Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How'd Repent America scoop Fred Phelps on this?

by Pam

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same."
--Repent America director Michael Marcavage
The Rotting CryptkeeperTM is falling down on the job. How could he let the demented Michael Marcavage and the unhinged crowd at Repent America beat him to the task of blaming the Katrina victims for their fate based on the den of sin known as New Orleans? Of course this diatribe seems to completely ignore what sin is to blame for the destruction wrought next door in Mississippi and Alabama, but that's beside the point, right?
Just days before "Southern Decadence", an annual homosexual celebration attracting tens of thousands of people to the French Quarters section of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina destroys the city.

"Southern Decadence" has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an "exciting event". However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.

On the official "Southern Decadence" website (, it states that the annual event brought in "125,000 revelers" to New Orleans last year, increasing by thousands each year, and up from "over 50,000 revelers" in 1997. This year’s 34th annual "Southern Decadence" was set for Wednesday, August 31, 2005 through Monday, September 5, 2005, but due to massive flooding and the damage left by the hurricane, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered everyone to evacuate the city.

The past three mayors of New Orleans, including Sidney Barthelomew, Marc H. Morial, and C. Ray Nagin, issued official proclamations welcoming visitors to "Southern Decadence". Additionally, New Orleans City Council made other proclamations recognizing the annual homosexual celebration.

..."Let us pray for and help those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.

"[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)
Good night! What do you say behind this bullsh*t. I say the MSM should ask for responses from Dobson, Falwell and the usual suspects about this God-fearing bastard and whether they agree with him. Marcavage is one of their own.

Earlier posts on this dude:

Leader of "Repent America" group cites 'spiritual battle' against gays

Batsh*t AmTaliban to protest at Phillies' Gay Community Night


UPDATE: Fred did weigh in today (I checked yesterday and earlier today and he didn't have anything up). I do have to say that this is not his best work. Marcavage whipped your ass on this one, Cryptkeeper...

Thank God for Katrina

New Orleans, symbol of America, seen for what it is: a putrid, toxic, stinking cesspool of fag fecal matter.

"Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupt; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more; the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment." Isaiah 1:4-6.

America is irreversibly doomed. It is a sin to pray for the good of this evil fag nation.

"Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me; for I will not hear thee." Jeremiah 7:16.

It is a sin NOT to rejoice when God executes His wrath and vengeance upon America.

"The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth." Psalm 58:10,11.

Pray for more dead bodies floating on the fag-semen-rancid waters of New Orleans.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

On Stewardship

by Shakespeare's Sister

It takes its name from the Scottish House of Stewart, the members of which served as caretakers on behalf of the English king, before their house itself became the Royal House of Scotland, but the concept of stewardship did by no means originate with the Stewarts; it was sometimes offered as the spoils to be won in ancient Greek and Roman contests, and I daresay they probably didn’t invent it, either. I imagine as soon as human consciousness developed sufficiently to appreciate that, provided a pointy rock, a stick, a way to bind them together, and half-decent aim, we were pretty much the top of the food chain, there were those who went mad with the power such status confers , and those who felt obliged by that position to be careful and responsible.

And thus began war. But that’s a whole other post.

The latter of the two were stewards, by nature or deliberative choice, assuming the responsibility for taking good care of the property and resources with which one is entrusted, a tradition which has carried on forward, seeing various incarnations of the concept, from feudal stewardship to the environmental movement to modern secular philosophies advocating social safety nets. The concept also plays a role in every major religion*, with God serving as the benefactor from whence earthly resources came to be under humans’ watchful care, imbuing each of us with the responsibility of stewardship. What nearly every manifestation of stewardship bears in common, however, is the sense of such protection over one’s ward having been granted, the steward trusted to protect and care for his charge.

In this way, the American presidency is a stewardship; the very fact that the president is chosen by the people he’s meant to lead signifies the simultaneous ceding and bestowing of power to one who is recognized by a majority as best suited to be entrusted with the vast resource of people, materials, wealth, and power that is this nation. When we vote, we are choosing our steward, which is a distinctly different notion than our leader. The president is that, too, to be sure, but while good leadership often requires quick decisiveness, good stewardship is marked by steady vigilance. A steward is tasked with taking care of the resources he inherits—not exploiting them, nor oppressing them, nor pillaging them, nor in any manner leaving them in a worse state than they were when he assumed the role of their guardian—and such caretaking requires intimate attentiveness, a dedication to both knowing and understanding the resources in one’s care.

George Bush has failed miserably as our steward.

He has been world-famously and unconscionably bad at protecting the environment, whether it’s supporting Orwellian-named initiatives that will result in ever greater pollution of our skies and streams or failing to enthusiastically endorse an alternative energy development plan or endorsing drilling for oil in an Arctic refuge. So thorough is his contempt for a clean and healthy environment, I would be amazed if he doesn’t shit in his own bed and drink toxic waste before pissing in the fishin’ lake on his own ranch. But although we most closely associate stewardship with the environment, he has failed with equal aplomb in his duty to protect America’s greatest resource—her people. Never has this been more evident than in the aftermath of Katrina.

Conservatives are already howling that all liberals can do is blame Bush, and even some liberals are annoyed with what they view as attempts to politicize this tragedy, but in truth, it is vital that we see the scope of this disaster, which will reach far beyond a ruined city, as the inevitable consequence of Bush’s poor stewardship on a plethora of issues. Indeed, the fatal error of leaving New Orleans’ levees in a state that made possible the physical devastation which takes our very breath away is a monolithic mistake that is not solely attributable to one party or another, and cannot be laid at one man’s feet. It was a collective failing, and so I will not lay the blame for it singly upon our current president. It is, instead, the aftermath that will affect all of us, as the water recedes and the fires diminish but their implications begin to reverberate far and wide, and how ill-equipped we all are to cope with those inescapable issues, for which I hold him accountable, as should we all.

A number of Louisiana’s National Guardsmen are in Iraq, fighting Bush’s war of choice. FEMA has been gutted to redirect funds to other areas of Homeland Security, the victim, like so many other federal programs, of budgetary limitations made necessary by a deficit made worse by tax cuts issued during a time of war. Poverty continues to rise and wages for the middle and lower classes continue to stagnate, meaning many of New Orleans’ residents, left without employment or housing perhaps indefinitely, will struggle to survive without help, and leaving many of us unable to help financially as much as we’d like. As energy costs soar as a result of both the devastation of this region, combined with Bush’s appalling energy policy and the war in Iraq, people across the country who suffer from poverty and wage stagnation will struggle, too. And come October, when the bankruptcy bill goes into effect, anyone who loses that struggle will face undue hardships that could have been avoided. Because the GOP-led Congress struck down the proposed amendment which would offer a homestead exemption to those bankrupted by medical bills, how many victims of Katrina (who may rack up healthcare fees either because of injuries or a lack of insurance to pay for existing conditions because of employment loss) will be revictimized by this cruel legislation? Indifference to global warming, resistance to a national healthcare plan, pissing away resources to line the pockets of Halliburton while the economy languishes—the list goes on and on. Bush shirked his responsibilities as our steward, ignoring what was needed to protect America’s natural, human, and financial resources, and now we will all pay the price for his dereliction of duty.

Bush fancies himself a great leader, as do his supporters, but being a great leader isn’t all that’s required of our president. Protecting American’s resources shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but he has made it so, choosing to protect his cronies and, worse, reward them with the resources he’s plundered from the public. When he chose to favor his own interests ahead of America’s, he not only turned every issue in which people suffer because of his decisions into a partisan fight, he also disregarded his obligations of stewardship, and in the end, a leader without stewardship is just a tyrant.


* (Though not every denomination of every religion. Tthe opposing construct to Christian context for stewardship, for example, is Dominionism, adherents of which it its most radical incarnation encourage the rape and depletion of the earth’s resources to instigate the Rapture.)

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Please don't forget the animals....

by Ms. Julien in Miami

In addition to our Red Cross donation, Julien's List is also making a $100 contribution to Noah's Wish, a not-for-profit, animal welfare organization, which exists to keep animals alive during disasters.

Julien's List has donated to the Red Cross

by Ms. Julien in Miami

On behalf of the contributors and readers of Julien's List, I have just sent a $250 donation to the Red Cross 2005 Hurricane Relief Fund.

This is the best way to get funds right where they are needed.

I encourage everyone to help in any way...the minimum donation is only $5.00...Imagine if everyone in the US just sent in that amount, how much would be raised for these people.

Thank you,

Ms. Julien

Gas prices - bend over

by Pam

Went to the gas station last night (8 PM); wifey Kate filled up the Subaru, $2.59/gallon. This AM (7 AM), I pulled into Costco, thinking I could fill up my Ford Focus station wagon cheaper than that and paid $2.53/gallon.

A co-worker just came back from lunch - she paid $3.00/gallon.

Has anyone else experienced the Katrina spike/gouging yet? Share.

Just to rub in the pain a little more -- a shot from a gas station in the background of Die Hard (1988).

Robert Knight: Girls Scouts are abortion-loving lesbians

by Pam

The homo-fixated Robert Knight, of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute is taking a look uppity young women (and the abortion-lovers and lesbos that are recruiting them). In the past he's spent an awful lot of time thinking about guys getting it on, so I guess it's our turn.

His target is the character building, wholesome, all-American organization, Girl Scouts USA. He says that the 50th annual convention in Atlanta will "showcase group's drift into radical feminism."
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, a woman whose radical views forced the Clinton administration to withdraw her name from consideration for Education Secretary, will be one of three keynote speakers at the Girl Scouts USA national convention in Atlanta from October 7-10.

Another speaker is Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, which, among other things, promotes abortion and feminism. The third speaker is Ann Curry, news anchor for NBC’s Today Show.

The choice of the first two speakers indicates that the Girl Scouts show no sign of slowing their plunge into hard-core feminism and political advocacy, at least at the national level. The Girl Scouts still sell cookies by the millions, conduct many worthwhile community activities, and involve many families that hold traditional values. But the national organization, like many others, has been captured by a liberal elite that sometimes tips its hand.

...Some years ago, the Girls Scouts began purging materials of positive references to homemakers. Instead of being family-centered, the group now promotes "girl empowerment," with programs that focus heavily on a narcissistic devotion to self, but then steered into collective action for liberal causes, such as environmentalism.
Since the Girl Scouts are on the Hell Express, all good sheeple should place their young women into the Cincinnati, Ohio-based American Heritage Girls (AHG), which now has troops in 32 states. Its mission:
American Heritage Girls organization is a scouting program for girls that supports the traditional values of God, Family and Country. AHG's programming promotes the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded and strives to enhance the girls’ life experiences with fun-filled activities supervised by trained adults, supported by family members and implemented by members. AHG's programming provides life skills, leadership skills and character building through a traditional troop setting.

..."God should not be optional in our lives or in our scouting choices," said [former Girl Scout and founder] Patti Garibay. "American Heritage Girls believes that a character building program for youth, such as scouting, demands a moral compass. AHG provides just that – a philosophical basis of Biblical truths and a continued commitment to assist girls as they grow in their relationship with Christ."
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend

FDA Official Quits Over Plan B Pill Delay

by Pam

"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled."
-- Susan Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, in her resignation letter
Someone has the balls to take a stand for women's reproductive freedom.
Susan Wood, head of FDA's Office of Women's Health, announced her resignation in an e-mail to colleagues at the agency. The e-mail was released by contraception advocates.

..."The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."

The FDA last Friday postponed indefinitely its decision on whether to allow the morning-after pill, called Plan B, to be sold without a prescription. The agency said it was safe for adults to use without a doctor's guidance but was unable to decide how to keep it out of the hands of young teenagers without a prescription — a decision contrary to the advice of its own scientific advisers.

Invisible Caesar

by The Heretik


SOME PROVE THEMSELVES BY FIRE, some prove themselves by water. Other elements of earth and air shout testimony, shout out about our leaders of where we were, of where we are, and where we yet still might be. We have known the fire. In Rome of old and Caesar Nero a fire burned, a fiddle played. So we know a leader.

WE HAVE KNOWN THE FIRE, the fire in Manhattan air, the fire that fell strange from air to Manhattan ground, the fire that fell that ground out light with smoke devil dark, the hateful fire no water can wash out.

SOME TELL TALE of the Caesar American who played all August, then flew from fear when fired burned the air and eye of all who were witness weary. The smoke within still stings the eyes, mothers unrelated by birth share a common smoke eclipsed sun.

SOMEWHERE MOTHERS NOBLE hang their heads and nod knowing no end to a crying of the heart where fires fade. There is no end to some fires dying. Somewhere sons related only by blood spilt or splattered, somewhere sons in unrelated cause are dying for one, all for one, one for all, all for a noble cause, a just cause, just what it is no one knows.

WE HAVE KNOWN THE FIRE, the fire of hell, falling strange from sky and air above that crushes earth and makes of the heart an ember. And now we will know water. The city creole crescent drowns in the curve of water flood flow over levees lost. Our Caesar American unseen plays sad on his invisible fiddle.

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Do What You Can for Those in Desperate Need

by The Heretik

Please Do What You Can For New Orleans

There are well over a 1200 people still in the Tenet Memorial Hospital on Napoleon in New Orleans. Predictions are that flood waters will continue to rise to another 9 feet tonight. Latest info is that they have started helicoptering out people, but verY small numbers, less than 100 since 1 pm. Giving you this update because we may have no electricity before long. Our phone numbers are 504.897.4531 and 504.897.4530, we cannot call out. Feel free to call us or give numbers to media to call us. They are estimating that it may take several days to evacuate these people - water electricity food security all will be gone by then. Please help by notifying the press and the government. People are hoping that friends around the country can help out. Thanks for giving people hope.

Peace, Bill Quigley

Posted by The Heretik

Worst. President. Ever.

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Worst. Person. Ever.
This about says it all...

My heart is breaking.

Ms. Julien


by Shakespeare's Sister

Bush Error 404—Bush Not Found In Crawford

New American Gothic

by The Heretik


My Wife Wants to Go Stand with Cindy Sheehan. Damn Cindy Sheehan. I have never seen my wife so excited. The ice in my wife's veins has melted and she is hot blooded again in a Midwest kind of way. My wife says Cindy makes her feel like we can finally give peace a chance. Will my wife give me a peace or a chance? No. Damn, Cindy Sheehan. Damn.

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Media Bias Salon

by Shakespeare's Sister

It all started last week when Paul the Spud wrote this and Digby wrote this last week. Mannion took up the issue here and here. Then it went back to me here, then to Ezra here and here, and Avedon Carol here. Below is my latest entry into the discussion, but it’s not over yet—Mannion’s still threatening a part three…so stay tuned.


Mannion and Ezra are both right and wrong. Mannion, the observer, sees a press who had it in for Clinton, and Ezra, the wonk, sees a press who rightfully turned the stupid actions of a president into news stories that sell. They aren’t, as they first appear, contrasting theories of what happened. What’s missing is the connecting piece between the two that Shakes, the anthropologist, can’t help but see—human nature, that confounding and unshakable thing that makes a term like “media bias” not a theory, but an inevitable and intractable fact. The media are, in the end, just people, and people are not objective, even if the press is meant to be.

It’s not only just possible, but likely, that the media covering Clinton, who, as noted in Ezra’s piece, were Clinton supporters to the man, were frustrated by a successful president who undermined his ability to effectively do his job because he couldn’t keep it in his pants, who handed the “family values” crowd a scandal on a silver platter. There were none too few voters who were incensed by exactly that—who felt betrayed—and the members of the media are voters, too. If they had it in for Clinton more than Ezra suggests, their reasons may have been more personal than Mannion suggests.

I said in my piece yesterday about Froomkin’s report on the media BBQ at the Bush ranch, in which it was reported that “a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved,” that the media has a crush on Bush, “and damnit if crushes don’t turn a person into a fool faster than just about anything else.” And I think the same applies to their coverage of Clinton. Ezra notes, for example, that “Klein was a sycophant till he became disillusioned by Clinton's brazen adultery;” sycophancy is, in the end, little more than an overwhelming crush. Mannion notes, for example, that the press regarded the Clintons as undeserving of “all the success they’d enjoyed at ages younger than too many of the reporters covering them and too close to the ages of all the rest of them;” jealousy is just another shade of crush. And if crushes can turn a person into a fool, a crush betrayed can turn a person ugly.

Attributing loftier motives to the media, or reducing their motives simply to writing what sells, isn’t necessarily wrong; it’s just that they’re all part and parcel of the same notion—that the media are compromised by their own feelings, because they are humans, not objectivity robots. Neither being disappointed by a president one believed in, nor being invited to a president’s house for dinner, is a small thing for a single person. We tend to ignore the potential effects of such things on the media, because “the media” is a faceless, abstract thing, but it’s comprised of individuals. Failing to acknowledge that “the media was invited to the president’s house” and “Joe from the Daily Rag was invited to the president’s house” are two very different things, especially if you’re Joe, is ignoring human nature to the detriment of this exploration.

The media are further compromised in the current political climate because they’re faced with an administration which repeatedly exhibits such wanton contempt for the truth, that genuine objectivity would often require calling the president, a member of his cabinet, and/or a close advisor a liar. (This brings us to Ezra’s second piece.) Giving ample time, as Ezra suggests, to “everything going wrong in the country, they're certainly not buying the spin on Iraq, they're certainly not glossing over gas prices,” isn’t really the point. Ample time only matters if the time given produces something closely resembling reality, something genuinely objective, and the media has (repeatedly) mistaken objectivity for giving equal time to opposing sides, sans critique, irrespective of how fallacious one side may be. This tendency manifests itself most evidently in coverage of wedge issues like gay marriage and intelligent design, which weren’t mentioned in Ezra’s piece.

To wit, a recent AP story contained the following paragraph:

The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation. Nearly all scientists dismiss it as a scientific theory, and critics say it's nothing more than religion masquerading as science.
Two big problems here:

1. Identifying intelligent design as a “theory,” while also referring to the theory of evolution in the same story, is, if I’m generous, bad application of language as theory is used in its scientific sense (“a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers”) in regard to evolution and in its layman’s sense (a proposed but unverified explanation) in regard to intelligent design. If I’m not generous, it’s a cynical attempt to imbue both sides of the debate with equal viability. While both sides have a right to their arguments, the suggestion that both are correct in their assertions their beliefs belong in a science class is sheer claptrap.

2. An intellectually honest statement about scientists’ critique of intelligent design would be: All credible scientists dismiss it as scientific theory. Not “nearly all scientists.” Any scientist who recognizes intelligent design as a scientific theory, considering it hasn’t meant the minimum requirements for being categorized thusly, is utterly lacking in integrity. The suggestion that there are respected scientists within the scientific community who recognize intelligent design as a scientific theory is misleading at best and outright bullshit at worst.

This is exactly the kind of nonsense (favoring the Bush administration) that can be found in the news regularly, the kind of spin as part of an attempt to appear objective that prompted Paul Krugman to note:

If Bush said the earth is flat, of course Fox News would say "Yes, the earth is flat, and anyone who says different is unpatriotic." And mainstream media would have stories with the headline: "Shape of Earth: Views Differ;" and would at most report that some Democrats say that it's round.
You can take out the partisan references, replacing “Bush” with “The Flat Earth Society” and “Democrats” with “scientists,” and you’re not far off from the AP paragraph I excerpted above. Hard to say that Krugman’s mistaken.

Ezra’s not wrong that liberals need to be more savvy when it comes to the media, but his suggestion that “they're not sucking particularly bad right now. They're just being their general, bumbling selves. We have to stop wishing they'd rise up, shake off their shackles, and do our jobs for us,” isn’t entirely right, either. Expecting that the media report accurately isn’t the same as expecting them to do our jobs for us. I don’t think it’s remotely unreasonable to expect that a non-scientific philosophy be identified thusly. It isn’t our job to correct the record of every news story that contains such lapses in either good reporting or good judgment.

(And, as an aside, the media are worse than they used to be; there was a time not so long ago that a lunatic like Pat Robertson would not have been a guest on a show like Hardball, but instead resoundingly ignored as the fringe nutzoid that he is. It seems these days that no amount of wingnut conservative vitriol can discredit someone so thoroughly that they cannot be used as a counterpoint to even a highly regarded liberal—an insult to liberals, apart from anything else.)

As commenter Greg VA and Mannion point out, story content is only one symptom of media bias, the other being what gets reported with regularity. Greg says, “The bias has less to do with the content on any individual story, but a pattern of what gets reported and how much attention it gets.” Mannion flushes it out further in comments, noting:

There have been months and months at a time when the coverage has been pretty much all negative---not because of Liberal bias---but because just reporting the facts on what he's doing reflects badly on him. He's just not doing a good job. But those periods have always come to an end to be replaced by coverage that is practically hagiographic and those periods have tended to last longer and to have had the effect of making people almost forget his mistakes and failures. He keeps getting another chance.
Spot on. In the end, they can’t give up their crush. He hasn’t betrayed them; he has them around for dinner.

Ezra says that because Americans “don't think Iraq is going well, they don't like Bush's plan for Social Security, they don't think he's doing anything on health care, they don't think he's helping the economy, they don't, in fact, think he's doing a good job on anything at all,” it suggests that the press has done reasonably well with its reporting. I’m just not so sure it’s causation, rather than correlation.

Murders and ice cream sales always go up at the same time, but it’s not because ice cream evokes murderous rages, or because murderers reward themselves with a scoop of vanilla. It’s because of heat. When it’s hot, people want ice cream. When it’s hot, tempers are shorter.

It isn’t heat, however, that links the media’s Bush bias and American’s waning support. It’s that he’s throwing a party while the country falls to pieces. The press, indulging their ardor, think that’s just swell. The rest of us think it stinks.

Delicious! Ann Coulter dumped from AZ paper

by Pam

"Many readers find her shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives."
-- David Stoeffler, editor and publisher of the Arizona Daily Star
One newspaper, interested in boosting its journalistic reputation, has had enough of the bony ass, bed-worn, plagiarist b*tch of the Reich, according to WingNutDaily.
If you live in Tucson, Ariz., you won't be reading columnist Ann Coulter in your local daily newspaper any more. The Arizona Daily Star dropped the popular WorldNetDaily commentator because, the editor and publisher says, "many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited."

In a column announcing a wide range of changes in the paper's opinion pages yesterday, Editor and Publisher David Stoeffler revealed that the paper was making the change.

Taking her place in the Star will be former Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Snow, host of "The Tony Snow Show" on Fox News Radio and "Weekend Live With Tony Snow" on the Fox News Channel.

Stoeffler has been at the paper just nine weeks. He said the paper had received about 300 e-mails on a recent redesign, and many were negative. So the Star is shifting back to "more words" and a less fancy design.

"Running a newspaper is something like building a three-legged stool," Stoeffler explained. "We need to understand and satisfy a broad audience. Through a combination of market research and regular contact, we come to know what readers want."

The changes instituted at the paper, he wrote, are the result of "a lot of behind-the-scenes work aimed at making the Arizona Daily Star a better newspaper."

He added, "we've decided that syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has worn out her welcome."

"These changes are part of an overall effort to better serve our readers and improve our journalism," he explained.
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

FBI labeling more lawful groups 'terrorists'

by Pam

"This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities. When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern."
-- Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney and counsel, in a lawsuit seeking release of additional FBI documents
It's yet another instance of peaceful protest organizations being monitored by Bush goons and given the "terrorist" seal of disapproval for disagreeing with the Chimperor's policies. Two Michigan organizations, an affirmative action and an anti-war group find that they have been under Dumbya's microscope.

This behavior by the government was first covered back in July on my blog, when the ACLU, through a Freedom of Information Act request, unearthed 1,200 pages on the ACLU's activities tracked by the FBI.
The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially "involved in terrorist activities." The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI's use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance.

The document released today is an FBI report labeled, "Domestic Terrorism Symposium," and describes a meeting that was intended to "keep the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies apprised of the activities of the various groups and individuals within the state of Michigan who are thought to be involved in terrorist activities."

Among the groups mentioned are Direct Action, an anti-war group, and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a national organization dedicated to defending affirmative action, integration, and other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The FBI acknowledges in the report that the Michigan State Police has information that BAMN has been peaceful in the past.

Kary Moss

"Labeling political advocacy as 'terrorist activity' is a threat to legitimate dissent which has never been considered a crime in this country," said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. "Spying on people who simply disagree with our government's policies is a tremendous waste of police resources."

The FBI report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of nine local organizations and individuals, including Direct Action. ACLU affiliates in 15 additional states have filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals.

"We're disturbed and dismayed that the FBI is misusing its power by spying on anti-war groups and monitoring political dissent to target activist groups," said 23-year-old Sarah McDonald, a member of Direct Action and recent graduate of Michigan State University. "We've protested the war, racial discrimination and the military recruitment of the high school students, but we're certainly not a terrorist group."
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Thinking about the weather

by STP

Hurricane Katrina has left a trail of damage that will cost billions to repair. Worse, she has taken all too many lives. Storms such as Katrina will happen throughout time no matter what we do, or have done. The world will see hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, and more, because that is part of life on this planet. Sadly, bad and dangerous weather will occur and lives will be lost.

But the goal of this post is not to diminish the horrible loss of life and property at the hands (for lack of a better word) of storms such as Hurricane Katrina. What I wish to discuss here is the idea that the number of bad storms, extremes in weather and the severity of natural occurrences have grown over the last few years and will continue to do so. This is not George Bush's fault, though leaders such as our president, and the men and women of government at all levels, are partially responsible due to the waste of their positions of power through their doing so little to address environmental matters.

