Weekend Open Thread

Round the Blogosphere today:

  • Avedon Carol at Sideshow on why she's lukewarm to a draft Gore bid for 2008. Me too. I also don't think there's a chance it would happen. If Hillary isn't unstoppable, it goes to Obama (even though I wish it would go to Edwards in that event.)

The ACLU, while it prefers the FISA Modernization Bill, says it has turned its attention to fixing the RESTORE Act since the Modernization bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Please, call your representative right now. Tell him or her to only pass a FISA modernization bill that has individualized warrants for people in the United States and NOT to provide telecom companies with immunity for breaking the law.

  • Libby at The NewsHoggers on why the Dutch ban on mushrooms is a bad idea.


  • Law Prof Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy is asking for commenters to help convince him to "get off the fence" on the death penalty. Go on over and convince him. I'm a bit suprised he's not there already.
  • Sarah Tofte at HuffPo on why sex offender laws may do more harm than good.
  • Alex Pareene has left Wonkette to return to the home office of Gawker. He was funny and great for Wonkette. I met him at the CNN blogger election night party in D.C. Good luck in the new gig, Alex -- and New York City is way more fun than D.C.
  • Go Rockies. They are 2-0 in the NFL playoffs. I stayed up past midnight to finish watching the 11 inning, very slow-moving game. The next game is in Denver Sunday night. Here are some Colorado Rockies blogs: Purple Row; Up in the Rockies; Rockies Locker.

So, what are you reading and thinking about this weekend. If new diaries come up, I'll do a diary rescue tomorrow.

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    Gore Is Reminder of What Might Have Been (none / 0) (#1)
    by john horse on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 03:54:41 PM EST
    I agree with Jeralyn and Avedon Carol that Gore will probably not run.  However, though he won't run, you can't help but think that his Nobel prize will affect the 2008 election by reminding voters of what might have been had Gore been President in 2000.  If Gore was President we wouldn't have invaded Iraq.  

    While Bush's popularity has fallen to historical lows, Gore has won the Academy Award for best documentary and the Nobel Peace Prize.  Sometimes voters learn from past mistakes.  If they see Bush as a mistake, they will be less likely to vote Republican in 2008.

    Ayan Hirsi Ali and how the Netherlands wants to (none / 0) (#2)
    by jerry on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 04:11:15 PM EST
    remove protection from her.

    From the wiki:

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, MA (pronunciation (help·info); Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969[2] in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch feminist and political writer, daughter of the Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. When she was six, her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia, and eventually settled in Kenya. She sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, under circumstances that later became the centre of a political controversy.

    And I read about her at "The Advice Goddess" Enlightenment Without Borders
    Battling Muslim extremism means defending its front-line fighters; for example, The Netherlands' Ayan Hirsi Ali, whose government has forsaken her again and again: Dumped her as a legislator, ejected her from her home (the neighbors were worried), tried to yank her Dutch citizenship, and now, it seems they are dumping or have dumped her from their protection, deeming guarding her in the U.S., from the barbarians who'd cut her down like they did poor Theo Van Gogh, too expensive.

    We're supposedly instilling western democratic values in Iraq -- we should be defending them on our own soil; both by welcoming the courageous, accomplished, and eloquent Hirsi Ali as a citizen, and by giving her the protection she needs to continue to speak out against those who'd slaughter her and all of us for not following the dictates of their particular primitive religion.

    Amy Alkon is a good read.  Libertarian.  Seemingly a very principled example of a libertarian who puts her money where her mouth is.  That is, not a libertarian in the Glenn Reynolds "I refuse to say I am a conservative" sense.  As a libertarian Amy drives environmentally sensitive cars and is against the war in Iraq and blogs about why she makes these choices.  She also has interesting perspectives that I do not always agree with on issues ranging from health care to well, I'll call it the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism.

    But note, she blogs about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism and how various countries (like ours) are giving in to it and at the same time she is against the war in Iraq.  As a Jew, I find her concerns and fears speak to me -- and I don't know who to believe, which is why I am very glad that she is out there presenting her views so clearly and yet without having to conflate her views with that of the neocons.

