kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Friday, May 02, 2008

An invitation

I have plenty to write about here, including Jeremiah "1% Wrong Trumps 99% Right" Wright, Barack "Hello, Grandma?" Obama, Hillary "God Bless the Rich" Clinton, John "You Wanna See Flip Flopping? I'll Show You Flip Flopping!" McCain, and many others.

Such as an old Ryan Lizza piece in The New Republic, referring to Jeremiah Wright as a "former Muslim." That was all that was said, but of course it was picked up by some folks on the Web, and is proudly on display at Rush Limbaugh's Website. Rush claims to have done a great deal of research on all of this, but there is very little evidence—actually there are two words—to support this claim, which is then extensively discussed by the EIB Genius. It almost goes without saying that in this context, "Muslim" is used, more or less, as a synonym for either "terrorist" or "terrorist sympathizer." Sad; no one seems interested in challenging El Rushbo on the evident falsehood of the claim or the smearing of Muslims in general. Perhaps we're feeling sympathy for Oxycontin withdrawal.

I believe this is the kind of thing that causes Keith Olbermann to refer to this man as "comedian Rush Limbaugh": to wit

I ran across something last night. I've not seen this anywhere else. I did as much as I could to verify this. Ryan Lizza in the New Republic, a year ago, long story at the New Republic on their website. If you print it out, it's nine pages long.

Both parts of his brain tied behind his back

It might be worth noting that while the article is nine pages long, in spite of Rush's implication, exactly two words have anything to do with the Muslim remark. It would be most entertaining to determine what the Cape Girardeau Crapola Factory means by "I did as much as I could to verify this." I think it means "I did bupkus." And it seems not to be anywhere else, in that Lizza evidently just made it up, and in that the claim seems to be, well, goshdarnit, false.

The sad thing is that either Lizza doesn't know about this, or doesn't care. I couldn't find his e-mail address at his current employer, The New Yorker, and that's about where I lost the will.


In any case, I thought if someone (my reader) would be interested in chiming in here on whatever topic he or she wishes to, I'd open this up to a guest blogger or two. You don't have to write about baseball, but you should know that as I write this—and it may be the last time I can do so in 2008—the magnificent National League Baseball Club of St. Louis, incorporated is in first place in the National League Central Division.

If interested and you know my address, e-mail me. If interested and you don't know my address, leave a comment. If not interested, what in the hell are you doing still reading this?


Blogger Bazarov said...

Ha! You keep referring to your one reader but I see multiple comments being made. I'm guessing this could mean that I'm the only one reading and all the other people leaving comments are simply clairvoyant and more or less guessing correctly everytime they write a response to what you or some other commentator has written without having actually read it. I don't believe in the paranormal so that must mean you have more than one reader, which in turn leads to the question: Who is your reader?
If it's me I'll spare you the embarrassment of being associated with me and possible loss of friendships that may result from allowing me behind the steering wheel. I like being provocative far too much for intelligent, mature debate any longer. Should you get no other takers and insist, I suppose I have a few topics I could blog on. I've recently killed all my blogs so I am not getting the blog poison out as frequently as I once did. I hope I didn't misspel anything lest I get attacked for that...Oh, I kept reading because I could do no other but to read on.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what, in your mind, is the 1% that the good Rev. is wrong about? And, given that he has said many things far more offensive than a certain other politician mentioned on this blog, does that qualify him, in your mind, as "an idiot"?

Don't really want to beat a dead horse. Just seeking some consistency, and wonder what tortuous mechanisms you'll employ to avoid hypocrisy.


9:16 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Wright, of course, is not a politician, as is abundantly clear.

I don't think the US government created AIDS, or HIV, to infect black people. I certainly heard that rumor when I was in Chicago.

I don't have the energy to go through the various claims, and parse and gloss them. Some I disagree with, many I agree with, and most I think are open to various interpretations, charitable and otherwise.

One example: can you name the other things on the list mentioned when Wright says "God Damn America"? Or identfy the text he was preaching on, and what is said there? Might those things be relevant?

