Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ah, Jurors

There are two pillars on which our criminal justice system is based. One is the presumption of innocence, the other is the concept of only convicting someone after the state proves that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I've long believed that most jurors ignore or misunderstand one or both of those, which casts doubt on the whole process. From New Hampshire comes the story of a juror in a rape case who, days before trial started, blogged about how "he was frustrated to have to serve on a jury that would require him to spend time listening to defendants trying to prove they were innocent." Said defendants he referred to as "riff raff."

Hope you never get falsely accused of a crime, asshole.

Some Randomness

A few bits of interest that popped up over the past couple of days:

Free legal advice: Do not suck strange women's toes in the public library. They will indict you for something, like gross sexual imposition (which sounds like an apt description to me).

Justice is served: Today, a Texas jury returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity in the Andrea Yates retrial. While I'm sure that somewhere news harpy Nancy Grace* is going fetal with rage, I think Andrew Cohen over at the Washington Post has it right:

There is no victory here. Yates will be sent to heavily-guarded mental health facility, where she will probably spend the rest of her life. From time to time she will be evaluated. And, if past is prologue, every time her medicine allows her to regain a little bit of sanity she will realize what she did to her beloved children and then descend again back into some sort of madness. So this story started as a tragedy and continues as a tragedy even with though the defense finally won the day.
* UPDATE: As expected, Grace is going ape shit over this. One would think that somebody as batshit loony as Grace would recognize it in someone else.

Odd art
: Via Concurring Opinions, I found this link to "Strange statues around the world." It is, indeed, a blog post full of pictures of odd statuary from across the globe. My favorites are

There are loads more - go see for yourself.

Life Imitates Art

There is an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer (and, in guilt by association, Marge) are kicked out of an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant because, as the owner puts it, Homer "'Tis no man. 'Tis a remorseless eating machine." Homer later goes on to sue the fish joint because, as his attorney (and my legal mentor) Lionel Hutz puts it, "this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film, The Never-Ending Story."

Homer, apparently, is not alone. Witness, from the BCC, the tale of Rappai, the "monster eater," who has been forced into retirement because of health problems. Rappai's rapaciousness was legendary, to the point that restaurants in his home tome of Trissur, India had to abandon all-you-can-eat buffets:

On one famous occasion, the man who locally became known as Theeta (monster eater) took advantage of a local restaurant's 'unlimited meals' coupon.

He reputedly scoffed three bucketfuls of rice, one bucket of fish curry and 10 kgs of cooked meat.

The restaurant in question ran out of food, and police had to be called in to restore order as a large crowd gathered to watch Rappai in action.
Of course, that's what happened to Homer in the end, too!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fun With the Fundies

Over at Pandagon, there is a post that discusses a three-pack of lunacy from one fundamentalist Christian group:

  • Wicca is part of a worldwide plot orchestrates by Satan,
  • Yoga, if done correctly, will subject you to being taken over by evil spirits, and
  • Christians have "no right to make use of psychic powers."*
Glad they've clarified those things for us, especially the last one. Read the Pandagon post for full quotes and links.

* You can't beat logic like this: "Sirhan Sirhan, for example, had demonic psychic powers and predicted the day that Robert F. Kennedy died." It's almost like Sirhan Sirhan had something to do with it!

How Did I Miss This?

This is what happens when I go to bed before The Daily Show comes on. Apparently at the G8 summit earlier this week in Russia, Dubya snuck up behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel and tries to give her a shoulder rub. As you can see from the video, Merkel will have none of it and blows Dubya off like the guy in the padded suit at a self-defense class. Guess she wasn't impressed just 'cause he's the leader of the free world, huh?

Talk About Going Undercover

From the BBC website comes this article of a New Zealand police woman who was not making ends meet on just her cop salary. Her solution? Take a second job - as a hooker. Not to worry. Prostitution has been legal in New Zealand since 2003, so she doesn't risk running into another officer running some kind of sting operation on her. Unless he pays extra for that sort of thing.

DC UNITED *thump thump thmp thmp thmp*

USA Today has a nice piece today about the season that DC United is having. Aside from references to "the United" (I never get that - it's not an NFL team, folks!), it's a good analysis of why we're having our best season ever. Unspoken in the article is the fear (that I have, at least) that we'll peak too soon and bomb out of the MLS Cup playoffs again.

