Pontificator: News and Commentary

Saturday, February 08, 2003 :::
Hamas states publicly that it will attack Americans if Americans attack Iraq. Is silent on plans if America contains Iraq until Saddam dies of old age.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:40 PM

It's time to boycott O'Reilly.

Boycott his sponsors until O'Reilly is forced to make the Trent Lott trek to Telemundo to apologize, grovel, and pretend he's in favor of blanket amnesty for all spanish speaking illegal immigrants.

And then he gets cancelled anyway. . .

::: posted by Pontificator at 9:04 PM

Friday, February 07, 2003 :::
According to four witnesses who watched the factor tonight (I didn't), Bill O'Reilly referred to Mexicans using a racial slur. Since I didn't see the episode myself, I don't want to prejudge this issue.

However, did any of my readers tape the show? If so, I suggest that you have some work to do!

UPDATE: Yep, he did it, it's official.

If we lived in a civilized society, Bill O'Reilly would be thrown off the air. (But not by the government -- remember that First Amendment thingy).

UPDATE2: Oliver Willis calls it a "bigot eruption."


::: posted by Pontificator at 1:35 AM

Josh Chafetz of Oxblog has a pool: which day does the bombing start in Iraq?. The winner is the one with the closest guess.


I assume the winnings go to buy morphine to ease the hideous screams of the maimed and mangled victims as life slips from their grasp.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:17 AM

Thursday, February 06, 2003 :::
Thoughtful, analytical Jim Henley never rants.

But today, he rants.

And boy is it good!

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:02 PM

The State Department just issued a worldwide caution to Americans abroad, warning of heightened threat of terror attacks including possible use of chemical or biological agents.

Why are we going to war with Iraq again? Oh yeah, because things are just too safe and peaceful in the world, so we need to stir up a hornet's nest or two to make it violent and dangerous again. And we should do it in an especially volatile area, so things are especially violent and dangerous. That's why.


::: posted by Pontificator at 5:48 PM

There was Doctor Death (Kervorkian). There was Mr. Death (the Errol Morris movie).

And now. . . say hello to General Death!

(as in Attorney General)

::: posted by Pontificator at 3:46 PM

I'm pleased to announce that Pontificator will be going on vacation to a place where there are NO COMPUTERS from February 22 through March 2, and then again from March 6 through March 10.

I'm even more pleased to announce that, during that time, Pontificator will have a GUEST BLOGGER, who is well known for his political astuteness, wit, and well-found belief that we're all going to hell -- very, very fast.

So, while Pontificator is on vacation, please enjoy the ranting of guest-blogger "Risdee." (named for one of his favorite places.)

In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the writings of the Pontificator. . . .

::: posted by Pontificator at 3:30 PM

Howard Coble is the new Trent Lott.

Or if he's not, he should be -- and we must make him so.

Let the pressure to apologize begin. Then let the pressure to apologize again and again continue, with a final pathetic apology on NTV.

::: posted by Pontificator at 9:53 AM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003 :::
Has Josh Marshall proven that judicial nominee Miguel Estrada committed perjury??

No, not anymore than Starr proved that Clinton commited perjury (which he didn't, by the way).

However, Marshall has certainly uncovered the fact that Estrada is one two-faced, mealy-mouthed, snivelling weenie.

And I'm not just saying that because I'm a partisan!

UPDATE: Via Hesiod -- the filibuster is on!

Now all we need is 41 votes. I have a feeling Mr. Marshall's cogent analysis referenced above may come in handy.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:37 PM

I've been meaning to blog about partisanship for awhile, and how underrated it is. There's a general sense of disgust both on the news shows and, yes, in the blogosphere, about what's known as blind partisanship. The general opinion is that if you are in favor of a point of view, not because it is objectively right (in your opinion), but because your party believes in it, than that's a bad thing for democracy, for america, for our system, etc.

Let's leave aside the fact that a large percentage of people actually do hold opinions because their party believes in it (even though they'll deny that fact), and let's focus on the merits of that argument.

The assumption that you should hold a belief independent of the party you subscribe to is really the belief that the persons who do politics for a living have misapprehended the societal good or ill of an idea, and/or misapprehended the effect on the party itself and the goals of its members, of advocating that idea.

