Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hate '08:
Just the Beginning

Anti-Obama vandalism in Orlando.

Not the first, not the last. Get ready for a long election season--and, even if we're lucky, a long 4-8 years.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Most Idiotic Recent Terminology: "Brand"/"Branding"

Look, Barack Obama is not a @#$*%@ brand. Neither is 'Barack Obama', America (or 'America'), nor John McCain (nor 'John McCain'), etc. In a world filled with moronic terminology, witless and artless neologisms and linguistic abominations of every sort, this has got to be the worst to come along in quite some time.

Needless to say, the terms 'brand' and 'branding' aren't new. But now the terms are being used loosely or semi-metaphorically in particularly irritating and objectionable ways. So now we're subjected to yammering about, e.g., Obama "risking his brand" by moving to the center. This stuff is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. Seriously--every time I hear this kind of thing I get one of those little squiggly black clouds over my head and want to throw something at the t.v..

Look: people are not brands, and they do not have brands (unless they manufacture something and, you know, have a brand). But this way of speaking is not merely imprecise and aesthetically bad. It is associated with an actual, substantive cultural problem. Specifically: business is such a dominant part of current American culture that many have, apparently, begun speaking and thinking of all institutions as if they were businesses. Terms and concepts that are appropriate only to business have creeped into, for example, government and academia--to their detriment. One of the most nauseating and harmful examples of this from academia is the current fad of thinking of and referring to college students as "customers." They are, of course, not customers, they are students. My students are no more my customers than a doctor's patients are his customers. Now, obviously, there are certain respects in which students and patients are like customers. They pay, for example. But to see them only in those ways (which is what we are invited to do when they are so referred to)--is to ignore what is most important about them.

These uses of the loathsome "brand"/"branding" terminology are not only annoying and inaccurate, but they promote a false and pernicious view about the primacy of business and, in particular, advertising and marketing. Obama, to return to our original example, does not have a brand, and, so, a fortiori, he is not risking his brand when he makes a controversial decision. If he is risking anything, he's risking his good name and his reputation--things which are, of course, more important than any mere brand.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rove/GOP's Latest Anti-Obama Slur/Fabrication Test-Balloon

The GOP is (a) frantic and (b) well, the GOP. So I probably don't need to tell you that somewhere the Republican slander/libel workshop/think-tank is working overtime trying to fabricate some kind of slur about Obama that the public will find plausible. Now, of course, being slanderous, it'll be false. But--again of course--they won't care about that. What they want is some kind of smear that voters will buy. Truth is irrelevant. What they want is results. The way to get this, it seems, is to think up some animadversion that can plausibly be tacked onto some characteristic he actually has.

He's he's shallow!
He's he's naive!
He's he's unrealistic!

See how we play this game?

Kos has a--in my opinion, very partial--run-down of the slurs here.

KKKarl's new slander trial-balloon?

Wait for it...

Obama is...


Yes, the guy who took his Columbia B.A. and put off Harvard law school to do community organizing in Chicago is self-centered.

Thanks for playing, KKKarl! And thanks to the loons who are playing the home version of our game...

Jeez, if only Obama had used his powers as Darth Rove has, to selflessly promote ee-vil.

O.k., so this game should obviously have a name, and since I'm too lazy to think up a good one, let's call it the, er...Republican anti-Obama (ROVE, natch').

As Kos notes, they've already tried 'inexperienced,' 'elitist,' 'unAmerican,' and, now, 'self-centered.' So what's next? You make the call!

(Note: I saw today that Krauthammer--getting really desperate now--is saying that Obama is "ever- malleable," a "flip-flopper," an "opportunist" who might ultimately make the Clinton's look scrupulous. And--heavens!--Obama has begun his "long march to the center." Needless to say, that fills me with dread.

Chuck has never been the sharpest tool in the shed--nor, let's be honest, the most stable--and I reckon the recent Colorado and Michigan polls (not to mention the Wisconsin and Minnesota ones) must have hit him pretty hard.

But listen, Chucky boy: if you pull out all the stops now, what'll you have left for October? Think about that, hmmm?)

Anyway, some guesses about the next moves in ROVE:

(a) He's a pointy-headed intellectual!

I mean, he's just offensively smart, right? And that in and of itself is a sin.