The fault lies with us. We are cooking the planet via global warming. The ecosystem has been abused willingly and continuously by all of us. Humankind has mutilated the environment and shown a blatant disregard for anything and everything on the globe.

As a result, we have rising temperatures, melting polar caps, clear cut forests, vanishing species, polluted rivers and streams, broken links in the chain of life, and .... ruin on a grand scale. Correspondingly, the destruction of all our natural resources has so mangled the environmental balance that the planet relies on to operate properly that we are left with ... more extremes in weather patterns.

We drive SUVs. We throw our trash out of car windows. We do not conserve electricity in our homes. We do not adequately recycle. We refuse to find alternative energy sources. We do not build enough mass transit. We allow companies to spew filth into the air, water and wilderness. We clear cut forests. We kill off whole species of wildlife. We over-develop our land.

We treat the earth like a personal play thing. We disrespect it. We abuse it.

It strikes back with a vengeance.

Storms such as Hurricane Katrina and last year's tsunami are bound to happen over time no matter what we do or do not do. That is part of living on this planet. However, our behavior comes with a cost. The bill comes due in the multiplied responses of the weather.

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)

Walking Talking Books

by The Heretik


BOOKS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES And if a book moves you, why not move the book in a bookstore so it can move someone else? Someone is recommending moving Orwell’s 1984 and putting it next to Bill O’Reilly’s books. Make one book a quiet comment on the foolery around it. Why stop with 1984?

TAKE ANY BIOGRAPHY ABOUT GEORGE BUSH and put it in the fiction section. Dark types may want to put the September Eleventh Report in with Greek tragedy. Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury with its Shakespearean allusion to life being a tale told by an idiot should be placed in only one spot. Between books by Ann Coulter and Sean Insanity. Les Miserables could be a quiet commentary on any number of other books. Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot wants some side by side with Rush Limbaugh. What other books can you think of and where would you put them?

SOURCES: [Avant Game] [Blondesense] [Agitprop]

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Then, and now...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Great piece on AmericaBlog about the number of troops sent to Miami after Andrew verses the Katrina-affected areas now... after Andrew the looting and stealing at gunpoint was rampant (we lost our generator in this manner)... this situation sounds much worse for actual safety than Andrew (because of people being trappped in their houses). Did you all see the video footage of helicopter rescues yesterday? The governor said they could only get the most dire cases that day - if people were in their attacks they were considered "safe". They didn't have enough troops to get everyone out that day. Too many still on that scavenger hunt for those WMDs, I guess, and getting given flowers and chocolates from the Iraqi citizens so glad to have them their to look for those WMDs....

People are dying President Bush - have you sent enough troops?
by Rob in Baltimore - 8/30/2005 07:43:00 AM

Katrina is being called the worst disaster in US history, being compared to hurricane Andrew, and it's not over yet. I've been listening to the reports this morning about hundreds of people trapped in attics, levees breaking in New Orleans and water rising. The reports indicate that people are stuck in their attics and have punched through in places and are trying to signal rescue workers.

The Red Cross has indicated its response will be the largest in its history. So how many National Guard and military troops will Bush send to help save these people? Well, in 1992 his father sent over 30,000 troops to Florida after Andrew, in addition to over 6,000 National Guard activated by the state.
According to today's Chicago Tribune, Louisiana has activated 3,500 National Guardsmen.

As the waters rise and people are trapped in their homes, think about someone's grandmother trapped in an attic waiting for her government to help her. George Bush's response? He spent yesterday talking politics, and today he's supposed to go to California.

Unless we see tens of thousands of troops activated to support this disaster recovery, the people who die over the next few days because there aren't enough troops are all on George Bush.

A Veteran Speaks

by TheGreenKnight

The words of First Sergeant Perry Jeffries, 20-year Army veteran, recently returned from Iraq:
[T]he only way that we can maintain our way of life is to have a strong defense.... And we had that before we started this little adventure here. Now we're beginning to eat it up....The equipment and the people are getting chewed up and spat out. And that's not the right way to defend our country.....

I tell you I was in Iraq and we saw some of the peace protests that were done at that time. And I felt like people really cared about me because they were taking the time to address the issues. And get really involved and do something rather than just emit jingoistic slogans....

There seems to be no real mission right now. We keep talking about winning and fighting terrorists. But terrorism is a technique. You can't win against terrorism. We've talked about turning it over to the Iraqi Army and we've talked about the constitutional process....But the fact is we got about 140,000 of America's best and brightest sitting in the desert and just sort of standing in a kill zone.... So we need to tell them what the goal is, what they have to achieve....

Mr. Rumsfeld, the civilian head of the Pentagon right now, he comes from a corporate world where everything is measured. And every night our commanders in Iraq have to submit all kinds of data.... And yet there seems to be no metric that defines our success. And the only numbers we hear are changed constantly.... We have the generals saying one thing. The civilian leadership saying another. And none of it seems to make any sense.

Update: More veterans speak. See here and here.

Cross-posted from The Green Knight.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Special Analysis Report:
Able Danger and the Secretary of State

by Dark Wraith

In the year 2000, a private firm tasked to identifying potential security threats to the United States of America developed a chart of complex business and government relationships that, in its scope and detail, implicated China as a source of concern. As reported by the New York Post, the chart was "controversial" at the time it was unveiled; and according to the Post article, it triggered grave concerns because the investigation of which the chart was a component came "...dangerously close to violating laws banning the military from spying on Americans," according to sources involved in the operation.

One of the targets of the investigation was an individual with long-term ties to Right-wing and conservative interests, a person who was soon to become a Washington insider: her name was Condoleeza Rice, who was to become, subsequent to the Republican victory in the 2000 Presidential Election, the National Security Adviser to the new President, George W. Bush. Eventually, Dr. Rice would become the Secretary of State, a portfolio that she still holds. The Post article noted above concludes, "There was no suggestion that Rice or any of the others had done anything wrong."

The investigators who were targeting Dr. Rice and other Americans were fired, and the contract the private firm had with the Pentagon was canceled. James Smith, who was responsible for creating the "controversial" chart using a sophisticated data mining procedure to find correlations and connections among millions of pieces of disparate information, confirmed to the Post that he was, indeed, fired because of his work. He indicated that it was because of concerns by Pentagon lawyers about the "focus" on American citizens. It is possible that the termination of the Able Danger work was because of concerns within the Clinton Administration that, were the group's activities to become public, accusations would be made that Clinton was spying on his political enemies because a number of American names being generated by the model were Republican political personalities and their business supporters.

In other aspects of the work by Able Danger, it had been able to identify, months in advance of the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, several of the foreign nationals, including purported ringleader Mohammed Atta. That this intelligence existed but was never used or apparently communicated to the Bush Administration before the attacks has only recently come to light, and the facts surrounding Able Danger's accurate targeting was not made available to the independent commission (informally known as the "9/11 Commission") that was charged with preparing a definitive report on the attacks and the failures of intelligence that allowed them to happen.

According to Reuters, as reported by Intel Dump, a military official, Captain Phillott, affiliated with Able Danger has now stated that he did, indeed, tell the 9/11 Commission's controversial and allegedly partisan staff director, Phillip Zelikow, about intelligence generated by Able Danger regarding Mohammed Atta, but the actual Commission members assert that they were not told about the substantial importance of the successful, pre-attack investigative work that had been accomplished. This, however, must be viewed in the context of the Commission's final report, which described the captain's information as "not sufficiently reliable," indicating either that the Commission members dismissed a stunningly accurate assessment of men who were soon to be terrorists or that Dr. Zelikow provided the Commission the assessment that would entirely inform what would come to be its summary dismissal of the information.

In what might be taken as a mere side note, Dr. Zelikow and Commission member Jamie Gorelick, who worked for the Clinton Administration Justice Department, were the only individuals associated with the Commission that were ever permitted to fully review National Security Council documents pursuant to the Commission's investigations. More fundamentally, in a Statement of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission, organized family members of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks called for the resignation of Dr. Zelikow from the 9/11 Commission because he, along with Condoleeza Rice, had attended a meeting in late 2000 in which outgoing Clinton Administration officials attempted to brief transition team members for the in-coming Bush Administration about on-going investigations of potential terrorist threats against the United States.

Dr. Zelikow is described by insiders as a long-time close friend of Condoleeza Rice, having co-authored with him a 1995 book on German reunification. She has recently appointed him as one of her senior advisers. According to her official online résumé provided by the United States government, before serving the current Bush Administration, Dr. Rice was the Provost of Stanford University, long reputed as a bastion of conservative and Right-wing intellectuals, and she had at various times served on the boards of directors of such multinational entitities as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, and the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies. Dr. Rice and Dr. Zelikow had worked together for the Administration of President George H.W. Bush.

No copies of the original Able Danger chart have surfaced. To the extent that the mainstream media has covered this odd little story, assurances have been made consistently that Dr. Rice and other Americans were not legitimate targets of investigation. Without doubt, civil libertarians would point to this computer-generated "suspect list" as further evidence of potentially abusive application of computer data mining as an investigative tool. Although such concerns are well justified, the existence of the now-vanished chart indicates that, in the present case, an extensive forensic process proceeded from the leads offered by the results of the brute algorithm. Whether or not the construction was entirely fantastic will never be known unless the chart is rediscovered and its pathways fully and impartially pursued by law enforcement authorities.

So far, Able Danger is the only known project at the national level that, more than a year before the attacks of September 11, 2001, correctly identified not only terrorists who would be involved in those attacks, but accurately identified the one who was the ringleader of the outrage.

So far, no one has explained why, if the Pentagon was concerned about military spying on American citizens, the information was not passed to domestic federal law enforcement officials who could have legally continued what proved in retrospect to be the most fruitful of all known avenues of investigation that were on-going in the year leading up to the attacks.

And so far, no one has explained how information about what Able Danger had found and surmised managed to get to Condoleeza Rice's close friend and associate, Phillip Zelikow, yet the 9/11 Commission members still disclaim any detailed knowledge of the extent of Able Danger's findings, despite the Commission's final report dismissing the source of the information passed to Dr. Zelikow.

The Dark Wraith leaves it to the discretion of the readers, as they may choose, to assess this odd little side story and all of the seemingly disparate issues that arise from it.

This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.

Labor Day fun for the Phelps clan

by Pam

What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? Guess where the Phelps family and followers are going? They are hitting the road to picket a Pride celebration in Duluth, MN, "honoring" Mayor Herb Bergson.
WBC to picket filthy faggot mayor of the sodomite whorehouse masquerading as Duluth, Minn., at their so-called Duluth-Superior GLBTQAI Pride Festival, and the leper colonies calling themselves churches in Duluth - Sept. 3 and 4
For more on Rotting CryptkeeperTM fun, check out Paul the Spud's post over at Shakes Sis today, "Fred Phelps: Hate-Filled Maniac with a Death Wish."

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Freeper freaks out over pro-gay remarks by priest at Mass

by Pam

This is a direct post from a Freeper that lost his/her cookies today at church because the priest had kind remarks for parents of lesbians and gay. It's delicious torture.
Help! My Priest Admires Parents of Gays and Lesbians (Vanity)
me | 8/27/05 | me

Posted on 08/27/2005 8:24:10 PM PDT by Bush2004

During the homily at Mass today, our new priest was preaching about being "counter-culture" (what that had to do with the readings is beyond me), and said that he admires parents of gays and lesbians.

I was so astonished that he would expose pre-adolescent children to the concept of homosexuality that I had to walk out with our three kids. It's against everything I was always taught, and against Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality by the Pontifical Council for the Family (which says that homosexuality should not be addressed with children who are not adolescents - age of innocence).

Plus, I immediately thought that he was telling my kids that if they wanted their priest to admire my husband and I, then they should become homosexuals.

Am I wrong in doing this? I value the opinions of my fellow FReepers on this. Does anyone have useful suggestions on how to deal with this priest?

We've got some real Dr. Phil types offering advice below. Read and weep (with laughter)...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Leave, and try to bring others."

"I would send a note to the Bishop and ask if he is aware of the kind of things this priest is teaching. I would also change churches. It's better to drive a few extra miles, than to belong to a church headed by a priest who is not following the Church's teachings."

"I want to fight him, so his filthy indoctrination doesn't harm anybody else."

"The only thing to do is to convice friends to either leave, or stop donating."

"Awesome. You did the right thing. Let's hope he hasn't been exposing other things to pre-adolescent children."

"He is probably getting ready to come out of the closet himself."

"Have the men of the village exercise him [Oooh, baby...]. Else maybe one of the pinged has a suggestion."

"Okay, here's your answer........Don't post personal vanities to news, don't ever post personal religious stuff to news, and call your Bishop and complain."

"I suspect he may be a closet pedophile."

"You have been getting some advice to report him to the Bishop. Don't, at least not yet. You have a problem with him, handle it like an adult and take it to him. Nobody liked the kind of kids who would run to teachers, and nobody likes the type of adults who run to supervisors. Challenge him directly, and if unsatisfied, report it on up."

"The priest is probably a fag himself."

"It sounds to me that Satan has found an open door into your church. Time to exit with your family and all others who CARE if the Truth is what's taught in the church."

"I heard tonight from a friend that he is/was good friends with a former archbishop who is a known homosexual. One of Rembert Weakland's friends, eh?"

"let me guess, you're in the Milwaukee diocese? If so, my deepest sympathies."

"I would like to say I am shocked.... but I am not."

"I dialogued him about another homily that offended us--he was talking about the evil in the Catholic Church and how the priests sexually abused children and the sexual predators in the State---another subject I felt did not need to be explicitly addressed during a church homily. Our parish is very young with hundreds of young children. He replied that I would not convince him that his homily was inappropriate and that he felt it was important to talk about sex during church."

"Just a simple question? As a Christian, would you want your own son 'out' (as in shunned from society) if he told you he was gay? Would you never speak to him again? I'm just interested to know your a Christian."

"You are going to cut him out of your life forever? Well then, I wonder who will hurt most through their lives, and in purgatory!"

"What if your son was a homosexual and did not live a chaste life?? What would you do?"

"It's against everything I was always taught, and against Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality by the Pontifical Council for the Family (which says that homosexuality should not be addressed with children who are not adolescents - age of innocence""

"Well I agree that what he said is in violation of Vatican instruction...However...The Vatican also teaches that the Death Penalty is wrong (they've lightened up on this issue somewhat). They teach against Birth Control. Do you or have you used any? They put a massive emphasis on "social justice". Do you buy into the social justice hogwash?"

"As far as admiring the parents of homosexuals I admire them (and feel sorry for them) too. It would be a tough thing to deal with no matter how you chose to handle it. In short the priest is probably a liberal (gee...big surprise) who handled it wrong. But I'm not very impressed with you either. I doubt your kids were paying any attention and you made something of an ass out of yourself by picking up and moving. Maybe you should attend Mass held in a foreign language? I guarantee this is not the last time you are going to be offended by something heard at Mass."

"For the sake of you and your kids, get away from that priest and from that parish. The risk of harm is too great for you to ignore the warning signs. At a minimum, the priest has a misplaced and distorted sense of charity; or he may be suggesting that being in his parish is an acceptance that there would be no harm in your children becoming homosexual. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church in the US has not yet fully reformed itself."

"Dick Cheney is the parent of a gay woman."

"You're sitting in "mass" on a Saturday afternoon to fulfill your Sunday obligation, and you're surprised to hear of even more "fruits" of Vatican II? Do yourself, your children, and most importantly your soul a favor and find a Traditional Mass with decent, holy priests in your area. Youll be glad you did."
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Read more Big Brass Blog entries...

Marines Write Letters

by Shakespeare's Sister

Christopher at After School Snack points to a great letter to the editor of the,0,4688615.story?coll=dp-opinion-editorials

Other Voices: Gay unions pose no threat to traditional marriage

By Benjamin Cuker

August 27 2005

Worried about same-sex marriage causing the end to your traditional union?

My wife and I will soon celebrate 27 years of "traditional marriage" to each other. We have two young adult children. Like all marriages, we faced various challenges, but never once was our union jeopardized by knowing that in our community lived gay couples, who like us were essentially married and raising children.

I say "essentially," since Virginia does not formally recognize the concept of gay marriage. I don't understand those folks trying to save "traditional marriage" by denying same-sex couples the same privileges afforded heterosexual couples.

Honestly, I never even thought about formal gay marriage until the run-up to the 2004 election. As states and some religious denominations began to recognize gay marriage, President George W. Bush called for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage by requiring that all unions exist only between one man and one woman. The constitutional amendment has so far gone nowhere, but many states have adopted similar codes via ballot measure or legislative action. All the clamor over the issue did help mobilize the Bush base that returned him to the White House.

So what is marriage anyway? In our nation, marriage exists at three levels. The first, and I contend the most important, is the covenant of love between the two partners. The second is the legal or state-recognized institution. This civil marriage provides protection and rights for the partners and their children. Laws related to civil marriage cover shared property, shared benefits from employers and the government, and what happens if the union fails. The third is marriage in the eyes of the church. Religious sanction of matrimony is up to the religious order. The constitutional principle of the separation between church and state suggests that the government must not meddle in the affairs of any church on this matter, and that religious groups must also not intrude on civil sanctioning of marriage.

Advocates for state-sanctioned, same-sex marriages seem to want the same sorts of legal protection offered to heterosexual married couples, and perhaps the stamp of community approval that comes with a marriage license. This sounds good to me.

My wife and I know same-sex couples in longstanding relationships doing fine jobs of raising children. I see no reason why these couples and their children cannot be afforded the same rights as other married citizens.

Bush and his supporters devoted much energy to trying to pass legislation that curtailed the rights of same-sex couples. Why? I suspect that Bush, Karl Rove and the gang don't really care if Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter can ever officially marry her partner. They saw same-sex marriage as a wedge issue useful to attracting voters turned off by the notion of homosexuality.

All thinking Americans should wake up and reject such hate-based politics.

Half of all marriages in the United States fail. Reasons include young age at the time of nuptials, drug and alcohol abuse, disagreements over money, partners growing apart, infidelity, etc., but I haven't heard of any couple saying they will divorce if gay folks start getting married. Same-sex marriage does not threaten traditional marriage.

A couple of reasons marriages don't fail are genuine love and acceptance. I love and accept my wife for who she is. Wouldn't it be nice if Bush would send a message of love and acceptance of the diverse people who make this nation great, rather than singling out a minority group to hate?

Think of it, an amendment to the Constitution that specified that no one shall be discriminated against for who they choose to marry; and another amendment that made it a crime to use hate and intolerance as a means of gaining political advantage. Let's leave disapproval of mate choice out of the public sector and back where it belongs, with mother-in-laws.

Cuker, who resides in Hampton, is a professor of marine and environmental science at Hampton University.

Copyright © 2005, Daily Press

Wanted: Truth About Haiti

by The Heretik


READING BETWEEN THE LINES IN HAITI Lines are drawn and lines are written about the human disaster in Haiti. Lines are written about DREAD WILME. Beyond the regular visits of death squads and moral squalor, one lament heard from Haitians is how their horror is portrayed. Haitians feel United Nations “peacekeepers are aligned with an oppressive, United States imposed oligarchy and gang enforcers. Now you might add the media to the list of enemies for the Haitian nation. Who will tell the Haitian truth?

LINES ARE DRAWN in the story of the death of LAVALAS party member DREAD WILME. Contrast the two stories below. The New York Times visited the story yesterday.

[NY TIMES] According to the United Nations account of the raid, soldiers responded to months of violence in Cité Soleil - much of it directed at its own residents - by staging a predawn assault with armored vehicles and helicopters. Their prime target: Emmanuel Wilmer, a gang leader also known as Dread Wilmé. Mr. Wilmer and other gang members were killed in the ensuing battle.

[MARGARET LAURENT] TELLS A DIFFERENT STORY Drèd Wilme was reported assassinated by the UN occupation forces in Haiti on Wednesday, July 6, 2005. But he's been falsely reported dead before. Haitians with faith still know that long after the hired triggermen who are shooting the people of Cite Soleil and even at Wilme, are dust in the wind, Drèd Wilme's deeds, the people of Haiti's resistance to tyranny, will live on, in all Haitians, for all peoples on this globe, who resist Euro/US-led greed, racism and tyranny against the poor and African on this planet.

AND HERE IS A THIRD VIEW [SOBAKA] Like Amiot "Cubain" Metayer in Gonaives, Dread Wilme ascended the only ladder that reaches down into the sub-cellar of the Port-au-Prince slums. And like many gang leaders/political activists, the locals viewed him with a mixture of envy, adulation and awe. This doesn't mean that they're right and his accusers are wrong - and certainly not that the hacks at the IAC are anywhere near the truth in their portrayal of a modern day Robin Hood. It means that Dread Wilme was born in an entirely different world than most of the people eulogizing or pissing on his grave - an hostile environment that few people have seen, much less lived through.

[DREAD WILME] BEFORE HIS DEATH: The way things are in the country today, journalists are being killed, school children are being killed, business people are being killed. Many people who would have been useful to the country are being killed. As Lavalas militants throughout all the parts of the country, all 9 departments and even in the 10th department we are standing up to defend our rights, to demand that President Aristide return to the country and for us to live in peace because without President Aristide there can be no peace. The government that is here right now is doing only one thing: killing people all over the country.

DREAD WILME? Gang leader or patriot? Sinner or saint? Somewhere in between. Haitians of Cite Soleil say one thing, few listen.




[FACTESQUE] It Depends What You Mean by Neighbor?

(Crossposted at The Heretik)


by Shakespeare's Sister

Frank Rich is disgusted, and rightfully so, about the lack of leadership being offered from … well … anyone, on Iraq. Out of the entire column, however, this passage in particular stood out to me:

If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.


Mencken said, “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right...” At the moment, it seems neither is particularly dependent upon the other to showcase its inefficacy, nor its self-interested avarice, traits with both parties share, if nothing else. Sure, they snipe at each other, but it’s not even necessary, so manifestly obvious are their flaws, and sure, one party is hell and gone worse for most Americans than the other, but even with such a grave disparity, the better of the two struggles to make headway in winning back congressional seats, so disarrayed is their message as they run ever more quickly and desperately to their right, as if hoping to win by becoming just as bad as their opponents.

The two parties are a collective stinkfest, and the presupposed frontrunners, John McCain (who, in case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t like) and the aforementioned Hillary Clinton, don’t stand to change the directions their parties are headed, as McCain increasingly panders to wingnuts and Clinton veers rightward to protect the children. Rumor has it that Chuck Hagel is considering an independent bid in 2008, and although I don’t give much credibility to that rumor, the fact that it can be even be floated at all is an indication of how widespread the dissatisfaction with both parties really is.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to get a viable and thriving third party in this country. I like the Greens, and I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for a Green candidate if given the opportunity, but they’re such a mess I can’t even get emails returned from my state’s Green party. And, honestly, I think they’re going to struggle until Ralph Nader goes the way of the dodo, because each time he pulls some new crackpot shit, there are going to be people who feel a creeping heat under their collars that reminds them of 2000, and it isn’t fading from their memories whose ticket he was on.

I read awhile ago about a burgeoning labor party in New York, which sounded quite good, but they seemed to be toiling for cash and support, too. It just seems like the two parties are so entrenched that it’s almost impossible to encroach an iota on their well-marked territory. I recall Mr. Furious telling me about having spoken to someone who worked inside Perot’s campaign, and how the two major parties worked together to try to crush him, while running their own separate campaigns against each other as well. If two parties with all the power will and can destroy any viable opposition, we’re not living in much of a democracy.

Campaign finance reform, shortened election cycles, blah blah blah. None of it matters if the political parties care more about power than they do about people.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

On "Process" in Iraq

by The Heretik


“PROCESS” IS THE WORD YOU HEAR WHEN THERE IS NO PROGRESS No matter how much George Bush tries to catapult the propaganda, STANDING FIRM means people are losing faith in a president who increasingly looks like he has lost his grip on reality. There will be NO PARADES.

AS THE REALITY OF STANDSTILL in Iraq becomes evident, as the adoption of a constitution there suffers yet another delay, and women’s rights there sink into the sand, process will be mentioned again and again. But there is something we can look forward to in the coming days. We can expect to September Eleventh changed everything. September Eleventh gave George Bush a halo that with sinking polls now is a noose around his neck. We are in the process of realizing we have made no progress at all. Freedom, if it is on the march, is marching backward.

[FRANK RICH] And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years.

[TOM DISPATCH] No one has been publicly less spontaneous or more -- effectively -- repetitious than our President; but sometimes, as he says, you "keep repeating things over and over and over again" and what sinks in really is the truth rather than the propaganda. Sometimes, just that extra bit of repetition under less than perfect circumstances, and words that once struck fear or offered hope, that once explained well enough for most the nature of the world they faced, suddenly sound hollow. They begin to sound... well, repetitious, and so, false. Your message, which worked like a dream for so long, goes off-message, and then what do you do?
This is, I suspect, exactly what growing numbers of Americans are experiencing in relation to our President. It's a mysterious process really -- like leaving a dream world or perhaps deprogramming from a cult. Once you step outside the bubble, statements that only yesterday seemed heartfelt or powerful or fearful or resolute truths suddenly look like themselves, threadbare and impoverished.

[COLBERT KING] Consider the Iraq now unfolding on the ground.
What's the value of Americans giving their lives so that cleric-dominated Shiites and northern Kurds can get their hands on political power and oil revenue?
Why are American women and men sacrificing lives and limbs in a country where women may have to settle for less?
Stay the course. What course? So religious-based militia can divvy up the northern and southern portions of the country? So Islam can be enshrined as a principal source of new Iraqi legislation?
Are any of those things worth dying for? Do any of those likely outcomes represent an American victory? They certainly aren't why Bush said we went over there.

