Polygamy – yet another link pilfered from Sullivan’s Daily Dish

A new television program will soon be showing an apparently happy polygamous family. If, one might ask, if gay marriages are OK why not marriages with multiple partners? A very thoughtful article on the why nots starting with all the men who won’t get wives.

In summary:

“The problem in China and India is sex-selective abortion (and sometimes infanticide), not polygamy; where the marriage market is concerned, however, the two are functional equivalents. In their book, Hudson and den Boer note that “bare branches are more likely than other males to turn to vice and violence.” To get ahead, they “may turn to appropriation of resources, using force if necessary.” Such men are ripe for recruitment by gangs, and in groups they “exhibit even more exaggerated risky and violent behavior.” The result is “a significant increase in societal, and possibly intersocietal, violence.”

Crime rates, according to the authors, tend to be higher in polygynous societies. Worse, “high-sex-ratio societies are governable only by authoritarian regimes capable of suppressing violence at home and exporting it abroad through colonization or war.” In medieval Portugal, “the regime would send bare branches on foreign adventures of conquest and colonization.” (An equivalent today may be jihad.) In 19th-century China, where as many as 25 percent of men were unable to marry, “these young men became natural recruits for bandit gangs and local militia,” which nearly toppled the government. In what is now Taiwan, unattached males fomented regular revolts and became “entrepreneurs of violence.”

This sounds a lot like what’s happening in much of sub-saharan Africa today.

Bush Science Watch

From the DNT by way of the Orlando Sentinal

Another Bush hack attempts to squelch bad science news.

In Summary:

“When Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, posted data on the NASA Web site indicating that 2005 could be the warmest year on record, agency officials ordered him to withdraw the information because it had not been screened in advance.

A political appointee in NASA’s public affairs office, George Deutsch, tried to limit reporters’ access to Hansen. Deutsch resigned after revelations that he had padded his resume.”

I wonder if he trained Arabian horses too?

A native son speaks his peace on Iraq

Wisconsin native Daniel Fanning writes eloquently in the DNT of his frustration over our flawed policies in Iraq where he was stationed as a first sergeant.In summary:“Throughout my year all over Iraq, I consistently felt a great deal of pride in my fellow soldiers, but I also felt a great deal of shame for the politics and politicians that placed us in such an unfortunate situation.”

and yet Serteant Fanning adds:

“Given the magnitude of this situation, however, we cannot simply pull out immediately, either. I believe a gradual, calculated withdrawal must begin immediately. If we are truly interested in leaving Iraq a better place, we should work just as hard to bring clean water and electricity as we do to bring freedom and democracy.”

Who will read my blog?

The Minnesota Department of Revenue revealed the depressing news that the tax payers of Duluth are way behind the rest of the state’s taxpayers in filing their taxes over the Internet. While 63% of state taxpayers file by Internet only 38% of Duluthians do. Its speculated that this is because of Duluth’s high proportion of senior citizens who are not connected or comfortable with the Internet. Well Duh!

This also means that a lot of the audience I would like to reach through this medium won’t notice anything I upload. Curses!

When I’m ninty and still blogging that won’t be a problem any more. I just hope I’m not too crippled up with arthritis to type. Of course, by that time my dragon voice recognition software will take care of that.

Blogs and the MSM

Unlike a lot of bloggers I like newspapers. Without the MSM (mainstream media) a great many of the bloggers who fancy themselves pundits would have little to say. My friend Tom West had it about right in a column he wrote for his little publication the Budgeteer last week. He pointed out that most of what the blogging community writes about originally came from newspapers.

Having an opinion is easy. Having someone else’s opinion is even easier. Since the Republican paranoia about the press bubbled over in the 1980’s Republican’s believe that all reporters are liberal and report accordingly  That’s what group think will do once it has you in its grip.

Yes, reporters tend to be liberal. Surveys of reporters have borne this out. I think it comes from their college liberal arts degrees. The “liberal” in liberal arts means well-rounded more than it means politically liberal. In fact, that’s long been one of the aims of liberal arts colleges compared to community colleges or trade schools. Liberal arts graduates are expected to read widely, if shallowly, about a great many things.

I’ve always been struck by how many reporters, no matter how politically liberal, take their educations and turn it into healthy skepticism. Most have been quite open to conservative criticism of big government and our permissive society. I think its much more accurate to describe journalists as pragmatists rather than as polemicists let alone liberal polemicists. The blogging community on the other hand has a lot more polemicists. What is a polemicist? Think of them as being persuaders or, if you prefer, propogandists.

Because young people are abandoning newspapers in favor of second hand but free blogs I’m a little worried about our future. So, long as they don’t retreat into something like Fox News simply to have their prejudices reinforced America will likely survive this phenomenon and retain its open minded and vibrant culture.

Now that that’s off my chest, I can go back to my polemics.