Those who are familiar with this church, with the various kinds of churches attended by African-Americans, what is said there and done by them: I don't hear much about that. Wright's ministry has a whole lot more to do with outreach in a community a lot of white folks in Chicago have never seen than it does with a magazine his daughter used to edit giving Farrakhan an award.

I would simply say that the treatment of Wright has not reflected much proportionality. I would add that Clinton is desparate; she's quite close with people who went to jail, yet FOX News hasn't devoted 3 hours a night to any of those fine people.

Conservatives are scared of Obama, and are coming after him. Fair enough, but let's keep things in perspective, OK? Why Clinton has decided the best way to win the nomination is to make Obama unelectable, while doing little to improve her image or how people trust her, is a lovely strategy.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. The evolution of your thought process, from analyzing the reverend's comments to somehow implying that Hillary is to blame, is a little bizarre.

2.Downright ridiculous is the notion that Hillary is getting a free pass, either in the printed press, the right-wing folks at Fox, the left-wing folks at MSNBC, or the blogosphere. Which brings me to...

3. You didn't answer my question. Do you consider Rev. Wright an idiot?

9:18 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

I have enough hostility in my life not to get all bent out shape here over Clinton, Wright, etc.. But I'm glad you read this, and comment.

I don't think Wright is an idiot. I've heard him say a lot of things, a good part of which I agree with.

I've heard Ferrarro say exactly one thing in the last year, which I didn't agree with.

In terms of percentages, that puts her ahead in the race. I might point out that in the post that has you so worried, I said she should be allowed to explain her position at length, and that we could "consider" other options, rather than calling her a "racist."

My thought process has always been suspect. I didn't "blame" Hillary; you don't even indicate what I blame her for. I just asked for more proportionality in the treatment of candidates and issues.

She was asked yesterday to name a single economist who supported her gas tax. Her response was to say that "elite" opinion is what drove the Bush administration. Evidently, she couldn't name one, and any economist now becomes part of "elite" opinion.

As far as a "free pass," compare the coverage of Wright, or the Flag Pin, with Clinton's assertion that she would "obliterate" Iran were Israel to be attacked. I wonder what "elite" opinion has to say about that.

Everything Clinton has done lately has made me go from assuming I would vote for her if she were to win the nomination to having serious doubts about her character.Which, for once, seems to put me in league with a majority of Americans.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

Just to muddle it up a bit more, I'd say the fact that Mr. Wright is a clergyman makes him more than 1% wrong. I understand you meant as far as his political opinions were concerned, but I had to throw that in there, as I'm sure you knew I would.
Have you seen "There Will Be Blood" yet? I have to say that it's the best new movie I've seen in a long time. That ending, eh? I haven't cheered at a tv like that in a long, long time.

10:40 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Good point. Perhaps I should have said "if one grants his basic assumption . . . ."

And, then again, if one doesn't?

I wonder what Ferraro's theological views are?

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How very tortuous.

I am disappointed in your answer because of what it says about us as an intellectual movement.

When W staked his entire war plan on the alleged WMDs, and there turned out to be none, his credibility for the next five years was shot. Not everything W says is wrong, but that immense miscalculation/deception irrevocably established his flawed thought process, and everything he says must now be doubted. Same goes for Limbaugh, Coulter and O’Reilly. Their occasional stumbling upon the truth is automatically discounted because of the obvious contradictions in their thinking and their-outcome-based “analysis.”

This isn’t about Wright or Ferraro, but about you. Had you conceded that they were either both idiots, or both honestly wrong, that would have gone a long way towards establishing some honest consistency. But given the tortuous extremes (percentages? please!) you have gone to to attack one person and excuse another for similar behaviour, only one conclusion can be reached: from here on out, anything you say must by necessity be colored by the fact that not only are you biased (we all are) but that you consciously refuse to apply a standard of evaluation that is based on honesty and consistency. Your are of course entitled to your opinion, but any comment on Limbaugh or Coulter (or, really, anything else), no matter how seemingly on target, must first elicit the reaction: “Hmmm, is Mosser correct about this, or is he again engaging in tortuous reasoning?” You may well be right, but there will always be that doubt about your methods and your approach, and your arguments and credibility will greatly suffer as a result.

