Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Gay panic defense pays off for killer in Alabama
What a f*cking outrage. Twenty-year-old animal Raymond Carlisle
was convicted of the lesser charge of felony murder (as opposed to capital murder) in the brutal death of Sammie Speigner III
, an adjunct professor of sociology at Birmingham Southern College.
His defense attorneys during the trial used the infamous "gay panic" defense, claiming
Carlisle reacted "in the heat of passion" when Speigner "tried to homosexually assault him
. Defense attorney Amber Ladner even compared the Speigner’s actions to that of a molester using a puppy to lure a young child
. His attorneys were pleased by the light verdict.
Now, in the sentencing phase, Circuit Judge Clyde Jones
gave Carlisle a mere 21 year sentence (one over the minimum)
. There is no justice in Alabama.
Carlisle should be eligible for parole in 10 years, said his attorney, Cynthia Umstead.
...Carlisle had testified that Speigner picked up Carlisle under the guise of wanting to buy marijuana, then tried to force the then-19-year-old to engage in sex with him.
Prosecutor Joe Roberts contended that Carlisle deserved the maximum sentence...
Carlisle was so "traumatized" by the encounter with Speigner that he killed the man, stole the professor's credit card to buy beer, cigarettes and gasoline later in the day while joyriding with friends. Even worse, he rented the car to another friend and was finally arrested while smoking dope inside the car, which he had upfitted with a new tag and freshly tinted windows. G-ddamn
Kathy @ Birmingham Blues
...even though Raymond Carlisle pulled a gun, chased Prof. Speigner from his car, and then shot him when the Prof got back to his car and tried to drive away. Then Carlisle took Prof. Speigner’s wallet and his car and left him to bleed to death. Carlisle’s excuse? Why, gay panic, of course. And it worked, by God. Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Supremes on abortion protestors
is a mixed bag, because it prevents Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) laws from being used to stop abortion protestors from congregating and harassing clients outside clinics. The RICO legal strategy was initially and successfully devised by NOW.
However, social activists and the AFL-CIO (who sided with the abortion demonstrators) charged that RICO could be used to quash efforts to change public policy or work for change in wages and working conditions. Alito did not participate in this decision.
The Supreme Court dealt a setback today to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations. Shakes Sis
The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 ruling by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.
Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the appellate court sought to determine whether the injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence.
In today’s ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend to create “a freestanding physical violence offense” in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act.
and The Moderate Voice
have posts up.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Monday, February 27, 2006
An Open Letter to Women from Conservatives
by Shakespeare's Sister
Secured by my crack investigative team:Dear Uterati,
P.S. Especially you bitchez in the Red States.
P.P.S. Thanks for your votes!
While the FDA dithers endlessly about making emergency contraception, specifically Plan B, available without a prescription, the states are starting to legislate its access—and, predictably, while blue states are looking to expand access, red states are seeking to restrict it.
With the application in regulatory limbo, a growing number of states have passed bills that allow pharmacists working in conjunction with doctors to dispense Plan B to women who do not have a prescription -- with Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Mexico and California acting most recently. The Massachusetts bill was passed last year over Republican Gov. Mitt Romney's veto…
But some bills would make it more difficult for many women to get emergency contraception, which is effective for only 72 hours after a woman experiences a contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. Legislation in New Hampshire, for instance, would require parental notification before the drug is dispensed, and more than 20 other states will consider bills that give pharmacies the right not to stock the drug and pharmacists the right not to dispense it, even to women with valid prescriptions…
Efforts by antiabortion groups led to the passage last year of a Texas bill that eliminated the drug from a demonstration family-planning program, and to an Arkansas bill that kept emergency contraception off a list of protected contraceptives.
Huzzah! Because what we really want is to revictimize rape victims by withholding emergency contraception that could ensure they don't get pregnant with their rapist’s baby. And we definitely want to force women using contraception, but who have an unfortunate and unavoidable birth control failure, to go through the a more invasive abortion procedure. And we most certainly want to make sure that couples who weren’t responsible enough to use birth control in the first place face the possibility of being responsible for a child
I suppose it’s also futile to point out, yet again, that parental notification laws are bullshit. In a perfect world, pregnant teens would be able to tell their parents they are pregnant and they could work out the best solution together, but in this world, step-fathers rape their unconscious and dying step-daughters
. (And only get 9 years for it, which is a whole other post.)
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
Jesus Appears in Sheet Metal
by Shakespeare's Sister
passes on this article
, probably because she knows I’m a fan of holy folks presenting their visages on trees
, more trees
, water stains
, grilled cheese sandwiches
, potato chips
, and all manner of everyday objects.
Thomas Haley was unloading supplies for his job at Hardy's Hardware when he said something odd caught his eye: the face of Jesus Christ on a piece of sheet metal.
Now, Haley and a co-worker are hawking the holy hardware on eBay, hoping potential bidders will agree that the blurry oil stain on the sheet metal does, indeed, resemble Jesus…
Haley said that whatever money is raised will be split between him, Jackson, another worker, and two customers. But he's still a little ambivalent about the sale.
"I feel kind of bad just pawning off Christ," Haley said.
But not bad enough to not do it. I found the listing on eBay
, if you’re interested. You can “Buy It Now” for the reasonable price of $10,000. So far, bidding has reached $510.
Haley said he was unloading a supply truck two weeks ago at the Manchester hardware store when he turned a corner and was awe-struck by the holy likeness gazing back at him from the $15.49 piece of sheet metal.
Since then, Haley and 18-year-old co-worker Jonathan Jackson have shown the piece to a few other workers and customers, and even took it on a short pilgrimage to a nearby hair salon.
A pilgrimage to the local hair salon? Why a hair salon and not, oh I dunno, a church? I admit I don’t spend tons of times in either hair salons or
churches, but as far as I’m aware, hair salons haven’t become the arbiter of all things holy, right?
They say several people agreed with their assessment, although a few suggested it looks more like legendary rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors.
"Some people said, 'Are you sure it's Jesus?' and I think, 'Who else would come to give us a sign, Groucho Marx?' " Jackson said.
I actually think that’s a good question. In truth, it’s why I find these appearances so interesting. Why wouldn’t
Groucho Marx appear in a piece of sheet metal, or a hedge, or a turnip? Is there’s a heavenly rule that no one but the holy family is allowed to engage in these little bits of earthly performance art? Are they mad about being sold on eBay? And why would they do it? Doesn’t this, in some way, undermine the principle that Christians are meant to see God in everything? If this is a genuine message from the above, it’s definitely a mixed one, at best.
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
The leader of the free world
US leader crashed by trying to 'pedal, wave and speak at same time'
. This story is on the release of details of a 2005 bicycle crash at the Gleneagles golf resort in Scotland, where the Chimperor collided with a police officer. Bush was getting a little R&R while at the G8 summit.
He may be the most powerful man in the world, but proof has emerged that President George Bush cannot ride a bike, wave and speak at the same time.
...After a hard day's discussion with fellow world leaders, the president was looking for some relaxation. Instead, he ended up the subject of a police report in which the leader of the free world was described, in classic police language, as a "moving/falling object".
Here's how the crash unfolded -- The Scotsman
reports that the facts were kept under wraps for "fear of embarrassing Bush" by the local police. When you read this, it's obvious why.
"[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Road as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through." The report goes on: "[At] about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.
"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties."
...Jim McDermott, a Democrat Congressman, last night quipped: "Not only does he break the law over here on eavesdropping and spying on our own citizens, but it seems he can't even keep to your law when it comes to riding a bike. It's another example of how he can't keep his mind on the things he should be thinking about."
Remember, he also took a dive off of his bike at the ranch in Crawford back in 2004
And he didn't have much more luck when taking a spin on a Segway
Then again, he was
stationary before he choked on the pretzel
and fell -- off of a couch in 2002.
Bruise from the "pretzel choke incident
You may begin your own snarky quips now.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Bring on the end times
So we don't have to deal with fools like these people
Pastors of some of the largest evangelical churches in America met recently in Inglewood to polish strategies for starting five million new churches worldwide in 10 years -- an effort they say they hope will hasten the End Time.
The Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus always has been the ultimate goal of evangelicalism. But when that would occur was any Christian's guess.
The "Billion Souls Initiative" of the Global Pastors Network aims to shorten the path to Judgment Day by partnering church resources with the latest communications systems to spread the gospel.
