A Tragic Legacy By Glenn Greenwald (Help Promote It With This Review)

Glenn Greenwald's new book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, is doing quite well, especially considering the virtual press blackout on it.  Here's an opportunity to help lift that blackout: A book review that's now available for alternative weeklies to pick up, direct from the website they use for syndication purposes.

The review was just published by the paper I work for, Random Lengths News.  The review (reprinted below the fold) is available on the Altweeklies.com website at this link.  You can find a listing of weeklies here.  It only has phone number, not email addresses. But usually you can get emails from the papers' websites.

A brief email to the editor with the link to the review on the Altweeklies.com website is recommended.  (You should only phone if you already have a relationship with an editor or other staffer.) I've never tried this sort of promotion before. But if folks are sensible, polite and respectful, it should be fine.

So jump over the fold, and see if you'd like your friends and neighbors to read what I've written about the book.

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A Tale Of Three Strengths--Obama, Edwards And Clinton

howardpark has a recommended diary up here at MyDD, "Bloggers Keep Missing The Obama Story" in which he said:

That is a provocative title but I'm experiencing a strong case of deja vu.  Three months ago bloggers and everyone else professed amazement at Obama's number of donors and fundraising success.  Then it died down and pretty much all I saw for the next few months was a lot of meaningless snarky nit-picking about Obama's perceived campaign strategy or utterance by him or a staff person, but really nothing about the what drives Obama and what is propelling his campaign.

OTOH, over at DKos, ArkDem14 has a recommended diary, "Edwards Crushes Fred Thompson!", which goes on to show state after state of SUSA polls in which Edwards outperforms Clinton and Obama against Guiliani.  For example:

Ohio:
Clinton 48%, Guiliani 45%
Edwards 50%, Guiliani 42%
Obama 40%, Guiliani 51%

And, of course, it goes without saying that in national primary polls, Clinton remains far in the lead.

My point here is simple:  All three candidates have different strengths which their proponents can constantly harp on.  But we seem to have a very hard time critically comparing the three.

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Electoral Maps 1896-2004--Contiguous Regions

[UPDATED 6/20/07 7:05 PM To Reflect notapipe's Correction]

I was going to title this "Much Ado About Just A Little," but wanting at least one or two folks to take a look, I thought better of it.  But the title would be quite apt, I thought.  Until I finished writing it.  Turns out, there was a bit more here than I first thought, at least as a point of departure for further reflection.

I've looked at all the presidential electoral maps from 1896 to 2004, analyzed how many contiguous regions the states won by each party's candidates fall into, and come to the conclusion you'd expect, if you thought about it: the losers' states are more fragmented than the winners.

But I hope that putting so much work into it will at least yield a moment or two's reflection on the seemingly obvious to carry something of value away.  And if you'd like to see how that hope turns out, then join me over the flip.

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George Will's Lies Fails To Save Conservatism

As actually existing conservatism goes down in flames, one of conservatism's leading lights, George Will, has written an op-ed "The argument for conservatism," attempting to revive its reputation.  Will's task is a more ambitious one than simply attempting to claim that Bush 28% is not a conservative--a growing effort that Glenn Greenwald shoots down.  It's a re-affirmation, not a denial--at least formally.

Over at TPM Cafe, Greg Anrig, vice president of programs at The Century Foundation, has written a detailed take-down of Will, "Fisking George F. Will's 'Case for Conservatism'".  It's a very good piece, but it's bogged down by its typical liberal, Enlightenment, reality-based orientation, while Will soars on wings of rhetoric, unbound by the petty gravity of facts.  Indeed, his whole point is to erase as many facts in as short a period of time as possible.  That's why he gets the big bucks. So let's go for the jugular, why don't we?  Let's go for the really big lies.

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That's DEAN Nelson Muntz To You!

Cross-posted from My Left Wing

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Washington press corps -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered "David Broder" give yourself an "A."

Broder, you see, started his latest column off as follows:

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered " Harry Reid," give yourself an A. And join the long list of senators of both parties who are ready for these two springtime exhibitions of ineptitude to end.