[POLITICAL ANIMAL] As you know, I've been arguing for the past couple of months that we
need a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. Details aside, this is
fundamentally based on my belief that unless you have well understood
goals and objectives that you can hold people to, you'll never get
anything done. We need firm targets and timelines in Iraq to have any
chance of success there.

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Gas prices will be stoked by Katrina

by Pam

Gas station on Catalina Island at Avalon off the coast of Southern California, Friday, Aug. 26, 2005.

Do you think Chimpy is sweating at all about this? If he isn't, you know Congress is, since they all have to come up for re-election. How's Dumbya going to deal? Blame it all on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (see below for some serious irony)?
Retail gas prices hit yet another record high over the past two weeks and could go even higher before the traditional post-Labor Day driving decline ends demands pressure, according to a nationwide survey. While gas prices usually peak in August, any major disruption to oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Hurricane Katrina could keep prices high even longer. The average price for all three grades rose nearly 13 cents to $2.65 in the two weeks ending Aug. 26, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations around the country. The figures were not adjusted for inflation.

The level of damage caused by Katrina may extend the price peak beyond Labor Day. Already, some production capacity has been idled because oil companies have evacuated personnel in the area.
Katrina is `perfect storm' to push up energy prices.
With crude oil prices already near record levels, Hurricane Katrina targeted the heart of America's oil and refinery operations Sunday, shutting down an estimated 1 million barrels of refining capacity and sharply curbing offshore production in the region.

It is an area crucial to the nation's energy infrastructure — offshore oil and gas production, import terminals, pipeline networks and numerous refining operations throughout southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The impact was immediate Sunday night when electronic trading resumed on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as crude oil futures spiked $4.50 per barrel, putting the cost above $70 for the first time since oil began trading there in 1983.

...Last September, Hurricane Ivan also swept across the region causing heavy damage and reducing the region's output for months. Katrina's winds were fiercer.

Oil companies evacuated workers and shut down more than 600,000 barrels of daily production in the Gulf. Refiners closed down more than 1 million barrels of refining output by Sunday, but that amount could be higher because not every producer reports data, said Peter Beutel, an oil analyst with Cameron Hanover.

"This is the big one," he said. "This is unmitigated, bad news for consumers."

..."If this thing knocks out significant quantities of refining capacity ... we're going to be in deep, dark trouble," said Ed Silliere, vice president of risk management at Energy Merchant LLC in New York.

Reader Paul sent me this link, saying: "This gives new meaning to the term "US AID'." The news should give both Pat Robertson and all the Hugo Chavez-bashers painful wedgies: "Venezuela Offers Heating Oil to U.S. Poor as Winter Approaches."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered heating oil to poor communities in the U.S. to bypass the middlemen he claims inflate prices.

Chavez, 51, made the offer during his weekly television broadcast, "Alo Presidente." Chavez said 140 communities or groups have requested energy aid from the South American country since Chavez said earlier this week that Venezuela could help poor families in the U.S.

"We want to help the poorest communities in the U.S.," Chavez said. "There are people who die from the cold in winter in the U.S."

Citgo Petroleum Corp., the U.S. unit of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, may coordinate distribution, Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. Citgo has eight refineries in the U.S., as well as 14,000 affiliated gasoline stations. Chavez and Ramirez didn't say how much heating oil might be offered.

"There is poverty in the U.S.," Chavez said. "People freeze to death, people starve to death."

Chavez, who became president in 1999 after winning the presidency in a landslide, has repeatedly attacked multinational oil companies as one of the causes of rising energy prices. Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, sends more than 60 percent of its 2 million barrels a day of oil exports to the U.S.

Chavez also said 150,000 Americans will be offered medical care to correct vision problems.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Mitt backs war, but his boys are safe at home

by Pam

"No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve."
-- Massachusetts Governor (and possible '08 GOP prez candidate Mitt Romney
Great article by Maggie Mulvihill in the Boston Herald on the revelation that Mitt Romney's kids aren't enlisting He's pissed someone asked the question. Read and sense the complete flop sweat.
Gov. Mitt Romney, who has comforted the grieving loved ones of soldiers killed in Iraq and promoted National Guard recruitment, yesterday said he has not urged his own sons to enlist - and isn't sure whether they would.

The Herald posed the question as Romney - a potential 2008 White House contender and backer of President Bush's Iraq policy -was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard after he signed a bill extending pay for state workers on active duty.

"No, I have not urged my own children to enlist.I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve," Romney said, his voice tinged with anger. Massachusetts residents can enlist in the National Guard up to age 39. Romney's five sons range in age from 24 to 35. Neither the Romney children nor the governor have served in the military, Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer said.

"I don't think you should be so `rah-rah' for a war that you aren't willing to send your own family members to," said Rose Gonzalez, 30, of Somerville, whose mother, a state employee, was deployed to Iraq in January."If he thinks the war is so just and so important and we shouldn't pull out, then he should encourage his own sons to go."

Nancy Lessin, a spokeswoman for Military Families Speak Out, said if Romney aspires to be president he should consider the sacrifice made by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the father of four sons all of whom enlisted in World War II. "This is just one more politician who is willing to risk the lives of our loved ones and celebrate sending them off into a war that we never should have in," Lessin said.
And here's a kick-*ss list from reader An Other Greek...
Take a good look at the military records of the Republicans on this list. Not only are these men expressing an opinion on wartime issues, they are directing our warring policies! Those of you on the right, please - heed your own stated prinicples here. Make them stop.

Military Service Records, prominent Democrats:

* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.

Republicans (and these are the guys sending our kids to war):

* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* John Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)
Earlier "Mitt is an Ass" posts: 1 and 2

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Yes! Subway perv caught on cell camera

by Pam

Image from cell phone camera belonging to subway rider Thao Nguyen captures shot of man (below) she says leered at her and exposed himself aboard R train last week.

A big thumbs up for this use of cellphone cameras. After all the stories of pervs shooting up women's skirts, here's payback on the NYC Subway.
When a pervert exposed himself on a Manhattan subway last week, Thao Nguyen reached for her secret weapon - her camera phone. The quick-thinking 22-year-old snapped a shot of the smirking sicko, took it to cops and then posted it on the Internet.

Nguyen's transformation from quiet Web developer to feisty crimefighter happened on an uptown R train the afternoon of Aug. 19. She was on her way back to work after a job interview when a middle-aged, blond-haired man dressed in a black shirt and jeans sat down across from her. "He kept staring at me," she said. "I could feel his eyes on me. I wanted to avoid eye contact so I looked away, but I could see his reflection in the window. "I saw him massaging himself and then he unzipped and pulled it out. I thought, 'I can't believe he's doing this in the middle of the day!' "

The subway car was mostly empty and Nguyen felt nervous, so she pulled out her Samsung P777 cell phone, equipped with a 1.3 megapixel digital phone. "I turned on the camera," she said. "He was still masturbating. I aimed it and quickly took the shot. As soon as I took it, he zipped up and got off the train."

..."It's great she took the picture; it'll help with the investigation," said NYPD Detective Kevin Czartoryski, who warned that a woman should be careful if the flasher sees her taking the picture. "If it can be done in a safe manner, it'd be helpful to locate the suspect," said Czartoryski, a NYPD spokesman. "Common sense should be used when deciding if a picture can be taken."
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fortunate Sons Don’t Like Grieving Mothers

by Shakespeare's Sister

(Following on The Heretik's post, below...)

Amanda Marcotte, commenting on the coincidence of listening to Sleater Kinney’s cover of “Fortunate Son” as she read Atrios’ post about Gov. Mitt Romney’s agitated discomfort with being asked if his sons were planning to enlist, notes that:
Cindy Sheehan standing in the Texas heat outside of Bush's gorgeous, expensive and oh-so-comfortable ranch is a perfect symbol of [the class issues that allow war to happen]. War is not possible unless you have internal class warfare. War is not possible unless the rich and powerful feel free to demand the lives of the common people be sacrificed with the same ease you lose a pawn in a game of chess…

I think that the reason that Bush won't come out of hiding and tell Cindy Sheehan the truth about why her son died in Iraq is because the honest answer is so fucking evil. Casey Sheehan died because he's not a fortunate son…

[B]ut for a simple random accident of fate, he is the man cowering inside the mansion instead of the bereaved parent standing outside it demanding justice.
Of course, it’s even more complex than that for the former flyboy, isn’t it? The simple random accident of fate that guaranteed Bush would never find himself a bereaved parent is the same little ray of providence that ensured he was never going to be the soldier being grieved, either. And if I had to guess what bothers Bush most about Cindy Sheehan’s vigil, it’s not that he could have been her had things been different—it’s that he never, ever could have been her son with things as they are.

Though his handlers have done their best to conceal the truth about whether Bush fulfilled his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard, for which he applied during the height of the Vietnam War, twelve days away from losing his student deferment, there’s no doubt that his family’s position and connections secured him his spot, safely away from the horrors of the war raging half a world away. There was no waiting list for this Fortunate Son, and no dependence on the military as a means to a better life. He was, after all, losing his student deferment because he had just graduated from Yale. The Texas Air National Guard was not going to help pay for his education, or provide him with marketable skills that might be turned into a good career, or be the answer to a lack of health insurance, or any of the reasons that the military is appealing for many Unfortunate Sons. It wasn’t even about a chance to serve his country honorably; it was about the chance to serve without risking his life.

Bush has been lying about, explaining, defending, and justifying his service record ever since. It’s a thorn in his side that refuses to yield no matter how he tugs on it, which is, in the end, a small price to pay compared to his cohorts who returned from the war he avoided with devastating injuries, of both the physical and psychological sorts, or never returned at all. And having launched a war that with each day draws more comparisons to the war from which he hid, the specter of his cowardly, privileged history haunts him, drawing ever nearer. And now a mother of one of the sons who died in his war darkens his very doorstep. As his limo passes by protesters holding pictures of Casey Sheehan, is he really thinking about how fortunate he is not to be Cindy, or instead about the bitter irony of escaping a fate like Casey’s only to condemn another generation? Or does he just see the trickles of sweat running down their brows from standing in the hot Texas sun, and ask his driver to turn up the air conditioning, as he turns away and closes his eyes?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Big Brass Blog Readers - Please send your energies and wishes for the safety of those in New Orleans

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I went through hurricane Andrew and lost everything I owned. I just recently went through Katrina (which was only a category I, but a very mean one at that). I am very, very scared about the situation in New Orleans area. There is not enough room for all the people who need shelter, and the safety of those crowding in the Super Dome is nebulous at best, as the stadium sits right near the river. Too bad that our dear leader has sent all of the National Guard to die in the sand of a war he lied to get us into, because there are only 150 national guard troops to control the thousands in the crowds - both prior to and in the aftermath of this horrific storm.

Ms. Julien

A Misunderstanding

by The Heretik


WHAT DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND, MORAN? Godd bliss MURKA, the public which it stands, one nation underground, with little trees and just us for all.

AMANDA MARCOTTE MUSES on SONS FORTUNATE and otherwise. Governor MITT ROMNEY of Massachussetts, was miffed somebody asked him a question about whether his kids had enlisted to serve in Iraq. MITT of Massachusetts , so obviously miffed, is the son of former governor of Michigan GEORGE ROMNEY, who was “BRAINWASHED” in the Sixties on Vietnam. Miffed Mitt of Mass, a millionaire, made his name in Utah working for free as the head of the 2002 OLYMPICS where somebody else footed all the bills.

THE CITED TITLE SONG FORTUNATE SON was written by JOHN FOGERTY, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival. When Fogerty released a solo album CENTERFIELD, he caught more than pop flies. What he caught from a major record company was what flies land on. Fogerty was actually sued for sounding too much like himself, in violation of copyright and trademark of the band he founded which made all its money on the distinctive voice of John Fogerty sounding just like himself. The record company thought Fogerty who sang Fortunate Son was a son of a bitch sounding like himself.

and the law lost. The court ruled you can sound like yourself so long as you live. You can protest what your government does in songs old and new.

THE MAN CANNOT TAKE THAT AWAY from you. Some boys will not have a chance to sing anymore songs. These boys are not so fortunate as the sons of Miffed Mitt of Massachusetts or JENNA AND BARBARA BUSH.

MIFFED MITT OF MASS HAS MISSED out on why the masses themselves might be miffed about those who miss the chance to serve their country while some who served will miss out on the rest of their lives. Because they died. Their parents and their brothers and sisters, their sons and daughters, their wives and husbands all miss the dead.


MAYBE MIFFED MITT OF MASS MISUNDERSTANDS why people protest the war and something about America.

QUESTION: Answer to question not asked. A man calls himself Mitt only when his first name is Willard. What do you misunderstand about America today?

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Real. Funny. Blog.

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Real funny...

New York Was Not Attacked

by TheGreenKnight

It's always worth listening to Ann Coulter.

No, really. It is. That's not because anything she says is true, smart, or entertaining -- it almost always isn't -- but because it's so often revelatory of strange right-wing narratives. Whereas more clever right-wing figures such as David Brooks and George Will manage to cloak their weird assumptions in urbane rhetoric, Coulter and her fellow insult comics (such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly) are just clumsy enough to show everyone what the narratives on the right actually are.

Coulter's lastest blitherings clearly show one major right-wing narrative: New York was not attacked on September 11, 2001.

Sorting this out from her recent remarks is pretty straightforward. She said, "It's far preferable to fight [terrorists] on the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York, where the residents would immediately surrender."

Her thinking can be expressed as an if-then statement:
If terrorists attack New York, then New Yorkers will surrender to terrorists.

The contrapositive of this statement is equally simple:
If New Yorkers did not surrender to terrorists, then terrorists did not attack New York.

Since nobody has ever seen New Yorkers surrender to terrorists, it logically follows in Annie's World that terrorists did not attack New York.

I'm serious about this (well, sort of). The right has always been uneasy with the specifics of what happened on September 11, 2001, because the people who were killed, who were permanently injured, who lost loved ones, who rushed heriocally into danger to save their fellow human beings, were all New Yorkers. New Yorkers, like other blue-staters, aren't supposed to behave like that, according to the right-wing culture-war narrative. They're supposed to be effete, latte-drinking, Europhiliac, wine-sipping wimps who shriek and run at the first sign of danger.

The right absolutely hated the fact that New Yorkers proved their culture war narrative wrong. It would have been so much better if it had been red-staters that were attacked by terrorists and behaved heroically in response (which no doubt they would have). Annie sez this herself: "I think I'd rather have them trying to invade Mississippi or Georgia, Alabama." It was so thoughtless, really, of the Al Qaeda terrorists to make New Yorkers look good.

What to do about this if you're a right-wing culture warrior? Well, simple, really. Keep retooling the narrative until New York just vanishes from the picture.

First, make sure that you don't call the event something like "The attack on New York," or "The destruction of the World Trade Center." Most other historically important battles and attacks are named for the places where they happened -- Fort Sumpter, Yorktown, Bunker Hill, the Alamo, Pearl Harbor -- but that will not do in this case. You want people to forget New York, not remember it. So instead, call it 9/11. Just a date. It's as if the attack happened anywhere. People in the tiniest village, with no targets worth a terrorist's time, will begin to imagine that they too could be attacked -- maybe even that they were.

Second, use 9/11 as an excuse for all kinds of things that have nothing whatsoever to do with what happened on that day. That pretty much sums up the past five years in Washington, up to and including the invasion of Iraq.

Third, keep repeating the number -- 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 -- until it becomes background noise, stripped of any actual meaning.

After a few years have passed, you'll be able to come to the point that Annie now has come to: the ability to sit there in perfect comfort and confidence and say, pretty directly, that New York was not attacked. 9/11 now has nothing to do with New York. And so, the culture war narrative -- which is all that really counts in the right-wing world -- is saved. Once again, it's Red America that gets to be the victim, and Blue America is safely reassigned to its traditional role as the Enemy Within.

Cross-posted from The Green Knight.

Great Cindy Sheehan video

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I saw this yesterday and loved it, and when Mario sent it with his great comments, it reminded me to post it here:

And Mario has a great point:

This woman raised an A student, altar boy, Eagle Scout, Marine.

Bush has raised 2 drunken sluts........who is the better parent?


“I don't care about international law. I don't want to hear the words, 'international law' again. We are not concerned with international law.”

President of U.S. military tribunal to Guantanamo detainee who asked to speak in his own defense.

Bulletproof Burkha

by The Heretik



AL SALAAM/RICE: Sure I picked that first burkha up in Cairo. The kevlar sheath? That was Tenet’s only good idea. (page 3)


QUESTION: What are realistic goals in Iraq? How are women going to keep their rights in there and in the Middle East? What is gained by accomodation? Start there and go.

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Friday, August 26, 2005

A President for the People...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...low on the gene pool.

McCain beds down with AZ Taliban - supports marriage amendment

by Pam

McCain and Protect Marriage Arizona chair Lynn Stanley smile with glee in support of the petitions in support of the gay-bashing amendment.
To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage. -- language of AZ's amendment

"I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman, said Sen. McCain. The Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state. I wholeheartedly support the Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment and I hope that the voters in Arizona choose to support it as well."
-- John McCain
That's it, John McCain's completely over on the dark side of dirtbag wingnuttery. After his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, he turns around and supports the move by Arizona's Taliban to pass a state amendment. Here's the ecstatic, breathless chair of Protect Marriage Arizona Lynn Stanley:
I met with Sen. John McCain at his Phoenix office today along with several members of the Protect Marriage Arizona coalition to receive his endorsement of the amendment. At the meeting Sen. McCain presented a petition to PMA chair Lynn Stanley with his signature and the signatures of others. Sen. McCain then signed the back of the petition as a petition circulator. He also issued a strong statement of support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman and urged Arizonans to support PMA in a press release issued this afternoon by PMA. While we and other conservatives have had some public differences with Sen. McCain in recent years, we are thrilled to have his endorsement for the state marriage amendment. Sen. McCain’s bipartisan appeal and his strong endorsement of PMA will enhance the measure’s appeal to many Arizonans. In the next few days, he is likely to be heavily criticized by members of the homosexual community and challenged to abandon his support of the amendment. Please take a moment right now to express your gratitude to Sen. McCain for his decision to sign and endorse the PMAA. You can call his office locally at 602-952-2410 or 520-670-6334 or email him using his webform.
Fellow blogger RealValues sums this development up well.
Honest to God this makes me sick to my stomach. McCain, who was a vocal opponent of the Federal Marriage Amendment, was a man who I thought wouldn't sell his soul to the far right to get elected. Apparently, he is just another Republican beholden to the radical right.

Senator McCain, I hope you havent forgotten what these people did to you in SC in 2000. You can guarantee they will do it again in 2008, and this time this blogger wont feel bad for you. Shame on you Senator McCain.

Sucking up to Chimpy in 2004 after being kicked in the balls by Bush in 2000.

For bonus McCain points, see Shakes Sis's blasting of him on his endorsement of intelligent design. McCain's a wingnut butt-kisser at the expense of principles, especially after this last election. Go grrrl.
And now he’s decided the road to the presidency is paved with pandering to the slimy fucks who care so little for this country’s future that they’d compromise an entire generation of its people by diluting their educations with what can be deemed, at best, an alternative but nonscientific philosophy of the origins of humankind, and, at worst, utter hogwash. Leadership isn’t caving to the whims of those who screech the loudest, but instead having the guts and the tenacity to tell them they’re wrong when what they want isn’t good for the rest of us.

Anyone who still thinks this jagoff's a maverick after the bootlicking he gave Bush during the last election is living in cloud cuckoo land. His alleged independent streak came to a screeching halt as it collided with the stumbling zombie corpse of his credibility the moment he stood in New Hampshire with his arm around the shoulders of the man whose operatives called his wife a junky and his adopted daughter illegitimate. He may have been honorable and brave once upon a time, but he’s not anymore.

Where NOT to send your kids

by Pam

College rankings are out, and here are the ones most likely to fill young minds with wingnuttery.
The Princeton Review and US News and World Report released their lists of the best colleges for 2006, and once again, institutions that upheld conservative principles were recognized for their excellence in education.

The Princeton Review’s list included 20 schools where students who were “most nostalgic for Ronald Reagan." On the list are:

-- Hillsdale College in Michigan
-- Grove City College in Pennsylvania
-- Brigham Young University in Utah.
-- U.S. Naval Academy
-- U.S. Military Academy
-- U.S. Air Force Academy
-- Texas A & M – College Station
-- Baylor University
-- Southern Methodist University
-- Clemson University.

US News and World Report’s list recognized many of the same schools, but it included two other noted conservative institutions:
-- Calvin College in Michigan
-- Liberty University in Virginia
On the other hand, here are colleges that made the Princeton Review list for being gay-friendly:
1 New College of Florida
2 Macalester College
3 Wellesley College
4 Eugene Lang College/New School University
5 Mount Holyoke College

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Driving while black or brown keeps on keeping on

by Pam

Race Disparity Seen During Traffic Stops. For all the Freeper bigots out there that think minorities are getting a free ride, are "sticking it to whitey" or any of the other BS that implies reverse discrimination against the dominant population, I invite them to switch places for a while, and experience the following kind of day-to-day crap people of color still experience first-hand.

I love the little detail in this story that the Bush admin didn't want this information publicized, and the person that wanted to do so ended up demoted. John Conyers is calling for an investigation.

I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing DWB (driving while black), but I have encountered SWB (shopping while black -- being followed in a store to make sure I didn't shoplift) and HTWB (hailing a taxi while black -- being bypassed).
Black, Hispanic and white motorists are equally likely to be pulled over by police, but blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be searched, handcuffed, arrested and subjected to force or the threat of it, a Justice Department study has found.

The study, by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, was completed last April and posted on the agency's Web site after Bush administration officials disagreed over whether a press release should mention the racial disparities. Traffic stops have become a politically volatile issue as minority groups have complained that many stops and searches are based on race rather than on legitimate suspicions.

The bureau's director, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, appointed by President Bush in 2001, wanted to publicize the racial disparities, but his superiors disagreed, a BJS employee said Wednesday. No release was issued. Greenfeld has told his staff that he is being moved to a new job following the dispute, according to this employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters. Greenfeld was not immediately available for comment. Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse would not comment on Greenfeld's status.

"When someone in law enforcement who is willing to speak the truth about racial profiling gets demoted for it, that's absolutely chilling," said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau. "To manage any problem, we must first measure it."
I'm pretty sure the phenomenon of DWB is more often than not black men that are getting stopped and mistreated, especially if they are driving a car in the "wrong place" or the car is perceived as "too expensive" by law enforcement for the darkie behind the wheel to be driving. [That would rule me out anyway, between my late-great, low-end '88 Mercury Tracer hatch or my current Focus wagon, those aren't exactly models one would steal.]

Meanwhile, here are some details on the findings.

The Washington Post reports today that John Conyers has called an investigation into Lawrence Greenfeld's demotion over the release of the information.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said he was preparing a request for an "independent review" by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, which will be asked to examine the personnel issues and the formulation of the study itself.

"It is totally unacceptable for the Justice Department to politicize statistical releases and demote individuals merely because they were seeking to provide accurate summaries of statistical information regarding racial profiling," Conyers said.

Conyers's demand came after a report in the New York Times focusing on Lawrence A. Greenfeld, who heads the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a small office staffed primarily with statisticians who conduct studies and issue reports on law enforcement issues.

Quoting unidentified officials and documents, the report said Greenfeld was ordered to delete references to racial disparities in a news release prepared to announce a study on the treatment of different ethnic groups during police traffic stops.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Weakening the U.S.

by STP

The Idiot in Chief, responding to Cindy Sheehan, though not face to face, said:

"... policy that would weaken the United States."

Chimpy is referring to immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Mr. Bush, here are some things that have weakened the United States:

1. Not using all military resources to fight the war on terrorism in Afghanistan;
2. Starting a war in Iraq under false pretenses;
3. Starting a war in Iraq without adequate post-war planning;
4. Starting a war in Iraq that effectively increased terrorism and anti-American sentiments;
5. Not properly funding Homeland Security;
6. Recklessly calling countries part of an "axis of evil," thereby antagonizing them into more hostile behavior.;
7. Kissing the asses of the Saud family;
8. Treating our European allies with disrespect and disregard;
9. Allowing, condoning and encouraging widespread human rights abuses in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere;
10. Being responsible for the outbreak of civil war in Iraq;
11. Ignoring memos and data pointing toward a major terrorist strike right before one occurred;
12. Rigging elections in this country in 2000 and 2004, thereby undermining our constitutional system;
13. Seeking short-term and environmentally hazardous energy solutions rather than promoting more efficient and environmentally friendly long term alternatives;
14. Appointing a man with an unstable mind who has exhibited no abilities to work with other nations to the ambassadorship of the United Nations;
15. Not firing an incompetent Secretary of Defense;
16. Promoting an incompetent National Security Advisor to Secretary of State;
17. Encouraging in the U.S. the same religious extremism and intolerance you condemn and attack in the Muslim world;
18. Closing strategically important military bases;

There you go, Mr. President, a nice "Chai" for you. Readers, add at your own discretion.

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)

The AmTaliban isn't herding its sheeple very well

by Pam

Findings in a Beliefnet/Newsweek poll (of more than 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older) are crushing to the bible-beaters -- because there's a rejection among a growing number of Evangelicals that Jesus is the only way of salvation. All the fire and brimstone in the world is not scaring the message into the majority of the most conservative sheeple. Maybe the tide is turning:

The question in the poll read: "Can a good person who isn't of your religious faith go to heaven or attain salvation, or not?"

