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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Monday, 18 July 2005

Topic: For policy wonks...

News Notes: Non-Stories

Those of us who are kind of news hounds are well aware that the new media does not exactly multi-task. There's usually one big story. The rest is secondary.

Because reporting the news is, almost entirely, a commercial venture, anyone who mans an assignment desk is constantly making decisions on what should be covered. Is any given story what people really want to know about? Yes? Then you cover it is all its juicy details, and cover it in such a way that, if television, viewers don't change channels to see Tiger Woods triumphant, or what's up with Lance Armstrong or the Mets, or which of the luscious "Desperate Housewives" this week inadvertently finds herself stark naked in the front year in the middle of the afternoon. (Something one hardly ever sees out here, oddly enough.) If radio, one covers things scattershot in short bursts, because folks in their cars seldom want more than a headline and a few follow-on sentences ("Give Us Twenty-Two Minutes and We'll Give You the World") - and the same principle applies. If it's not what they want to hear - terse nuggets of what's happing here and there - then there's always Janis Joplin on the oldies station. (Those who listen to NPR seem to be the exception, willing to hang on through "backgrounders" and extended essays.)

In any event, you must hold your audience, on the presumption that your ratings will then be healthy enough that you can charge good money for open advertising slots in prime time. You can guarantee that so many millions will be tuned in when you break for something about the virtues of their particular product or service. Of course, now and then you gamble and report something odd you think is going to be news, or so you hope, and you get a scoop on your competition.

But, for the most part, you know what your audience wants, and it is your job, as a public service, to give them that, and make a few bucks doing so. Thus endless coverage of Michael Jackson's trial, and this missing attractive white woman or that - and of the next hurricane, as folks want to see all the details of that, even if they live in Ames, Iowa. Monday, July 18, Larry King on CNN did a full hour on the late Princess Diana's sons - how they're doing now in their twenties and all they're facing and so on. His ratings for this show were, of course, wonderful, or so one assumes. Of deep importance in the grand scheme of things? No. But millions tuned in.

What may seem to you to be news - matters that are of historic or social importance - does not matter as much as what your audience wants to know about. The news folks don't choose the news. The market does.


Maybe you can create a new market by reporting something people don't yet know they want to know - just as creative marketing can create a new need people didn't know they had, like the need in the seventies for the water in the toilets to be blue (some folks felt obliged to have their toilet water blue because otherwise their visitors would think less of them). The Washington Post back in the seventies "created a need" for folks to know about Nixon and the Watergate cover-up. There was no market for that, but they created one. Very clever.

As Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta, says, it's always a balance - between what should be reported in a democracy (people really need to know this), and what people want to hear about (people really want to know that).

Thus these days it's Karl Rove all the time - folks seem to get off on the leader in trouble and embarrassed (or at least defensive), or they get off on being angry at those who doubt him. That will do until the president nominates someone to the Supreme Court - and then we get a lots of different fussing and fighting. (Remember Anita Hill and the Coke can and the pubic hair?) We had a new hurricane, but unless it hits Texas there's no ratings bump there. The young, pretty red-state white woman is still missing is Aruba - all those odd folks speaking Dutch, even the scary young black guys! - but nothing is happening! The suicide bombings in Iraq get worse and worse - now a hundred dead at a clip - but reporting that in any depth doesn't sell advertising slots any longer. It's not "news" - as that's just what happens (the new normal).

Much of this was covered last weekend here in One Man's News Is Another Man's Tedium - which was in some ways a laundry list of possibly important things happening that were NOT news. Possibly important things. News. Often two different things.

There you would find mention of a July 7 item from the BBC reporting our new puppet government in Iraq entered into an agreement with Iran for troop training.
Former enemies Iran and Iraq say they will launch broad military co-operation including training Iraqi armed forces.

"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq," said Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani." ...
Yes, indeed, Iran is one of the members of the Axis of Evil, and we're almost ready to do something like bombing the hell out of them if the continue trying to finish up a nuclear bomb or two. So we liberate Iraq to bring them western-style free-market capitalism and some form of democracy, and they start off with a military pact with the worst of the bad guys?

