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Friday Links

13 June 2008

Still need to finish my Penthouse story (I’m 1,500 words over my alloted word count, and still have one full day of the trip to summarize), have a short missive I need to dash off about the state of baseball in 2008, my IBD column’s up in three hours, plus at some point I need to get some sleep. So here are a few choice links to take you into the weekend.

–Are you into Obama? Like really, really into him? Then maybe you too will dump your attractive health care consultant girlfriend to get closer to him. If this video, entitled “I Got Dumped for Obama”, doesn’t sum up the huge enthusiasm gap between GOP voters’ stance on McCain and the Dem lovefest for O to the B to the A to the M to the A, I don’t know what does.

–More Obama, this one a Media Matters column that looks at the huge, immediate reaction that the Dem candidate for president has gotten whenever some crackpot has taken unfounded swipes at him. As writer Eric Boehlert notes:

Indeed, Sen. John Kerry’s former campaign aides must see this kind of rapid response and think about what might have been if they had an army of online activists ready to battle the press when reporters and pundits took cheap shots trying to defame the Democratic front-runner back in 2004. And poor Al Gore. Imagine if 15,000 letters to newspaper were dashed off the week the inventing-the-Internet fairy tale first began to take root in the press?

McCain’s only hope is for Obama to make an error of disastrous proportions, or for a group of Swift Boaters to pelt him with attack ads and hope no one calls them on it. Obama and his staff are too competent and polished to let him make any huge slip-ups. Now, with the blogosphere so ready and mobilized to jump to his defense at the drop of a hat, he’s got the second angle covered too.

– and New York Sun colleague John Hollinger has an astute piece up on how Doc Rivers played a big role in last night’s monster comeback win by the Celtics. I’ve been as critical of Doc as any Celtics fan. But I think I’m buying Bill Simmons’ claim that Doc just needed “reps” in the playoffs to improve his in-game decisions, the same way a rookie needs reps in the court before he can mature as a player and make the right decisions with the ball. Settling on a nine-man rotation with James Posey, Leon Powe, P.J. Brown and Eddie House coming off the bench has been the biggest move. With Rajon Rondo hobbled by an ankle injury, Doc could have easily gone to the horrendously awful Sam Cassell for heavy minutes at the point, a move that almost surely would have handed the Lakers the championship. Instead House came out and made an impact, draining jumpers, showing great energy and even playing a little D.

–Speaking of Simmons, he doesn’t need the help of a tiny blog like mine, but I still have to link to his Game 4 diary, because it’s such an enjoyable read. He touches on many of the same points about Doc, House and company and gives props to Ray Allen for his incredible resurgence (48 minutes, 19 points, 9 rebounds and a litany of ballsy plays last night…sorry I doubted you, Ray!). Beyond that, it’s got the trademark Simmons Celtics enthusiasm in there, where he combines his knowledge of the NBA with the love of his favorite team.

–Finally, Link of the Day honors go to my favorite political writer, the oft Glenn Greenwald of Today Double-G looks at the conservative wing of British government vs. the conservative wing of the U.S. government, and the huge ideological gulf that lies between them. I’m actually a big backer of many conservative political tenets. I support small government and people’s rights to govern themselves (beyond the government providing essential services). Part of believing in small government is having elected officials who recognize the need to never overstep their bounds or overextend their power.

As Greenwald shows, the conservative wing of the British Parliament does this very, very well. As former Tory Prime Minister John Major said, regarding a vote on extending the UK government’s right to hold prisoners without charges for 42 days:

No one can rule out the possibility of another atrocity — but a free and open society is worth a certain amount of risk. A siege society is alien to our core instincts and — once in place – will be difficult to dismantle. It is a road down which we should not go.

That’s 42 days, mind you. Meanwhile, Bush and his loyal band of imperialists have held many of the prisoners in Gitmo for six years, stomping on habeas corpus in the process and stripping them of all rights. Those prisoners include several U.S. citizens who never learned the nature of their charges and never got to contest them in court. They’re in Gitmo because the White House says so. In other words, George Bush could come to your house tomorrow, steal you from your family and lock you up forever if he doesn’t like the cut of your jib.

As Greenwald says:

The contrast between the British Right and the American Right could not be more glaring. The former is at least mildly faithful to the principles they espouse, while the latter has morphed completely into an authoritarian, government-power-worshiping faction that fantasizes it’s waging glorious war against — to use Antonin Scalia’s politicized term — “radical Islamists,” but which is only at war with its own claimed principles and the principles on which the country was founded.


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