Monday, January 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: State Democrats Back Dean for DNC Post

State party leaders gave their backing Monday to Howard Dean in his bid to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee, putting the former presidential candidate in a strong position to win the election in about two weeks.

Rival Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver, dropped out of the chairman’s race after the endorsement and also backed Dean. Webb’s aide Cindy Brovski said, “Mathematically, it looks like Dean is going to win on the first ballot.”

The Association of State Democratic Chairs endorsed Dean during a national conference call. Dean got 56 votes, followed by Democratic activist Donnie Fowler with 21 votes. Other candidates had support in single digits. The state chairs ignored a recommendation made Sunday by the executive committee to back Fowler and supported Dean.

Given the nature of the process, this outcome isn’t a sure thing, but it sure looks like Dean is going to win. When the best opposition candidate is guy named “Donny” who looks 10 years younger than his age (he’s 37) who no one really knows all that much about (except that he isn’t Dean) then I am not so sure that there is a viable opposition left.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (2)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Andrew Cory blogging at Dean’s World correctly correctly notes in re: Iraq that

Elections qua elections are not good enough.

Certainly one election does not a demoracy make. (Although I would note the Andrew takes a somewhat more negative tone than I think the event warrants–still his post made me think of a couple of things).

I will state, as one who studies political development and democratization, that it will be a good number of years before we can declare Iraq any kind of true democratic success. At a minimum the standard tends to be two full electoral cycles and only then if the second of those elections represents a peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. It is not a hard and fast rule, but multiple cycles are necssary to truly say that democracy has been institutionalized, and the ability of the loser to accept losing, and for the winners not to abuse their victories are both key tests that many societies trying to acheive democracy fail.

In point of fact it will be at least a decade before any serious evaluations can be completed (although it certainly will be possible to make interim evaluations along the way). This was obvious to me before the war even started (and, for that matter, I have always expected a long deployment of US troops in the country to achieve these policy objectives).

However, while one election does not a democracy make (nor do elections equal democracy, even over time–look at the Soviet Union, or Mexico prior to 2024 for a less stark example) it certainly takes an election to be placed seriously upon the road to democratization.

Iraq is firmly on that road, at least for the moment, and hopefully will be able to stay upon it–certainly that is the main significance of yesterday’s election. The dictator has been deposed, an interim govenrment formed, an interim constitution written, and now a constituent assembly/acting parliament has been elected to write a permanent constitution that will have to be ratified by the Iraqi people. This all sums to a very good start.

The current challenges include boslterig the security capacities of the state and reaching a political settlement with the Sunnis (which, I would argue, is quite possible to achieve: the lack of voting in some areas will not preclude the inclusion of Sunnis in this process).

There is no doubt that it could all fall apart. However, there is also the chance that it all could work.

At this moment in time I would argue that Iraq is in the process of transition from authoritarian rule to democractic governance. The transition period will last years as they move to the consolidation phase. However, it will be, as I noted above, at least a decade, if not more, before we will truly be able to say whether or not a truly democratic state has been institutionalized in Iraq. This is a long and tricky process that requires patience.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

The ever wonderful Kathy Kinsley appears to have fixed my WP problem. However, if anyone encounters the weirdo login problem when trying to post a comment, please drop me an e-mail to let me know.


Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (1)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Sean Hackbarth disagrees with me on the ruling earlier today regarding the detainees at Gitmo.

While I understand where he is coming from, I do think that at some point we have to make a choice about these people we have detained and I think some modicum of due process is in order. There is the very real chance that there are individuals detained who are innocent, or, even if they not, don’t deserve indefinite detainment.

As I have stated before: if there is proof that these individuals are a serious and abiding danger to the secruity of the United States, then detainment in warranted. However, some at least moderately transparent process must be utilized to establish that guilt. While I am not fond of the cliche about how we are “becoming like our enemies” I will say that if we aren’t careful, we risk seriously violating our own sacred ideals. Indeed, I am unfortunately certain that in some case we have done so.