(b) He's really just Bill Clinton redux!

Clinton loved the ladies, and the ladies love '...loves...' were transitive, and if we then confuse it with the identity relation...Obama would be Clinton! See?!?!? Clinton felt your pain, and...and...oh, whatever...he's BAD.

(c) He's black.

I mean, let's just cut to the chase, shall we?

(d) He wants our women!

see (b) and (c).

(e) He's thoughtful and reflective, hence indecisive!

(f) He's a Cylon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama on the Outs With the Nutroots?

So says this, anyway; it's from the Huffington Post, so make of it what you will.

In case it isn't clear: being on the outs with the nutroots is a plus in my book, even if caving on FISA isn't.

And, in case--somehow, some way, there is someone out there to whom it is not excruciatingly obvious--anyone who has any chance of winning will be at odds with the nutroots. If such folks demand ideological purity, then all they're doing is working for the GOP.
How I Got CyberBalkanized Despite My Good Intentions

One reason I can't stand politics is the pervasive intellectual derangement/dishonesty of the whole thing. Now suddenly everybody on my side of the aisle is twisting and spinning and nipping and tucking everything John McCain has ever done so that he comes out done up as an idiot, a crook, a monster. And, of course, derangement and dishonesty have run fairly rampant among our friends across the aisle for at least the last fifteen years or so. And everybody acts like this is normal and just peachy. Cripes.

I'd bet a good bit of money that all this has lasting negative effects on our rationality. It breeds and reinforces bad epistemic habits. If you knew an individual who believed all the kinds of things, say, that show up as headlines on the Huffington Post, you'd correctly classify them as a political loon. Most of the crazy people I know are crazy because of the extraordinary one-sidedness of their beliefs. They seem almost constitutionally incapable of understanding or even considering the other side of the argument.

I find myself falling into these bad habits, too, and not entirely for bad reasons.

Some folks (myself included) worry about cyberbalkanization, i.e. the tendency of denizens of he political blogosphere to separate into isolated, relatively monolithic communities of opinion. But traditionally the worry has been that cyberbalkanization would be the result of intellectual vice on the part of the balkanized--tending to seek out confirmation and avoid intellectual challenges, they settle into congenial echo chambers. So pre-existing intellectual vice is amplified.

I'm not saying that that's not part of my problem, but it's not all of it. I used to make a serious effort to seek out opinions from the rightosphere as well as the leftosphere. But the irrationality on the right eventually became so angrifying that I found it driving me farther left. In particular, the slavish Bush worship of so much of the rightosphere is what did it. There are folks over thattaway who are, well, pretty much completely out of touch with reality on the subject of the current occupant of the White House. It takes a great deal of dishonesty or delusionment to even argue that the guy has been merely a bad president rather than a terrible one; but it's not that uncommon for folks over there to, even to this day, say or say things that presuppose that he's a downright good one. Because of my undiagnosed ODD, such bullshit just pushes me even farther in the anti-Bush direction. And lord knows I'm far enough down that road as it is.

So, in order to prevent my judgments from being distorted by anger induced by mindless pro-Bushism, I find myself avoiding that world almost completely.

And, so, here I am, despite my best intentions, becoming ever more isolated in the group-thinky echo-chamber, just like a garden-variety Kossack.

Anybody has an idea how to cure this, please to cough it up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still More Corruption in the Bush Administration: Corrupt Hiring at DoJ


Which once again raises the question: are these people even capable of being honest? This stuff barely makes the front page anymore. It's hardly even possible to be outraged. My outrage module is just about worn out--and I've got a pretty high-capacity outrage module.

It's the Reagan administration strategy: be so damn corrupt that you just wear most people out--and make the people who are still outraged by the outrages look almost nutty, since they always have to be going on about some damn thing or other.

But, of course, to point any of this out is to be unpatriotic. True patriots apparently look the other way when their country's sacred principles are being violated right and left.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

John "The C-Word" McCain

This is very funny, and very NSFW.

Does anybody doubt that if Obama had done this, it'd be all over the news, every freakin' moment of every freakin' day? Seriously.
Scalia, the Boumediene Decision, and the Infamous 30 Terrorist Recidivists

It's false.

