Friday, July 27, 2012

Moving on Up

Today's packing today, and tomorrow's moving day. I'm off to Minneapolis, and will be moved in on Monday. But no time to rest on my laurels -- I'll be in Chicago next weekend, and I'll be in DC (and the beach) for days a week after that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

J Street Takes on the One-State Caucus

When J Street attacked Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) for his one-stateism, I said that the ad was exactly what I wanted to see in theory, but noted a few problems in the execution. Basically, I didn't think it was aggressive enough in hammering home that one-state = anti-Israel.

This is more like it.

The ad still isn't perfect on execution. At a full minute it runs a little long, and takes some time to get its wheels spinning. I think the beginning can be trimmed considerably, and I think the Adelson reference can be cut (not because Adelson isn't being a putz about this, but I'm not sure why his involvement makes things worse). I also think adding quotes from other Jewish organizations saying "one state = anti-Israel" would pack some punch.

But nitpicking aside, the message is loud and clear: The one-state solution stands in opposition to Israel's Jewish, democratic character. It is an obstacle to a true peace that respects the rights and security of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Ergo, anything less than support of a two-state solution isn't pro-Israel. J Street is saying nothing more than what every other mainstream Jewish organization has been saying for years but now seems too cowardly to stand up for. So I'm glad that at least one pro-Israel group has the balls to take on the rising one-state tide head on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EMILY's Lies

Is there a nominally progressive advocacy group more scurrilous than EMILY's list? It seems like I'm constantly seeing them engaging in bogus-to-outrageous attacks on progressive Democrats, in ways that do deep damage to the progressive movement while doing very little (if anything) to push Congress in a pro-choice direction. They were deeply involved in Nikki Tinker's racially and religious-tinged campaign to unseat sterling progressive Rep. Steve Cohen in the 2008 Democratic primary. And right now DKos Elections is on their case adopting GOP-style rhetoric attacking a Democrat for successfully raising taxes on millionaires.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blogger PSA

The Debate Link is a blog. This individual entry is a blog post. If I refer to "my last blog", it presumably means a prior website I wrote for before moving to The Debate Link (no such site exists). It does not mean the last entry on this blog. Bloggers who use "blog" to refer to individual posts read like bloggers who non-ironically capitalize "Internet".

Thank you, and remember -- acculturation to the norms of the medium is everyone's responsibility.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Body Swappers

Wouldn't it be awesome if former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (then-R, now-I) and Alabama ex-Rep. Artur Davis (then-D, now-R) ran against each other for something in the future?

This came to mind after Crist came out against the voter ID fraud in the Washington Post, and delivered an unapologetic defense of democratic values and access to the ballot box. It was precisely apostasies like this, of course, that caused him to lose what had seemed a sure-shot bid to the US Senate as a Republican in 2010 to the tea-flavored Marco Rubio. Davis, of course, originally showcased his GOP-curiosity by jumping on the voter fraud bandwagon, though he was outraged when media critics made unreasonable demands of him like "give examples of when this has ever happened".

I had liked the old Davis, which is part of the reason the new one is so risible -- he's smart enough to know that "voter fraud" is a fraud, but he's also smart enough to know that jumping on that train is a fast way to leap to prominence amongst the GOP. Crist, by contrast, I liked even before he dropped the "R", and of course, I like him even better now. But still, they do seem to be walking similar paths (in opposing directions).

Reinventing Charlemagne

As usual, TNC hits out of the park:
Consider this: what if you were a medievalist and the majority of your public simply refused to accept that Charlemagne ever existed. Indeed, what if they felt their prosperity was contingent on not acknowledging it. And thus all your medievalist friends spent a great deal of time proving that Charlemagne did exist.

Think about all the other interesting questions you might never get to ask, because you were spending all your energy in refutation of myth. And this would be frustrating because surely you had true questions, questions which you actually didn't have answers for. But every time you presented your work before an audience you felt called back to 800 AD all over again.

I think about how the climate scientist, or the evolutionary biologist living in Tennessee must feel, and I find some sympathy. So much of black intellectual life is wasted in disabuse, in explaining yourself to other people, as opposed to yourself.

Above all, I think this is the case for HBCUs. It wasn't like we didn't talk about racism at Howard -- where Toni Morrison attended -- but we never had to explain. And we were free to consider the geography of ourselves, to understand ourselves as another country. I remember going to the CSA (Caribbean Students Association) parties. It was like some other parallel world. Or watching the fraternities and sororities come out in the Spring, something I had no understanding of at all.

This, presumably, explains the frustration at having to repeat "101" level material over and over and over again. When I was newer at this, I couldn't understand the frustration -- probably because I remember when I was 101. Nowadays, it's far more clear to me, though I still do my best to be patient. It really depends whether someone is being deliberately pugnacious or not. But either way, having to spend huge portions of one's times reinventing the wheel (or Charlemagne) is time that one can't spend pushing the ball forward, and that really is annoying.