Friday, July 27, 2007

Various stuff

1) I can't keep up with O'Reilly. I'm still working on Pt 3, which I hope to have up by tonight, but more realistically anticipate not being done until tomorrow. So you can consider this the Pt. 2.5 of the "How do I detest thee?" series.

I raised the issue in part 2 of O'Reilly wanting corporations to not sponsor those who engage in "bad behavior" while himself frequently engaging in unprofessional behavior such as cutting the mic of a guest. In a generous effort to prove my point, last night Bill O'Reilly cut Jane Hall's mic when she truthfully pointed out to Bill that he's been singling out unrepresentative COMMENTS at DailyKos - a standard that he can't really expect the site to be held to since you can find similar comments at his website. Before and after cutting her mic O'Reilly called Hall a liar.

The segment was also neat to watch. Neat in the sense that watching Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg smirk and chortle at Jane Hall's inability to recognize that Daily Kos is a hate site "no different" from the KKK or Nazis was quite remarkable ... one watches and gets the impression of having been transported into some alternate Twilight Zone dimension.

Yet O'Reilly, in charging ahead with his campaign against Daily Kos, has gotten what he wants. The "far left" "s-p" blogosphere is fighting back against him and turning his McCarthyesque tactics around on him. Of course, this feeds into O'Reilly's ego and just reinforces his view that he's doing something write. Head he wins, tails you lose.

Continuing his "expose" of the hatred of Daily Kos, O'Reilly cited a doctored picture he found on Daily Kos which looks like Bush is doing something sexual to a goat and his promised that on Monday he will reveal an even more shocking image from Daily Kos.

Is this really what you want Bill? You want to go back and forth scrounging people's COMMENT sections and then making people disavow them publically? How old are you ... good grief, grow up man!

Besides, you can't win. Look at this. I found that comment [Blogger's Note - the image is no longer available, so I'll just tell you what it was: a GIF of a machine gun firing into Bill Keller's face] at a site on Malkin's blogroll. Therefore, applying your standards and illogic, the O'Reily Factor is a hate site because you let Michelle Malkin guest host.

2) In Worse Than Watergate, John Dean warned that the Bush administration's obsessive secrecey would breed conspiracy theory. In the case of Pat Tillman, we're seeing that prophesy fulfilled, except so far, the administration hasn't really given us any reason not to think conspiratorially about his death.

3) If you didn't already read it, check out the post Glenn Greenwald did about how John Yoo, when he's not advocating that Republican presidents should have unlimited Executive authority, is advocating that Democratic presidents should not have unlimited Executive authority.

In It Can Happen Here, Joe Conason details that the Federalist Society (which he links to the Dominionist/Religious Right movement) is dedicated not to grooming conservartive legal theorists, but to grooming loyal partisans dedicated to expanding executive authority in the service of the conservative movement. He points out that John Yoo was a star student of the society.

4) From Discover magazine: "Is Morality Innate and Universal? " - an interview with neuroscientist Marc Hauser about his research into the biological underpinnings of our moral intuition.

The whole thing is worth reading, but I'lll highlight one Question/Answer in particular, as I think it sheds some important light on a point that tends to get overlooked.

You mention honor killings in cases of infidelity, but sometimes the victim may simply have been caught in public talking to a man who is not her husband. As a Western woman raised in the liberal tradition, I think that is immoral. Yet in societies where honor killings are acceptable, the decision to kill the woman is deemed morally correct. Why?

Let’s go back to language. You’re a speaker of English. In French, the world "table" is feminine. Why? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that incomprehensible? For an English speaker, that’s the most bizarre thing in the world! It’s incredibly hard to learn. Yet are the French weird? They’re not weird. They speak another language.

The analogy to language is to me very profound and important. When you say, “Look, it’s weird that a culture would actually kill someone for infidelity,” it’s no
different than us making a language that’s got these really weird quirks. Now, here’s where the difference is crucial. As English speakers, we can’t tell the French: “You idiots. Saying that a word has gender is stupid, and you guys just change the system.” But as we have seen historically, one culture telling another culture, “Hey, this is not OK. We do not think it is morally permissible to do clitoridectomies, and you should just stop, and we’re going to find international ways to put the constraints on you”—now, that’s whoppingly different. But it also captures something crucial. The descriptive level and the prescriptive level are crucially different. How biology basically guides what people are doing is one thing. What we think should happen is really different. That just doesn’t arise as a distinction within language.
5) In reading this Greenwald post, I stopped dead in my tracks when I got to this bit from Joe Klein: "And now, among certain precincts in the blogosphere -- those prohibitively clever sorts who opine daily and endlessly about journalism without doing any reporting (or much thinking) about it ..."

Um, Mr. Klein ... do you think breaking a story subsequently picked up by the Washington Post and the New York Times qualifies as doing some reporting? Here's the neat thing about Greenwald's trick, he did it without following Walter Karp's code of "objective journalism": Thou shall not think for thyself, seek instead a high-ranking source.

However, it should be noted that Klein maintains that he was not alluding to Greenwald when he made that remark.

6) Digby has written a post about war, reading, and democracy that compliments nicely the one I wrote previously.

1 comment:

Gordon said...

Re: Item #3...
"In It Can Happen Here, Joe Conason details that the Federalist Society (which he links to the Dominionist/Religious Right movement) is dedicated not to grooming conservartive legal theorists, but to grooming loyal partisans dedicated to expanding executive authority in the service of the conservative movement."

The tactic of expanding and RETAINING executive power via District, Circuit, and Supreme Court appointees, deeply partisan and unafraid to inject ideology into their rulings is brilliant. The evil is of course further compounded by the slow turnover of the lifetime term appointments. Brilliant.