As I asked then, we fought this war for what? Wasn't for the WMD (oops), and the flypaper-will-keep-us-safe thing is looking shakier by the day (but is was London, after all, and not Chicago, or even Peoria, that was bombed), and it seems spreading democracy will have to wait until the constant suicide and remote-controlled bombings stop. (Think about that - we created a battlefield over there so we wouldn't have one here, but at the same time we saying we're bringing the folks there peace and security so the place will no longer be a battlefield - so you can do both at the same time?)

The question raised with the BBC item? Did we fight this war to install a government there that will join up with Iran in all sorts of military agreements? We created, possibly, a new client state of the worst-of-the worst, Iran?


Well, this is not news, as in this is not covered in the news here much. We've got Rove and Bush, and the Aruba girl, and some other matters, including the British princes' growing pains, so this one will be hard to sell. There's only so much you can cover.

But it is curious, as Bill Montgomery points out over at Whiskey Bar in an item he titles Ayatollah You So.

He opens with two items from papers in the Middle East. From the Gulf Times he finds this from July 18:
Iranian President Mohamed Khatami yesterday hailed a "turning point" in relations with Baghdad as Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a historic visit to Tehran aimed at strengthening ties after decades of enmity . . . Jaafari, who took refuge in Iran during the rule of Saddam Hussain, visited the tomb of Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini yesterday, and paid homage by laying a wreath of flowers.
You read that right. Flowers at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. Who? Ayatollah Khomeini - hostages in Iran - Carter couldn't get them out - freed the day Reagan took office - Ayatollah Khomeini our biggest enemy at the time.

Then this in the Tehran Times of July 19:
Al-Jaafari, for his part, expressed pleasure over his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei. He called the late Imam Khomeini the key to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, adding, "We hope to eliminate the dark pages Saddam caused in Iran-Iraq ties and open a new chapter in brotherly ties between the two nations."
Montgomery comments:
Now I personally don't blame al-Jaafari for cuddling up to the Iranians - if I were in his shoes I'd do exactly the same thing. But laying flowers on the tomb of the Ayatollah Khomeini is rubbing it in pretty thick, especially when the Great Satan is keeping his chair warm for him back in Baghdad. Couldn't he have used FTD?

I guess not. A quick look at the history of al-Jaafari's Dawa Party will tell you why.

It would be interesting to see what kind of reaction al-Jaafari's little Tehran tete-a-tete would cause here in Great Satan Central, if it got 1/20th the coverage of Karl Rove's pimply ass. How would the folks back home feel if they knew their sons and daughters were getting limbs blown off so that Iraqi politicians could jaunt off to Tehran and say warm and fuzzy things about the crazy old man who gave us the Iranian hostage crisis? [my emphasis]

And what kind of surrealist cover story would the GOP propaganda machine come up with to convince the Fox News audience that fighting and dying to keep Khomeini lovers in power is really a good thing?
Well, one assumes the comment that Rove has a pimply ass is just an angry insult, but were some news organization have actual footage of same, now THAT would be a news story. The fact that the government we brought into existence - to replace that of the former guy now in jail and awaiting trial - is aligning itself who Iran, who we have been told since the days just after 9/11 is just as bad (same axis) is not news?

But it is news on the BBC and in the Middle-East media. Why is that? Different news market? Perhaps it's just knowing your customer.

Can anyone create a "need" for this story, at least for those of us who have friends and relatives fighting there now for some reason - whatever it is? There could be a market there. You could create one.

Probably not. It will turn to news when the two countries, Iran and Iraq, join forces and tell us to get out, they have a nuclear bomb or two, and they take hostages again. Now it's not news, just the starting point of possible news. We'll get to it later.

Posted by Alan at 21:58 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 18 July 2005 22:02 PDT home

Sunday, 17 July 2005

Topic: World View

A Late Bastille Day

Bastille Day comes late out here - and it was celebrated at the La Brea Tar Pits of all places - complete with a Petanque tournament!