Man, the right-wing seems to have a particularly hard time separating fact from fiction. I mean, it's a problem that no one is immune from, of course, but the wingers seem particularly prone to building policy on urban myths--welfare queens with Cadillacs and so forth.

Nice work, Fat Tony, nice work. I mean, it's no Bush v. Gore, but, seriously, who could top that?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Water Ice on Mars!!!!

W00t indeed.

Note: not "ice water," as the scientifically betarded Huffington Post reported.

I read that and I was like "ice water? huhwha?..." but immediately realized they must mean water ice--hooray!

What can you expect from a site that continues to insist that an actual man is actually pregnant (when, of course, it's just a person in the midst of a f-to-m sex change)? Cripes.

Er, why was I reading the Huffington Post...? Um... Hey, look over there!
[runs away]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

If People Talked About Cookbooks The Way RPG Geeks Talk About RPGs

Most of you normal people will not get this. Good for you.

Actually, I can only partially relate, as we treated the official rulebooks as half-assed suggestions, and developed our own rules, charts, and programs, that made a lot more sense than the original D&D and AD&D rules.

Er, Steve Jackson's GURPS, though lacking the excellent spirit of the early D&D stuff, is way better it requires less tweaking and...well...ignoring.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Drum's summary of the L.A. Times story here.

None but the witless or the intellectually dishonest would even consider listening to this guy.

Oh...better make that 'or' inclusive...
War Crimes

"The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account."

So, what is it, exactly, that could put impeachment back on the table? What comes after war crimes, anyway, in terms of moral severity?
2.75 Cheers for Mike Huckabee
Huckabee Says: Stop Demonizing Obama


Good for Mike Huckabee.

So why is he 2.5 cheers short of the traditional trifecta? Well, first, this isn't exactly a profile in courage; it only takes a rather minimal amount of humanity and morality to tell someone to lay off racist attacks. And, second, he didn't say anything about the other insane, non-racial attacks that Republicans are firing at both Obamas. But, still: you get 2 3/4, Mike, and that's more than any other high-profile Republicans have earned in this matter.

My prediction, incidentally, is that Michelle Obama is going to become the new Hillary in the eyes of the wingnuts. It's fairly clear that they can only tolerate smart, strong females anywhere near power if they are on the right. I hope I'm wrong, but I expect it'll get a lot worse for Mrs. Obama before it gets better.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bogus Baby Bust Brouhaha

I think there's plenty of reason to think that the Earth is already overpopulated, though I won't push that case here. What's clear, however is that it's not underpopulated, nor is underpopulation a serious threat any time in the foreseeable future.

But just about anything seems to be able to conjure up groups of kooks on the right. As Kerry Howley notes at Reason, right-wing groups who counseled calm in the face of concerns about overpopulation are now freaking the @#$% out at the the possibility that populations might level off or--heaven forbid--decline a bit. Or, more specifically, they seem concerned that white, European populations might decline, thus adding more than a hint of racism to their looniness.

Oh, and don't forget the sexism... Apparently many of these folks are keen on rolling back many of the gains women have made. The sexual revolution, contraception, and women having careers--among other things--all seem to be to blame. Well, actually the causes are hazy, but the solutions mostly seem to involve moving women back in the direction of their traditional role. That is, it seems, being barefoot and pregnant.

Isn't it funny how eager certain elements of the right are to push for fewer options for women and less sex for everybody?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NYT: Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Right to Offend in Speech

Here's something we get right. Unlike many of our allies, we don't have repressive, totalitarian laws against offensive speech.

I know people who seem to think that the left is always right, and that the more we become like e.g. Canada the better off we'll be. This article is a reminder that that just ain't so.
James A. Johnson And The Re-Emergence of the Perennial Double Standard

I've got fairly stringent standards in such matters, and I have no inclination to loosen them up when it comes to Obama. But, unless I'm missing something, this is fairly absurd. I'm not sure I even really understand what the charges against Johnson are, so that may be the problem. But we're not talking about the VP here, nor about any members of a potential administration. We're talking about the people who will make suggestions about potential VPs. It seems to me that it doesn't much matter who these people are, so long as they are likely to make good suggestions. Now, if there is significant reason to think that Johnson might make a bad suggestion, then that's a prudential problem for Obama. But I'm not sure I see a clear moral problem here.

