Saturday, March 11, 2006
YOU CANNOT RUN FROM THE PAST:
One thing about Sullivan hasn’t changed ... even if he can only tacitly admit Paul Krugman was right, he still has to savage him no matter how ridiculous it makes he himself look in the process.
So he says he “did not immediately go into partisan mode”? He’s right ... he was already there. He didn’t have to.
The most disingenuous move on Sullivan’s part is his attempt to suggest that he had “some other objections” before 9/11. Bush’s fiscal policy? Saying it’s OK by you if the president fibs a bit just to put one over on the left hardly strikes us as “objecting” (see Spinsanity link at right). Anti-gay policies? In 2001 Sullivan was finding every way to blame them on Clinton, praising Bush for his “daring” in .... meeting with a couple of prominent gay fundraisers and persuading himself that a presidential nominee cozier with the Religious Right than any before would somehow understand the libertarian arguments for gay marriage. Uh-huh.
There’s less shame in admitting you were once a rabidly partisan hack who has coasted on editing a once-influential magazine than you think, O Blog Queen.
UPDATE: Atrios gets one in too.
posted by Sully 3/11/2006 05:47:00 PM
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
HERE’S A NICKEL, ANDREW, MARKOS: GO BUY YOURSELF A BETTER COMPUTER:
We don’t know which is the more sickening response to Josh Marshall’s inexplicable decision to ditch his Gateway for a Mac: Sullivan’s lame-ass dick joke or Markos Moulitsas’s all-too-typical willingness to fall into the Condescending Mac User stereotype.
Kos’s, we would say. Sullivan’s second-grade sense of humor is hardly surprising at this point. But it’s a real shame to see Kos, who works so hard to improve the Democratic Party, do this.
Maybe it’s just us, but we see a direct link between Condescending Smug Mac User and Condescending, Snobby, Elite Coastal Limousine Liberal Who Only Watches PBS And Listens to NPR. The sort of people whom the majority of America will go out of its way to buy PCs and vote Republican just to piss these assholes off.
Hey, Kos, before you say that again, read what your buddy Gilliard has to say.The second is what I call the Deadhead syndrome. I love the Grateful Dead’s music, but Deadheads annoyed the fuck out of me. Smelly neo-hippies eating vegetarian burritos and going on about some set Jerry played in 1985 is enough to obscure the music. No, make you hate the music. If you actually listen to the Dead, their music is actually quite interesting. But the Deadheads won’t help you listen to it. While Apple fans think they help sell the Mac with their unsolicited and often technically ignorant advice, they do nothing of the sort. When you have a hard drive problem, the only thing “get a Mac” does as advice is make you want to wring the neck of the person saying it. Why? Because it doesn’t answer the fucking question for one thing. Second, as a Russian once posted online “A Mac is a toy for rich Americans”. And Japanese, one could add. The Mac has some very good points, especially in ease of use for new computer users and kids. But Apple cultists turn far more people away than help. I mean, how many people buy a Mac and then upgrade to a PC? Well, it seems like half since 1996.But let’s get to the heart of the matter for us: O, Apple Macintosh, how do we hate thee, let us count the ways.
Cooperative multitasking. The mouse cord that plugs into the keyboard, so that if the latter’s fucked your whole computing experience is hosed. The so-called programmer that once decided it was OK for the CPU to let individual programs tell it how much memory they needed so that something you used very little could hog RAM. That goddamn Chicago font and the way it used to be next-to-impossible to change (and even Kaleidoscope, the third-party shareware that let you do something Microsoft built into Windows from fairly early on, had issues with Quark XPress. Yeah, that’s it, let it hose one of our killer apps). The way Mac users spread misconceptions about Windows in the early 1990s (like “You can use a Mac right after you plug it in; you can’t do that with a PC” even long after many PC makers had been preinstalling Windows and making that a nonissue). The Preferences folder that was such a poor substitute for even the admittedly-imperfect Windows Registry.
Yeah, we know, a lot of those issues are past, but Apple’s Steve-knows-best attitude towards its user community let them linger for a lot longer than they should have (and the way the user community enabled it). And everytime they address one problem, they create another (Like this red-yellow-green thing at the top of the window bar, the equivalent of the more-intuitive line-box-X in Windows. If it weren’t for having used Windows, would you know what they meant? Someone who never had might be forgiven for thinking it had something to do with the computer’s processing speed).
We better stop now or we’re going to be typing all day. Suffice it to say that this video parody of the “Switch” ads does so much for us and it’s so much more current than we are (OK, 2003, but what does that tell you?). And here’s another good, short page. And a blog entry.