BTW, the title is my bad attempt to phonetically recreate the main DCU chant, as heard echoing in the bouncing grandstands of RFK. It loses something in the translation. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

On Criticism

It stinks!
- flim critic Jay Sherman, describing . . . well, basically any movie.

Being a film critic can be a thankless job. At best, you bring much needed attention to small films that should be seen by wider audiences. At worst, you dump on more popular fare and give off the aura of a stuck-up tight ass who doesn't know how to have any fun. New York Times critic A.O. Scott muses on that problem in a recent piece:

For the second time this summer, then, my colleagues and I must face a frequently — and not always politely — asked question: What is wrong with you people? I will, for now, suppress the impulse to turn the question on the moviegoing public, which persists in paying good money to see bad movies that I see free. I don’t for a minute believe that financial success contradicts negative critical judgment; $500 million from now, 'Dead Man’s Chest' will still be, in my estimation, occasionally amusing, frequently tedious and entirely too long. But the discrepancy between what critics think and how the public behaves is of perennial interest because it throws into relief some basic questions about taste, economics and the nature of popular entertainment, as well as the more vexing issue of what, exactly, critics are for.
Scott's ponderings have led some to lambaste him further, but I think he's just a bit short sighted. Keep in mind that Scott (and other critics) watch lots of movies. I mean a huge amount. And, quite frankly, most of them suck. That's not being snobbish, it's true of any quasi creative art form (gods know, it's true of this blog!). It is, after all, their job. As a result, they seem to sometime lose sight of why lots of people go to the movies in the first place - to have fun and indulge in a bit of escapism. The same reason they watch American Idol and those endless Law & Order spinoffs. Thus, when someone like Scott pontificates on the merits of a movie, it just doesn't matter to most folks.

Also, keep this in mind. Scott is right that financial performance is no indicator of quality, if for no other reason that you can't get your money back if a movie sucks. Once you've paid your money to see, say, The Da Vinci Code, they keep your cash regardless of your aesthetic reaction to the film. After all, you don't go pay them another $10 if you really like a movie, do you? TV, by contrast, allows you to sample a show and either keep watching future episodes or just spend your time elsewhere.

And I will give Scott credit for one thing, a refreshing bit of honesty:
Online, everyone is a critic, which is as it should be: professional prerogatives aside, a critic is really just anyone who thinks out loud about something he or she cares about, and gets into arguments with fellow enthusiasts.
In the end, art is subjective and any critic (provide he's not discussing strictly technical aspects) can basically only tell you in a long-winded sort of way whether they liked the movie or not. If you read the same critics consistently, you can get an idea of how their tastes mirror yours so that a review tells you whether you might like a flick, not because the critic liked it, but because you know why they liked it (or not).

Dubya Finds Morals

Dubya has finally exercised his veto, refusing to sign the stem cell research bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate yesterday:

President Bush vetoed a bill for the first time today, using his constitutional power to reject legislation passed by Congress that would expand federal research on embryonic stem cells, a step he said would be crossing a 'moral line.'
Wow. I know he's a yutz on this particular issue, but am I the only one who is surprised that Dubya found a "moral line" that he would not cross?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Isn't This Just Vote Buying In Another Form?

Emmy award winning local newscaster Kent Brockman once said, "democracy simply doesn't work." Sometimes I agree. One of the things that makes me agree is the initiative process that is so popular in the western states. This allows a motivated citizen (or, more likely, political action group) to directly amend the state code or constitution by collecting signatures from a certain percentage of the populace, who then vote the measure up or down. Such measures frequently tap into some type of groundswell of popular fervor and turn out to be short sighted at best and jingoistic at worst. In short, they allow for the worst kind of unchecked majoritarian rule.

Witness a new initiative in Arizona that would award $1 million to one person in each election simply for voting. In other words, it's a lottery in which the price of admission is your vote. The logic behind the plan is clear:

Mark Osterloh, a political gadfly who is behind the initiative, the Arizona Voter Reward Act, is promoting it with the slogan,'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Vote!'
Look, I'm all for encouraging participation in the democratic process. Gods know, this country would be a whole lot better of if enough people voted so that the militant wing of one party couldn't win general elections. But this is the wrong way to go about it, isn't it? Wouldn't it be better to deal with all the shady means we use to disenfranchise those voters who actually want to vote?

