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What Would People Think?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Give The Republican His Due

Obviously, my mind is more occupied with the Mayo clinic than with politics these days. That said, I've got to give the Bush Administration its due in North Korea. It looks like they are making solid - if slow, uncertain, and frustrating - progress in getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program. And I can't blame them for the slowness, uncertainty, and frustration - that's the nature of negotiations.

I suppose I could blame them for taking so long to get around to negotiating, but still....it's remarkable that the man who once declared North Korea part of the "axis of evil" (implying, ludicrously, he was going to do to North Korea what he did to Iraq), actually had the patience to give Christopher Hill the go-ahead to engage in multilateral negotiations with a mercurial and unpredictable enemy. I'm thankful for the growing influence of the Rice-Hill-Gates crowd over the old Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz crowd.

Ultimately, who knows if the whole thing will work? Kim's far from the most trustworthy negotiating partner and they've broken plenty of pledges in the past. But I'm encouraged that, with vigilant observation and a serious willingness to hold Kim to his word, America and its allies can accomplish something here.

Interesting NYT articles on the issue here, here, and here.

Anyways, back to Mayo prep and to getting ready for work today. Andy wants me to blog about the recent Supreme Court 2nd Amendment decision (or perhaps he just wants to rub it in my face...which I will nevertheless take as an invitation to broadcast my opinions to the world). Indeed, with the Guantanamo Bay habeas decision, the punitive damages for Exxon's oil spill decision, the gun decision, and the death penalty for child rape decision, the Supreme Court's made a series of major decisions this past week or so that are ripe for analysis by my brilliant legal mind. Hopefully, I'll be able to analyze them.

But Time, she is a cruel mistress. (Don't tell Christy I have a mistress!) And I need to work and help Christy prepare for Mayo. That takes top priority.

51 Comments:

  • I'm actually amazed that, for the most part, I agree with the Supreme Court's decision on three of the four (and simply don't know enough about the Exxon-Valdez and punitive damages).

    Wait, did I say "Supreme Court"? I meant Anthony Kennedy.

    Curious to hear your opinion on District v. Heller.

    By Blogger Mike, at 6/27/2008 10:39 AM  

  • This only adds to why I've always said, despite voting against W twice, he will be viewed more favorably in the future than he is today.

    23% approval rating or so. Seriously, at worst, he's an average president. Those polls only suggest how unreasonable the masses are.

    By Blogger Andy, at 6/30/2008 11:16 AM  

  • Of course, Andy, I don't get a lot of the rankings people give our Presidents. The vastly underrated Coolidge in the bottom third? Chester Arthur, who saved our civil service, in the mid-20s? Jackson, who deserves a bottom-10 spot IMHO, in the top 10? The do-nothing Kennedy in the top 10 also? And Wilson, who was mediocre at best, around #10 as well? Gimme a break.

    Anyway, to me Bush is in the mid-20s - not awful, but below average. I think historians, who love an overzealous executive, will stick him next to Wilson, whom he most resembles.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 6/30/2008 3:35 PM  

  • Yeah, all the rankings seem pretty ridiculous.

    It's easier to view things from a standpoint of history. I think when Dubya's term is analyzed, there will still be immense criticism of the way he handled some things (e.g. running a war without raising taxes, an unprecedented move in American history, exacerbating the nation's debt), but also praise for others that for the most part slip below the radar (e.g. substantial increase in humanitarian aid to Africa). He won't be regarded as a great communicator (natch), but he will garner at least some respect as a steadfast, albeit often stubborn, leader. So I'll agree with Jeff - probably mid- to late-20s.

    My word verification is "ibiot" I find this amusing.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/01/2008 10:53 AM  

  • It's frankly just unreasonable to claim that Bush will be anything above the bottom ten. If nothing else, he completely failed as a leader in the biggest challenge of his presidency. But there IS an else: in addition, he presided over a staggeringly incompetent and ideological administration that resulted in, among others, Katrina, the erosion of civil liberties, the unprecedented politicization of the federal bureacracy, the failure to address our critical energy needs, a hollowed-out environmental protection system, rapidly expanding economic inequality, and a failing educational policy.

