Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Saturday, January 31, 2004

A few thoughts on Dean

I'm sure you've all heard about Dean replacing Joe Trippi with Roy Neel as campaign manager. The problem being Trippi already spent most of the $40 million raised, leaving the Dean Campaign in a bit of a bind, what with having not won the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, and now with merely a modest amount of money left.

Now, there's a lot of comment how this is some sort of parallel to the internet bubble, but that is, to put it mildly, bullshit. The "internet bubble" is the only thing that put Dean where he is right now. And receiving $40 million dollars with an average contribution of $200 is nothing to sneeze at. Let's be honest here, there was no internet bubble popping here, the internet did exactly what the Dean campaign wanted it to do, it gave them a following, and helped raise them money. But a following and money alone won't win you a presidential nomination.

And I think the problem with Trippi was just that he didn't do a very good job with the Dean primary strategy. It seems that he was just planning on winning Iowa and New Hampshire and let that rising tide carry Dean to the White House. So he put all the resources into those two states, and then failed miserably through a series of ineffective ads and whatnot. So now that Dean instead of having a considerable moneytary advantage over the other candidates has a modest amount of money left, it's time to start anew with a new campaign leader and a new strategy.

And what is Roy Neel's strategy? I've been receiving e-mails from the Dean campaign for some time, mostly I've been ignoring them, but I found Neel's first e-mail pretty interesting.

This campaign has always defied conventional wisdom. Our extraordinary
rise last year defied conventional wisdom. So did our fall in Iowa, and
so did our comeback in New Hampshire after most pundits predicted Howard
Dean was finished.

Conventional wisdom has been consistently wrong about this race.

So when conventional wisdom says a candidate must win somewhere on
February 3, or that John Kerry will have wrapped up the nomination after
fewer than 10% of the delegates have been chosen, we disagree.

Our goal for the next two and a half weeks is simple: become the
last-standing alternative to John Kerry after the Wisconsin primary on
February 17.

Why Wisconsin? First, it is a stand-alone primary where we believe we
can run very strong. Second, it kicks off a two-week campaign for over
1,100 delegates on March 2, and the shift of the campaign that month to
nearly every big state: California, New York, and Ohio on March 2, Texas
and Florida on March 9, Illinois on March 16, and Pennsylvania on April

And there you have it, in contrast to the whole Dean rhetoric of "we will kick ass and take names at each primary", Neel has a much more measured approach, something that's easier to do and can still result in a Dean nomination. Moreover it's a complete turn around from the kind of arrogant approach of the earlier Dean campaign by acknowledging that, yes, Kerry is the frontrunner, and we won't beat him easily.

So we'll see what transpires in the next month or so. But in the meanwhile I do love those Vegas odds pundits who declared Dean the winner before a vote was cast now declare that he's lost after only one primary. Will they never learn.

No really, I would totally qualify a number like 6 FUCKING MILLION with the word "some"

TBogg catches this little gaffe from our good friend Mel Gibson (emphasis added):

I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.

There's part of me that's saying, fuck it, Gibson's an asshole, but what hell kind of talk is this? Cities burning down just happens, POWs getting killed after laying down their weapons just happens, that's war. Millions of people being rounded up, tortured, starved and then killed doesn't just happen, and this much is obvious.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Bad for Disney, good for Pixar

Via August it seems that Pixar will no longer be subsidiary of Disney after 2005. This is great news, not only for us Disney-hating, dirty Communists, but also fans of animation. Pixar is one of the top animation studios, not only insofar as it is at the forefront of animation technology, but it's animated movies are simply brilliant. It'll be interesting to see what they do when they are no longer Disney's bitch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Scam watch

I got this in an e-mail from my Dad. I thought as a public service I'd relay it through this site. If anyone has more information on this, feel free to use the Comments link below.


My husband was called on Wednesday from "VISA" and I was called on
Thursday from "MasterCard". It worked like this: Person calling says, "this
is name and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud department at VISA. My
Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase
pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card issued
by name bank. Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from
a marketing company based in Arizona?"

When you say, "No," the caller continues with, "then we will be issuing a
credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the
charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that
flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to
(gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say, "Yes".
Caller continues, "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have
any questions, you should call the 800 number listed on your card 1-800-VISA
and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control #". Then gives
you a 6-digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Caller then "needs to verify you are in possession of your card. Turn card
over. There are 7 numbers; first 4 are your card number, the next 3 are the
security numbers that verify you are in possession of the
card. These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to prove
you have the card.

"Read me the 3 numbers". Then says, "That is correct." I just needed to
verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have
your card. Do you have any other questions? Don't hesitate to call back if
you do."

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card
number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20
minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA security
department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase
of $497.99 was put on our card. Long story made short, we made a real fraud
report and closed the VISA card and they are reissuing us a new number.