* 68 percent of evangelical Christians believe "good" people of other faiths can also go to heaven
* Nationally,79 percent said the same thing
* 91 percent of Catholics also agree
Beliefnet spokesman Steven Waldman calls the results "pretty amazing."

"Evangelicals are among the most churchgoing and religiously attentive people in the United States," Waldman writes, "and one of the ideas they're most likely to hear from the minister at church on a given Sunday is that the path to salvation is through Jesus."

In light of that, how -- he asks -- could so many Americans toss aside such a central element of theology?

Waldman believes the best explanation is found in the Newsweek cover story that grew out of the survey. The conclusion it draws is that Americans have become so focused on a very personal style of worship -- that is, forging a direct relationship with God -- that spiritual experience has begun to supplant dogma, or teaching based on the authority of the Bible.

On the other hand, it looks like the Kool-Aid the AmTaliban is serving in the pews is still quite strong.
A new poll suggests that the more often Americans go to church, the more supportive they are of U.S. foreign policy, including the war in Iraq. The poll by Public Agenda finds that people who frequently attend worship services are far more likely to support the war on terror and believe that the U.S. is achieving its objectives in Iraq. Americans who never attend worship services are much more likely to believe that the war is damaging international relations and is costing too much in money and casualties. Public Agenda's Michael Remaley says the poll reflects evangelical Christians' greater tendency to view the world in terms of good and evil, and their support for President Bush. The survey results are published in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs.
Look for the usual suspects -- Falwell, Robertson, et. al. -- to continue to turn up the heat, lest they lose complete control of the flock.


But, back on the former hand, I love the latest in attacks on feminism by the Right - careers destroy families -- men also get a kick in the pants for good measure. Look at this unhinged drivel from a shill at the Beverly "I have a queer son" LaHaye Institute.

While single-parent households have now become the most common type of American household, cohabiting continues to rise and to pressure the two-parent household for second place. Dr. Janice Crouse of the Beverly LaHaye Institute is concerned that American culture has promoted "careerism" above all things -- and now, she says, the country is reaping the consequences. "We have said to our young women for years, 'You want a career. You've got to focus on your career.' [And] we've said that to men as well: 'You don't want to get married until you're settled in your career; until you've established yourself and gotten enough money to buy a house and buy a good car and those kinds of things.'" The result? "We have downgraded marriage in the minds of young people," Crouse says. The Institute spokeswoman says that is one of the factors that has led to cohabiting and that has helped to create the single-parent household, of which there are now 27 million on the U.S. alone
Well, then, it cannot be the homos that are destroying marriage, now, hmmmm?

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend

Rotting CryptkeeperTM: Sweden is 'land of sodomy, bestiality, and incest'

by Pam

And, Fred says, the King is a homo. It's a race between The Rotting CryptkeeperTM and Pat Robertson to the padded cell. (

Anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps has caused an international royal gay flap over accusations that Sweden's King Carl Gustaf is gay.

Phelps, who runs the God Hates Fags website, makes the allegations on his newest site - God Hates Sweden...Phelps' site calls Sweden "a land of sodomy, bestiality, and incest", and goes on to say: "The King looks like an anal-copulator, & his grinning kids look slutty & gay."

Under pictures of the royals, the site says: "You jackass Swedes just don't get it. Once you have laws to chill Bible preaching, we don't give a rat's tutu whatever else you do or say. You are drippings from the Devil's own penis - a veritable sperm bank for Satan's queers."
From the love-laden GodHatesSweden web page:

To God's Elect: Leave Sweden NOW!!!

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4

Fags have a 3 point agenda: 1) decriminalize sodomy, 2) add fags to the protected classes as victims like blacks, and 3) criminalize Gospel preaching against fags. Sweden's doom is now irreversible!
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend

Just Asking

by The Heretik


Ask an Iraqi woman about FREEDOM ON THE MARCH. Where did it march off to? Ask Condoleezza Rice what FREEDOM in Iraq means now.

Ask an Iraqi man about Rumsfeld’s new warfare by TRANSFORMATION. Donald Rumsfeld got the war he wished for. Ask Rumsfeld what lesson he has learned.

Ask an Iraqi
about the LAST THROES of the Iraqi insurgency. The “insurgency” has been over for a long time. Ask Dick Cheney when he think the IRAQI CIVIL WAR will end.

Ask an Iraqi woman about Wolfowitz’s LIBERATION. The “liberation” is over. Ask Wolfowitz what has taken its place.

Ask an Iraqi child about the COSTS OF WAR. Explain why bombs must come before food. Ask Bush what we are feeding in Iraq now.

WHAT QUESTIONS would you ask today?

Crossposted at The Heretik

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Second Verse, Same as the First!

by Shakespeare's Sister

John Howard:
No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program
This sounds eerily familiar. Better invade them just to be sure, if it does turn out they don't have an arms program (or if they smuggle it all out to Syria, sneaky bastards), we can just pretend we are there to fight the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th, and then if someone points out that most of those guys came from Saudi Arabia and were part of an organization based in Afghanistan, and that none of them had any ties to Iran, then we can just say we're there to liberate the Iranian people. Then if the Iranian people get mad at us for sticking around even after they've been liberated (ungrateful bastards), we can just talk about how spreading democracy and freedom is hard work, and we have to stay there until they are ready to take care of things themselves. Of course, if anything goes wrong, we can just blame it on those Iranians, so really everybody wins!*

* Except the people that get killed (Of course, they are heroes**, and it's perfectly acceptable to die a hero, even if you're just a kid).

** Well, the Americans are, anyway. All the innocent Iranians that will get killed (if they are mentioned at all) will be referred to as an unfortunate consequence of war.
Of course, as recently as August 2, the WaPo had a story which noted that a US intelligence review expected Iran was at least a decade away from producing the components necessary for a nuclear weapon. Funny thing, though—that story also pointed out the White House continued to make “forceful public statements” to the contrary.

The problem here, as it has been consistently with this administration, is that all the contradictory evidence in the world cannot seem to dissuade them or dislodge them from their decided position, and, perhaps even worse, they don’t have to have a shred of proof to convince a majority of the American people to go along with them.

I really, truly hope at this point, however, that enough people have wised up enough to not be fooled by exactly the same story, but I wouldn’t bet a dime on it. Especially if, fates spare us, there’s another terrorist attack on American soil.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Calif. Court Protects Kids of Gay Couples

by Pam

More whining from Jerry Falwell's legal boy Matt Staver over this ruling, ha ha ha.
In the latest ruling to recognize rights of same-sex couples, the California Supreme Court has said gay and lesbian couples who raise children are lawful parents and must provide for their children if they break up.

The state's custody and child support laws that hold absent parents accountable also apply to estranged gay and lesbian couples who used reproductive science to conceive, the high court ruled Monday.

Being a legal parent "brings with it the benefits as well as the responsibilities," said Justice Joyce Kennard.

The decision comes a month after the justices ruled that a California domestic partner law grants gays and lesbians who register with the state many of the same rights as married couples, but does not allow them to marry.

"The court is now protecting the children of same sex parents in gay families in the same way children are protected with heterosexual couples in heterosexual families," said Jill Hersh, who argued the case of a Marin County woman who was granted the right to be the second mother of twins after the birth mother moved out of state.

However, groups opposing gay marriage decried the justices' actions.

"Today's ruling defies logic and common sense by saying that children can have two moms," said attorney Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel. "That policy establishes that moms and dads as a unit are irrelevant when it comes to raising children."

The ruling stemmed from three cases involving lesbian parents.

Black gays organizing separate Million Man March commemoration

by Pam

"Anybody can go stand at the Mall that day: arsonists, drug dealers and child molesters. There's a big difference between simply being invited to stand on the Mall and actually being invited to speak and to bring up the issues that concern us, like homophobia, which the Movement is not addressing."
-- Philip Pannell, gay activist on the weak "welcome" to the Farrakhan/Willie Wilson-organized event.
The split is sadly official. After homo-bigot Willie Wilson's "lesbian diatribe" from the pulpit, and no response to the hatred from Farrakhan (who originally supported gay attendance), the black gay community is organizing its own gathering at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on the morning of October 15. (
Gay African Americans say that despite assurances they will be welcome at the 10th-anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington they will hold their own rally.

The Million's More march and rally will be held October 14-16 and will be led by the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan has told black gays that they will be welcome at the event, but DC black gay leaders say they have been shut out from any role in organizing the march.

"To say we're welcome isn't enough," Philip Pannell, a longtime gay rights and political organizer told the Washington Post. There also are concerns about some of those who have been invited by Farrakhan to organize the event, including Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Washington's Union Temple Baptist Church.

Last month Wilson caused a fury in the gay community when he warned his congregation that "Sisters making more money than brothers and it’s creating problems in families … that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians.”

In the July 3 sermon entitled “You’ve Got to Fight to Be Free” he also said, “Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I'm talking about young girls. My son in high school last year tried to go to the prom. He said, 'Dad, I ain't got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. Ain't but two of 'em straight, and both of them ugly.’”
As you will recall, Wilson was exposed as a liar, since his son didn't need a date - he has a girlfriend.

Aside from that nonsense, how sad is all of this? For those that have pooh-poohed the schism in the black community, particularly the faith community over gay civil rights, this is a milestone that cannot be ignored. Is it more important to be black than gay? Is the fact that black gays and lesbians cannot participate in the planning of this event (or speak at it for that matter) a signal that these issues of discrimination against gays carry no weight in the black community? That is indeed the message Farrakhan and Wilson are telegraphing right now. Are black queer people to choose allegiances? This is indeed a sickness.

Whether the fallout translates into shifts in voting patterns is meaningful to debate and decipher, but it certainly places those of us that inhabit both spheres on notice. One wishes that we could hear the wisdom of Coretta Scott King right now.


Earlier posts on the ignorant Willie Wilson:
* DC pastor - lesbianism is "about to take over our community"

* Homo-bigot DC pastor gets skewered by rights groups

* DC Rev 'apologizes' for outrageous sermon attacking gays

* Homo-bigot reverend flaps his lips over lesbianism - again

* Lesbian pastor targeted after criticizing homo-bigot Willie Wilson

* Willie Wilson: homo-bigoted pastor and LIAR

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Homosexual infiltration

by STP

My brother returned to LA today after a week here in NJ with family. For those who do not know, my brother is gay.

Given all the preachings of people like Fred Phelps, Rick Santorum and the other various homosexual "experts" around the country, I was on guard for any signs of "gayness" that cropped up in me or my sister's three children during my brother's visit. I watched for sudden urges to sing show tunes or Barbra Streisand music and was looking out for any impulses to damage the marriages of straight people. I tried to stay aware of any sudden need to do the work of the devil, too. Not being sure what that would entail, I trusted in my ability to "know it when I saw it," much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and pornography in the 60's.

I am happy to report to the legions of gay monitors around the country who fear for the dissolution of civilization at the hands of the homosexual, take over America crowd that I remain firmly heterosexual. It was not easy; my brother's gay mind control was strong and I sensed his telepathic gayness trying to infiltrate my brain. However, I was successful in staying straight.

And yet, I remain afraid. In October, I will be visiting my brother in his West Hollywood lair, spending time alone with him and other members of his gay squadrons. Will I be able to remain straight? Can I overcome his gay powers? I can only hope that those who protect America from this insidious homosexual infiltration can provide me with the love of wholesomeness and prayer I require to keep my heterosexuality firmly intact.

(Cross posted at Poetic Leanings)

Israel takes a positive step

by STP

Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and small pieces of the West Bank has to be viewed as a positive development for peace. I doubt it will lead to anything resembling that anytime soon, but it was something that needed to be done.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's motives remain unclear. Did he make an honest effort for peace and security or was this move part of a scheme to bolster claims to the rest of the West Bank that Israel looks to maintain in the future?

That does not matter.

Peace is far away in the Middle East. Too many Palestinians remain connected to groups such as Hamas or to the idealogy of hatred, fear and terrorism that represented Yasser Arafat. Enough extremist Israelis still exist and present a constant danger to any gesture Israel makes toward peace. It will take the washing away of these divisions to bring about a settling of the conflict, and that will not happen with a sudden peace deal with terms enacted against the will of too many people. It will require a gradual process where each side slowly heads toward an understanding almost without realizing it.

So much work remains ahead for both sides. Israel will eventually be forced to dismantle most, if not all, of its settlements in the West Bank. The separation wall being constructed will need adjusting if not outright removal. Rights will need to be increased for Arabs living in Israel proper. Some financial compensation will be required in lieu of an unreasonable right of return. Jerusalem remains the ultimate thorn in the side of peace.

More work is required from the Palestinians, who to date, have essentially done almost nothing to secure Israel's right to exist free from fear of terrorism and violence. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has spoken out against violence, but not as forcefully as he should. While Abbas has gotten groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to remain quiet during the Gaza pullout, he has been unsuccessful and unwilling to break them. As a result, these groups remain committed to violence and Israel's destruction. Corruption runs rampant in the Palestinian Authority and little has been exhibited in the way of an ability to help develop an economy and infrastructure in Palestinian territory. Sharon has been correct to this point that no partner for peace exists in the Palestinian leadership based on words, deeds and position of power. And one should not lose site that the other Arab countries in the region, so quick to condemn Israeli behavior toward Palestinians, have been far worse in their treatment of Palestinians and have not stepped up to the table with financial and other support that benefits peace.

But time can change much and while so many years of little or no positive change have come, there is reason to hope for better times. Palestinians have grown more moderate, even in many of their most extremist wings. Hamas has actually become a part of the political process and at least Arafat is dead and gone from the scene. Israel has shown a willingness to make some concessions, even if done unilaterally. Perhaps the region can look to the future with some belief in a lasting end to the tensions and hostilities.

Sadly, the Bush Administration has refused to be the type of player this ongoing struggle requires of the United States. The president's focus has been less than ideal as he instead has wasted time, effort, capital, and lives in his foolish escapade in Iraq. The level of incompetence and disinterest of Bush's senior advisers has been a detriment to the Middle East peace process.

And still I have reason to be hopeful. Just as time will gradually change the mindset of the Israelis and Palestinians, it, too, will change the leadership of this country. Perhaps a real leader will come; one interested in peace and the security of our nation.

Time will tell. I view the Gaza withdrawals as a good step. Maybe more will come soon.

(Cross posted at Poetic Leanings)

Monday, August 22, 2005

U.S. content to let Iraq's women lose civil rights

by Pam

Ms. Julien posted an excellent piece here, "So, after all the lives lost in Iraq, the US just threw women's rights down the toilet." I wanted to follow up with more discussion, because it's clear that the level of importance of this issue, varies along the political spectrum and gender lines.

Jon Perr over at the great blog Perrspectives has a post up that should stir discussion on this topic. Have a read and come back for my thoughts; Here's a snippet of Jon's commentary and headers of his 10 point plan for Iraq below.
The key question for the United States is no longer Cindy Sheehan's "why did my son die for?" but "what is to be done now?" With rising U.S. casualties, an emboldened insurgency, American credibility in tatters and no end in sight, any plan forward must define what, at this late date, can be said to constitute "success" in Iraq and whether or not success so defined is still be possible. If not, and if American defeat is inevitable, we should cut our losses begin to withdraw now.

Salvaging Iraq, I believe, will be difficult, but not impossible. To win back the confidence both of the American people and the international community, we must be frank about past mistakes. More importantly, to have any hope of "winning" in Iraq, the United States must be crystal clear about the conflict's objectives and brutally honest about the sacrifices required. Short of that, the American effort in Iraq is doomed - it will only be a question of when.

What Is To Be Done: A 10-Point Plan for Iraq

1. Offer An Honest Assessment
2. Define Success
3. Decide: Is "Success" Still Possible?
4. Announce a Contingent Timetable for Withdrawal
5. Commit the Needed Troops and Resources
6. Give Up Permanent Bases In Iraq
7. Promote Transparency in the Iraqi Oil Industry
8. Accept the New Constitution and Government, Come What May
9. Prioritize the Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis
10. Apologize

I generally agree with Jon's points. The one I do not, is of course, # 8:
8. Accept the New Constitution and Government, Come What May

The delay in the proposed Iraqi constitution doesn't necessarily mean that many of the thorniest issues will be resolved to Washington's liking. Women's rights may well be curbed. The regional division of oil revenues and a potentially federal structure for Iraq could lead to conflict and crack-up among the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. Some manner of sharia law, or at least prohibitions on laws that contradict Islam, is still likely.

With all of these outcomes, there is very little the United States can do. No Democrat or Republican wants to see these things come to pass, but at this late, stability and legitimacy, and not Western constitutional purity, are the best that can be hoped for. Remember that the U.S. can attribute what little progress there is to Ayatollah Sistani's 2004 insistence on and support for direct elections to produce an interim Iraqi government. If Iraq ultimately goes the route of "one man, one vote, one time", there is little in reality the United States can do about it.
Jon agrees that women's rights are indeed important, and that the Administration is wrong-headed about the entire approach to crafting the draft constitution, so he's taking what he feels is the only logical approach.

It may be useful to try and think pragmatically, but it's easy to speak this way when you are not from an oppressed group, or in this case a group -- Iraqi women -- that is looking down the barrel of a gun of Sharia law about to blast basic rights away. The path this constitutional draft is currently heading in regards to women's rights is unacceptable.

Bush has repeatedly talked about democracy AND freedom. Freedom includes women's rights if I'm not mistaken. I think it's unfortunate to say that "there is very little the United States can do" when none of its citizens are about to lose basic civil rights. Why in god's name is it expected that a nearly destroyed country such as Iraq must take only a few brief months to craft a document that is to serve future generations of Iraqis, not the U.S.'s desire to get out ASAP because it fucked up.

South Africa took almost five years to work out a final constitution, and it wasn't a country blown to shreds. It was, however, a country made up of many races, religions and factions that united to craft a document that everyone could agree on. Even the rights of gays and lesbians are protected. That couldn't have been an easy negotiation.

The least the U.S. can do, since it created this artificial situation, is to mediate, push and cajole the factions that would take away basic rights from its women and result in, among other things (pulling from Ms. Julien's post):
1. Not be allowed an education (even writing or reading in most cases)
2. Not be allowed to drive
3. Not be allowed to be seen anywhere outside their homes without the shroud of a burka
4. If a woman is raped, she will be the criminal, not the man who raped her
5. Under Islamic law, if a women is even accused of adultery, she is killed -usually by a father or brother or uncle, and this is okay - women are not allowed into a court to defend themselves

...and much more.

That's NOT OK. Colin Powell was right about one thing -- "You break it, you own it." I don't want our troops there a day longer than they are needed, but if basic human rights for women is what our government is willing to toss overboard as a means to get out, I cannot go on board with this.

The fact is, many Iraqi women are voicing their opinions about these grave concerns, and many more are probably too scared to say anything because of the anticipation by men that they will "regain control" of women again via Sharia law. That's a powerful motivation for some voices to be heard above others.

Truly, it's disingenuous at this stage for those on the left or right to say that the U.S. shouldn't impose its ideals on Iraq. Our President certainly didn't seem to have that in mind when he imposed a death sentence on thousands of Iraqis by bombing the crap out of their country. We're talking about basic human rights here, not rights over profits from an oil field. Women in Iraq deserve better than to watch what rights they do have evaporate back to pre-Saddam days. The American people, especially the men and WOMEN in the military fighting over there, putting their lives on the line; they deserve to see their government willing to put its money where its mouth is when it talks about spreading "freedom" and democracy.

What the Bush administration refuses to do is to frame the need for equal civil rights in Iraq as something all parties _should want_, and for all sides to justify the rollback of rights for an entire class of people. That, I believe can be done, but it will take time. And time is not what the Bush admin (or, sadly, some folks on the right and left) wants to spend on this issue, because it is difficult.

All of this stems from the artificial situation that BushCo has set up. My question is, why can't the terms be changed, given the fact that so much is in the air? Dissolve the assembly and start over. There is no shame in wanting to do this right -- clearly the Iraqis would recognize that they need more time, and that settling on a document no one is happy with is setting the entire process to fail. They know it, and Bush knows it, so why not move the goalposts?

It's all about all sides not wanting to admit mistakes, in the end. It's the whole enchilada. And flushing women's rights down the toilet that's the price to be paid -- none of those men who will end up in power have to suffer the consequences of Sharia law. Get our troops out and let the whole situation deteriorate even further, because of "war fatigue", sinking polls and the fact Chimpy had no post-war plan.

Will Bush let this slide? I'm sure he is willing to. After all, he and the AmTaliban have shown nothing but contempt for personal freedom, be it access to contraception, to getting into the private business over whether Terri Schiavo's plug should be pulled. The sad truth is I'm sure many Dems are willing to cut and run, since it wasn't their guy in office that f*cked it all up. That's small comfort to the women of Iraq.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

The John Roberts Roundup

by The Heretik


LOOK FOR THE ROBERTS ROUNDUP from around the web with posts about John Roberts later today. NOTE: if you were looking for the actual Roberts Roundup that might take place with the unlimited executive power John Roberts supports, you will have to wait for his elevation to the Supreme Court and our descent into the inferno of further imperious rule.

THE HERETIK thinks John Roberts is unsafe for women, men, children and other miscellaneous Americans who are not white, male, and rich.

Crossposted at The Heretik

Tampa Dad convicted of beating 'gay' toddler to death gets 30 years

by Pam

He was trying to teach him how to fight...He was concerned that the child might be gay.'"
-- Shanita Powell testifying against her brother-in-law, who beat his three-year-old son to death.
Is 30 years enough for this sick bastard? [My original post on this story is here.] Note in this story, they refer to "sissy," not gay.
A man who told friends he didn't want his 3-year-old son to become a sissy was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing the boy by slamming his head into a kitchen wall just weeks after the child's return home from foster care.

Ronnie Paris, 22, was sentenced Friday after convictions last month for second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. His son, Ronnie, died Jan. 28, six days after the boy slipped into a coma with swelling on both sides of his brain. Several witnesses testified during Paris' trial that he sometimes got rough with the toddler while play fighting and told friends his father had raised him to be tough and he planned to raise Ronnie the same way because he didn't want a "sissy" for a son.

The boy's mother, Nysheerah Paris, 20, said her husband beat the boy and slammed his head into a kitchen wall. She is charged with child neglect and could get 15 years in prison if convicted.

...Ronnie Paris begged for leniency and apologized. Under state sentencing guidelines, the judge could have imposed 23 years to life in prison. "I loved my son dearly," he said. "I wish I could hold him here. ... I never did anything to hurt my baby or abuse my baby in any way."
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

It is here ... the signatures are collected... is the Florida LGBT community ready to fight?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Florida Ant-Gay Amendment Moves Forward
by Fidel Ortega Miami Bureau

Posted: August 21, 2005 8:00 pm ET

(Miami, Florida) An umbrella organization of conservative Christian political groups is expected to submit 61,000 signatures to the Florida Supreme Court this week - the first step in getting a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions on the 2006 ballot.

Under Florida law the signatures are required before the wording on the initiative can be approved. If the signatures are proven valid and the court agrees to the wording, the organization - Florida4Marriage - can begin collecting the 611,000 eligible signatures to put the question to voters.

Florida4Marriage is working with the Christian Coalition of Florida and Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian law firm that is involved in fighting gay marriage and domestic partner benefits in a number of states.

On the weekend, Florida4Marriage said it needed only a few hundred more signatures to submit the issue to the court.

The proposal would amend the state Constitution in 2006 to define marriage as a union between "only one man and one woman" and that no other kind of marriage or legal union is equivalent to marriage.

State law already prevents same-sex couples from marrying but makes no mention of civil unions or partner benefits.

The proposed amendment does not have the backing of Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush has said he considers the amendment unnecessary.

LGBT civil rights group Equality Florida calls the amendment a divisive attempt to keep same-sex couples second class citizens.

A poll taken for the organization shows that the state is split on amending the constitution with 54 percent in favor of barring gay marriage and 55 percent in favor of some sort of legal protection for gay couples.

© 2005

Little Ricky has state trooper throw out teen customers at DE book signing

by Pam

If you're going to say things like this, as an elected representatitve, you're going to probably encounter citizens that have questions about what you said. After all, when you say something as outrageous as the above nonsense, folks may want to see if you have anything to add to perhaps clarify the remarks.

Ol Cranky has a great post up on Rick Santorum tossing young women out of a book signing at Barnes and Noble. Little Ricky can't take the heat of dissent, so he sicced Delaware state trooper goons on them.
Two young women went to Santorum's book signing with plans to ask him specific questions about the policies he endorse, including his opposition to same sex marriage. Instead protesting with placards outside the store or confronting him verbally, one of the women made a joke suggesting they ask the senator to sign a copy of The Kid, a book in which Santorum arch-nemesis Dan Savage details how he and his boyfriend adopt a child for signature. Santorum fans in the vicinity were offended - but then, they're offended by pretty much everything. What hapenned next, however, is beyond offensive and quite disturbing to say the least. The women were approached by Delaware State Police Sgt. Mark DiJiacomo, who was in full state trooper uniform despite serving on detail as a private security guard, and told they had to leave the store. The ejection by the DiJiacomo came shortly after he huddled with Santorum's people and people offended by the joke. The trooper then proceeded to threaten the women with arrest [emphasis added]
"Your business is not wanted here. They don't want you here anymore. If you don't leave, you're going to be arrested. If you can't post bail, you'll go to prison. Those of you who are under 18 will go to Ferris [the juvenile detention center]. And those of you over 18 will go either to Gander Hill Prison or the woman's correctional facility. Any questions?"

Shaffer remembers the conversation basically the same way.

