October 10, 2003

In comments to the post below, the apocryphally named "Jonathan Maccabee" asks: "Where in anyone's Scripture does it say to make people suffer because they are comfortable? … this sounds like warmed-over Marxism to me" He rails against "[taking] a comfortable person down, appealing to jealousy." And "to associate an insistence on civility with upper-class bigotry" is, he says, a kind of demagoguery. Appeals to justice are not the same as appeals to jealousy. That's not a minor distinction. To… Read more

October 10, 2003

There's an old principle for preachers, adopted also by some journalists, that says fidelity to the truth calls us to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The comfortable take offense whenever anyone follows this advice. They know better than to claim this treatment is unfair — fairness and justice are not concepts they're trying to promote — so they end up sniffing that it just seems rude. "Civility" becomes the last bastion of those who cannot appeal to justice… Read more

October 10, 2003

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Pope John Paul II and Vaclav Havel head home with Turtle Wax and the boxed edition of the game.) In a 1999 Christian Science Monitor article, Michael Theodoulou provides an introduction: Ms. Ebadi was Iran's first woman judge before the revolution, after which the ayatollahs decided women were too emotional and irrational to hold such posts. She now lectures in law at Tehran University, is a… Read more

October 10, 2003

So I head over to the Federal Election Commission site to print out some mail-in voter registration forms. Getting ready for another round of do-it-yourself-voter-registration-drive. I click on the link and find this message: The FEC is updating the National Mail Voter Registration Form to reflect recent changes in Federal law. The new form will be available shortly. "Recent changes in federal law?" Why does that sound so ominous these days? And will "shortly" be before, or after November 2004? Read more

October 9, 2003

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but Turner Movie Classics is showing A Face in the Crowd. I'm not suggesting that newly elected California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is like "Lonesome Rhodes" — the megalomaniacal entertainer played by Andy Griffith. But the Patricia Neal character sure does remind me of Maria Shriver. (Bonus points to Kathleen Sharp for slipping a quote from A Face in the Crowd into her Salon article on Schwarzenegger's hazily documented history of harassing and humiliating women.) Read more

October 9, 2003

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." — National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, September 2001 "Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?" — President George W. Bush, September 2002 The subtlest change in New York is something that people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its… Read more

October 8, 2003

TBogg, on why the Schwarzenegger recall victory is not, perhaps, the best news for Golden State Republicans. Read more

October 8, 2003

Jimmy Breslin, who is not easily perplexed, seemed perplexed yesterday by the voters of California, who seemed intent on electing: … Arnold Schwarzenegger — who has to deny he admired Nazis. Anytime you're in a political campaign in America and you have to deny Hitler, that is a good time to check into someplace for a rest. What Breslin didn't account for is that political elections — and actual, day-to-day governance and statecraft — are not merely broadcast on TV…. Read more

October 8, 2003

The following is an unofficial rough transcript. RECEPTIONIST: Majority leader Tom Delay's office? CITIZEN: Hi. Do you have Prince Albert in a can? RECEPTIONIST: Excuse me? CITIZEN: Do you have Prince Albert in a can? RECEPTIONIST: I'm sorry. I don't know what you're talking about. CITIZEN: I was just reading in Salon about Representative Delay's prank-call tactics with Moveon.org over the FCC debate, and I thought it might be fun to call the majority leader's office and ask if you… Read more

October 8, 2003

Two of the wisest people in California weren't on yesterday's ballot. But, fortunately, they have blogs. Kevin Drum is urging his fellow Californians to channel their energy and anger into replacing George W. Bush, not into recalling the newly anointed Schwarzenegger. Jeanne D'Arc explains why the "groper" factor is not just a minor character flaw, but a deeply troubling cruelty at the heart of the frat-boy electorate. I'm just grateful to be here in the Keystone State, Edward G. Rendell,… Read more

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