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Politics

In which an older and wiser yet terminally earnest former liberal struggles to come to grips with the cynicism, hatred, and paranoia that plague the contemporary Left. "Can we all get along?"

Politics

110th Congress

U.S. Senate (Web site)
Post Republicans Democrats
Pres. PT.Robert Byrd
Leader Mitch McConnell Harry Reid
Whip Trent Lott Richard Durbin
Seats4949+2
U.S. House of Representatives
(Web site)
Post Republicans Democrats
Speaker. Nancy Pelosi
LeaderJohn Boehner Steny Hoyer
WhipRoy BluntJames Clyburn
Seats202232+1
"+1" refers to independents

The Cabinet

Department Secretary
Defense: Robert Gates
State: Condoleezza Rice
Treasury: Henry Paulson
Justice:Michael Mukasey
Interior:Dirk Kempthorne
Commerce: Carlos Gutierrez
Labor: Elaine Chao *
Agriculture: Mike Johanns
Health & Human Serv.: Mike Leavitt
Housing & Urban Dev.: Alphonso Jackson *
Transportation: Mary Peters
Energy: Samuel Bodman
Education: Margaret Spellings
Veterans Affairs: James Peake
Homeland Security: Michael Chertoff *
* : Held over from first term.

Political archives, etc.

Topical archives:

 

Political info, essays, etc.


Blog links

Regular reads:
Virginia blogs:
Lefty blogs:
Miscellaneous

 

Political Web sites

Political humor


 

News links

Newspapers
Radio and TV
News Web sites

 

And I quote:

"The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered."

Edmund Burke, 2nd speech on conciliation with America, Mar. 22, 1775 (Bartlett's 16th ed., p. 331)



Mrs. Powel: "Well, Dr. Franklin, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"

Benjamin Franklin: "A republic, if you can keep it."

After Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Sept. 18, 1787. (Bartlett's 16th ed.)


"As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other, and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves."

James Madison ("Publius"), The Federalist Papers No. 10 (1787)


"Of the three forms of sovereignty [autocracy, aristocracy, and democracy], democracy, in the truest sense of the word, is necessarily a despotism because it establishes an executive power through which all the citizens may make decisions about (and indeed against) the individual without his consent..."

Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)


"To act successfully, that is, according to the rules of the political art, is political wisdom. To know with despair that the political act is inevitably evil, and to act nevertheless, is moral courage. To choose among several expedient actions the least evil one is moral judgment. In the combination of political wisdom, moral courage, and moral judgment, man reconciles his political nature with his moral destiny."

Hans Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics (1946), p. 203


"Thus, whenever a concrete threat to peace develops, war is opposed not by a world public opinion but by the public opinions of those nations whose interests are threatened by that war."

Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations 6th ed., rev. by Kenneth Thompson (1985), p. 288


"The texture of international politics remains highly constant, patterns recur, and events repeat themselves endlessly."

Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979), p. 66


"Men wiser and more learned than I have discerned in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another as wave follows upon wave, only one great fact with respect to which, since it is unique, there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen."

H. A. L. Fisher, History of Europe (1935), p. vii [Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations (1991), p. 80]


"Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favour."

Robert Frost, 'Black Cottage' North of Boston (1914), [Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations (1991), p. 86]


"My thoughts encompass divinity, therefore divinity is. The divinity that my thoughts encompass is associated with the order that arises out of chaos... As we expand our knowledge of this realm, we ... see it in terms of one sublime order that awaits full realization."

Louis J. Halle, Out of Chaos (1977), p. 646


"Here, then, is the complexity, the fascination, and the tragedy of all political life. Politics are made up of two elements -- utopia and reality -- belonging to two different planes which can never meet."

E. H. Carr, The Twenty Years' Crisis, 1919-1939 2nd ed. (1946), p. 93.


"My biggest blunder in life was attempt to seek common ground with Keynesians, based on the naive thought that by putting my ideas in Keynesian language that I would make any dent on the Keynesians."

Milton Friedman, New York Times, July 4, 1999


"War made the state and the state made war."

Charles Tilly, The Formation of National States in Western Europe (1975), p. 42


"Americans like to mock Kuwaitis as rich and pampered and lazy and decadent, which is exactly what the rest of the world says about Americans. Actually, we shouldn't mock Kuwait at all. It represents the hopes and dreams of Americans of all political persuasions. For liberals, it's a generous welfare state with guaranteed employment and a huge government bureaucracy. For conservatives, it's a country with no taxes and plenty of cheap maids who aren't allowed to vote."

Peter Carlson, "Castles in the Sand," Washington Post Magazine Jan. 14, 1996, p. 32-33


"[Bill Clinton's] greatest strength is his insincerity... I've decided Bill Clinton is at his most genuine when he's the most phony... We know he doesn't mean what he says."

Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, in a speech in Indiana quoted by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Apr. 27, 1996


"Whatever one thinks of Bill Clinton, his opponents [*] must be thwarted. They are enemies of democracy and of the Constitution that insures its possibility. We long ago lost the luxury of choosing our allies. This is war."
* (referred to elsewhere in this piece as "mad dogs bent on political annihilation")

Eric Alterman, "Democracy Disappears" The Nation, Jan. 11-18, 1998


"There are no enemies in science, professor. Only phenomena to study."

From the movie The Thing, 1951 (a Cold War sci-fi allegory)


Julia Roberts: "Can you prove any of this?"

Mel Gibson: "No... A good conspiracy is unprovable. If you can prove it, someone must have screwed up somewhere along the way."

From the movie Conspiracy Theory


THE 16 WORDS: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Pres. George W. Bush, State of the Union address, Jan. 2003


 

No automatic redirect? Please click HERE to go to the new Politics blog page, as explained below.

April 17, 2006 [LINK]

Web site Spring cleaning

As part of my relentless, never-ending efforts to make this Web site more automated and interactive, I have begun a transition to a new blog system that will entail a slight change in Web site addresses. Unless I have slipped up somewhere, you shouldn't notice any differences in page format or functionality for the time being. In a slight departure from blogosphere custom, the blog entries on the archives pages will henceforth be listed in natural chronological order, starting with the earliest date. To me, that makes it a lot easier to review old material. For the time being, the "legacy" blog and archive pages (".shtml") will remain intact, and they will eventually have an automatic redirect to the new pages (".php"). As part of this transition, there will be feedback features in the near future, as long promised. Note that the new Macintosh & Miscellanous page serves as the residual catch-all for all blog posts that don't fit into any other categories. That means general culture, religion, music, movies, science, computer technology, and non-baseball sports. From now on, the monthly and categorical archives pages will include all blog entries, up to and including the current date. Therefore, there will be some overlap between current blog pages and archive pages. Here are the new and old addresses for the main blog categories. Please adjust the bookmarks in your Web browser accordingly, and as always, "thank you for your $upport."

CATEGORY OLD URL NEW URL
Central blog page index.shtml index.php
Baseball Baseball/index.shtml Baseball.php
Latin America LatinAmerica/index.shtml LatinAmerica.php
Macintosh / Miscellaneous Macintosh.shtml MacMisc.php
Our canaries HomeBirds.shtml HomeBirds.php
Politics Politics.shtml Politics.php
War War.shtml War.php
Wild birds WildBirds.shtml WildBirds.php

One of the tradeoffs with this new system is that I will lose flexibility in making cross blog posts between more than one category. From now on, each post will appear on one, and only one blog category page. That is why you will see this blog post (classified as "miscellaneous") on the old Baseball blog page, but not the new one.

UPDATE: Another change is that for each successive day, blog posts on the central blog page will henceforth be listed from top to bottom in reverse alphabetical order of their category (wild birds first, baseball last), irrespective of what time of day they were originally posted.

Reminder: Legacy blog pages (ending in ".shtml") will not be updated after today. Please choose one of the new blog pages.


April 17, 2006 [LINK]

Does GOP oppose free speech?

In Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section, George Will kept up the drumbeat of dissent against the nominally "conservative" party that is clinging to majority status. He bewails the April 5 vote by the Republicans in the House of Representatives to place arbitrary limits on how much people can contribute to the "527" political advocacy groups (such as MoveOn.org), on the grounds that much of what those groups do is obnoxious in tone. Well, I agree with that assessment, but my opinion, or anyone else's opinion on what constitues good taste in political discourse should have no bearing on the law. The First Amendment means what it says, period. This is just another example of one bad law (McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform") begetting another, as legsilators are prone to vote for dubious bills just to prove to the voters that they are concerned, even if they have grave doubts about whether the bill will actually work the way it is supposed to. As Will says, the House Republicans have in effect come out in favor of restricting political speech. He goes on to wonder what would happen once the Democrats return to power (as they will some day, Karl Rove notwithstanding), and tried to muzzle radio talk show hosts on similar grounds? The Republicans would have no basis on which to object. The problem is that too few people on either side of the aisle these days are disposed to look at issues from a detached, abstract perspective, putting themselves in the shoes of the opposition. Among the eighteen "principled Republicans" who voted against restricting 527s named by Will, I noticed John Shadegg of Arizona, who was a contender for the position of House Majority Leader in January.

City government in Staunton

I confess to not paying a great deal of attention to local affairs here in Staunton, but I have often wondered why the city council is elected at large rather than on a ward-by-ward basis. Neaby Waynesboro is smaller, and it uses the ward system. The lead editorial in today's Staunton News Leader confirms my suspicion that the lack of dispersed geographical representation on the city council has resulted in an unusal concentration of downtown business interests. One sometimes gets the sense that many of the development projects, such as the recently-completed Stonewall Jackson Hotel restoration, have been designed in such a way as to favor certain interests over others. The editorial points out that nearly all current city council members either live or work in downtown, which may be why the outlying residuential and commercial areas are often neglected. The election will be on May 2, but apparently none of the candidates are identified with a political party.