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October 12, 2008


Isn't it just nice, Hilzoy, to know that such rhetoric is losing this time? That more people are rejecting it today (the majority, really) than did so in 2003?

I consider that a wonderful, wonderful thing to be celebrated.

And by Hilzoy, I obviously meant Eric.

(A pox on those who thought otherwise. ^^)

"According to Bush Doctrine spinners, we are, putatively, spending trillions of dollars, losing thousands of American lives, causing debilitating injuries to tens of thousands more Americans and incurring so many other sizable costs in the name of bestowing the gifts of freedom and democracy on...a bunch of mostly Muslim Arabs in Iraq. Many with the name Hussein."

The key word being "putatively" for as most of us know, that is in no way the reason we are there.

AC: First, any confusion between my writing and hilzoy's is a massive compliment to me. So thank you (note to Andy McCarthy - please suggest that hilzoy is ghost writing my posts. Thanks.)

As to your point, yes it is most wonderful.

john miller: I put that word there quite intentionally.

What do you make of the cool set in London, constantly updating their hit parade of the ten biggest wanks? She's a waitress and she's got style...

Check it on the volume fading outro, also my fave from them.

Good post, too. I come to ObWi for the song titles, but stay for the posts.

I can't imagine why so many Arabs and Muslims doubt our benificent democracy promoting agenda?

You mean they’re wrong?

Actually, you know, it’s not only Arabs and Muslims, (But you knew that.)

Well, I guess it’s the electoral campaign that has everything; irony, idiocy, absurdity, and idealism, ideas, and ideology; and a whole lot more of things previously unimaginable. But this wave of raw ugliness boosted by Palin, while not really truly unexpected, is pretty terrifying.
A whole new concept; terrorism by exposition of the hearts of your countrypeople.

What is this bizarre but so true confluence of Hardcore ‘Bible thumpers’ and outrageous public expressions of hatred? Kinda makes me wonder what they say behind closed doors.

Better title: These are a few of my favorite things

The final book of his John Varley's Gaia trilogy described a region within Gaia, as a place where all of humanity's despair, corruption, hatred, etc., had been gathered and left to fester into an anarchic, violent, insane city.

In the book, the place was called Bellinzona.

Here in RL, we call it The McCain-Palin campaign.

Really, if I didn't know better, I'd think McCain had set out to take up the ragged edges of Bush's dead-enders and use them to destroy the Republican Party as revenge for what the Bushies did to him in 2000.

Oh, hell. Someone turn off the italics, please?

BTW, the GOP brand and its ticket are now so damaged that even erstwhile "blogfather" and Red State founder J0$h Tr3v1n0 wrote in Bobby Jindal for President.

Via Glenn Greenwald:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/10/12/mccain_campaign/index.html>Virginia GOP Chairman claims “connection between Obama and bin Laden”

Apage Italici!

In the book, the place was called Bellinzona

Which, it occurs to me a mere twenty-five years adfter reading the book, must be a play on Dhalgren's Bellona.

It's a useful thought experiment to wonder why Dole did not sink as far into the slime pit as McCain has. The most obvious explanation of personal differences between McCain and Dole hides as much as it explains.

This NYT article has this

But aides to Mr. Dole said this evening that he had not arrived at a final decision. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Dole has been extremely difficult to predict, often suggesting one thing and then moving in a different direction. In this case, Mr. Dole, who was in Congress for 35 years, may be floating the concept of attacking the President as part of a strategy to gauge the backlash he might encounter.

Several senior advisers strongly oppose the idea, arguing that it would be politically ruinous for Mr. Dole to come across as overly belligerent in San Diego. And if history is any guide, Mr. Dole by next week might be inclined not to attack if his standing in the polls has not improved. Other Presidential candidates who have been in Mr. Dole's trailing position at this point in the campaign -- notably Walter F. Mondale in 1984 -- have sought not to turn negative, weighing their long-term reputations against a short-term shot at victory.

I tend to be a functionalist for these sorts of explanations, and the notion that if Bob Dole were somehow in McCain's place right now, none of this would be happening seems unlikely to me, because it is not so much the desires of individual participants, but the structural tendencies that yield the particular results. This is probably a much harsher thing to say about the Republican party, because it suggests (as I believe), this campaign is the apotheosis of the party, but I don't think that is untrue. If the Republican brand has been as tarnished as it is now, Dole would probably be facing the same pressures. Perhaps he wouldn't have taken the hail Mary Palin route, but would he have been able to exert enough will to choose someone different? It's interesting that it seems to have taken a candidate like Obama, who would have more potential weaknesses in a Rovian playbook, to highlight what I see as the underlying tendencies of the Republican party.