In an interview at Faith Central Bible Church in Inglewood, James Davis, president of the campaign, said, "Jesus Christ commissioned his disciples to go to the ends of the Earth and tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life.
"As we advance around the world, we'll be shortening the time needed to fulfill that great commission," he said. "Then, the Bible says, the end will come."
In what can only be described as a surreal and disturbing sign of things to come in terms of pandering to the holy rollers, likely 2008 prez hopeful Rudy Giuliani
recently spoke before the pastors' group in Orlando, shilling his upcoming book on "what it takes to be a leader in time of crisis."Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
by Dark Wraith
A Brief Story of Money, Part 2
This is the second in a four-part series about money. In Part 1
, money was defined in terms of what can be used for the purpose of exchange and how various types of money can be distinguished in terms of intrinsic characteristics and how easily each can be converted to something else of value in exchange.
In this article, the so-called "equation of exchange" is introduced and used to explain inflation in an example. As with the first installment, bloggers are pressed into service as the actors in this drama. Their performances are herewith noted: BlondeSense Liz
are thanked for their performances as castaways on a deserted island, and Peter of Lone Tree
, also of BlondeSense, is graciously thanked for a cameo appearance.
Among the definitions of inflation are some that don't explain a whole lot. One such nice but somewhat uninformative definition is this: Inflation is a rise in the aggregate price level.
Well, yes, but that doesn't really do much to explain why
the "aggregate price level" rises.
Perhaps a better, working definition of inflation might go something like this: Inflation is the erosion of purchasing power per unit of the currency.
Not much better, huh? Read on and see how this one fits into the story told below, a story about two women trapped on a deserted island where they must engage in trade with one another, exchanging clams for pineapples.
Several years ago, an ugly storm came out of nowhere during a cruisea three-hour cruiseon which were two hearty women, BlondeSense Liz and Misty. The storm capsized their boat; and of the five passengers who had set sail that day with the crew of two, only Misty and Liz had survived, each of them floating away from the doomed ship on the drowned remains of one of their more corpulent fellow shipmates.
After several days at sea, they beached on a tiny, deserted island paradise in the South Pacific. Shortly after they came ashore, there was something of an ugly scene about whether to eat their corpse/life rafts uncooked or to do so after roasting them on a spit for several hours, and the two stranded castaways finally decided that it would be best if each went her own way and followed her own culinary preferences.
They did stay in touch. Although they didn't speak to each other, they did send smoke signals on special occasions like birthdays and Halloween. They also traded.
Liz lived on the south side of the island, where pineapples and man-eating plants grew. Fortunately for Liz, the man-eating plants didn't eat women, but she stayed clear of them anyway, putting her daily efforts into cultivating the pineapple trees. She could eat or trade them with Misty, whose side of the island had no pineapples at all but did have the occasional really big clam wander onto the beach to get a tan or answer nature's call, at which time Misty would nail the sucker either to eat or to trade for a pineapple from Liz.
After much wrangling on the matternegotiations made particularly tricky because of the lack of oral communicationLiz and Misty had worked out an exchange rate of one clam for one pineapple, and this equivalence relationship had remained stable for all of the three long years the two of them had been stranded on that beautiful if somewhat harsh little plot of land in the Pacific.
One day, Misty had a brilliant idea. She noticed that there were a whole lot of empty clam shells on the beach, so she decide to take a real clam she had just beaten senseless, open it up, split the meat in two, and put half of the clam meat into one of the empty shells.
She went as usual to make her trade with Liz; but instead of the usual deal, Misty handed her two
clams, each of course containing only half the meat of an original, single clam. Liz suspected nothing and wouldn't have been able to verify the clam's worth, anyway, since she had no immediate access to a clam shell prying tool. Liz did look a little surprised at the escalation of the economic activity Misty was proposing but acknowledged that Misty would get two pineapples that day. Obviously, Liz had to work harder thereafter because of what appeared to her as real, extra currency flowing her way. In economics terms, Liz's real output
increased, and it did so because the clam-based money supply
Over time, however, once Liz had eaten some of these clams, she realized that it was taking twice as many to fill her up. Without a full stomach, Liz just didn't have the energy she needed to keep up the pace of her work on the pineapple groves.
Exhausted one day, Liz met Misty for their daily trade. As had become usual, Misty produced her two clams, and Liz handed her one
pineapple. Liz had worn herself out producing twice as much for what was really the meat of only one real clam. She never did quite come to know that there was only half as much meat in each clam she was getting, but that didn't matter at all: it was purely a matter of capacity to produce under the circumstances of the standing terms of trade.
In terms of economics, this story is about the equation of exchange
. Specifically, it is about three different equilibrium states of that equation as it went from its initial configuration to a short-term re-alignment and then to a long-term stability.
The equation of exchange looks like this:Money Supply × Velocity of Money = Aggregate Price Level × Aggregate Output Level.
Now, you're probably saying, "Ah, yes, that's exactly
what I was thinking when I read that tragic story about Liz and Misty." Of course, what you're probably thinking
is something like, "Dude! That's some g-o-o-o-d stuff you're smokin' if you think that equation has anything to do with anything."
Okay, fine. Let's step through the equation piece by piece. On the left side, M
is the supply of money
: the amount of it in circulation.V
is the velocity
of each unit of the currency: how many times each unit is used in a given period. We usually assume the velocity of money doesn't change during the periods we analyze, which means the number of times a unit of the currency is used doesn't increase or decrease during our scenarios.
So the left side of the equation is M×V
: the amount of money in circulation multiplied by the number of times each unit of it gets used per period. M×V
is just the total expenditures of an economy in a given period of time. For example, if there are ten one dollar bills in circulation, and on average each of them gets used twice in a year, then the total expenditures in the economy would be $10 ×
2 times per year = $20 per year in total expenditures.
The right side of the equation is just the total nominal
value of the goods and services of an economy. The word "nominal" means price-denominated, as opposed to "real," which means the actual counting of the units of the goods, themselves, without putting prices on them.
On that right side, P
is the aggregate price level
, or just the price of the average good (in a simplified way). Q
is the aggregate real output
of the economy (and notice that the Q
by itself is "real" since it's a count of actual, physical things instead of a dollar value of them). As an example for the right side, let's say the economy produces a single good, which has an initial price level of $5 per unit, and the economy creates four of those per year. That means the total nominal
(price-denominated) output of the economy is $5 per unit ×
4 units per year, or $20 per year.
The equation of exchange simply states that the total expenditures, M×V
, must be the same as the total nominal product, P×Q
, of the economy in a given period of time.
In the situation on the island, the clams had originally been circulating at the rate of one per period, which would mean that the velocity of clams was exactly one, so we have V
The money supply was one clam in each period of trading, so we have M
On the other side when our story began, the real output of pineapples was one per period, so Q
The agreed-upon equilibrium price for a pineapple was one clam, so P
Hence, the equation of exchange captures this situation by stating that M×V=P×Q
or1 clam × 1 use of it per period = 1 clam per pineapple × 1 actual pineapple per trading period,
or without the units to obscure the numbers,1 × 1 = 1 × 1
But look what happened when the clams got watered down. For a while, something very cool was going on. The velocity of each clam stayed the same: each one of the clams was still being traded only once per period, so V
stayed at a value of one. However, there were now two
of the clams in circulation in each trading period, so the left side of the equation, M×V
, which describes expenditures, became2 clams × 1 use of each per period,
so the M×V
Now for the right side of the equation. The price per pineapple was still one clam, but Liz selling the pineapples had to come up with two of them to meet Misty's clam-driven demand. The price stayed firm, but real output rose. In other words, P×Q
became1 clam per pineapple × 2 pineapples per trading period;
Thus, we have a new equilibrium of the equation of exchange:M×V=P×Q
Notice that the equation of exchange is not in some sense "forcing" the situation; instead, it's merely explaining how the parts of an economy fit together.
What we've just seen was the short-run
effect of an increase in the supply of clams that was not matched by any actual change in the fundamental dynamics of production of pineapples. Liz on the pineapple side of the island really didn't have any greater "capacity" to create pineapples, and she didn't have some new technology or anything like that. All she was doing was responding to what she saw as an increase in money she could make for bringing pineapples to market.
