Sunday, June 18, 2006

Is Ann Coulter Correct?

I wrote this on an Amazon message board last night, hoping for a response that'd shed some light on this for me... So far, I haven't gotten any response at all...

In all the hubbub regarding Miss Ann & the Jersey Girls, no one yet has cogently explained the underlying point that she was trying to make. (Most who talk about these passages & her subsequent appearances--regardless of side--get stopped cold by the offensiveness of her words, but even those who try to get past "how she said it" (mostly those on her side, of course) seem to take as a given that "what she was saying"--the idea that the left is "trotting out" these women & other victims of tragedy to speak because they have a built in "shield of infalability" and thus cannot have their ideas criticized--is true.

Probably needless to say, I don't believe Miss Ann's theory of infallibility is correct, but I'm willing to listen if anyone would like to step past the rhetoric and explain it.

Here's my thoughts on this thing, so far...

Contrary to Ann's theory, these IF's (infallable folk) HAVE been criticized, both on their ideas and personally, prior to Ann's screed. Some of that criticizm has even come from the left. (I'd have to google for concrete citations, but I recall a good bit of talk when Cindy Sheehan started making statements about Israel, ferinstance.) Didn't Falafel Bill make a point of saying on his first "post-harpies" show that he "beat" Mrs. Sheehan on the facts, without resorting to the invective that Ann employs. (Of course, on the very same show, he also said he agreed with Ann's point, though not her words. I guess Bill criticized Cindy without criticizing her... ...though he neglected to explain how, then or since.)
Further, no one--not Ann, or Bill, or David Horowitz, or, well, any of the outright Coulter supporters or the "I wouldn't say it that way, but..." folks--no one has yet shown even one instance where anyone has said "You can't disagree with them, they're WIDOWS (or amputees, or the parent of a dead child), for gosh sakes!!" The way I read her words, Ann is suggesting that this sentiment is so widespread as to've silenced the rightwingers (until Ann "heroically" broke the taboo, of course), but it certainly doesn't seem so.

Ann Claims that these IF's are being "used" by the left, as though they either don't actually hold the opinions they claim to, or would not be voicing them were it not for their leftie handlers. Of course she cites nothing in the way of proof...
I believe that the Jersey Girls were profoundly affected by the murder of their husbands, and by the Bush administration's response to those murders. (It's my understanding that at least two of them were loyal Republicans who voted for Mr. Bush in 2000.) They wanted to understand exactly how this tragedy could've happened, & felt the Bush administration was resistant to finding out & telling them. All of them became less enchanted with Bush & the Republican party as a result of their experiences, and said so to anyone who would listen.
Did the left help the Jersey Girls get their message out? Sure. Did the left benefit from helping the Jersey Girls get their message out. Yes, again. I maintain that no one maliciously or wantonly used anyone, here. Both the Jersey Girls and the left at large were helping each other achieve what were often shared objectives.
Cindy Sheehan & Michael Berg started out on the left in the first place. Both were peace & justice activists before their sons were killed, and losing them only made their commitment to such things stronger. As they are already "on" the left, it's hard to say they're being used by it. The murders of their sons affected them, too, strengthening their political ideals. While I don't agree with everything they say, I'm glad they're out there speaking up.

Ann claims that her remarks are confined to these particular widows, & not 9/11 widows in general. I contend that Ann needs this to be true to somewhat mitigate the criticism she's received from the public, and particularly from other 9/11 widows. How true it actually is, depends on why Ann actually has a problem with these women. (The why is something I'm particularly fuzzy about...)
It can't be because these women "used" the murder of their husbands to attain money or fame or to advance a political position because, to whatever extent the Jersey Girls have done so, so have other 9/11 family members. A few quick examples:
Lisa Beamer wrote a book & had a hand in the movie.
Ashley Faulkner appeared in an election ad for Mr. Bush.
Debra Burlingame has repeatedly made speeches, testified before congress, and appeared on rightwing media programs advocating her political positions & beliefs.
The only thing that makes these women different from the Jersey girls is that these women have done these things in support of Bush & the Republican party.

Some have suggested that the Jersey Girls (& Cindy, Michael, ...) have no business dictating public policy, as they lack the know how. A fair point, which is why they are NOT dictating policy. Like the rightwing women above, along with MADD, Christopher Reeve, Carolyn McCarthy (before she got informed, ran for office & thus became one of those knowledgeable decisionmakers) they are advocating for a particular position, & trying to get those who DO have the requisite know how to take their positions into account.

So, what am I not getting? Am I misunderstanding Ann's point, or are there other facts about which I am not aware?