Here is the skinny:
The fourth annual Bastille Day LA is a free all-day festival held in the gardens of the Page Museum [adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits]. Supported by the French Consulate in Los Angeles, the Bastille Day LA celebration is meant to "reinforce the undying ties between the French and American people and to promote French heritage and culture."

Foods to be presented at the event include: Sweet and savory crepes by Café Marly; Coucous and Moroccan specialties by Marakesh; Merguez, frites and barbecue by Tartine et Café; Macarons, caramels, sables, pates de fruits by Boule; Specialty French breads by L'artisan Valley Bakery; Croissants and cookies by Breadbar; Quiches and salads by Normandy Country.

There's a Provencal petanque tournament, a Parisian waiters' race, and an international vendor marketplace with gastronomic specialties from all over France and refreshments in the Festival beer and wine garden. Performers from around the world on the main stage throughout the day are expected to include French Latin Funk Group Patje, Hot Fab Djazz Club Jazz Band, West African singer Kadiatou, Tahitian dancers, the C. Dance Jazz Company. Best part? It's free! Sunday 12:00 noon to 8 pm in the gardens of the Page Museum, 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. In the heart of the Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard (Wilshire Boulevard & Curson Avenue), just East of LACMA.
A full report and a photo album will follow, sometime Monday. Until then?

The script -

A babe -

The stage -

Provencal petanque befuddles the young locals -

Posted by Alan at 17:31 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 17 July 2005 17:38 PDT home

Topic: World View

Our Man in Tel-Aviv: Armed Brothers

A new column from Our Man in Tel-Aviv - Sylvain Ubersfeld

Tel-Aviv, Sunday, July 17, 2005 -

Not being Jewish and living in Israel can prove to be an advantage, especially if and when one is trying to make an acceptable assessment of the so-called Israel -Palestine conflict. Born of a Jewish father whose family was eradicated by the Nazis while he was completing his studies in France, I was educated in the Christian faith and I now realize how both of my cultural and religious heritages are equally important. Surprisingly enough, or rather not, I was not able to choose one culture rather than the other and I will light candles on Friday night, and find serenity on the top of the basilica in Jerusalem which is nowadays turned into a monastery for Coptic and Ethiopians Priests. Unlike many Frenchmen who pass judgments abroad when visiting other countries, I have not yet decided if anyone was fully wrong, or right, in regards to what is known as the middle-east conflict. Having spend over eighteen years of my life in extensive traveling, a good part of it in the heart of the Middle East, I do not consider myself as an expert, although some "official" experts working for big international organizations may know less than I do about Arabic and Jewish culture.

Nothing can in my opinion justify any kind of terrorism, would it be physical aggression or intellectual perversion consisting in stigmatizing a race, a group of people, a caste, or a minority. The Palestinian and the Jews are brothers. They live on the same land that has the same physical characteristics; they are warmed up by the same sun, washed by the same rainwater that pours here during winter in the biblical sense of the flood. Both of them enjoy drinking Turkish coffee in which they will eventually put a special kind of ground spice (partially made of cardamom), as much as they will appreciate eating falafel (fried balls of runnabean flour), pitah, (the traditional Arabic bread), humus (a delightful puree of chick peas served with olive oil and lemon juice), or watermelon diced up and accompanied by goat cheese.

Both Jews and Arabs will dedicate one day a week to praying following ablutions (for those who are really involved into religion that is) and they will probably read verses of their respective holy book, both of these containing by the way quite a few appeals to the basics instincts and hatred and revenge which inhabits each of us and which we should dominate (in principle).

Most of the Jews would be able to understand basic Arabic, and in the same fashion it is not uncommon for Arabs to pick up quite a lot of Hebrew… this should not come as a surprise as the languages are extremely close and both of them by the way have a "dot" system which allows consonants to be pronounced as vowels by addition of a special marking under the letter. Their ancestors were in their time a part of the same household, both of them are traders at heart and both of them were able in the past to live together in harmony and respect of their respective faith, going to the extent of sharing the same kind of food, including meat slaughtered in similar conditions.