What the scam wants is the 3-digit PIN number. By the time you get your
statement, you think the credit is coming, and then it's harder to actually
file a fraud report. The real VISA officials reinforced that they will never
ask for anything on the card that they already know.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from
"Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA
scam. This time I didn't let him finish I hung up. We filed a police report,
as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these
reports daily, and to tell friends, relatives and co-workers.

Please pass to your family members. While we are all careful, these people
are getting smarter and prey on the naive ones.

Update: Jimmy Ho in the comments informs me that Snopes has something on this already, which is worth checking out. I should really check out Snopes more often.

How being black makes one more qualified to be President, or: Why I'm voting for Al Sharpton

I'm an Arizona resident, so assuming I remember to get an absentee ballot, I'll be voting in the Primaries pretty soon. And I'm not saying I won't change my mind, but if it were right now, I'd definitely vote for Al Sharpton. Why? A lot of it has to do with him being black.

Okay, not so much being black. But rather being black and spending a lifetime at the forefront of the civil rights movement. What this means is as far as domesticate policy, he's seen the worst of what America's policy can do, and he knows what needs to be done to improve it.

I posted earlier about what Sharpton's campaign page says about the Right to Vote Amendment, or rather I cut and pasted Sharpton's platform on the Right to Vote Amendment, but to refresh your memory here's the opening on that.

Most Americans believe the legal right to vote in our democracy is explicit (not just implicit) in our Constitution and laws. However, our Constitution only provides for nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age in the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments respectively. The U.S. Constitution contains no explicit right to vote!

Even though the right to vote is the supreme right in a democracy, the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore constantly reminded lawyers there is no explicit or fundamental right to suffrage in the Constitution. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia besieged Gore's lawyer with inquiries premised on the assumption there is no constitutional right of suffrage in the election of a president, and state legislatures have the legal power to choose presidential electors without recourse to a popular vote. Only a Voting Rights Amendment can fix these flaws.

This is a much more important than people give it credit for, and it seems it takes a candidate whose seen members of his community denied the right to vote through poll taxes and Jim Crow laws to recognize the necessity of this (which is only theoretical, but that would explain why none of the other candidates are bringing this up). And what's more this entirely self-evident. The right to vote is the very foundation of Constitutional Democracy, and the fact that there is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly gives us the right to vote is even more egregious than the fact that the Constitution has nothing banning same-sex couples from marrying ('cos that latter thing is important for some reason).

And this is all well and good, but what of civil rights? To me all civil rights stem from access to good education for all Americans. Since as Ashcroft has proven with the PATRIOT Act, civil rights are meaningless if they easily taken away, and the way to prevent them from being taken away is a well-educated population who knows what their rights are and are willing to defend it from the tyrannical minded people who would oppress them.

And Sharpton seems to agree:

Attorney General John Ashcroft sent a letter to the National Rifle Association on May 17, 2001, asserting that every American has a RIGHT TO A GUN. In it he wrote: "Let me state unequivocally my view that the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms." It's interesting that Mr. Ashcroft's letter was sent on the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision, which declared Plessy v. Ferguson's segregationist "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional. It's also an ironic contrast to the fact that there's NO RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION in the Constitution!

"The right to an education is not guaranteed, either explicitly or implicitly, by the Constitution, and therefore could not constitute a fundamental right." U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey Decatur Illinois School Board Ruling, January 11, 2000.

That's why Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. - believing that EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT - has proposed to add an education amendment to the U. S. Constitution based on the RIGHT of all Americans to have a public education of equal high quality. It was introduced in the U.S. House as H.J. Res. 29:seems to agree.

I suppose here is where I admit I have no expectation that Sharpton will actually win the primary. But that's not important now. I'll vote for whichever Democrat has the nomination in November, but there isn't a significant difference between any of the front runners right now, Lieberman is for all purposes out of the race, and Kucinich apparently has no clue how to run an national campaign. Sharpton may have no political experience and no strong understanding of diplomacy, but that could be made up for with a good running mate and a competent cabinet (I'm hoping we end up with a Secrety of State Moseley-Braun myself). But he knows what needs fixin' in this country and has a plan for fixin' it. So I'm going with Sharpton.

August's got a new cartoon

And he even makes an obscure Mario 3 reference.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Check it out!

As goes Dixville-Notch, so goes the country

August points out this rather insipid piece of primary reporting:

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. - Wesley Clark won the initial votes cast Tuesday morning in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary, the first to be counted in a state primary this year.

Clark had been the only major candidate to visit two of the state's smallest hamlets — Dixville Notch and Hart's Location — where residents cast and count their votes in the early minutes of Election Day.

Clark won Dixville with 8 votes. Sen. John Kerry had 3, Sen. John Edwards 2 and Howard Dean and Sen. Joe Lieberman 1 each. Clark received 6 votes in Hart's Location. Kerry had 5, Dean 3 and Edwards 2.