Now, the crucial suppressed premise here may be that no candidate for president should ever associate with anyone who is a crook. And, if Johnson is a crook, then the unstated conclusion follows easily. No one ever meets the suggested standard, of course, so it is impossible to consistently advocate the standard, and, hence, to consistently criticize Obama here. But it's a standard I'm in favor of, so, if people would actually adopt it universally (instead of on an ad hoc basis to score political points) I'd be all for it.

This is a very tenuous criticism of Obama, and it seems fairly shocking to me that this is big, front-page news in the Post. Consider, for example, that news about the final judgment of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was not. Unless I'm really missing something, things have gone fairly far askew here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bush's Iraq Lies: Some Still Trying to Spin It All Away

I've been way too busy to deal with this kind of ridiculousness (the example here being an editorial from the New York Sun, apparently penned by one Eli Lake, and favorably referenced by Andrew Sullivan) in any detailed way, but I probably won't be able to hold out much longer.

The defenses of the administration in the wake of the final report of the Senate Select Committee are--bafflingly, yet not at all bafflingly, since predictably--more or less exactly like they have been all along. Roughly: Bush didn't technically lie, and he was probably honestly deceived about many things, so...well, so what? Usually the conclusion is left unstated, since it is supposed to be: therefore the case for war was not dishonest. But that so obviously fails to follow that even most Bush dead-enders apparently cannot type it with a straight face. Lake claims that Democratic "talking-points" have been "demolished" by the report--which is either false or irrelevant, depending on what's actually meant. If what's meant is something like this: those who have said that the case for war was dishonest were wrong, then Lake's claim is false. In fact, that is exactly what the report confirms--not that evidence was wanting before the report was released. If, however, what's meant is something more like what Sullivan seems to be thinking--something like: of course the administration's case for war was dishonest, but the bumper-sticker version/talking point was that Bush lied...and, well, that's more unclear--then Lake's point is irrelevant. (Still probably false, but that's another can of worms.)

Here's what is clear, important, and confirmed by the latest report: the case for war was extremely (and probably criminally) dishonest. Here's what's still controversial: the extent of the outright lies. It is false to say that there were none (e.g. the famous sixteen words constituted a lie, though a particularly devious one). It is also false to say that the main mode of dishonesty was straightforwardly lying. The difference, however, is that no serious critic of the administration has ever claimed that lying was the main--or even a significant--mode of deception. It seems fairly clear to everyone that the dishonesty was mainly a matter of things like cherry-picking evidence, intimidating critics, exaggerating preferred evidence and minimizing contrary evidence. So triumphantly proclaiming that most of the dishonesty wasn't outright lying does not in any way undermine any important arguments.

And, as for the fact that the bumper-sticker version of the non-Bush-dead-ender case was "Bush lied": actually, as bumper sticker summaries go, that's perfectly defensible. Intentional deception is the moral equivalent of a lie. It is no better to trick someone out of his money by twisting the evidence than it is to do so through outright lies. These are equally bad, morally speaking (though perhaps not so, legally speaking). So to summarize and shorten by saying that "Bush lied" is, actually, probably just fine. It is, in fact, pretty much on target.

It's probably worth going into all this in more detail and with more care, and I'll do so fairly soon. As I've said in the past, anyone who is still defending Bush at this point is not likely to be influenced by actual evidence, so it is not at all surprising that this newest batch is getting the same treatment all the previous evidence got.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Final Judgment: The Administration Misrepresented Pre-War Intelligence

That is, they lied.

Here's the report of the Select Committee On Intelligence, though I haven't read the whole thing yet.

Here's the WaPo article. Apparently it isn't front-page news.

Here's the NYT story.

Here's the NYT editorial, which includes a brief discussion of the arguments of the five dissenting Republicans: "The bulk of their criticisms were sophistry transparently intended to protect Mr. Bush and deny the public a full accounting of how he took America into a disastrous war."

It's notable that this is hardly news: everyone who is even remotely well-informed and intellectually honest already knows this. The Senate report is simply dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's to make it more difficult for dead-enders to deny what has been obvious since before the invasion.

It is, however, unfortunate that the GOP's strategy of dissembling and delaying has worked so well. By dragging their feet at every point, they've put off the day of reckoning so long that it's no longer news, and the public hardly cares anymore. It's just one more blow against the truth.

