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Thursday, January 15, 2004  

Politics: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

  • Say 'I do' . . . or else
  • Yo, single guy - and gal! The president wants you. To stop being single, that is. The New York Times broke the story.

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 - Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.

    For months, administration officials have worked with conservative groups on the proposal, which would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain "healthy marriages."

    "The officials said they believed that the measure was especially timely because they were facing pressure from conservatives eager to see the federal government defend traditional marriage, after a decision by the highest court in Massachusetts. The court ruled in November that gay couples had a right to marry under the state's Constitution.

    This is a way for the president to address the concerns of conservatives and to solidify his conservative base," a presidential adviser said.

    Several conservative Christian advocacy groups are pressing Mr. Bush to go further and use the State of the Union address to champion a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Leaders of these groups said they were confused by what they saw as the administration's hedging and hesitation concerning an amendment.

    Administration officials said they did not know if Mr. Bush would mention the amendment, but they expressed confidence that his marriage promotion plan would please conservatives.

    Jon Walz of Jon's Mind believes Shrub's initiative is too little, too late. If he had acted just weeks earlier, a great American tragedy could have been averted, it appears.

    KENTWOOD, LA -- The “celebrity” pop-singer and former fleeting [R]epublican Stepford-Wife Britney Spears admitted this afternoon that her 55-hour marriage to childhood sweetheart Jason Alexander in Las Vegas last week could have been saved had the Bush administration, just a few days earlier, “gotten off their, like, lazy, pathetic collective candy-asses and proposed this whole $1.5 billion plan to make marriages work and stuff, like, seriously,” Spears told reporters.

    Today's $1.5 billion Bush proposal, a transparently political campaign stunt and obvious wink-and-nod to his administration’s “conservative base of NASCAR fans who beat their wives” would, according to the New York Times, use the country’s hard-earned and very limited tax-dollars “. . .for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain ‘healthy marriages.’”

    Spears added, “My life is, like, ruined - I'm only about sucking face with the ladies now. . . .”

    Something smells funny here. And, I don't mean Jon's kind of funny. Funny strange, not funny entertaining. The Republicans have decided to micro manage the intimate relationships of the poor and minority. Seems rather paternalistic. But, wait, there's more. The reason the GOP will be embracing love in the ghetto is to send a message of disapproval about love in the Castro. So, meddling in the domestic lives of one outgroup will be used as a weapon against another outgroup. Is Karl Rove slick or what?

  • Aunt Jemima has left the building
  • Blogger and new mother Dawn Olsen is perturbed about a poster of presidential advisor Condoleezza Rice being circulated in liberal circles. Dawn believes the poster communicates contempt for black conservatives.

    "Oh, I think I understand what's going on. See, if you are a person of color AND conservative then clearly your race can be used against you, because heaven forbid you not follow the stereotypical party-line of liberalism. If you are a conservative and also a minority in this country, then you have CLEARLY sold your soul to the "white devil" and have made a mockery of your race. It couldn't possibly be that you have educated yourself to the various political paths and ideologies and chosen the one that you feel best represents your values, beliefs and faith.

    . . .There seems to be a vast left-wing conspiracy going on here. It seems that certain liberals are trying to keep conservative, free thinking individuals, who happen to also be of a different race than whites, DOWN. Why is that?

    Maybe it's just me, but I find it kind of duplicitous to call into question someone's race in a derogatory way just because their philosophy differs from your own, but then use that same race as a benefit when it suits your agenda.

    It's no secret that Liberals traditionally have championed the dignity of minorities and their right to equal treatment, and then when some members of those minorities turn conservative they turn around and make slave jokes."

    My initial response to Dawn's entry was as a civil libertarian: Rice is a public official. She is helping make decisions that impact millions of lives, both in America and abroad. People have the right to criticize public officials and public figures because of the power such persons hold. Indeed people should criticize the powerful, since that is one of the few forms of accountability they are subject to.

    After more thought, I decided Dawn may have a point regarding the 'fighting for whitey' language. I believe what Rice is actually doing is helping the oligarchy that runs the country. It does not include or concern itself with most of the citizenry, including most white people. So, accuracy has been sacrificed to catchiness in the slogan on the poster. Do read the rest of Dawn's entry.

  • Read more than his lips
  • Zizka has been thinking about George W. Bush's affair with Enthymeme. That's Shrub's drinking partner and hot tub chanteuse. (Would I kid you?) Hell, yeah.


    \En"thy*meme\, n. [Gr.?: to keep in mind, consider; in + mind, soul.] (Logic) An argument consisting of only two propositions, an antecedent and consequent deduced from it; a syllogism with one premise omitted; as, We are dependent; therefore we should be humble. Here the major proposition is suppressed. The complete syllogism would be, Dependent creatures should be humble; we are dependent creatures; therefore we should be humble.

    -- Houghton-Mifflin, via www.dictionary.com

    He suggests the not exactly elected leader of the free world and used car salesmen have something in common.

    Now we all know what enthymeme is

    In an enthymeme, the speaker builds an argument with one element removed, leading listeners to fill in the missing piece." As a rhetorical device consciously used, enthymeme can be a dramatically effective way of making a point, and as long as the missing element of the argument is actually true, no harm is done.

    On the other hand, when a used car salesman uses enthymeme to "let you think" something that isn't actually true, while very carefully avoiding making the false claim explicit, that's deception. The fact that the false claim has been carefully avoided is common-sense evidence for the salesman's dishonesty, though the absence of any explicit claim usually means that the salesman is legally off the hook.

    Recent claims that Bush never actually said that Iraq had WMD, or that Saddam was allied to al Qaeda, or that the Iraqi threat was imminent, actually make Bush look worse. His careful avoidance of the clincher sentences makes it very likely that he knew that they weren't true. An enormous swarm of administration statements convinced the American public of several untrue propositions, while at the same time carefully avoiding legal liability. And anyone who believed Bush is a sucker who has only himself to blame.

    There's a lesson in this -- always read the fine print, and never assume anything.

    It seems to me the syllogism at the core of the rot is: Saddam Hussein is a bad person. Ergos, most of which make no sense, are emanating from that core claim. They are the misleading missing elements of the argument.

    Read Zizka at his blog or at Seeing the Forest.

    12:10 PM