    But, to reiterate, his leadership after 9/11 has killed 4,000+ Americans and up to half a million Iraqis, displaced five million people, incarcerated thousands of people without cause, tortured many of them (and at least 30 to death), crippled our military, and resulted in record levels of anti-American hatred that has destroyed our bargaining position and international credibility.

    This man would thank God if he was considered an "average" president.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/01/2008 11:25 AM  

  • Zhubin makes a point. If Iraq turns sour again, and Afghanistan deteriorates, he's definitely headed for the bottom 10, humanitarian aid for Africa notwithstanding. But if Iraq turns out well, and Afghanistan stabilizes further, and Dub takes some sort of action to get rid of Mugabe that actually works... then it's #20 or so.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7/01/2008 1:06 PM  

  • If the overreaches of the Bush administration finally get us to realize that the federal government needs to be massively reined in, particularly the executive branch, then mid-20s, I say!

    It really does depend a lot on how things continue developing in the Middle East though.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/02/2008 9:57 AM  

  • "But, to reiterate, his leadership after 9/11 has killed 4,000+ Americans and up to half a million Iraqis, displaced five million people, incarcerated thousands of people without cause, tortured many of them (and at least 30 to death), crippled our military, and resulted in record levels of anti-American hatred that has destroyed our bargaining position and international credibility."

    If I bought you a ticket for another country of your choice, would you go live there? That paragraph alone should disqualify you from voting, Markos.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/03/2008 12:17 PM  

  • If I bought you a ticket for another country of your choice, would you go live there? That paragraph alone should disqualify you from voting, Markos.

    Wow, really? Is it still 2002 in your blog, Ben?

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/03/2008 12:40 PM  

  • You know what, I'll take the bait. Where exactly in that paragraph of indisputable facts did you find my desire to leave this country or anything justifying my disenfranchisement?

    Was it the fact that they were all listed together? Did that make you feel sad about America? Do you know the difference between the United States of America and the Bush Administration? Help me out here.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/03/2008 12:44 PM  

  • From the novelist Henry de Montherlant, speaking about 50 years before W presided: "One nation that manages to lower intelligence, morality, human quality on nearly all the surface of the earth, such a thing has never been seen before in the existence of the planet. I accuse the United States of being in a permanent state of crime against humankind."

    To say that anti-Americanism is not only new but W's fault (or that it could be at a "recorded" level as you say) is just pure bullshit. Why don't you take this kind of crap somewhere else? Or maybe Ben could pipe in here whether he agrees with this drivel and I (the reasonable one) will be the one to go?

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/03/2008 2:05 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/03/2008 3:08 PM  

  • Let me just tell everyone else that, yes, I know that there's no point arguing with an unembarrassed 28-percenter. I'm a masochist.

    I obviously did not say that anti-American sentiment is new or that Bush created it, so why are you putting those words in my mouth? What I said, and what is true, is that Bush has raised it, as high as it's been since it's been polled. The Pew Center does this annually, (and it's not the only one) and since 2002 anti-American sentiment has risen every year, which was especially tragic as there was a window in the wake of the 9/11 attacks where the entire world was standing with America, and we had a chance to dramatically change the world order. It's possibly the most wasted opportunity in our modern history.

    And let me ask again: where in what I said did you find anything that indicated that I hate America? Was it because I criticized Bush? Do you think there is a difference between the United States of America and the Bush Administration? Can you imagine a situation where one could be angry at the president but not angry at America?

    When you read that three-quarters of the American public disapproves of Bush's job performance, do you get confused? Do you wonder why so many America-haters live in America? Seriously, help me. I want to know how you guys think.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/03/2008 3:31 PM  

  • As someone who studied abroad in multiple countries immediately after 9/11, I think Zhubin vastly overstates the opportunity we had to change anti-American sentiment. I also think it's funny that someone has proposed disenfranchisment for Zhubin, who has routinely prescribed such for any Bush voters.

