is good to be positive and provide a vision of a better future. It is vital, in fact. But it is not enough; the Left won't convince anyone if we don't also refute Right arguments about our Vision. This leads to

Point Three: Craft a coherent platform that always underscores the first two points.
For a platform to cohere, it needs to have as first principles more than "be positive" and "reclaim political morality." A coherent Left platform will have its own triangle or square of values that directly counteract the iron triangle.

Specifically, the "bootstrap individualism" meme needs to be neutralized with a "community obligations" argument. We all benefit from a society that has genuine social and economic justice, and when society helps us succeed, we owe some of our success to the community.

The "small government" meme needs to be countered with an argument about "stewardship." Stewardship was the conception of the government during the New Deal; the government was of the people, for the people, and it cared for their interests. That means regulating food and drugs, pollution, and so on. Emma is quite right that the environmental argument must be reframed so that it encompasses many of those who currently oppose it.

The problem with reframing in the way Emma suggests is that the Left still cedes vast rhetorical advantages if it attempts to reframe each issue on an ad hoc basis. Instead, the Left must follow the right in creating a framework from which all issues can be reframed. This allows people all across the Left to reframe an issue for themselves by the simple reference to the Left Worldview.

Finally, the "private markets are best" meme needs to be countered. This one is harder to counteract with a single idea, possibly requiring two ideas in concert. First, we must emphasize the way that a purely private market crushes individual rights; collectively-wielded economic power will always outstrip individual power. The only entity that can answer corporate power to protect the individual is the state. This is "social/economic justice." Unchecked corporate power decreases freedom. Second, certain commodities are not best delivered in a for-profit system. Among them, I would count electricity, clean water, health care, and education. A for-profit system invariably creates unequal access to goods and services that are basic necessities. This is the expanded notion of "basic human rights."

Emma reiterates her point that Democrats shouldn't even bother arguing with Republicans, opting instead for a direct to the people message of hopeful liberalism. I like the way this sounds, but I think it is a recipe for defeat. We simply cannot cede the terms of the debate to the Republicans. They will say that any government program that provides universal health care is socialism, that any modicum of taxation is theft, and people will believe them, because these are easy ideas to grasp and very powerful when stacked against complex plans to improve the future. To be effective, Democrats must package their "hopeful liberalism" in little chewable rhetorical tablets if they want them to compete. They have to be good at naming things and summarizing their vision in a few words.

That's where they can use Community, Stewardship, Social/Economic Justice, and Basic Human Rights.

Fahrenheit 9/11

I am going to see it tonight. I will report back later.