Like it or not, the way things get done in politics is through the party system The parties have aggregated together a large quantity of varying opinions and beliefs in the hope of effecting an agenda that will either benefit the persons who support that party or increase the popularity of the party in such a way so that in the future they can benefit the persons who support the party more effectively.

Unless you yourself are a professional on these issues, you can bet that the parties themselves have thought through these issues much more carefully, much more thoroughly , and much more professionally than you have.

So the idea that partisanship is bad is really the idea that the tv-watching, newspaper reading dilettante knows how to accomplish public policy objectives that are important to him/her better than does the party itself.

Whereas partisanship is the faith that professionals who devote their life to the advancement of a particular agenda through popular means actually know what they're doing better than you do.

Now, obviously, since we are in a two-party system, political parties have to aggregate the needs of the many in order to have the support to get ANYTHING done, whether these are things meant to benefit the many or the few.

But, if you are a partisan, you are a realist. You realize that two-party partisanship is how the system works, and if you want things done your way you have to put your faith in the one of the two parties which is more likely to accomplish an agenda that you feel is better for you and/or the country.

That's why partisanship, the following of a party's position for the sole reason that that position IS the position of the party (and for no other reason) is a GOOD thing that makes sense in our political system.

And that's why I'm a proud partisan Democrat, despite the fact that I sometimes disagree with that party on discrete issues.

And that's why I suspect you (the reader) are a partisan as well.

::: posted by Pontificator at 9:30 PM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003 :::
The New York Times has unearthed the Jeffrey Wigand of the firearms industry.

Thanks to Hesiod for the heads-up.

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:52 PM

Monday, February 03, 2003 :::
Contact Stimson and tell him you really appreciate his standing up for what he believed in on O'Reilly.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:08 PM

Foo Foo has a good comment to Atrios's review of Stimson's brave showing on O'Reilly:

"Stimson seemed like a nice guy, smart, but not an experienced tv guy. Unfortunately, that's what you gotta be to take on O'Reilly.

Here's what you do beat O'Reilly:

(1) write down the 3 or 4 things you want to say ahead of time

(2) blow off his questions and say those three or four things

(3) He'll accuse you of spinning, and dodging the question, at which point you. . .

(4) assert strongly that those three or four things are "facts." Say that word "facts" several times

(5) he'll say again that you're spinning and dodging the question, at which point you respond that he's just afraid of the truth.

(6) He'll start to get beligerant and angry, and he'll start say something nasty about you, at which point. . .

(5) You remind him that he dodged the draft. . . twice.

You do that, and maybe you escape with a tie."

I would add -- and then you write about it on your blog.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:04 PM

Do you like war games? Try this -- you can game out the war with Iraq. Loads of fun for all.

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:11 AM

Sunday, February 02, 2003 :::
Tell the Senate to filibuster Estrada. You know what to do.

UPDATE: According to one of the comments in Atrios (Greg in WA, who got his info from Cantwell's office), there ain't gonna be a filibuster, and Estrada gets in on a party-line vote.

And people wonder how Nader got 5%. The Republicans would have filibustered, just like they did with Clinton's National Health Care plan.

No they didn't actually filibuster the plan, but the threat of a filibuster killed it. The fact that Estrada's nomination got this far was probably a sign no filibuster was in the works. Had there been one, someone would have given Hatch the secret hand-shake and he would have withdrawn it.

What fucking weasels.

Update: E-mail/phone/fax your Senator anyway. Might as well go down with the ship.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:41 PM

The Rush Limbaugh boycott is working! The last advertiser up on rushlimbaugh.com is "Stresstabs," which is an Inverness Medical product.


Inverness Medical can be contacted at:

Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc.
51 Sawyer Rd., Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02453-3448
Phone: (781) 647-3900

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:03 PM


Pentagon stocks up on body bags.

Just a precaution, I'm sure.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:16 PM

What was NASA to do when the President scolded it as "inefficient" for caring about space shuttle safety?

"The space shuttle program, which Bush administration budget documents scold for inefficient safety upgrades, would receive about $65 million less than its $3.3 billion last year."

I think the question answers itself.

::: posted by Pontificator at 2:02 AM


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