    I also think Zhubin is entirely on the high ground in this post, with valid criticisms. Andy's willingness to association criticism with anti-Americanism is particularly troubling, and I can personally vouch that Zhubin wants only the best for America. He might not always be right about what is best, but I'd suggest Andy stop questioning the patriotism of others.

    By Blogger Matthew B. Novak, at 7/03/2008 3:51 PM  

  • So let me get this straight: now both Zhubin and Matt hate America?

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/03/2008 4:19 PM  

  • "Let me just tell everyone else that, yes, I know that there's no point arguing with an unembarrassed 28-percenter."

    Boy, when you're wrong Zhubin, you're really wrong. I infer that you mean I support Bush or the war. Of course, you don't put what the 28-percent is, because then you'd have to be held accountable. But not only was I against the war (as Libertarians tend to be), I voted against W twice. But you couldn't be bothered to actually research that, could you?

    As for the rest of your post, when I read that 3/4s of Americans disapprove of the job W is doing, it says only that 3/4s of those polled have no idea what responsibilities the president has -- he didn't decide Heller, he didn't torture any one, he didn't ask the Supreme Court to tell Gore to f' off, he didn't raise the price of gas, he didn't flood N'Orleans, etc etc. In your mind, he's responsible for all of it, but YOU'RE WRONG. You want to blame someone? (b/c I can tell you really want to), blame Congress. Pelosi's Congress has done jack shit. And they, unlike W, actually have the power to do something. Please stop voting.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/03/2008 4:21 PM  

  • "I can personally vouch that Zhubin wants only the best for America."

    That's the problem, Matt, he wants what's best for it and so do I, so one of us is probably wrong.

    My idea of the way to fix it though surely doesn't involve Obama, does his or yours?

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/03/2008 4:24 PM  

  • Mine may or may not involve Obama. I'm not decided yet. But mine certainly doesn't involve name calling, as yours seems to.

    By Blogger Matthew B. Novak, at 7/03/2008 5:13 PM  

  • "Mine may or may not involve Obama. I'm not decided yet. But mine certainly doesn't involve name calling, as yours seems to."

    Name calling? That's what you're going with? I looked back, the only one I can find is the use of "Markos" and you would think Zhubin would take that as a compliment.

    You can do better than that, Matt. C'mon, Matt the Centrist, man up and pick a candidate already. (Psst, you want Hillary back don'tcha?)

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/03/2008 8:38 PM  

  • I've got several months before I need to pick a candidate, and I don't intend to resolve the issue any time soon.

    And while you may not have done much actual name calling, the identifying of Zhubin as anti-American was certainly in the same vein. I just used the shorthand.

    By Blogger Matthew B. Novak, at 7/04/2008 3:50 AM  

  • "And while you may not have done much actual name calling, the identifying of Zhubin as anti-American was certainly in the same vein. I just used the shorthand." So you were lazy, basically. That aside, notice I didn't respond to Mike when he used that same line? Because I never accused Zhubin of anti-Americanism.

    What I asked Zhubin was a legitimate question. If there was somewhere else he would rather be than America, would he go? He bitches and moans about all the problems W supposedly caused, how horrible W has made America, how W killed everyone in N'Orleans and cripples our military. So, Zhubin, I'll ask you again, is there somewhere else you would rather live?

    The answer, of course, is no. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/04/2008 8:36 AM  

  • "I've got several months before I need to pick a candidate, and I don't intend to resolve the issue any time soon."

    That's ok, Matt, that'll give you plenty of time to watch Obama stake out both sides of every issue for you.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/04/2008 8:41 AM  

  • Nothing says "record-level anti-American hatred" like Berlin throwing a US-Independence party called 'Amerikafest' (must be German for 'to hate America') and resurrecting the pre-WWII embassy in the heart of the Brandenburger Tor.

    Zhubin, I don't know if I can take much more of this hatred. I'm sure you and your buddies will spin this to give Obama credit, right, instead of W-appointed Powell and Rice?

