Friday, January 9, 2004

Fear and Loathing in Kyoto

Andrew Olmsted links to a Washington Post article about another hysterical study that claims that global warming will kill off 15% to 37% of animal species by 2050. He then goes ahead and rebuts the study with a few facts (from the UN) and suggests a better solution. While it is not a lot of new information, it's well-organized and nicely done. It's also temperate, one of Mr. Olmsted's trademarks; even when he feels strongly on a subject, he doesn't go for the jugular.

posted at 05:11 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Panel Upholds GOP redistricting

The Houston Chronicle reports that a three-judge federal panel has upheld the Texas GOP's redistricting plan. The plan alters the currently gerrymandered districts into one which is more in line with the state's voting patterns. Despite the fact that every statewide office is held by a Republican, and about 60% of the state votes for Republican senators and presidential candidates, the current house delegation is 17-15 in favor of Democrats. The new plan creates a map that is expected to change that to a 22-10 Republican delegation.

As can be expected, the congressional Dems are foaming at the mouth:

"By judicial fiat, a three-judge federal panel has effectively repealed the Voting Rights Act and turned back the clock on nearly 40 years of progress for minority voters," said U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas.

Not mentioned in the Houston article is the fact that Frost's district is divided into five GOP districts in the new plan, so he's just a bit perturbed. (That information can be found in this article from the Dallas Morning News ; registration required.)

Even if the the Dems get four Supreme Court judges to agree to hear the case, it is likely that the new map will be used in the upcoming election. In any case, it's funny to see Eddie Bernice Johnson arguing against the redistricting. Discussing redistricting in the 90's, she said:

[The redistricting process] "is not one of kindness. It is not one of sharing. It is a power grab."

Now that her party is not doing the grabbing, she's bent out of shape. Tough.

(UPDATE: Jim Miller sent me an e-mail pointing out that only four SCotUS justices are required to accept a review, not five. I have updated the post accordingly.)

posted at 06:31 AM | permalink | Comments (2)

Now that her party is not doing the grabbing, she's bent out of shape.

Exactly. In the 120 years that Texas Democrats had been in the majority and drawing the lines as they saw fit, Texas Republicans never once fled the state to break quorum on their gerrymandering bills.

That said, I do wish there was some fair way to avoid this kind of partisan play with congressional districts.

posted by Haws on January 10, 2004 08:20 PM

All three judges on the panel suggested that congress pass some sort of amendment to prevent this event from occurring again. My take is that it is a power grab by the GOP, but it remedies all the gerrymandering in the past by the Democrats. This case (and the similar Pennsylvania case) were caused, in part, by the bizarre complications created by the concept of "majority minority" districts, and the laws that prevent diluting (ie lowering the minority population of) such districts, heedless of the concepts of compactness, contiguity, and shared interests. The four districts in the southeast corner of the state are an example, yet the Dems screaming about them didn't bat an eye over North Carolina's 12th district (created to elect a black candidate) or the truly bizarre boundaries created in the 90's in Southeast Florida (designed to protect incumbents while simultaneously creating several minority majority districts).

posted by timekeeper on January 11, 2004 06:49 AM

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Double Standards for the Left

(This is an expansion of a comment I left on Oliver Willis' site, and a partial rebuttal to his response.)

Oliver posted this:

And so, once again, another GOP fantasy not based in fact becomes gospel for the right. (Linked to a Day by Day cartoon about the Bush=Hitler "ads" that appeared for a short while on the MoveOn website.)

Why are you peeved?

MoveOn has a contest, and (as is typical with these sorts of things) some of the posters step over the line. Some conservatives point out the outrageousness of the ads, which were screened by MoveOn before they were posted. (Portion in Italics not in original comment.)

I'll take you a lot more seriously when you retract all your bloviating screeds about Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs) and the people over at Free Republic. They, too, have a lot of commenters/posters who step over the line, but you bitch about them incessantly. (Amusingly, his very next post is a rant against Free Republic's deletion of provocative posts from a disgruntled liberal.)