The worst part is that you probably aren’t even aware of it. We all look at Limbaugh and O’Reilly, and it is so obvious to those of us on the outside looking in how hypocritical and contradictory their comments are. Yet in their own minds they are perfectly consistent, and when (albeit rarely) confronted with contradictory items, they engage in absurdly convoluted reasoning to justify their positions. Now that Olbermann has turned into a rabid Clinton hater, his own hypocritical contradictions readily emerge, and are just as easily exposed. And now, alas, so do yours. (Never mind that you seem to be parroting Olbermann rather than thinking for yourself: he used that line about not being able to vote for Clinton in the general election because of her character a few weeks ago.)

And that brings me to why I’m so disappointed. I always thought that “we” were better than “them.” “We” were the ones who were supposed to be intelligent, educated, discerning, analytical, honest. “They” were the ones who were supposed to be faith-based, emotion-driven, gut-motivated, reactive, dishonest. But how can we claim we are right and they are wrong when we behave in essentially the same way? How can we claim any kind of credibility?

Still, there are a few other bloggers out there, including some McCain supporters and one or two real right-wingers, who do try to keep it honest and consistent. I guess I’ll go see what they’re up to.


12:36 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Again, I'm glad you read this and comment. Feel free to accept my invitation and guest blog here.

You have, of course, put me in a bit of a dilemma: were I to disagree with what you've said, that means I'm blinkered, blind, parroting Olbermann, etc.. Or I can agree with you, which means I'm blinkered, blind, parroting Olbermann, etc.. Some choice.

The comparison between Ferraro and Wright seems to me to be a stretch. If a person says something wrong, that person isn't automatically useless; rather, it should be put in the context of a career, and the context of the moment. Politically, Obama would have been much better off had Wright shut up. Intellectually, I guess I'm glad some of the things he said got brought up for discussion. America's hands aren't clean, and the violence and death caused by US foreign policy has led, directly and indirectly, to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. (E.g. the sanctions against Iraq after the first Gulf War.) Luke and Ezekiel give examples of God not blessing, but damning, that behavior. Tortuous?

How this comparison between Ferraro and Wright then can be turned into a general attack on me, on Obama, and whatever else you wish to extrapolate from it is fine. I don't really follow why the fact that Wright said some stupid things--as well as some smart things--makes me Limbaugh, but then again I'm not that quick.

This all has little to do with Clinton's campaign, which has looked like one run by Lee Atwater or Karl Rove. The fake southern accent when speaking in North Carolina, the gas tax pander, the "obliteration" of Iran remark, the 3 a.m. phone call, the charge of "elitism," the attempt to act as an outsider to the political culture of Washington D.C.--to parrot again, this kind of stuff makes me wonder if, in fact, the 65% of those saying that Clinton will say anything to get elected isn't true.

I agree with many of her policy positions, and prefer her on some--health care, specifically. But the campaign gives every indication that we will, indeed, be back to politics as usual.

Obama wants to change that. So do I.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous bmackintosh said...

Who pissed in your pudding? I take exception with your comments.
First, I think your accusation of Kurt parroting Olbermann is weak and excessively combative. Many, many Obama supporters have stated their reluctance to vote for Clinton after witnessing her acidic during this campaign, including my wife who never watches MSNBC and generally dislikes political commentators.

I also disagree your comment, "Downright ridiculous is the notion that Hillary is getting a free pass." She's getting a free pass, Duke. She has more baggage than Pamela Debarge, and I haven't been seeing any of it mentioned in the press. Where's the mention of Travelgate? That was an inexcusable piece of business that ruined reputations and careers all to enrich Harry Thomason. It’s the only scandal of that era I believe, and it’s very revealing of her character. At least Obama’s questionable associations never resulted in ruined lives and careers.

