Further ways to argue like a conservative – A sadly ongoing series
Month: February 2005
Flare-Ups in Battle Over Bush’s Social Security Plan
The Cato Institute, the libertarian research organization that has long been a leader in pushing for private Social Security accounts, lashed out at USA Next, a conservative lobbying group that says it plans to spend up to $10 million on commercials and other tactics attacking AARP, the retirees’ organization.
“This is not very bright politics,” Michael Tanner, the director of health and welfare studies at Cato, said in a telephone interview. In particular, he objected to an Internet advertisement by USA Next that tries to paint AARP as an advocate of same-sex marriage. “Introducing homophobia and other things that are not relevant to Social Security reform is not helpful,” Mr. Tanner said. AARP says it has no position on same-sex marriage.
Oh, that’s a good idea — attack the elderly — it’s not like they vote anyway…
No sex, please: we’re liberals!
Of course, the difference is that if, say, a Gore or Kerry administration had brought in a gay hooker to act as a ringer at news conferences, it would have quickly exploded into the biggest story in the country. Fox News would devote hours upon hours to it. So would Rush Limbaugh. So would the Pat Robertsons and the Jerry Falwells and the James Dobsons. Needless to say, so would the Republican Party. And here’s where the difference between liberal and conservative sex scandals, and how the mainstream media handle them, becomes clearly visible. When there’s a scandal on the left, there is a built-in machine, already in place, to spew shock and outrage on a 24-hour-a-day basis, and the mainstream media naturally cover that. But when there’s a sex scandal on the right, there’s really no one to speak out. Do liberals really care that men are having sex with each other? Or that Jeff Gannon supposedly has been paid as much as $1200 for one weekend for the pleasure of his companionship? To ask these questions is to answer them: no, and no.
The paradigmatic example is the Monica Lewinsky story. You may recall that the investigation into Bill Clinton’s sex life was driven not by the media, but by a $50 million official government investigation and a congressional witch-hunt led by the Republican majority. If the Bush White House really does become embroiled in a sex scandal — and, at this point, it looks like a genuine possibility — well, who is going to push this into the hyperstory realm? There simply are no liberal equivalents of Sean Hannity and Rush. Al Franken? Please. He’d be laughing too hard to take this seriously. And Howard Dean is not likely to position himself as the Democrats’ sexual inquisitor.
American media vs the blogs
With the abrupt resignation of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan, the American media are struggling with how to respond to bloggers.
Some see the bloggers as an explosion of free speech, a democratic counterbalance to media arrogance and a much needed call for greater transparency in the media, while others see bloggers as vigilante partisans bent on discrediting and destroying the media.
Can’t they be both? 😉
Time for Bush to define ‘independent press’
Not interesting enough? OK, it turns out he was using an alias. His real name is James Guckert. And it turns out there are compromising photos of Mr. Guckert on some homoerotic websites.
Some on the left are angry because, they argue, if this had happened in a Democratic administration, hearings would already be scheduled on Capitol Hill. And some on the right call those on the left hypocrites for attacking a man for his lifestyle choices. In other words, yet another story is reduced to a discussion of the naughty bits.
Bush Says Talk of Attacking Iran ‘Ridiculous’
“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous,” Bush told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders.
“Having said that, all options are on the table,” he added, drawing laughter at a clear reference to military action.
At least he’s clear about where he stands…
Bars Test Laws on Gambling With Moneyless Poker Games
As televised tournaments make Hold’em ever more popular and mainstream, Minnesota is one of at least half a dozen states grappling with a new phenomenon: poker games with little more than bragging rights at stake. Law enforcement agencies and liquor commissions in states with lotteries, racetracks and even casinos have arrested bar owners and players in recent months, threatening fines or jail time under statutes that proponents of poker see as anachronistic…. In California, the Department of Justice has declared that even tournaments in which no money is bet require a gaming license – and there is a moratorium on new licenses.
Hmmm, so let me get this straight… Lotteries (where you’re gambling with real money) are fine, but playing poker for fun is immoral?
House Republicans finally found a solution to America’s illegal immigrant problem: bounty hunters. As part of a bill to ban states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, Rep. Pete Sessions inserted an amendment less than 24 hours before the vote establishing ten state-sponsored bounty hunter centers. Though bounty hunters are currently legal–more than 3,900 operate in Sessions’ home state of Texas–the new plan allows bail bondsmen to nab suspected illegals even before a final deportation order has been issued.
The plan also evokes a number of uncomfortable precedents, including the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Part of the Compromise of 1850, the law allowed authorities to track down runaway slaves in any region of the country, including free states.
Wind Power Is Becoming a Better Bargain
With every turn of the giant blades of the 136 windmills here on the edge of a mesa, the stiff desert breeze is replacing expensive natural gas or other fuel that would have been burned in a power plant somewhere else.
Wind energy makes up a small fraction of electric generation in this country, but the rising price of natural gas has made wind look like a bargain; in some cases, it is cheaper to build a wind turbine and let existing natural gas generators stand idle. Giant, modern wind farms like the New Mexico Wind Energy Center here may become more common if prices continue to rise.
China emerges as global consumer
China has overtaken the US in the consumption of basic agricultural and industrial goods, a survey has found.
With a booming economy and 1.3bn people, it is now the world’s largest consumer of grain, meat, coal and steel, said the Earth Policy Institute.
But China’s insatiable demands are putting ever more pressure on the country’s natural resources.