Friday, April 11, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

First we had the Mukasey Wiggle. And no we are witnessing the Mukasey Shuffle.


Just before and immediately after the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials optimistically predicted that Iraqi oil exports would soon finance the reconstruction of the country. That didn’t happen. U.S. taxpayers were stuck with the literally tens of billions of dollars in bills.

Now, five years later and with the price of oil reaching more than $100 a barrel, Iraqi oil exports are generating huge sums — $56.4 billion this year alone, according to the Government Accountability Office. Senator Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says Iraq now has tens of billions of dollars in surplus funds in their banks and in other accounts around the world, including about $30 billion in U.S. banks right now.

But Levin notes that the Iraqis by and large are still not using their money to build new roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Why should they? Uncle Sam is still doing that for them.


Amid all the evidence that the world is a random hellhole, there is sometimes a small cosmic joke. Consider today's news about Joe Lieberman.


A new study by Wharton professor Gregory P. Nini and Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party author Glenn Hurowitz casts serious doubt on the use of the popular vote to provide legitimacy in the current Democratic nominating contest.

The study projects that 4.1 million additional people would likely have voted in caucus states had primaries been held in those states instead - because of the vastly higher participation rates in primaries.

"Using popular vote numbers to claim victory in this process means dismissing the popular will of the voters in 13 states that had caucuses," Hurowitz said. "Given the bizarro hodgepodge of systems in use, the popular vote doesn't represent the popular will."

The study also estimates that, in a true popular vote system where all states held primaries, Obama's popular vote lead would have increased from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, because voters in caucus states would have slightly favored Obama based on demographic projections.


Can someone please explain to me what in hell a respectable, liberal online journal like Salon thinks it's doing by continuing to publish the twisted, misogynist, bizarrely self-obsessed ravings of a freak like Camille Paglia?


President George Bush has one major policy victory for which he has not received sufficient credit. Illegal immigration has been one of the most contentious issues in American policy in recent years. Brilliant minds have tried to put together some compromise that would stem the flow of illegal immigrants.

But President Bush has developed a policy that has proved effective -- a policy that no one had even considered. The Wall Street Journal today reports that illegal immigration has suddenly dropped. By reducing the number of domestic jobs, President Bush has cut of illegal immigration at its source -- the economic equivalent of the Gordian knot.


The Bush administration has a well-known aversion to regulating big business. As it turns out, it is also reluctant to prosecute corporations that break the law. Federal prosecutors have been regularly offering settlements to companies for wrongdoing that, in previous administrations, would likely have led to criminal charges. It is another disturbing example of how this administration has taken the justice out of the Justice Department.


If nothing else results from the conversation America is having, however dysfunctionally, about Rev. Wright and Obama's speech, we can't help but learn to take the black church seriously as the ultra-complicated reality it truly is. It's not just about rousing gospel songs, old ladies in big hats, and ministers foaming at the mouth—all insulting sins even I have long committed.

I was raised a hard-core black Protestant and considered myself well versed in its contours, but I now find myself challenged and informed in ways I'd never expected. I never really understood the significance of the black prophetic tradition, or that it even was one. Nor did I properly understand or evaluate the schism that the modern black church's focus on prosperity, vice prophecy, represents. That history is rich and troubling. It also situates the black church at a Gladwellian tipping point; will the current controversy silence the voice of black prophecy and strident critique and replace it with a 'feel good, get rich' religiosity to which whites won't object?


The claims made by President George W. Bush and an increasingly reedy chorus of neo-conservative boosters for the "surge" of US troops in Iraq have long been ludicrous. The multi-sided ethno-sectarian conflict fuelled by the occupation has not been "turned around" and strategic success – whatever that now means – is nowhere in prospect.


[I]t's clear McCain's back-from-the-grave nomination victory will tend to freeze the current campaign structure, leadership, strategy and message into place even if they aren't necessarily right for the general election. That, after all, is how John Kerry wound up going into the 2004 general election with a questionable campaign structure, leadership, strategy and message. At about this stage four years ago, I can remember some Kerry supporters muttering to each other things like: "How can you convince a candidate his campaign is making potentially fatal mistakes when he's just won the nomination after being left for dead?" I wonder if any McCainiacs are muttering similar things to each other today.


I am, like, totally freaking out. It's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and I haven't even come close to finishing my shopping.


Cartoon by Glenn McCoy/Universal Press Syndicate

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