Now comes the long run. Liz was harvesting pineapples at a rate higher than she normally could, given the rate at which pineapples grew to harvestable size and given her own ability to gather pineapples in any period of time. Ultimately, the fact that she wasn't getting any more real meat in those two clams than she originally had in the one clam simply forced her to return to a real output of one pineapple. She simply could not produce two, actual pineapples per day, not in the long-run, anyway. But the only way she could then accommodate two clams being handed to her is if she were to revert to what it actually takes in terms of clam meat to deliver a pineapple. Those two clams have the meat of one of the original clams, and that was how much meat it really took for Liz to be able to harvest a single pineapple. Hence, she's going to have to charge Misty two of her watered-down clams for each actual, honest-to-goodness pineapple.
So here's what happened in the long run
to the equation of exchange. The left side, M×V
had already moved to its new configuration: that happened in the short run when the clam supply went up to two (while the velocity stayed at one). Thus, the left side of the equation hangs at2 clams × 1 use of each clam per period,
which means the left side of the equation will be 2×
1, or 2.
The right side of the equation for the long-run scenario has changed. The price for each pineapple has risen to two clams, and the real output of pineapples has reverted back to one per period. Hence, the right side of the equation of exchange, P×Q
, is in the long run going to be2 clams per pineapple × 1 pineapple per period,
which means the right side of the equation is now 2×
1, or 2.
The long-run equilibrium configuration of the equation of exchange is this:M×V=P×Q
works out its equilibrium (the equation is in balance) as2×1=2×1
Well, look at that. It really is
still in equilibrium: the left side equals the right side, just as it did at the very beginning and just as it did in the short run. Not only that, look closely at the three states of equilibrium:The equation of exchange: M × V = P × QThe initial state of economy: 1 clam × 1 use of it per period = 1 clam per pineapple × 1 pineapple per period.The short-run effect of increase in supply of clams: 2 clams × 1 use of each per period = 1 clam per pineapple × 2 pineapples per period.The long-run effect of increase in supply of clams: 2 clam × 1 use of each per period = 2 clams per pineapple × 1 pineapple per period.
Ah. An increase in the money supply in the short run causes an increase in real output; but in the long run, the only effect is that real output reverts to what it was originally while the price of the output goes up.
In short-hand notation, it might look like this:The equation of exchange: M × V = P × QNow, increase the money supply: M↑The short-run effect: M↑ × V = P × Q↑The long-run effect: M↑ × V = P↑ × Q
Notice something about that island economy. If Liz had actually been able to really produce more pineapples, she couldn't have sold them to the Misty unless Misty had more real (undiluted) clams. As an example, there was an brief incident where the hapless Peter of Lone Tree came ashore on the island, and Liz forced him to serve as her slave labor. With his help, Liz was able to produce two pineapples per period, but she couldn't sell both of them to Misty because she didn't have two real, undiluted clams. In other words, real growth rate of an economy requires a matching growth rate of the money supply. Frustrated by the lack of real money to reflect the real growth in output, Liz was planning to cast Peter back out to sea, where he would eventually be picked up by the floating Republican fund-raising cruise liner Washington HO!
and made to serve as bartender under the tutelage of the earstwhile Tom Delay. As fate would have it, though, Peter was eaten by one of those man-eating plants that lived on Liz's side of the island.
Anyway, the point of that last paragraph was that it's not that a central bank should never
increase the money supply; in fact, it must, but it should do so only at the rate at which the real output of the economy needs
that extra money.
That makes the job of a central bank really hard. Think about it: if the central bank prints money too fast, real output would go up in the short run. That would give the central bank the impression that this real growth required
even more money to be printed. But the first round of extra money would eventually be causing inflation and real output would be tending to revert back to its original level. But the central bank would have been printing even more money because it saw the real output of the economy growing from its first excess punch of money, and this would lead to a scenario something like a horse watching its wagon go by in front of it and thinking that it had to run faster to catch up with its cart, not realizing that it was actually pushing
the cart to go faster and faster. That could be the beginning of a run-away horse and buggy as well as run-away inflation
. The central bank erroneously thinks the economy is really growing well, but it's the central bank that's causing it to happen, and the way it's happening won't last.
And that's why a central bank should never, ever contemplate being in the business of helping (or hurting) an economy: short-run versus long-run effects of accommodative or punitive monetary policy simply cannot be foreseen with the clarity to distinguish between fundamental economic growth and mere reaction to the money supply manipulation.
In conclusion, returning to the story of the women on the island, the lesson should be clear and obvious. In summary, it is stated as such:TRVTHInflation has one cause: too many clams chasing too few pineapples.
The Dark Wraith has thus delivered the tropical goods.
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
of this series.
Heckuva Job, Dubya...some "Mission Accomplished"
by Ms. Julien in Miami
But hey, he sure showed pappy he could get that SAD-dam.
Bush names homo-bigot to AIDS panel
Faux-Family Reseach Council head Tony Perkins and Focus on the Anus guru Daddy Dobson pal around with faith-ba$$$ed pastor Herbert Lusk
. (Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP)
Holy crap. The Bush admin continues its anti-gay rampage, naming faith-based cash recipient Rev. Herbert Lusk
to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (the official announcement is March 16). This is a heinous appointment. (WashBlade
In a move yet to be publicly announced, Bush last month named Rev. Herbert Lusk, a former Philadelphia Eagles football star and current pastor of Philadelphia’s Greater Exodus Baptist Church, as one of five new members of the presidential AIDS advisory panel, known as PACHA, according to a current PACHA member.
Lusk is a member of the board of advisers for the Alliance for Marriage, a conservative religious organization that lobbies lawmakers to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
...Lusk heads a multi-million dollar faith-based social services agency in Philadelphia that he founded called People for People. Lusk told the New York Times the organization receives about $10 million a year in government funds, with at least $1 million a year coming from federal, faith-based grants.
Lusk's church's charitable wing has received
a cool million of faith-based bucks as far back as 2002 -- so he's been on Dear Leader's payroll for a while.
Also, Lusk was the host
at January's rally to support Alito, Justice Sunday III, which was held at his church:
In attendance at JSIII: Daddy Dobson, Dr. Alveda C. King, Bishop Wellington Boone (The Father's House), Tony Perkins, Lusk, Senator Little Ricky Santorum
, Rev. Tinkywinky.
During Justice Sunday III, Lusk erupted
with bible-thumping threats:
[Lusk] railed against gay marriage, abortion and what he termed as Christian-bashing, and warned that those who trifle with "people of god" will face consequences.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
"Don't fool with the church," said Rev. Lusk, "because the church has buried many a critic, and all the critics we have not buried we're making funeral arrangements for."
Rev. Lusk has been a figure of controversy since he spoke in support of Mr. Bush from his church in 2000 and was subsequently accused by the leader of Americans United for Separation of Church and State of breaking tax regulations that forbid churches from endorsing candidates. Rev. Lusk has denied any wrongdoing.
Demons vanquished in Ohio
The Rev. Bob Larson: "Not everyone spits green pea soup and has their head rotate 360 degrees. But everybody needs deliverance
." Photo: Toledo Blade/Jessica Crossfield.Holly
sends me these two articles, Pastor feels called to fight demons
and Toledo gets visit from 'The Exorcist'
, and I read them wondering whether this was a joke, that perhaps the Rev. Bob Larson
was a comedian.
Nope. He's dead serious, and he claims to have cast out over 6000 demons during his road shows, called 'Spiritual Freedom Conferences'. One passage in the article caught my eye, since it has particular relevance for Russ
, who is out there in the Pacific Northwest.
Mr. Larson said the influence of demons varies according to location, with some parts of the United States and certain countries having more demonic activity than others.
"I've never had a problem finding demons in the Pacific Northwest, for example, because it has been such a non-church, non-religious area. Demons are more free to operate," he said. "Ironically, the other place is the Bible Belt. The devil is where he's not expected to be. It's what happens when people have too much religion and not enough spirituality."
There is a finite number of demons in the world because God created a set number of angels, he said. The evil spirits are those who followed Lucifer when he rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. But demons are becoming more active, Mr. Larson said, as seen in the increased incidents of violence, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and criminal behavior among Americans today.
"There has been exponential growth of demonic activity today than when I started 30 years ago," he said. "It's rampant."
Larson has toured the country over the last six years, building exorcist teams to handle demon cast-outs and healings. He claims to have trained 100 teams, including the Toledo team -- Rev. Louis C. Roy's Oasis Christian Fellowship.