No evidence will ever be conclusive enough to shut the dead-enders up. Their commitment is religious, and such commitment can outlast even the most obvious of facts. But, ridiculous and irrational as they were even as late as three months ago, they are even more so now, after McClellan's book, after we learned about the cadre of ex-generals organized to spread propaganda, and after this final Senate report. The dead-enders will continue to spew lies in defense of lies, of course, but by this point their sophistry is no more convincing than that of flat-Earthers, creationists, or Bigfoot enthusiasts. They may get a certain gratification from showing that, no matter what the evidence, they can continue to say mouth certain words, but they are convincing no one.

The lies that took us to war, like the war itself, were a blow against our democracy, and the fact that the final disclosure of the truth has been so delayed and its impact so diminished are yet further blows. The sad, almost unimaginable fact of the matter is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have done more harm to America than Osama bin Laden and Kalid Sheik Mohamed, and yet they will never be punished for it.

But we failed to stop the dishonest rush to war, we failed to demand the facts, we failed to protest the cover-up. Bush and Cheney should have been impeached. They should probably be imprisoned. But because the rest of us were insufficiently vigilant and insufficiently outraged, they will never pay for their crimes.

Perhaps the lesson to keep in mind is that, if political criminals are audacious enough, and if opposition is meek enough, it is possible to get away with almost any crime. It is, apparently, too late for justice to be done in the case at hand. The least we can do is learn our lesson.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Anti-Obama Insanity/Dishonesty

I'll betcha five bucks you won't believe this.

Oh yeah? Well, how 'bout mining Michelle Obama's brother's senior thesis for ammunition? Would you believe that?
Are the Anti-Hillarians Sexist?
When Groups Argue
Ideals in Politics
Cutting 'Em Some Slack
Clinton and the Clinton camp have claimed and intimated that sexism is afoot in their loss. A suggestion, probably either false or obvious: Lots of this is about groups, group action, group responsibility, etc. Some anti-Hillarians are sexists, and some of them aren't. Seems a fair bet that at least most of the anti-Hillarian Democrats are not sexist (though I'm sad to say that I don't have a good guess about the Republicans). Clashes like this primary involve conversations/arguments between and among groups, and are, consequently, big and largely amorphous, with undertones, leitmotifs, suggestions unintentional and otherwise. It's almost certain that there is some sexism woven in and out of at least some of the recent discussion/argument. It's also almost certain that it wasn't the major theme. I'd guess it wasn't in the top six or seven, but anywhere in the top ten or twenty would be pretty bad. (I don't know whether eliminating all of it is even a vaguely plausible goal, unfortunately.) Hillary supporters--if they're like most supporters of most political candidates and causes--probably seized on the worst examples of injustice, obsessed on them, let them fester, attributed too much explanatory power to them, and so forth. If things went by the numbers, they went like this: a relatively small subset of the anti-Hillarians said some really bad things. But they stuck with the Hillarians, and came to seem representative of the anti-Hillarian position in general. It's hard to lose, especially in (small 'D') democratic politics. I think this is, in part, because the nature of the losses are so diffuse. It's not like losing in, say, chess, where your loss evolves right in front of your eyes, literally in black and white. In politics, it's all very distant, and occluded. But I think it's harder because what's at issue in such contests has a lot to do with our ideals, and nothing is more important to us or more central to who we are. Even to the extent that it's about policy, ideals are at issue. And that different individuals come to represent different ideals seems so clear as to be virtually uncontroversial. In at least many cases, to reject my candidate is to reject at least some of my central ideals about how our republic should evolve, and about what is most valuable.

(For example, I have to say, I find it fairly disconcerting when it is suggested that Obama strikes many people as somehow defective because he is too "cerebral" or "professorial," and that these things allegedly almost necessarily make one an "elitist." I think it's important to be cerebral, I don't think it makes you elitist, and frankly I'm more than a little freaked out that some of the things that I view as most admirable are apparently viewed as not only valueless but defective by a significant number of my countrymen.)
Now, I think the better candidate has won, and I think Clinton lost largely because Obama is a better candidate, and because she ran a vicious and divisive campaign. But I'm just trying to sketch what it tends to look like from the other side. If things go by the numbers, Clinton represents a kind of ideal to many of her supporters--maybe hard-working, long-suffering, resolute. She's accomplished much and endured much--vicious slander from the right wing, the most public of humiliations from her husband. And she came through it. A fair number of women seem to see her as representing important aspects of their lives and hopes. So, one can understand their anger and hurt when a majority of their countrymen (er...countrypeople? countrypersons?) (and their fellow Democrats, no less) seem to judge that Clinton is not only insufficiently inspiring, but downright contemptible. It's roughly equivalent to judging that their lives and hopes are uninspiring, inconsequential, and contemptible.

