Thank Odin the Nobels don’t have a butterfly ballot

As easy as it would be to make a bunch of parallels between tonight’s massive bed-crapping by the Sox bullpen and the performance of the Democratic majority in Congress since we voted them in, I think I’ll go a different route.

The media coverage of Al Gore’s Nobel win has been quite something to watch. For one thing, the American press seems blissfully unaware that Gore’s actually sharing the award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Not surprising, really, since that would require them to know what said panel is, but it’d be nice if they could at least do the IPCC the courtesy of acknowledging their work. That’s not what’s been most fun, though. It’s been the focus on “does this mean Gore will take a shot at the Presidency again?” On the one hand, I’d love for him to try. He’s easily the most qualified person for the job; he’s got the long-term vision necessary to lead a superpower, and if nothing else, he clearly has a functioning brain.

But come back with me, dear readers, to November of 2000. You’re the sitting Vice President of the United States. Your administration, though plagued by a torch-wielding Congress, has presided over the greatest peacetime economic expansion ever. Your opponent is a callow, inexperienced legacy politician. Despite this, partly due to your own tentative campaigning style and largely due to a media more interested in which candidate would be a better pick to host your frat party, the polls have been close all year. Election Night rolls around, and at the end of the night, you’ve clearly won the popular vote, but Florida is so close that they’ll need to count again to figure out who won. It’s stressful, sure, but such is democracy. There’s a system in place to deal with this sort of thing, and you’ve been raised your entire life to trust that system.

That’s when it all goes to hell. The other guy’s operatives start gaming that system. They use every legal trick in the book to hold up the recount. They launch a press campaign to convince the media that the election’s over, and all the delay is due to sour grapes. When this looks like it might not work out, they send mobs into the streets to intimidate vote counters. (For a more complete account of the post-election battle, read Jeffrey Toobin’s Too Close to Call, which is required reading for anyone wanting to know how easily democracy can be thrown for a loop.) These banana republic-style tactics work, and faced with a mocking press, a hostile Supreme Court, and no support from your own political allies, you concede.

Losing an election, by all accounts, is a crushing blow to your ego. Having an election that you’ve clearly won stolen from you in broad daylight? I can’t even imagine. As much as I would love to see Al Gore taking that oath on January 20 (even if it would be 8 years late), I completely understand why he doesn’t want it anymore. He’s found his place, and more power to him.

Incidentally, for those hoping to avoid a replay of 2000 (and, depending on what you read about Ohio, 2004), a few things to keep an eye on:

-A ballot initiative in California being financed by several prominent GOPer’s which would apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a move which would effectively hand the GOP candidate 20+ votes. The campaign’s hit a few snags lately, but this sort of thing has a way of hanging around after you think it’s been dealt with.

-Whether the Senate plans to confirm Hans von Spakovsky to a permanent seat on the Federal Elections Commission. The Rules Committee passed his nomination on to the full Senate, but there’s as yet been no vote. Keeping in mind that the FEC determines the rules for elections, might be a good idea to check out his record, which doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

There’s a year until the election, all. Lots of wild tricks can be pulled if our eyes aren’t constantly on the ball.

Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize

ipcc.jpg gore.jpg

This dude is wild. After eight years of Vice-Presidency he loses his bid to be the head honcho; grows a beard and completely drops out of the lime-light [kind of like the future Nathan Petrelli in Heroes]. Apparently, during his time off he was doing some heavy research in to this whole Global Climate Change thing (global warming IS bunk, people. Just because SOME places are getting warmer doesn’t mean it’s happening everywhere; some places are getting colder. So there.) Gore has devoted much more to this one particular issue than to have it just be a theme of a scheme, or a some means to achieve some end. This man has subscribed to a theory and really wants us to know about it.

So after the flick An Inconvenient Truth he walks away with an Oscar or an Emmy or some shit. Now, finally, he has been rewarded to his dedication of this cause with one of the most distinguishable awards in the world, the Nobel Peace Prize. Good for you Al Gore. If I voted I woulda voted for that dude. Speaking of voting … Wouldn’t it be great to see this give Big Al [this dude has the most unfortunate name: Albert Arnold Jr…. wow] enough confidence to jump on the campaign trail for the Donkeys?


