Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday small change

Closing out the night with some interesting links that don't require extended commentary:

A Christian Scientist church in Washington, D.C., is a badly designed, ugly and deteriorating pile of concrete that is hideously expensive to maintain. It's the kind of unfriendly, uninspired building that helped create the modern preservationist movement. But now, ironically, it's old enough to draw preservationist protection of its own -- to the dismay of the church that has to cope with it. The writer's rhetoric is over the top -- the church isn't that ugly, and it doesn't even own the building anymore -- but he's not alone and he raises some good points about the clash between preserving history and protecting property rights.

That's apparently what he says in his memoir, which hit the streets yesterday -- along with a scathing critique of Bush's economic policies. This should surprise no one. You don't have to believe that we invaded merely to seize control of the Iraqi oil fields to realize that the only reason we care about what happens in the Middle East is because a lot of our oil comes from there. If there were no oil in the Arabian peninsula, we'd treat it with the same casual indifference and neglect that we treat most of Asia and Africa. There are plenty of unpleasant tyrants around the world, but only Saddam was sitting on large proven oil reserves. It's not just a weird coincidence that he's the one we decided to knock over. I'm not being moralistic here; after all, securing our energy supplies is a legitimate national interest. But I think we ought to be honest about the root causes of the war, because our involvement of Iraq is a significant externalized cost of our dependence on oil. Until we admit the true cost of that dependence, we will not take the steps necessary to kick the habit.

Or something like that. An aide to Mike Huckabee tried to explain away Huckabee's 1998 statement that "It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia." Let's put aside the wild-eyed nature of that comment for the moment (pedophilia and necrophilia are publicly endorsed and institutionally supported?) The aide said what Huckabee meant was that while same-sex sex and screwing a dead body are both aberrant behaviors, homosexuality is at one end of the spectrum while necrophilia is at the other. That might make sense, given the sentence structure -- except that then you have to draw the conclusion that in Huckabee's world, sadomasochism is worse than both homosexuality and pedophilia. You know what I want to see? I want to see Huckabee draw a diagram of his aberrance spectrum, so we can see clearly where he rates each act. BTW, the first commenter at TPM has a great line: "So torture is okay as long as it's not in a loving bed?"

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