Friday, May 23, 2008

Deathwatch not dead

You will note that Slate's Hillary Clinton Deathwatch has been reinstated in this blog's sidebar, because, um, she is not yet dead! I will probably have some more thoughts about her "courageous" show of "determination" later on. (Actually, some reasonable thoughts on her petulant and destructive attitudes can be found at Obsidian Wings, by a feminist.)

Update I: Speaking of Slate, today Ron Rosenbaum weighs in with a column entitled "In Praise of Liberal Guilt: It's not wrong to favor Obama because of race." The piece is worth reading, even if I personally feel that it makes no more sense to vote for Obama because he is Black than to vote against him for the same reason, nor to vote for Clinton because she is a woman than to vote against her because she is a woman. But Rosenbaum makes some good points, including one comment I do heartily agree with: "...Hillary Clinton's problems, it seems to me, stem less from sexism than from Clintonism."

Update II: The New York Times reports today that Barack Obama will be filling in for Ted Kennedy as commencement speaker at Wesleyan University, where Kennedy's stepdaughter will be among the graduates. This is a reminder that Obama, in addition to all his other talents, is a brilliant politician. As I have said before, it is best not to see Obama as a savior, but to view his candidacy as a window of opportunity for social activists of all stripes to make their moves.

Update III: Also in the news today, John McCain has now rejected the support of pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement he sought and got despite Hagee's well-known bigotry, especially against gays and Catholics. But it turns out that he has also been insulting to Jews. Now that is just going too far! Let's hope that McCain's "pastor problem" haunts him for at least as long as Obama's has. (More about Hagee's long-known anti-semitism from Max Blumenthal today on The Huffington Post.)

Update IV: Slate does a daily roundup of the daily papers, which I subscribe to (a friend asked me yesterday how I keep up with all this news, I told her that we journalists are news junkies and of course you have to be obsessive to be a blogger) and here below is an excerpt from today's. Now what is wrong with this picture? I will tell you what: Senate Democrats have voted en mass to spend $165 billion more of our money on war. As I said yesterday, this doesn't even raise an eyebrow in the news media and among most Americans these days. And now Republican "mavericks" are heroes because they agreed with Democrats that it was okay to spend the money as long as we threw in a small fraction of this total for domestic spending? Tell it to the soldiers who are still fighting and dying in Iraq.

Oh, I should also say something about the gay marriage controversy, which is also referred to below. This is an example of the endless capacity of some people to dish out bullshit and others to swallow it. What is the main argument against gay marriage? That it endangers, um, marriage! (Remember the "Defense of Marriage Act", signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996?) Well, but, gays are FOR marriage! They WANT to get married (or at least be able to.) I suppose for some people, if just anyone can get married it sort of cheapens the symbolic and sacred nature of the holy union of matrimony which God Himself hath decreed must be between a man and a woman, at least I think He hath decreed it although I cannot cite chapter and verse right now--but I am sure someone out there can.

PS--Curious about which Senators voted against the "Defense of Marriage Act" back in 1996? Let Balter's Blog do the research for you: Roll call here. Of course, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama were in the Senate back then, but the 14 naysayers showed a lot more "courage" than Bill Clinton did at the time.

today's papers
Jumping Ship
By Daniel Politi
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008, at 7:25 AM ET

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox lead with the Senate voting to approve $165 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a bill that also devotes billions more in domestic spending, including a major expansion of veterans' education benefits. A surprising number of Republicans broke with President Bush and joined Democrats to pass the bill with a 70 to 26 vote. It was a poignant sign that Republicans, particularly those facing reelection, aren't afraid to ignore Bush's wishes and provided hints that electoral politics have deeply fractured the Republican Party. The Los Angeles Times leads with a new inhouse poll that shows a majority of registered voters in California oppose the state Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriages and support a constitutional amendment to ban these types of unions.

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