    In that regard, another "new blogger" on the scene is Phyllis Chesler

    Phyllis Chesler (born October 1, 1940) is an American writer, psychotherapist, and professor emerita of psychology and women's studies at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). She is known as a feminist psychologist, and is the author of thirteen books, including the best-seller Women and Madness, and the recent publications The Death of Feminism and The New Anti-Semitism.

    Chesler was born in New York State to [Orthodox] Jewish immigrants. In the early 1960s she was briefly married to an Afghan fellow student and lived in Afghanistan. She credits her Afghan experience as inspiring her to become an ardent feminist.[1] According to Chesler, her problems began when she and her new husband arrived in Afghanistan. She was forced to give up her U.S. passport upon arrival, losing her American citizenship in the process. With it, she gave up all rights, and ended up a virtual prisoner in her in-laws' house, the target of cruelty and abuse by several members of the household, who felt she was soft, and ill-treatment by her new husband, from which she had no legal recourse. She attempted to flee, but was repeatedly rebuffed by the U.S. Embassy, who no longer recognized her as a citizen. After a few months of this, her father-in-law helped her, sick with untreated hepatitis, get back to the U.S., on a tourist visa.[2] She currently lives in Manhattan, New York City.

    Chesler taught one of the first Women's Studies classes at Richmond College (which later merged with Staten Island Community College to form the College of Staten Island) in New York City during the 1969-1970 school year. During the same year, she co-founded the Association for Women in Psychology. During her time at Richmond College, she established many services for her female students. Because of her, self-defense classes, a rape crisis center, and a child center were developed. She is one of 5 co-founders of The National Women's Health Network, with Barbara Seaman, Alice Wolfson, Belita Cowan, and Mary Howell, M.D., and is a charter member of the Women's Forum. She was an editor-at-large and columnist for On The Issues magazine.

    Chesler is a Jewish feminist psychologist who also takes a view on feminism and antisemitism that is different than "what might be expected" from the politically correct crowd.

    I like reading intelligent, informed opinions even if they do dissent from mine.

    Her blog can be found at http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/phyllischesler/

    Here's an interesting post to start with:


    For years, feminists--myself included--focused on women as victims. We argued, correctly, that women were not only being discriminated against economically but were the objects of horrific psychological, sexual, and physical violence.

    In North America and Europe, women are still being raped, incested, battered, trafficked, tortured, and murdered. However, after forty five years of feminist activism, such acts are increasingly viewed as crimes, and are increasingly reported and sometimes punished. Rape as a weapon of war, (think Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan, Congo) is now seen as a crime against humanity.

    Understandably, but also regrettably, many feminists got used to viewing women as victims-only, never as perpetrators or collaborators. When, early on, some daughters described serious abuse at the hands of their biological, adoptive, or foster mothers, few feminists took them seriously. Similarly, when lesbians initially described being battered by their female partners, few feminists took up their cause. We did not (want to) believe that woman's inhumanity to woman was widespread or AS widespread as either man's inhumanity to woman or man's inhumanity to man.

    I was among a handful of feminists who took the allegations of female abuse at female hands seriously. In 2002, after more than twenty years of on-again/off-again research and writing (and after dragging my feet about publishing), I finally published my book Woman's Inhumanity to Woman. I surveyed thousands of years of human history around the world. I also looked at female-female primate behaviors.

    Unsurprisingly, females may be hard-wired to compete against and destroy other females (but not males, who are physically bigger and who are also viewed as a woman's potential protectors). Girls and women are also be socialized to keep each other in line and to enforce conformity by using techniques such as shunning and slandering, and as important, by rewarding female compliance with maternal and sisterly "grooming." (Yes, like primates).

    While some American feminist leaders blessed me for writing this book, many greeted my book "nervously." Many believed--and still believe--that women must prove that we are morally superior to men in order to justify our desire for equal rights. But this should not be the case. ...

    Read the whole thing...

    More on Hirsi Ali (none / 0) (#4)
    by dutchfox on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 07:48:27 PM EST
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali's necessary evolution (none / 0) (#8)
    by Aaron on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 05:02:19 PM EST
    Unfortunately Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a rather petulant child, who needs to grow up. She has become a shill of the right wing conservatives in this country, joining one of these so-called conservative think tanks, where very little higher thinking ever occurs. They have used her to help push their message of religious intolerance and hatred.