The Rev. Bob Larson works on the demons inside Mishael Dempsey at the Clarion Westgate Hotel in Toledo, Ohio. Dempsey said demons also caused her father to kill her mother and then take his own life. "There are demons with mental powers, and demons with physical powers. But the most dangerous demons are mind demons. They're mentally crafty. There's a spiritual strategy involved
." Photo: Toledo Blade/Jessica Crossfield.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
The Legacy of George W. Bush
by Ms. Julien in Miami
A boy injured by a car bomb explosion looks up while recovering in a hospital, in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb.25, 2006. A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing at least six people, including two women, and injuring more than 52, police said. The attack occurred as Baghdad and three nearby provinces were on a second day of a daytime curfew aimed at dampening the wave of sectarian violence that has killed more than 140 people since the bombing of a Shiite shrine.(AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani)
Friday, February 24, 2006
Breaking News: Ghost of Eisenhower Tries to Incapacitate Bush with Glare of Doom
by Shakespeare's Sister
(U.S. President George W. Bush delivers remarks on the global war on terror in Washington February 24, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Young. Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
The Great Intellectual
I suppose it's nice that Francis Fukuyama has finally figured out
that neoconservatism is a bad idea. But it's worth reflecting on Fukuyama's career , as recounted by Francis Wheen in his book How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World
[I]n the summer of 1989, ... the National Interest magazine carried a fifteen-page article entitled "The End of History?" Its author was an obscure young official from the policy planning staff of the U.S. State Department, Francis Fukuyama....Even those who disagreed with Fukuyama paid tribute to his intellectual audacity, which was further rewarded with book contracts, lecture invitations, and a professorship at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
All this from one fifteen-page article in a non-refereed journal. Staggering. I published one of those when I was still in grad school. But to continue:
"How is it that some people become famous while others do not?" a jealous rival asked.... "How exactly do you get ahead by boldly making one of the worst predictions in social science?" The question answers itself: If you are going to be wrong, be wrong as ostentatiously and extravagantly as possible....[Fukuyama] understood what was required to titillate the jaded palate of the chattering classes: Simplify, then exaggerate....devise a concept so arrestingly simple that it can be understood and discussed even by half-witted politicians or TV chat-show hosts (64-68).
Fukuyama's intellectual celebrity is symptomatic of just how poor the state of American discourse has gotten. While real academic experts are ignored, or else randomly attacked
by the likes of David Horowitz, clowns like Fukuyama become hugely influential for the level of "accomplishment" that, in most fields, is characteristic of junior scholars just starting out. Even his tardy realization that everything he once thought has turned out to be wrong -- something that, in academia, would merit a rather embarrassing "so what?" -- somehow, in the so-called "real" world, merits a huge self-congratulatory article in the New York Times
The rise of pseudo-intellectuals like Fukuyama and the attacks of Horowitz are part of the same story. For the past thirty years, following the suggestion of Lewis Powell
, the American right has been working hard and pouring money into setting up an alternative stream to academia, centered in right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, pseudo-journals like National Interest
, and phony publishers like Regnery. Where real academic research is usually slow and painstaking in its methods and modest in its claims, the think tanks and their slapdash journals and vanity presses are flashy, quick, and self-promoting. Where academia is all about achievement, usually without any fame, the think-tank world is about creating stars. The right has figured out how to replace expertise with celebrity, and the media keeps falling for it because celebrity journalism has become the template for all
journalism. Additionally, people like Horowitz add to the credibility of the think-tanks by attacking real scholars, alleging that they are actually slapdash ideologues, unconcerned with the truth -- in other words, that they are what the think-tankers actually are.
I'm not sure whether there's a way out of this conundrum, but I do know this: ideas matter. Look at the mess that Fukuyama's ideas (which were shared by other neocons, despite his recent protestations) have gotten everyone into. And the problem is far bigger than Fukuyama. As long as the bad idea factories are still churning out bad ideas, expect more policy disasters for the foreseeable future.
Cross-posted at The Green Knight
Thursday, February 23, 2006
by Shakespeare's Sister
Welcome to George Bush’s Compassionately Conservative America
More than 25 million Americans --including nearly 9 million children and 3 million seniors -- receive emergency food assistance each year from America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network of charitable agencies, representing an 8 percent increase since 2001, according to a report released today…
"It is tragic and alarming that more and more people are relying on emergency food assistance in the United States, where we produce enough food to feed every hungry person in the world," said Robert Forney, President and CEO of the America's Second Harvest Network.
About 70 percent of the clients seeking emergency food assistance are living below the federal poverty line, and nearly 40 percent have at least one adult working in their household. Seventy percent of clients are living in food insecure households-not knowing where they will find their next meal-and 33 percent of those clients reported experiencing hunger - that is, being completely without a source of food.
And the saddest part about this is that it’s exactly how “compassionate conservatives” believe America should work. Not the government’s responsibility. Let the private sector pick up the slack.
But when “the slack” includes 30% of people who are living above
the poverty line and still
need to seek hand-outs for food, there’s something sincerely, severely wrong with the distribution of wealth in this country, with the minimum wage, with workers’ rights, and with the way we collectively view poverty.
Something’s gotta give. Perhaps we ought to start with those tax cuts…
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
“Adults make choices.”
by Shakespeare's Sister
passed on this article
written by a woman who made the choice to have an abortion, which eerily parallels my below post
I am a 58-year-old white woman. I had an abortion 19 years ago. I am not bragging, nor am I apologizing.
I am a mother of three children in their 20s, and I am an ordained Christian minister. I had one child and then twins. Having twins the second time caused me my great good fortune of having three children in diapers. While nursing the twins, I did not think I needed birth control. I was wrong…
I did what was right for me, for my family, for my work, for my husband and for my three children. I happen to agree that abortion is a form of murder. I think the quarrel about when life begins is disrespectful to the fetus. I know I murdered the life within me. I could have loved that life but chose not to.
I did what I think men do all the time when they take us to war: They choose violence because, although they believe it is bad, it is still better than the alternatives. The "just war" theory assumes that human beings get caught in terrible choices all the time. This freedom is not just for men; it is for women also.
When I made my choice to end one life on behalf of other life, I was terribly troubled. I was in a double bind. I prayed and anguished. Then I made a choice. Adults make choices.
I have long thought that the drama of the abortion battle was not about unborn babies at all. Instead, it is about women and sex and about women and maturity. We are considered babies, sub-adults, in need of supervision over our sexuality. Otherwise we are dangerous…
Because women are mature sexual beings who make choices, birth control and abortion are positive moral forces in history…
That’s precisely the real life equivalent of my projection.
For further interesting reading on women as rights-bearing subjects, check out this September post
by LeMew, which I’ve recommended before and feels pointedly relevant at this moment.
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
by Shakespeare's Sister
Responding to Digby’s post here
, Ezra (who admits he’s “about as anxious to enter the abortion debate as Tom Cruise's agent is to talk about Thetans”—ha) suggests
[I]t seems to me that the whole method we use to understand the conflict is flawed. Efforts to conceptualize the conflicting positions tend to push supporters onto a binary choice: either you do believe the fetus is a life (0), or you don't (1). From there, Digby's point makes perfect sense. Murder is wrong, even when the life is caused by rape or incest, so if you profess to be a 0 but support exceptions for assault or familial relations, you're probably a liar, and your real agenda is probably rather ugly. True that.
But my guess is that most folks fall midway on that scale -- .2's, .4's, .6's and so forth…
I agree that a black and white scale of measurement on the issue is flawed, but I believe it has less to do with any sense of "quasihumannness" and more to do with truths that no one likes to talk about. Truths like women who don't want to be pregnant will do just about anything to get un-pregnant. Truths like weighing the "life" of an unwanted fetus against one's own life is not some abstract theoretical to a woman with an unwanted pregnancy; it pits a potential life against an existing one, which may be forever changed. and that doesn't make for much of a contest.
The whole argument, in some way, reminds me of how we regard soldiers and their wartime actions. We don’t consider them murderers when they kill an enemy combatant—we recognize that the decision was rational and calculated, made out of self-preservation, and to, in some cases, protect us as well. And when we hear about how they are trained to dehumanize the enemy to make killing easier, we nod sagely; we don’t judge, because we can’t truly imagine what it’s like to be in that situation.
Faced with the decision to terminate a potential life, or sacrifice her life as she knows it, a woman with an unwanted pregnancy may make a similarly calculated and rational decision in the interest of self-preservation. For women who have other children to care for, or an elderly parent, or anyone who depends on her income and/or availability (including herself), she, too, may be protecting others as well. Part of that decision may be dependent on dehumanizing the potential life inside her, and yet, in this case, we find that somehow repellent.
