December 14th, 2010

turkey dance

Politics: A Weighty Issue?

During an interview on Thursday, Chris Matthews made comments about Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
“Just because Haley Barbour weighs too much...Chris Christie is moon over New Jersey, he should not wear white shirts, I tell you that….I saw him the other day and I was amazed by it, he must be 300 plus, and that’s something he’s just gotta deal with because you’re not going to say, ‘I’m going to cut the budget,’ well, how about starting with supper? Because he just doesn't seem credible as a guy who's gonna be disciplined.”

A pointless attack by a not-so-svelt commentator, but certainly not the first attack on weight in politics.

In March 2009, Laurah Ingraham attacked Meghan McCain for her weight, then denied it and basically said that Meghan should "toughen up".

When history has had people like Winston Churchill - one of the greatest political orators of our time and by no means a thin man - make such an impact, why is weight in politics an issue that's given even a moment's pause?

(Mods, if we're gonna have a Fox News tag, can we also get one for MSNBC, please?)

Added (12/14/10): Here's the audio clip of Matthews' remarks (via YouTube) [Video]

Plucky brits force American Cultural Imperialists to make a U- turn.

American firms are used to using economic power, backed by the political and military clout of the world's only remaining superpower to make megabucks while imposing their own brand of Cultural Imperialism on the rest of the world, and view this as a God given right.

Ok, the average American tourist in London is usually polite, well spoken and intelligent enough to put some of our loclas to shame - I know because I tend to meet a heck of a lot in my line of work. yet the average American company is far different - determined to use its economic clout to impose *their* cultural standards on everyone else.

It comes as no suprise to me to learn that Hollisters, a firm owned by Abercrombie and Fitch from over across the pond, had told their staff that wearing a poppy in the run up to Remembrance Sunday contravenes the company dress code and staff are to desist.

However, our American cousins misunderestimated the strength of feelings for our traditions and our heritage in this country. Once the national press got hold of the story, questions were asked in the house and American Cultural Imperialism was forced to make what they usually call 'a strategic withdrawal'.

The fact that there are many UK servicemen in Afghanistan at present, plus the terrorist attacks on our capital city, has woken many people up to the fact that our national heritage is under threat. We may not like our government much, but our armed forces generally have a higher rating than most other places do. the fact that most brits have had a father or grandfather involved in the war against Hitler, and that Remembrance Sunday is still as much about that as anything else. It has truly set the nation's teeth on edge when we see firms taking the line that us Brits wearing poppies in our own country is not with them, and expecting us to bend to their rules and regulations.

It appears that the threat of economic boycott has forced the company to reconsider its policies, and I must say that I am delighted that they have been forced to climb down on this.
Of course, the American public will still be shown films in which the Americans won WW2 single handed, once it had begun with an attack on Pearl Harbour, and British chaps who know what really happened will roll their eyes at a version of history that's far worse than Dick Van Dyke's Cockney accent, but at least it's reasonable to expect that any American firm will be advising their management not to antagonise the locals in this fashion again.
Report of another firm taken down on the poppy issue here -

Support our Troops, not our Oops!

There will be a rally in Washington on Thursday with the support of American Veterans. Here is some information:

Brief motivational rally at 10 am in Lafayette Park (near the White House) with speakers: Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame), subject of the documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America; Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER coalition; Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, Peace of the Action; Ray McGovern, retired CIA officer and former U.S. Army Intelligence officer; Mike Ferner, president, Veterans For Peace; Diane Wilson, environmental activist and author of An Unreasonable Woman; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Mike Prysner, Iraq vet, cofounder of March Forward!, Medea Benjamin, co-founder Code Pink and others. (more updates to follow)

From there we will do a silent vigil march to the White House (route to be determined) to take our stand for peace. You don't have to bring signs - we'll provide them so we can have a uniform look. At the White House, many of us will do nonviolent civil resistance, the key word being nonviolent. We want peace but we need to demand it in a dignified, determined and peaceful way. We expect everybody to observe nonviolent guidelines that will be handed out at St. Stephen's the night before and at the rally. There will be a legal support team and legal observers on hand for the civil resistance.
I noticed that they are encouraging a uniform front with printed signs. This is something that gets some Tea Partiers' knickers in a minor twist.