Don’t get me wrong Barack and Hillary, I love you, you’re ninjas, both of you. But one of you is a black man and one of you might be a woman. These are traits that some people feel the president shouldn’t possess; and we know Al Gore is kind of better bet. We like Al Gore. Would one of you please just be his VP? For the party?

p.s. All you [dumb] *uckers who say that Global Climate Change in phooey should recognize. We can and very well should do what we can to reduce green-house gazes and all the other hub-bub “greening-up” involves. If you’re two lazy you can come up with a better excuse than “Christ is coming back anyway, he won’t make us clean up”, at least blame it on China. They’re *ucked.

[Around here we don't refer to them as right-wingers as some less ninja-inclined blogs would have you believe]

This is… our country?

Nothing like getting things started on an upbeat note, so here goes…

Ted Kennedy, my very own senior Senator, wrote a piece for Salon in which he discusses the Administration’s less-than-stellar record on torture. Among other things, he mentions the legislation he’s sponsoring which would clarify the law in this particular area. Please take a look at the bill (it’s short, I promise) before reading any further.

Now then. On the one hand, I think we can agree that the methods banned by this bill are good things to ban. (And just to save everyone a lot of time and bother, if you don’t find these tactics worth banning, my posts probably aren’t going to be your particular cup of chai.) The thing that disturbs the hell out of me is that one of the more prominent members of the US Senate actually has to write a bill laying out in blunt terms that these things are bad. Not only that, but that there’s a better than decent chance that this bill won’t pass, and even if it does, that the Administration will attach a signing statement and toss it down the memory hole.
If someone had told you seven years ago that Congress would soon be considering a bill the purpose of which was to make sure that American soldiers and intelligence agents wouldn’t electrocute, beat, or fake-drown prisoners, would you have believed it possible? Certainly it’s been a long time since I was naive enough to believe that America has never done anything even morally grey, let alone lousy, but I still thought there were at least a few lines we wouldn’t cross. Torturing people was one of those lines.
That’s the single reason I’m most pissed off at the current Administration, I think. Seven years ago, I had a pretty good grasp on what America meant. Now I’m not nearly as sure, and that drives me up the wall.

Fortunately enough, being driven up the wall tends to make me write, so I imagine there’ll be no shortage of posts in the near future. Hopefully they’ll be worth reading.

Freepers Creepers / Deja War

Incredibly, it’s happening again. As if Iraq never happened, as if the innumerable lessons from that national shame and continuing horror never happened. As if the ‘06 election slapdown and clear annunciation of the people’s will never happened.

Incredibly, the same cast of chickenhawk fools and lazy legislators who brought us Iraq are now dragging the country into an even bigger pile of bushit. Incredibly, the media awaits their next sage utterances on the “progress” in Iraq and the need to bomb the hell out of Iran as if they had a shred of credibility remaining.

Read the Rest @ Thinking Peace or read about Bush and the Freepers

Real Time With Bill Maher: Cornel West, Mos Def & Ralph Nader

Topics including Iraq, terrorism (Islamic, American and otherwise), Obama/Clinton, the Jena Six, OJ Simpson, the Boogie Man…

Bill: [On Islamic terrorists] You have to admit there are certain people who do want to kill Americans.
Mos: Yeah, uh, some of them are called The Police…


Mos: This is not about the Muslim or the Christian…the division of the Democrat/Republican, Muslim/Christian, uhhh, Autobot/Decepticon, Crypt/Blood, black/white: it’s all bullshit, because the bottom line is that Islam is not the threat; it’s not a problem.


Bill: [to Nader, on being a consumer advocate] Ralph, you’re bringing sexy back.
Ralph: [On his new book] There are at least three reasons why if my mother raised George W. Bush, we wouldn’t be in Iraq. One: she would have taught him history. Two: critical thinking. And three: how to listen.


Cornel: Truth lies prostrate on rugged heels with nameless cavalries. And what I mean is, it’s hard to find a space for truth, and it’s hard for truth to be a species of the good to have impact, in the face of corruption, mendacity, mediocrity and shortsightedness. So truth has to lie prostrate, which means we have to reveal it in its nekidness, even if that nekidness seems to be connected to a lack of power…
Bill: Let’s get the truth nekid right here on this table.


Bill: [New Rule] Sorry Mr. President, but slinking into somewhere unannounced and under cover of night isn’t an ass whooping; it’s a booty call.

Thanks to Kelena for the tip on this one!