Why oh why is this

Why oh why is this considered so important?

Top evangelist Pat Robertson said he warned President Bush to prepare the American people for U.S. casualties in Iraq but that Mr. Bush replied, “We’re not going to have any casualties.”

The religious broadcaster, who is a strong Bush supporter, spoke about his pre-war conversation with the president Tuesday on CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now” program.

Robertson said Mr. Bush seemed confident, even elated during their conversation in Nashville prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“You remember Mark Twain said, ‘He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.’ I mean he was just sitting there like, ‘I’m on top of the world,'” Robertson told CNN. “And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, ‘Mr. president, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.'”

Robertson said the president replied, “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.”

This sort of thing doesn’t matter for two simple reasons: 1) the kind of people who care what extremists like Robertson say are going to vote for Bush anyway and 2) Pat Robertson is, to put it nicely, mentally ill. He’s an anti-Semitic, sectarian fundamentalist who is just as literalist and ardent in his warped and perverted interpretation of Christianity as the insurgents who have caused the vast majority of casualties that he allegedly warned Bush about. This is surprising, yes, but does it matter what he says? Of course not.

Yes, yes, this is all

Yes, yes, this is all well and good, but a little late, no?

The Supreme Court kept alive a Democratic constitutional challenge to a Republican redistricting plan in Texas today, ordering a three-judge district court to reexamine its January decision upholding the plan.

The court’s action will not affect the 2004 elections in Texas. Voting for the state’s 32 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will go forward under the contested plan, which was approved in 2003

Via Kevin Drum. I suppose it’s better than nothing if it only affects the 2006-2010 elections, but it seems to me that on matters like this, the Supreme Court should be allowed to make decisions before it’s too late to apply them; i.e., it should be allowed to take cases before they’ve made their way all the way through the judiciary. I don’t know about the Constitutionality of such a proposal (though I know the Supremes wouldn’t mind), but it seems like it would prevent a lot of electoral confusion; the Florida hubbub certainly wouldn’t have lasted as long. But I suppose I can live with this for now; let’s just hope Marty Frost survives.

I’m late to comment on

I’m late to comment on this, yes I know, but I do think that it was inappropriate for John Kerry to mention Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation during the debate. I don’t think it was meant as an insult; Kerry is a sincere believer in gay rights. I think that those who think that are homophobes themselves. Kerry was trying to shame Cheney for his opposition to gay rights, just as Tim Noah says. But Noah thinks that this is acceptable. I find it disgusting. Kerry was using Mary Cheney, the Vice President’s daughter, to bash the Vice President. He’s, in effect, not only calling him a hypocrite, he’s calling him a bad parent as well. There’s nothing lower that accusing a parent of not loving their child, which is EXACTLY what Kerry did, on national television. Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney, and, most of all, Mary Cheney deserve apologies.

I saw Going Upriver last

I saw Going Upriver last night at the Hopkins Center in Hanover. George Butler, the director, was there, and had some very interesting comments. My thoughts:

  • This is, and likely will always be, the best documentary ever about Vietnam. It gives the viewer a haunting sense of what combat was like in that war, and how disgusting and inhumane some of our actions there were.
  • That said, most of the movie is about Vietnam Veterans Against the War, as opposed to Kerry’s war service. This is the strangest part of the film. Kerry comes off as consistent, articulate, clear, and much more presidential than he does today. I don’t know how much of this is editorial bias, but all the same it was impressive. You got the sense that he truly believed in what he did, and was very good at articulating his cause.
  • Butler said three things of importance: one, he is doing a massive DVD release this Tuesdays; two, he is trying to get the film on air, preferably nationally; and third and most importantly, he is suing Sinclair Broadcasting. Apparently Stolen Honor, well, steals material from Going Upriver, and Butler is taking appropriate legal action. Let’s hope he wins.

  • Matt Yglesias reminds us that

    Matt Yglesias reminds us that good news really does still happen:

    For the first time, researchers say, a vaccine against malaria has shown that it can save children from infection or death.

    The vaccine, tested on thousands of children in Mozambique, was hardly perfect: It protected them from catching the disease only about 30 percent of the time and prevented it from becoming life-threatening only about 58 percent of the time.

    But because malaria kills more than a million people a year, 700,000 of them children, even partial protection would be a public health victory. The disease, caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes, is found in 90 countries, and drug-resistant strains are spreading.

    Think about that. One million people. Why do we spend billions of dollars a year combating terrorism, when malaria kills hundreds of thousands more? Why aren’t fighting malaria as aggressively as we fight bin Laden? Because saving children isn’t sexy; and killing terrorists is.

    It looks like the public

    It looks like the public agrees with me about the debate, which is very, very bad:

    President Bush “opened a four-point lead” — 48% to 44% — on Sen. John Kerry yesterday, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Friday. “An improvement in Bush’s showing among undecideds and a strong response from his base Republican supporters helped fuel the president’s rise.”

    The Rasmussen tracking poll shows Bush leading 49% to 45.5%.

    The TIPP Tracking Poll shows Bush leading 47% to 44%.

    Three polls showing Bush gains? Sounds like a pretty solid victory to me. Kerry is going to have to dispense with the conspiracy theories and get back on track if we’re going to win this.

    Again, my belated thoughts: I

    Again, my belated thoughts:

  • I thought that Bush won. I’m glad that the polls say different, but I thought that it was a solid Bush victory. He appeared more self-assured than in the previous two debates, while Kerry was stuttering and stammering like there was no tomorrow. Very depressing.
  • I also thought that Kerry did horribly substance-wise. His lines about pay-as-you-go funding were laughable. One, if it was a tradition, why was Clinton the first president to balance the budget in decades, which would presumably happen every time this technique is used? Secondly, it’s VERY disingenuous to suggest that he can use pay-as-you-go funding and not raise middle class tax cuts. Come on; unless he makes huge and disastrous program cuts, that “paying” is going to have to come from taxpayers; and as eliminating the tax cuts will not bring the surplus back, that means raising other taxes, presumably those of the middle class. Pay-as-you-go requires either tax hikes or spending cuts, and I don’t think that Kerry is that willing to do the latter.
  • Kerry also lies (yes, that’s what it is) when he says that his health care plan isn’t primarily government run. Please; the main part of the plan, the “catastrophic care” proposal , is tantamount to creating universal health insurance, albeit with a $10,000 deductible and a 25% copayment. But it’s a bald-faced lie to say that it’s not government run.
  • Overall, I was very disappointed by Kerry’s style and substance throughout the debate. While I wasn’t wowed by Bush either, he certainly performed better stylistically (though he still takes the cake for lying).