Now, in fact--at least speaking for most of the Obamites I know--we don't view Hillary negatively in any way that would have such implications for her supporters or their ideals. In fact, most of the Obama folks I know used to be just fine with Clinton. It's just that, first, they really, really admire Obama, and, second, the Clinton campaign got mean and divisive. (Hillarians might deny it, but them's the facts, and on this point I won't cut 'em any slack.) But this entails no contempt for the ideals of average women who have encountered adversity.

Anyway, however angrifying Clinton and her supporters may seem right now, I think they probably deserve some slack, and some reassurance that the rest of us do, in fact, respect them and their ideals, however hard that might be to recognize in the heat of a campaign.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama's St. Paul Speech, 6/3/2008


That guy there

That Barack Obama

He is somethin' else.
McCain's Louisiana speech, 6/3/08

Whew. Man, that was just pathetic. Painful to watch, actually.

Blah blah blah blah...that's not...change...we, blah, blah.

Ugh. Just awful. The presentation was so godawful it was hard to even pay attention to the content. He just didn't sound as if he even knew what he was talking about. He's gonna have to do better than that if he's gonna make this thing competitive.

And how about that new slogan: a leader we can believe in or something like that. Nice. Very original.

Maybe McCain should just put on a Barack Obama mask.

Oh, and Russert just said that McCain said 'change' 32 times.
The (Presumptive) Nominee: Barack Obama

Jebus. Finally!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Occasional Orwell Quote, 6/1/08

Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.
Halfwits for Hillary

Oh, boy.

So I know what you've been thinking, because I have too. It goes like this:

My God. I'm a centrist at heart, but how long can I deny that Republicans just are, on average, crazier than Democrats? It's not that there aren't plenty of sane Republicans. Lord no. But their crazies are crazier, and there're just plain more of them over there. Some day I'm going to have to admit to my inner centrist that I'm really a Democrat.

Well, on the bright side--and it's pretty damn dim for a bright side--here's some support for the case of your inner centrist:

Democratic whack jobs on parade.

And, as it turns out, they're for Hillary. Gosh, I am so surprised.

You know, if I were magically granted one wish, I sometimes think it would be to know just exactly how many goddang lunatics and morons there are in this country anyway.

Nice job, Hillary. Way to bring out the nuttiest nuttiness in the nuttiest of the nutty. You must be very proud.
Preachergate, Part Duh

Wow. It's clear that the Jeremiah Wright incident was blown way, way out of proportion, and was largely the product of dishonest editing of a Youtube clip. But this latest bit, the Pfleger bit...not so much.

It's hard to be reasonable about such things when the anti-Obama partisans are being so gut-wrenchingly unreasonable. I expect that most people are like me--in the face of such unreasonable attacks, I have a fairly strong tendency to harden my position. Unreasonable, I know. But there it is. It's a problem I'm working on.

But I have to say, this latest episode of preachergate is pretty hard to ignore. I found Pfleger's mean-spirited cavorting repellent in the extreme. I'm not sure what to make of that, really; I'm just reporting my undigested reaction.

Obama has resigned from the church, and that seems like pretty much of a no-brainer at this point, a course of action probably called for both by principle and expedience.

Unfortunately, this will probably get more attention than any of the loony recent output from Clinton and McCain, even though there is no significant link between Pfleger and Obama. Clinton continues to make up Rube Goldbergesque arguments for the conclusion that she should be the nominee, without regard for reason or fairness, and McCain still doesn't seem to have a grip on the distinction between Sunnis and Shia. In a more rational environment, people would be up in arms about Clinton's apparent willingness to cheat and McCain's seeming ignorance. But somehow I'm guessing that's not what we're really going to hear about.