When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

12 February 2006

RINO Sightings - The Vicodin Edition

Hello, and welcome to this week's RINO Sightings. (Because I'm on the road on Monday, the Sightings are going up a little early. Deal with it.)

So, I had a spot of trouble with a shattered tooth on Friday, a bit of oral surgery involving two (!) dentists and a pair of surgical Vise-Grips on Saturday, and now I've got (another) hole in my head and a whacking great dose of mood-altering pain medication coursing through my veins.

Of course, if world-famous conservative commentators can build huge listening audiences and entire broadcasting empires while stoned out of their minds on heroic quantities of synthetic opiates, surely I should be able to do a little blogging...

Aaaaagh! Snakes! Snaaaaaaaakes! Shoot them! Shooooot them!
(blam blam blam)

Ahem. As I was saying...

Surely I should be able to do a little blogging without the Vicodin interfering too much.

Look, on the horizon! It's a herd of oncoming RINOs!

Rhino Herd
Pictured, l-r: Senators Arlen Specter (RINO-PA),
Olympia Snowe (RINO-ME), and Lincoln Chafee (RINO-RI).

What's a RINO, you may ask? In everyday use, it's an acronym for "Republican In Name Only," usually a term of denigration used sneeringly by Movement Conservatives and other True Believers to denounce anyone who (for example) doesn't believe with their whole heart that gay marriage (1) is the most pressing issue facing our Republic and (2) makes the Baby Jesus cry.

In our little corner of the world, though, the Raging RINOs wear that pejorative label as a badge of honor; we are Republicans and Independents Not Overdosed (on GOP Kool-Aid.)

We RINOs are a cantankerous and contrary group, and the presence of a link in the following list shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of the writer's position on my part; I don't always agree with what my fellow RINOs write, and with this much codeine in my system, I'm not even sure what the hell some of you are talking about.

On with the Sightings.

Jane, at Armies of Liberation, gets pride of place this week, with the story of two crusaders for journalistic freedom in Yemen.

The Yemeni regime has a new label to target its reformers, opposition and civil leaders: “pro-Dutch.” (The regime employs a variety of stereotypes to label its opponents in an effort to turn public opinion against them: Zionist, Separatist, Houthi, Terrorist, Mason, American-leaning and Treasonous, to name a few.)

This is the story of Hafez al-Bokari and Rahma Hujira, two leaders of Yemeni civil society who have struggled for years for journalists rights...
Jane, also known by the Yemeni government as "that pain-in-the-ass uppity woman who won't give us a moment's peace," asks that if you have a minute or two, please drop by her blog and leave a comment on this post; among her daily readers are, apparently, some representatives of the Yemeni regime, and letting them know that the Whole World is Watching is a good thing.

On a much lighter note, Cardinal Martini has a funny (and true!) story from the University of Southern California, documented extensively with photographs: What if they held a free-speech rally, but nobody came?

(I, for one, find it hard to believe in the first place that you can't say "motherfucker" on the USC campus. Don't they have a Classics department? Don't they teach Oedipus Rex any more?)

Over at Digger's Realm, Dan is excited about an actual archaeological dig that made the news this week:
The first intact tomb since Howard Carter discovered King Tut's tomb in 1922 was uncovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. This is exciting news! There are 5 sarcophagi and mummies in the tomb.
The Unabrewer reminds us that some jurists feel it's the consequences of the law that matter; why get hung up on silly, outdated notions like the actual text of the law, and judicial intent?

Don Surber goes all meta on us and sends in a Carnival post (in this case, a Carnival of the Celebrities) as a RINO Sightings entry. Whoof. I think my head just exploded.

Speaking of explosions, Pigilito tells us that to give ourselves the gift of peace, we could always convert to Islam... but you'd sure want to be careful about the details...

...and speaking of Islam, Dean Esmay argues persuasively that Islam is not incompatible with freedom or democracy as those terms are commonly understood, while noting that freedom-wise, the majority-Muslim countries have a long way to go. (Interesting comments thread on that one, by the way.)

Nick Schweitzer at The World According to Nick offers some optimistic thoughts on "flipping the democracy switch" in the Islamic world, and also offers a heartfelt plea for a little more reasonableness in the blogosphere:
I know it's very unbloglike... but with some of these more weighty controversial topics, I'm trying to slow down my responses to them so that I can take in more information before hand, and make more reasoned judgements. Sue me.
Nick, I am *so* down with that. Just because you *can* respond instantly doesn't necessarily mean that you *should.*

SayUncle has a thoughtful and detailed post on the effect of market forces on firearms design, which should be of interest to all you gun geeks and libertarians out there (as a member of both groups, I was fascinated.)

