Jan. 5th, 2003

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The White House and the Republican National Committee declined to comment yesterday on a racial controversy involving a Bush administration ally who is campaigning to become chairman of the California Republican Party.

Bill Back, the California party's vice chairman running for the top job, sent out an e-mail newsletter in 1999 that reproduced an essay that said "history might have taken a better turn" if the South had won the Civil War and that "the real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."

The Contra Costa Times reported on the e-mail article yesterday and quoted Shannon Reeves, the California GOP secretary and an African American, saying: "There's no room for bigotry in the Republican Party, and I don't think there's a lot of room in the Republican Party for people who distribute bigoted information. What's appalling is to have the vice chair of the Republican Party distribute this."

In a statement, Back said: "Upon reflection, I should have been more sensitive regarding issues raised in this piece and not included it in the e-mail. I regret any pain and offense taken by readers."

Back said he "strongly" disagrees with the views in the article, and noted that over time he has reproduced pieces from the left and the right "to present Republicans with a broad perspective on articles, opinions, and issues being discussed in California and throughout the nation."

While declining to comment on the controversy, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said: "The California Republican Party will decide who will lead them. We are not involved in the race for state party chair."

shipping and handling not included

edit: the Other Roger Ailes has more.
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The New GOP Take On Term Limits

By David S. Broder
Sunday, January 5, 2003; Page B07

Nothing better captures the difference between the Republicans who took over Congress eight years ago and those who control it now than their attitude toward term limits.

When the GOP rebels rode to power in 1994 under Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, after 40 years of unbroken Democratic control of the House of Representatives, one of the promises in their "Contract With America" was to limit the time anyone could serve in that body.

The promise was quickly abandoned, as far as the membership was concerned; a term-limits constitutional amendment failed to pass the House in 1995, as Tom DeLay of Texas, now the majority leader, led 40 Republicans who joined most Democrats in opposition. And this year, the first vote of the strengthened Republican majority in the House will likely be to remove the eight-year limit Republicans set back then on anyone serving as speaker, the most powerful position in the House.

The motion to suspend term limits on the only member of the House Republican leadership who now faces such controls will be made by Roy Blunt of Missouri, the new GOP whip or deputy floor leader. This is the same Roy Blunt, he reminded me in an interview last week, who as a freshman member of the House in 1997 introduced his own term-limits bill.

Some die-hard advocates of term limits would call this a sign of hypocrisy -- or evidence that Republicans have been corrupted by the power-seeking ways of Washington. They note that Blunt has been on the public payroll, first as a teacher and then as a local, state and national elected official, for all but four of the past 32 years, and has founded a dynasty in Missouri, with his son's election as secretary of state, the same job Blunt himself once held.

I think the opposite is true: The likely approval of the Blunt motion represents an acknowledgment on the part of Republicans that running government is a serious business in which experience counts. The Democrats, to their credit, never fell for the fallacious idea that it was dangerous to representative government to allow folks to serve as long as their constituents chose to reelect them.
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With polls showing strong approval for Bush, and with the White House looking toward reelection in 2004, lawmakers expect the president to set the tone for the session, lay down priorities and establish limits with his veto pen.

"Much of the agenda will be driven by the president, not only because he's up for reelection, but also he has the megaphone and support and confidence of the American people," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), incoming chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.

Even Republicans appear unsure about specifics of the agenda, and some independent observers of Congress say the results are likely to hinge on whether Bush seeks consensus or confrontation with the Democrats.

"If he takes some risks with his own [conservative] base, he can force the Democrats to legislate with him," said Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "But if he plays the same game of words vs. deeds, rhetoric vs. policy, it could be pretty bloody."

A Republican legislator made the same point, but he put the onus on Democrats. "If the other party wants to cooperate, we can get a lot done," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Congress's first order of business is likely to be passage of a stop-gap funding bill to finance the government through January, while lawmakers try to pass the 11 domestic spending bills that should have been enacted by Oct. 1. Lawmakers are planning an omnibus spending package and are considering procedural shortcuts to avoid a rank-and-file rebellion over what many lawmakers regard as a shortchanging of education and other popular programs. Until agreement is reached, $34 billion in new spending for homeland security will be beyond reach, said Dyer, the appropriations staff director.