"I said, ‘Sir, we're not doing anything wrong. We're sitting in a bookstore. On what grounds would we be arrested?' "

"He said, ‘This is private property. Are you going to leave on your own, or are you going to leave in cuffs?"

Shaffer decided to leave with her friends.

Galperin and Rocek decided to stay.

"That's it," he told them, according to Galperin. "You're under arrest. Give me your ID. You're going to prison."

Two people decided to stay, and they were taken out to the squad car and told them to call their parents and "at least $1,000 in bail money."

The kicker is that, as Ol Cranky noted, the Delaware state police supported the trooper's actions as appropriate.

Also, for a local opinion, check out Al Mascitti in the Delaware Online News Journal, "Del. state trooper helps enforce Rick Santorum's 'family' values"

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Fred Phelps on Cindy Sheehan, Peter LaBarbera

by Pam

The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church insane asylum/media whore machine, has commentary up on Cindy Sheehan. He slams her, Bush and her dead son in one fell swoop.

Gee, what, pray tell, would Fred have to object to about leatherboy Peter? "Runny nose, whining, money-grubbing cockroach" Petey said Fred didn't show up at a fallen soldiers funeral to protest, I guess. Here you go...


Also, I received an email from a reader about an encounter with LaBarbera, which you can read here.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

So, after all the lives lost in Iraq, the US just threw women's rights down the toilet

by Ms. Julien in Miami


After talking for years about the evil of Saddam Hussein (and yes he was evil), and saying that the very REASON we were going to war, and then staying at war (even when the WMD lie was exposed) was to give the Iraqis a "Democracy" --- something that BushCo has resoundingly insisted the people of Iraq wanted (um, Georgie, where were those flowers you said they would greet us with again?? Oh---you're probably too busy riding around on Tour de Crawford to remember that promise).

So, today, in order to rush through the constitution of Iraq, so that back here they can tell the sheeple sitting so very far away from Iraq (most of whom do not even possess a US passport) that "IRAQ HAS A CONSTITUTION" - the US has just agreed to allow the clause in the constitution of Iraq that "Islam will be THE main source of law" in the country.

Of course, they won't mention this to the sheeple, most of whom get their news through their church's filtered reading material. They won't mention that Islamic law will not only NOT be democratic at all, it will strip all of the rights of women- rights that at least they did have prior to being "freed" by Georgie's gang. Women will:

1. Not be allowed an education (even writing or reading in most cases)
2. Not be allowed to drive
3. Not be allowed to be seen anywhere outside their homes without the shroud of a burka
4. If a woman is raped, she will be the criminal, not the man who raped her
5. Under Islamic law, if a women is even accused of adultery, she is killed - usually by a father or brother or uncle, and this is okay - women are not allowed into a court to defend themselves

All of these rules are very familiar in Saudi Arabia - the country where the majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from (that is in the news, but the sheeple still refuse to believe that they didn't come from Iraq)...the county whose leaders get to hold hands with Georgie and visit the ranch and get flown out to safety after 9/11 before anyone else was allowed to fly. (Yes, Georgie will hold hands with the leaders of the country that produced most of the 9/11 terrorists, but he won't hug Cindy Sheehan...)

I am angry. I am a person betrayed by my country. And the people who sit day after day, complacent in their little lives (never having traveled or want to outside the US), who will see the filtered news saying that "Iraq has a constitution" and will say, see, what a wonderful thing Georgie did...these are the people for whom I hold the greatest contempt.

Ms. Julien

(Entire link to story is HERE).

Friday, August 19, 2005

Special Analysis:
The Whispers of Bombs

by Dark Wraith

On Wednesday, August 3, a roadside bomb killed American Marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha. That in itself is nothing new in Iraq: it happens with an appalling frequency, even though Coalition forces have been seeing such devices since the very earliest days of the occupation.Improvised explosive device; click to enlarge But the bomb used in this attack was somewhat different from the ones of even a couple of months ago. It was something of a monster, transitional device between older models and a new, far more lethal kind. The difference in the bombs starting to show up now in Iraq and those of the past tells not merely of the evolution of the Iraqi insurgency, but of the history of U.S. military operations in Iraq. It speaks as well to how the mainstream news media presents the occupation and the context of it.

The older style, "improvised" roadside bombs were often nothing more elaborate than one or several artillery shells strung together with some kind of triggering mechanism, perhaps a cell phone, or maybe just a pressure switch that would set the chain of shells off when a heavy object rolled over it.Amphibious assault vehicle; click to enlarge The graphic above is a one-shell, primitive affair, but nonetheless a machine waiting to butcher. Such bombs were bad enough: the shrapnel, the concussion, and the explosive heat catching things on fire could kill pretty efficiently. Even a well-armored Humvee could be flipped and/or cleaved open if the shells went off at just the right second. According to the Voice of America, the one that killed the Marines was a giant of the old style, so powerful that it threw a 27-metric-ton amphibious armored personnel carrier like the one at left into the air, cleaved it open, and thereby killed fourteen soldiers inside. The scale of force necessary to do such damage is beyond what most people have ever seen in their lives, even those who have been around or operated heavy equipment. The effect of that bomb on the doomed amphibious assault vehicle in Haditha can be seen at left, below. The traditional, improvised explosive devices of the Iraqi insurgents are a bit tricky to set up. A pair of insurgents usually puts the device together along the side of the road,.Amphibious assault vehicle destroyed by roadside bomb on August 3, 2005; click to enlarge lays the trigger on the road bed, and sometimes even puts a can in place to warn locals of the danger Done at night, the operation is somewhat perilous for several reasons: the ordnance being used can go off; and there's always the possibility that a Coalition sniper is watching from an elevated position at some distance, patiently and methodically setting up a kill shot.

A lot of those bombs were laid, though—so many, in fact, that it wasn't their kill rate that was as important as the perception that they were all over the place on the roads between the cities of Iraq: some of the bombs were in the ditches, some were mounted on the undersides of overpasses, some were just there, waiting for an inexperienced or scared driver flying down the road to see the killer too late to swerve. It wasn't just the death: it was the fear.

Something new is coming, though. Plenty of old ordnance is lying around Iraq just waiting to be turned into crude roadside killers and murderous weapons hidden in the backs of parked trucks and carts,Conical shape charge; click to enlarge but those weapons of opportunity are now being supplemented by bombs made from shape charges, which are essentially an explosive chemical—powder, plastique, perhaps even liquid—with a metallic component—shrapnel, if you will—all inside a container that focuses the explosion. A well-designed shape charge like the commercially available one at left can cause the shrapnel to fly at speeds of as much as 10 kilometers per second, thereby turning it into a hail of slugs capable of fully penetrating practically any armored vehicle's plating. Once compromised, the armor then becomes the tomb of personnel inside the armored vehicle as the slugs, having been slowed down in the initial penetration, rattle around hundreds of times inside, shredding flesh, while the killing heat, gasses, and other metal from the device take advantage of the initial breaches to pour in more death and destruction.

Iraqi patrols at the Iranian border have caught smugglers shuttling shape charges into Iraq from Iran. In a find on July 20 of this year, not only were pre-fabricated shape charges seized, but so were the tools necessary for Iraqi insurgents to build them inside Iraq, thereby removing the time and risk involved in importing the devices. This means that the insurgency in Iraq has been gearing up not only to use more sophisticated weaponry, but it has also been laying the plans to create a self-contained, domestic weapons manufacturing industry right in Iraq, itself. This is important: although used, scavenged, and imported weapons will always be an important part of the insurgency's inventory, a localized weapons building matrix points to a far deeper, much more difficult occupation for the Coalition forces. Stopping inbound traffic at the Iraq/Iran border is difficult enough, given the enormous length of the border and the often treacherous, forbidding terrain of the frontier; but halting bomb building at the factory level inside a giant city like Baghdad is far more difficult.

On April 4, 2004, the United States led a full-scale assault on a huge slum called Sadr City in Baghdad. The seige was the culmination of a series of confrontations between the Iraqi occupation authorities and firebrand Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who stood accused of instigating the assassination of a rival cleric. Mr. al Sadr was protected by a provisional paramilitary group called the Mahdi Army, whose ranks comprised primarily impoverished young men armed with little more than assault rifles and some rocket propelled grenades. After a bloody battle in which Mahdi Army commandos and al Sadr himself holed up inside a mosque, an agreement was reached that allowed al Sadr to escape prosecution in exchange for him and his men quitting the mosque and entering the mainstream political process then being contemplated for Iraq. In an article dated August 15, 2005, the Chicago Sun-Times describes Sadr City as it is now as "one of the brightest successes for the U.S. security effort [in Iraq]." However, in an article dated August 18, 2005, the highly reliable, if unabashedly pro-Israel, news source DEBKAfile has this to say: "[T]he shape charges smuggled into Iraq from Iran are now locally manufactured in the Sadr City slum of Baghdad."

And so, as the war against Coalition forces enters yet another phase of more lethal weaponry being deployed by the insurgency, the mainstream media touts to Americans as one of the 'brightest successes' in all of our trials of the Iraqi War the very pit from which more young Americans will be wounded, maimed, and killed.

And the American people will perhaps enter yet another phase of confusion about how so much success paraded before them, not just by their government, but also by their trusted news sources, can lead to so many wounded, maimed, and killed young Americans. Eventually, perhaps they'll figure it out.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.

While Georgie is playing on his bike, US kids are waaaaay "left behind" in math:

by Ms. Julien in Miami

CLICK HERE FOR THE RESULTS of the Mathematics Assessment in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment, which compares the educational perofrmance of 25-year-olds in reading, math, and science industry.)

An important excerpt:
How Did U.S. 15-Year-Olds Do?

· In 2003, U.S. performance in mathematics literacy and problem solving was
lower than the average performance for OECD countries.

· In both mathematics literacy and problem solving, the United States had fewer
students at the highest proficiency levels than the other OECD countries.

That result was in stark contrast with the 2000 reading literacy results, in which the United States had a greater percentage of students at the highest proficiency level than other OECD countries.
So, thanks, Georgie - your "No Child Left Behind" (which of course was created to make brother Neil a millionaire with his exclusive testing software contract....) has not only NOT helped students to achieve, it has moved their capabilities from the HIGHEST to the LOWEST in the ENTIRE WORLD.

Ms. Julien

Justice still scarce in Alabama if you're poor, black

by Pam

Nancy Goldstein's Raw Story column this week, "Sweet home Alabama" is on the deep-South state's death row and the work of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) of Montgomery. It's a must-read.

The non-profit is working hard to correct Alabama's history of denying poor people decent legal representation, and then placing them on Death Row without access to decent resources for post-conviction appeal. Nancy also brings up the states' rights/federal oversight conflict, showing that anything that remotely represents socially progressive decisions have been federally mandated. Leaving it to the voters and the State House has resulted in the statistics you will read below.

It's safe to say that the a good proportion of the voters in Alabama have a long way to go in terms of racial relations and social justice issues (never mind homophobia -- we've covered the sorry truth on my blog before).

Some enraging facts to chew on from Nancy's fine essay:
* Alabama has no statewide public defender system.

* All 19 of Alabama's appellate court judges are white, as are 41 of its 42 elected District Attorneys.

* Odds are 1 in 3 that a jury will be all white.

* Since Alabama's resumption of the death penalty in 1975, courts have found that prosecutors illegally excluded black people from serving as jurors in at least 28 capital cases.

* The state's death row population has doubled in the past decade, with an overall death-sentencing rate that is 3-10 times greater than that of other Southern states.

* Though black people account for only 26% of Alabama's population overall...
-- nearly 63% of its prisoners are black
-- of the 23 people executed in Alabama between 1975 and 2001, 70% were black.

* A local law allows an elected judge to reject a jury’s verdict of life and unilaterally sentence a prisoner to death, a power that gives those judges incredible incentive to show they are "tough on crime" by doing so, since they are up for re-election every 4-6 years.

* Nearly 22% of the people sitting on Alabama's death row were initially handed life sentences by their juries. Once convicted to death row, prisoners have no right to counsel. Those that do receive permission to seek legal recourse are faced with the nearly impossible task of attracting a lawyer who will work with a state-imposed $1,000 salary cap.
EFI has a big mountain to climb, as you can see, Nancy notes that there have been victories:

* EJI won most of the 23 cases in the last decade where convictions were reversed after it was proven that prosecutors illegally excluded black people from jury service.

* The non-profit obtained Alabama’s first judgment barring imposition of the death penalty for a death row prisoner because of mental retardation.

* EJI earned death row prisoners new trials or paved the way for appeals.

Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama
122 Commerce Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
334-269-1803 (phone)
334-269-1806 (fax)

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Memo shows Roberts drop-kicked the Religious Right

by Pam

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts said conservative political activist and commentator Paul Weyrich was "no friend of ours."

Oh, the hand-wringing is going on now. John Roberts is going to have a hard time flying under the radar now that this has been unearthed. The Right is pissed.
A memo has surfaced, written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, in which he warned the Reagan administration to steer clear of the Religious Right and also criticized a leading Christian figure. John Lofton was editor of the Conservative Digest at that time and was preparing a series of stories on the hiring practices of the Reagan administration. "I was to meet with the Attorney General William French Smith," Lofton notes, but before that happened, he says John Roberts wrote Smith a memo, instructing him "as to how to obfuscate the issue, basically -- how to answer the questions that I would raise." In the memo, Roberts advised the administration to distance itself from the Religious Right, and he went on to say that Christian leader Paul Weyrich was "no friend of ours," Lofton adds. However, he protests, "All Weyrich was trying to do, and myself and many other conservatives, was to make Reagan and his administration keep the promises they made when they were elected. That's all." The former Conservative Digest editor feels that kind of fair-weather friendship has been the predominant attitude of the GOP towards its Christian base. "We've been wined and dined before the election," he says, "but the minute they're elected, suddenly we're not one of them." Lofton says that is one reason why he is no longer working for the Republican Party.
By the time all of these documents are gone over with a fine tooth comb, he'll have lost supporters on both sides of the aisle. What else will be revealed about this man with "no paper trail?"

And while we're fucking around in Iraq...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...Russia and China are kicking off military exercises.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


by The Heretik

MOVE OVER, GEORGE BUSH It’s all about DANA MILBANK. Somebody should let mainstream journalists know that becoming a symbol of a peace movement doesn’t need official sanction from a reporter for the Washington Post who presumed war was the only option in Iraq. And Milbank could think about pulling his head out of his um very large office if he thinks some bias doesn’t drip from his increasingly acid pen. On the other hand he seems to revel in it today in the WASHINGTON POST

MILBANK STARTS OUT STRONG Hello, my name is Dana and I matter. A lot.
Dana Milbank: Sorry for the brief delay. I was detained in the national archives searching for John Roberts's smoking gun, but all I could find was Sandy Berger's boxer shorts. At any rate, let's get on with the chat and determine, once and for all, whether Cindy Sheehan is Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche.

Raleigh, N.C.: Who has a right to take a grievance to the president?
Dana Milbank: Laura Bush.

A REPORTER HAS TO BE A FUNNY MAN NOW to keep a dialogue going. Somewhere in here Milbank found out the real truth aboout Cindy Sheehan, wisdom we should gratefully receive . . . . once and for all. Milbank is behind the news here.

CINDY SHEEHAN ALREADY IS A SYMBOL OF AN ANTI WAR MOVEMENT The last people to notice a peace movement typically are those who vested themselves in the war, like Milbank. A funny thing about anti war movements is that they typically draw from a diverse group of opposition groups that don’t necessarily agree with each other on every single ideological or theoretical point. But people who oppose dissent invariably end up calling the dissenters traitors.

THE BEAUTY OF AMERICA IS WE DON’T HAVE TO AGREE At least not yet. Some Americans still favor the war. Some who oppose the war don’t agree with Cindy Sheehan on Afghanistan. Some are disturbed about her views on Israel and the Middle East. You don’t have to agree with Cindy Sheehan on everything she says to be against the war. Here opponents may nick at Sheehan and she may bleed, but she will still be standing against the war. And she won’t be alone.

Crossposted at The Heretik

Here is all I need to know...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...about Roberts:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court nominee John Roberts disparaged state efforts to combat discrimination against women in Reagan-era documents made public Thursday - and wondered whether "encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."
But actually, I am most disgusted with the Democrats who are indicating that they will not fight him. To me, whether they are man or woman, they will be the ones responsible for putting women's rights back in the Dark Ages.

Ms. Julien

Roberts grew up in a 'Sundown Town'

by Pam

Interesting info. I don't know if this had any lasting impression on him, living in that environment of restrictive covenants (deeds on file from the 1940s in Long Beach banned the sale or lease of houses to "any person who is not a Caucasian gentile.").

It would be curious to ask Roberts about that in the hearings. "Sundown Towns" were municipalities that purposely ran whatever blacks that had the misfortune to settle there out of town by physical intimidation, arson, restrictive ordinances (and worse). Highland Park, Texas did not have a home-owning black family until 2003 -- that town was home to both Chimpy and Darth Cheney.

It would also be interesting to know how many other prominent political figures have a "Sundown Town" background.
Like many towns across America, the exclusive lakefront community where Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. grew up during the racially turbulent 1960s and '70s once banned the sale of homes to nonwhites and Jews.

Just three miles from the nearly all-white community of Long Beach, two days of looting and vandalism erupted when Roberts was 15, barely intruding on the Mayberry-like community that was largely insulated from the racial strife of that era.

It was here that the 50-year-old Roberts lived from elementary school until he went away to Harvard in 1973, and that decade — as well as the rest of his life — is receiving intense scrutiny as the Senate gears up for its Sept. 6 confirmation hearings on President Bush's first Supreme Court nominee.

...Fern Eddy Schultz, the county historian, said the covenants were common for property near Lake Michigan. "They didn't want particular people to have homes around the lake areas," Schultz said.

...In Long Beach, nearly all residents were white when Roberts was growing up, a makeup that has changed little in four decades. Today, nearly 98 percent of the town's 1,500 residents are white. The median income in 1970 topped $18,000, nearly twice that of neighboring communities; today it is more than $71,000, nearly double the state median.

That environment may have sheltered residents from the events of July 1970, when the arrests of three black men over a parking violation outside a bar in Michigan City set off two days of looting, vandalism and fires.

The Associated Press reported in a July 13, 1970, story that a police officer addressed one of those arrested as "boy" and that the man vowed to get some of his friends and "take this town apart."

The mayor declared a state of emergency, and Indiana National Guard troops were called in to restore order.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Pope Ratzi wants Bush to give him immunity

by Pam

I'm almost speechless on this one. Though it's clear he's immune as a head of state, the fact that Benedict wants a public declaration from the President on this matter takes balls. What a f*cking criminal enterprise. He's the head of a church that conspired to hide the mass molestation of children.

We've invaded countries for less, haven't we, Chimpy?
Lawyers for Pope Benedict XVI have asked President Bush to declare the pontiff immune from liability in a lawsuit that accuses him of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian in Texas, court records show.

The Vatican's embassy in Washington sent a diplomatic memo to the State Department on May 20 requesting the U.S. government grant the pope immunity because he is a head of state, according to a May 26 motion submitted by the pope's lawyers in U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of Texas in Houston.

Pope Benedict XVI arrives at the airport in Cologne, western Germany to frolick at the Roman Catholic Church's 20th World Youth Day. Oh, the irony.

Joseph Ratzinger is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. Now Benedict XVI, he's accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse during the mid-1990s. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Gerry Keener, said Tuesday that the pope is considered a head of state and automatically has diplomatic immunity.

Lawyers for abuse victims say the case is significant because previous attempts to implicate the Vatican, the pope or other church officials in U.S. sex abuse proceedings have failed -- primarily because of immunity claims and the difficulty serving Vatican officials with U.S. lawsuits.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Pat Robertson: gays promote abortion and divorce

by Pam

Sometimes I am amazed at my lesbian power. a trusty homosexual agenda in my back pocket, I am able to unleash destruction upon society as my friends and I did on 9/11, according to Falwell, and not unlike the blessed tsunami that Fred Phelps said was sent by God to extinguish my fellow homo-terrorists (and Swedes!) vacationing when it hit.

Today I learn that Pat Robertson, who has been fairly quiet of late, has decided that the homo brigade of perversion is aborting babies and wreaking havoc on millions of married couples. How in the world did he find out about our tactics!? (Media Matters):
ROBERTSON: I had interviewed a lady who was a sociologist who says "I am a lesbian," but she described homosexuality in this term, she said, "They are self-absorbed narcissists." I want you to put that down -- self-absorbed narcissists who are willing to destroy any institution so long as they can have affirmation of their lifestyle. You go back to the various laws that took away the difficulty of getting a divorce, and the people leading the charge were homosexuals, way back in the '70s. So we have no-fault divorce. Who are leading the charge for abortions? So often, you'll find people who are lesbians leading the fight for the destruction of human life. Now they want to destroy marriage.
The Homosexual Agenda

6:00 am Gym
8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am Hair appointment
10:00 am Shopping
12:00 PM Brunch
2:00 PM (Here's the really important part)

1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State and local Governments as well as all other national governments
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels
5) Establish planetary chain of "homo breeding gulags" where over -medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership
6) Bulldoze all houses of worship
7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

2:30 PM Get Forty Winks of Beauty Rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest
4:00 PM Cocktails
6:00 PM Light Dinner
8:00 PM Theater
11:00 PM Bed

Agitprop had a howler of a comment (and graphic - hat tip to you!)...

I was under the impression that gay men could not procreate with each other and that lesbians did not fancy having sexual intercourse with men. Well, I'm still collecting funds for The Organization to Institutionalize Pat Robertson. Please donate.
Video of the unhinged Pat at MM.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Every Reality Based Blog Should Run This in Its Entirety

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Sorry for the long post, but this is what should be run continuously on EVERY media channel. Do you think even this would get through the skulls of the sheeple?

Biking Toward Nowhere
Published: August 17, 2005

How could President Bush be cavorting around on a long vacation with American troops struggling with a spiraling crisis in Iraq?
Wasn't he worried that his vacation activities might send a frivolous signal at a time when he had put so many young Americans in harm's way?
"I'm determined that life goes on," Mr. Bush said stubbornly.
That wasn't the son, believe it or not. It was the father - 15 years ago. I was in Kennebunkport then to cover the first President Bush's frenetic attempts to relax while reporters were pressing him about how he could be taking a month to play around when he had started sending American troops to the Persian Gulf only three days before.
On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life," W. said, "to keep a balanced life."
Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."
Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing.
The first President Bush told us that he kept a telephone in his golf cart and his cigarette boat so he could easily stay on top of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. But at least he seemed worried that he was sending the wrong signal, as his boating and golfing was juxtaposed on the news with footage of the frightened families of troops leaving for the Middle East.
"I just don't like taking questions on serious matters on my vacation," the usually good-natured Bush senior barked at reporters on the golf course. "So I hope you'll understand if I, when I'm recreating, will recreate." His hot-tempered oldest son, who was golfing with his father that day, was even more irritated. "Hey! Hey!" W. snapped at reporters asking questions on the first tee. "Can't you wait until we finish hitting, at least?"
Junior always had his priorities straight.
As W.'s neighbors get in scraps with the antiwar forces coalescing around the ranch; as the Pentagon tries to rustle up updated armor for our soldiers, who are still sitting ducks in the third year of the war; as the Iraqi police we train keep getting blown up by terrorists, who come right back every time U.S. troops beat them up; as Shiites working on the Iraqi constitution conspire with Iran about turning Iraq into an Islamic state that represses women; and as Iraq hurtles toward a possible civil war, W. seems far more oblivious than his father was with his Persian Gulf crisis.
This president is in a truly scary place in Iraq. Americans can't get out, or they risk turning the country into a terrorist haven that will make the old Afghanistan look like Cipriani's. Yet his war, which has not accomplished any of its purposes, swallows ever more American lives and inflames ever more Muslim hearts as W. reads a book about the history of salt and looks forward to his biking date with Lance Armstrong on Saturday.
The son wanted to go into Iraq to best his daddy in the history books, by finishing what Bush senior started. He swept aside the warnings of Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell and didn't bother to ask his father's advice. Now he is caught in the very trap his father said he feared: that America would get bogged down as "an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land," facing a possibly "barren" outcome.
It turns out that the people of Iraq have ethnic and religious identities, not a national identity. Shiites and Kurds want to suppress the Sunnis who once repressed them and break off into their own states, smashing the Bush model kitchen of democracy.
At long last, a senior Bush official admits that administration officials can no longer cling to their own version of reality. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning," the official told The Washington Post.
They had better start absorbing and shedding a lot faster, before many more American kids die to create a pawn of Iran. And they had better tell the Boy in the Bubble, who continues to dwell in delusion, hailing the fights and delays on the Iraqi constitution as "a tribute to democracy."
The president's pedaling as fast as he can, but he's going nowhere.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Penis or L.A. County -- you decide

by Pam

Proof the AmTaliban has its mind in the gutter and its hands in its pants. Click to enlarge (heh heh, Beavis, I said "enlarge...).

Lunchtime laughs. Agitprop has the goods on the circumcision of a Golden State county.

The imbeciles at the California State Fair felt they needed to alter a map of Los Angeles County because wingnut, sex-obsessed knuckle-draggers thought the shape of the state resembled a penis:
Visitors to the California State Fair may notice something peculiar about the map of Los Angeles County on display: It's no longer anatomically correct. Embarrassed by suggestions that the 3-D map resembles male genitalia, county officials this week ordered a small section near Malibu lopped off.

"We didn't want to offend the public," said Judy Hammond, the county's director of public affairs. "I know sex is a good advertising tool, but that's not really what we were going for."

