With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Spencer Blog Archives 12-02

Click here for Mr. Spencer's latest blog entry.


I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy New Year. That's it for me today. I've been on a reduced blogging schedule while I'm down here in Arkansas visiting with family. Since I'll be driving back home tomorrow, I won't be blogging again until January 2nd.

I really do hope, for all of our sakes, that next year will be a better year than this one. Unfortunately, it probably won't be -- an unnecessary war is on the horizon, the economy is really bad, and, with Republicans in charge, no help of any kind will be coming for those of us who don't donate millions of dollars toward the Republicans' political warchests.

You know, I had always wondered what it would look like if wealthy corporate interests controlled the government and got everything they wanted.

Well, I guess I know what it looks like now.

It's not pretty, is it?

Everyone take care and I'll see you again in a couple of days.

Posted by Tom at 4:54 p.m. CST


Atrios points us to this article about the ties between the leadership of Sons of Confederate Veterans and overtly racist groups.

Apparently, most of the leadership in this neo-Confederate group are also members of many racist and segregationist groups as well.


I just can't believe it.

Isn't it good that the Republicans got that one bad apple, Trent Lott, out of a leadership position?

Posted by Tom at 10:37 a.m. CST


On Saturday, in his last weekly radio address, W lied about when the recession started in a feeble attempt, yet again, to shuck responsibility for the recession.

On Sunday, Colin Powell claims that, contrary to Iraq, North Korea is "not a crisis."

Two days.

Two great big lies.

Honor and Dignity.


[Last link via Counterspin]

Posted by Tom at 8:10 p.m. CST


Arianna Huffington has an excellent breakdown of the year's memorable -- but hopefully soon forgotten -- events.

Posted by Tom at 9:17 a.m. CST


Holy cow! Liberal Oasis points us to this very belated post by Instapundit acknowledging the existence of the aforementioned poll showing Bush's public approval ratings have dropped. So, since Glenn now believes in its existence, we can all now rest assured that said poll does truly exist. I guess Glenn will respond after two days worth of brow-beating after all. I'm told that he largely delayed responding because he considered my e-mail to him rude and not properly deferential to his status as grand poo-bah of the blogosphere. I guess I should've offered to kiss his"best blogger in the universe" ring.

In the last few hours, several bloggers have contacted me to decry the dishonest and self-serving way in which Glenn refuses to acknowledge the two major players in this one, Liberal Oasis and myself. I do want to thank them here for their messages. However, it's not really that big of a deal.

My goodness! Glenn being dishonest and self-serving! Say it isn't so!

As someone who's been reading him for a while now, I'm afraid to say this sort of thing is just par for the course. He can be a pretty petty guy at times. (As human beings, we all can be but he seems to be setting new lows every few days now.) This is not the first time and it sure as hell won't be the last.

I am happy to say that many lefty bloggers are becoming aware of this rather disheartening side of Glenn's and many of them have decided that he is becoming the Bill O'Reilly of the blogosphere -- dishonestly presenting people's arguments and shouting down those he doesn't agree with -- or, when he's truly desperate, he'll even stoop to questioning their patriotism.

Of course Insty will continue to be surrounded by thousands of sycophants who continue to stroke his ego on a regular basis. He's built his readership to incredible levels. However, I'm told his analysis isn't what it once was and I'm happy to say more and more liberal bloggers are wising up and are not among the remaining sycophants -- and this is a good thing.

That's it for today folks. Remember, I'm down in Arkansas seeing family after all.

Update: Liberal Oasis, the true instigator of all of this despite Glenn's best efforts to ignore them, has an update on this -- noting that CNN is now playing fast and loose with its own poll data now -- referring to a a second poll now that shows better approval numbers. Confusingly, when discussing public approval for the president, they now mix the results of these two polls, using the data that looks best for W of course. Why did CNN take a new poll -- only two days after the first one? It certainly looks a bit suspicious. Were they trying to get better results to buck up our wartime president?

Skippy has also unearthed another interesting development regarding the"invisible cnn/time poll." It appears the folks at Time and CNN are still withholding the embarrassing poll numbers regarding W's approval rating from public circulation.

Interesting -- do you still think it's an innocent mistake now, Kos and MyDD?