The difference between Free Republic and MoveOn is that the Freepers aren't raising money for political campaigns, as is MoveOn. Yes, MoveOn is being held to a slightly higher standard; they should be.

Oliver's response:

The problem with the Free Republic/LGF loonies is that they are encouraged and egged on by their hosts. Racial caricatures and slurs are not only accepted in those venues, but actively encouraged. And when you point it out, the response of Johnson and his sycophants is that I'm fat.

And if you believe that the Freepers aren't raising money for Bush, you've got another thing coming.

Since I failed to note in my original post about MoveOn's approval of the "ads", I cannot fault him for trying to set up a straw man (other posters have pointed out the discrepancy, however). I don't read Free Republic, and I am an only an occasional visitor to LGF, but the only racial slurs I can recall seeing pale in comparison to the anti-semitism evident on IndyMedia and Democratic Underground. I give credit to Mr. Willis; he doesn't link to cesspools such as those two.

I don't recall Charles Johnon participating much in the comments on LGF, so I would be surprised to see a comment from him calling Willis fat. I have no problem imagining it from his commenters, however. That doesn't mean that Johnson is egging on or encouraging his readers. Calling someone fat is not the same thing as labeling someone as equivalent to Hitler.

As to the fundraising issue, he's a little confused. Free Republic does not have an organized fundraising apparatus in place, unlike MoveOn. MoveOn was specifically set up as a fundraising group, while Free Republic is set up more as a meeting place for conservatives. While individual Freepers are undoubtedly raising cash for (or contributing to) the Bush campaign, they are not doing it under the Free Republic banner. That is why MoveOn has been excoriated for the spots.

The point is this: Since MoveOn is working to put a Democrat in office, they should be treated with the same attitude that the left displays towards Citizens United, which crafted the infamous "Willie Horton" Bush ad in 1988. Citizens United was not working for the Bush campaign; in fact, they were asked by the campaign to stop producing ads after the Horton spot. However, the myth persists to this day that Bush either produced or tacitly approved of the Horton ad. In fact, whenever the left wing trots out the old chestnut of "the GOP hates minorities", this is one of the first examples trotted out. However, now that the shoe is on the other foot, the Democrats are finding it to be a painful fit.

(Be sure to read the comments thread on Willis' site; there are a number of perceptive comments from his readers.)

posted at 09:32 AM | permalink | Comments (3)

Just for the record, it was Charles himself that decided calling me fat was in the best interests of advancing the conversation.

posted by Oliver on January 6, 2004 09:40 AM

I stand corrected. Mr. Johnson did in fact bring up the weight issue three times in the comment thread linked.

However, calling someone fat (especially when it is true) is not the same as calling someone Hitler (really, show me how Bush can be equated to Hitler). Further, MoveOn is a fundraising group, while LGF is not.

posted by timekeeper on January 6, 2004 11:04 PM

Charles' opinion of Willis being an idiot is one that I share. That said, it should be noted that Willis' initial jab was basically a cheap smirk that Charles' wasn't going to pull a Micheal Moore and delete material from his site...

Willis certainly has some stones (or just an immense self absorption) to try and take the moral high ground in this type of spat - considering some of the spittle filled semi-coherency inserted into the [content goes here] portions of his site.

posted by Wind Rider on January 10, 2004 09:24 AM

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Helping Hand

Gary Farber, who runs the weblog Amygdala (two years old this week!), has been out of work for a while now. While he has been actively seeking work, he has not had any luck yet, and is in danger of eviction. He is asking for donations to tide him over. Head over and hit his paypal link. Even better, if you are in the Boulder area and have a job for him, let him know.

posted at 03:48 AM | permalink | Comments (1)

Most kind of you. Many thanks.

posted by Gary Farber on January 6, 2004 03:35 PM

Dead Pool Rosters

Lair has posted the whole roster for the 2004 Dead Pool, and promises to make it look real purdy as time goes by (links and the like).

Only four of my picks made it into double digits, so I am either a lousy picker, or I did a good job in selecting the more obscure of the nos morituri (yes, Doctor Weevil, I probably buggered the tense badly, but you get the idea). Only time will tell which is the case.

posted at 03:04 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

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