But because Muhammad took of on his chariot of fire (Was it a chariot of fire? I can't recall.) quite a few hundred years after the Biblical adventure which brought the Jews out of exile, there is somehow a distorted view which drive people in thinking that Jewish religion has somehow more legitimacy in the area. Truly enough, the issues at stakes in this conflict are not only political but also demographic, economics, and religious… with the unavoidable cohort of bearded wise men on both side who have a dangerous tendency to mix up secular and religious matters in the conduct of state affairs, thus already imposing an emotional approach which often deprives them of common sense. God and business have never been good friends; religion is an affair of the heart in the intimacy of each individual.

I hate terrorism of all kind, and I realize that due to my heritage I may not be fully objective when assessing the conflict, but the biggest shock for the last six months of daily monitoring news, internet, or international papers, was seeing on TV a young Jewish boy, from an extreme-right family, probably educated, hurling a stone at an Arabic teenager already lying on the ground. This vision really did hurt more than all the horrible scenes of violence and dismembered bodies that have been circulating around in the international press circles.

The disengagement process is supported by most of the Israeli population. It is in my opinion the only viable solution to change things around here. It is not only the future of Israel at stake but the future of an entire area of the world which is getting, day by day, more volatile, and whose whereabouts provides more and more excuses for extremists of all kind to attack freedom, civil liberties, and the very basis of our daily life.

Regardless if one is an atheist, a Jew, a Christian, a Moslem or a Buddhist, the aspirations for all are the same and all of us are entitled to enjoy our time on earth. Because both the Israelis and the Palestinian share, in my opinion parts of the responsibility, and because they are brothers, isn't it about time that they changed their ways and go from being armed brothers to becoming brothers in arm fighting only for the future well being of generations to come? Maschiach (the messiah of the orthodox Jews) will not come… not this month at least (the month is nearly over!). Allah will never endorse any innocent civilian killings in the name of Jihad. The job of making peace rests entirely in the hands of men of good will, which, I admit, are extremely rare, especially in this area.

Copyright © 2005 - Sylvain Ubersfeld

Posted by Alan at 17:15 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 17 July 2005 17:16 PDT home

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Topic: Announcements


The new issue of Just Above Sunset, the parent site to this web log, has just been posted. That would be Volume 3, Number 29 - for the week of July 17, 2005. There is much there that did not appear here. And what appeared here first has been extended and expanded.

What's new?

This week the Wilson-Rove scandal gets at lot of attention, as it seems to have bulldozed all the other news out of the way - except there is some fallout from the London bombings that was regrettable, and odd news regarding the Saudis, and on how we treat out returning soldiers, and here and there talk of Harry Potter and all that. Don't miss news of the Unitarian Jihad, and the triumph of hope over experience (Justice Sunday II), and the Republican Party apologizing for playing the race card for so long, but one of their main men ragging on the sinfulness of Boston. It was quite a week.

And one should not forget Bastille Day. Ric Erickson provides on the scene coverage (with a cool photo) - and our readers react to some of the more unusual expressions one finds in French, as reported by someone in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles has its big Bastille Day party on the afternoon of the 17th for some reason, and photos of that will be added later.) In his regular "Our Man in Paris" column, Ric lets us know the real dynamics of the day - political and musical.

And this week, after a long absence, Phillip Raines returns, reminding us of what really matters. It isn't any of the above.

Bob Patterson is back covering a really odd sci-fi birthday party (with photos) and the world of world radio in his WLJ column.

Photography? The doors of Paris from Don Smith of Left Bank Lens, and a parallel from Hollywood - and a gem of a Tuscan villa here in Hollywood.

The pithy quotes this week match current events - the press and politics.