And it’s in no small part because we expect “more” of women; we expect women to be the givers and sanctifiers of life. We rely on their long-heralded nurturing natures to counterbalance the men who take life, the soldiers. The two situations are, in a very real way, mirror images of one another*, indicative of how we expect men and women to behave. Men are the rational actors; when women assume the same stance, they betray our expectations, even to this day.
Humans put into a situation where they must choose between one life and their own will regularly choose their own—on a battlefield, during a home invasion…in desperate circumstances, adults have thrown children out of lifeboats to save themselves. All of these are existing lives ended in the pursuit of self-preservation, not a potential life whose prospects are snuffed out. But a woman who terminates a pregnancy is viewed as delivering the ultimate betrayal—ending the life of her own child. Sacrificing oneself for one’s child is one of the few circumstances in which humans can be expected to act against the interest of self-preservation, so it seems inconceivable. But such disbelief is predicated on the assumption that a women carrying an unwanted fetus still views it as her child, and the fact that she simply may not, perhaps out of necessity to do what needs to be done rather than callousness, is yet another truth about which we don’t like to talk.
Some soldiers who kill on the battlefield later feel regret, even if they know it was the only way to protect themselves. Some don’t. We don’t expect them to; pragmatism is a response we understand from soldiers. We don’t understand, or accept, pragmatic women, women who have abortions and stand by their decision, rather than collapsing into a fit of unshakable grief. Worst yet are those who dare to respond to the outraged, “It was a life you ended!” with an acknowledgement that it is the truth. “Yes, I did. But I did it to save my own.”
* The argument is made that the life terminated via abortion is an “innocent life.” And for those who believe that enemies in war have a personal interest in killing another soldier, they will never be swayed by the comparative argument. Surely this is true in guerrilla wars; in traditional warfare, however, soldiers are a tool of governments who use men to fight their battles, and conscripted men in an enemy army may have no love of their government’s policies and fight instead because they must. Guilt by association, perhaps, but in the sense he would never pick up a gun to kill a man of his own volition, a soldier is not without his innocence, even when a designated enemy. This is all very All Quiet on the Western Front
, I know, but true nonetheless.
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Pennsylvania winger drops the gay bomb on Bob Casey
The winger freaks in Pennsylvania are beside themselves
that Bob Casey
is anti-choice, and therefore presents an alternative to Little Ricky
for the sheeple voters, so they have to lob the gay bomb over the fence in the battle.
In an attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Rick Santorum in this fall's election, Pennsylvania Democrats have selected a pro-life candidate to appeal to the state's values voters. The Democrats hope their candidate, Bob Casey, Jr., will help them re-connect with pro-family citizens.
However, Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania says Casey has made a huge blunder by agreeing to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual advocacy organization in the world. "He touts himself as a pro-life Democrat; that is one reason why the Democratic Party has fallen in line behind him so readily," Gramley says, "because, of course, Senator Santorum is pro-life, so they're thinking [they've also] got a pro-life candidate."
But now, the pro-family spokeswoman notes, "Bob Casey Jr. is scheduled to speak at a Human Rights Campaign black-tie gala." What that means, she explains, is that as Casey addresses the crowd at the $175 per plate dinner, "part of the proceeds from that will be used to fight our Marriage Protection Amendment that was just introduced here in Pennsylvania on January 24." Meanwhile, Gramley says Casey's devotion to pro-life issues also leaves room for doubt because she cannot seem to find any comments on pro-life issues on his website.
Casey is one of those "New Dems" that the party is in love with these days, so there's not much for progressives on that front; the only real plus is that he supports laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation -- a clear distinction
he's decided to draw vs. man-on-dog Santorum. No wonder the gay bomb is being lobbed.
To confuse matters further, commenter postdated noted
in the comments of another thread that Casey is against gay adoption, according a 2004 PA Catholic Conference questionnaire
that he answered (question 8). I suppose Casey needs to decide which level of discrimination he is for or against -- or does it just depend on which audience he is addressing at the time? And the other question raised is how does that square with HRC, which endorses Casey?
Sigh, the Dems - what a choice.
Also: Little Ricky also has a few ethics problems
blowing up in the news, right when he's being considered by the Senate GOP for its ethics czar post. Teehee.
SpinDentist has more at All Spin Zone
.Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.
NY gay rights group blasts SHillary
: supporting fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton would "actually hurt" the gay and lesbian community
Finally! A gay org comes right out and takes a blowtorch to the Dem fraud known as Hillary Clinton. Time for a happy dance for the candor! (NYT
In a memorandum to board members, Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, said Mrs. Clinton was "a complete disappointment," taking issue with her opposition to same-sex marriage and her support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
...In his memo, which was reported on Tuesday on the Politicker Web site of The New York Observer, Mr. Van Capelle said that he refused to "lend my name and sell tickets" to any fund-raiser sponsored by a gay group for Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign.
He's still going to vote for her, mind you, since, well, what's the alternative? More from an article on 365gay.com
"We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send."
The Senator's staff disputes Van Capelle's position, saying she has always been a strong supporter of LGBT rights. New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane (D-Manhattan) who is openly gay, said that Van Capelle's position was strident.
Duane told the New York Times that Clinton was a strong advocate on LGBT issues, noting that she has helped secure federal funding for critically important programs, including AIDS treatment.
"Would we like her to be 100 percent on the marriage issue? Yes," he said. "But it's important for us to continue educating her on the issue."
Educating her? What's left to do, man!? She's aware of the issue. Her support for civil equality regarding marriage is a no-go because it interferes with her political ambitions, period.Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.
by The Heretik
Donald Rumsfeld says
he doesn't know
if the United States government is still planting false stories in Iraqi newspapers after saying it has stopped.
"I was correctly informed. And I just misstated the facts," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news briefing.What a load
of McKrap TM. Or something. If Rumsfeld doesn't know, who does? Not the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Q Mr. Secretary, were you mistaken or misinformed Friday when you said that you ordered the stop to the process by the U.S. military to pay for positive stories --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Mistaken.
Q Can you give us an update on --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Apparently, it is -- was not stopped. It was put under review, and I don't have knowledge as to whether or not it's been stopped. I do have knowledge that it was put under review, and I was correctly informed, and I just misstated the facts.
Q So where do we stand on that investigation, then?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It's under review.
Q Is there a --
SEC. RUMSFELD: General Casey is reviewing it.
Q And is it expected soon or --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I don't know. You can ask Dorrance or Eric or somebody and they can find out when he thinks they'll know.
Do you know?
GEN. PACE: I do not, sir.
Truth in Iraq
continues to be not much of a priority apparently. Full DOD transcript here
Special Blog Graphic:
by Dark Wraith
The Cartography of Hegemons
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Sam Brownback to be picketed by Phelps
Somehow, homophobe Kansas Senator Sam Brownback
wasn't on the top of my list of the folks I would imagine The Rotting CryptkeeperTM
picketing, but lo and behold...
Remember, Sam of the awesome 70's 'fro once told
a group of businessmen he wanted to be the next Jesse Helms. Also, he will not hire openly gay people to work for him, and has a chief of staff, Robert Wasinger, who wrote in a campus magazine funded by the Heritage Foundation, that the "innocent sperm" of gay men are "forced to swim into feces."
I can't imagine why Fred would want to picket someone with those credentials.
Speaking of the The Rotting CryptkeeperTM
, his band of bigots was met by a counter-demonstration by bikers who are tired of his protests at soldier's funerals. (CNN
Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals.
...The bikers shield the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.
"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."
...Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kansas-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.
"The scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."
Ports wide open
: Below I joked about the AFA having a direct line to Bill Frist's batphone. Look at this AP story, right on time: Frist Calls for Halt to U.S. Ports Deal
Bush's deal with a United Arab Emirates-based company to provide operational and security control over six of our nation's largest ports is outrageous, given he's the Wartime President. Some of the 9/11 hijackers were originally from the UAE. Several businesses in the country are also suspected of having financial ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups. Imagine if Clinton made a decision like this?
Even more embarrassing, they had to trot out zero-credibility Chertoff
to defend the deal, saying
"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint
." Don't you feel better about the deal now?
That shows you how pathetic this security situation is. It's so beyond the pale that two GOP governors are pissed off. (AP
New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich on Monday voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.