Translation: the Senate and the House read the dead tree edition of Time Magazine and they know what those other poll numbers said. They have their districts to worry about. Bush can make it happen if Bush can make it happen. If not, there are going to be a lot more executive orders doing things nobody much likes in the next two years.
sisyphusshrugged: (Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness)

This week's Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness Award goes to Dick Gephardt.

Outgoing House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) yesterday announced his intention to run for president in 2004, saying President Bush is leading America "down the wrong path or not leading at all," and pledging to offer "a distinctive choice and a different direction" on domestic and national security issues.

Believe you me, if he had known about any of this while we were fighting for control of congress and the future of the judiciary for the next forty years he would have been right there talking about it before the election.

Even if it meant temporarily ceasing his oscular attentions to Bush's ass.

Holy Shit.

Jan. 5th, 2003 10:54 am
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"When Lawrence Jacobs walked into the courtroom a few weeks ago, he couldn't believe his eyes. There was a noose swinging from the prosecutor's chest. Mr. Jacobs's son is being tried on capital murder charges. The noose was on a necktie."

"Then he saw it again. This time two prosecutors were wearing ghoulish ties, one with a dangling rope, the other with an image of the Grim Reaper. "That's when it really hit me," Mr. Jacobs said. "These guys are out to kill my son. And they're making light of it."

The prosecutors said the ties were jokes. Their boss was not amused but took no disciplinary action--just told them to stop wearing them.

TalkLeft has more.
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Jonah Goldberg delves further into his family's unusual scale of atrocity ranking.

Near the top, as we have reason to know: oral sex.

Not as serious:

"Would Nazism be so bad if, instead of non-Aryans, they only cared about exterminating ferocious extraterrestrial lice, cockroaches, and beetles? I'm not saying that the only thing wrong with Nazism was the mass murder of humans. But can we accept that this was a big part of the story? After all, if you take the genocide out of the equation, Nazism drops several notches on the evil-regime list. Still evil, sure, but of a significantly lesser category.

Apparently this deep thought is illustrative of some larger point about the Two Towers.

via Counterspin
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This and this are, I think, the last word on _that_ subject.
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The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League is starting a television and print advertising drive in highly competitive states. In addition, the organization is trying to freshen its image by changing its name to Naral Pro Choice America.

"Through our name change we are underscoring that our country is pro-choice," said Kate Michelman, president of the organization. "It is the right name for this moment in history."

David J. Garrow, a legal historian at Emory University who has studied the abortion debate, said the organization was using its new name to put a greater emphasis on choice as opposed to abortion. "It's a free way of getting `pro-choice' into a news story, even if editors don't allow the words to be used in the reporter's voice," Professor Garrow said.

Abortion opponents say the change is a simply a marketing sleight of hand. "They want to isolate the rhetoric from the reality," said Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative group.

Beggars the mind to think what a more accurately representative name for the Family Research Council might be.
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No, not by me. Brad de Long, however, was there, and carried back the bonnest mots.

I suspect it's even funnier if you truly understand economics.
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According to Frank Smyth, the heart was removed while the corpse was still in the house and wrapped in a tea towel, then placed in a biscuit tin next to the body, awaiting the undertakers arrival the next day. When the undertaker arrived to collect the heart for burial all he found were a few gristly scraps of heart and a fat and contented cat! As it was his duty to bury Mr Hardy's heart in the village graveyard, he killed the cat and placed it inside the biscuit tin and then carried on as if nothing had happened.

It's better with the poem.


Jan. 5th, 2003 06:38 pm
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Everything you ever wanted to know about spices but were afraid to ask, from the Louisa M. Darling Biomedical Laboratory at UCLA.

via Booksurfer, which gives great link.
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