And speaking of Gun Geekery (nice segues, huh?) John from Castle Argghhh! reminds us of the true meaning of gun control: shooting tight groups.

Rachel at Tinkerty Tonk has some thoughts on the danger of pandering to your base. Conventional wisdom, for instance, tells us that Rudy Giuliani couldn't survive the Republican primaries because he's too liberal for the GOP base voter. Here's what Rachel thinks:
People like Rudy Guiliani because they perceive him as strong leader and a man with principles. He handled 9/11 superbly. He also turned down money from the Saudi prince on principle. Likewise, he's been a staunch defender of Israel. The war on terror isn't going to end when George Bush leaves office. Not surprising that many see Rudy Guiliani as a fit successor to carry on.
At the Strata-Sphere, A.J. Strata would like to "protect America, not terrorists' rights," by removing what he sees as artificial and anachronistic distinctions between domestic law enforcement and global warfighting.

At Restless Mania, Mr. Proliferation thinks that former Navy Secretary James Webb has a good shot a winning a Senate seat in Virginia in 2006... as a Democrat, running against George Allen.

(As an aside, Webb's social history of the Scots-Irish in America, "Born Fighting," is one of the better non-fiction books I've read recently. Like Webb, my people come from the Appalachian Mountains, and I think he has extraordinary insight into the Scots-Irish character.)

Two Dogs at Mean Ol' Meany has some politically incorrect and possibly NSFW thoughts on February as Black History Month, and some additional suggestions for what we might devote the other eleven months in the calendar to studying.

Kevin W at The Liberal Wrong Wing drops a trio of posts on us: Republicans on Education, The Gay Community, and The State of Our Union.

At Inside Larry's Head, Larry Bernard has a message for his foreign readers, many of whom visited to discuss the Mohammed cartoons; it provides some historical context on where Larry's coming from.

David Porter of the Pacesetter Mortgage blog has been digging through his site statistics, and finds that about 10% of his visitors are from overseas. He's like to know where other bloggers' readerships are coming from.

(Here at enrevanche, roughly 80% of our visitors are from the US or Canada; Europe is about 10%, Asia about 5%, rest-of-world about 5%. And I just got my very first (and only-ever) hit from Antarctica last month; I had written a post about wanting to travel there, and someone at a research station down there actually found it.)

Professor Bainbridge thinks that he sniffs the scent of resurgent isolationism in the wind--and also thinks that a "to hell with 'em hawk"--strong on defense, but essentially isolationist with respect to foreign policy--could reap great electoral rewards in 2008. (I think he may be on to something there.)

Tom Hanna at Tom Rants thinks that the practice of earmarking is the *real* corruption scandal in Congress:
The whole backscratching practice is essentially nothing more than Congressmen from both parties using taxpayer funds to bribe each other to vote for further misuse of taxpayer funds... earmarking Congressmen use money stolen from the nation’s Treasury to bribe each other and that has a stench that makes Abramoff smell like a rose by comparison.
Jim K at Right Thoughts has a short piece that ought to win some kind of investigative journalism award; he's discovered where they make those highly-realistic looking 55-gallon drums that are used in shoot-em-up videogames.

Mark at Decision '08 thinks that what's missing from the Winter Olympics right now are a few good enemies:
The one totally tangible memory that most people have (even people who didn’t watch it, in the curious way these things work) of a real athletic moment of glory is Al Michaels asking “Do you believe in miracles?’ as the United States defeated the Soviet Union at long last on the hockey rink at Lake Placid. That’s the Soviet Union, not Russia, and we’re talking Cold War here.

The Soviet Bear was the ultimate Olympic adversary. Capable of winning huge medal counts, a system of recruiting and training that Huxley could have envisaged, copious use of banned substances - really, Hollywood could not have scripted it any better.
And last but not least, Dan at Searchlight Crusade offers us a thoughtful post on the (tricky) politics of national defense.

Sunday evening updates:

The Commissar crunches some casualty numbers from Iraq and, in The IED War, comes to some interesting conclusions about the strength of the insurgency:
The insurgents (or terrorists, if you prefer) cannot or do not engage the U.S. forces. They only set off roadside bombs under our vehicles. I hasten to clarify that there is nothing cowardly or disgraceful in itself about waging war by irregular methods; any American knows of the Minutemen and battles of Lexington and Concord.

But, essentially, the enemy in Iraq does not engage the American forces. The insugency show no sign of going away, but as Juan Cole noted, the guerrillas are really no more than mosquitos to US forces. It shouldn’t even be called a war, maybe a war-let.

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