Saturday, January 24, 2004

Dean Implosion Set to Music

Howard Dean's howl is the sound of another failed presidential candidate breaking the obscurity barrier. With that scream Dean joins an elite club of presidential flameouts that includes Edmund Muskie, Gary Hart, Pat Buchanan, Jack Kemp, Henry Wallace and a whole lot of people you've never heard of and certainly won't hear about here.

Of course, it's rare for a candidate to join the club quite so spectacularly as Dean did. To give you an idea of how complete is his induction, there is now a thriving cottage industry of Dean scream remixes blossoming on the web fueled by people with even more time on their hands than me.

I've surfed the web for the very best remixed versions of the Dean yell set to music so you don't have to.

Dean Trance Mix

Dean Throws It Up For America!

Welcome to Dean’s Jungle

Dean Goes to Kokomo

Dean, The Enemy

And Then We’re Gonna

Drs. Dean and Dre

We Need Someone Who Can Scream (this is actually a rather poignant and pitiful Deaniac vocalizing a campaign sinking into the darkness)

I suppose Dean could, with considerable skill, turn this meme to his advantage but he only has a few hours left before his image as a furious, mouth frothing, maniac solidifies into a permanent historical footnote.

It's a shame really. I mean, now I'm never going to make any money from my clever Dean People Suck bumper stickers. Everything now on sale all you collectors!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

I Have a Dream (the Details Are Not Important Right Now)

You may recall that in the 2000 presidential campaign, the Democratic Party candidate won the votes of about 92% of the African-Americans who showed up at the polls . . . and Gore still lost.

This year Democrats know that they have to get 92% of the African-American vote again just to stay even. To win they'll need to hold on to every one of those votes and convince another few percentage points to support their as yet unnamed candidate.

How do you convince a diverse group of people with little in common but their ethnicity to think in lockstep uniformity about such a complex issue as the future of the nation?

Here's a hint: calm and logical reasoning will not get the results you need.

How do you get at that last 8% of the African-American vote . . . that last 8% of holdouts who may harbor sympathetic views about President Bush's response to the deadly terrorist attack on Lower Manhattan, who may agree with the Republican Party's position on parental choice in public education, who may have noticed the number of African-Americans serving in critical national security posts in the Administration responsible rather than, say, overseeing weather forecasts at the Commerce Department?

Only an appeal to fear and unreasoning emotion will get these fence sitters to abandon hope and vote as with the permanently enraged.

So it's no surprise that President Bush was dogged by vociferous protestors as he made a very public appeal for support in African-American communities in New Orleans and Atlanta.

Never mind that many of these protestors were white. Never mind also that Bush is appealing to individuals rather than monolithic voting blocs. And certainly pay no mind to the horror of African-America audiences actually agreeing with Bush's neanderthal fundamentalist Christian beliefs:

Mr. Bush spoke about the power of faith to change lives in personal terms at the church. At a discussion with members of the church and community leaders, Mr. Bush recounted his decision to stop drinking. "I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't ask for Christ's help in my heart," he said.

Later, during his speech in the church, there were repeated murmurs and shouts of assent and approval from the largely black audience as Mr. Bush discussed harnessing the power of religion and the resources of churches, synagogues and mosques to help people in need.

Yikes! This guy is connecting! We can't have Republicans muscling in on our constituency!

So of course the wails of protest were heard throughout the land. Unruly dissenters disrupted President Bush's visit to the grave of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. According to Sheriee Bowman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Mr. Bush's presence was "politically motivated."

Well, he is the president, and it is an election year, and King is a politically powerful symbol. So yes, in fact, when is a political office seeker not politically motivated?

"We question the integrity of the timing of the move because last year at this time he took a stand against affirmative action, the Michigan case, which is part of Dr. King's legacy," Ms. Bowman said, referring to the Supreme Court case that considered the use of race in college admissions.

Jeez, the timing is the 75th anniversary of King"s birth and if King was once noted for anything it was his dream of a colorblind society "where people are judged by the content of their characters not by the color of their skin."

(minor aside: It's curious how often you see the film clip of Dr. King saying "I have a dream," yet how rarely do you see the rest of the clip and hear what his dream actually was.)