And to people like von who will argue that the term Republican shouldn't be drug around the walls of the city like that, them's the breaks. I can't speak for others, but I'm not going to use my rhetorical energy trying to salvage the terms so that it can be revivified. My own advice is that you start looking for a new term.

(*from my favorite song by said group)

Your appreciation for Modest Mouse is hereby forgiven.

It's a useful thought experiment to wonder why Dole did not sink as far into the slime pit as McCain has. The most obvious explanation of personal differences between McCain and Dole hides as much as it explains.


If you are looking for structural reasons for differences between the 1996 Dole campaign and the 2008 McCain campaign, one thing you might want to take into account is that Dole was attacking a sitting President and McCain is not.

Cool reference to "The Boy with the Arab Strap" which is one of my all-time favorite songs. However, it's by the brilliant band Belle & Sebastian not by the band the okay band Boy with the Arab Strap.

Both groups are from Scotland, and the song is almost certainly a reference to the band.

"The Boys with the Arab Trap" just made my day.

However, it's by the brilliant band Belle & Sebastian not by the band the okay band Boy with the Arab Strap.

Sorry to nitpick, but the okay band is called simply "Arab Strap." And I'd call them pretty good rather than just okay. But regardless, they're nowhere near as good as B&S...because nobody is. 8^)

Rodders: I was referencing the Belle & Sebastian song, and wasn't even thinking of the other band.

The interests of McSame and Palin are starting to diverge. McSame may want to preserve some semblance of his “honorable” reputation (at least among the Wash. Press); but Palin truly does not give a shit. And with good reason- her supporters are on the right wing of the Repubs, and they also truly don’t give a shit. They want their blood and excitement, and reality-based data is way down on their order of importance. Palin hopes to be a standard-bearer for this crew after the election is over; the election is of secondary importance for her, it is everything for McSame, however. .

After looking through the lyrics of "The Boy with the Arab Strap" again, there are a number of lines that would have made perfect titles for this entry. I'd forgotten how good of a song it is - I'd be tempted to say that "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" is better, but that's probably just because it's the first song of their I heard (which I listened to obsessively for far too long). Now that that's out of my system, I'll reread the entry in detail.

tlt, that is a good point, but my idle wonder is if we could drop Bob Dole into McCain's slot, would we be at the same point we are now? I'll probably get busted for dealing in hypotheticals (what if McCain were a 7 foot tall blue alien, would the campaign look the same?) but I think it is worth thinking about because it seems, imho, to tell us something about the structural tendencies of the modern Republican party.

Y'know, for the record: there actually IS an Arab running in this year's Presidential race. His name is Ralph Nader, and I'm sure the McCain-Palin team would be tickled pink to steer as many votes his way as they can.

Yep, if McCain/Palin lose, can't you just see her turning on him the next day, saying he's the reason they lost, as she prepares for an 2012 run.

So what do you get if you cross a moose with a pit bull? Sarah Palin. Or is it what do you get if you cross Sarah and a moose and put on lip stick?... never mind.

I'm sure that Palin is thinking 2012. However, if she manages to (politically) survive another two years as Alaska's governor (which is questionable), what do you think is going to happen in the Republican primaries with the Miss Alaska runner up going head to head with Huckabee, Romney and whoever else is on the right of the party? They're going to tie her to McCain and she'll go down in flames.

No, I expect Sarah will be on Fox News by 2012, and won't that be fun.

"Y'know, for the record: there actually IS an Arab running in this year's Presidential race. His name is Ralph Nader,"

I'm fairly sure he's Arab-American, actually. Or Lebanese American, if you prefer. He was born in Winsted, Connecticut.

Do any of these guys getting all worked up about Barack HUSSEIN Obama know that one of George Bush's top advisors is named Khalilzad?

"Yep, if McCain/Palin lose, can't you just see her turning on him the next day, saying he's the reason they lost, as she prepares for an 2012 run."

Can't I just? Now that you mention it: a forgone conclusion.

There should be a pool on the number of hours after the polls close. I'd say 1-2 days, but I'm not a gambler, so McCain can take my place here.