The British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.
Both governors indicated they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states because of the DP World takeover.
"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a news release. "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them."
Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he was "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved the Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports. "We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.
What's Ehrlich smoking? Did he really expect this administration to consult with anyone before doing something like this? That would break protocol, darling. You silly governors just need to trust
your Dear Leader and his competent, altruistic minions.
As Blender Paul wrote me last night:
You know this port issue may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I have a friend who has many Repub and right wing friends and he says that they are going ape sh-t over the idea of handing the ports over. These people who never before would admit that anything the Chimp did was less than divinely inspired are really pissed at him now. Cheney's shooting might be fun to joke about, this might turn into the real story of the year.
And Paul's right. The base is growling. The Kool-Aid drinkers, the "my Chimperor right or wrong" crowd has lost its cookies over this one. Look at the American Family Association
. Don and Tim Wildmon most certainly have picked up the Bill Frist batphone
and let him know this press release
was going out.
Help Keep Our Country Secure By Keeping Control Of Our Ports
Normally we don't ask you to participate in issues such as this, but we feel that this one justifies your involvement.
Our port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia have been, or soon will be, purchased by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates, a firm that manages port facilities. The purchase was cleared by an obscure federal panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, with little fanfare.
The United Arab Emirates government is generally pro-U.S., but the September 11 hijackers traveled easily through the country, and Al Qaeda-linked groups have used its banking system. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is pleading with the administration to reverse the decision. At a press conference outlining his opposition, he said, "Handing the keys to U.S. strategic ports to a regime that recognized the Taliban is not a sound next step in our war against terror."
Several Senators and Representatives are calling for hearings into the matter. This is a matter which deserves a full and complete hearing. Ask President Bush to override the agreement and conduct a special investigation into the matter.
To read the Washington Times article on this, click here.
Click Here to send a letter to President Bush now!
Thanks for caring enough to get involved.
The Freepi are all over the map
on this as well. Some are steaming mad, others are STILL trying to defend the administration. Those knuckledraggers will be the last to turn the lights out.
One astute Freeper, however, noted
that Dubai Ports also owns the CSX Railroad's port operations
: "If they get hold of this port, they could bring in a 100 shipping container nukes, load them on the railroad, and park them up and down the east coast. Then set 'em off, all at once." From the press release on the deal:
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Ports, commented: “This is a major step in DPI’s global expansion strategy. The acquisition will give DPI an important platform in the North Asia region, notably in Hong Kong, China and Korea and further expands our global network in Europe and the Americas. We look forward to working with our new and existing partners, customers and the relevant governments and regulatory bodies to contribute to the fabric of the local social environment.
...Michael Ward, Chairman, CSX Corporation:”On behalf of CSX, I am delighted to join the announcement of the agreement to sell CSX World Terminals to Dubai Ports International...Ward added that the transaction will be “another important step in our continuing efforts to focus on the North American railroad business. CSX is focused on leadership in the U.S. rail industry through safe, reliable service to customers and consistent, continuous improvement quality in all aspects of our performance.”
asked people in Newark, Bush supporters, about how this deal was flying with them.
On any day, the docks of a busy waterfront like Port Newark can be a place to hear some of the most colorful phrases the English language has to offer.
But yesterday was something special.
At the mention of the Bush administration's approval of the sale of port operations to a Dubai-based company, longshoremen, truck drivers, mechanics and waitresses gushed with harsh words.
"Horrendous. Scary and horrendous," said Tom DiDomenico, a longhoreman from East Hanover, uttering one of the few printable reactions by customers at the Port Eatery on Corbin Street in Newark. "I'm a big Republican and I think Bush has lost his mind."
... As is the case at most U.S. ports, government inspectors at Port Newark are able to check only about 5 percent of the containers unloaded from arriving ships. Some experts warn such lapses could allow terrorists to sneak in weapons or other materials.
"Even now, sometimes I don't know what I'm pulling," said Oscar Marquez, a Jersey City truck driver who makes frequent stops at the port to pick up cargo unloaded from ships. "You want to turn this all over to these guys?"
Again, envision a Democrat in the White House making a deal like this under the radar. If the Dems cannot capitalize on this as a valid national security issue, the party is toast.
Also, some more facts about the UAE via Think Progress
– The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
– The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.
– According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.
– After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.
My god, he just doesn't get it, the moron. And he's making threats saying he would veto any congressional effort to stop his deal -- that's balls.
Jeebus H. Christ, January 2009 can't get here fast enough. I hate to break it to him, but this one is a political loser. Has Turdblossom gone tone-deaf on this one? (AP
"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, 'We'll treat you fairly.'"Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Bush called reporters to his conference room on the plane after returning from a speech in Colorado, addressing a controversy that is becoming a major headache for the White House. He said the seaports arrangement was "a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country."
...Two Republican governors, New York's George Pataki and Maryland's Robert Ehrlich, voiced their own doubts a day earlier.
But Bush said sternly he would not back down.
"They ought to listen to what I have to say about this. They'll look at the facts and understand the consequences of what they're going to do," he said. "But if they pass a law, I'll deal with it with a veto."
by Dark Wraith
In Sufferance of the Permanence of Hell
Earlier this week, I published an article
reproducing the text of a proposed amendment to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Should such a proposed repeal amendment be ratified in the due form and course of such matters, a President of the United States would no longer be limited to two terms. In particular and as a cautionary example, George W. Bush, who is now serving his second term as President, would not be constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term.
It has been pointed out to me by several readers that attempts to repeal the 22nd Amendment have been made in the recent and not-so-recent past, and all have failed. I shall not be faint in my warning about the here and now. Below is the synthesis of responses I have and will set forth to the earnest suggestions that history mitigates the present.
That previous attempts have been made to repeal the 22nd Amendment is not in dispute. This is precisely the point.
The Democrats of the 109th Congress seem to believe that all things are as they have been in times past, in Congresses of yesteryear, and in manner of progress to a more open society. They hold to old lines of authentic rhetoric, mechanistic proceduralism, and statesmanly patience, all of which might in their day have worked to great and noble ends. The Democrats sail confidently yet perilously close to shallow waters, awaiting the returning tide to lift them from the jagged meanness of their Republican colleagues.
And in this route, they have come to wreckage.
More importantly, the Republic in its growth as a liberal democracy has not been temporarily slowed; it has, instead, been ended. The Republicans set forth action in proposed laws, move forward in aggression, and leave nothing behind for the Democrats to negotiate. Worse, the nation will not, as it has in other eras of excessive conservatism, recovercertainly not for decades, anyway, and perhaps not ever.
The Republicans maneuver outrage into law with the finesse in foreplay of Don Juan followed by the copulatory sensitivity of a Roman Legion battering ram. The Democrats cry as violated victims incapable of vengeance because they want not to lower themselves to the beasts who have taken their dignity.
The Democrats stand flat-footed, as if it is the duty of some ill-define "The People" to avenge their honor; and so they suffer the irresistible and false hope that the pounding of their stolen heart is the hoofbeats of a rescuing knight.
John Conyers is relegated to the outdoors to hold a phony "hearing," Harry Reid pulls a Senate closed-session desperation play, and Howard Dean energizes the masses of the disaffected with hot language that repairs nothing.
The descent into the abyss continues.
Abortions will become practically impossible to obtain within a decade, military siege will be the instrument of America's belated and amateurish engagement of a world it cannot perfectly control, evangelical Christianity will speak through both law and regulation, and political thought will run through a filter of wariness and fear of consequences from both private and public thugs.
Yes, it is different this time: Medievalism in the Age of Enlightenment is no longer Medievalism; it is, instead, neo-conservatism; and it wields an iron fist.
Until the Democrats understand this, they will grasp not how to respond in the beginnings of battles; and until they know how to strike at the subtle whispers in the preambles, they will have no hope of saving this Republic...
...if this Republic is worth saving, that is.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Monday, February 20, 2006
by Dark Wraith
Hell Made Permanent
The following Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
has been submitted and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)
HJ 24 IH109th CONGRESS1st Session
H. J. RES. 24
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 17, 2005
Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:
'The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'
Note carefully the date of submission as published.With thanks to contributor Kaiyn at BlondeSense.
The Dark Wraith offers his condolences to the family of the departed democratic and free republic.