...County officials said they had never considered the map anything but gender-neutral. But because "it's such a prominent part of our exhibit, we didn't want to detract from the rest of the display," Hammond said.
Agitprop: "Doesn't the entire state look like a penis that curves to the right? Ooh, and what are those two holes which comprise the San Francisco Bay? Quick, better call James Dobson."

The black and white AmTaliban hop in the sack

by Pam

"I believe that what God is doing today is calling for the black church to team with the white evangelical church and the Catholic Church and people of moral conscience."

"We're not going to just sit back and let America go down this ramp of moral decline. "I'm not black alone; I am an American -- and beyond that, I am a Christian. You and I can bring the rule and reign of the cross to America -- and we can change America on our watch together."
-- Bishop Harry Jackson, chair of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, and a pastor that has received $824,000 of faith-based funds.
I'm tired of the denial and the bullsh*ttery on the left, who deny that there's a sickness infecting the black faith community, mostly the pastors that are being bought-off by Mehlman and his squad.

It stems from the faith-based payoffs, homophobia, Republican smokescreens, and the years of inattention by the Democratic Party to its loyal base. Oh well, I'll just keep on posting this crap. Maybe someone will pay attention eventually and call out these bible-thumpers. (AgapePress):
The pastor of a Maryland church is encouraging black pastors to partner with white evangelical churches to help foster social and political change.

Bishop Harry Jackson is pastor of the 2,000-member Hope Christian Church in Bowie, Maryland. He spoke earlier this week at the "Justice Sunday II" event held at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, which was held to educate people about the role of courts in everyday life. Jackson said unity is crucial for moral and social victories.

...Jackson, who also serves as chair of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, says all Christians must take action to stop the moral decline of the nation.

The High Impact Leadership Coalition is seeking support for biblical principles of righteousness and justice in America via a petition on its website called the "Black Contract with America on Moral Values." The petition invites Christians and politicians of all races to advocate policies and legislation that promote family reconstruction, wealth creation, education reform, prison reform, health care, and African relief -- all issues the group says need to be addressed to improve the "plight of black America."
Jackson has been frustrated by the fact that he's having a bit of a hard time convincing blacks to join him - he thinks they are misguided. His "Black Contract With America," is a document designed to highlight wedge issues like gay marriage -- and presumably pry black social conservatives away from the Democratic Party. "Black churches are too concerned with justice," Jackson lamented in his speech.

He says most black churches oppose same-sex marriage because of "the clear teaching of Scripture," but support property and other civil rights for couples that do not live as the Bible teaches.

On that last point, I'm not so sure this will hold true everywhere. It is a given that, even in a progressive community like the Triangle area of NC where I live, when issues surrounding gay rights are concerned, it's representatives from the most socially conservative black churches that show up to protest and demonize, joining up with the white evangelicals.  Our local bigot that gets the most face-time is Patrick Wooden of the Upper Room Church in Raleigh.

If anti-gay measures are placed on the ballot, I'm convinced a sizeable number of religious blacks would vote for them. That would make it much easier to separate their support for a particular candidate from the opposition to gay rights (vote Dem, but anti-gay). It's why EqualityNC worked mightily (and successfully) to keep a marriage amendment from floor debate in the Gen Assembly. We here know if it makes it onto the ballot, it will pass.

The choice for the Democratic Party is whether to make a clear statement on gay civil rights issues or not. They have chosen to dodge this (or throw sand in our faces), while taking gay dollars.

Is the win worth more than the unknown risk of losing votes? Is it ok for civil rights initiatives for gays to be opposed at local and state levels by loyal voting blocs (blacks) as long as they still vote Democrat?

Based on the reticence to take a clear position, someone at high levels in the party thinks there is risk with its base constituencies if it affirms support for civil equality for gays.

Affirming those rights doesn't have to be an upfront and center issue, but a statement of commitment and clarity in the platform that candidates are willing to defend when asked is not a lot to ask.

Remember all of those letters from "cool" Hoosiers in the Indy Star?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Well, yours truly reclaimed her hometown, and added to the ranks of those not drinking the kool-aid!

In today's Indianapolis Star:

Blame for terrorism belied by 12-year gap

In response to James F. Siener's Aug. 15 letter to the editor, he seems to forget (while blaming Presidents Clinton and Carter for the state of the world as far as terrorism) that there were 12 years in between the two. What party was in power then?

Julien S****


Ms. Julien
(In Miami, formerly of Noblesville)

This is not America

by STP

While not a sudden realization on my part, and hardly breaking news to any concerned citizen of this nation, it remains a truism that the country we live in today does not in any way resemble the one created over two hundred years ago. Nor does it represent the ideals set forth by the Founding Fathers.

In some respects, that's a good thing. Today, slavery no longer exists in the United States and, to a degree, we are closer to equality of rights for blacks, women and other minorities. There are many other positive developments that have occurred over the last two hundred plus years. Still, what has happened to the country that was created back in the Revolutionary years of the United States of America?

The two political parties have twisted the process of running government to the point where none of the Founders would even recognize their creation any longer. The common person has virtually no access to government at its highest levels. Interaction with politicians is significantly limited, and the ear of a political figure is most often bent only when large sums of money or significant voting blocks are involved.

Big business gets tax breaks, wealthy individuals are able to seek government assistance and power brokers obtain direct access to the system. The average citizen gets left behind in every instance.

Worse yet is the complete illusion that has become the voting process in the United States. The surface image of this nation is that of a Democratic-Republic, where every citizen has the right to vote with that vote counted in affecting the electing of representatives to office. We have seen, particularly in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, that the entire process has been subverted by behind the scenes operatives bent on maintaining control. Florida and Ohio (see Julien's List) were the tips of the iceberg for massive levels of voter disenfranchisement and fraud. Once upon a time southern blacks were harassed or had their vote hidden behind walls of complication and violence. Today, poor voters of all colors, or people in areas leaning in a particular direction, can only wonder what has happened to their vote. They wait on lines too long, have votes miscounted or thrown away or are misdirected about the process. It is less obvious, but no less an obstruction of voting then what black voters encountered in Reconstruction and the years going forward into the 1960's.

My recent firsthand experiences with the legal system remind me of how illegitimate that process has become. It is a system completely controlled by power and money. If you have either or both, you not only are treated fairly by the legal process, but it tends to bend over backwards for you, even where guilt seems obvious. If you do not have power or money, no level of proof as to the righteousness of your cause will help. The system shuts out all who come to its doors with anything less than a large pool of resources.

Further, we see how imbalanced the death penalty is. A white is much less likely to be put to death for crimes then a black (unless money comes into play). Murder or rape is a mere sidestep for the upper echelons of our society in most cases, while those less fortunate don't stand a chance.

Recent news has shown how eminent domain has been turned from a tool to rebuild seriously blighted areas into a device for chasing ratables in communities at the expense of long-time residents who found themselves to be "in the way." Forget the line from "Field of Dreams" that says "If you build it, they will come." It has become, "If they want it, they will build."

There was a time, not too long ago, when we went to war to protect our country or to defend freedom and liberty the world over. Could anything be more noble then World War II? What do we fight for today in Iraq? Lies, oil contracts, vendettas, and religious crusades.

While our Founders completely missed the mark on the rights of all men and women, from 1860 (really before this, but it's a good signal point) forward, the nation began to head in the right direction. Blacks, women and other groups began to chip away at the walls of intolerance, bigotry, small-mindedness, and oppression that too often represented the thinking and governing of the United States. Progress was being made. However, in the last five years, through the voting disenfranchisement stated above and the extremism of a large segment of the religious fundamentalist movement of this country, the rights of gays and lesbians, non Christians and others are sliding backward along the slippery slope of zealous fanaticism.

This is not America. I offer no answers as to how to get back on track; no solutions to the problems that have caused this nation to drift so far from the ideals that it was founded upon, and that many still imagine it to exist within. I only offer you the resignation of the moment felt by one person who looks at this country, shakes his head and witnesses the steady decay of ideals that are ever-more distant in the makeup of our society.

(Cross posted at Poetic Leanings)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Velvet Revolution!

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Thank you...

Empty letter from the Empty Wig

by Pam

Before/after: Surgically preserved Elizabeth Dole (a.k.a. "Empty Wig", "Sugar Lips" or "The Joker").

All you legislators out there... this is a lesson in how you should not run constituent services. I write my elected officials from time to time, and I usually get a polite, if somewhat impersonal response.

The exception, of course, was Jesse Helms. I've mentioned before here that his office excelled in constituent services. Letters were responded to promptly and with specificity to your concern (even if you didn't agree with him).

I can't say the same for The Empty Wig, Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

I wish I could tell you what letter of mine she is responding to here, but this letter is so damn idiotic and vague. I think my last missive was to ask her for a comment on the three cross burnings in Durham a few months ago, but who can f*cking tell from this Liddy Letter -- it was shot straight out of the "Constituent Services Letter GeneratorTM (text is below, click to enlarge the letter).

Thank you so much for taking time to write to me with your concerns. Receiving your ideas and concerns is so important in order for me to represent you, and our state, to the best of my ability in the United States Senate.

The issues you describe are indeed important and deserve review. I very much appreciate you sharing your opinions and thoughts with me regarding these matters. Please be assured that I will keep your insights in mind should pertinent legislation be considered by the Senate.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your ideas and concerns. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With my warmest best wishes,
Elizabeth Dole
Can you believe this? It's embarrassing. Her office should have saved the taxpayer funds and just not bothered answering. This blow-off is disrespectful to a voter in this state, and makes her look bad (well, even worse than she already looks, carrying water for Chimpy and the National Repug Senatorial Committee).

With homophobe, racist Helms, he realized his power to be re-elected was gained by fulfilling his state's needs and communicating effectively on a personal level. That level of communication, infused with southern gentility, goes over well here, and will continue to do so.

Dole, a Salisbury native, needs to get back in touch with some Southern manners and teach it to her staff. [A staff, by the way, that must be packed with queers if she called a staff meeting to tell folks that none would be fired if they were outed.]

Dems, please mount a decent candidate to toss this figurehead out.

My way or the highway at religious college

by Pam

"In the midst of the culture in which we live -- where relativism and tolerance are considered the ultimate virtues -- Patrick Henry [College] has taken a stance in direct opposition to that kind of thinking,"
-- AmTalibangelist Voddie Baucham, Jr., on the firing of an employee at a bible college for not accepting Jesus Christ as his savior.
Interesting in-fighting within the AmTaliban. Guess Baucham's sending his kids to Falwell's Liberty University or this joint since they have a "biblical worldview." And the earth is 3,000 years old too. That will really prepare someone for integration into the reality-based world.
Recently a Loudoun County judge ordered former Patrick Henry College (PHC) employee Jeremy Hunley to stop disparaging the school over its statement of faith affirming that salvation is by faith in Christ alone. Hunley, a member of the Church of Christ denomination, was let go by the school after he began promoting the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation.

Baptist evangelist Voddie Baucham, Jr., says PHC should be lauded for its commitment to an uncompromisingly biblical worldview throughout the school. "In the midst of the culture in which we live -- where relativism and tolerance are considered the ultimate virtues -- Patrick Henry [College] has taken a stance in direct opposition to that kind of thinking," Baucham says. "And if we are going to do anything and win this battle in the marketplace of ideas, that's the kind of stance that each and every one of us has to take. So I think they should be applauded."

Jeremy Hunley was forced to resign from Patrick Henry College because his belief that baptism is necessary for salvation contradicted school doctrine. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)

Baucham says as a home-schooling dad who will soon be sending his children off to college, PHC's action in the Hunley case only moves the school up, not down on his list. He says when parents begin searching for a college with a "first-rate commitment to academic excellence and an uncompromising stance on the essentials of the historic Christian faith throughout their departments and throughout the school," there are not many from which to choose.

"I'm not talking about just a few people in your religion department who happen to be solid," he continues. "I mean from top to bottom. When you start looking for places like that, it is a very short list." According to Baucham, officials at Patrick Henry College not only did the right thing, they did the only thing they could do to maintain their integrity and continue to be the institution they were founded to be. And the fact that people would criticize PHC for holding to its statement of faith, he says, is indicative of the fact that today's culture no longer values integrity.
Baucham, by the way, is yet another black homo-bigot. He sponsored a resolution at the recent Southern Baptist Convention to investigate "the influence of the homosexual agenda in the nation's public schools." He said the public schools needed to be researched to unearth "attempts to influence children to accept homosexual behavior as a legitimate lifestyle."

There's more on this in the WaPo.


BONUS: Here are some of the college's applications of the biblical worldview for its students. This place is scary.
* Creation. Any biology, Bible or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creation from the understanding of Scripture that God's creative work, as described in Genesis 1:1-31, was completed in six twenty-four hour days. All faculty for such courses will be chosen on the basis of their personal adherence to this view. PHC expects its faculty in these courses, as in all courses, to expose students to alternate theories and the data, if any, which support those theories. In this context, PHC in particular expects its biology faculty to provide a full exposition of the claims of the theory of Darwinian evolution, intelligent design and other major theories while, in the end, teach creation as both biblically true and as the best fit to observed data.

* Sexual Conduct. Since any sexual conduct outside the parameters of the faithful marriage of a man and a woman is sin, any government which creates legal structures to encourage or condone inappropriate sexual activity or lust, heterosexual or homosexual, or which creates special legal rights and protections based on sexual conduct, is acting immorally and without authority. Pornography, because it degrades God's image-bearers and incites sinful lust, is always evil and merits no legal protection.

* Civil Government. God himself has ordained government and commands that everyone must submit to government; moreover, there is no authority except that which God has established. (Romans 13: 1-5) Consequently, he who rebels against lawful authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves. It is necessary to submit to government, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. We are to pray for all who hold public office, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (Proverbs 14: 34-35; I Timothy 2: 1-2)

Some governments are not legitimate; some authorities are not lawful. (Hosea 8:1-4) These are governments that do not recognize or that choose to ignore that human beings are created in God's image and therefore are entitled to the enjoyment of certain rights and responsibilities that inhere in their nature. Such societies and such governments are under God's judgment. (Jeremiah 18: 7-10) Nevertheless, there is a proper way to rectify this situation.

In keeping with scriptural principles and the American Declaration of Independence, we recognize that "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind is more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed." But when such a government 1) commands disobedience to God, 2) enjoins the right and duty of human beings to worship God, 3) denies other God-ordained rights by extreme oppression and tyranny, or 4) "when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object (tyranny), evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism" it is the right and duty of godly men and women "to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security." Importantly, this action must be taken in accordance with God's laws and in submission to other legitimate authorities, anarchy being as illegitimate as tyranny.

Here is the the sheeple keep their heads in the sand

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From Mario, guest contributor on Julien's List:

Like we didn’t know this already...........

Election Fraud Continues in the US

New Data Shows Widespread Vote Manipulations in 2004

By Peter Phillips

In the fall of 2001, after an eight-month review of 175,000 Florida ballots never counted in the 2000 election, an analysis by the National Opinion Research Center confirmed that Al Gore actually won Florida and should have been President. However, coverage of this report was only a small blip in the corporate media as a much bigger story dominated the news after September 11, 2001.

New research compiled by Dr. Dennis Loo with the University of Cal Poly Pomona now shows that extensive manipulation of non-paper-trail voting machines occurred in several states during the 2004 election.

The facts are as follows:

In 2004 Bush far exceeded the 85% of registered Florida Republican votes that he got in 2000, receiving more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67 Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties. Bush managed these remarkable outcomes despite the fact that his share of the crossover votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000, and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points. We also know that Bush "won" Ohio by 51-48%, but statewide results were not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio the number of recorded votes was more than 93,000 greater than the number of registered voters.

More importantly national exit polls showed Kerry winning in 2004. However, It was only in precincts where there were no paper trails on the voting machines that the exit polls ended up being different from the final count. According to Dr. Steve Freeman, a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania, the odds are 250 million to one that the exit polls were wrong by chance. In fact, where the exit polls disagreed with the computerized outcomes the results always favored Bush - another statistical impossibility.

Tin Soldiers and Dubya’s Coming.......
Bay Village - 13,710 registered voters / 18,663 ballots cast
Beachwood - 9,943 registered voters / 13,939 ballots cast
Bedford - 9,942 registered voters / 14,465 ballots cast
Bedford Heights - 8,142 registered voters / 13,512 ballots cast
Brooklyn - 8,016 registered voters / 12,303 ballots cast
Brooklyn Heights - 1,144 registered voters / 1,869 ballots cast
Chagrin Falls Village - 3,557 registered voters / 4,860 ballots cast
Cuyahoga Heights - 570 registered voters / 1,382 ballots cast
Fairview Park - 13,342 registered voters / 18,472 ballots cast
Highland Hills Village - 760 registered voters / 8,822 ballots cast
Independence - 5,735 registered voters / 6,226 ballots cast
Mayfield Village - 2,764 registered voters / 3,145 ballots cast
Middleburg Heights - 12,173 registered voters / 14,854 ballots cast
Moreland Hills Village - 2,990 registered voters / 4,616 ballots cast
North Olmstead - 25,794 registered voters / 25,887 ballots cast
Olmstead Falls - 6,538 registered voters / 7,328 ballots cast
Pepper Pike - 5,131 registered voters / 6,479 ballots cast
Rocky River - 16,600 registered voters / 20,070 ballots cast
Solon (WD6) - 2,292 registered voters / 4,300 ballots cast
South Euclid - 16,902 registered voters / 16,917 ballots cast
Strongsville (WD3) - 7,806 registered voters / 12,108 ballots cast
University Heights - 10,072 registered voters / 11,982 ballots cast
Valley View Village - 1,787 registered voters / 3,409 ballots cast
Warrensville Heights - 10,562 registered voters / 15,039 ballots cast
Woodmere Village - 558 registered voters / 8,854 ballots cast
Bedford (CSD) - 22,777 registered voters / 27,856 ballots cast
Independence (LSD) - 5,735 registered voters / 6,226 ballots cast
Orange (CSD) - 11,640 registered voters / 22,931 ballots cast
Warrensville (CSD) - 12,218 registered voters / 15,822 ballots cast

Are you an "extremist"?

by Lanoire

Right after the London bombings, I saw plenty of people (both on the left and the right) lauding the stoic Brits for keeping a stiff upper lip--and not, by implication, falling into hysterical fits like many of us Yanks unfortunately did after suffering terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, that's not quite accurate. Hysteric-in-Chief Tony Blair has announced that he's going to carry out a bunch of pro-fascism...pardon me, that's not PC, I meant "anti-terrorism"...measures that will (among other things) authorize the denaturalization of British citizens who engage in "extremism" or "condoning or glorifying terrorism."

If this doesn't worry you and your name isn't George Bush or Paris Hilton, please get back on the fucking turnip truck before you injure yourself. "Extremism" and "condoning or glorifying terrorism" are precisely what crazed hawks have been accusing all Bush critics of doing.

This op-ed by University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone--in the New York Times, of all unlikely places--explains exactly why Blair's measures are disgusting idea, and why Americans should be up in arms about it.

As Stone explains, you have the right to be an extremist. You have the right under the First Amendment to advocate violence in general. You don't have the right to plan a violent attack, but you do have the right to run around saying that violent attacks are a good idea. For example:

Lawful: Americans should die.

Unlawful: On the Xth day of X month, you and I are going to blow up X Building with Americans in it.

See? Simple. Unless you're Tony Blair or one of his useful idiots--or one of his American admirers, who pose as great a danger to our freedom here in the U.S. as any terrorist ever has.

cross-posted to Looking at the Stars

Monday, August 15, 2005

Gas nostalgia - Die Hard (1988)

by Pam

Just to rub in the pain a little more...a shot from one of my favorite action films Die Hard (1988), set in L.A.

This is a shot (46:12 into the film) that pans up to the fictional "Nakatomi Plaza" where Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is holding people hostage.

Long for the days of 77 cent unleaded!

Hat tip, Koga (and that post was in 2004!)

Better get those SOBs out of Pennsylvania!

by Pam

The bible-beaters of Pennsylvania see pornography in this billboard at a Sheetz gas station.

Lunch-hour laugh. From the American Family Association of Pennsylvania's web site. [Think Rick Santorum's on their mailing list?]:
PORNOGRAPHY can be found in many forms and many locations:


Video and convenience stores -- Take a close look at your local stores, you may be surprised to see that MANY local video stores have back rooms with HARDCORE  pornography videos available. Many times the only thing separating you and your children from this trash is a swinging door.

In our area EVERY SHEETZ convenience store has pornographic magazines available.    Why not check your area Sheetz store!  Check out Sheetz latest billboard.

Sexually oriented businesses (SOBs) -- "As morality declines, outlets of sexual deviance typically ensue in order to take advantage of the profit potential made available by consumers of sexually oriented materials or services.  However, sexually oriented businesses require special supervision in order to protect and preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the patrons of such businesses as well as the citizens of the communities in which they locate.  The problems deriving from sexually oriented businesses include unlawful sexual activities, sexual transmitted diseases, a deleterious (harmful) effect on surrounding businesses, declining property values in surrounding residential neighborhoods, increased crime and blight and a general downgrading of the quality of life in the areas adjacent to these SOBS.
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Notable quotes from Justice Sunday II

by Pam

Waiting for lightning to strike this dude down. Zellfire said the Supreme Court "removed prayer from our public schools . . . legalized the barbaric killing of unborn babies, and it is ready to discard like an outdated hula hoop the universal institution of marriage between a man and a woman."

The pro-choice folks and the homos, not surprisingly, bore the brunt of the bible-beating at the bombastic Justice Sunday II love-in for the Right. Here is what was targeted at the fundamentalist base over the airwaves yesterday (via WP).

The Supreme Court has sanctioned "the right to kill unborn children" and opened the door to legalized "homosexual sodomy," declared Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which co-sponsored "Justice Sunday II."

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, told the 2,200 mostly white people in Two Rivers Baptist Church: "It doesn't matter what we think. The court rules." The Supreme Court, he said in a video broadcast, has created "an oligarchy. It's the government by the few."

Rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork warned that the high court has defined homosexuality as "a constitutional right . . . and once homosexuality is defined as a constitutional right, there is nothing the states can do about it, nothing the people can do about it."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said "activist courts" are imposing "state-sanctioned same-sex marriage" and "partial-birth abortion" and are "ridding the public square of any mention of our nation's religious heritage" in what amounts to "judicial supremacy, judicial autocracy." In Supreme Court rulings, DeLay said, "rights are invented out of whole cloth. Long-standing traditions are found to be unconstitutional. Moral values that have defined the progress of human civilization for millennia are cast aside in favor of those espoused by a handful of unelected, lifetime-appointed judges."

And, of course, they trotted out one of the usual black homo-bigot pastors out to bolster their case, and to continue to build bridges with the community over "values." I wonder how much faith-based taxpayer funds he's received...

Harry R. Jackson Jr., senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in College Park, Md., said the "Christian community is experiencing a new unity around the moral values that we share because of common faith." Jackson, who is black, said that appointing judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution is advantageous to blacks. "If justice matters to anybody in America, it matters to minorities and to people who have historically been at the bottom of the barrel" who will not have "to deal with a maverick judge changing the law at the last minute."

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

War News

by Shakespeare's Sister

As Time reports that things in Iraq are taking yet another dubious turn, with Iran backing Iraqi insurgent bombers, the war at home escalates, too.

Editor & Publisher recounts a report phoned in by Lone Star Iconoclast staffer Deborah Matthews, which was interrupted by shots being fired near Cindy Sheehan’s camp.

I went over and talked to the man. He is Larry Mattlage, who says he is on his property and just posted a no-parking sign.

"We're going to start doing our war and it's going to be underneath the law," he told me. "Whatever it takes. So y'all go find another place to do whatever you do. 'Cause this is our front yard and back yard."
E&P adds:

Interviewed afterward, protest leader Cindy Sheehan said it was okay if the man fired his gun on his own property, so long as the bullets remained on his property as well.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, two firearms vendors at a flea market in Lexington got into an argument about the war and drew their guns. The anti-war advocate was left dead, and the pro-war advocate was released without being charged, with the matter chalked up to self-defense.

Michael at Spontaneous Arising, who pointed us to the story, notes:

We're thinking that, had Harold (the antiwar shooter who lost the duel) had killed Moore, Harold would not have been released without charge. Just a hunch.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with that assessment.

And in Waco, Texas, President Bush attended a Little League game, where he threw out the first pitch.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Rally to support Cindy Sheehan - MIAMI

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Bush attends Little League game

by STP

Georgie went to a baseball game. Yay team! Curious about ten possible sub-titles? Read here.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Fun with wingnut and (leather enthusiast) Peter LaBarbera

by Pam

I gave folks over on my blog a little background on Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, Peter LaBarbera, and his interesting activities. I thought B3 readers might like to read about this nut as well.

He's deep into the AmTaliban movement, having served as senior analyst in the Cultural Studies Department of the Family Research Council. He's the founder of Americans for Truth, which seeks to purge the homo agenda from schools, and is the former publisher of the Lambda Report on Homosexual Activism, a newsletter that monitored the gay movement "using homosexual sources."

His biggest (and most interesting) claim to fame is that he likes to "do research" on male homo behavior by doing things like going undercover at the International Mr. Leather conference, and reviewing lots of man-on-man pornography so he can inform his readers about all the sinful behavior going on. You know, there's nothing like first-hand information.

This will make you laugh till you cry. House Blend reader David emailed me a little missive he sent off to Peter, who has an unhealthy fascination with the S&M and leather set for a man publicly dedicated to plain vanilla Christian living. Emphasis is mine.

I really enjoy your blog. And living in the Chicago area, I especially enjoy your posts about everyone's favorite closet queen, Peter LaBarbra (Streisand). Here's a copy of the email I sent him. And keep up the great work!

