Bloggers love or hate Naomi Wolf's top 10 signs you're a fascist. They scrutinize John McCain's Daily Show appearance and wonder if "Super-Earth" can support life as screwed up as ours.
Crying Wolf: Feminist author and former Gore campaign image consultant Naomi Wolf argues in the liberal British newspaper the Guardian that George Bush has America sitting on the brink of fascism. She has 10 warning signs that include invoking "terrifying internal and external enemy," enabling a "thug caste" (of Hush-Puppies-wearing Republican poll workers, among other ne'er-do-wells), and the establishment of a "gulag"— Stalinism being fungible with fascism, evidently.
Self-identified non-"liberal" Lonewhacko thinks: "I feel that she's overplaying some things and ignoring the fascistic tendencies of those on her side. For instance, the 'thug caste' (#4) - if she wanted to be honest about this - would also include those on the far-left who keep trying to silence speech, whether Media Matters (Don Imus) or Columbia University (Jim Gilchrist) or all the countless other incidents." One poster at the leftist Cedar Lounge Revolution writes that Wolf is "pedestrian" and "predictable" and more to the point: "The truth is that political power in the United States, certainly at federal level, is so determined by business interests that there's no need to establish a tyranny. There's no danger of any threat to those interests emerging anyway."
At the National Review's The Corner, righty Jonah Goldberg, whose new book is titled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton, wants to know how Wolf gets away with playing fast and loose with the f-word, but he doesn't. To which conservative contrarian Andrew Sullivan answers: "[The f-word is regrettable. Both Wolf and Goldberg are using it for effect. But the threat of left-wing fascism in America today does not seem to me as pressing as the more traditional version.
Chris at lefty Why We Worry opines: "[I]t's tough to argue that Bush hasn't done each and every thing on that list. What's frightening is the fact that Bush is doing it all at once. Certainly, taken one at a time, you could find numerous examples of other Presidential administrations engaging in similar activities. But all of this does not necessarily mean that Bush is a fascist or that the United States is under a dictatorship. Yet." Want a real sign that Wolf fails to convince? Even "Lenin" at the Bolshevik-nostalgic blog Lenin's Tomb says: "I don't doubt the existence of fascist potencies in the United States, but to speak of it as a clear and present danger is misleading, to put it blandly. If you ask me, it's part of this 'Anyone But Bush' politics that is destroying the American left and drawing the antiwar movement into the frigid Democratic Party graveyard."
Read more about Wolf's piece.
He's in: John McCain officially announced his presidential candidacy Wednesday, arguing that he is the most "experienced" man vying for the job. But first he appeared in a somewhat heated exchange with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show centered on—what else?—the war. Bloggers more or less think Stewart won that round.
Political scientist Brigette Nacos at reflectivepundit suggests the public no longer buys the argument that McCain puts principles first: "He seems to do so with respect to Iraq—but he certainly has proved opportunistic otherwise in a so far unsuccessful attempt to win over the right wing of his party. Independents and Democrats who might have voted for McCain in 2000 … are far less inclined this time around."
Seamus at rangelife sees Stewart's interview as the "worst-conducted": "Sen. McCain came out ornery, as if he wanted to instantly and simultaneously alienate the host, the studio audience and pretty much everyone in America. … But saldy, Stewart went all O'Reilly on McCain, steamrollering him when he should have shut up to listen to him. Honestly, it was embarrassing." Not everyone saw it that way. Liberal "Thereisnospoon" at There Is No Blog believes "Stewart obliterated a flummoxed and utterly outmatched McCain by changing the entire debate, and leaving him with absolutely NO coherent ground on which to stand--something I have yet to see Reid, Pelosi or any of our prospective candidates come close to doing."
Political campaigner Sanford Dickert * at Political Gastronomica has a post-op: "It was an interesting dance I saw - a person who wants to be seen as against the efforts that brought us to this point in Iraq (criticising the "architect of the war"), but believes (IMHO) that staying the course is the best, most correct course of action… Sen. McCain - you did not make the case in a compelling fashion - and left me somewhat concerned."
Read more about McCain's candidacy and his skirmish with Stewart.
Far away, so close: Scientists have announced the discovery of planet Gliese 581—or "super-Earth." It's more than 20 light years away with a radius 1.5 times that of our planet, but nevertheless bears remarkable similarities to Earth.
Planetary blog Centauri Dreams says: "The new planet may not be anything like this, and it will take more work — and surely space-based instrumentation — to learn what its true characteristics are. But ponder a planet where infrared predominates rather than visible light, and periodic flare activity acts as an evolutionary stimulus. The consider the long lifetimes — more than a 100 times the Sun's paltry ten billion years — that M-dwarfs have to let evolution work its wonders. There are arguments to be made for and against this scenario, but if it's remotely true, then the number of habitable planets in our galaxy may be far higher than we've previously believed."
The "Stormin Mormon" at Kiriath-Arba has already got the travel brochure ready: "Despite the fact that the planet is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, the temperatures are moderate because the star is so much dimmer than our sun. At that close distance, the planet completes a full orbit of its star every 13 days. As far as I can tell, this means a 'season' on this planet would last just a couple of days, and that therefore the climate on any given spot on the planet would be relatively constant."
Read more about super-Earth.