There are no registered Democrats in Dixville Notch, population 33, and just five in Hart's Location, which has 39 residents. But state law allows independents to register with a party at the polling place and vote in its primary. Most of Dixville Notch's 16 independents and Hart's 14 were expected to vote in the Democratic primary.

Yeesh, are the primaries that much of a joke? This is the fucking AP reporting this!

Monday, January 26, 2004

PATRIOT Act? Unconstitutional? Whoda thunk?

Via August here's some good news for humanity.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I love Ted Rall

Friday, January 23, 2004

And don't you dare forget

Josh Marshall is blogging from New Hampshire. It's definitely worth checking out.

Because I've got a comments section now and I want to test it out, dammit!

It's the first official Raznor's Rants Open Thread!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Margaret Cho is so awesome!

You better recognize!

It's funny 'cos Pete Rose is an asshole

Why I like Sharpton

This is from Al Sharpton's campaign page and is well worth a read:


Most Americans believe the legal right to vote in our democracy is explicit (not just implicit) in our Constitution and laws. However, our Constitution only provides for nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age in the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments respectively. The U.S. Constitution contains no explicit right to vote!

Even though the right to vote is the supreme right in a democracy, the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore constantly reminded lawyers there is no explicit or fundamental right to suffrage in the Constitution. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia besieged Gore's lawyer with inquiries premised on the assumption there is no constitutional right of suffrage in the election of a president, and state legislatures have the legal power to choose presidential electors without recourse to a popular vote. Only a Voting Rights Amendment can fix these flaws.

If Bush had lost in the Supreme Court, Florida's Republican-controlled legislature was prepared to ignore the 6 million popular votes cast in Florida and elect their own "Bush presidential electors" and send them to Congress for certification. Thus, even if all votes had been counted and Gore had won Florida's popular vote, and his electors had been sent to Congress; under our current Constitution the Florida legislature could have sent their slate of Bush electors to Congress and it would have been perfectly legal, and a necessary constitutional interpretation, for Congress to have recognized the Bush electors.

The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the State, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Since the word "vote" appears in the Constitution only with respect to non-discrimination, the right to vote is a "state right." Only a constitutional amendment gives every American the affirmative right to vote. Congress can pass voting rights legislation, but it can only use financial and other incentives to get states to comply.

Our "states' rights" voting system is structured to be "separate and unequal." As we saw in the 2000 election, there are 50 states, 3,067 counties, tens of thousands of cities, and many different machines and methods of voting - all "separate and unequal." There's ONLY ONE WAY to legally guarantee "the right to vote" to every American - add a Voting Rights Amendment to the Constitution!

Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. - believing in democracy and that VOTING IS A HUMAN RIGHT - has proposed to add a voting rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution based on the individual RIGHT of all Americans to vote. It was introduced in the U.S. House as H.J. Res. 28:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

`SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, shall have the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, or any other public or private person or entity, except that the United States or any State may establish regulations narrowly tailored to produce efficient and honest elections.

`SECTION 2. Each State shall administer public elections in the State in accordance with election performance standards established by the Congress. The Congress shall reconsider such election performance standards at least once every four years to determine if higher standards should be established to reflect improvements in methods and practices regarding the administration of elections.

`SECTION 3. Each State shall provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election.

`SECTION 4. Each State and the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall establish and abide by rules for appointing its respective number of Electors. Such rules shall provide for the appointment of Electors on the day designated by the Congress for holding an election for President and Vice President and shall ensure that each Elector votes for the candidate for President and Vice President who received a majority of the popular vote in the State or District.

`SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.'

Attorney General John Ashcroft sent a letter to the National Rifle Association asserting that every American has a constitutional RIGHT TO A GUN. In it he wrote: "Let me state unequivocally my view that the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms." However, there is NO RIGHT TO VOTE in the Constitution?

If Americans had a choice between the RIGHT TO A GUN and the RIGHT TO VOTE, it would be nearly unanimous. Americans would choose the right to vote! If that is the priority of the American people, then we should have the wisdom and political will to codify it in the form of a constitutional amendment.

What are the advantages of fighting for human rights and constitutional amendments? Human rights and constitutional amendments are non-partisan (they're neither Democratic nor Republican), they're non-ideological (they're not liberal, moderate, or conservative), and they're non-programmatic (they don't require a particular means, approach or program to realize them). They're also not a "special interest."

If we pass a new voting rights amendment, the next civil rights movement will emerge fighting for congressional legislation - while also using the federal courts - to implement the Voting Rights Amendment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Trying to blog by disagreeing with the conservatives

Now that I'm back at Reed, I'm trying to find something of substance to blog about. So nothing riles me up like checking good, old Instapundit and trying to find some piece of bullshit to disagree with. And sure enough, I find a completely Reynolds-like oversimplifying gnashing of teeth type comment as he writes in all capital letters "STILL MORE CRUSHING DISSENT" and links to this article:

A small group of Westside High School students plastered the school Monday with posters advocating that a white student from South Africa receive the "Distinguished African American Student Award" next year.