Posted by Tom at 4:24 p.m. CST

THAT'S THE NEWS AND I AM... 12-27-02

Out of here! I've always wanted to say that. Can you tell I'm a Dennis Miller fan? Anyway, I'd better go make final preparations for the trip.

There will be no blogging tomorrow for sure. I might blog intermittently the next few days after that but we'll see.

Thanks again for reading!

Posted by Tom at 10:08 p.m. CST


Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons sent me an e-mail asking for further comments on our current policy which is apparently to sanction torture of Al-Quaeda and Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Randy has blogged about this here, Meralynn at Talkleft has blogged about it here, Lisa English has here and Kevin Drum has here.

The Washington Post had an excellent editorial on this today. I'll quote you the last paragraph:

But there are certain things democracies don't do, even under duress, and torture is high on the list. Some of the alleged tactics, while aggressive, may be legitimate: deceptions, for example, or psychological pressure. Others -- bright lights and lengthy interrogations that interfere with sleep -- straddle the line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct. Without knowing more about what exactly is happening, it's hard to judge. But beating prisoners is entirely out of bounds. The critical first step is for the administration to clarify what tactics it is using and which are still off limits. If administration officials have decided that moderate physical pressure -- once an abuse -- is now to be the norm in terrorism cases, the American people ought to know and ought to be able to respond through their representatives and through individual and organizational voices. It shouldn't be the administration's unilateral call.

I see this pretty simply. It's just wrong. Certainly we're violating the Convention Against Torture that we've ratified. I don't understand the argument that we have to do these sorts of things. I don't understand how we can do these sorts of things and, as far as I'm concerned, an administration that sanctions these things is, I hate to say this, morally questionable if not inherently evil. This reminds me of Reagan's creepy backing of murderous regimes in Latin America during the 1980s -- except that we're now apparently doing the murdering (two folks at Guantanamo have died under suspicious circumstances) and torturing.

It was wrong to support regimes that did this in the 1980s and it's wrong now. If we're going to be providing an example for the rest of the world we simply don't do these things. We can't. If we do, we have no moral ground to stand on -- and we sure as hell can't be lecturing other countries about their human rights record. We become a nation that believes in"might makes right" rather than actual moral principles.

It's mighty curious that an administration that said it was going to bring"honor and dignity" to the White House is pursuing a policy like this. There's not a lot of honor in sanctioning this sort of behavior. In fact, I'd argue it's a sign that the folks in our government lack honor and any sort of respect for basic human dignity. We've become what we (rightly) despised.

Now I'm sure the righty warmongers, er, warbloggers will argue that I'm"pro-Osama" for saying such things but I really don't give a damn. This is moral principle and we shouldn't be engaging in this sort of behavior. To oppose a government policy that sanctions such behavior is actually the highest form of patriotism I'm aware of -- and sure as hell isn't wrong in any way.

If everything I'm reading about is true, it's a sad day for the country indeed.

Posted by Tom at 9:49 p.m. CST

THANKS! 12-27-02

I want to thank my readers. A little after 4:00 today, I had my 20,000th visitor via a link from Buzzflash.

I've also had more than 36,000 hits since I installed my hit counter on September 18th. It was only 23 days ago that I had my 10,000th visitor, so reader interest in this blog has definitely increased incredibly in just the last couple of weeks.

Today is a record day for both visitors and hits as well.

This isn't major league for the internet (certainly not Instapundit numbers) but I'm very happy with it just the same. I'm very glad so many of you read me every day.

I hope I give you reason to come back for more.

I do greatly appreciate it!

Posted by Tom at 5:11 p.m. CST


You know, there apparently is no shortage of unqualified loons this administration can appoint to important government jobs. Get a load of thisguy!

[the last link via Atrios]

Posted by Tom at 3:16 p.m. CST


Eric Foner and Glenda Gilmore, two big-wig historians, have an excellent column in the Los Angeles Times about Daniel Pipes, Lynne Cheney, and what I would call the New McCarthyism.

I won't quote any of it because you really must go read it.

I mean it.

Go read it.

Posted by Tom at 2:29 p.m. CST


Michael Kinsley has an excellent column in the Washington Post about politicians and race. Here are his two paragraphs on Bill Frist:

Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, who will be majority leader instead of Lott, is a Southern politician who avoided Lott's tragedy by having the cou