We've put a lot of people in prison in West Virginia lately because they participated in a vote buying scheme in the southern coal fields. I fail to see how this is really any different. The initiative doesn't require a vote for a particular person or party, but it does provide financial reward for deciding to vote. Sounds like our operation down south. And those votes were selling for a hell of a lot less than $1 million.

Middle East Turning Point?

I still don't really know what to make of the burgeoning conflict between Israel, Hezbollah, and Hamas that flared up last week. But, there has been at least one interesting development that I'm not sure lots of people predicted. At an emergency summit meeting of the Arab League this weekend, several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, issued a statement chastising Hezbollah for its role in the violence. Let that sink in for a minute - a coalition of Arab countries have condemned a radical group that is attacking Israel. Pretty groundbreaking stuff. Sure, it may be simply enlightened self interest (nobody likes Iran, apparently), but the fact that something - anything - may trump the historical animus towards Israel might be a sliver lining to this cloud.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


While writing the prior post I was listening to Francis Dunnery's Tall Blonde Helicopter whilst it rained cats and dogs outside, such that the gutters on my deck were swamped. Which songs in particular? "Sunshine" and "Rain or Shine." And I sang joyfully along with both.

That's ironic. I really do think.

Score One for Hollywood (Redux)

Following up on my earlier post, here's a discussion of the "CleanFlix" case from Utah by FindLaw's Marci Hamilton. She makes a good point about the strength of the DVD cleaner uppers' arguments:

The clarity of the law in this case forces me to ask how three companies could believe that such a business plan was legal, or likely to be successful. Did they not consult attorneys before sinking their lives (and perhaps their fortunes) into these businesses? Surely, they must have. So they must have known they were skating on very thin legal ice. Why did they go ahead anyway?
Her answer:
In contemporary America, entities and individuals motivated by religious or moral faith have come to believe that the law should not apply to them when it conflicts with their particular interests and world view.
Pretty strong allegation. She doesn't really present any evidence to back it up, but it seems right to me.

The judge's opinion can be found here. Among the points made:
The counterclaim defendants contend that there is no adverse effect from their use of the movies on the value of the copyrighted work to the Studios. They suggest that the Studios benefit because they are selling more copies of their movies as a result of the editing parties’ practice of maintaining a one to one ratio of the original and edited versions.* It is assumed that the consumers of the edited versions would not have themselves purchased the authorized versions because of the objectionable content and the Studios do not compete in this alternative market.

The argument has superficial appeal but it ignores the intrinsic value of the right to control the content of the copyrighted work which is the essence of the law of copyright. Whether these films should be edited in a manner that would make them acceptable to more of the public playing them on DVD in a home environment is more than merely a matter of marketing; it is a question of what audience the copyright owner wants to reach.
Emphasis mine. An excellent point. One imagines that Stephen Soderbergh (one of the plaintiffs) didn't intend Sex, Lies, & Videotape or Traffic to be viewed "by the whole family." Or even 9012Live, for that matter (I wouldn't subject my niece and nephews to Jon Anderson's early 80s fashion sense). If that's the case, why would anyone attempt to emasculate his work to make it more kid friendly? The world isn't kid friendly, in the first place!

The opinion also answers jedi jawa's question from the other post about DVD players that skip over the naughty bits:
During the pendency of this case Congress enacted the Family Movie Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 1099, 119 Stat. 218, 223224, amending[17 U.S.C.] § 110 to provide an exemption for the editing of motion pictures by a member of a private household if no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture is created. That statute eliminated from this case those parties selling technologyenabling such private editing.
* The cleaner uppers required their customers to buy and send them a legit copy of the movie getting edited (although it's unclear quite how that works in a rental situation).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jeopardy's Slipping Standards

So, I'm watching Jeopardy while making dinner. The Final Jeopardy category is "NFL Geography." The question is (I'm paraphrasing) "which state with 2 NFL teams is the only one touched by the Mississippi River?" Nobody got it right (neither did I - the answer is Missouri (the Chiefs and Rams)), but the defending champion's answer/question was "Florida." He thinks the Mississippi River runs through Florida. He should have to return all his winnings for that bad of an answer in Final Jeopardy (he did lose this game).

Satire Is a Dangerous Thing

There's a Monty Python sketch in which a pair of architects present plans for a "block of flats" to investors. During the second presentation, the model of the block experiences various structural failures, including a fire, which the architect glosses over (one of the investors even opines that the structural problems aren't that great, provided "the tenants are of light build and relatively sedentary." While this takes place, a large green graphic reading "SATIRE" flashes on screen.