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/04/2008 12:05 PM  

  • As for the rest of your post, when I read that 3/4s of Americans disapprove of the job W is doing, it says only that 3/4s of those polled have no idea what responsibilities the president has -- he didn't decide Heller, he didn't torture any one, he didn't ask the Supreme Court to tell Gore to f' off, he didn't raise the price of gas, he didn't flood N'Orleans, etc etc. In your mind, he's responsible for all of it, but YOU'RE WRONG. You want to blame someone? (b/c I can tell you really want to), blame Congress. Pelosi's Congress has done jack shit. And they, unlike W, actually have the power to do something. Please stop voting.

    Ah, I see how this works. If people dislike the president, then it's because they're so stupid that they blame him for everything. Now I feel like I'm understanding this mentality.

    But let me just press you a little further on your answer: when someone tells you, for example, that they were disgusted with the Bush Administration's reaction to Katrina, how do you mentally shift that statement into believing that they're blaming Bush for flooding New Orleans himself? Also, do you think the president is not responsible for actions he does not personally commit? Like if he personally didn't torture anyone, then he can't be blamed for authorizing it? Don't give up on me, I'm learning!

    What I asked Zhubin was a legitimate question. If there was somewhere else he would rather be than America, would he go? He bitches and moans about all the problems W supposedly caused, how horrible W has made America, how W killed everyone in N'Orleans and cripples our military. So, Zhubin, I'll ask you again, is there somewhere else you would rather live?

    The answer, of course, is no. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.


    I don't really know how to respond to this. I criticize Bush. You infer that this means I think America sucks now. You assume that the only proper action in response to this opinion that you infer I have about America is to leave America. You challenge me to take the only course of action that you assume exists based on the opinion you infer that I have about America. Then you accuse me of intellectual cowardice for failing to take the course of action you assumed exists based on the opinion you inferred I have. This is wingnuttery at its most sophisticated.

    This is really what I want to probe about your mindset. Do you think America is like a nightclub? Like if I don't like the DJ, I should just stop bitching about him and leave? What makes you equate dislike of the president with dislike of the United States? We've already covered that you assume people who don't like the president are morons who think he's personally responsible for hurricanes and Supreme Court decisions. But why do you think they hate America? Let's hit that nugget next.

    Nothing says "record-level anti-American hatred" like Berlin throwing a US-Independence party called 'Amerikafest' (must be German for 'to hate America') and resurrecting the pre-WWII embassy in the heart of the Brandenburger Tor.

    Aw, dude. Really? A festival in Berlin? That's what you're going with? Germany has like one of the highest unfavorability ratings toward the U.S. It's like 2-1. This is getting embarrassing, man.

    But hey, Islamabad is throwing Bush a party when he visits Pakistan this month! It looks like Pakistanis love us now!

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/05/2008 1:23 AM  

  • "If people dislike the president, then it's because they're so stupid that they blame him for everything."

    Never said they were stupid. Can you even read? You even quoted me and still got it wrong.

    As for Katrina: here's your original quote -- "[W] presided over [an] incompetent ... administration that resulted in ... Katrina." How do I mentally shift that to you blaming Bush? I don't know, Einstein, maybe because I actually read what you wrote? You should try it. But then again, this is all you know. Who cares about how things really are, your MO, day in and day out, lies somewhere between W is a waste of space and complete disaster. Like a broken record that needs to be tossed. Why don't you just admit your personal hatred for W and get it over with?

    We will be better off when W is out of office, not because his presidency was bad but because maybe people like you will stop talking. Maybe the reason Matt's afraid to say he's voting for Nader is because you'll call him a racist.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/05/2008 10:07 AM  

  • Look, Zhubin, I'm really trying to say this is the nicest of ways but every time you spout this left-wing, DKos, "truther" propaganda (see your original post), you do your friends here and your party (I guess either the Democratic or Communist) a disservice.