Dear Mr. LaBarbra:

I had to respond to your post on the IFI site detailing your visit to the Halsted Street Market Days last Sunday. As it turns out, I was there at the same time you were. Perhaps you saw me. I was at the ACLU booth signing up new members. I'm not sure, but judging from your photo, I think I saw you there, too. If I'm not mistaken, you were wearing leather chaps and a sleeveless "I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore, Toto" T-shirt. Or maybe that was someone else who just looked like you. Afterall, there sure were a lot of people there, weren't there? One might get the impression that the event was actually, how shall I put it, popular.

Peter was just doing research at the bathhouse to see "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men."

Looking over your website, I can't help but be impressed by the tremendous amount of research that you've compiled regarding gay male sexuality. Goodness, you even paid good money (and defied your wife's objections) to attend the IML Conference. Very impressive, and allow me to commend you on your determination to so thoroughly explore, first hand, as it were, the many facets of the gay male lifestyle. Such personal dedication deserves praise, but one thing intrigues me. To the best of my knowledge, you never seem to have conducted any research at all into the activities of FEMALE gay people, aka, lesbians. Very, very interesting. The only explanation I can think of is that the sex lives of women don't interest you as much as the sex lives of men. Don't worry. I can relate. Another interesting aspect of your ongoing research is, if you'll pardon my saying so, how unnecessary it all seems to be. No offense, but doesn't everyone have a pretty good idea of what goes on inside a gay bar or a leather conference or a gay bathhouse without you breathlessly informing them? I imagine that even your girlfriends at Concerned Women For America know what gay men do with each other without any help from you. But who am I to criticize? I'm sure that your research provides a valuable function for the average American and is conducted with the greatest personal sacrifice on your part. I'm also sure that you would much rather spend a quiet evening at home with your wife than have to drive all the way into Chicago to attend an gay male leather onference, wouldn't you?

At any rate, I enjoyed your shocking expose of the Halsted Street Market Days and have no doubt that you'll be attending (without the wife, I'm sure) next year. Perhaps we could get together while you're there and share one of those delicious, tropical-looking drinks in the hollowed out pineapple that everyone seemed to be sipping this year. I promise I'll be discrete. Just one more thing. Please promise me that, as you continue to conduct your important research into the sexual activies of gay men, that you always remember to wear a condom.

Please write back. I'd love to hear from you!
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Wake UP, sheeple, wouldja??

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From AmericaBlog:

Deadly Deja Vu in Iraq: Troops still without armor
by Joe in DC - 8/13/2005 04:03:00 PM

WTF? The NY Times just posted an article, "U.S. Struggling to Get Soldiers Improved Armor." That's right. Still struggling to get armor for the troops. We've heard this before and been told it's been taken care of....but it hasn't been. Soldiers in Iraq do not have the proper equipment:
For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.

The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.

The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates - a process also plagued by delays. The officials disclosed the new armor effort Wednesday after questioning by The New York Times, and acknowledged that it would take several more months or longer to complete.
Christ, no wonder Bush won't talk to Cindy Sheehan. The Commander in Chief continues to fail his troops. And how anyone with a son or daughter in Iraq can still support this clown is beyond me. Imagine the uproar in Congress if a Democratic President let troops stay in a war zone without the proper equipment. They'd be talking impeachment.

Bush has screwed up every single aspect of the Iraq war. And, as John said below, he just a god damn liar about Iraq. For all his screw ups, putting tens of thousands of soldiers in deadly danger because they don't have the body armor has to be among the worst.
What normal person can read this and not be mad? What normal person can say that this man is anything but a monster and a callous one at that? What normal person could read this and feel that things are "better than ever" in Iraq and in the U.S., as we hear in every radio and TV address from Dear Leader? What normal person can NOT do at least something like get involved with a blog network, or volunteer, or write his/her newspapers, congresspersons, local politicians, etc?

Are there any NORMAL PEOPLE out there who can see how wrong this is?????

Ms. Julien

Just a President

by Shakespeare's Sister

A uniter. That’s what Bush claimed he’d be. A uniter, not a divider. But of course, this country is wrenchingly divided, and every day, I hear more stories of people who find these divisions within their own families. The same is true in my family, and so for all our sakes, we just don’t talk about it, which is made easier because on many important issues (like gay rights, for example, and the right to choose), we are on the same page. Not all divided families are so lucky, though, and each day, I hear more stories of families struggling to get past a division that becomes increasingly insurmountable as Bush remains in office. I regularly get emails from people (often gay people) whose families have been torn apart during his presidency, as old wounds are ripped open and treated with salt on a national level, and it’s not remotely uncommon to see similar tales recounted in the comments threads around here.

And so when I read the following from Cindy Sheehan, I was not sad, but not surprised:
Still putting out the O'Reilly fires of me being a traitor and using Casey's name dishonorably, my in-laws sent out a press statement disagreeing with me in strong terms; which is totally okay with me, because they barely knew Casey. We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the election when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death. The thing that matters to me is that our family -- Casey's dad and my other 3 kids are on the same side of the fence that I am.
I was also reminded of the words of someone who felt destined to cause such family rifts:
Luke 12:51-53: Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against his mother-in-law.
Sound familiar?

I don’t mean to suggest that this is evidence that Bush is Jesus (although, I’m open to arguments that he’s the antichrist). I just think it’s telling that so many people seem to worship him in the same way they worship a Messiah—with such devoted and unwavering fervor that he becomes more important to them than their own families.

It’s simply incredibly to me that people are not only more loyal to Bush than to America but find their allegiance to him stronger than to their own flesh and blood. He is just a man, and one who flaunts his contempt at having been hired to work for all of us, at that. He’s a divider, not a uniter—and he’s not a savior, either. He’s just a president.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Detached from Reality, a bit?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me."

-- GWB, The White House, Dec. 21, 2001

(2 months and 10 days after 9/11)

Ms. Julien & Friends


by Ms. Julien in Miami

U.S. Fighter Jet Bombs Australia Building

See, this is what happens when you lower the IQ requirements, and eliminate the psych and drug tests, along with ignoring the criminal records, of US recruits to feed the demands of PNAC...

Here is someone who Reads, Thinks, and ACTS!

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From my dear friend, Judy, in response to this post:

I just went on the Florida Baptist Convention website and posted this message:
"I am opposed to your stand on promoting the Marriage Amendment. Having been raised in the Baptist Church in North Carolina and the daughter of the Chairman of the Board of Deacons in that church, my Father (God rest his soul) would not have agreed with your stand either. My parents always taught me and my Brother that God loves everybody. They taught us not to discriminate. They taught us to be good, honest and caring people and the values they displayed at home and instilled in us everyday, have served us well in our adult lives. I am embarrassed that you, as a religion have chosen this "political" path. The church should "serve" and "support" the community with good acts and where in my Bible does it say to be "hate mongers."

Let's see if they reply.

The Florida Fundies are Already Preparing for War...

by Ms. Julien in Miami the LGBT community ready??

Ms. Julien in Miami

Florida Baptist Convention
Citizens’ petition for the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment (PDF file) ...
voters by February 2006 to get the amendment on the November ballot. ... - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

Liberty Counsel Press Release
Diverse Florida Coalition Launches Marriage Amendment on Valentine’s Day ...
The goal is to place the Florida Amendment on the ballot in November of 2006. ... - 5k - Cached - Similar pages

Liberty Alert from Liberty Counsel
Ake, which upheld Florida's marriage laws earlier this year. ... The proposed
amendment, which is planned for a statewide vote in 2006, states: "Inasmuch as ... - 10k - Cached - Similar pages

The Florida Catholic Conference | Statement of the Florida Bishops
in the Florida Marriage Amendment Petition Process ... In order to help ensure
the proposed amendment is placed on the 2006 general election ballot, ... Bpst2000/Marriage Amendment Petition.htm - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

Florida Fair Tuition Amendment · Floridians for Fair Tuition. 2006. Active.
02/09/2005. Florida Marriage Protection Amendment · 2006 ... initiatives/initiativelistNL.asp - 65k - Cached - Similar pages

Initiative Information
Florida Marriage Protection Amendment. Reference:: Article I; Summary:: View Full
Text (pdf): This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only ... initdetail.asp?account=41550&seqnum=1 - 5k - Cached - Similar pages | 02/15/2005 | 'Marriage' drive launched
... in 2006 to amend the Florida Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Florida law
already bans same-sex marriage, but the proposed amendment would preempt ... - 27k - Cached - Similar pages

CitizenLink - Extras - What's the Latest on State Marriage Amendments?
There is a state marriage amendment in the House (HJ 29) that has been kept from a
... What's next: The amendment will be on the ballot in November 2006. ... - 38k - Cached - Similar pages

Florida coalition launches marriage amend. petition drive - (BP)
Florida coalition launches marriage amend. petition drive ... 14 an ambitious
citizen initiative to amend Florida’s Constitution defining marriage as “the ... - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

[Faith-talk] Florida Baptists, and Other Begin Fight for Marriage ...
Florida Baptists, others launch effort to pass state marriage amendment February
16, 2005. By Robert Marus JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (ABP) -- The Florida Baptist ... faith-talk/2005-February/004844.html - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

The Ledger: Lakeland, Polk County, Florida
To put the amendment before the voters in November 2006, the group must collect
... The measure, titled the "Florida Marriage Protection Amendment," states: ... article?AID=/20050215/NEWS/502150336/1004 - 36k - Cached - Similar pages

Citizen Magazine - A complete state-by-state rundown of efforts ...
The Florida Marriage Protection Coalition—which includes the Florida Family ...
Obstacles: Though the state House approved a marriage amendment in 2004, ... citizenmag/departments/a0035630.cfm - 69k - Cached - Similar pages

Marriage Amendments
Pro-Family Public Hails Passage of Kansas Marriage Amendment - AgapePress ...
The goal in Florida is to place the amendment on the November 2006 ballot. ... - 417k - Cached - Similar pages

Yes, Dear Leader, things are going REAL well in your country...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

....and HERE is just such an example.

Ford fires salaried employees

Ford Motor Co., for the first time in generations, has resorted to firing employees and immediately escorting them from corporate buildings -- roiling the company and compelling Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford to send a message this week to reassure the so-called Ford Family.

The rest of the article is HERE.

My question: If things are going so well, how come Ford is doing this?

Ms. Julien

The Ad that Must Be Heard....

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I think this about says it all...simply, and honestly.

Thanks to Raw Story for this link.

America's most liberal and conservative cities?

by Pam

The Bay Area Center for Voting Research came up with these rankings based on data from 237 American cities with populations over 100,000, and based its results on the percentage of voters choosing a liberal or conservative candidate in the 2004 presidential election.

America’s most conservative cities

1 Provo, Utah
2 Lubbock, Texas
3 Abilene, Texas
4 Hialeah, Florida
5 Plano, Texas
6 Colorado Springs, Colorado
7 Gilbert, Arizona
8 Bakersfield, California
9 Lafayette, Louisiana
10 Orange, California
11 Escondido, California
12 Allentown, Pennsylvania
13 Mesa, Arizona
14 Arlington, Texas
15 Peoria, Arizona

America's most liberal cities

1 Detroit, Michigan
2 Gary, Indiana
3 Berkeley, California
4 District of Columbia
5 Oakland, California
6 Inglewood, California
7 Newark, New Jersey
8 Cambridge, Massachusetts
9 San Francisco, California
10 Flint, Michigan
11 Cleveland, Ohio
12 Hartford, Connecticut
13 Paterson, New Jersey
14 Baltimore, Maryland
15 New Haven, Connecticut

A reader of my blog noted that most cities on the liberal list have a high minority population, which contributes to their ranking. addresses that factor in its article on this study.
"While there are a few liberal cities without large African-American populations, these wind up being the exceptions," wrote researcher Phil Reiff. "These liberal, white communities, however, are more reminiscent of penguins clustered together around a shrinking iceberg than of a vibrant and growing political movement."
You can go further down the list, see here for liberal, here for conservative.

I can tell you right now, based on the ranking of Durham (61) vs. Birmingham (19) on the Liberal list, something is definitely wrong with that model if "Liberal" is supposed to mean "safer for gays to be out." [BTW, Raleigh was 88.] For instance Dayton, Ohio (42), Jackson, Mississippi (46). Akron, Ohio (48), 50 Richmond, Virginia (50), Toledo, Ohio (53) are pretty high up on the same list, yet Ohio passed a marriage amendment, Virginia has the most completely anti-gay legislation on the books and well, Mississippi...never mind.

I think that this oddity in the findings is meaningful, and should give Dems pause about what we're seeing here in these cities in the middle of the pack. There is a schism in what it means to be liberal/progressive when you mix the gay factor and the black vote in the politics outside the big cities. I've talked about this problem over and over, but I'm only one of a few voices that seems to be concerned about this. Much remains undiscussed. What does it really mean to be progressive in flyover country?

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Don't forget - Justice Sunday II is this weekend

by Pam

AgapePress is all excited about the upcoming follow-up extravaganza to the first televangelism event (Bill Frist wasn't invited this time).
Christian activists will gather Sunday evening, August 14, at Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church to highlight battles over the Supreme Court and judicial tyranny across America. The event is called "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and This Honorable Court."

Organized and sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC), the program features speakers such as James Dobson and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson, Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals, former Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia), and others. FRC president Tony Perkins says the event will be both educational and motivational.

from Mike Tidmus

Justice Sunday II is designed "to inform and educate the Christian community and others around this country that are concerned about what the courts have done to our culture and to our country in the last 40 years," Perkins explains. "We'll be talking about that, but we'll also be giving some very practical steps on what people can do to make a difference over the next four to six weeks when the United States Senate will be holding hearings on the President's nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge John Roberts."

...The goal of the Nashville rally, Perkins adds, is to make concerned Christians aware of what they can do to speak out against and combat judicial activism. "So we're paving the way in getting Christians across this country involved in this aspect of government, which is so critical to the future of the country," he says.

Flashback to Justice Sunday I.

Justice Sunday II will be broadcast live on American Family Radio as well as on Sky Angel, Trinity Broadcasting Network. The Nashville event, which is the follow-up to "Justice Sunday -Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith," will also be carried on hundreds of radio and Christian TV stations nationwide, as well as via live webcast on the FRC website.

Are Freepers going soft on gay marriage?

by Pam

There's an interesting article at on John Roberts and the possible effect he will have on gay civil rights decisions if he ends up on the Supreme Court.
Abortion may dominate next month's Senate hearings on whether to confirm John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court, but gay rights is the stealth issue. Democrats aren't as eager to push for same-sex marriage as they are to protect abortion, but there is little question that the leading edge of civil rights law involves lesbians and gays rather than more settled questions of gender and racial equality.

Over the next decade or more -- and if confirmed, the 50-year-old Roberts could be on the court for 30 years -- activists on both sides expect the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denying homosexuals federal benefits conferred by marriage and the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians in the military.

...The sensitivity of the gay rights issue became clear last week with the revelation that Roberts provided free legal advice for gay plaintiffs on a groundbreaking 1996 Supreme Court case, Romer vs. Evans, which struck down a Colorado ballot initiative banning antidiscrimination laws for gays. The work sparked momentary alarm among religious conservatives that Roberts could harbor secret sympathies.

Most religious conservatives said they had been assured that Roberts would be reluctant as a judge to overturn the will of voters or legislators despite his work on Romer, although a Virginia group, Public Advocate of the United States, said Tuesday it would oppose his nomination. Gay rights groups say his work on the case does nothing to reassure them.

...The Massachusetts ruling relied heavily on the Lawrence decision that decriminalized homosexuality. That 6-3 ruling was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee of President Ronald Reagan, denounced afterward as "the most dangerous man in America" by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

The stakes are every bit as high for lesbians and gays. A Supreme Court ruling against same-sex marriage would be disastrous for the gay rights movement, which views marriage as a core right that could in one stroke eliminate nearly all other forms of discrimination. Fearing such a setback, gay legal advocacy groups are deliberately holding back on challenges to the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, even though the Massachusetts marriages present the first opportunity to challenge that law.

Instead, they are concentrating on getting more state courts or legislatures to permit same-sex marriage or civil unions while waiting for cultural norms to shift in their favor.

...Gay rights groups are highly skeptical of Roberts on the basis of his decisions in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and his work for the Reagan and first Bush administrations that imply a narrow view of the judiciary's role in overseeing executive and legislative action.

They will be concentrating on whether Roberts believes the Constitution contains a right to privacy, and whether he believes the Romer case he helped win was correctly decided.
Oddly, the Freepi reacted unevenly to this article, with more than a few resigned to the fact that there won't be a marriage amendment, and that -- gasp -- gay marriage is inevitable.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Liberals would love to have the SCOTUS jam gay marriage down America's throat. That's next to their love of aborting the country to the edge of extinction."

"The poofters know they haven't a chance of inflicting their perversion on the nation without a solid leftist judicial tyranny to support them."

"There aren't going to be a whole lot of difficult issues on gay marriage. I can tell you how it's going to turn out already. They are going to rule that it's a State issue. The biggest issue is going to be whether the US government or the States can decide that they aren't going to recognize a gay marriage consummated in one of the other States. I predict that issue will be resolved in favor of requiring that the marriage be recognized. The problem there is that the Supreme Court has already ruled that the full faith and credit clause requires the States to recognize each other's marriages. The only issue is whether the Court should create an exception in that rule for gay marriages. I don't see that happening."

"So basically you are saying homosexual marriages will be legal in all 50 states. Even if one state decided it didn't want to do that, it would be a joke, since every resident of that state could get married in another state, then come back, and it would have to be recognized. Of course, once homosexual marriages are "legalized" relatively few homosexuals will avail themselves of it- but the number of heterosexual marriages will drop sinificantly."

"Correct. That's why Massachusetts' actions are so damning. They've basically decided for everyone that gay marriage is allowed. Three judges are dictating this result to the entire nation, and there is no accountability."

"Bubye America, gays are coming. Evil ideologies using people and children as instruments are nothing short of pedophilian. It started with abortion "rights", folkes."

"And this is why that pro bono work is worth questioning."

"Roberts may be setting off America's Gaydar in more ways than one..."

"More important, I think, is what would become of DOMA?"

"The main problem with DOMA is that it prevents Federal recognition of gay marriage, and this is more serious than state recognition. Because, like it or not, as long as the Federal government is in the business of taxing people based on their State definition of their marriage, a principled conservative would be hard pressed to to justify the obvious "equal protection" clause violation."

"Look at it this way. The Federal government recognizes for tax purposes, every legal marriage as defined by State Law. Except the 6000 SSM marriages of Massachusetts. I can't see how one can say that this doesn't violate Equal Protection. As to whether the court has the guts, I think timing is everything. If it got to the court this year, I would agree without you. But the younger generation is quite accepting of gay relationships and this trend is on-going. Five years from, ten years? I'm not sure it will be so controversial then. If social conservatives are to win this fight, time is of the essence. And that has to be a constitutional amendment."

"I agree that a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to fix it. But that ain't gonna happen. Hell will freeze over before they change the Constitution to ban gay marriage."

"If the ban on gay marriage is thrown out by the Supreme Court, then that will be the end of the tax benefit associated with marriage. From then out, you'll only get a tax benefit for kids, and with the aging population, you might not even get it for that. That's why the conservatives say that gay marriage is the deathknell for the institution of marriage."

"I think you might be unnecessarily pessimistic. Gay people are an awfully small percentage, and at least among men, the desire to marry is not that strong. Lesbian relationships are more durable. I don't see any reason why tax advantages need be in jeorpardy. I really don't feel that gays will be the deathknell for marriage. We straights are doing an aawfully good job at destroying it without any help from gays."

"I agree with your last statement, but that just underscores my point. Marriage has been severely battered already. There really isn't much left to it. One of the biggest benefits of marriage at this point is the monetary benefit, ie. employee benefits, taxes, etc. If those must be extended to 500,000 new marriages, that severely increases the cost of those benefits, and will result in those benefits being curtailed."
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Silence Speaks Volumes

by Shakespeare's Sister

Red Jalapeno has an idea for a silent march on Washington to protest the war. I think it’s a great idea—and he needs help. If you have ideas, thoughts, suggestions, let him know. This is at the top of his blog; just scroll down and start reading.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

The Debunker

by Shakespeare's Sister

Debunking bullshit is something at which John Howard, author of the hottest blog on the internets but not prime minister of Australia, is really, really good. I mean, he excels at it. He just looks at whatever bullshit is going down, and then matter-of-factly says exactly why it’s utter rubbish. And taking on the wingnuts who are trying to discredit Cindy Sheehan is no exception.

I encourage you to read his whole post, in which he addresses point by point the various methods employed to try to impugn Sheehan’s character and motivations, but I want to share his summation because it’s so spot on (emphasis mine):
The bottom line is that I can't see any good reason to argue that there is anything wrong with what this woman is doing, and even if you disagree with it, then I still don't see any reason to attack her personally. And the fact that so many people are doing it anyway really worries me. Not just because it makes it look like there are a lot more assholes in the world than I thought, but because it seems more people are loyal to George Bush than they are to America. And that sucks.
I could write endlessly on the topic of nationalism run amok, but that really just says it all, doesn’t it?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

A Little Friday Humour....

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Found on a foray through the blogosphere...

One night, George W. Bush is tossing restlessly in his White House bed. He awakens to see George Washington standing by him. Bush asks him,"George, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?"

"Set an honest and honorable example, just as I did," Washington advises, and then fades away.

The next night, Bush is astir again, and sees the ghost of Thomas Jefferson moving through the darkened bedroom. Bush calls out, "Tom, please! What is the best thing I can do to help the country?"

"Respect the Constitution, as I did," Jefferson advises, and dims from sight.

The third night sleep is still not in the cards for Bush. He awakens to see the ghost of FDR hovering over his bed. Bush whispers, "Franklin,what is the best thing I can do to help the country?" "Help the less fortunate, just as I did," FDR replies and fades into the mist............

Bush isn't sleeping well the fourth night when he sees another figure moving in the shadows. It is the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, Bush pleads,"Abe, What is the best thing I can do right now to help the country?"

Lincoln replies, "Go see a play."

(To quote Holly: *snort)

Liberals understand terrorism; does Bush?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Yet another (lonely) member of the Indiana reality-based community! Below is a letter to the editor of today's Indianapolis Star:
Why do conservatives constantly bludgeon the left about not understanding terrorism? The premise that liberals do not comprehend terrorism is both offensive and flawed. Of course, liberals understand how terrible terrorism is. Liberals have better ideas for fighting terrorism than conservatives. It is interesting to note that New York, the state most affected by terrorism on 9/11, preferred John Kerry's strategy to combating terrorism by a large margin in the presidential race.

Why did President Bush resist forming a 9/11 commission and then under-fund and stonewall it once it was formed? Could 9/11 have been prevented if he had been more pro-active about terrorism? How serious is Bush about catching Osama bin Laden?

Alexander Dent


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why do Truck Drivers Hate 'Murka?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Because gee, these ungrateful people are complaining of such silly thing like, um...not being able to afford to take care of their families due to rising gas prices (which are getting pretty sticky here in S.Florida - see link below this story).

These truckers had better watch out - Dubya's henchmen will put them on a Homeland Security watch list soon if they don't start being grateful to Dear Leader for the wonderful state of their lives (didn't we just hear from el ranchero that things were better than ever? Maybe for him...)

Hundreds Of Truckers Protest High Gas Prices
POSTED: 11:02 am EDT August 10, 2005
UPDATED: 4:12 pm EDT August 10, 2005

MIAMI -- More than 600 truckers gathered in their big rigs Wednesday to protest the rising gas prices in South Florida, NBC 6's Hank Tester reported.

The trucks, which included tractor-trailers, dump trucks and box trucks, gathered at the intersection of Okeechobee Road and the Florida Turnpike in Miami-Dade County.

Images: Truckers Protest Fuel Prices

Traffic in the area was at a standstill as the trucks started a caravan headed toward Miami City Hall.

The trucks traveled 20 miles to present a petition requesting a fuel surcharge break for independently owned trucks.

The truckers claim that the high cost of gas has made it impossible for them to earn a living. Note from Ms. J: Ungrateful bastards...don't they know that GWB is hard at work for them right now? (NOT)

"The airlines are charging passengers. The steam ship lines are charging the shippers.

Everyone who's got clout is getting a surcharge," said Ron Carver of the Teamsters Union. "But the truck drivers who have to buy their own fuel are going into bankruptcy because they don't have the clout to demand this. So they're here today asking Congress to pass a mandatory fuel surcharge to keep them afloat."

The drivers told NBC 6 that the shipping companies that contract them to haul to the Port of Miami pay around 85 cents per mile. With the high cost of gas, operating per mile could cost 60 cents.

"A lot of people are making money on this business -- the shipping line, the owner of the company, the marine terminal. They make a lot of money but we are poor," driver Luis Rivera said. Here is the point where our lovely GOP friends would say something like: "Get your lazy ass up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get a job..." Oh, wait! They already HAVE jobs...

Rivera owns his own rig and contracts with shippers who he says do not adjust per mile fees to cover the increase in gas. For Rivera, what's left is not much of a living for he, his wife and kids.

"She says that this business is really wrong," Rivera said. "We don't have any money, no possibility, no American dreams. We can do nothing." Quit complaining - don't you know that the 'Murkan dream is for the most part meant only for those whose who have never had to worry about paying a single bill in their lives? The 'Murkan dream is meant for non-immigrant Christian-only voters...DUH!

