Saturday, July 22, 2006


Considering what's going on in the world, I'm adopting a new acronymic catchphrase:


pronounced "twig-thigh-ya," meaning, of course

The World Is Going To Hell In A Handbasket.

Remember, you heard it here first!

Update: NNUTS! [Nothing new under the sun] A Google search on "TWIGTHIA" brought up one previous reference, from November 2004, but I know that my trusty readers -- the full baker's dozen of you -- will spread the use of it to the far corners of the blogosphere and in this way establish the primacy of my claim!

Update: Digby.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/22/2006 03:22:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Light posting

I'm doing a little work for the next week (a reading of a new musical based on the Coen Brothers' film The Hudsucker Proxy), and after that I'm off to Florida for a week, so posting may be somewhat lighter than usual for the next two weeks.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/22/2006 02:16:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Life imitates art...

...after a 31 year gap, anyway

In February of 1975, on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary agrees to help a prostitute go straight -- her dream is to become a dress designer. Problem is, Mary thinks her designs stink (although Ted Baxter is quite taken with the tight green "wedding" dress with multiple cut-outs up and down the body he sees Mary wearing).

Now a group of Brazilian prostitutes are making good in the fashion world:
Daspu is a fashion house founded and run by prostitutes whose designs have become the talk of Brazil's fashion industry nine months after its start. Its success has surprised its founders, who see its sudden prominence as a revolutionary moment for a country long ambivalent about its world-famous sex industry.

Prostitutes like Eloy have been modeling their fashions practically everywhere, from seedy downtown plazas where many still work at night to trendy fashion shows attended by the well-heeled.

Its models have been featured in the Brazilian edition of Vogue magazine and will be seen soon in Marie Claire. Last month, they shared the spotlight with supermodel Gisele Bundchen at Fashion Rio, one of the city's biggest fashion showcases.

[Mercury News]

I'm sure Ted would love their dresses, too.

[via Fleshbot]

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/19/2006 11:56:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


The Nader calumny perists

This is the foundation of our campaign, to focus on active citizenship, to create fresh political movements that will displace the control of the Democratic and Republican parties, two apparently distinct political entities that feed at the same corporate trough. They are in fact simply the two heads of one political duopoly, the DemRep Party.
Ralph Nader
Green Party Presidential Nomination Speech (2/21/2000)

Evolution Blog looks at some current instances showing The Differences Between Republicans and Democrats.

Of course, a lot of what Nader said had elements of truth, but by emphasizing the similarities between the parties (some of which are forced upon them by structural elements for which neither party is necessarily responsible), he glossed over the very real -- and extremely dangerous -- differences between the parties, and we are now living in and suffering through the world created by those differences, thanks in some measure to Nader's shortsightedness and ego.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/19/2006 11:27:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Deep and dark mysteries of the world

Why is it that sexagenarian and septagenarian rock stars never seem to lose their hair?

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/19/2006 11:22:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Making sense

Matthew Yglesias' synopsis of just war philosopher Michael Walzer's position on the current chaos in the mid-East has too much common sense going for it to be accepted:
[...] attacking Hezbollah rocket installations or stockpiles or what have you is fine, bombing Lebanon's civilian infrastructure is not fine, and firing rockets at random into Israeli cities is also not fine.

Works for me.

Walzer's books on the philosophy of just war are here and here.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/19/2006 11:05:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Monday, July 17, 2006

John Edwards on Poverty

John Edwards, interviewed on Facing South:
We often hear skeptics talk about how costly it would be to make the investments necessary to end poverty. What you don’t hear as much about is how expensive it is for America to have so many citizens mired in poverty. We all pay a price when young people who could someday find the cure for AIDS or make a fuel cell work are unemployed or stuck in low-wage jobs because they didn’t get the education they need.

We all pay a price when our people turn to crime because they have no other hope. A Harvard professor estimates that growing incarceration costs and unemployment of ex-offenders costs 4 percent of our economy, each and every year. And we all pay a steep price when the American dream no longer seems attainable to every citizen.


I think it would be an oversimplification to describe poverty as either a cause or an effect of other problems. We have to adopt a holistic view in order to understand what it means to be poor or to be living at the edge of poverty in America today.

My friend David Shipler, tells a striking story about a single mother he met while researching his book, The Working Poor. She had no savings and low earnings, so she had to live in a drafty wooden house. This exacerbated her son's asthma. That led to two ambulance rides to the hospital. Those trips led to ambulance charges she couldn't pay. Those charges damaged her credit report. And so then she was denied a loan to buy a mobile home. That meant she had to stay in that drafty house. And she had to buy a car from a sleazy dealership that charged her 15 percent interest.

This is just one vivid example of how a combination of forces act together to keep people stuck in a cycle of poverty -- despite their best efforts.


We need to restore the American dream by finding ways to help everyone who works hard and makes smart choices get ahead. First, we need to raise the minimum wage substantially. No one should work full-time and live in poverty. Since the Republicans in Washington won’t raise the minimum wage, we are taking this fight to the states.


Fighting poverty is a job for government, but it is also a job for all of us in our own communities. I believe our nation is up to this challenge. Hurricane Katrina exposed us to heartbreaking images of extreme poverty but it also reminded us of the extraordinary compassion of the American people -- millions opened their hearts, homes and wallets after the storm.

