Showing Up For Work

Something quite strange happened in Washington today. Three US Senators took a day off from their usual working routine and showed up in the US Senate.

That’s a quote from a TimesOnline article by Gerard Baker. The fact that a British guy has also noticed that there are 3 senators who are not doing their jobs is telling, no?

Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins

How do they know this?

Researchers there say Barack Obama is a distant cousin of actor Brad Pitt. […] Hillary Clinton is related to Pitt’s girlfriend, Angelina Jolie. Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother’s side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. presidents, including President Bush and his father, former President George Bush, his cousins.

Boston Herald

Media Confusion

One of the best things that RealClearPolitics has done is show just how “all over the map” the media can be. Before the time of Internet news aggregations, no one probably realized that you can write anything as a journalist and it’s likely that some other journalist is writing exactly the opposite at the same time. For example, take this example from this afternoon:

[RCP]

First, notice both of those organizations printing the stories about Obama and race are based in the United Kingdom. For whatever reason, RealClearPolitics is including international news reporting. Second, think about how completely opposite the conclusions shown in the story titles are. Lift the Curse of Race vs. Postpone Post-Racial US. What if it’s neither? What if it’s both?

I’ve become more convinced that, taken as a whole, journalism uses a shotgun approach. If you write about every conceivable conclusion, then somewhere, someone’s right. That’s probably inescapable. But more journalists should be willing to admit that they really don’t know what the heck they’re talking about, anymore than Joe Bob down the street does.

Race or Gender

CNN had an awful headline earlier this week, that I saw mentioned by Jeremy. The story basically said black women won’t be voting issues because they’re too set on voting their identity. I guess that makes Edwards the “white male” candidate that he joked about at the debate?

Evidently, CNN caught some flak for that headline, and rightly so. How’s this for a quote from the story:

For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?

Yep, good thing the Republicans don’t have to worry about hard questions like that. They only have issues to look at, instead of gender and race.

Connection Between Terrorist Attacks and Terrorist States

I noticed an incoming link from The-Amazing.US: Simply American, which I think refers to my comment about a rather long illogical leap between fighting Osama bin Laden and going to war in Iraq. Someone else had written to me a while back about the same thing – that 9/11 all by itself justified the military action in Iraq.

Maybe that’s so, but that statement seems to unnecessarily cloud the issue. I believe it behooves us to keep as clear as possible the reasons for every action we take, and lumping everything that the US does to combat terrorism as being justified by 9/11 seems akin to saying the D-Day Normandy invasion was justified by the attack on Pearl Harbor. I think the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq may well be battles in the same “war” against terrorism, but they are not battles on the same front. Iraq was a sovereign state which we invaded; Al-Qaida is an organization which is difficult to “invade”, per se.

In other words, I see a connection between the 9/11 attacks and the military action in Iraq, but there were many other reasons for the invasion, and minimizing them handicaps the discussion unnecessarily, in my view.

Support for military action after Bush's speech

Andrew Sullivan puts it very succinctly

SEVEN OUT OF TEN: That’s the proportion of Americans supporting the president’s ultimatum to Saddam, according to the Washington Post’s poll. 75 percent: That’s the proportion disapproving of the way in which the United Nations has behaved with regard to this matter. 71 percent support going to war with Iraq. 72 percent believe that the administration has “done enough to try to win support from other countries for taking military action against Iraq.” Those are stunning figures. There may be less public division about this war than any war in recent history.

Have you forgotten?

I heard on the radio yesterday, for the first time, a country song by Darryl Worley called Have You Forgotten?. It’s a very pro-war song, and as songs often do, it stirs up quite a bit of emotion. USA Today just did a story on the song, complete with the lyrics.

For me, the song makes a rather long illogical leap between fighting Osama bin Laden and going to war in Iraq, but it’s impossible to ignore the appeal the song has. It has debuted rather high on the charts already. Yahoo! Launch also has a blurb about the origins of the song.

California Voting

I was bored this morning and my “read these” stack of books was low, so I took the California Voter Information Guide with me on the bus to work. There are 7 propositions included among the political party candidates and statements. Some of the numbers are incredible.

Proposition 46 is a $2.1 billion bond for housing and emergency shelters. Proposition 47 is a $13.05 billion bond for public education facilities. Just the fact that the support argument uses more SENTENCES IN ALL CAPS than your average AOL user turns me off, not to mention the added state debt. It appears that the same person wrote the argument and rebuttal for Proposition 49 as well.

As for the political parties, did you know that the Democratic Party stands for the eradication of hate crimes? Shew, I’m glad someone is standing up against crime. The Libertarians make it plain that Self-defense is a right – not a political favor, while the Reform Party promises to stay out of religion, your bedroom, and social issues.