In other news, Jesse Jackson,

In other news, Jesse Jackson, the adulterer who somehow thinks he has any credibility when it comes to morality, has entered the fight to prolong the life of a person with a liquid brain:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived Tuesday at Terri Schiavo’s hospice and called on Florida lawmakers to have the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube reinserted.

“This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri’s life,” the civil rights leader said. “And today we pray for a miracle.”

Let’s see that one line again:

“This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri’s life.”

He honestly thinks that one of the “profound moral, ethical issues of our time” is saving a single person’s life? He doesn’t want to put genocide, or abortion, or sexual freedom up there? Not murder, or war? No, just Terri Shiavo? Okay then.

The man responsible for letting

The man responsible for letting a murderer go free, for exacerbating racial tensions in America, and for making the use of race as a defense acceptable rather than ridiculous, has died:

Famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, 67, perhaps best known for his defense of O.J. Simpson, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles.

“Johnnie Cochran was a loving, heartful human being who cared about everybody,” said Pastor William Epps of the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, which Cochran attended for 18 years.

Everybody, that is, except Nicole Brown Simpson. I think everything that Johnnie Cochran did to America can be summed up by one line in a Chapelle’s Show skit. Dave Chapelle is being questioned as a potential jury member in the O.J. trial, and is asked by the prosecution if, considering the plethora of evidence against Simpson, he believes him to be guilty. Chapelle replies, “My blackness forbids me from answering that question.” Just when America was starting to heal from the wounds of Jim Crow and, more recently, Rodney King, Cochran had to take what would have been a typical murder trial and made it about the fact that the defendant was African-American, ripping whatever chance we had of becoming a color-blind country apar. Moreover, being a lawyer, even a defense lawyer, is about pursuing the truth. Cochran took an obviously guilty client and got him off scot-free. This isn’t pursuing the truth; this is pursuing cash. Cochran was a disgrace to the legal profession, and did more damage to race relations in the United States than anyone since George Wallace.

I usually don’t recommend the

I usually don’t recommend the use of hypocrisy as a campaign point. It comes off as quibbling, and distracts voters from the real issues, which is where Democrats really win. Whereas the Republicans are seen as the strong, formidable party whose positions are largely opposed by the populace, our views are popular, but we are seen as wimpy. However, what seems to be blowing up recently is just incredible. First, it was revealed that Tom DeLay, facing a situation similar to that of Terri Shiavo, chose to remove his father from life support, committing an act that he would later call “medical terrorism”. Dwight Meredith (hat-tip Kevin Drum) has discovered that, among other things, President Bush once sued Enterprise Rent-A-Car because of a car accident one of the twins was a part of, Rick Santorum’s wife sued her chiropractor for pain and suffering, and Arnold Schwarzennegger has engaged in forum shopping. These are the Republicans of “tort reform” fame. I have long held that my problem with the Republican party is not its ideology. After all, if I didn’t respect someone because of their ideology, I wouldn’t respect anyone, considering the eccentricity of my opinions. My problem with the Republican party is its severe incompetence, corruption, and sleaziness. Now the party can’t even claim to have a consistent ideology at all. It doesn’t stand for anything except bribery, lies, and negligence. They don’t care about America. They don’t care about our soldiers, our tired, our poor, our sick. They just care about their own power, and will do anything, even deny their core principles, to get it. This is the party that is ruling America. I think that explains basically everything that has happened over the past four years.

The Carpetbagger Report notes a

The Carpetbagger Report notes a recurrence of various conservatives causes célèbres that first emerged during the 1980s. The only difference, of course, is that the conservatives are running the show:

Two weeks ago, John Thune started pushing a constitutional amendment on flag-burning (which already has 90 co-sponsors in the House). Last week, House Republicans started throwing their weight behind legislation to make English the nation’s official language (which now has 73 co-sponsors).

This week, it’s a school-prayer amendment to the Constitution.

