Proposed new lyrics for the Spanish national anthem rejected on the theory that “long live Spain!” is objectionable because the words “had an authoritarian ring to them and one prominent left-wing leader said they ‘stank’ of the Franco era.” Seems odd to complain about too much nationalism in a national anthem.
I’m pretty sure that at one point my book refers to “chess grandmaster turned nutjob recluse Bobby Fischer” in the present tense so it’s a good thing I’ve still got time for some last minute corrections.
Meanwhile, I note that while I’ve met plenty of people who don’t know the rules to chess, I think that out of the set of people who know how to play, I may be the worst chess player in the universe.
On Wednesday, radio industry magazine Radio & Records Inc. withdrew its 2008 Lifetime Industry Achievement Award to controversial right-wing radio host Bob Grant. In a statement, R&R said that it did not want the award “to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community.”
Grant is one of the godfathers of incendiary right-wing talk radio and has been an inspiration for figures such as Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Glenn Beck often uses one of Grant’s catchphrases — “Get off my phone!” — as a tribute.
In 1996, Grant was fired for his on-air comments wishing the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. But that remark was only the tip of his offensive, racist speech during his 60 years in broadcasting. A sampling:
Stating that he had been praying for the death of basketball star Magic Johnson, Grant implored, “Why is it taking so long for the HIV to go into full-blown AIDS?” [10/1/92]
“Minorities are the Big Apple’s majority, you don’t need the papers to tell you that, walk around and you know it. To me, that’s a bad thing. I’m a white person.” [Newsday, 6/2/92]
Referring to black churchgoers, Grant said, “I can’t take these screaming savages, whether they’re in that A.M.E. Church, the African Methodist church, or in the street, burning, robbing, looting.” [4/30/93]
Grant onced claimed that the United States has “millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya–people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized.” [1/6/92]
“I’d like to get every environmentalist, put them up against a wall and shoot them.” [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Grant said that he hoped that President Clinton would “exchange bodily fluids” with an HIV-positive immigrant. [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Grant referred to former New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, an African-American man, as a “washroom attendant.” [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Ironically, Grant praised the firing of Don Imus, calling his comments “idiotic and hate filled things.” He still claimed, however, that Imus’s remarks weren’t as bad as what some “hip-hop guys” say, and worried about how “racial hucksters like Jackson and Sharpton” would be emboldened after the incident. Sharpton will be speaking at the R&R conference, which the right wing has blasted as hypocritical.
Radio Equalizer is indignant over the silence of many non-radio right-wing bloggers. “Conservative bloggers sit out controversy,” notes the site. “Why?” Perhaps even they find it difficult to justify Grant’s history of racist, homophobic rhetoric.
Following in the footsteps of fellow candidates Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will cross a Writer’s Guild of America picket line to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight.
UPDATE: Romney’s press secretary, Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Washington Post that “We’ve determined that the path to the White House goes through the Jay Leno show.”
One of the odder elements of the Liberal Fascism argument is that having defined both “liberal” and “fascist” in very odd ways, at the end of his book Jonah Goldberg gets around to dealing with the recent rise in the United States of a more statist strand of conservatism which he then construes as a brand of liberal fascism. Michael Gerson is, as you can see in today’s column, basically the Julius Streicher of this new movement:
Thompson’s argument reflects an anti-government extremism, which I am sure his defenders would call a belief in limited government. In this case, Thompson is limiting government to a half-full thimble. Its duties apparently do not extend to the treatment of sick people in extreme poverty, which should be “the role of us as individuals and as Christians.” One wonders, in his view, if responding to the 2004 tsunami should also have been a private responsibility. Religious groups are essential to fighting AIDS, but they cannot act on a sufficient scale.
On a Goldberg-free note, the specific position Gerson is defending here — conservatives should support government action to combat extreme public health emergencies in the third world — probably isn’t super-controversial, but the logic of his argument certainly is quite different from the strand of thinking that’s dominated the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan. But like most other reform-minded conservatives out there, I’ve never seen Gerson quite confront the point that you can’t have a more activist state unless you make taxes higher.
I had no idea, but apparently rabies remains a serious health problem in parts of the world:
Each year, the disease kills about 55,000 people — that’s 150 a day — almost all of them in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia, and more than 7 million people receive post-exposure treatment after being bitten by a rabid animal. Treatment is not just expensive, but time-consuming: a full course of vaccination requires five visits to a hospital or health clinic during one month. Which, if you live in rural Africa, can mean many hours of travel and time not working. Indeed, the global economic cost of rabies is estimated to be more than $583 million. And that doesn’t count the trauma that deaths from rabies inflict on families and communities. For though rabies kills many fewer people than malaria, it causes far, far more fear.