This dipshit
has never seen that sketch. Or, indeed, ever heard of satire before. This pro-life nutjob takes great umbrage with a column written by "Miss Caroline Webber" in which she discusses the joys of having an abortion. Things like ""I am totally psyched for this abortion!" and "I just know it's going to be the best non-anesthetized invasive uterine surgery ever!" One problem - Miss Caroline Webber doesn't exist and the column in question appeared in The Onion, the leading purveyor of fake news on the Net. The ding-a-ling got suckered in and, thanks to the numerous comments (which, unfortunately, he's removed), got caught. Undaunted, he tried to spin the experience positively in a second post, with even less success.

The comments themselves were hilarious in their vitriol. Some of them are preserved for posterity in the comments of this diary at DailyKos, where I got the link in the first place. My personal favorite was:

I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?
Boo | 07.08.06 - 12:24 am | #
It's a shame he's taken down the comments. However, he provides continued entertainment value by spinning his stupidity (now it was all a joke - sure it was). What he doesn't appear to get is that the original Onion piece was a satire of the radical pro-lifers, who have created this horde of straw women who go around getting pregnant just so that can have an abortion for fun. The fact that such hordes don't exist doesn't phase them.

Best and brightest, indeed!

Someone Had a Come to Pele Moment

As a lover of all sorts of non-traditional past times that aren't very popular in this country (road racing, soccer, progressive rock, reasoned political discourse), I always secretly believe that all anybody else needs to share my enthusiasm is to be exposed to something. And, hey, it worked on at least one guy. A sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun proclaims: Can a 41-year-old American male raised on football, basketball and baseball suddenly learn to love soccer?

Sure, one can. One just did.

One has just spent more time watching soccer in the past month than he had, collectively, in his entire life - and, with no warning and no preparation, suddenly gets what everyone has been talking about. Well, not everything. But the wall definitely is down.

I have crossed over. I like this sport - that's a notch below "I love this game," the slogan of my preferred sport, but I'm willing. I want to see more of it, at the highest level. I want to see where it might go in this country if a truce can somehow be declared and tensions eased between the fanatics and the haters. I may watch a Major League Soccer game. Better yet, I may attend one.
Hey, welcome to the club!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Congress Isn't Above the Law - Who Knew?

One of the funniest (in an ironic sort of way, not "ha ha" funny) things to happen in the political realm in recent months was the furor from Captiol Hill after the FBI executed a search warrant at a Congressman's office. Leaders of both parties went absolutely apeshit - these weak rubber stamps who won't do diddly about the administration's systematic dismantling of the Bill of Rights - at the thought of law enforcement officers going through their stuff with a duly authorized warrant. The target of the investigation, Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), went to court to get his stuff back, arguing that via some separation of powers principle the search was bad.* Thankfully, a Federal judge in DC saw right through that bullshit and shot the argument down. In doing so, the judge:

acknowledged the 'unprecedented' nature of the case, but he said the lawmakers' 'sweeping' theory of legislative privilege 'would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime.'
It's sad that it takes a judge to tell Congress that. And people wonder why we need such "activists!"

Read the opinion here.

Had I come up with an argument that weak I would be the lauging stock of my office, I think.

He Shone Like the Sun

News broke today that Syd Barrett, founding member and animating spirit of Pink Floyd, has died. Although I'm more a fan of post-Meddle Floyd rather than the early stuff, and I've never quite seen the genius that supposedly lurked in the Barrett-era tunes (tho' some a great, don't get me wrong), Barrett's departure haunted the band in such a way that their output wouldn't have been the same had he stayed with them. In that way, Syd had as much impact on the Floyd stuff I love as on the tunes he actually wrote.

Shine on, indeed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What's French for "Yo' Mama"?

It's been the question on the world's mind for more than 24 hours: what the hell was French captain Zinedine Zindane thinking when he turned and rammed his bald head into Italian defender Marco Materazzi's chest in overtime of the World Cup final yesterday? It led to a red card against Zidane and left the French out manned (tho', to be fair, not outplayed) for the last 10 minutes of the match. Now, via the BBC Website, comes nebulous reports that Materazzi allegedly said something about Zidane's mother that provoked him. However, Zidane is not talking and nobody knows exactly what was said. Not that it could excuse such a blatant illegal act.