We need to speak up when we know something is wrong. Let's put poverty on top of the national agenda and pledge to hold our government accountable for ignoring the suffering of so many for far too long. I’ve traveled the country for more than a year, meeting with people who are struggling to get out of poverty. One thing I’ve noticed in these conversations is that they have never had a champion. They have no idea what it’s like to have somebody to speak up for them. All of us must champion their cause.


These days, I'm having a hard time deciding who to "vote" for in Straw Polls and Opinion Polls about the 2008 Presidential Election. I know quite a few Democrats I don't want (Biden, Bayh, Daschle, Dodd and Vilsack for instance), and others I'd prefer not to have because I don't think they can win (Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Richardson, Feingold), but in the last three polls I've responded to over the past couple of months I've given three different answers: Warner, Clark and Edwards, in that order.

My primary problem with Edwards is that he goes against my proscription against Senators -- except that he wasn't a Senator for long, and hasn't been one for a few years, so perhaps it shouldn't apply. There's also the problem of his lack of administrative experience, and his relative youth (which could also work for him in a Kennedyesque way). He's certainly in the right range, casting-wise.

He's one of the guys I'm keeping my eye on.

[via Blog Around the Clock]

Update: Interestingly, with almost a couple of thousand votes cast (1887), Edwards is leading the revived MyDD straw poll. Wes Clark is in 2nd by 10 votes.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/17/2006 03:04:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wrong Science

In his post Science Facts That People Get Wrong, David Gibson explains why what you probably think about the rainbow, our sense of taste, Mt. Everest and other topics just ain't so.

[via The Meaning of Everything]

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/16/2006 01:03:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Not deep

Josh Marshall's view of politics is correct -- at least under the New Order decreed by the right-wing take-over of the Republican party:
Democrats seem to have a highly evolved (and perhaps misplaced) sense of sportsmanship: magnanimous in victory; chastened in defeat. Whereas Dems will rise to a political fight when they deem circumstances warrant, Republicans consider politics nothing but a fight, with peace the exception, not the rule.

And so it is that many Democrats are unprepared to face an adversary who has a fallback position situated just inches behind the frontline, and a fallback position just inches behind that, and so on indefinitely.

When the Dems overrun a Republican position, they celebrate like drunken Hessians, only to sober up and realize they have gained very little ground at all and that the Republicans are still fighting.

I think Republicans have the more accurate view of politics. It is an ongoing battle. Power is a moving target, hard to seize, harder still to hold on to.

So rather than viewing Hamdan as a sweeping victory to be relished as a vindication of principle, Dems need to see it, as Republicans do, as a starting point for negotiations. Negotiation, like diplomacy, is war by other means.

Moreover, one of the prime faults of the Democrats is that they don't think depply enough -- that is, their strategies and tactics don't go enough steps into the decision tree, so that when succeed or when they fail, they don't have an immediate plan for what to do, since they've never looked ahead that far.

(This is painfully illustrated by the "flag-draped coffin incident". They had the good idea to produce the video and include the potent image of flag-draped coffins, and frame it properly as an indictment of the failed Republican invasion of Iraq, but apparently nobody thought through the next steps, which were utterly predictable: that the Republicans would complain about the video, and attempt to re-frame it in a way that hurts the Dems. OK, if you give you to that you're weak, and you're admitting that the video shouldn't have been made at all -- game, set, match, Republicans. But if you hold your ground, you've got at worst a tie, and (if your video was as effective as you'd hoped it would be) possibly a distict advantage. But the people who made and marketed the video apparently saw only the potential positive impact, and made no allowances for the Republican countermoves, because when it came, they caved.)

But what do you expect when you keep relying on the same tired corps of consultants who have been losing elections consistenly for decades? These people not only don't know to win, they also don't seem to know how to hold off losing, because they don't have any clear idea about what to expect from the opposition, and what to do about it when it (inevitably) comes.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/16/2006 04:18:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Democrats blow it again


(The one I discussed here.)

They had the right image, they had the right frame for it, and they knuckled under to pressure from Republicans and a few weak-kneed Democrats. The DCCC are wimps. How they hell do they expect to take back the Congress if they continue to allow the Republicans to set the terms of the debate, and define what is and isn't acceptable? There was nothing fundamentally wrong with that ad, and nothing objectionable about the image. It was a blunt reminder that people -- American soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike -- are being killed in Iraq for no good reason at all in a war that can't be won and can't even be ended. It said HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH OF THIS? in a potent but polite way.

Whadda we got now? We've got weak Democrats backing down, admitting (implicitly or otherwise) that they made a mistake, we've got the appearance of incompetence and lack of backbone. Yeah, DCCC, WAY TO FUCKING GO!, that'll show those pesky Republicans we mean business, that'll convince the undecided voters out there that we're the alternative that works and can stand strong for the country. WOOOOOO! We're fucking cooking now -- start breaking out the committee subpoenas, we'll be back in the saddle again. We are it, we're hot, we're gonna win it all.

Shit. Don't these damn people ever learn?

Addendum: The real crime here is that now those images of flag-draped coffins, will now be off-limits for good -- which is precisely what the Republicans wanted, and what the Bush administration was aiming for in making it so difficult for those pictures to be taken. Good work, DCCC hacks, doing the oppositions job for them.

Ed Fitzgerald | 7/16/2006 02:12:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

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Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.

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© 2003-2008
Ed Fitzgerald


take all you want
but credit all you take.

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