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Behind Green Eyes: Four Concepts That Can Change How You See The Environment

By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor, Random Lengths News

[Republished from our current edition, cross-posted from My Left Wing]

Unlike abortion, immigration, taxation or gay rights, the environment is not a polarizing issue. It's more like baseball, mom and apple pie. For decades now--at least since the first Earth Day in 1970--Americans, from liberal to conservative, have registered high levels of support for protecting and caring for the environment.  

Yet, although there have been some striking successes, the specter of global warming is grim reminder of the enormous gap between our public policies and our environmental values--a gap that somehow must be closed if we are to pass on a reasonably habitable planet to future generations.

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The "Playing Chicken" Meme--NOT About Obama

bumped - Matt

With three straight front-page posts about Obama's fumbled response, there's no need for another diary about that.  But what about the underlying meme itself?

The idea that Congress and the President are playing chicken may sound natural and logical at first, but it quickly falls apart if you actually think about it. A game of chicken is profoundly irrational, a symptom of immature manhood. It is a symmetrical, mutually-agreed up game in which both sides are bluffing--both themselves and their opponents--betting that they can make the other fold first, and risking something of great value (their cars at the very least, and quite possibly their lives) to do so.  They either will or will not meet at a common point in space and time.  Whoever bails out first, loses, unless neither one bails, in which case winning or losing are pretty much irrelevant.

None of this is true of current situation (aside from Bush's immature manhood), as I'll show just below the fold.  The fact that such an inappropriate metaphor holds such power is highly significant, however--as I'll also discuss, along with suggestions about how to challenge it, and score major points in doing so.

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WaPo: Let's Not Take The Rule of Law Too Far...

As noted at Media Matters, the Washington Post has a front-page "analysis" of prospective congressional investigations following Scooter Libby's conviction.  The Post's analytical conclusion?  Checks and balances are sooooo 18th Century!

Media matters does an excellent job of fixing on the prominent flaws in the Post's "analysis" in its usual way.  But I want to reflect on the underlying narrative subtext--that the Constitutional system of checks and balances is itself somewhat of a bother, that the American people really don't like all that much, and Marie Antoinette the Post's gurus understand that, even if some Democrats in Congress don't.

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Hegemony Is The Enemy--Pt2: Definition

Cross-posted from Patterns That Connect.

Although somewhat complicated, and somewhat debated, I like to put the concept of hegemony in a nutshell as "a dominant ideology in drag as a common sense." It's a very stripped-down way of putting it, but I think it suits our times. The concept is important precisely because it covers so much, and points to a common functionality across a wide range of topics and issues--the whole range of dominant ideology, and the opposing views it seeks to render as more or less "unthinkable," as readily dismissable at the very least.

In this installment of my "Hegemony is the Enemy" series, I'll delve a bit deeper into the concept to justify that description, while providing enough information to draw other conclusions as well.  The most important figure in describing, defining and promoting the importance of hegemony is Antonio Gramsci, and it's his concept that I, too, find most compelling.  However, his thought is extremely complex, and wedded to a developmental perspective steeped in European history.  I make no pretense to capturing that complexity in my definition.  Indeed, the very act of stripping it down suits it for adopting an entirely new framework, as we'll see in future instalments.

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Obama vs. ISG: Yes Blood For Oil!

Cross-posted from Patterns That Connect

On Dec 04, Chris Bowers wrote a post, "The Two Obamas and Me, Part One" which contrasted the principle-driven Obama who first inspired tremendous netroots support with the compromise-driven Obama who now seems intent on demonizing the very people who helped get him his start.  One example Chris cited of the second Obama was this:

In town-hall meetings, when those who opposed the war get shrill, Obama makes a point of noting that while he, too, opposed the war, he's "not one of those people who cynically believes Bush went in only for the oil."
Chis followed up:
Did anyone with any power every say that? Did any leading Democrats ever say that? Did any progressive or liberal of any public stature ever say that? If they did, I'd love to see the quote.
Well, now it appears that someone has come quite close to saying that: The Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG).  Privatizing Iraq's oil is one of their fundamental recommendations--regardless of what the Iraqis want.  Democracy--well, that was always an afterthought.

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