Whack a Mole – With malice toward some

My cousin’s husband designed an experiment that got written up in the Washington Post. Using a whack-a-mole game with celebrities, dictators and American politicians he demonstrated the virulent ill will of Democrats and Republicans toward each other’s leaders. When they played the game with half Republican and half Democrat  politicians they were so intent on whacking the opposition that they got low scores.

Independents did better because they didn’t play favorites and were equal opportunity whackers. There was more to the study but my blog is quite
content with this synopsis.

“I don’t apologize for being narrow-minded”

Tom DeLay, humble as always, tells “THE WAR ON CHRISTIANS” conference; “Sides are being chosen, and the future of man hangs in the balance!” … “The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will.”

DeLay’s Christians will win when the world ends and they go to heaven during the Rapture. (I hope they don’t discover that the jihadists got there first and got first dibs on the virgins) The enemies warring against DeLay’s Christians are folks like me who are trying to prevent the Republicans from terracide.

More examples of Republican, er Christian, policies: 

Jailing clergy who shelter illegal immigrants.

Waterboarding prisoners who may, or may not, be guilty of terrorism.

Silencing scientists whose research suggests a human impact on global warming or other environmental threats. 

A Bill Clinton Republican

I made a big deal out of voting for Bill Clinton in 1992. The Trib quoted me on its front page promising to vote for him. I’d given up on Ross “Sailors shouldn’t swear” Perot and George HW “I’m not a wimp” Bush. Clinton struck me as a pragmatist and was. He stole sensible Republican ideas and that, not Monica Lewinski, is why the rabid GOP Congress impeached him. He threatened to bring the Democrats back from the grave that Ronald Reagan had dug for them.

So, my challenge as a Democrat will be to reinvigorate that part of the party for the nation’s good as well as the Party’s good. We can’t afford to let America become the next France.  Newsweek’s, Robert J Samuelson explains.

Keeping History Straight

I think it was yesterday that I got Howie Hanson’s email blog and was surprised to see Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon accused of voting against the DECC expansion because she had voted for the DFL bonding bill which did not include it. I was going to comment on it here and suggest that she really had to vote for bill and then fight to have the DECC added later. Apparently someone else, Perhaps, Yvonne, pointed this out to Howie. When I went back to check the blog archive all reference to Prettner-Solon’s vote had vanished.

One convenient thing about blogs is that they can be instantly changed. I make changes all the time when I discover some darned typo or realize that my facts are wrong. Unless someone comes in and copies my mistakes to a cache file somewhere I can remove my mistakes at will. Its a little like airbrushing out a pimple.

I still recall the famous pictures of Stalin’s cronies in the before and after the purge photos.

Here’s one with and without Uncle Joe’s 
good natured little executioner, Yezhov.
 

Doran’s Demise, Weber’s Analysis, and the Ultras

After posting the email from the Dreckless folks I reread Vin Weber’s analysis of Doran’s departure from the race for Governor. I agree with Vin. When I went to the DFL caucus I voted for Doran myself. His measley 6% of the straw vote is probably what drove him from the race even though it looked as though he would challenge in the primary.

Weber is probably right that Doran would have been the most successful candidate but the ultra’s in the Democratic party are as enamored of people on their end like Howard Dean as ultra Republicans are enamored of their Santorums and Brownbacks. What’s a centrist to do?

My sense is that while the Republican powerbrokers lost their party to their extremists the Democratic power brokers have a little more influence. I could be wrong.

Thank God for primary elections. They are the one place that party averse voters can go to punish candidates that pander too much to the ultras.

Minnesota’s newest blog

No Corey,
I’m afraid I have a newer Minnesota political blog than you have. www.lincolndemocrat.com
I took a look at yours. Good writing, huh? Well, the powerful graphics with Dean Johnson’s head superimposed on another person’s body shaking Bill Clinton’s hand or with a poster of Lenin in the background….woo hoo…this  is quality stuff.  And Vin Weber is associated with you? In flagrante delecto indeed!
“Dreckless?” Is that meant to be an oxymoron?
Best Regards,
Harry Welty 

 

—– Original Message —–
Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2006 9:04 PM
Subject: dreckless – Minnesota’s newest political blog
Greetings from dreckless, the state’s newest blog discussing political people and events here in Minnesota. Since we began publishing in mid-January, we’ve been delighted and humbled by the interest our readers have shown. To be honest, we’ve been surprised at the number of visits we receive each day!
 
“What?” you say. “Yet another blog?” 
 
In our first posting, back in January 17, we layed out our reasons for starting yet another blog. As the fomer Executive Director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I believe that we have a unique perspective on political people and events here in Minnesota.
 
“Who is we?” you ask.
 
Dreckless is fortunate to have as a contributing editor, former Republican Congressman Vin Weber who now serves as managing director of Clark & Weinstock, one of Washington, D.C.’s premier strategic consulting firms. Take a minute to check out his latest analysis on a bright spot for Republicans.
 
We’re delighted to also be joined by my former colleague at the Republican Party of Minnesota Jonathan Blake. Jonathan and I have worked together for a number of years and it will take only a minute of reviewing some of his postings to see that he has an impressive writing style all his own.