Olivia Judson says the good news is that “Rabies could be eliminated in as little as five years” if we were willing to commit the resources. And, indeed, we should. One unfortunate consequence of the “aid doesn’t work” literature is that it’s tended to obscure the fact that even if aid doesn’t produce economic growth (and I think this claim is overstated), public health aid most certainly does save lives. People used to die of smallpox and now they don’t. 150 people die of rabies every day, and if we took action to stop that, that would be “working” in my book.
This kind of skepticism is entirely a good thing, I’d say. The one unfair critique is that Obama lacks policy substance. His campaign is laden with policy substance. Oodles of it. More, I wager, than Leon’s interest would ever bear.
This is very true. I hear this complaint a lot, and while I think it’s very fair to say that Obama’s fans sometimes make a policy-free case on his behalf, it’s just not true that there’s no policy substance to the campaign. From the small-bore (here’ss a safe drinking water plan) to the giant (here’s a comprehensive global warming plan) he’s chock full o’ policies. That’s just how Democratic campaigns work — the left-of-center universe if full of busy bee think tankers who are happy to write up a plan about anything ready to fit just about any specification. Neither the Obama campaign nor the Clinton campaign talk in much detail about policy, because I think ordinary people mostly don’t care, but also because I don’t think they seriously disagree about very much of this.
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman noted recently that, in a moment of candor, John McCain admitted economics isn’t his thing. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he said. But, “I’ve got Greenspan’s book,” he assured the audience.
If any needed evidence of McCain’s weakness on the economy was needed, simply witness how he has dealt with the need for economic stimulus. After last week’s debate in South Carolina, U.S. News wrote that the question of whether the economy needs a stimulus “vexed” the GOP front-runners, who “appeared unaware of the fiscal stimulus debate currently happening in Washington and being closely watched by Wall Street.”
At that debate, McCain said:
“I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession,” he said, “I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong.”
In the course of seven days, McCain appears to have reversed course, offering his own stimulus package:
“The fact is we have some tough times ahead,” McCain told supporters in Columbia. But he said the U.S. economy will rebound. “We will get through this rough patch,” he said.
Instead of offering direct middle-class relief for individuals, McCain is proposing cutting the corporate tax rate by 28.5 percent. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s top economic adviser, said his approach is to simply let someone else deal with the problems affecting working Americans. “The best course of action is to let the Fed handle it.”
E&E News (subs. req’d) has a good article on the prospects for climate legislation in an election year — note at the end that House Republicans are going to oppose any serious, mandatory action:
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) sees this year’s wide-open presidential election campaign as presenting a significant hurdle that could stymie passage of a global warming bill during this session of Congress.
“It’s going to verge on impossible,” the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said yesterday in an exclusive interview. “We haven’t calculated the number of days that exist here for the drafting of legislation, but it’s not very many. And so the writing of the legislation is going to be difficult. And the presidential election is going to be a tremendous distraction. As will be the elections of all the members.”
Dingell said he had his doubts about whether the Senate will be successful in adopting a bill this year from Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman and Virginia Republican John Warner. Senate Democratic leaders say they hope to bring the bill up before the summer, but Dingell was
“There’s a big difference between saying, ‘We want to try,’ and, ‘We’re going to,’” he said.
The Capitol Hill debate over mandatory limits on heat-trapping greenhouse gases has largely been focused on the Senate. There, Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster expected from Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe. An E&E Daily analysis published earlier this week found that Democrats are within sight of 60.
But Dingell predicted it won’t be so easy.
Interesting chart from the Pew Center. One piece of bad news for liberals is that it seems that the self-assessed ideology of the American people is still somewhat right of center. It’s also funny how unhinged Republicans’ views of Hillary Clinton are. Contrast their exile of her to the outer fringes somewhere near Lenin and Pol Pot to the “all voters” pool which correctly sees her and Obama as occupying similar ground on the center-left. And that’s even with the wacky Republican views factored in.
Looking at the GOP side where ideological distinctions between the candidates are more pronounced, it’s interesting that all voters seem to classify the contenders almost entirely on the basis of cultural matters. Thus, Rudy Giuliani who’s running to the right of everyone else on economic issues and foreign policy issues is seen as close to the center, while Mike Huckabee is viewed as the most conservative option.