I can't say that I'll attend. I probably will not attend the local support rally here in San Francisco, but my sympathies are with these Veterans.
  • mijopo

GOP, Be Careful What you Wish for (or, Why do Conservatives hate free markets?)

As a follow up to yesterday's post about the ruling on the individual mandate, I'd love to further explore a comment I made but which seems to have been largely ignored by you idiots inadvertently lost in the shuffle.  I realized today that it's an argument that both Ezra Klein and Matt Miller have made (before I did), so I don't think I'm completely out to lunch, and with that external validation I repitch my argument here for consideration by all you rabid mouth breathing partisans fair minded and insightful legal, political and economic analysts. (I steal my ideas from Ezra Klein and my LJ cutesiness from htpcl )

To reiterate, I (and Matt Miller, more or less) contend that insofar as the individual mandate isn't a tax, because it's requiring us to buy a service on the free market rather than fund a government program, conservatives should, IMO, think long and hard about opposing it. There's a good reason that this kind of plan was once the darling of conservatives, it leaves the door wide open for market forces. The government could have presumably gone a far more radical route, just make medicare wide open or effectively wide open. In that case, we could have had real discussions about socialism, but what we probably couldn't have had is an objection based on concerns about the constitutionality of the plan. We'd have funded it with taxes and it's hard to see what case could be made to block it. Obama has opened up the door to a constitutional challenge only because he's too moderate, not because he's too liberal or the plan is too intrusive, but only because the plan isn't obtrusive enough. But what conservatives should know, should they manage to win this case, is they've forced the hands of proponents of health care reform. The only workable solution to the cost problem, should a ruling like this be upheld by the SCOTUS, would then have to be one in which the government is involved far more directly so that the funding for the program will pass muster as a tax.
Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!
  • htpcl

Serbia: Try to juggle with two watermelons, why don't you

Greetings, O, adored Americacentric exceptionalists curious minds so open to the world! I'm going to bother you with a subject that tends to be neglected lately - mostly because the cluster bombs and presumably invisible stealth B2's have stopped flying over Kosovo for a long time, CNN has resorted to lame Twitter-madness, Clinton is not in the Oval office (heh he heh), and after all, why should we care about a remote tiny country located at the ass of some obscure continent that doesn't even generate US-bound terrorism, therefore is irrelevant?

I'm talking of Serbia. Last week Serbia was put in front of a very delicate choice, and in the tricky position to have to balance between its foreign policy priorities. In result, Serbia decided to side which China on the Nobel peace prize issue and they initially refused to send their representative to the Nobel ceremony in Oslo, where the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was about to be awarded the Peace prize in absentia, for his long fight for human rights in China. Liu is currently serving a 11-year sentence in China for "subversive activity" because he joined some other Chinese dissidents in 2008 who crafted the charter of human and political rights in China.

Collapse )

I like human rights, too.

The UN has passed a notion to remove sexual orientation from a "list" of reasons that a person cannot be arbitrarily executed.

Not only is that fucking scary, but it's just embarrassing. Have we gone back in time two thousand years? A lot of people's work to get gay rights recognized, gay marriage legalized, and the UN goes and pulls this stunt. The vote was narrowly passed, but the point is that the vote still WAS passed.

Attempting to wrap my head around this much naive, discriminatory action in the 21st century is impossible.  UNpassing a law meant to protect a group of human beings is ridiculous. There's still genocide taking place in the world on top of that. But, probably, the most powerful alliance of nations in history being able to pass this law, with so many differences in opinion is unimaginable. 

I'm pretty sure that right now, I'm able to sympathize with the Southern United States and how they felt when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Like they'd just been shot in the lungs.

Have fun humanity, because I've lost all my hope in you.