So, take a moment and check us out. We welcome your active participation in the coming months and look forward to hearing from you.
Corey Miltimore
Editor
 

 

Minnesotans gays and the shriveling Republican base

A recent poll suggests that a majority of Minnesotans now oppose the DOMA law (Defense of Marriage Act) being pushed by religious conservatives and their Republican lackeys. This is a change from a year or two ago when voters were afraid that gay marriage might be forced down the state’s throat.

Today it looks like the religious conservatives are the ones pushing DOMA down Minnesota’s throat and Minnesotan’s are spitting it back out.

There is, of course, no guarantee that DOMA would lose in a referendum. Having it on the ballot will drive social conservatives to vote and and possibly defeat less motivated voters. Stalling is probably the best defense that Democrats who oppose DOMA could pursue. Time is on their side as even religious conservatives rethink their opposition to the granting of civil rights for gays.

Republicans pushing for this referendum are in a death spiral on this and other subjects. Voters who object to gays being treated with some measure of legal protection are becoming more scarce. Yes, if this were on the ballot these voters would feel impelled to come out and vote but they will continue to shrink election by election until the Republicans get very little milage out of DOMA.

Additionally the Republicans are pushing hard on a very strict anti-immigration policy. While this might be good tactic for the next election it will have the long range result of scaring away hispanic voters who were poised to become part of a permanant GOP majority for years to come. Any party reduced to such short term strategies is foreclosing on its future.

Oh, and I heard Governor Pawlenty’s appraisal of Iraq on the radio today. Boy, was he ever subdued. Maybe he’s a traitor too, which seems to be what the most ardent Republicans think of anyone who expresses any doubts about Bush’s success in the middle east.

Saturday Research

After two weeks of constant posts I let yesterday slip by without one. I hope my seven readers weren’t too disappointed. Seven readers is what I claim for my biweekly column in Duluth’s tabloid the Reader Weekly – “the best paper money can’t buy.”

For last week, the second of its existance, this blog has averaged 300 daily hits. Since it has a couple dozen pages that suggests 20 to 40 visiters a day. It goes without saying that my select readers are the creme de la creme.

Its not as though I didn’t have anything to say but yesterday was more of a day for catching up with my reading and reflection. Among the most interesting articles I read was a review of Kevin Phillips new book American Theocracy. Phillips was the prescient young conservative who predicted the conservative sweep of America back in the late 1960’s. He’s spent much of the last two decades slowly recoiling from the worst excesses of that revolution. He’s one of my intellectual heroes. Phillips sees very little “conservative” in today’s Republican Party.

Another article which caught my eye was a NY Times Magazine piece written by Zev Chafets. It begins with a short, mortifying description of Lynchburg, Virginia, but goes on to give a remarkably charitible story about Liberty University’s debate team. I’d read about their success a few weeks ago and had thought about writing a dismissive column about the team and the ambitions of its greatest champion the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Falwell’s been reported as saying that he’s training a new generation of  young lawyers who will sweep America with their verbal skills to promote good religious and conservative values. Its just the latest example of the Republican penchant for organization.

“Conservatives” have been methodical in the sweep the Phillips describes. Like the Avis car rental company having to work harder than number one Hertz Rental, conservatives had to work harder to best Democrats who ruled the roost until the Reagan Revolution.

First it was Richard Vigure who cultivated massive lists of conservative leaning folks for his direct mail fundraising. Then it was the establishment of dozens of conservative think tanks to promulgate and diseminate conservative dogma. Then it was a legion of politically street smart young political operatives raised from the ranks of College Republicans which were tended to with care by the National Republican Party. The Moral Majority brought in religiously orthodox but independent churches, knitting them together and weaning them from their traditional disdain for the temporal world of politics. Finally, when Republicans took control of Congress, it was the K Street Project which put a gun to the head of corporate America forcing it to hire eager young Republicans almost exclusively. Those lobbyists then saw to it that the lion’s share of Corporate PAC money went to Republicans.

I suspect that Falwell’s young debators will find it more and more difficult to win over Americans when, like seeds, they are finally broadcast onto the Earth. The incompetence of President Bush and whistle blowers like Phillips will inocculate America against the worst excesses of fundementalist self righteousness. 

This will resemble nothing so much as the conservative movement’s inocculation of America against the smug self righteousness of Liberals in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Curious George Hoot

Check out the marvelous cartoon “Curious George” by R J Matson on Cagle Cartoons. Hit the thumbnail for a larger picture.

Its hard for me to believe that I was reassured that Bush picked Dick Cheney to be his Vice President in 2000. Now it looks more like Cheney picked Bush to be President so that he, Cheney, could run the country without kissing all those babies and shaking all those hands.

Its also hard to believe how much Republicans chortled about the nation’s good fortune after 9/11 because Bush was the President and not Al Gore.

I have a different attitude now. Aren’t we lucky that JFK was in charge during the Cuban Missile Crises and not George W Bush?