Direct links to specific pages -

Current Events ________________

Delusions: This isn't funny anymore. But it never was. (Veterans Affairs)
Foreigners: Common Decency is So Overrated (America's image in the world)
Interesting Commentary: The Unitarian Jihad and Other Alternative Universes
Reporting Something: One Man's News Is Another Man's Tedium. Did Things Just Heat Up? (Overlooked news stories)
The Scorecard: Regarding l'affaire Rove at Mid-Week (basic facts)
From the Other Side: Different Perspectives on Karl Rove, Harry Potter and Tom Cruise
End of the Week: Rove and Social Security and Racism and the Evil of Boston
Sequels: The Triumph of Hope Over Experience (Justice Sunday II)

Features ________________

Our Man in Paris: France Goes Off the Clock Again
Bastille Day: Paris and All Over
What Matters: A Friend Reminds Us

Bob Patterson ________________

WLJ Weekly: from the desk of the World's Laziest Journalist - A Face in the Crowd
Book Wrangler: A Birthday Party Spawns a Column About Freedom of the Press (with photos)

Photography ________________

Left Bank Lens: Quelles choses secrètes on apprendrait-il si on devaient ouvrir ces portes à Paris ?
Old Hollywood: Here, water cascades from the mouths of lions into multiple pools and waterways….
Hollywood Doors: The Private and the Public

The Usual ________________

Quotes for the week of July 17, 2005 – The Press and Politics

Villa d'Este (1355 Laurel Avenue): Italian villas in rural Tuscany inspired architect brothers F. Pierpont Davis and Walter S. Davis when they designed the complex in 1928. Here, water cascades from the mouths of lions into multiple pools and waterways.

Posted by Alan at 22:42 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 16 July 2005 22:46 PDT home

Friday, 15 July 2005

Topic: In these times...

End of the Week Wrap-Up

Karl Rove and All That

Friday, July 15, the New York Times (here) and the Washington Post (here) both run stories suggesting that Karl Rove only knew about Valerie Plame because a reporter had told him about her. By the end of the day it may be two reporters, the other perhaps Judith Miller. If true then Rove is guilty only of passing along information from one reporter to another, and calls for Rove's resignation were premature.

Or not. There's a ton of commentary all over.

One of the best is from Tim Noah at SLATE.COM in his Rove Death Watch series, where he agues this really doesn't help Rove a whole lot:
These accounts almost certainly come mainly from Rove or his lawyer, and they don't make a lot of sense to me. We learn that Rove learned Valerie Plame's name from Novak; he already knew "from other journalists" that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. But if Novak told Rove Plame's name, why didn't Rove repeat the name in his subsequent conversation with Matt Cooper of Time? (If Rove had named her to Cooper, presumably Cooper would have included her name in his memo to his bureau chief. But he didn't.) Also, according to this version of events, Rove was one of two unnamed government sources Novak used to confirm that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. But if all Rove did was say he'd heard the same rumor from other reporters - which, I agree, would render Rove innocent of wrongdoing - that would hardly count as confirmation. Is it possible that Novak's sourcing methods are this sloppy? An alternative, more plausible scenario is that Novak asked Rove about it, Rove said he'd heard the same thing, and then Rove made inquiries to someone in the government and confirmed the information for Novak. That would be a firing offense.

Here's a bigger problem I have with the new accounts: Cooper's e-mail nowhere says that other news organizations are onto the Plame story. If Rove had told Cooper what he'd presumably told Novak - that he'd heard about this "from other journalists" (including, at this point, Novak) - then you can bet Cooper would have told his bureau chief that they were in competition with other news organizations to get this information into print. News organizations - even newsmagazines - don't like to be scooped. But perhaps Rove didn't tell Cooper that he'd gotten his information from other news organizations. Perhaps he didn't even tell Novak that he'd gotten his information this way. Perhaps he just stated it as fact to one or both of them. Then wouldn't that suggest that Rove had confirmed the information by consulting somebody in the government? He works in the White House, for Pete's sake! If he did confirm with a government official what he'd heard "from other journalists," that's a firing offense.