    Now I asked Ben a while back whether he agreed with your drivel or not. Maybe he got busy. Or maybe he's torn and doesn't know how to tell you how idiotic you sound. I'm just trying to fix what your friends here should've nipped in the bud a long time ago. You're irrational, you clearly harbor a personal hatred for W, you clearly don't understand that the president doesn't address energy needs (Congress does) and you throw around the "racist" label if someone dares disagree with you. For some reason, none of them has the balls to call you out on it, so I will. Go back to that rock under Markos's ass and let the grownups here have a real discussion about W.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/05/2008 11:23 AM  

  • ...he wants what's best for it and so do I, so one of us is probably wrong.

    Actually, it's far more likely (in fact a near certainty) that both of you are partially wrong and partially right.

    Nothing says "record-level anti-American hatred" like Berlin throwing a US-Independence party called 'Amerikafest'

    C'mon Andy, you know just as well as I and everyone else that regardless of the levels of anti-American sentiment in foreign countries, there will always be (often large) pockets of America supporters. The reverse is naturally also true. (As for "record levels", I'd have to see some numbers, but I do think we've shattered at least some of the goodwill we had built up. Not that I'm necessarily sure we should care.)

    Man up and pick a candidate already.

    Totally off subject, but out of curiosity, Andy, will you (as a self-described big "L" Libertarian) be voting for Barr? As a quasi little "L" libertarian, I feel I should at least consider him, but some of his past stances concern me.

    As for Zhubin's Katrina quote, I can see how Andy could have (perhaps willingly) misinterpreted it, but I think it's pretty clear Zhubin was referring to the response to the Katrina disaster. (Whether or not that should have even been the responsibility of the federal government is naturally up for debate.)

    ...let the grownups here have a real discussion about W.

    Sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, we lost that opportunity when the following statement was written: "If I bought you a ticket for another country of your choice, would you go live there? That paragraph alone should disqualify you from voting, Markos." Andy could have phrased an adult counterargument to Zhubin's claims, but opted not to, instead interpreting Zhubin's previous statement, argumentative though it may have been, as anti-American and expressive of a desire to leave the country, then indirectly calling him a communist.

    But anyway. Personally, the primary thing that's really bothered me about the Bush administration is the lying, deceit, and tragically continued expansion of executive authority far beyond anything the Constitution ever intended. The latter at least probably would have occurred regardless of who had been elected in 2000 or 2004, and will likely continue under the next administration, but surely this must trouble most of the posters here?

    (Sorry for the meandering nature of this response, I've been 2 days sans internet access.)

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/05/2008 11:40 AM  

  • The personal attacks are all well and entertaining, Andy, but I'd still like you to answer my question. What makes you equate dislike of the president with dislike of the United States? Just give me the syllogism you're using, and you can go back to calling me a communist all you like.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/06/2008 2:00 AM  

  • Let me get back to Mike and Jeff:

    Do you guys really think that, if Iraq and Afghanistan turn out better, this should be credited to Bush? Both countries are going to eventually stabilize anyway, just by the natural exhaustion of the population and the depletion of the sectarian fanatics. If Afghanistan finally clears up in, say, 2017, this certainly shouldn't be considered a vindication for Bush, right?

    And I know Iraq is getting better now, but this is after five years of horrible planning that a better President would not have made. Even if you credit the recent decline of violence to Bush, which itself is debatable, it seems like giving props to someone for finally shooting the deer after gunning down three hunters.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/06/2008 2:23 AM  

  • Now now, children, settle down...

    Anyway. Some responses since I've been away (and they'll be short since I have to go make Dani's birthday breakfast):

    Andy: criticism .DNE. anti-Americanism. You know that. Stop. And no one needs to pick a candidate until November.

    Also, Bush does have control over disaster response and our intelligence-gathering, which includes torture. Congress told the administration not to torture, he did anyway. That's clearly W's problem.

    And the price of gas - not Congress' fault either. Blame demand in India and China.