I'm really not looking for a "you suck" or "typical liberal" response... (I mean, if you really can't help yourself, go for it, but it's really not going to do much for (or to) anyone aside yourself... If that's the response you choose to give to my honest inquiries, your opinion of me isn't going to have me losing any sleep) I'm trying to get beyond "how she said it," and discuss "what she said," without inviting debate on "how I said it." I'd appreciate the same in return. Customer Discussions: Is Ann Correct? How so?

Friday, June 16, 2006 - Kevin McCullough's Weblog - Kevin McCullough's Weblog

One thing Kevin neglects to say is that Larry Johnson is a registered Republican (oops!)

And even if Mr. Johnson WAS a part of the LEFT [sic], his comments would only reflect poorly on Mr. Johnson, unless Kevin could demonstrate that those on his evil left were defending those shameful comments about Rove's mother the way a fair portion of the rightwing has defended Miss Ann.

Larry was wrong. Miss Ann was wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right over here on the left... It seems that such justifications only come from the rightwing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Henry Rollins: A Love Letter To Ann Coulter

Henry Rollins: A Love Letter To Ann Coulter

There are no words necessary... Watch (See yourself before sharing audio or video with children or cow orkers.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Book Revue & Bias

One of the best independent bookstores on Long Island has just lost my business...

A few years ago, I began to notice that they hosted more rightwing authors than leftwing ones. At first, I thought it was a fluke... Perhaps no liberal author wrote a book the same month Bernie Goldberg released Bias...
Maybe Jim Hightower wasn't doing a book tour for Theives in High Places...
But gradually, I came to realize that month after month, there were more rightwing authors showing up at Book Revue than those from the left.

So, about a year ago, I sent them an e-mail letting them know I'd noticed this trend, and requesting that they do something to set my mind at ease... Have more authors from across the social & political spectrum (preferable) or host less from the right. In short, show me that this wasn't intentional...

I got no response to my e-mail. Not only didn't they respond directly, nothing changed as regards the authors doing the appearances. Hannity has had a signing for every one of his books, and also shows up to help sell the books of others he supports, like Goldberg, above. O'Reilly. E.D. Hill. Pat Buchanan. And the final straw, at least for me, Ann Coulter (again, with Hannity, who even did a live broadcast from my formally beloved bookstore.)

So, with sadness in my heart, I bid farewell to my bookstore, by sending them this email last night:
In honor of yet another appearance by Fox News (Hannity, together with Ann Coulter, this time), I hereby revoke my patronage of your establishment.

I was a resident of Huntington from 1969 through 1996, and spent many hours and a good chunk of money in your store in the late 70s & throughout the 80s. One of my good friends, Jeff B, was an employee of yours. I worked in Chartiers, right behind your building. (I also spent a lot of time in Oscars, but preferred your store.) In the last few years, I've occasionally driven in from Mastic to shop in your store (it is among the best independent bookshops on Long Island, and my politics urges me to spend my money in line with my values--including my disdain for the big boxes that're slowly destroying our local main street businesses.) I even have a frequent buyer card, even though I don't spend nearly the time or money in your shop that I used to.

It was that history, along with your selection & status as an independent, that allowed me to forgive your seeming penchant for hosting right-wing authors a good deal more often than similarly prominent authors from the left. Hannity (HOW many times can this guy appear?), O'Reilly, ED Hill, The Bias guy, Pat Buchanan... ...and the list goes on, I'm sure... (I'm going from memory...)

In a similar period, you've had Amy Goodman, & (perhaps) Al Franken. I'm sure I'm missing a liberal or two from the last 5 years, but the number has got to be half that of conservative appearances in the same period.

The final straw was Ann Coulter. She is trash, and I will not continue to support any person or entity that gives her (& the Fauxes) a platform to spew that kind of bile. There are other independent bookstores that are more in line with my personal, political and social beliefs, and thus have earned my patronage. I will always value the books & the memories I have because of Book Revue, but I cannot continue to give money to an institution that allows the likes of Coulter & these creeps from the Murdoch/Moonie media to spew their harmful, hateful views, and then fails to present authors from the other side to rebut them.

W. James Casper

Mastic, NY 11950

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

John Stewart (More truth)

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Posted Oct 15, 2004

Jon Stewart browbeats the Crossfire hosts for their "partisan hackery." Many suspect this now-legendary appearance prompted CNN to remove the show from their line-up.

Just watched this video again... Nothing like seeing people speak the truth...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

In Reply: Useless Cartoon Notions of the "Other" Side

In reply to Can the Democrats Fight the War on Terror?