Cross-posted from Night Bird's Fountain.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
It's a man's world
Step into Maryland Comptroller (and former Gov.) William Donald "Cro-Magnon" Schaefe
r's mind. Try to find something there other than cobwebs. (Baltimore Sun
Comptroller William Donald Schaefer was unapologetic yesterday after making suggestive comments to a young female aide to the governor during a meeting of the state Board of Public Works.
The incident sent some jaws dropping and drew laughter from others in the crowd of more than 100 state officials, lobbyists, journalists and business leaders attending the session.
Responding to Schaefer's request for tea, the woman, an executive assistant in Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s front office, set down a thermal mug in front of the comptroller. Schaefer, 84, watched her walk away, then beckoned for her to return. When she obliged, he told her, "Walk again," staring after her as she left a ceremonial conference room at the State House.
Schaefer defended the comment in a profanity-laced rant at reporters after the meeting. "That's so goddamn dumb, I can't believe it," Schaefer said when asked about the appropriateness of his remark. "She's a pretty little girl." She "ought to be damn happy that I observed her going out the door," Schaefer said. "The day I don't look at pretty women is the day I die."
The comptroller briefly broke away from reporters to talk to the woman in private, but returned to say he had not apologized. "The one who's offended is me," he said, for being subjected to questions about the encounter.
The sorriest aspect of this is that the woman, Elizabeth Krum, 24, suffered sexual harassment on the job (the article doesn't indicate whether this was the first incident), and Schaefer, according to the article, has a history of being tolerated by his peers (in both parties) for this kind of offensive behavior in the workplace.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
And this is news?
Pat Robertson Accused of Damaging Movement
. What took them so long to realize that the unhinged 700 Club host has a screw loose? He should get more air time and exposure, not less...
Fellow conservative religious leaders have expressed concern and even open criticism over Pat Robertson's habit of shooting from the hip on his daily religious news-and-talk television program, "The 700 Club."
The Christian Coalition founder and former GOP presidential candidate has said American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip.
..."He is in a very visible leadership position and comments such as recent ones related to Mr. Sharon and so many others are misinformed and presumptuous and border on arrogance," said David Dockery, president of Union University, a private college affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Dockery suggested Robertson might want to consult other theologians "before making these pronouncements so quickly."
"It puts the evangelical movement in a bad light when that happens because people make broad generalizations, rightly or wrongly, all the time," said Dockery, who also is chairman of the board for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Robertson, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.
...Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics and religious liberty commission, has said he was "stunned and appalled that Pat Robertson would claim to know the mind of God concerning whether particular tragic events ... were the judgments of God."
Crazy Pat didn't go bonkers overnight. He's been committing word vomit for quite some time now. How about more wacky wisdom from the past:
There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore.
--Pat Robertson, address to his American Center for Law and Justice, November, 1993. Let's see, now: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." How could the prohibition against Congress making laws respecting an establishment of religion be anything but the separation of church and state?
"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society."
--The 700 Club, Dec. 30, 1981
How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age, worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"
-- The New World Order, (1991) p.227
"It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into [our] institutions [today] are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation."
-- New York Magazine, August 18, 1986
If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to.
-- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club television program, August 6, 1998, on the occasion of the Orlando, Florida, Gay Pride Festival 199
"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."
--The 700 Club, January 14, 1991
"Individual Christians are the only ones really---and Jewish people, those who trust God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--are the only ones that are qualified to have the reign, because hopefully, they will be governed by God and submit to Him."
--Defending his stance that only Christians and Jews are fit to hold public office, The 700 Club, January 11, 1985
"If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would be no doubt that they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality."
--The New World Order, page 219
"You don't dare say America or Christianity is a better way of living. When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media challenged me. 'You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'"
--The New World Order, 1991
"There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy money changers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"
--The New World Order, p.227
"[The] feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
-- Fundraising letter from Pat Robertson that was an in-kind contribution to the Iowa Committee to Stop ERA, as reported in The Washington Post, August 23, 1993
"Many of those people involved with Adolph Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals--the two things seem to go together."
-- "The 700 Club," 1/21/93, ADL report on Religious Right, page 131
A Supreme Court ruling is not the Law of the United States. The law of the United Sates is the Constitution, treaties made in accordance with the Constitution, and laws duly enacted by the Congress and signed by the president. And any of those things I would uphold totally with all of my strength, whether I agreed with them or not.... I am bound by the laws of the United States and all 50 states ... [but] I am not bound by any case or any court to which I myself am not a party.... I don't think the Congress of the United States is subservient to the courts.... They can ignore a Supreme Court ruling if they so choose.
-- Pat Robertson, speaking to a group of Washington Post writers, as reported in the Washington Post, June 27,1986
)Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Special Graphic Post:
by Dark Wraith
Cross-posted from Night Bird's Fountain.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Specter of Corruption
by Shakespeare's Sister
Say it with me, Big Brass Bloggers: There is simply not a scrap of integrity to be found among the GOP. Not the tiniest, miniscule, infinitesimal wee remnant of honor among this collection of thieves
Senator Arlen Specter defended himself and a member of his staff on Thursday after the disclosure that clients of a lobbyist married to the staff member had received money through the senator's actions.
Vicki Siegel Herson, who until recently was Mr. Specter's legislative assistant on the Appropriations Committee, is married to Michael Herson, a top executive of the lobbying firm American Defense International.
Mr. Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and his staff confirmed that six of Mr. Herson's clients received a total of about $50 million over the last four years through items Mr. Specter inserted into military appropriations bills in a process known as "earmarking."
…Mr. Specter said he would conduct a further inquiry into the possibility that Ms. Siegel might have knowingly played a role in allocating federal money to one of her husband's clients.
"That would be a blatant conflict of interest," Mr. Specter said. "I don't think that happened, but I am going to go back and take a look at the specifics of it."
By the end of the day, a spokesman for Mr. Specter said he had decided "voluntarily" to refer the case to the Senate Ethics Committee as well.
Yeesh. If it’s not attributable to a blatant conflict of interest, it sure is quite a coinkydink.
But wait for it—the Karl Rove-Approved Stamp of Denial and Obfuscation:
Mr. Specter said that "I think I knew" that Ms. Siegel's husband was a lobbyist, but that he had met him only a few times and might not recognize him "in a crowded room."
…"The allocations in issue went to Pennsylvania companies for items which were important to national defense," Mr. Specter said in a statement.
Don’t know him…wasn’t me…9/11!
Is anyone else beginning to seriously entertain the notion that the entire GOP has been secretly replaced with Stepford-style Congressbots?
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
Press release from DNC on LGBT outreach
also covers the dust-up started by this post as well as this DNC press release.]
While we won't take credit for this release getting out there so quickly by the DNC after the post Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006
, it certainly is timely
, in its attempt to explain the reorganization and the current positions, for what it's worth...so, in the interest of fairness:
A Year of Progress for DNC LGBT Outreach
To: National Desk, Political Reporter
Contact: Damien LaVera of the Democratic National Committee
Communications Staff, 202-863-8148
WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- This week marks the one year anniversary of Howard Dean taking the helm of the Democratic National Committee. Under Dean's leadership, the DNC has dramatically expanded and improved its outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities across America. Today, Dean issued the following statement on the progress of those efforts:
"In the past year, the DNC has made tremendous progress in expanding and improving outreach to our friends and family in the LGBT community. I am proud to say that, because of the organizational reforms implemented when I became Chairman, we have dramatically increased the resources brought to bear in our LGBT messaging, organizing, and outreach efforts. Under the leadership of the American Majority Partnership, our Party is moving into a new era in reaching out to our closest allies.
"The Democratic Party has never been more committed to protecting equal rights for the LGBT community. We are standing strong with the community, fighting the Republican Party's repugnant efforts to exploit the politics of fear and division and scapegoat LGBT families for electoral gain. I am proud to lead a Party that will never resort to such shameful tactics. As long as I am chairman, this Party will always help provide the LGBT community every opportunity to live the American Dream."
The following is a fact sheet on the DNC's accomplishments in enhancing DNC outreach to LGBT communities and empowering those communities in Dean's first year as Chairman:
Establishing the American Majority Partnership.
The DNC has replaced the old "political desk" system with the American Majority Partnership, an integrated approach to constituent outreach that incorporates LGBT outreach throughout the work of the DNC and seeks to identify common issues of concern to all the Democratic Party's core communities.
-- AMP is located directly in the Chairman's Office, giving outreach to constituent groups the visibility and importance it deserves and helping ensure that LGBT outreach is never subordinate to other work within the DNC.