    Zhubin: Yes, Bush should be given some credit, just like Lincoln is given credit for winning the Civil War despite having stuck with McClellan for far too long (and then going with Pope and Hooker = not good either) and then finally having the good sense to give Grant the reins in the East too. Bush learned from his mistakes, put Petraeus in charge, and things got better. Should this hold, yes, give him credit.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7/06/2008 7:59 AM  

  • I like the Lincoln analogy. Still, even if the violence in Iraq holds at a lower level, I would not credit Bush with any of the permanent reconciliation among the various Iraqi factions that would be required to sustain the reduced violence and rebuild Iraq (partly because it hasn't even happened yet, partly because he hasn't initiated any of the limited preliminary moves in that direction previously). All Bush did was eventually find the right military men to hand responsibility to. I don't see how this would raise Bush above the bottom ten, especially not in light of all the other failures of his presidency.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/06/2008 11:15 AM  

  • Where do I personally rank Bush? Fourth. Because I've only experienced four presidencies (and Reagan barely qualifies). We remember the daily ups-and-downs of the presidencies we experience. The rest we have the benefit of hindsight as well as a greater sense of the big picture. So when I say historians will rank Bush in the mid- to late-20s, that's what I mean, not where I personally would rank him. Honestly, I doubt I have enough knowledge of all 43 presidential administrations to express a well-formed opinion (which reminds me, does Grover Cleveland get two rankings?). But history tends to respects leadership, and my guess is they will do so in Bush's case as well.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/06/2008 11:30 AM  

  • Wow. I wonder what it would have been like if there were blogs during the Vietnam War, or the recession under Carter, or during Clinton's impeachment hearings...etc.

    The ability to criticize the government is a precious right that we hold as American citizens. Showing respect to people who have differing opinions is simply what maturity dictates. We all have our own backstory and our own perspectives on life, which leads us to our own conclusions on how things should be done. This is what makes America so diverse and so great.

    -Leah

    By Blogger Whimsicalife, at 7/06/2008 1:34 PM  

  • I realize I'm late to the debate, but I think it's worth pointing out that historians are excessively forgiving, especially for presidents who get shit done. Look at Lincoln with his military drafts and suspension of habeas corpus, or Roosevelt with his internment of Japanese Americans and disastrous economic policies. Sadly, as bad as Bush is, I agree with Mike and Jeff that he's got a decent shot at being remembered more fondly than he deserves to be. When future generations flip to the Bush page in their history textbooks, they might well see W in a flight suit on the deck of a battleship. The absurdity of the image will be lost on them.

    Now, let's hear it for Coolidge!

    By Anonymous Jacob, at 7/07/2008 12:57 AM  

  • Thanks to Jacob for (as usual) making the point I was trying to make, except with greater clarity and brevity.

    They might well see W in a flight suit on the deck of a battleship. The absurdity of the image will be lost on them.

    That's sort of frightening. Hopefully the Internet will prevent such historical distortions (but then, can anything predict such historical distortions?).

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2008 9:52 AM  

  • Down the memory hole it goes, right, Zhubin? Since you won't answer me on your own blog, answer me here: if a Hillary supporter didn't want to vote for Obama, why was your first instinct to suspect racism?

    Just to catch everyone up to speed here on what you've been up to. Notice that big gap in responses on Zhubin's page between the 2nd and today? Instead of respond, what did Zhubin do? He erased my post. Suppression of speech, Zhubin? Ironic isn't it, consider all the civil liberty bitching you've been tossing around.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 5:05 PM  

  • Zhubin, as for "getting back to Mike and Jeff", why should we listen to anything you say about W?

    Let me quote you: "this was about as close to paradise it gets for me; all that was missing was a copy of the Washington Post with the headline "BUSH IMPEACHED, EATEN BY WOLVES.""

    Defend that.

    Would you say you're being taken out of context? Am I again "misquoting" you? We already know you think Bush is a "waste of space" and a "complete disaster".

    Or did you think it was a joke? 1. There's nothing funny about wishing someone dead, 2. you wish someone a savage death and 3. you wish the President of the United States of all people death. At best, you're a sick individual. At worst, what you're saying is borderline illegal.