"Bush was not invited," said Lance Graves, a black social worker who took the day off from helping people socially to demonstrate outside The King Center. "He (Bush) is diametrically opposed to everything Dr. King stood for."

Actually, I believe it was the good doctor himself who said to people like Graves, and possible to a young Graves himself, "instead of 'Burn, Baby Burn", you should "Learn, Baby Learn", so that you can go out and 'Earn, Baby Earn'"?

What Dr. King was diametrically opposed to was dependency. He was opposed to using race and victimhood as an excuse for underachievement. He was opposed to sitting idly by as injustice prevails or deferring to others rather than taking personal responsibility for improving your world.

Maybe I'm missing something but that sounds a lot like W to me.

Imagine the irreparable harm to the African-American community if politicians actually had to compete for their vote. Why, you might even see candidates treat black Americans like regular thinking people instead of must-win-at-all-costs constituencies.

Come to think of it . . . wasn't that Dr. King's dream?

And now the Democrats have a vested interest in seeing that not happen. That's no dream. That's the same nightmare of segregation Dr. King died to prevent.
Iowans Not For Dean

Interestingly, for all Howard Dean's supposed support in the blogosphere, his Iowa blog has closed up shop.

Iowans for Howard Dean. According to the guy who writes it "This site has become too much of a burden for me to maintain . . ."

Hmmm . . . it's only four days till the Iowa caucas. And Dean's lead in Iowa has dwindled to nothing according to the latest polls. I guess if the guy is out rounding up homeless people and and registering out of state college students instead of maintaining the blog, that's a good thing.

But what about some other Dean bloggers in Iowa? The Iowa for Dean blog has not posted a word since August.

Gee, maybe Dean has more in common with the dot.bomb than I dared to believe. Could he be the first vapor-candidate?

Friday, January 09, 2004

North Korea Just Wants to Be Loved

A long wait in an airline terminal yesterday forced me to read USAToday and endure Selig Harrison’s insipid opinion article entitled: “N. Korean ‘Good Guys’ require U.S. Assistance.”

In about a 1,000 words better left unread, Harrison, a creaky old Korea “expert”, essentially tells us that the Bush Administration is foolishly alienating the “moderates” and the “pragmatists” in the magical Blofeld regime back in Pyongyong with its blunt language about regime change. This sort of talk is deeply insulting to the Kim Jong Il and may be counterproductive to reform efforts.

“During my seven visits to North Korea since 1972, I have had increasingly frank exchanges with many officials, often informally over dinner. In contrast with its monolithic image, the country is divided into two camps: hard-liners who favor nuclear weapons and believe reconciling with the U.S. is impossible, and pragmatists ready to dismantle their nuclear weapons program in return for security guarantees, U.S. recognition and economic assistance”

Good God Harrison! That’s thirty years of talking and no action.

How many North Koreans have starved to death, frozen to death, been worked to death, or been bored to death in the hermetically sealed totalitarian wonderland while Selig Harrison has exchanged “frank” opinions with these murderous fascists? I wonder if ever once in these frank discussions words like "cannibalism" came up. Somehow I doubt they got quite that frank.

Why would anyone even consider guaranteeing the security of such a regime much less offer it economic assistance? What’s the point? So that guys like Harrison can continue to have frank exchanges over slightly better food and wine?

“The United States should help the "good guys" win by abandoning its regime-change hopes and pursuing a verifiable, step-by-step process of dismantling North Korea's nuclear capability, with economic rewards along the way.

Even the fantasy of a nuclear disarmed North Korea is still an intrinsically North Korean police state. Why not disarm the regime by eliminating the regime?

Propping up a murderous regime in the name of reforming a murderous regime is absurd.

And saying that there are steps leading toward reform of North Korea is like saying the expedition to look for water on Mars is a step toward eventually holding America’s Cup races in the Gusev Crater Basin.

Why wait another 30 years? Let’s agree that it would be best for everyone, particularly the North Korean people currently imprisoned on the Kim family’s Neverland Ranch, if the regime were not to exist at all.

At the very least that would solve the nuclear problem.