[Rep. Ernest Istook’s office told the Washington Times this week] that the congressman is preparing to introduce a single amendment to the Constitution that, by itself, would protect the Pledge of Allegiance, school prayer, the public display of the Ten Commandments and any other expressions of religious heritage and private beliefs that have come under attack of late in the court system.

My fellow liberals refuse to acknowledge it, but this nation is now in a culture war, and these bills show it. While the English bill is doomed to fail, on account of Republican efforts to court Latinos, the other two have real chances of succeeding, better ones than the Hate Amendment did. The flag-burning amendment has real support among Democrats; indeed, it was Wes Clark’s backing of it that caused me to oppose his primary candidacy. While school prayer is less popular among Dems, 31 Senators and 84 Representatives have supported it. If we are to stop this assault on the Constitution, the first step is recognizing that the conflict exists. It frightens me that so many in my party cannot.

I’ve been noticing a trend

I’ve been noticing a trend among normally moderate liberal bloggers, that of support for socialized medicine. While I could understand when Matt Yglesias embraced it, due to the fact that he’s working at the Prospect, Kevin Drum’s endorsement is just plain mind-boggling. Look, I’m in favor of limited universal health care. I think if you make less than four times the poverty line, you should receive health care from the government, all expenses paid. That basically covers most of the middle class, eliminating most, if not all, of the involuntarily uninsured. But above that, I think it’s downright insulting to expect taxpayers to front the cost of Bill Gates’ health care. Moreover, it would be extremely harmful for us to do so. As I have noted time and time again, health insurance would cost $1.213 trillion a year. That’s more than half the current federal budget. Real tax increases would be needed, and many propose implementing a new payroll tax on employers. While most tax increases cost the nation at least some jobs, a payroll tax would be simply devastating. Another option that some support is a tax on stock and bond transactions. This would slow the stock market to a grinding halt, possibly triggering a slump bigger than those in 1929 and 1987. Needless to say, our economy doesn’t need that right now. But even if we found a way to fund the plan without significantly harming the economy, we can’t get around the fact that 1.25 million people work in the health insurance industry. The main reason I oppose single-payer health insurance is because of those people, because of those families. Getting rid of the health insurance industry would destroy these peoples’ lives, and the Democratic party, the “party of the people”, would be responsible. I can’t live with that, and I hope that the rest of my party can’t either.

The country with the coolest

The country with the coolest name ever is becoming democratic:

Protesters in Kyrgyzstan today occupied the offices of President Askar Akayev in an effort to force him to resign over allegations of election fraud, according to television footage. Akayev left the capital by helicopter, Interfax reported.
The government headquarters was ablaze after it was overrun by demonstrators, live pictures from APTN Direct showed. A protester carried a large red flag as a group fanned out through one of the buildings, APTN Direct showed in an earlier transmission. A young man sat behind the desk in an unidentified leader’s office as it was taken over by fellow protesters.
The demonstrators stormed the compound in Bishkek, capital of the Central Asian republic, after overwhelming riot police who had charged the crowd on foot and on horseback earlier today. Agence France-Presse reported that Defense Minister Esen Topoyev and National Security Minister Kalyk Imankulov were blockaded in the complex, while Russia’s Interfax said the ministers were writing resignation letters.

Hat-tip Joe Gandelman. Krygyzstan; seriously, that has got to be the best name a country has ever had. Anyway, this is very good news, not just because it’s one more nation becoming democratic, but because that country is in Central Asia. Whereas Eastern Europe became largely democratic following the breakup of the U.S.S.R. (Belarus and, arguably, Moldova are notable exceptions), Central Asia has become very autocratic. Afghanistan is by far the freest nation of the lot, and that’s not saying much. While this obviously is not as grand a phenomenon as the breakup of the Soviet Union, it could trigger a domino effect similar to that that occurred after the fall of the Berlin wall. I’m just hoping, but it’s a possibility.