    And to top it off you toss around "racist" like it's nothing. Dude, people's lives and livelihoods are destroyed by less. There is nothing funny about what you do.

    Jeff, I repeat what I said to you earlier today, you, Ben, the rest of you are complicit. You allow it to go uncorrected. If the people that supposedly like him aren't trying to get him help, who would he listen to? Or would you defend what he says as well?

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 5:16 PM  

  • Perhaps it's simply because the rest of us know Zhubin personally, or that we share his affinity for sarcasm and satire, but Andy, do you honestly think he was serious with the "eaten by wolves" and "I suspect racism" quips? Illogical extremes and preemptive jumps to ridiculous conclusions are two of the most common satirical tools. The "wolves" comment may have been in poor taste, but it was clearly made in jest. Believe me, if I had any sense that Zhubin seriously wanted the President (or any human being for that matter) to be devoured, I would be joining you in chastising him.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2008 6:27 PM  

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    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 7:22 PM  

  • Joking about the President being eaten by wolves or calling someone a racist for disagreeing with you is not satire or sarcasm, Mike. Would you find it funny if I wished you dead? or if I said,"How dare you disagree with me, Mike, you racist." It's not really funny because you don't know me, is it? And even if you knew me, Mike, it wouldn't make me saying it right.



    I quote from Martin Luther King Jr about this issue:

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" and "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

    Every time Zhubin says something like this, YOUR silence tells him what he's doing is okay. But don't take my word for it, take MLK Jr's.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 7:33 PM  

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    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/07/2008 8:17 PM  

  • Yeesh. And to throw in MLK quotes on top of all of this. How could I have denied my blog these insights? What a fool I've been.

    Yeah, you can expect me to delete any comments you make on my blog. Listen, man, it's pretty obvious that you're a dick. Maybe Ben tolerates that on his blog, but I don't really feel that need.

    So that everyone here knows, Andy's very first interaction with me was an anonymous comment on my blog (although I can still trace his IP address) in which he told me to quit writing and to go back to making slurpees. I don't throw the word "racist" around lightly, despite what you think, but that's clearly an ethnic slur. (Although if you think my ancestry is Indian, you misfired a little to the right.) Your next interaction with me, which this time you at least put your name on, was on this thread, and it was to personally insult me. And it just went downhill from there.

    And no, I'm not going to "defend" anything I've written to you. I think the prior comments on this thread make it clear that you either misinterpret other's statements in bad faith or that you are stunningly poor at reading comprehension. (I can't believe you pulled poor Mike into a discussion about Bush getting eaten by wolves. Four comments over a cheap ripoff of an SNL joke!) Either way, I'd be wasting my time.

    I will say, on a broader note, that it's sad but unsurprising that Andy cannot fathom that my dislike of Bush could be based on reasoned positions. This is what happens when you have the kind of fanatic polarization of politics that's occurred in America over the past twenty years. When political leaders and the media turn politics into a hyper-emotional, horse-race focused zero-sum game, the result is people like Andy, who have disconnected their admiration or disapproval of political leaders from any reasoned foundation for such admiration or disapproval. This mindset, because it has an irrational favor toward one political position, thus assumes irrational bias behind any other political position, which means that anybody who disagrees is automatically assumed to be hopelessly irrational by the very fact that they disagree. So political debate becomes a insulting slugfest.

    A proper response to the statement "I hate Bush for reasons A, B, C" is to challenge A, B, and C. It is not to immediately insult and question the person's patriotism or intelligence, especially not if you know nothing about that person. But this is American political culture in 2008.

    Alright, I'm done with Andy, I swear. I'm sorry for taking the bait thirty comments ago.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/07/2008 8:26 PM  

  • "I will say, on a broader note, that it's sad but unsurprising that Andy cannot fathom that my dislike of Bush could be based on reasoned positions."

    Yet you can't fathom someone else would dislike Obama without it being racist. This speaks volumes.