Also: "Tortuous Reasoning?" This label is undeserved.
I think you simply overreacting to some opinions of which you don't agree. The reasoning here is hardly indirect or filled with twists. It's a personal political blog for crying out loud.

Lastly I disagree with the personal nature of your attacks. "This isn’t about Wright or Ferraro, but about you." This personal tone coupled with the overreactions reveals your age. What ever happened to "you can catch more flies with honey?"

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If ever a connection was needed between the clinton haters of yore and the current crop, the last posting provides it. Travelgate? Jeez! Why not bring up Vince Foster while you're at it. I said it before: somewhere Ken Starr is smiling.

The posting also inadvertently reaffirms Duke's point: Anyone who still obsesses with Travelgate is engaging in the worst form of tortuous reasoning, and can be taken no more seriously than Rush Limbaugh.

It also suggests something else. Rather than Clinton willing to say anything to get elected, it is more the case that her detractors will say anything to prevent her election. Attacking someone's "character" is straight out of the Republican playbook (Lee Atwater even before Karl Rove). A major segment of the American left is doing a despicable hatchet job on Hillary, and some people on this blog ought to be ashamed of themselves.

8:39 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Now I know what "cognitive dissonance" really means, given that I always disagree with Brent. So when he agrees with me about disagreeing with me, I get confused.

I guess I should know who Pamela Debarge is.

But I don't.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooooo! Travelgate! The conspiracy paranoids run amuck! Back to the old Obama cult theory.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

Few things are more beautiful than infighting!

10:24 AM  
Anonymous bmackintosh said...

I am hardly obsessed with Travelgate, but I do feel the scandal (sans Foster theories) is true. This is the one mishap where the administration had to back off and admit wrongdoing.

Check out this link to a New York Times article by Thomas Friedman.


This looks like a straightforward scheme to throw out the travel office and bring in some cronies. Nothing "tortuous" here. It's a callous, inexcusable act and has Hillary's prints all over it.

There's no Democrat more deserving of a hatchet job than Hillary Clinton, especially after her conduct during this primary.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(oh, and an admission of a hatchet job, too.)

6:09 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Since I didn't mention Travelgate, the guy who did can defend that claim.

An interesting study points to this:

———May 06, 2008

Study: Wright covered more than Clinton

Rev. Jeremiah Wright's appearance at the National Press Club last week definitely pushed him back into the spotlight. Last week he "generated more news than both Hillary Clinton and John McCain," according to a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

In the week of April 28 to May 4, Clinton appeared as a significant or dominant newsmaker in 41 percent of the campaign press, with McCain at just 14 percent. However the Wright/ Obama relationship alone factored into 42 percent of stories.

Will statistics like this cause more media figures to pause before beating the Wright issue to death, as Tim Russert did Sunday with his first 11 questions on "Meet the Press" relating to the candidate's former pastor.Or perhaps others will follow CNN's John Roberts, who declared a "Rev. Wright-free zone" in his recent interview with Obama.

Obviously, the Democratic race is going to get the overwhelming amount of attention right now, and it showed in the party breakdown. Fewer than six percent of 2008 coverage this past week focused mostly on Republicans.———

So that might be put into the mix of charges of "free pass," "hatchet job," etc..

This may be irrelevant, but I think I said somewhere here that I just wanted a little proportionality.

Crazier still: from 3 until Midnight, three channels cover the news, albeit particularly politics.

I've been watching a lot of it. Hard to believe anyone would even know we're in Iraq and Afghanistan, or that there are important issues relevant to Iran.

I expect it from FNC. But couldn't some channel other than Free Speech TV (on one hour, 10 am and midnight, cable access), pick up the slack?

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the statistics here.

