Not Helping the Cause

Somehow, this guy doesn’t strike me as a compatriot of the “American Left.”

From the Associated Press, via the International Herald Tribune last week:

Italian candidate at April vote says he is lifelong Fascist, embarrassing Berlusconi

ROME: Silvio Berlusconi’s conservatives suffered a major embarrassment this week as one of their candidates for April elections said he is an unrepentant and lifelong Fascist.

The comments by Giuseppe Ciarrapico, a veteran Rome businessman who is running for a Senate seat, drew quick criticism from center-left politicians and leaders of the Jewish community.

His candidacy was not withdrawn, however, even though some fellow conservatives demanded that he give up running.

“Fascism has given me joys and pains,” Ciarrapico was quoted by the daily La Repubblica as saying in an interview published Monday. “I’ve never renounced it.”

Ciarrapico, 74, owns some small local newspapers in the Lazio region near Rome, and during the interview he was asked why pictures of Mussolini hang on the walls of his newsrooms.

“I am not an anti-Semite. I never have been,” he was quoted as saying in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper, on Tuesday. “But I do not renounce Fascism and have great admiration for Mussolini.”

White Superdudes

Me, from a discussion about superdelegates on Blue Oregon a month ago:

While the DNC superdelegates are relatively well-balanced from a cursory examination, the three hundred elected officials (former presidents and vice president, governors, senators, and representatives) are a pretty lopsided bunch, both on both ethnicity and sex. Not that you’d expect anything different from people elected to federal positions, but only 20% of them are women. Which means that even with the rest of the superdelegation being split evenly (which it is) more than 60% of the superdelegates are superdudes. And mostly white superdudes.

And a response from the usual quarters:

OK, so in addition to believing most of Western Europe and Japan to be non-democratic, darrelplant is now saying he hates Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer for being white.

Because they must be all secretly members of the KKK or something; they’ve got this white dude mojo going on.

So obviously they’re going to vote for the white dude in this year’s nomination process.

Then there’s Jenny Greenleaf, the Oregon DNC committeewoman and a superdelegate, yesterday:

Superdelegates come from two places: elected officials and DNC members. The DNC is gender-balanced to a fare-thee-well, although not as diverse as it could be (still, it isn’t just a bunch of white, heterosexual men). Mostly, it’s old :-).

It is true that the majority of elected officials are white guys. However, when we select the pledged delegates to the convention, we take that into consideration.

And the same responder, with a much different take:

I had no direct role in electing Jenny, but I support her wholeheartedly. I also believe that as someone who has worked as hard as she has, trusted to keep the Democratic party whole, and dedicated to electing a Democrat in November, she has the right to cast her unpledged vote as she sees fit.

Things That Make You Crazy

Nicholas Confessore of The New York Times on PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, talking to reporter Ray Suarez:

It’s hard to say, though, whether really anyone would be standing up for his right to stay in office if these charges are true. And, in fact, I think that if it turns out these charges are true and he publicly admits exactly what has happened, there would be extraordinary pressure from him or on him from within his own party to resign, especially if the Republicans, who’ve threatened impeachment, if they followed through on that, I’m not sure that Democrats in the State Senate and the State Assembly want to go on record opposing impeachment of a guy who has been arrested and charged with a crime of prostitution.

Whatever he may have done: structuring payments, participating in transporting women across state lines for sexual purposes, Spitzer hasn’t been accused of being a prostitute. And that wasn’t the only place Confessore said the same thing.

The DSCC Can’t Count

Some days you just have to smash your monitor in frustration at the sheer stupidity of people in the party you’ve belonged to for nearly ___ years (30 in my case but fill in your own figure).

The latest appeal from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee touts their video series “The Road to Victory” with this line (which is used as a defining slogan):

Watch our new video and learn why real people think 51 Democrats in the Senate just aren’t enough.

Are the people putting the DSCC campaign seriously counting Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as a Democrat? Even after he’s endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the presidency? Are they complete idiots or what?

And who’s approving this stuff?

Thanks For Doing His Job

This was certainly an unexpected piece of email:

Dear Darrel Plant,

Great news!

Your senator, Gordon Smith, just took a major step towards making a modern GI Bill a reality by signing onto S.22, the new legislation that is making its way through Congress. As you know, IAVA’s number one priority this year is getting the new GI Bill passed, so that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can afford to go to college after they return from war.

Please take a minute to call Senator Smith and thank him for his support of this critical legislation. It’s crucial that lawmakers hear from people like you, who are committed to ensuring that our nation’s veterans get the respect they have earned.

Office of Senator Gordon Smith

(202) 224-3753

Below we’ve included some talking points you can use on the call.

Thank you for making your voice heard.


Todd Bowers

Iraq Veteran

Director of Government Affairs

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Talking points:

Good morning / evening.

My name is your name and I’m calling from city.

I stand with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in their call for a new GI Bill. Troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan deserve real education benefits that make college tuition affordable, and I want to thank Senator Smith for signing on to S.22.

Let’s see. More than six years after the invasion of Afghanistan, Smith agrees to fund a program to provide post-service education to veterans — something that should have been a part of the budget from the moment they decided to go into Afghanistan and Iraq — and in which Smith is one of 46 co-sponsors (a list that includes several other Republicans, as well as Oregon’s Other Senator™, Ron Wyden).

That deserves a special “attaboy,” for what, exactly?

Senryū Thirty-Three. Dungeons & Dragons

Half-Elf, Half-Dwarf,

Double-Plus Good, Billionth Level,


Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69


Published: March 5, 2008

Gary Gygax, a pioneer of the imagination who transported a fantasy realm of wizards, goblins and elves onto millions of kitchen tables around the world through the game he helped create, Dungeons & Dragons, died Tuesday at his home in Lake Geneva, Wis. He was 69.

Related posts: “26 Years and Counting” and “My Satanic Majesty”.

Senryū Thirty-Two. Asymmetrical Warfare

Six hundred thousand

Times two, three dead cows,

A donkey, and three wounded

U.S. Forces Fire Missiles Into Somalia at a Kenyan


Published: March 4, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — American naval forces fired missiles into southern Somalia on Monday, aiming at what the Defense Department called terrorist targets.

Residents reached by telephone said that three civilians were wounded, and that the only other casualties were three dead cows, one dead donkey and a partly destroyed house.
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington, said the target was a “known Al Qaeda terrorist.”

An American military official said the naval attack on Monday was carried out with at least two Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a submarine. The official said the missiles were believed to have hit their targets. Witnesses on the ground, though, described the attack differently.