Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Carnival of the Liberals #24, For Your Viewing Pleasure

Finally, my turn has come to publish the Carnival of the Liberals! It has been a long-awaited treated, and the experience has completely lived up to its reputation.

In preparation for the carnival, I was fortunate enough to read some superb writing from around the blogosphere, and to be enriched on some liberal perspectives to be used in the countless debates I have daily with my more than conservative friends.

Many writers I added to my blogroll and will read regularly, such as Westminster Wisdom, The Skwib, Philosophy, et cetera and Atheist Ethicist. Plus, I was turned on to new issues, as I learned about The Ribble, The Northern Marianas Islands, and even found a limerick on the trade deficit. Truly, writing CotL was educational and fun!

But in the end of the day, I had to make the tough decision, and narrow my post to focusing on 10 articles. 10 articles? With all this great writing, how to make the decision, who makes the cut? Well, sometimes we must do what must be done, and thus I set about finding 10 articles that really peaked my interest.

I figured, what better place to start than with religion, since so much of the liberal perspective centers around religious freedom and the right to our own beliefs. Here, Daylight Atheism really blew my hair back with his post, The Atheist Crew, analyzing the negative stigma attached to atheism, and how to contest these negative portrayals.

If The Atheist Crew spoke of intolerance of a lack of religion, it could only be complemented by posts on intolerance of the practicing of religion. Barry of Staring at Empty Pages wrote a piece that really struck home called Veiled Intolerance, which is about the growing persecution of individuals for wearing religious regalia. It’s an awesome post, check it out.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
included a post called Intelligent Design – A Pig That Doesn’t Fly. I must say that I didn’t agree with the majority of this post, but the post is extraordinarily well written, and had me thinking all day. I suspect that you, like, will wind up reading this one multiple times, and still questioning your own beliefs on the teaching of ID.

While on the topic of religion, The Largest Minority provided proof to one of my favorite arguments in a poignant post entitled Sunnis Establish an Islamic Republic Inside Iraq. This post address some of the issues from the Iraq war that we will have to deal with for perhaps the next 20 years, and is well written to boot. I could write a whole post on my thoughts on this one, but instead read it yourself and provide the TLM with your thoughts.

While covering Iraq, Salamander Candy wrote A Sorely Needed Map of Iraq as an Adaptive Landscape. Now this took me two or three tries to really grok, but once I got it, man, I got it. Mark provides topographical insights to the Iraq situation that definitely deserves attention and in coordination with the linked Shifting Balance Theory gave me a whole new way to look at our present efforts in the region.

And along these same lines, World Wide Webers broke down Rick Santorum’s “Flypaper Strategy” by comparing it to the suicide attack on Mordor at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in Conservative Geeks Play Fantasy Games with Real Lives. Given the amount of time I’ve spent in war-bound regions, and my knowledge of practical war theories, I find this an excellent piece of work, and important for anyone who really wants to understand the folly of the Republican strategy in Iraq.

As an economist, I was pleased to find some excellent posts on the economy. For example, A Bomb A Nation wrote Flee Enterprise, a scything piece that will raise as many laughs as fists on the way Republicans treat the environment and economy today. And The Greenbelt is right on target as seeing US business interests stifling growth in the area of human rights in China in the post Wow…A Surprise, and Then – Not So Much.

Finally, what Carnival of the Liberals would be complete without a couple of attacks on the Bush administration (in the name of good taste, I deleted the expletives I started with). As you can expect, there were a ton of attack posts submitted, and hey, you can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a blog with a post attacking the Bush administration. But a couple of posts were exceptional!

For example, Divided We Stand United We Fall included the post Third In Line, depicting the exploits of Denny Hastert, and noting that he is infinitely more nefarious that even the nefarious Tammany Hall politicians of the early 1900s. And The Largest Minority (sorry to repeat an author, but two excellent posts) points the finger squarely at Bus for the provoking North Korea’s recent nuclear test, with Is Bush to Blame for North Korea’s Nuclear Test? The only question I have is which finger?