For record, knowing that the vote was not taken until after yesterday's final, I'm very disappointed in the powers that be for awarding Zidane the Golden Ball for this tournament. Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro was at least equally deserving on on-the-field merit, without the huge mistake on the world's biggest stage.

Score One for Hollywood

A while back, several companies began to offer a service for the conservative side of the culture wars that would help them participate in pop culture - adulterated movies. Companies would take DVDs and (back in the day) VHS tapes of popular movies and edit out all the "bad parts" to make them suitable for family viewing (one wonders if much would be left of something like Scarface after such treatment). Other companies would then rent the adulterated flicks. A Hollywood coalition of studios and directors (led by director Michael Apted) sued, alleging that the companies were violating various copyright provisions. Last week, a federal judge agreed and ordered the companies to shut down and surrender their stock to the plaintiffs. The ruling does not effect services that remove objectionable content from copies of movies actually owned by the viewers (presumably that's OK).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Americans v. Soccer (Round Two)

Last week I laid out my view on why Americans don't like soccer. Today's cover story in USA Today is entitled "Why USA Doesn't Take to Soccer." Coincidence? Probably (if they're getting ideas off of my blog they are in worse shape than their detractors ever imagined). The story hits most of the points I did last week, but adds one that I've seen referenced elsewhere:

Deford isn't finished. 'There's really a lack of proficiency in the game. God didn't intend for us to use our feet and our heads. Though what soccer players do with their feet and their heads is extraordinary, it is in the same way that spinning plates is extraordinary.'
That's long-time Sports Illustrated columnist Frank Deford, card carrying anti-soccer crank and quite possibly the devil. Still, I've seen other people make that point, so I'll address it.

So what? Since when has any sport been about doing some task in the most efficient way possible. The most efficient way to score a touchdown in (gridiron) football would be to not limit the offense to four downs every ten yard - make the other team take the ball away. The most efficient way to move a basketball up and down the court is hardly to dribble it. And baseball sure would be more interesting with a bigger bat, don't you think?

The fact that makes those rules important to those sports is to make them challenging. It's challenging to dribble a round ball down field with your feet and project it into a net past a big dude who can use his hands. That's the point. If you don't like it, fine - I don't see the "proficiency" in beating another human being's brain with your fist, so I don't watch boxing. But to decry a game's "lack of proficiency" is just silly.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Even More New Tunage

Dunno quite what came over me this week, but here's another new tune I just uploaded over at ACIDPlanet - "Himalayan Sweetbox." It's got more of an ethnic vibe than the other tunes. Enjoy!

As you can see, I subscribe to the Hatfield and the North theory of song titles - without lyrics, just string together a few words than sound cool (hence "(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology Square on the Jaw" and "Her Majesty Is a Creme Donut").

Lady Liberty Needs Your Help!

Chair recognizes the very junior member from West Virginia . . .

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ladies and Gentlemen, my colleagues in this august body. It is with a heavy heart that I rise to address you today. My heart is heavy because there is a new blight upon this land. A threat I never imagined would come to pass. Never imagined that I would need to fight against something like this while a member of Congress.

Just recently, this body overwhelmingly and, in my mind correctly, passed a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to legislate flag desecration. Sadly, it died in the Senate. But among the wishy-washy terrorist enablers who opposed that wise amendment were those who correctly pointed out that flag desecration is a very rare occurrence and there are more pressing threats that demand our attention. For once, I agree.

This past weekend in Memphis, Tennessee, another powerful symbol of this great nation was defiled. The Statue of Liberty - a beacon of hope and freedom to the entire world, under whose stately gaze millions came to find a better life in this country - has been cheapened.

The World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church unveiled a replica - a cheap parody - of the Statue of Liberty in downtown Memphis. In place of the tablet in Lady Liberty's left hand is now the Ten Commandments. The name "Jehovah" is scrawled across her crown. And the Lady's torch - a beacon of liberty to millions - has been replaced with a huge, gaudy, gold cross.

This symbol of freedom - a gift from our friends from France, in better times - has been turned upside down. No longer can it proclaim loudly:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Without adding, "but only if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior." To do so is un American and violates the separation of Church and State so prized by our Constitution.

I ask you, my colleagues, what is next? Must the Statue of Liberty be submerged in an icy lake? Must it be dismantled in countless films for the amusement of our mouth-breathing children? Must it be placed on license plates, bumper stickers, and key chains in such a way to cheapen its meaning for new generations?