    As for being done with me, no you're not. Unless you plan on never posting here again or Jeff's blogs or the others you visit, you will see me. But then again, the onus is always on the blog owner, they can ask me to leave. You on the other hand just silence people. To paraphrase, "when you didn't reason your way into an argument, you can't reason your way out". Your only option left was just to delete me because you were out of tricks. We all witnessed the fool you became.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 9:05 PM  

  • Hey Jeff, remember that line you tried to feed me in the office today about "if you knew Zhubin, you'd find it funny"?

    Think our buddy Amit would find funny the Indian-slurpees jokes your improv friend here is making? Let's run them by him tomorrow and see what he thinks of Zhubin -- maybe I'm missing the punchline.

    By Blogger Andy, at 7/07/2008 10:14 PM  

  • Although if you think my ancestry is Indian, you misfired a little to the right.

    Or a lot to the left...

    By Blogger Matthew B. Novak, at 7/08/2008 2:09 AM  

  • When future generations flip to the Bush page in their history textbooks, they might well see W in a flight suit on the deck of a battleship. The absurdity of the image will be lost on them.

    I tell you, I have nightmares about exactly this, where he's going to undergo the same sort of whitewashing that McCarthy is undergoing now, and forty years from now my grandson is going to run home from school and excitedly tell me about how he learned all about the great President Bush, and I'm just going to have to beat him with a belt for hours, both of us screaming and sobbing.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/08/2008 9:11 AM  

  • Z - Andy tells me that the "slurpee" comment that was made on your blog wasn't him. I'm inclined to agree - for one, Andy rarely posts anonymously, and for two, that's simply not something Andy would say. You say you can track the IP... where's it from, exactly?

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7/08/2008 9:59 AM  

  • So, is he giving up on pretending that I was making some sort of Indian joke? Because even by the standard he set with "you said Bush caused Hurricane Katrina!!!!" that's a pretty lame stretch.

    In any event, he's lying to you. His recent scrollings through my archives are traceable, and it's easy to see that views on my posts that he links to here, as well as a series of searches through my blog for "george w bush," "george w," and "george or bush," all come from NC State University servers or from the Road Runner service he uses in Garner, where I imagine he lives. His bylined comment regarding Obama came from the same NC State server on July 3, as did his anonymous troll comment a few weeks earlier on June 19.

    And, not to be too psycho-analytical, but the troll comment was in response to my post in which I compared the patriotic fervor of a soccer game to the ending of 1984 (did anyone get that, by the way? With the gin-scented tears part?). It was in response to an attack on Bush, it was angry and personally insulting, short, and with a demand that I "do [myself] a favor" and "quit writing" and go back to "making slurpees." It's not hard to determine his "style," so to speak.

    Jeff, I really don't mean to make a big deal of this. I'm not accusing Andy of racism - I think the internet just allows these sorts of racially-tinged potshots, especially when people like Andy, who are kinda dumb and kinda angry about it, are given anonymity. I don't really care, I've heard worse, but it's just silly to make racist remarks on my blog and then troll through it looking for excuses to accuse me of crying wolf on racism.

    Oh, no, Andy! Accountability! What ever will you do? How will you deal with this? Perhaps...finding some more anti-Bush quotes? Yes! To the Zhubinness archives!

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/08/2008 4:12 PM  

  • You know what, I'll help you. You can check here, here, and here for especially juicy stuff. It's kind of pointless, though, because you don't need to prove that I hate Bush - I'd be happy to sign an affidavit stating it.

    Let me simplify what I said earlier: if you do not think that I should hate Bush, then you don't need to prove that I hate Bush. You need to argue why my REASONS for hating Bush are wrong. If your arguments are good enough, you won't even need to make up stuff about what I said! But what you CAN'T do is just say triumphantly that "Zhubin hates Bush!" and then look around for high fives.

    Does this make sense? I really do want to help.

    By Blogger Zhubin, at 7/08/2008 5:49 PM  

  • I'm posting this comment for Ben's sake, just so he can break the 50-comment mark. Woo.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7/18/2008 6:16 PM  

  • I'll see your 50 and raise you 51. One more and Ben will have a deck of cards.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/23/2008 1:39 PM  

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