To believe that Rove is innocent of any wrongdoing, you have to believe that Rove had all these conversations with journalists about Wilson's wife being a CIA employee, and then, over a course of several days, never asked anyone in the government whether what the journalists were telling him was true. I suppose anything is possible. But that stretches credulity to the breaking point.
Ah, it all makes one's head hurt. Best to wait.

Ending the Social Security Program

One can see here that chairmen Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee and Thomas of the House Ways and Means Committee have decided to postpone consideration of Social Security "reform" until September. It really is hard to see how a proposal with private accounts can be salvaged in this session "if the responsible committees punt until after the summer."

So much for that.

Sorry About the Racist Stuff

RNC Chief to Say It Was 'Wrong' to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes
Mike Allen, The Washington Post Thursday, July 14, 2005; Page A04

They send in a lieutenant to apologize for Republicans being an all-white party -
It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue - on matters such as desegregation and busing - to appeal to white southern voters.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong"

... "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."
Yeah, well, okay. Note this from CNN in January of 2000 -
As the nation honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, thousands of people gathered here to demand that lawmakers remove the Confederate battle flag from atop South Carolina's Statehouse.

... "I think that the flag should be removed from the state Capitol," Vice President Al Gore said Sunday. "That's my position and I think that Governor Bush has avoided taking a position or has ducked the issue."

GOP front-runner George W. Bush has denied avoiding the issue.

"I haven't waffled from day one when I've been asked the question," Bush told CNN's "Late Edition on Sunday. "That's a decision for the people of South Carolina to make."
Bill Montgomery has the quotes nicely formatted facing each other here.

Bruce Reed's comment here - and he was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser and is president of the Democratic Leadership Council ? putting things in perspective:
Even in what is fast becoming the sorriest year in American politics, Mehlman's apology may be the most galling. If not for its Southern strategy, Ken Mehlman would be stuck in Baltimore and the modern Republican Party simply would not exist.

From 1880 to 1948, when Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond invented the Southern strategy he would take with him to the GOP, Democrats won every Southern electoral vote in every presidential election except 1928, when they nominated Al Smith, a Catholic. In 2000 and 2004, Al Gore and John Kerry didn't win a single electoral vote in the South.

In 1964, when LBJ courageously signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress because of the solid South. Today, Republicans control both houses of Congress and all three branches of government because the South is in their column.

... Racial polarization is no longer the reason Republicans win in the South. But for two decades, the race card was the GOP's loss leader. If not for his father's divisive 1988 campaign and Willie Horton ad, we would never have heard of George W. Bush.

The President deserves credit for changing the Republican Party's tone on immigration and education. Mehlman deserves credit for recruiting African-American and Latino candidates.

But if we've learned anything from the GOP's Southern strategy, it's that cynicism and expedience are themselves a form of evil. In the 1970s and '80s, the GOP turned crime and welfare into racial code words, but did nothing about either underlying problem. Republicans raised the specter of racial quotas to win middle-class votes, while their agenda offered opportunity only for the wealthy.

The GOP's Southern strategy collapsed in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton gave Democrats a better one: take the race card out of politics by giving African-Americans, Latinos, and whites what they wanted all along - real progress on wedge issues like crime and welfare. Immigrant-bashing, a California cousin of the Southern strategy, collapsed after Pete Wilson's Prop 187 helped Clinton win 72% of the Latino vote in 1996.

... The reason Republicans are abandoning the race card isn't that they've changed their mind on civil rights or affirmative action. Mehlman and Rove have just made a business decision that in an increasingly diverse nation, they can no longer build a majority on racial wedge issues. In his speech, Mehlman comes right out and says as much: "If my party benefited from racial polarization in the past, it is the Democratic Party that benefits from it today."
And he goes on.

On the other side, Rush Limbaugh, who always refers to the NAACP as the "NAALCP," which he explains stands for the "National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People," says this:
President Bush skipping this week's annual NAALCP convention for the fifth straight year, but that's not preventing the White House and the Republican Party from waging a drive to woo African-American voters. Ken Mehlman of the RNC is going to the NAALCP convention, and he is basically going to tell them how the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln lost its way with African-American voters over the years and how determined the party is to get them back. He said, "We can't call ourselves a true majority unless we reach out to African-Americans and make it the party of Lincoln. There was a time when African-American support turned Democrat, and we didn't do enough to retain it. Now we want to build on the gains we made in the last election."