I say "no," we must not wait. Symbolism is too important to a Country at War (tm) to let it be casually mutilated by the populace. Only by amending that Constitution can we give this Congress the power to prevent such further bastardizations of Lady Liberty.

Please join me in supporting the Leave Lady Liberty the Fuck Alone Amendment.

I yield the balance of my time to the equally junior member from Ohio.

Soccer as Organizing Tool

Even I, as a passionate soccer fan, have gotten a little tired of the ESPN/U2 "soccer can change the world" ad campaign. But, sometimes, for a small group of people, it does. Witness this article in USA Today about the soccer league formed in South Africa's Robben Island Prison. That was where the apartheid government locked up political prisoners. The prisoners organized a soccer league, to try and show skeptics that they could, in fact, run something:

'The prisoners on the island believed they would be running their own country one day,' sports historian Charles Korr says. 'That was partly why they ran a soccer league organized along strict FIFA rules. They saw it as a chance to prove they could run anything.'
Neat story.

Is This a Joke?

Seriously - I can't tell. If it's not, the fundies must be running around like chickens with their heads cut off getting ready for The End.

Dead Men Serve No Time

One of America's most notable convicted-but-not-yet-sentenced men, Ken Lay, died yesterday. This, obviously, precludes the Government from incarcerating what's left of him. What I didn't think of until I read this post over at the White Collar Crime Blog is what happens to Lay's conviction? According to WCCB, Lay, probably, will be laid to rest as an innocent man because he had no opportunity to challenge his conviction. That's based largely on Fifth Circuit law - I wonder if there's a split out there on this issue? I can't imagine the Fourth letting some dead con get away with something like that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fresh Tunage @ AP

Last night I uploaded a new tune at ACIDPlanet. Head on over to sample "The Beautiful Game and the Fluidity of Time" today.

Somebody 'splaine This to Me

Although I'm an avid political wonk, I'm not generally that interested in the background of particular state races. But, via cruising the lefty blogosphere, I've become entranced by the saga of Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Basically, it goes like this:

Lieberman, the incumbent Democratic senator and failed VP candidate, is Dubya's favorite Democrat. He's faithfully backed Dubya up on the war and related issues and broke from the Dems who tried to block the nominations of CJ Roberts and J Alito. This, understandably, has pissed off a fair portion of the Dems in Connecticut, to the point that a legitimate challenger, Ned Lamont, has emerged. Sensing that he might go down in flames in the primary, Lieberman has announced that he will take appropriate action to be able to be on the general election ballot as a write-in candidate should he lose. In short, he refuses to go gently into that political good night.

The problem is that Lieberman, for all his trouble with the Dem base in his home state (and elsewhere, for what it's worth), is fairly popular with the state's Republicans and numerous independents and could quite feasibly win a three-way race in November. This has pissed off quite a few on the left, who view Lieberman's position as shitting on the democratic process by refusing to abide by the results of the primary. They're right, of course - he wants to have two bites at the apple. But what if the majority of the overall electorate wants Lieberman to be their man in DC? Doesn't the Dem primary system deprive them of a choice if Lieberman loses the primary and quietly goes away?

I can see a similar situation working out here in WV, where the electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic (in registration, at least). Suppose that a moderate Republican candidate for governor wins his primary simply be showing up (there not being a whole lot of Republicans, anyway) then goes on to defeat the Democratic candidate in the general election by putting together a broad coalition of moderate Democrats and Republicans. Four years on, he runs for re-election and faces a primary challenge from a fundamentalist right-winger who is not happy with the Gov for cozying up with the state's Democratic legislature. The small Republican contingent in the state is overwhelmingly hard right and jump at the chance to vote for someone who really espouses their values. The Gov loses the primary, even tho' in a three-way race with the Democratic challenger and the new Republican victor, he would win easily. Is he a traitor to the GOP if he runs as an independent in the general election?

I guess the question is this: while primaries are all very good, it's hard to talk about their results as being "democratic," as they limit the pool of potential voters to members of a certain political party. They are not, on the whole, a broad referendum on the candidates. They are particularized elections to determine party representatives in a general election. As such, the sway a candidate might have with voters registered with the other party (or no party at all) is relevant only to the primary party voter's decisions on for whom to vote. Is that the best way to select a representative for the entire state? I dunno. But it's what we've got.