Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Expecting a delivery

Blogging will be light for the next few days as I will be adjusting to a new addition to my family. My wife is scheduled for a C-section early tomorrow morning to deliver our first child. So I will be camped out at the hospital at least until Sunday.


Everything went well with the delivery.
Nathan Wayne Thomas was born on Aug. 21 weighing 8 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long.

Now see what they've gone and started

The Washington Post is reporting that Republican lawmakers in Ohio have taken inspiration from their counterparts in Texas and are looking at making mid-decade changes to their own congressional districts.

"Ohio Democrats emerged unscathed from redistricting after the 2000 census when district lines were redrawn to reflect changes in population -- even though the GOP controlled the entire process. The reason? Republicans did not want to anger Rep. Sherrod Brown (D), who threatened to run against Gov. Bob Taft if his district was changed."

So now that Gov. Taft has been safely re-elected, the Republicans are considering changes to congressional lines that would "reshape the seats of Brown, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D), and possibly other House members."

And apparently, now that the Texas GOP has set the precendent, they no longer need any other reason to redraw districts at any given time other than it would give them more of a partisan advantage.

Texas Republicans are unhappy with a 2001 court-drawn plan because it was not gerrymandered enough in their favor. Instead, the court drew a neutral plan that corrected past gerrymandering excesses by Democrats. But Republicans feel that a neutral plan is not good enough to correct for the years of Democratic gerrymandering that came before and are demanding the redistricting equivalent of affirmative action for the GOP.

"The question is: How partisan do they want to look in one of the key states in a presidential election?" says Rep. Brown. "There will be a political price to pay for them. That's not a threat; it's an observation."

I don't think Tom Delay and Karl Rove are worried about looking too partisan. This is political warfare and as far as they are concerned all of the civility, traditions, agreements and compromises of the past are out the window.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Right-Left list convergence

Matthew Yglesias calls attention to another interesting exercise in list making today.
John Hawkins of Right Wing News enlisted the help of several dozen bloggers from both the right and left perspectives to compile separate lists of the Greatest 20 Figures of the 20th Century.

Here is the list compiled from the lefty responses:

18) Lech Walesa (3)
18) Alan Turing (3)
18) Harry Truman (3)
18) Eleanor Roosevelt (3)
18) Pablo Picasso (3)
18) Thurgood Marshall (3)
18) Lyndon Johnson (3)
18) Henry Ford (3)
18) Thomas Edison (3)
18) Marie Curie (3)
18) Jimmy Carter (3)
15) The Wright Brothers (4)
15) George Orwell (4)
15) Vaclav Havel (4)
12) Teddy Roosevelt (5)
12) Bill Clinton (5)
12) Louis Armstrong (5)
9) George C. Marshall (7)
9) John F. Kennedy (7)
9) Dwight Eisenhower (7)
8) Crick & Watson (8)
7) Mahatma Gandhi (10)
6) Jonas Salk (11)
5) Winston Churchill (13)
4) Nelson Mandela (14)
3) Albert Einstein (15)
1) Franklin Roosevelt (20)
1) Martin Luther King Jr. (20)

And here is the list from the righty responders:

20) Alan Turing (4)
20) Vaclav Havel (4)
20) Friedrich von Hayek (4)
20) Reverend Billy Graham (4)
20) The Beatles (4)
15) Admiral Chester Nimitz (5)
15) Milton Friedman (5)
15) Alexander Fleming (5)
15) Thomas Edison (5)
15) Francis Crick & James Watson (5)
14) General Douglas MacArthur (6)
13) Dwight D. Eisenhower (8)
11) Jonas Salk (9)
11) Franklin D. Roosevelt (9)
9) George Patton (10)
9) Mahatma Ghandi (10)
7) Theodore Roosevelt (11)
7) Bill Gates (11)
6) Martin Luther King (12)
5) Henry Ford (13)
3) Margaret Thatcher (16)
3) Albert Einstein (16)
2) Ronald Reagan (21)
1) Winston Churchill (26)

I find it interesting that the Right-wing list includes both Mahatma Ghandi and John Lennon (The Beatles)!
It also includes Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin Roosevelt.

Meanwhile, the left-wing list includes two Republican presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower as well as a Conservative Party prime minister - Winston Churchill.