I am persuadable that full constitutional rights should not be conveyed on these prisoners, however, the US government hasn’t not provided a viable alternative, since (rightly, I would argue at this stage) it has determined that these individuals are not protected by the Geneva Conventions since they are un-uniformed irregular soldiers.

However, some standard needs to be constructed, and it is unfortunate, and a failure of the government’s, that such a standard does not exist.

And while I may be one of the biggest international law skeptics you are likely to encounter, it may well be that an international agreement to amend the Geneva Conventions is in order to deal with these types of detainees.

My general skepticism concerning government, my knowledge of the corrupting influence of power in these kinds of cases, and my abiding respect for the fundamental rights of all human beings requires that I demand a high standard from my government, even in this type of case where no doubt a good many of these individuals do not deserve such consideration.

The problem becomes: without a defined process, and an acquiescence to the fact these are human beings (even if they have been labeled terrorists) we cannot determine in any just manner who deserves punishment and who does not.

Just “playing it safe” doesn’t justify the denial of basic human freedom. As such I grow increasingly concerned about these camps and the interrogations within them.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

I have not commented on the Ward Churchill brouhaha, because I have been otherwise occupied and really had nothing new to say about it. However, as bits and pieces of the story have come to roost in my mind, I must admit that the ability to comment has emerged. The factor that got me to address the situation was the combination of a partial interview I read (see below) and when I learned via radio this afternoon that Churchill, a department chair at a major university doesn’t even have a doctorate.

Yes, I found Churchill diatribe about the victims of 911 to be ridiculous–but am sufficiently enured to such lunacy that I tend to ignore it. But really, the whole situation raises serious questions about the wisdom of CU and of the validity of its ethnic studies program. Generically I have serious academic doubts about most ethnic studies departments (as I am unclear as to why the disciplines of literature, anthropology, sociology, political science, history, etc. are insufficient to study the human condition). It seems to me that if the argument is that these disciplines ignore certain groups or events, then the solution is to find people who study those things and put them into the appropriate departments.

Further, it is my experience that such programs aren’t especially academic, but rather quite ideological, trafficking usually in the more nonsensical ideas of the left. Indeed, I was going to comment on this aspect of the story when I read this interview with Ward Churchill from the magazine Satya, but never got around to it. Just read his responses and then tell me that this individual isn’t both pretentious and intellectually obtuse (to be kind). In fact, the picture that accompanies the interview alone is enough to bring into question his connection to reality. The whole thing strikes me as a Guevarist version of a Trekkie. Imagine an interview with a philosophy professor who specializes in logic dressing up in Vulcan robes for an interview and speaking deeply about the teachings of Surak. And if one can imagine such an event can one then actually imagine taking that person seriously as an scholar?

Throw in the fact that man doesn’t even have adequate academic training/credentials and the farcial nature of the entire affair is wholly complete.


h/t: Dennis the Peasant for pointing out the article in Satya and to Roger L. Simon for noting the piece by Dennis.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (11)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Michele of A Small Victory has actually been at it for four years as of today–eons in Blogtime.

Congrats to her on her longevity and readership.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

I meant to blog this yesterday: The Misanthrope — Sunday’s Lighter Side Daughter’s Presidential Edition.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (1)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Yes, It’s True: Eagles Fans Booed Santa

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

DiCaprio Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Is he old enought for a lifetime acheivement award? He’s what? 12?

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (1)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Sen. Clinton Recovers After Collapsing

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton collapsed Monday during a speech on Social Security, moments after complaining about a stomach virus.

“She fainted after not feeling well, got medical attention and is proceeding with her planned schedule,” according to a statement released by her office in Washington.

I am glad to hear that it wasn’t anything serious. The initial report I heard was imply that she had collapsed at a public event.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
Next Page »

blog advertising is good for you

Visitors Since 2/15/03

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics



Powered by WordPress