greybeta: (LOGH - Yang Wenli)
The Council on Foreign Relations recently did an interview with Iranian analyst Karim Sadjadpour. I found it quite enlightening with regards to the internal politics of the revolution. Here's a good excerpt...

It's important to try and understand the worldview of Ali Khamenei. [He] has long believed that when you're under pressure, you should never compromise. Compromise projects weakness and will invite even more pressure.
greybeta: (Political Donkey-Elephant)
In an interview with the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove announced that he will be resigning from his White House duties effective August 31, 2007. I suppose there will be much rejoicing in liberal circles over this. The blogosphere will be rife with “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!” or “There is a God” posts.

Actually, if I were a Democrat, I would not be happy with Karl Rove’s resignation. Yes, the resignation of the Bush’s top advisor is a sign that the Democrats have the advantage. Clearly, if the presidential election were held today, the Democrats would not only win the presidency but also pick up seats in both houses of Congress. But the election is next November, which is plenty of time for the Republicans to turn things around.

This is pure speculation, but I believe that Karl Rove’s resignation is a calculated move that will help the Republicans down the road. I don’t have any proof, but I agree with Rove when he says in the article that Bush’s numbers are bound to go up. Bush isn’t going to be in the 30% approval rating forever. Besides, Congress’s approval rating is still quite low and that’s even with the Democrats in control.

I may give Rove too much credit, but his resignation creates an opportunity for the GOP to secure the presidency for a third term. Indeed, in 16 months from now, we may just look back and see Rove’s resignation as a critical point in helping the Republicans maintain control of the White House.

Let’s take a quick gander at the current top two leading candidates for each party. For the Donkey Party, we have Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. For the Elephant Party, we have Governor Mitt Romney and Governor Mike Huckabee (hey, he’s a player now according to the Iowa straw poll). Who do you think has the advantage, the senators or the governors?

Historically, governors possess a distinct advantage over senators. That’s because unlike their legislative counterparts, governors don’t have a voting record to haunt them. Campaign mudslinging always revolves around political actions, and the voting record is the one most often used against senators.

In this particular case, however, one might give the advantage to the Democrats due to their star power. And yet I would argue that it is precisely the star power of the leading Democratic candidates that will hurt their party. Think of it like this: the Democrats are liberals who are pulling the party in a thousand different directions. It takes someone with an unusual amount of charisma to unify them, but that kind of person is usually more interested in himself or herself more than the party (*cough* the Clintons *cough*).

It’s been said over and over, but the Republicans have been not only the better party builders, but the better party maintainers. How else do you explain the fact that despite a concerted effort by the Democrats to bring out the vote in 2004, that there was an even greater turnout by the Republicans? Curious, that is.

Then there’s the simple fact that Hillary is a woman and Barack is a black guy. It’s sheer naïveté to believe that people won’t vote for a presidential candidate on prejudice alone. On the other hand, Romney and Huckabee are conservative white males. They’ll simply draw less fire. Heck, if I were the chairman of the Republican Party, I’d start putting out the feelers for a Romney/Huckabee ticket right now, as that covers the coveted North/South demographics.

But, if the Republicans are to fully capitalize on this situation, they must first shed the negativity of the current administration. While it’s impossible to erase people’s memories, they can draw fire away from their own candidates. In fact, the only way they can win is to allow their own candidates to attack Bush.

Hmmm, but the Republicans have to do it in a way that doesn’t undermine the administration. Well, the king never falls on his own sword, so one of the advisors must take the fall. Karl Rove has already served his purpose. Winning the 2004 election has put John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court and they will undoubtedly affect the course of American history.

Rove will make millions writing books and as a political commentator. He’ll have to lie low until Bush leaves the White House, but once that happens expect to hear from Rove again. Rest assured, if the Republicans win, Rove will be pumping his fist like Tiger Woods celebrating a major championship.

So, I guess I should ask, are you happy with Karl Rove’s resignation?
greybeta: (D2-Sempai)
EIC: Daniel, could you write an article about love for Valentine's Day?
D2: Okay.

[Three days pass. It is now Sunday, February 12th, the layout day for The Collegian, the weekly campus newspaper for The University of Tulsa.]

EIC: Wait, you wrote about THAT?!?
D2: Hey, you just said to write an article about love for Valentine's Day.
Business Manager: He's got you there.

Click the following link and go to page 14 if you want to see article in its actual layout (WARNING: It's a very large PDF file with many large images, it took about twenty seconds for me to DL on my college network).

Love kills babies
Daniel Tu

In the days leading up to February 14th, Hallmark and Russell Stover’s churn out mushiness in spades. Thorny roses, heart-shaped chocolates and sickeningly cute cards fill store shelves across America. The promise of spring enchants the air with romance. Romance magically transforms into true love, and true love leads to babies.

Oblivious to the world outside, none of that junk matters to the baby inside its mother’s womb. All the baby knows is that it relies on its mother for nourishment and protection. All the mother knows is the random movements and pains of her baby.

The connection between the two happens to be strongest bond known in mankind. Severing that intimate link through an abortion hurts them both more than anyone could ever imagine.

The 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade extended women’s rights according to the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. So an amendment intended to bring about the emancipation of slaves was used to secure the legalization of abortion.

In any case, the decision itself has become an unhappy compromise. It either goes too far or not far enough depending on whether you listen to the Republicans or the Democrats. Oddly enough, both parties claim to love the baby.

As the nominal pro-life party, the Republicans advocate an amendment banning abortions. The elephants ostensibly want to give every life a chance to discover the American dream. Life is sanctified by our Creator, a God who loves all of His children. If we don’t speak for the baby, who will?