And both groups seem to agree almost equally with including Albert Einstein - who, by the way, was such a bigtime liberal that he became a target of a smear campaign by J. Edger Hoover's FBI.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Get Republicans Elected Every November (GREEN) Party

This is a typically hyped up and alarmist story coming as it does from Faux News - Green Party Happy to 'Spoil' Democratic Presidential Run in 2004

However, it does serve as a jumping off point for me to vent more of my anger at the so-called Green Party.

You can blame butterfly ballots and hanging chads in Florida; you can blame Republican-led efforts to purge black “criminals” from the voter rolls; you can blame Gore for losing his home state of Tennessee and Democratic stronghold West Virginia. All of these are legitimate factors that led to the short-circuiting of our democracy in the 2000 presidential election.
But without a doubt, all of those issues would have been moot and beside the point if Ralph Nader had not run his kamikaze campaign against the Democrats that year.

I was upset with the Green Party long before the 2000 election debacle in Florida. The Greens had been instrumental in helping Republicans to maintain their majority control of the U.S. House or Representatives by helping to defeat Democratic candidates in New Mexico in 1996 and 1998. As this story makes clear Opportunity For Democrats To Regain Majority Begins With New Mexico Election - May 27, 1998 the Democrats loss that year could be directly attributed to the New Mexico Green Party.

The Green Party masquerades as a political party that is especially concerned with the welfare of our environment - and yet on a practical level their biggest accomplishment to date was to assist in the defeat of the first true environmentalist to run for the presidency. So the party’s name is clearly an oxymoron and thus the necessity for a more accurate understanding of the group’s acronym.

Many voters of a liberal persuasion have been tempted in the past to vote for Green Party candidates, especially in races where there is not a Democratic candidate in the race. But this is a mistake, because the more support the party recieves the better it is able to accomplish the one thing that it is good at - helping to elect Republicans. If they were truly committed to doing the things that they say, they would work to re-energize the Democratic Party from within and push it in the direction they think it needs to go - just like the religious conservatives have done with the Republican Party.

Enter Gen. Wesley Clark

It is looking more likely that General (Ret.) Wesley K. Clark will join the 2004 presidential race. He gave an interview to CNN over the weekend in which he took some well targeted shots at that weasel Tom DeLay.

I may be speaking too soon, but I don’t see Clark making a serious run for the nomination. I see his entry into the race more as a bid for a spot on the ticket as a vice presidential candidate or as an effort to raise his profile in order to win a cabinet post in the next Democratic administration.

I know I am dismissing candidates way too early, but I quite frankly see the race coming down to a choice between Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Howard Dean. My biggest fear right now is that many of the people who have become emotionally attached to the Dean campaign may become disillusioned should he fall short of the nomination.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Political discourse in the blogosphere

When I started this blog it was initially just a place where I could write down my thoughts on various day-to-day topics. But I soon found other people in the area and around the state who were also blogging and through the miracle of crosslinking and comments I was soon absorbed into a virtual community of folks who are both politically active and intellectually stimulating.
As I have wandered about the blogosphere I have come across web logs representing all aspects of the political spectrum - from far left to far right - and I have noticed that some are more open to political discourse than others.

Lately I have been forming a theory of political discourse for bloggers. Political bloggers can be grouped into four major categories:

1. Liberal Idealists
2. Liberal Pragmatists
3. Conservative Pragmatists
4. Conservative Idealists

Liberal Idealists can get along with Liberal Pragmatists, but no one else.
Liberal Pragmatists can get along with Liberal Idealists and Conservative Pragmatists, but not Conservative Idealists.
Conservative Pragmatists can get along with Conservative Idealists and Liberal Pragmatists, but not Liberal Idealists
Conservative Idealists can get along with Conservative Pragmatists, but no one else.

An idealist is someone who is committed to a political ideal and is not willing to compromise their position.
A pragmatist is someone who is willing to compromise their position in order to reach a consensus.

I like to think of myself as a Liberal Pragmatist, but I will occasionally slip into the category of Liberal Idealist. Most people probably do not stay in one category all the time and may fit into several different categories depending upon the topic at hand. However, the overall tilt of a blog will usually fall into one of these four groups a majority of the time.