Both Telemundo 51 and NBC 6 put in calls to local shippers who contract with the drivers. None wanted to talk to the media. Rightfully afraid of being put on a Homeland Security watch list for their anti-'Murkan shenanigans.

Commissioner Tomas Regaldo has promised to pass the trucker's petition on to federal lawmakers.

Previous Story:
10, 2005: Gas Prices
Soar Around South Florida

Cross-Post - Julien's List

A Nation Rocked to Sleep...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Beautiful poem by Carly Sheehan, Casey Sheehan's sister (remember Casey is one of the countless numbers who are dying in Iraq as a result of the Bush/Cheney/Rove/PNAC-mandated lies:

(courtesy of

*CARLY'S POEM* A Nation Rocked to sleep
by Carly Sheehan Sister Casey KIA 04/04/04 Sadr City Baghdad

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one,
but Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep

Freeper debate: boobies in the ballpark

by Pam

Left: bad boobies. Right: good boobies.
"We love naked breasts as long as they are jiggling in front of us for titillation, for sexual excitement and for entertainment. But put a naked breast in front of them that is providing nutrition to an infant – and that's too offensive. It's almost laughable.''
-- women's rights attorney and former Patriots cheerleader Wendy Murphy
Has the clock rolled back? I thought the ability of a mother to breastfeed her child in public was a done deal. It wasn't until I surfed over to Freeperland that I found out there's still a hubbub. A story in the Boston Herald about policies at local ballparks seems to have incited sudden boobie-phobia over in the slime-filled hovel of the Freepi.
Women in favor of public breastfeeding are demanding the right the nurse their infants in the stands at sports arenas, but say they feel pressured to leave their pricey seats and feed their babies in bathrooms or first aid stations.

"They've paid for their seat, they have the right to be in that seat, so they have the right to breastfeed their baby there – that's our understanding of the law,'' said Lezlie Densmore of La Leche League in Massachusetts. None of the area's three major sports venues have written policies on breastfeeding, creating confusion among mothers over what is allowed.

* At Gillette Stadium, a spokesman said women can nurse anywhere. But a security official told a Herald reporter inquiring about the policy that mothers must breastfeed in designated areas.

* At Fenway, both a fan service representative and a security official said if a fan finds a nursing mother "offensive" it is up to park security to decide whether the mother must go to a more discreet area. [WTF is this? What a dumb policy. Why should some fuddyduddy afraid of a titty under a blanket nursing a baby force a mother into a filthy ballpark restroom?]

* At TD Banknorth Garden, public nursing is handled on a ``case-by-case basis,'' said spokeswoman Courtney McIlhenny.

Joanne Collins, a Hanover mother who nursed her three children, said women shouldn't be ostracized for breastfeeding. "I don't care where it is. I don't know why a child should be withheld food because someone else's comfort level is being compromised," Collins said.
And so, they erupted; too many of these knuckle-draggers equate breastfeeding with urination or defecation -- that pretty much says it all. It's interesting to see the healthy amount of the Freepi women (I'd be surprised if there were many forward-thinking men in that joint) that are appalled by their Cro-magnon counterparts.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"any mother who would take a 3 month infant to Fenwyt or the Garden is, IMHO, an UNFIT mother.."

"Stay home and feed your babies. Do you really think it's good to drag babies all over the place, especially a sporting event with all the drunks? Put their needs first. I would never take an infant to a game - yuck!"

"Oh, not this shi'ite again. If she's decently dressed, nobody's going to notice. (And if somebody's staring around the bleachers looking for bo*bs, maybe professional sports isn't all it's cracked up to be!) [VOICE OF REASON!?]"

"Classy chicks, these. I guess men should be allowed to urinate in the stands to make it even."

They've paid for their seat, they have the right to be in that seat, so they have the right to breastfeed their baby there – that's our understanding of the law"

"Absolutely right. And since I've paid for my seat, I've got the right to urinate right here too! After all, the stadium sold me the beer. Why should I have to miss part of the game because of the stadium's actions?"

"It's a breast and a baby that's feeding from it, big deal. If it bothers you, don't stare. I really don't enjoy watching people pick their nose, or honk a snot ball out, so I make a point not to stare at it if I notice it happening. [Disgusting voice of reason.]"

"From what you wrote, your wife used a blanket to cover up herself and the nursing baby. What you and others might not be aware of is this IN-YOUR-FACE form of nursing, that refuses to use a blanket, whips out a boob, sticks it in baby's mouth and sits there for all the world to see. I am so sick of going to stores, movie theatres, restaurants, and yes, to CHURCH, and seeing Mother's nursing their babies without benefit of any sort of covering, and looking around with this defiant look, "What? Wanna say something about what I'm doing?" Whatever happened to privacy, and a sense of decency?"

"These arrogant, brazen displays have brought this outcry on themselves. The public is tired of seeing Mother's with babies hanging off of them everywhere. What? Is it some badge of courage, for a woman to nurse in public and then DARE someone to say something?"

"Nursing a child in public is not the same thing as peeing in public and don't you think the gawkers will be more interested in the cheerleaders shaking their enhanced mammaries on field than some kid having lunch? [LOLOLOLOLOLOL]"

"...When did infants not to be taken by their mothers to public places? Did I miss a meeting? Is a breast feeding infants feeding tube so repulsive in public that we should ban the female mammary gland and it's function? Ahhh, a law...)"

"I always think it's funny that men will pay to see bo*bs, or even *almost* see them ... imagine you might if something slipped ... like with sports cheerleaders or Hooters waitresses. But if there's a baby eating, suddenly it's horrific. That said, I've nursed babies all over the place, including the bleachers at a minor-league baseball game, and nobody ever noticed (or cared, if they did notice)."

[How unhinged is this? ] "Okay, so why does a player have to leave the game if blood is drawn until it stops? Because HIV is transmitted through blood. So why doesn't a lactating mother have to leave the venue also? HIV can be transmitted through breast milk. Also the baby is not paying for entry to the stadium and no "outside" food is allowed. Get a sitter."

"This may be cruel of me, but I am sick and tired of seeing these breed sows in public. Has modesty become a dirty word?"

[This one doesn't hold back...] "Don't get me wrong: I love babies, I love breasts, and I generally don't have any problems with breast feeding babies in public places. The problem I have is paying big bucks for a good stadium seat only to have to deal with a screaming, pooping, puking baby. The only babes that I want to see at a game have short skirts, long legs, and well developed chest muscles. There you have it -- I'm a pig."

"That is pretty much the way I feel about breast-feeding in public. You hear how it is SUCH A NATURAL THING...well, so are urinating and defecating, but I don't particularly want to have either done at the table next to mine in a restaurant, or anyplace else in public I might be."

"Move to Saudi Arabia.I hear they do not let sows out in public without a chad-or.You will feel so at home."

"If the CHEERLEADERS are shaking boobage or showing cleavage, its OK. Mothers however, shouldn't even THINK of feeding there kids in public (Sarcasm). I've yet to see one do it in an manner that wasn't super discrete. ARGH!"

Now wide recievers will have an excuse when their coach asked them why they lost track of the ball.

"Any man sexually aroused by a nursing mother needs to have his head examined. I doubt seriously that this is a problem."

"It really has nothing to do with feeding the child, it's all about feminism, and women's rights. In this nation those on the left take great pleasure in making all things a political issue right down to a breast and an innocent child."

"I concur. Breasts are nice, but lets keep em covered....for the children."

"The baby is EATING for goodness' sake! And unlike urine or feces, breast milk does not end up in a puddle or pile on the floor to create a public health hazard, which is why people are not allowed to do it at the table next to you!"

"I don't get it, ya'll. I swear I don't. Why is it that, in todays society, you can have Hooter's sponsoring little league teams, teeny tiny bikinis that leave very little to the imagination, low cut jeans and short cropped tops, but people can their panties in a wad about a nursing mother? "

"Hmmm, interesting you are "telling" a woman where she can feed her child in the manner in which God intended yet I'm the one telling people how to spend their money. Why should a woman that elects to breast-feed be relegated to public toilets to feed their child? Are you willing to eat your meals in a public toilet?"
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cincinnati's Af-AmTaliban mayoral candidate

by Pam

"Don't be deceived by this issue of 'separation of church and state.' Why do you think Satan wants to keep Christians out of the media, education, politics, government and economics? So he can control their destiny. He doesn't want them to take any part in decision-making in any of these crucial areas. '... Satan wants power and control over the people of God.'- (Ephesians 6:12.)."
-- Charlie Winburn, current Cincinnati Republican mayoral candidate (and pastor of Ridge Acres Christian Center), in his religious tract "Ruling and Reigning in the '90s."
Free advice for AmTalibaners and wingers running for office: make sure any writings you have out there aren't going to come back to haunt you (see Doug "4000 posts on white supremicist web site" Hanks), or strongly defend that wingnuttery so you can go down in flames.

A Repug mayoral candidate in Cincinnati really has a problem. He has a host of foaming-at-the-mouth quotes to explain away. You know, a little problem that he has with church-state separation.
Republican mayoral candidate Charlie Winburn began the work of energizing his "base" 16 years ago. As the new pastor of a small church then known as Ridge Acres Christian Center, Winburn wrote a religious tract titled "Ruling and Reigning in the '90s." In a 250-word passage on the political system, he said it was the job of Christians to "elect only born-again Christians to public office."

Sixteen years later, that statement has thrust religion into the 2005 mayoral campaign - and in so doing opened a local front on the national red state/blue state culture wars that defined the 2004 presidential campaign.

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Timothy M. Burke denounced Winburn's book last month as "distinctly un-American." Burke said Winburn was establishing a religious "litmus test" for public officials. Women's groups said other statements in Winburn's book - that a wife "must be taught what her boundaries are" - make the College Hill preacher unfit to be mayor.
Here are some more of the godly wisdom of Winburn from his essay:
"It is God's will for the Church, through the Kingdom, to influence the political system by first teaching those in the system to obey and respect the laws of God."

"Politics is dirty because the true believers are not really involved in it. We Christians must clean up politics. It is our job to elect only born-again believers to public office. If officeholders are not Christian and refuse to obey the laws of God, we must work hard, under the law, to unseat them. ... Jesus came as King to establish His Kingdom, not a political Kingdom. We must get into control of politics by subduing this kingdom so God's Kingdom can rule in the earth. (Revelations 11:15, 16.)"

"What I'm saying there is that they have used the separation of state and church to tell Christians, "You stay over there in those four walls of the church building, and you leave government alone." There should not be separation of church and state, or synagogue and state. They should participate in government whether they are Jew, Christian, Muslim or Protestant."

"The pastor and his congregation are under commandment to begin to teach more than their church members. If the president, Congress, governors and mayors are not Christians, we must teach them the ways and acts of God. We must go to them aggressively, but tempered with love."
(this one is from Winburn in 2005)
Now that he's running for office, the heat is on. He does have defenders, not surprisingly, in the religious black community. And, interestingly, the Democratic party there is queasy about taking this dude on, in fact, one rep is blaming the party chair for raising the issue!
...the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which said Winburn was exercising his freedom of speech and religion.

And Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune criticized Burke for bringing the issue up. Portune said he fears attacking Winburn's writings could energize the same evangelical Christians who helped President Bush carry Ohio last year. "I think Tim's letter helps to continue to promote stereotypes that the Democratic Party is anti-faith," said Portune, who is considering a run for statewide office next year. "It casts the party as petty and personal.
Excuse me? Petty and personal? The man sounds like he is calling for a religious takeover of government, based on those writings. He has the First Amendment right to say anything he wants about his faith and how it informs his political views. That doesn't mean he cannot be asked to "clarify" what he is saying or has said in the past.

It's another example of ball-less Dems afraid of the AmTaliban, and, more importantly the socially conservative, religious black vote. Why is no one paying attention to this problem? I've been a broken record on this, especially when it comes to faith-based payoffs and the use of homophobia by the GOP to slice off a chunk of the religious black vote.

The Dems are completely impotent in this area. Please, someone lead. Mel Watt cannot be the only one with synapses firing on reframing issues for the black faith community.

Voters have a right to know what this man really believes and what he plans to do if elected regarding his strong statements about faith and government. It's all on the table. Unbelievable.

Winburn, for his part, issued a non-apology/apology, which suspiciously sounds more like "I wouldn't have written that if I knew I was running for public office." That's fine, he simply needs to address his past statements, and make it clear where he stands today -- the voters will decide in the end.
Winburn - while stopping short of renouncing the words he wrote in 1989 - conceded that his words might sound intolerant in 2005. He said he would have written some passages differently in 2005. He said his aim was to motivate born-again Christians to get involved in the political system. On page after page, Winburn urged Christians to "infiltrate" the media, corporations, abortion clinics, banks, colleges, farms, the medical and legal professions - and government.

"If I had to rewrite that section of it, I would rewrite it. I concede that someone could see that and say I'm not tolerant of anyone. How I would rephrase that today is, everyone should obey the laws of the land, and have respect for each other and have tolerance for each other regardless of their race religion or their creed."
I don't sense a real shift in thinking, but that's not the point. He's a candidate for office, for god's sake. His view of the world is fair game. The fact that to many Dems can't or won't politically counter someone that has beliefs in Winburn's sphere suggests more trouble on the Left than on the Right.


[UPDATE: More links on Winburn madness...]

* Letter to the Editor: Winburn Is a Demagogue. Excerpt: "The sheer fact that we have a mainstream mayoral candidate who believes in exorcising demons and attacking people who are different shows how the Republican Party has moved away from its traditional advocacy of limited government to one which advocates a war on everything and everyone it finds indecent.

In doing so, it has given a voice to extremist demagogues such Winburn, who stands up like a clown and makes proclamations that are downright childish and idiotic. Imagine, a mayor of a mid-sized city in the United States whose other job is relegated to exorcising demons and writing books urging Christians to purge their government of non-Christians.

* Charles Winburn's Revival. Excerpt: "In 1993 Winburn campaigned to pass a city charter amendment prohibiting legislation that would protect gays, lesbians and others from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year the Equal Rights No Special rights campaign paid Winburn thousands of dollars in consulting fees in an unsuccessful effort to preserve the charter amendment, which voters rejected. But as a councilman, Winburn included the gay-rights lobby Stonewall Cincinnati in the Chairman's Roundtable on Public Safety, which brought together 60-some disparate entities."

* Editorial - Gloryhallastoopid. Excerpt: "There are more Winburnites among us than we know, enough to put Winburn ahead of the rest of the pack of likely Republican candidates, according to a GOP poll. Some aren't bold enough to post yard signs or attend his College Hill church, The Encampment, but you will know them by the postmodern mark of the beast: their vote.

They're the silent, bitch-ass supporters who let politicians like Winburn feed their muted rage over alleged special rights being doled out, and they're determined to keep God in politics and reason out of office."

* Holy Writ: Democrats Debate Winburn.

Thanks to House Blender and Julien's List contributor Holly for the pointer.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Wingnuts Have Starbucks in their Crosshairs

by JJ

I mean honestly, WTF? Apparently Starbucks is going to be next on the target for a wingnut boycott... Starbucks: A habit
easily broken

Starbucks is listed on the Planned Parenthood website under this introduction:

The following companies all generously match employee donations to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. If your employer is on this list, then you can make your gift go as much as twice as far.

Seattle, Wash., held "Gay Pride" events last month where, according to the newspaper, Seattle Post Intelligence Reporter:

About 75 Starbucks employees will march in the parade and will wear T-shirts in rainbow colors with the word "PRIDE" on the front ... A van from the coffee company will follow them. On Capitol Hill tomorrow, Starbucks employees at the company's three stores there will pass out samples of Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino.
The marketing director for Starbucks in Washington explained: "We're committed to supporting things that matter to our employees and our customers."

Several conservatives are upset already by Starbucks' fairly new "The way I see it campaign," which prints quotes from actors, artists, etc., on the outside of their paper cups. By visiting their website and reading some of the quotes, it's easy to see why there has been this big brouhaha – nearly all of them are liberal celebrities.

The campaign can be seen here The Way I See It. Apparently the most offensive quote is from Armistad Maupin, at least according to the Concerned Bigots of America, Starbucks Funds and Promotes Homosexual Activism

So I did a quick search of the Starbucks website and here is a list of there atrocities that MUST be boycotted:

SEATTLE; June 23, 2005
Starbucks Partners with the African Wildlife Foundation on its Global Coffee Sustainability Initiatives

SEATTLE; June 20, 2005
Starbucks Invests Additional $2.5 Million in EcoLogic Finance to Assist Smallholder Farmers in Latin America and Africa

TEMPE, Ariz.; April 28, 2005
Starbucks Renews Commitment to Literacy with $1.5 Million Donation to Jumpstart

SEATTLE; April 14, 2005
Starbucks Takes Action to Address Climate Change

SEATTLE; April 11, 2005
Starbucks Announces Acquisition of Ethos Water and Commitment to Donate More than $1 Million to Support Clean Water Efforts

SEATTLE; February 9, 2005
Starbucks Honors Chief Executive Orin Smith by Establishing the Company’s First-Ever Scholarship Program at the University of

I can certainly see why they want to boycott, considering that Starbucks is concerned about educating youth, literacy, the environment, oh yea and Gay Pride. I don't see anywhere on their site any funding for intelligent design or book burning.

I am pretty sure that the boycott, if it actually happens, will go about as well as the boycott of Ford.

On Tolerance and Responsible Freedom

by TheGreenKnight

Mark Morford has a rant at SFGate about tolerance, and the way that liberals are so often accused of being intolerant. He's responding to a common theme in his hate mail, which is, "where is that famous so-called tolerance I thought all you libs were supposed to possess"? Morford's reply is heated but, unfortunately, not all that lucid. The Green Knight will try to clear things up.

When right-wingers accuse liberals of intolerance, they assume that they're accusing liberals of hypocrisy. Their notion is that liberalism is simply another name for tolerance, by which they mean putting up with everything anybody wants to do, be, or say. Their idea is that tolerance, per se, is the central (or only) quality of liberalism, and that therefore liberals have to put up with everything and anything (including, say, dominionism or creationism or bigotry) or else be morally inconsistent.

Here's why that's wrong.

First of all, liberalism is not now and has never been about absolute tolerance. That is simply a red herring. The central, core idea of liberalism is in fact this: Institutions serve the people. We do not serve them. The job of the government is to serve the people. The job of the police and military is to protect the people. The job of the corporations is to provide goods, services, and jobs to the people. The job of the churches is to bring good counsel and wisdom to the people. The job of the schools is to educate the people's children.

This idea has a lot of implications, but the most important one is that Institutions do not by themselves have the authority to determine morality; every person's conscience has that authority. If you are a religious person, that means that God speaks to your soul; but he does not speak to or through your society's official structures. That means that people may differ on what they consider right and wrong; it does not mean that there is no right and wrong. It means that I personally have to take responsibility for my moral decisions. The government is not and cannot be the voice of God or conscience for me. I am free to make my own decisions, and I am also responsible for them.

In that situation, there's no guarantee that I will make the right decisions, but that is between me and my conscience (or between me and God, if you're a religious person). This is where the secondary, provisional idea of liberal tolerance comes from. It means that we shouldn't be quick to judge another person's moral decisions; we're not standing where that person is.

However, none of that means that we all just have to put up with everything. Suppose another person decides that their thing is hurting other people. Tolerance does not dictate that we have to put up with that. For one thing, that person is interfering with other people's right to live their own lives. For another, he's engaging in behavior that damages society as a whole by causing fear and pain. A liberal society, in the interest of self-preservation, naturally would stop that person from hurting others.

Or, suppose a group decides that it wants to legislate its own set of religious beliefs. A liberal society does not put up with that, because such legislation strikes at the heart of what it means to live in a liberal society. When religious beliefs are legislated, then institutions no longer serve people; people serve the institutions, because the institutions have claimed divine authority. Since this is not possible in a liberal society, a liberal society must reject such legislation.

So, when right-wingers accuse you of being intolerant, realize that they don't even get what liberalism is. Tolerance is a secondary, derivative virtue of liberalism. The primary virtue of liberalism is responsible freedom.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Special Analysis:
Pumpkins and Futures

by Dark Wraith

It seems like just about every day recently, news services have been barking about oil prices going up. "Record breaking" keeps showing up in the news copy. In a CNN Money article for August 9 was the following somewhat cryptic line: "Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 87 cents to $63.07 a barrel..." At least the word "fell" was in there, so that might be good news; but what's with the light and sweet stuff, and what's with September when it's still August? Well, the "light, sweet" just refers to a grade of oil, and that's how trading is done with most contracts: each identifiable grade of a product gets its own consideration based upon its characteristics. When Treasury bonds trade, they trade based upon their maturities; when currencies trade, each trades based upon the nation issuing the currency; et cetera. But that doesn't explain the September part, which has to do with the fact that these news reports are discussing futures contracts, and it is these animals that will be explained in a simplified manner below.

Before we get started, keep in mind that this is a very basic introduction to what futures contracts are all about. A little bit of terminology is introduced, and the underlying purposes for futures markets are shown. Those intimately familiar with futures will find all kinds of oversimplifications in here and will have reason to sharply criticize the example used as being unrealistic. To those critics, I acknowledge the complaints, and in the spirit of fraternal comraderie I say, "Bite me."

Let's take that simplified tour of a few basics about futures contracts.

You are Henry Hineyswilt, and you are planning your traditional Halloween festival. You'll be needing a thousand pounds of pumpkins in about the third week of October. Now, it so happens that you know a guy named Lester Longsteam who will have more than enough pumpkins to fill your order. Right now, pumpkins are selling for 25¢ a pound. This is what we call the spot price of the pumpkins. You obviously don't need the pumpkins right away, so you would like to buy a forward contract: an agreement that specifies a price, quantity, and terms of delivery for some date in the future. Well, as it turns out, pumpkins are such a popular commodity that there is a standardized contract for them: there's an agreement for each month of the year; it states the number of pounds in a delivery and where the delivery is to take place. When a market is such that completely standardized forward contracts are available, we say there's a futures market, and the contracts are called futures. Everybody knows the terms of these agreements, and there's no need for buyers and sellers to meet face to face to hash out how much, where, and when. It's all there, laid out in these perfectly standardized, off-the-shelf agreements.

Okay, then, you've never dealt in futures for pumpkins before, so you look into it. You discover, much to your satisfaction, that a pumpkin futures contract for October is open, and each contract specifies delivery of a thousand pounds of pumpkins on the 15th of the month at the Farmers' Market just outside of Peoria. You figure this is going to work out perfectly. You tell Lester to go ahead and sign you up for a thousand pounds of pumpkins, and you get ready to give him a check for 25¢ per pound times 1000 pounds, or $250.00. Lester says to you, "No, Henry, I don't want to do a plain forward contract with you; I want you to go long one futures contract. I'll write (that is, 'I'll go short') a futures contract. We'll do this through the pumpkin futures clearinghouse because they deal in millions and millions of futures every day, and they guarantee payments and deliveries." You think this is a little strange, but you agree. Much to your surprise, when you buy the contract from your local pumpkin futures broker, Karl Korkburt, he tells you that you'll need to give him a check for $25, not $250! You ask him why you're not supposed to give him the whole amount, and he says, "Sir, all you pay on a futures contract is the margin, which in this case is 10%. You're not taking delivery now, so why would you pay the whole amount now?"

This makes sense to you, and you're about to tell him to go ahead, when he says, "Oh, wait a minute! My bad. I just quoted you the spot on pumpkins: that's going off at $250. Let me see what the futures prices are." You hear him clicking his keyboard, and then he says, "Okay, the September contract is going off at $230, and the October is going off at $190."

You find this odd, so you ask him to explain why these futures prices are less than the spot price. He says, "Well, first of all, money in the future isn't worth as much as money now. That's true for all instuments where money changes hands down the road instead of right away. But more importantly, traders by the millions are dealing in these pumpkin futures, and it is their judgment through their collective trading that there will be more pumpkins available in September, and lots more available in October. That means spot prices then should be lower than they are right now, when pumpkins are in pretty short supply."

Suddenly, it hits you: instead of paying the spot price to some producer for delivery in October, the futures contract allows you to pay what the market is currently assessing the price of those pumpkins will be in October, when you want delivery!

This is great, you figure. You authorize Karl to go long one pumpkin futures contract, and you give him the $19.00 (plus his commission, of course).

Well, the next day, Karl calls you and says you need to send him a check for some more money. You say, "I just sent you the $19 plus your commission, fool"; and he responds by saying, "Yes, but the October pumpkin futures contract is now trading at $180 (in other words, 18¢ per pound on the pumpkins). You say, "Yeah... so?" He gives an exasperated sigh and says, "You need to cover, Henry. Yesterday, you were holding a contract that obligated you to accept delivery of pumpkins at 19¢ per pound. Today, those October pumpkins are worth only 18¢ per pound. You've lost money: you had $19 margin with us; you lost $10 on the contract, so that puts you at $9; your margin on the new, $180 price is $18, so we need another $9."

This annoys you a little, and it doesn't exactly make sense; but then you say to him, "So, what would have happened if the price of the October futures contract had risen to $220?"

He answers, "Then your contract would have been worth more than you paid for it, so the gain would have gone into your cash account with us: you had the original $19 margin money, and you gained $30 on the contract; with a $220 price, your new margin would be $22; but with $49 in the account, you'd have $27 clear."

Ah, so this is how it works. You're making or losing money every day on the contract. Unlike stocks, bonds and other such financial investments where you don't actually realize gains and losses until you liquidate a security, futures trading means rising and falling real cash balances in your trading account every last day that your position is open. It strikes you that this means, if you're some kind of big-time trader in pumpkin futures, your net position could be whipsawing back and forth pretty seriously, so you'd have to ha