The students' actions on Martin Luther King Jr. Day upset several students and have led administrators to discipline four students.

The posters, placed on about 150 doors and lockers, included a picture of the junior student smiling and giving a thumbs up. The posters encouraged votes for him.

The posters were removed by administrators because they were "inappropriate and insensitive," Westside spokeswoman Peggy Rupprecht said Tuesday.

Rupprecht said the award always has been given to black students. . . .

Rupprecht said disciplinary action was taken against the students involved but, citing student privacy policies, she declined to specify the penalties or what about the students' action led to them.

Karen Richards said her son, Trevor, who was pictured on the posters, was suspended for two days for hanging the posters. Two of his friends also were disciplined for hanging the posters. A fourth student, she said, was punished for circulating a petition Tuesday morning in support of the boys. The petition criticized the practice of recognizing only black student achievement with the award.

One of the school's students, Tylena Martin, said she was hurt by the posters and the backlash she said it caused. . . .

Westside has fewer than 70 blacks out of 1,843 students this year. . . .

[Karen] Richards said her family moved to Omaha from Johannesburg six years ago. Trevor, she said, "is as African as anyone."

To his credit, though, Instahack does link to Eugene Volokh who takes a more measured response to the article:

Under Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. School Dist. (1969), speech may be restricted if it's disruptive -- but not because it's "inappropriate and insensitive," something that many students no doubt thought about the anti-Vietnam-War black armbands that Tinker held to be protected speech.

Of course, if a school has content-neutral rules prohibiting students from putting up posters on doors or lockers, the school may evenhandedly enforce this policy; the doors and lockers are its property, and it may bar students from using them as their own billboards. But if it's punishing students for the views that their posters are expressing -- for instance, if posters are generally allowed, either officially or de facto, but these were the only ones that were punished -- then that seems like a violation of the Tinker doctrine. Likewise for the school's punishing the student who circulated a petition "criticiz[ing] the practice of recognizing only black student achievement with the award."

And the thing is, Volokh is completely correct. The school went too far in punishing the students. But this had nothing to do with a vast left-wing political correctness conspiracy that Glenn Reynolds seems to be implying. The students who did this weren't dissenters, they were just stupid, and probably assholes. The school had every right to tear down the posters, but it had no reason to actually exact punishment on them.

In other words, this is child's play compared to free speech zones and free speech violations in the workplace. But I don't hear Reynolds bitching about that.

Update: Relooking at Instapundit's post, I think he's being sarcastic in his overstatement. I hate when I jump to conclusions like that. I'm sure there's so much meatier posts just under the surface there, and I messed it up. Oh well, that's what I get for going for the easy post.

Hooray, a quiz

Echidne of the Snakes links to an this quiz that matches you up based on your views with various presidential candidates. I found it interesting. Kucinich ranked first for me, with a score of 100%, second was Sharpton, who personality-wise, I actually like better than Kucinich, since he's pretty awesome. Then Kerry, and Dean shortly after that. Even Lieberman had a score of 83%, then there's Bush with a Raznor-match score of 18%.

Take the quiz, you'll understand what I mean by the rather cryptic paragraph above after you do. It's kind of fun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Going back to Reed tomorrow

As such expect much more blogging as I get faster internet access, but before I get bogged down with thesis and classes. Plus most of my grad apps are in so take that, fate!

August's got a new cartoon out and it is quite funny. I particularly like his Howard Dean parody in the last panel. But unlike most, I rather liked his rallying cry after "losing" the Iowa Caucus. I don't know what else he was supposed to say besides "fuck third, I'm still fighting for this."

And of course in other news, D-backs got Robby Alomar, who should be the perfect stopgag before Scott Hairston comes up. I still have high hopes for the 2004 baseball season. My hopes for the year is that the Diamondbacks win the World Series two weeks before Bush is finally kicked out of the White House as I watch from my apartment in Berkeley. We shall see. We shall see.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Behold the might of my mighty comments!

Okay, I have comments now. I've got stuff to do right now, so I'll make the comments link more pleasing to the eye sometime in the future. Also I'll post something worthy of comment. Leave me alone. My main laptop keyboard still doesn't quite work by the way, that should be fixed later this week.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Blogging when I can

It's been a while since I've posted here, and it'll be a few days yet at least. The keyboard on my laptop decided to stop working that well, so it's never a certain thing if all the keys work. This makes it hard to post here and write my thesis. Hopefully I'll get this fixed up by next week though.

In the meanwhile, while I can still link to it, check out August's latest cartoon.