At Real Clear Politics, John Leo's got a nice reminder of the Democratic Party's difficulties in confronting the terrorist threat. Leo starts his discussion with "The Good Fight," the new book by pro-American liberal Peter Beinart. He then turns to Henry A. Wallace, and the difficulties the Wallace legacy presents for Democrats today.
It's interesting that the post author neglected to give the full title of Peter Beinart's book. It was actually: "The Good Fight: Why Liberals---and Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again". And the notion that mainstream Democrats would have any problem prosecuting a legitimate war is laughable to anyone who doesn't believe that "the Left" consists of communists and terrorist symps. (and yes, that includes Beinart, apparently.) These cartoon notions that this guy and some of his friends on the right are wont to disseminate are fictions that leave their analysis of contemporary politics sorely lacking.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

In Reply: I believe it's possible to work together toward a common purpose, even with people with whom you do not agree 100%

In Reply to Burkean Reflections: Should 12 Million Illegal Immigrants Be Granted Immediate Amnesty?
It's no surprise that the Google hit for "March 25 Coalition" pulls up the Marxist-Leninist vanguard page for International ANSWER, the American left's main hardline communist organization.

Please contact your Member of Congress at this link if the anti-American activities of these groups bother you.

ANSWER has communist and socialist organizations involved in the coalition, along with rights groups, environmental groups, religious groups, and other social and political groups. While I don't agree with everything every group stands for, I believe it's possible to work together toward a common purpose, even with people with whom you do not agree 100% on every issue. I do not fear people who believe different things than I do, whether they be Republicans, Methodists, Communists, or homosexuals. I understand why folks on the right wish to demonize people with this guilt by association nonsense, but that doesn't make it any less contrived and phony.

Here in America, it's ok to disagree with and dissent from our federal and state government, as well as from one or even both of the major political parties. While it's not mainstream, being a registered member of the American Communist Party (or a Muslim, or a Unitarian, or a Socialist, or a Libertarian, or...) is not anti-American.

Friday, May 05, 2006

In Reply: Judging any group based on their worst behaving members is foolish, and often the way bigotry gets it's start.

FRIDAY, MAY 05, 2006, 6:39 PM

In this recent commentary piece, Dobbs targets the growing influence of the radical left among the variety of interest group advocates found in the illegal immigration movement. Dobbs argues that the mainstream press has been "coopted" by pro-illegal immigration activists, seen particularly in the neutral nominalism of their reporting on the protests. According to Dobbs: "USA Today headlined today's demonstrations and boycott 'On Immigration's Front Lines.' The New York Times headlines its story 'With Calls for Boycott by Immigrants, Employers Gird for Unknown.' The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times are both calling their coverage 'The Immigration Debate.'"

Dobbs indicates that the front group International ANSWER, a Marxist-Leninist vanguard organization, emerged as a major proponent of a national boycott, and he notes that it was no surprise that the activists had scheduled the protests for May 1st, as that day is the world's recognized annual day of international worker solidarity. Here's a longer passage from the article:
Some illegal immigration and open borders activists in the Hispanic community are deeply concerned about the involvement of the left-wing radical group. But others, like Juan Jose Gutierrez, whom I've interviewed a number of times over the past several months, manages to be both director of Latino Movement USA and a representative of ANSWER.

As Gutierrez told us on my show, "The time has come...where we need to stand up and make a statement. We need to do what the American people did when they pulled away from the British crown. And I am sure that back in those days many people were concerned that was radical action."

Just how significant is the impact of leftists within the illegal immigration movement? It is no accident that they chose May 1 as their day of demonstration and boycott. It is the worldwide day of commemorative demonstrations by various socialist, communist, and even anarchic organizations.

Supporters of the boycott have made no secret of their determination to try to shut down schools, businesses and entire cities. Much of Los Angeles' Seventh Street produce market, which supplies thousands of local restaurants and markets, is closed today. Many meat-packing companies like Cargill and Tyson are also closing many of their plants.
Anyone who has spent any time around a college campus recently knows that the contemporary left is marked by a wide array of radical groups and front coalitions -- from animal rights groups, anti-globalization protesters, environmental activists, and antiwar organizations. The strident anti-Americanism at the heart of the recent illegal imimigration protests was evident early on, and such sentiment is only partially disguised by the more recent attempts to hoist the American flag above the crowded streets of America this past May 1. It's unfortunate that the anti-American message of the radical groups will likely overshadow the more moderate views of some immigration reform advocates, and thereby hinder efforts toward compromise on border security, guest workers, and legalization.
- Burkean Reflections: Lou Dobbs on How Leftist Radicals Have Taken Over the Illegal Immigration Movement
For the record, I often agree with Dobbs (and the author, assuming he's agreeing with Dobbs, which is hard to tell, sometimes) where immigration is concerned. Where I part company with both of them however, is believing that those who take another view on immigration are radicals.

Yes, there are socialist overtones to any worker's movement protesting on May Day, and no, I'm sure that that was no accident. As I've said to this guy many times, a good number of the groups that make up the ANSWER coalition are communist or socialist, and they definitely try to push their own ideas at the protests they organize with speeches and leaflets and yes, by choosing a particular day in which to hold the protest when that is possible. My contention however, is that few of the anti-war or open borders protesters are listening to the talk of voting in the latest Communist Party of America candidate or freeing the Cuban Five, or whatever... They're there to oppose the war or support keeping the borders open, and couldn't care less about the babble that doesn't involve the issue that brought them there.