Are you saying that during that week—during the period when Obama was at his most controversial, when all the apparent furor in the universe was targeted at him and his pastor—41% of the news stories were STILL about Hillary, whereas the stories about obama were a whopping 1% higher? In other words, the media still had about the same to say about Hillary as it did about Obama, even though there was actually something relevant to say about Obama?

Are you @#$%%$#@# kidding me?????

I have to assume that your plea for proportionality has to be some kind of joke. Or are you really suggesting that when Obama gets in hot water, the media should STILL devote 75% of its stories to bashing Hillary? (I guess it all depends on what kind of "proportions" seem fair to you.)

Sorry, Mosser, your stats prove the "hatchet job" and "free pass" point like nothing else could have.

Perhaps you should start watching fewer of those "news" shows you mentioned. You might gain a sense of real-world perspective.

9:10 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

"Perhaps I am misunderstanding the statistics here."


41% of the stories were about Clinton, 42% were about Obama and Wright. Not Obama, in general, but about his relationship with his former pastor.

One can use statistics to do all sorts of things. It seems a bit out of proportion that the Wright story got more attention than Clinton.

Is that really an odd conclusion to draw?

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It seems a bit out of proportion that the Wright story got more attention than Clinton. Is that really an odd conclusion to draw?"

Yes! You seem to be going by the assumption that Clinton automatically should get more coverage than Obama. All other things equal, they should get equal coverage. At a time when there's a real Obama story out there, one would expect there to be far more Obama coverage. The fact that the coverage is essentially equal when Obama is in (alleged) hot water points to the inherent bias in the media against Clinton.

More importantly, the fact that you cannot see this clear-cut statistical principle speaks to your inherently tortuous reasoning to which Duke was earlier referring to. It's just another facet of the "idiot/non-idiot" double standard you are applying.

11:00 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:51 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Maybe I'm missing something.

Clinton's 41% is in comparison to the Wright/Obama coverage. Just that coverage was more or less the same as everything said about Clinton.

Unless there is no other reason to say anything about Obama than to note his relationship with Wright, it would seem that this is a little out of whack.

Clinton should have been covered more than Wright. Again, this seems to be a conclusion that is somehow insane, so I must be missing something. Or I could just be insane.

One last question, for anyone here: is "tortuous" the mot du jour or sumpin'?

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe I'm missing something."


"Clinton should have been covered more than Wright."

See, now you're just being disingenuous. You're suggesting (or wishfully thinking) that Wright has no (or a very tenuous) connection to Obama, and that is why you think he should not be covered. But that is actually a separate issue. The fact is, for better or for worse, the Wright story IS (and has been) the Obama story: a rather incendiary, headline-making, juicy story, filled with all sorts of implications about race, patriotism, the role of the US in the world, etc.

And yet in spite of all that, the number of Clinton stories virtually matched the number of Obama ones. I'm wracking my brain to remember exactly what Clinton did or said that week that merited equal coverage with the juicy Wright story.

Tortuous: (see esp. #3):

1. full of twists, turns, or bends; twisting, winding, or crooked: a tortuous path.
2. not direct or straightforward, as in procedure or speech; intricate; circuitous: tortuous negotiations lasting for months.
3. deceitfully indirect or morally crooked, as proceedings, methods, or policy; devious

7:34 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

"I'm wracking my brain to remember exactly what Clinton did or said that week that merited equal coverage with the juicy Wright story."

Here's one: she's running for President.

I know the word "tortuous," but thanks. I just hadn't seen used so extensively, but maybe my febrile attempts here justify it.

12:28 PM  
Blogger theparrhesiastes said...

Hi Kurt,

Nice blog. It's good to know that you're also devoting time to pissing-off conservative blog-surfers and not just UD students.

I'd like to make 2 presumptuous requests: 1) can you order the posts chronologically, so that your most recent post is at the top of the blog and 2) can you create an RSS feed, so that I'm updated when you make a new post? :)

4:28 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Not sure I know how to do the RSS thing. But the blog entries are in chronological order, at least when I look at them, with the most recent at the top.

Now: who are you?

4:08 PM  
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