PC users have long grown a thick skin over the haughtiness of the Condescending Mac User and understand the idea of comparative advantage much better. If a Mac works for you, fine. But don’t assume it works for us.
posted by Sully 3/08/2006 11:41:00 AM
NO GOLDEN AGE:
We don’t mind Sullivan’s Bush-bashing slant lately at all, really (inasmuch as we fully expected it). But we do find it amusing that conservatives are now looking back on the 1980s with as much amnesiac fondness as liberals older than us used to recall the late 1960s.
As Atrios points out, Reagan was not much better for the country’s bankbook than Bush has been:So, yes, under Reagan the federal government shrunk by a wee bit and under Bush it’s grown by a bit more but the point is the Reagan era was not a magical age of tiny government and ponies.And P O’Neill has a sort-of related comment, too.
I suppose mentioning illegally trading arms for hostages, supporting nun-killing Central American death squads, the Marine incident in Lebanon, and of course the incredible number of Reagan administration officials who were indicted/convicted would be a wee bit too much.
posted by Sully 3/08/2006 11:28:00 AM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
LET GO OF ROE:
Since Sullivan hasn’t gotten too egregious in the last couple of days, we’ve decided it’s the perfect time for us to address the South Dakota legislature’s make-my-day attempt to force the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
We’ll give our thoughts on the implications of a post-Roe future in a subsequent post, but for now let us be bold and stand up and say: Roe was the worst thing that could have ever happened to the pro-choice movement, for two reasons.
1. It’s bad law. You don’t need to be Robert Bork to see this. You don’t need to disagree with the result of the decision. In fact, you should expect a justice as talented and intelligent as Harry Blackmun was to come up with a more elaborate constitutional justification for repealing the abortion laws of 48 states than essentially reiterating Griswold and then adding “This right of privacy .... is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”
Yup. That’s it. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, by the awful daring of a moment’s surrender, by this and this only the pro-choice movement has existed for 30 years.
In fairness to Blackmun, he did, in response to Sarah Weddington’s brief, provide some necessary historical context to abortion laws. But that should be a historian’s job, not a Supreme Court Justice writing for a majority of seven.
You read it and you really wish, after rereading Douglas’s concurrence in Doe v. Bolton, the companion case, that Burger had assigned him the majority opinion instead of Blackmun. He gives a much better constitutional justification of how the right to privacy naturally includes the right to have an abortion than Blackmun (who to be accurate wasn’t on the Griswold court).
For more than three decades, though, the pro-choice movement has been forced to circle the wagons to keep a slim majority of five people from tampering with this hazy jurisprudence. It has been not only to our detriment; it has been detrimental to the Court and the judiciary as a whole since all confirmation hearings inevitably turn around how the nominee would vote on Roe ... and nothing else, really. At various times the proverbial ham sandwich (i.e., Harriet Miers) would have been on the court depending on the right vote on Roe.
2. It deprived the pro-choice movement a chance to grow and gain political power that would, could and should build a more solid base for reproductive freedom. If you were someone who wanted to keep abortion illegal circa, say, 1969, what would you wish on your opposition (not that much existed back then, anyway ... the term “pro-choice” hadn’t even been invented) if you were really devious? Getting complete repeal on the first trip to the well, that’s what (Wikipedia, in a featured article, reminds us that none other than current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others, feels this way too).
In the sunny haze of the early 1970s, people older than us tell us, everyone thought that if the Supreme Court did something, it would stay. After all, hadn’t the Court desegregated schools twenty years before?
Well, remember that Brown, unlike Roe, was a unanimous decision. Earl Warren could have stuck with the 5-4 majority he had after oral argument ... but he knew that the decision would only have lasting force if he got the Court to speak as one. Had Brown been a 7-2 decision, you can bet some vestiges of Jim Crow would breathe yet.
And it only desegregated schools. That was a nice breath of wind at the back of a movement which grew strong enough to, a decade later, reach its real promised land ... the end of legalized racial discrimination, by act of Congress.
(And to be pessimistic about it, all it did was order schools to be desegregated. Were they effectively desegregated in 1973? Are they effectively desegregrated now, for that matter?)
For 33 years, the pro-choice movement has been forced by a flawed, politically vulnerable Supreme Court decision into putting all its political energy to a defensive crouch when we could have been working very hard to expand not only reproductive freedom but women’s rights generally, the sort of rights which would have done so much to reduce the abortion rate generally as they have in Western Europe. Hell, without a Supreme Court decision the same-sex marriage movement has built almost as effective a movement as pro-choice in just a couple of years.
For these reasons, Roe has perhaps outlived its historical utility. It’s time for us to say, it was nice knowing you but we need to move on to where we can build lasting reproductive rights some other way.
posted by Sully 3/07/2006 08:22:00 PM