As the nominal pro-choice party, the Democrats push towards looser restrictions on abortions. The donkeys stubbornly desire to bestow the mother the choice to live her own life. All life is precious, so let us not forget the life of the mother. Won’t someone think of the mothers?

This struggle calls into question the very definition of life. When does life begin, and how can we tell that it has begun? A common misconception is that life begins at conception.
Yet, we freeze embryos without any qualms, treating them not as humans but as experiments on the level of bacteria. Indeed, the baby in its first trimester does not quite resemble a sentient being.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the baby in its third trimester. The baby reacts to noises, almost as if it could hear what its dad is saying. Parents often play the music of Mozart or Beethoven to improve the mental capacity of their children.

Children who go through a Caesarean section survive well into old age, proving the viability of the life of a baby during the latter months of pregnancy. We would be remiss not to recognize the right to life of a conscious being, a baby in its third trimester.

America divides itself over the second trimester, the source of endless debates as we deliberate the exact moment that the existence of a life becomes concrete. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, we now know that a baby can be operated on and live a normal life a mere twenty weeks after conception. But do we really want to base our definition of life on our ability to save it?

I don’t know. It sounds like a copout, but it is true. I have heard too many situations on both sides of the argument to reject either one. The one thing I do know is that both pro-life and pro-choice supporters love not only the baby but also society itself. They simply have antipodal philosophies on how to improve society.

If we ever have to take a life away, it is because we want to alleviate the agony of living life. Buddhists believe there are three stages in life: birth, suffering, and death. We have the power to choose to skip step number two for many babies that would have otherwise endured great pain or caused horrendous hurt to others through physical abuse and criminal activities.

This idea runs counter to one of Alexander Pope’s most famous pieces of verse, where he writes, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast;/Man never Is, but always To be blest:/The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,/Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

People don’t kill babies. Love kills babies. Remember that when someone says “I love you” on Valentine’s Day.
greybeta: (Political Donkey-Elephant)
As always, I am fascinated by the pomp and circumstance that is given to the President of the United States. Even if that office is occupied by the village idiot.

[ profile] wldntulk2knwwho observed that starting off honoring Coretta Scott King was an ingenious move. If there were any thoughts of protest at the beginning of Bush's speech, they were quickly nixed by the acknowledgement.

I thought there was an early Bushism when he talked about "isolationism and protectionism", but [ profile] feanor16 pointed out that Bush actually used protectionism correctly. I'd like to meet Bush's brilliant speechwriting team someday.

Bush kind of implied that the war on terror was a war on tyranny. Does that mean we have to fight ourselves now?

Oh, and Mr. President, I hear ethanol is not exactly the best alternative fuel source. Besides, you're a big oil man. What real incentive do you have for getting America off oil?

And apparently, we should start wars in Iran and North Korea. I mean, over half the world's population lives in a democracy. Although, one sixth of the world's population lives in a certain Asian country that is now threatening our hold on oil.

Nix stem cell research because life is precious, sanctified by our Creator. Is that so? I wonder what Bush would say about capital punishment in his home state of Texas.

And now we're going to try to spy on international calls? Wow, we're giving up a lot of freedoms to ensure our security. I'd have to say it's almost like we're not free at all. I guess that's they meant when they said America is a land of limited liberties.

A nod to Roberts and Alito. The Supreme Court shall remain conservative for at least another decade, though it remains to be seen if Roe v. Wade will be overturned. The gay marriage issue will probably come up as well.

Overall, Bush played it safe. With midterm elections coming up in a few months, he hit on what he thought he would be able to push through for his Congress buddies.

I found it fascinating that the Democrats chose the Governor of Virginia to give the Democratic Response. I fully expected Reid or Pelosi to give it, but I suppose even they want to avoid saying too much with midterm elections on the horizon. So the Dems played it safe, too.

Funny, why is it when Washington starts to play it safe, I feel unsafe?
greybeta: (Political Donkey-Elephant)
I expected to get hate mail over my article about how we shouldn't allow the gay agenda to fool us, but even I was surprised by a rather particularly scathing one from the former opinion editor. He's a fine young gay man now interning for Mrs. Clinton up in Washington. In student senate he's actually had the gall to call me his "opponent across the aisle" before. Those, those are dueling words, sir. You can disagree with my opinions, but never ever say:

I hope that in your future articles you will work to enhance, rather than degrade, the credibility of our newspaper.


(And yes, I know that he's eventually going to read this. I'd say it to his face so I can say it on my blog. That's the problem with trying to insult a straightforward person like me.)
greybeta: (Political Donkey-Elephant)
[Author's preface: This was a couple of weeks ago, during dead days at the University of Tulsa. D2 wants to let you know he despises Brigid, but greatly respects her drive and willpower. Okay, D2 actually considers Brigid a good friend even though they always seem to be at odds. A Platonic relationship, if you will. D2 imagines that he would have the same type of conversation with many of his readers if he ever got the opportunity to meet them in person. The author knows that he has changed the exact transcript of the conversation, and for that he asks the red headed Brigid to forgive any errors.

The following conversation contains a lot of insight into D2 and who he is. Note that he is talking to a Truman Scholar, Udall Scholar, and Top Ten Senior at the University of Tulsa. Brigid is a very talented but headstrong girl while D2 is a very gifted but obstinate guy. In anime terms, their relationship is most analogous to that of Amuro Rey and Char Aznable of Mobile Suit Gundam fame, a rivalry on which they can fight on the same side but they are so diametrically opposed to teach other they must fight. The author leaves it to the reader to figure out which is which.]

I cut this because this experiment failed, i.e. it's too hard to read it all )

July 2009

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