Know what he's going to do? He's going to go down there and basically apologize for what has come to be known as the Southern Strategy, popularized in the Nixon administration. He's going to go down there and apologize for it. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of all that's going on, once again, Republicans are going to go bend over and grab the ankles.

They're going to the NAALCP. This is like going into Hyannisport and apologizing to [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] for whatever and expecting him to become a supporter. It's like showing up at the [Sen.] Chuck Schumer [D-NY]-Joe Wilson press conference in 20 minutes and saying, "Okay, Ambassador Wilson, we apologize. We hope you'll support us. We can't become a majority party until people like you are voting for us." It is just - it's absolutely absurd.
No apologies to the uppity darkies? Guess not. And perhaps one can conclude something from his anal rape imagery, but why belabor the obvious?

Limbaugh must understand his party just wants to get more votes. He's more interested in purity. And he knows Mehlman didn't get the interoffice memo - see this in these pages from June 19: 'Never apologize, son. It's a sign of weakness.'

Boston - Center of Evil

Perhaps you noted this item in the news:
Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston's "liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's "sexual license" and "sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.

"The basic liberal attitude in that area ... has an impact on people's behavior," Santorum said in an interview yesterday at the Capitol.

"If you have a world view that I'm describing [about Boston] ... that affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way," Santorum said.
A groups that calls itself the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests shoots back
Abusive clergy and complicit bishops are liberal and conservative. The crimes they commit have nothing to do with political philosophy. It is reckless and dangerous to misdiagnose the causes of this horrific crisis by trying to blame any group of individuals, especially using false assumptions and self-serving ideological blinders. This is a deeply-rooted, long-standing, cultural and structural problem within the church and affects Catholics across the globe. To suggest anything less is deceptive or ignorant.

It is very hurtful when a politician tries to minimize the extent of the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is also very hurtful when a politician implies that some vague, larger societal defects somehow caused priests, nuns and bishops to assault innocent children and vulnerable adults, and then to work hard at keeping the crimes hidden.
Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts adds this:
Rick Santorum owes an immediate apology to the tragic, long-suffering victims of sexual abuse and their families in Boston, in Massachusetts, in Pennsylvania and around this country. His outrageous and offensive comments - which he had the indecency to repeat yesterday - blamed the people of Boston for the depraved behavior of sick individuals who stole the innocence of children in the most horrible way imaginable.

Senator Santorum has shown a deep and callous insensitivity to the victims and their suffering in an apparent attempt to score political points with some of the most extreme members of the fringe right wing of his Party. Boston bashing might be in vogue with some Republicans, but Rick Santorum's statements are beyond the pale.
Yeah, so they are, but what is one to make of this? Rick Santorum's Communications Director confirms to PageOne he is gay, stands behind Senator - and the guy is black too.

Santorum is far behind in the polls. He may not be reelected. The natives are restless and he really is a little creepy:
He and his wife, Karen, have seven children - including, as Santorum puts it, "the one in Heaven." Their fourth baby, Gabriel Michael, died in 1996, two hours after an emergency delivery in Karen Santorum's 20th week of pregnancy. The couple took Gabriel's body home to let their three other young children see and hold the baby before burying him, according to Karen Santorum's book of the ordeal, "Letters to Gabriel."
Passing around the baby's corpse to his other children? Bet they don't to THAT in Boston.

Santorum is from Penn Hills, just north of Pittsburgh, just a few miles from where I grew up (Penn Hills was one of our big rivals in football). I left the area forty years ago when I left for college. The big high school reunion is coming up. I think I'll stay here in Hollywood, where things are normal.

Posted by Alan at 19:07 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 15 July 2005 19:18 PDT home

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