Haggai's Place

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Your humble narrator is...
...a research analyst at a think tank in the Washington DC area. Born in Israel, raised in Kentucky, movie fanatic and sports nut.
My first-hand account of the Palestinian divestment conference at the U. of Michigan

:: Friday, February 27, 2004 ::

Don't ever take sides against the family again
I think it's subscriber only, but a recent Economist article had this to say on speculation about the Bush campaign dumping Cheney from the ticket:
[Cheney's] recent decision (just after the Supreme Court had said it would review whether he could continue to keep secret the deliberations of his energy task-force) to use a government jet to take Justice Antonin Scalia and a bunch of Mr Cheney's oil-business buddies duck-shooting only reinforces the impression that he has a tin ear for politics...

It hardly needs saying that replacing Mr Cheney would have to be done with the utmost finesse. Otherwise, it might seem that the Bush White House was falling apart. Mr Cheney would have to retire gracefully, blaming his dodgy heart (he has already had four heart attacks) and no doubt accepting a post as senior counsellor from a grief-stricken president. Persuading such a powerful vice-president to step aside will be no easy thing, of course. But the Bushes don't have a reputation as the Corleone family of the Republican Party for nothing. The next time Mr Cheney takes that jet to go duck-shooting, he may well find James Baker slipping into the seat behind him, with “a litl' proposal to discuss for the good of the party”.
After reading that, my mom wondered if Bush could be seen as a Sonny Corleone-type figure. She preferred my suggestion, which is that he's more like a combination of Sonny and Fredo.
1:12 AM
:: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 ::
Oh, baby, you're so talented...and they're so dumb!
That's the final line of the scene in Blazing Saddles that Tim Noah of Slate quotes to good effect in this article:
If Bush really believed marriage was something to be decided legislatively, he'd wait until a judge struck down the statute before waving the white flag on its constitutionality. And he'd certainly avoid dictating what "any state or city" should do...

Instead, Bush is doing the courts' work for them, declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional while at the same time portraying himself as judicial activism's victim. He's like Cleavon Little in that scene from Blazing Saddles where he whips out his gun and takes himself hostage.
Except it's not so clear that the trick will work as well as it did in the movie. It's pretty obvious that Bush wasn't entirely eager to go this far with the debate this soon, since he didn't quite do it about a month ago in his State of the Union speech:
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process.
The implied threat of backing an amendment was obvious, but the hope must have been that it would be enough to placate the Christian right-wingers who were breathing down his neck about the issue. But, a month later, having completely failed to satisfy them, this was the only place left to go. Of course, many of them still won't be satisfied until he denounces all civil union/equal benefits options for gays, which he hasn't done yet, but a lot more bigotry could potentially be lying ahead in this election.
3:40 PM
:: Monday, February 23, 2004 ::
Passion Of Christ
I haven't followed this whole issue of Mel Gibson's new movie all that closely. I'm not very interested in it on regular movie-going grounds, and some of what I've read here and there certainly makes it seem like there's some anti-Semitic incitement in a few key scenes. Gibson himself is obviously good at getting publicity, and I'm certainly not sympathetic to what little I know about his religious views. Still, I have to wonder, aside from his clearly insane father, how anti-Semitic can he really be? We're talking about a star in Hollywood, the one major industry that has more Jews making key decisions in top-level positions than any other! I'm not saying that in his defense, but one does have to consider the extremely high percentage of yids in the most powerful movie-related positions, like the studio heads and the big-time producers. Gibson is obviously a star because his movies make tons of money, and most Hollywood executives (like most business people) aren't averse to supporting almost anything that's going to make lots of cash, but anyone who's openly and explicitly anti-Semitic just couldn't get anywhere in Hollywood. There are far too many Jews making the decisions about who gets to make which movies for that to happen on any really significant scale, as has been true since the major movie studios were founded 80-90 years ago, all of them by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
12:26 PM

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