    I talked to some of the more liberal people in Dutch politics when I was over in Holland, and they were glad to see her go.  According to them, Hirsi Ali caused more problems than she helped solve, with her blanket condemnations of Islam.  She continues to repeat these blanket condemnations of the Islamic belief, repeatedly failing to distinguish between the wider religion itself and Islamic fundamentalism and the Islamic fundamentalist movement.  

    I quote,  "Islam is not a religion of peace" (Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Bill Maher's Real Time).

    In my view this woman is the victim of abuse, specifically at the hands of her family, and has transferred her rejection of the injustice and oppression she suffered at their hands, to the entire Islamic world. She will never be an effective voice for the rights of oppressed women throughout the world until she is able to address her own denial in this area.

    She now lives in the US, though recently contemplated returning to Holland in order to maintain the protection provided by the Dutch government. I don't believe she is in any more genuine danger here in America than the average upper middle class African-American.  She is certainly in far less danger than the average African-American member of the underclass living in an urban high crime area with gang activity. If she returns to Holland, then I think the protection she currently has is necessary, since that's where the death threats have originated, but here in the United States she's about as as safe as the rest of us.

    I think she's a lovely well spoken intelligent human being with a great deal of potential to do enormous good in this world. She could become a female feminist version of Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X., an effective spokesman for the rights of women and children who could perhaps facilitate real change in the Islamic world, but she has yet to face and overcome the personal hurdles which once blinded and hobbled those great leaders.  Until she finds the strength to face her own demons, she will be unable to make the transition to that next higher level of understanding and advocacy.

    I support her in her in that personal struggle, but I must in good conscience continue to reject the message of intolerance and misunderstanding that she currently advocates. I look forward to the day when she throws off the baggage which is holding her back, on that day she will have my full support and backing.

    Everyone should see Submission, the film she created with Theo van Gogh



    Here is teh Bill Mahrer / Real Time video (none / 0) (#9)
    by jerry on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:24:21 PM EST
    The Apostate blog (none / 0) (#10)
    by jerry on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:24:16 PM EST
    Unfortunately Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a rather petulant child, who needs to grow up. She has become a shill of the right wing conservatives in this country, joining one of these so-called conservative think tanks, where very little higher thinking ever occurs. ...

    I don't know how to respond.  You seem rather judgmental and a) she has been through more than I will most likely ever be, and b) I consider she understands Islam a great deal better than you or I, even if she happens to disagree with you.

    The are others similar to her.  Here is the blog of a woman that calls herself The Apostate.  She seems to be a feminist who has left Islam.  She blogrolls Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other apostates.


    And reading so called feminists defame another (none / 0) (#3)
    by jerry on Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 05:17:16 PM EST
    There's a small blogwar going on in which four self-identifying liberal feminist bloggers are basically defaming another individual and intentionally misrepresenting his views and replacing them with gross distortions of his views and those of many.

    I am embarrassed that no one else in the liberal blogosphere is responding by telling these bloggers what they are doing is wrong.

    It started with this rather straightforward interview of Glenn Sacks by Dr. Helen Smith:

    Ask Dr. Helen: Fighting for Men's Rights

    People that read Glenn's blog  realize he is basically a progressive liberal, and that it is difficult to make any case that he is not.  He is also an ardent and persuasive advocate of father's rights, especially with respect to wanting courts and laws that create a rebuttable presumption of joint physical custody except in cases where it is argued that one of the parents is unfit.  As he argues, he is always good to link to the studies he cites.  And I find he is very fair to everyone involved and has frequently gone out of his way to acknowledge the important gains of feminism and the many areas in which feminists have had very valid complaints about society.

    One of his issues (and mine) is on the abuse of temporary restraining orders that are too easily granted and then used to obtain various legal advantages.

    With that interview, Jeff Fecke at his blog as well as at Melissa McEwan's blog created a post that grossly distorted the interview and Glenn's responses and Glenn's views.  That post was linked to and amplified at Pandagon by Amanda Marcotte as well as at Lawyers, Guns and Money by Scott Lemieux.