There you go, folks, 10 phenominal posts, each well worthy of a read (or two), and all excellent food for thought. It was my pleasure to read so many great posts, and to have the option to present them to you. The next issue, CotL #25, will be hosted by Philosophy, et cetera, which is a great read any time. And CotL is looking for a host for the November 22nd edition, as well as all posts after December 20th. Thanks for the honor of hosting Carnival of the Liberals, and enjoy reading these great posts!!!

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Comic from


Posted by Scottage at 1:59 PM / | |  

Monday, October 23, 2006

Manipulating the Elections

We are nearly two weeks away from the midterm elections, and once again there are signs that the Bush administration is pushing to manipulate the American vote. While I am far from a conspiracy theorist, it leads to a simple question: is democracy served when the group in power uses its power to retain power?

Perhaps the biggest issue we’re seeing is the resurgence of the US economy. We’re hearing now that the deficit will be far lower than anticipated (only $423B), but Rob Portman, OMB director said that while economists try to make the most accurate forecasts possible, the forecasting model does underestimate tax revenue from time to time, ostensibly intentionally, according to US News and World Report.

The price of a barrel of oil has dropped significantly, and thus the price at the pump, as well as the price of heating fuel is dropping. This has occurred despite the fact that OPEC has made significant strides to lower production and increase the price of crude. Why the significant drop in price, then? Most point to the lower cost of refinement of crude oil. Given the Bush family’s significant interests in the oil refinement industry, it begs the question of whether lower refinement costs are linked to the upcoming elections.

Furthermore, there has been recent infighting in the Republican Party, and many Republicans have feared that this would lead to low Republican turnout for the November 7th elections, as people refuse to back Republican candidates and the general sense shows the Democrats already taking back the Congress. Then, Barron’s features a cover story today, indicating the Republicans may yet retain Congress and the House, once again pushing voters to the booths. Many say the article is little more than a paid advertisement.

Plus, we’ve seen recent articles about growing terrorist threats, very much a reality of life today but certainly nothing new to us. While the best military minds in the country indicate that we need to find a new strategy in Iraq, the Bush administration spouts the success of our campaign there and our progress in working towards our goals in the region. And events like nuclear testing by North Korea are downplayed as the administration talks of better unity with China in facing the issue.

Are all of these coincidences, or are they timed perfectly to give the Republicans a fighting chance on November 7th? Are they tactics which are unique to the present power structure, or have they been used by administration after administration over the years in an effort to maintain power in the US?

Perhaps the biggest question of all is, are these tactics proper to use, or do they skew the democratic process in favor of one party retaining power? Perhaps my thinking is naïve, but I still believe that America should be a place governed by the will of the people, and I believe deceiving the American people to be the quickest way to destroy the democracy so many have fought to preserve. I don’t have all the answers, certainly, but I hope the answers are found before the elections so we can see a fair election in two weeks.


Posted by Scottage at 1:06 AM / | |  

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Life Is a Carnival

A quick note on the carnival front before I write a serious post about the life in Bush’s America and the upcoming elections.

On Wednesday, I am hosting the Carnival of the Liberals, which I’m very psyched for. I have a bunch of submissions already, but would love to receive your submission as well (you will submit!). So if you have a liberal post you would like included in the Carnival of the Liberals, feel free to submit it at the submission site. It would be great if I could receive submissions by Tuesday, 10/24.

Also, we are anticipating the posting of Haveil Havelim on the Soccer Dad blog sometime today. This is a great weekly carnival of the best posts from the Jewish blogosphere, and will provide some great reading material for people of all backgrounds. So if you’re interested in some good Sunday reading, check it out.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your post, and including it Carnival of the Liberals. So submit your favorite liberal post, and check in Wednesday to see what your peers are writing about. I look forward to reading your work.


Posted by Scottage at 1:25 PM / | |