Political and social causes can make for some uneasy alliances sometimes. If I think American involvement in a war is wrong, I have no issue standing with others who also want to end US involvement in that war, whether they're rightwing spendthrifts who think it's a waste of US capital, libertarians who think we shouldn't be policing other countries, pacifist religious groups who oppose all violence everywhere, or communists who see war as imperialist exercises of bourgeoisie power of the invader over the invaded country's proletariat. It doesn't much matter to me that that rightwing spendthrift opposes my views on just about everything else, that the libertarian also wants to do away with the government education system in the US, that some of those pacifist religious groups also oppose all abortion, or that the communist theory of economics and politics is largely failed bullshit. People work together where they can for the outcome they all seek.

The only line that needs drawing involves methods and tactics, not beliefs. While I support the anti-war cause (depending on the war, anyway), I do not support these black bloc assholes who commit violence and vandalism claiming they're doing so in the name of the peace movement. Just as mainstream anti-abortion groups oppose those radical few who shoot doctors and bomb clinics, mainstream anti-war protesters and groups oppose these few idiots who in my view, are using anti-war and anti-globalization protests as an excuse to smash windows and burn things.

Judging any group based on their worst behaving (or worst thinking, according to Dobbs, and the other guy) individual members is foolish, and is often the way political / social / religious / racial / ??? bigotry gets it's start.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Colbert speaks truth to power

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post

Democratic Underground - COMPLETE TEXT (clean copy) - Full Video - Great Pic of Colbert

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias"

If only more people would/could speak this much truth... Big shame that the corporate media chose to feature the Bush twins bit, and ignore the funniest (& yet, most "real") entertainment at the dinner.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Been a Long Time...

Boy, it sure has been a long time, eh?

Truth be told, I forgot I had this blog set up... (The computer I had back in 2003 wasn't all that great, and had trouble with certain sites... This was probably one of 'em... Somewhere along the line, I just plumb forgot I ever set up this blog, & that was that.)

But the other day I was listening to a bunch of cover tunes, & got to thinkin' about a local band I used to go see called Rising Sun. (This was the mid 80's I believe.) They put out an independent album (the real 33rpm kind) that contained a damned good cover of "I Saw Her Standing There". Next thing I knew, I was googling around trying to find out what ever happened to them, & particularly to their guitarist, Tony Catania. (I went to high school with him, & thought him quite talented.) Well, that search led to this (note my comment), which subsequently led me here (& note my comment there, too). As long as I was here at blogger anyway, I thought I'd set up my own account, & was shocked to find that my user name was already taken (it isn't common.) A little more investigation, & I (re)discovered my very own blog!! If that ain't groovy, I don't know what is...

So, I plan to go see Tony next Wednesday, & perhaps do a little blogging every now & again, seeing as how I have one all set up and everything... 8>)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In Reply: Tony Catania, Again

In reply to: BelewGirl's Bloggin Now....: Tony Catania

Thank you...

I'll try to get there next Wednesday (as I obviously missed him yesterday... 8>)

I found/ordered the Jason & Traci Bonham CDs that he appears on... (Just received the first of 'em today, actually...) & I've got a friend who says he can turn my RS record album into a CD (assuming I can ever get it to him, & he gets around to actually doing it, & getting it back to me... ((I lack the equipment to do it myself, unfortunately...))

Anyway, thanks for the info!!

Posted April 27, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

In Reply: Where's Tony

In reply to: BelewGirl's Bloggin Now....: Rising Sun Tribute Blog

Ok... If anyone would know, it'd be you...
As of now (4-23-06) where is Tony playing?
What's he doing...

I called the Mill Pond Inn, but they told me he doesn't play there anymore... I found a few other sightings, but you seem to have the most info... So???

Who I am: My name's James... Tony sat right behind me in Whitman HS homeroom for a few years (Kevin "KC" Carney was in front of me... I heard somewhere he was playing with Roomful of Blues sometime in the 80's. Needless to say, there was plenty of music talk buzzing by me 'tween those two.) I wasn't really friends with either of 'em, but we got along ok...

I also used to see Rising Sun a bit at Apples, & then West Hills Inn (wasn't there a regular gig there?) Have an album, signed & everything (though one of 'em signed it to Paul--& Tony did know me well enough to correct it)

I was listening to a bunch of covers today, & got to thinkin about their cover of I Saw Her Standing There... That's how the search began & why I'm here, now...

So, If you have any info... (You know the drill)
J Casper

Posted April 23, 2006

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)