    I think what I find the most egregious behavior is that while all of these "feminist" bloggers felt that Glenn's statements and those of other fathers were fairgame and distorted these to call Glenn and us as "wifebeaters" and wishing to eliminate all restraining orders, and trying to fight for the right to rape, NONE of these four bloggers felt it reasonable to respond to the several blog posts in which Glenn Sacks addressed their points and demonstrated why they were essentially defaming him.  (my words.)

    The "usual" protocol in these blogwars is to address and link to "your opponents" position.

    But while these bloggers will do that for many bloggers from the right, NONE of these bloggers were willing to link back to Glenn.

    My explanation is that Glenn's responses were too obviously true and by providing links or acknowledging that would be dangerous to Fecke, McEwan, Marcotte of Lemieux, as it would show how intellectually bankrupt their arguments were.

    Glenn discussed the interview and the reaction here, and responded directly to the other bloggers here, here, Amanda Marcotte Goes Over the Line, and finally here,
    The Marcotte Controversy -- More Lunacy from Their Side, and Now Some Lunacy from 'Our' Side

    In all of these forums, Glenn's readers and others have shown up and largely discussed the issues rationally and calmly (there have of course been those that used ad hominem and unfounded personal attacks.)  But many of us directly told the bloggers in question that their misrepresentations were outrageous, defamatory and many and that they should address Glenn directly.

    Many of the comments were censored by Melissa McEwan at her site.  I know from personal experience that several comments were not allowed to post at Pandagon.

    Today, Jeff Fecke comes up with another distorted post and again Amanda Marcotte amplifies it.

    I think the behavior of these four bloggers is outrageous and has nothing to do with how progressive liberals like to think we argue.

    To quote Nobel Prize Winner Doris Lessing:

    "I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed," the 81-year-old Persian-born writer said yesterday.

    "Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation.

    "We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men?


    "It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not.

    "It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests.

    "Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did."

    Lessing claimed that much of the "great energy" whipped up by feminism had "been lost in hot air and fine words when we should have been concentrating on changing laws.

    "We have got the pay but only real equality comes when child care is sorted out and it hasn't been yet, well not for those who really need it anyway".

    vetting trouble ahead of time (none / 0) (#5)
    by Sumner on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 03:36:34 PM EST
    Confirmation hearings for Michael Mukasey, for the position of US attorney general, are said to be slated for Oct. 17, 2007.

    Rumors have already been circulating that among Mukasey's more visable weaknesses is a penchant for intolerance of dissent.

    We need to learn, particularly, of whatever nutcase leanings this nominee may have sucessfully concealed up-to-now.

    As the Senate is already suspect of failing the inalieble rights of the citizens of this country, perhaps at least one day of Senate hearings could include a forum for people online to submit questions to the nominee, similar in format with what was done in the Yearly Kos Presidential Debates, that enabled the Netroots to fully participate.

    Otherwise, this seems like yet just one more in a long line of predictable comedy/tragedies of compound error, such as in the previous AG confirmation hearing where the dubious Senator Brownback assigned Alberto Gonzales's mission as a war on sex.

    Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 03:55:19 PM EST
    The `Good Germans' Among Us

    Say it with me people, so that the Congress will do what needs to be done, and remove this man from office, slap him in irons, and put him away in the deepest darkest dungeon we have for the rest of his life, as a lesson to all those who would betray the Republican subvert democracy.

    George W. Bush is a traitor to the United States of America, and a war criminal, who must be tried for treason and crimes against humanity.  The survival of our nation as a republic, is entirely dependent upon making this man answer for his crimes in a court of law.  If the law doesn't apply to the president of United States, our elected representatives, then our laws apply to no one, they become nothing more than words on a page, that can be ignored by anyone with enough power.

    leave it to Senate, that's what they're there for? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Sumner on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 04:03:48 PM EST
    Lest anyone think that an attorney general most notable for his intolerance of dissent would fall closer to the "quaint" side of the continuum rather than closer to the "personification-of-death" side, please see this Bill Moyers interview of Professor Anouar Majid.