Gary, to the "right" people it does not make a difference where the "non-Aryan" was spawned. Being born in the US only matters for the legal (presidential) electability.
I assume you were not born in a Jewish country but consider yourself both a Jew (independent of actual religiosity) and an American. Btw, it was actually news to me about Nader (although not something I'd consider relevant. As far as I am concerned he could be one of those small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri in disguise ;-) )

"I assume you were not born in a Jewish country"

I don't know: I was born in Brooklyn.


Gary, I was close to putting a clause about certain US locations in my post (and a reference to a certain satire by Ephraim Kishon*) ;-)

Iirc there are more Jews in the US than in Israel**. Is there any other country that could claim that?

*I doubt that I could find it online in English though
**the Jerusalem Post claimed (in 2006) that now Israel surpasses the US though.

I heart NY:

[...] As of the 2000 census, The New York metropolitan area is home to 3,372,512 Italians making them the largest white group in New York. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest number of Jews outside Israel. There are more Jews within New York City limits than within Jerusalem city limits, making the New York City Jewish community the largest such community in the world. About 12% of New Yorkers claim to be Jewish or of Jewish descent.[9] New York is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's South Asians,[10] and the largest African American community of any city in the country.

The seven largest ethnic groups as of the 2005 census estimates are: African, Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans, Chinese and Irish.[11][12] The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside Puerto Rico.[13] Italians emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century, establishing several "Little Italys." The Irish also have a notable presence. In fact, more people in New York claim Irish ancestry than in any other city in the world; including Dublin.

(I figured I'd throw in some context.)

According to this, the Jewish U.S. population in 2006 was 6,452,030.

I love the "030." Also: "*Exclusive of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands which reported before 2002 Jewish populations of 1,500 and 350, respectively."

This source claims:

The following information about United States Jewry comes from the 2005 Annual Assessment by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Answer: Jewish Population
1970: 5,400,000
2005: 5,280,000
2020 Projected: 5,200,000

So estimates seem to vary. I'm sure there are different methodologies, and one thing Jews don't particularly agree on is who is a Jew, anyway. So inevitably numbers will differ somewhat.

This undated Haaretz story says:

The number of Jews in Israel has surpassed the number of Jews in the United States, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

However, Professor Sergio Della Pergola of Hebrew University disagrees, saying it will take another three years to close the gap.

On the eve of Independence Day, the CBS reported that there are 5.4 million Jews living in Israel, compared to 5.2 million in the U.S., according to the latest United Jewish Appeal Federation survey.


Della Pergola, considered the greatest demographic expert of the Jewish people, gave a survey to the Knesset's Absorption and Diaspora Committee last week. He said one should deduct from the CBS data some 250,000 non-Jews who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return.

"The U.S. data refers only to those who define themselves as Jewish by origin and have no other religion. So if we count non-Jewish family relatives, we must add to the U.S. figure another 1.5 million people (i.e. 6.7 million Jews in the U.S.)."

And, Della Pergola adds that, on the basis of another survey, the number of U.S. Jews is 5.3 million, rather than 5.2 million.

Altogether U.S. Jews outnumber the Israeli ones by 150,000, he says.

Della Pergola shares the view that U.S. Jewry is dwindling rapidly at the rate of about half a million per decade. One of the main reasons is the increase in interfaith marriages, which reached 52 percent of all marriages in the Jewish community in 1990. This finding shocked the Jewish community at the time.

Conclusion: eh.

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn: The Gary Farber Story (or a few hundred thousand others')

As far as I am concerned he could be one of those small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri in disguise ;-)

Or, like Kucinich, a hobbit married to an elf.

The band "Arab Strap" was named after the B&S song, not the other way round.

As for the "more Jews in the US" - at the height of the British Israelite nonsense, the UK probably contained more people who believed themselves to be of Jewish descent than Palestine did.

The band "Arab Strap" was named after the B&S song, not the other way round.

Nope -- TBWTAS was released in 1998; Arab Strap (the group) was founded in 1995. According to wikipedia, AS was pissed at B&S for using "arab strap" in the song/album title (even though it's apparently used in reference to the sexual device, not the band).

BwAS likely references the band Arab Strap and is likely punning as well. The lyrics to my ear say "the boy with the arab strap" in some verses, while "the boy FROM the Arab Strap" in others.

I'm with Pinko on that.

By the way, Obama is a scary, scary black man.

By the way, Obama is a scary, scary black man.

And most probably listened to Gil Scott Heron.

Or worse.

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