-- AMP is implementing an expanded, institutionalized and permanent LGBT outreach program, replacing the traditional system of establishing isolated "political desks" and simply parachuting LGBT organizers into targeted states weeks before an election.
-- AMP has specific goals to address the LGBT community, including working with LGBT elected officials to develop state-specific strategies for LGBT outreach and messaging, participating in Pride and other community events, and sponsoring national LGBT political conferences and meetings.
-- By instituting a DNC-wide working group on LGBT outreach and messaging, AMP has dramatically increased the resources brought to bear addressing LGBT issues.
Investing in the LGBT Community.
In order to help empower the LGBT community, the DNC has made a significant, permanent investment in building a nationwide capacity to organize the LGBT community. This investment is being made earlier than ever before, and is for the first time intended to build a permanent capacity in the LGBT community. Highlights of the effort include:
-- The DNC is providing organizers to all 50 states and equipping them with state-specific information about the LGBT community and training in how to communicate with the LGBT community. This unprecedented nationwide commitment institutionalizes LGBT outreach throughout state parties.
-- The DNC is assisting state parties in developing state-specific messaging and outreach on LGBT issues.
Extensive Consultation with LGBT Community Leaders
Under Dean's leadership, the DNC has maintained the Democratic Party's open door policy with our allies in the LGBT community, and expanded its efforts to build collaborative relationships with LGBT organizations, elected officials and community leaders.
-- In his first three months as party chair, Dean met with over 30 LGBT leaders from 20 diverse LGBT organizations to discuss strategy and reassure the community about his commitment to LGBT issues.
-- Dean and senior DNC staff continue to meet with LGBT organizers and community leaders across America. To date, Dean has met with more than 500 state and local LGBT leaders in communities across the country.
Speaking out on Issues that Matter to the LGBT Community.
Throughout the past year, the DNC and Dean have aggressively sought to stand up with our friends in the LGBT community and fight Republican efforts to scapegoat LGBT families by:
-- Assisting the successful challenge of anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation in places like Maine and Oregon, and fighting Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of California marriage equality bill.
-- Issuing official statements from Dean and the DNC on matters of concern to the LGBT community, including recognition of Pride in 2005, National Coming Out Day, World AIDS Day, victories by openly LGBT candidates, and the recent hate crimes in Massachusetts.
-- Establishing a new "blog" section on the DNC website dedicated solely to LGBT outreach and current issues, highlighting the work of LGBT activists and organizations.
Comments, questions for the DNC?
If you want a read about a get-together Dean had with gay leaders on this in NY, check out the article, Dean’s Kiss and Make-Up
, at Gay City News. It doesn't sound like everyone left the meeting satisfied.
My comment on the release: This clarifies what the DNC intends to implement as an outreach plan. But, you will notice that there isn't a proactive plan to actually counter the deluge of BS about to come down the pike from the right-wing (again).
What, pray tell, is the DNC going to do about the Mississippi Democratic Party Platform
, for instance, which includes this: "We believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman." Is the DNC on board with that "state-specific" plank?
After all, Dean says: "We are standing strong with the community, fighting the Republican Party’s repugnant efforts to exploit the politics of fear and division and scapegoat LGBT families for electoral gain." How about Dems who are doing the same thing? If we've got so-called Dems-in-good-standing and Republicans on the ballot both saying they are for the sanctity of marriage, that doesn't sound like we need a few more folks at Pride events.
My take is that the party is going to make a few stands in the states where they have chances to pull off small victories, such as the ones mentioned in Maine and Oregon. Otherwise, I see the party leaving progressive Dems/LGBT in the Red states high and dry.
The Republicans will continue to drive this train because they’ve determined the frame.
The Dems will oppose a federal marriage amendment because the votes at the present time are not there to pass it, so they believe that they can punt for now. They have not articulated with one voice what definition of civil equality for gays and lesbians the party supports. The party opposed Schwarzenegger’s veto in California, but is marriage equality the goal? No. In 2004 it was “leave it to the states” — that has not changed.
The Dems have held up as 2006 models of the party, people who supported marriage amendments, or hold the position that “marriage is between a man and a woman,” or that separate-but-unequal civil unions are the acceptable alternative. That’s not coherence — it’s a conscious decision to support “leave it to the states” — the party’s position by default is that civil rights for a subgroup of citizens should be determined by popular vote. That sounds like a shift in core values to me.
If you’re gay and living in a Red state and you are outnumbered by those who oppose civil equality, you’re SOL. Those amendments are permanent, and given this Supreme Court, we’re not likely to see a ruling that would overturn them either. And we’re only talking about marriage; the Right has had such a long opportunity to work on gay demonization that all sorts of horrors are being put to a vote in legislatures - adoption/fostering bans, anti-discrimination legislation being killed, etc. And we’re going to lose those battles in some Red states.
The state of things in relation to LGBT issues (and just about every other issue that folks here care about) reflect the overall weakness of the party, which should have handily defeated the current clown in office (Diebold or no Diebold, 2000 or 2004).
An interesting observation is made by Tom Moran
in the New Jersey Star-Ledger
column, Gay marriage still gives lawmakers cold feet
. That state is currently watching a case on same-sex marriage that's up before its high court. Moran hits the nail on the head regarding Democrats and their reluctance to be specific and consistent in their support (or lack thereof).
Say the words "gay marriage" and watch the lefty politicians scramble for a place to hide.
Many of them secretly support the idea. But they won't risk saying that in public.
So instead of vindicating the rights of a group they supposedly support, they are burrowing into their little holes, hoping this will all blow over.
Maybe, they hope, the state Supreme Court will save them and establish the right to gay marriage by judicial fiat.
"Most legislators are rooting for that, even if they wouldn't vote for it," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). "If the court says it's legal, we don't have to do anything. There are a lot of people in the Legislature hoping that's the way it turns out."
That's precisely what all the punting has been about at the national level. The Dems want SCOTUS to make the call and take the heat off of elected officials (and prospects). Of course, as I said above, with this Supreme Court, it's a gamble we could easily lose.
* Russ: Why this married straight white guy fights so hard for LGBT equality
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006
Folks, we're seeing the official recloseting of the Democrats in terms of gay visibility and outreach. If you had any illusions that the 2006 iteration of the Democratic party isn't ready to throw gays under the bus (but take homo cash), here's convincing evidence to chew on.
1. The anti-gay VA Gov, Tim Kaine
, was picked for the State of the Union response
. If you've been reading the Blend, you know full well what I think about the symbolism that represented.
What do you think the party is trying to tell gays and lesbians when its choice of Kaine is heralded because "the new governor can best deliver their 2006 message of inclusiveness?" The man's position on his own state's pending marriage amendment is that he's "not comfortable" with the bigoted language but he'll sign the amendment anyway. More here
For those out there who thought this was no big deal in the bigger scheme of things, just an inconsequential matter, the evidence that the party at the national level has the intention of avoiding the "gay issue" is no loud and clear. Re-closeting gays instead of addressing the right wing with alternative, logical framing based on the core values of the party has been deemed a more meaningful (read: winning) strategy. Is Bob Shrum in the house?
2. Howard Dean abolishes DNC gay outreach post
. The laughable excuse on this one (via the Washington Blade
) is that the reorg "will be more effective than the previous system because it will "bring in a lot more resources from all of the DNC’s departments and offices," according to Chris Owens, director of the DNC’s American Majority Partnership program.Right
. This quietly took place last year, allegedly to create an integrated effort to address the concerns of minorities as a group. The gay outreach desk was won after a long struggle; to see it eliminated causes legitimate concern.
Gay Democratic Party activist and fundraiser Jeff Soref of New York City said he resigned from the DNC and from his position as chair of the gay caucus in August largely because of Dean’s decision to eliminate the gay outreach desk.Howard Dean fired off a letter to the Blade
"It took us many years to win that position, have it funded and make it effective," Soref said.
Soref said he told Dean "it was not credible" to simply assume that combining all constituent groups into one program without a specific gay coordinator or director would be effective because it would likely result in less attention to the specific concerns of gay Democrats.
"I thought this system could lead to us being re-marginalized by the party," Soref said in an e-mail message to the Blade. "I have seen or heard nothing since that makes me feel that is not happening," he said.
after this blew up in his face. It still smells to high heaven.
OK. Is it possible that Jeff Soref was a little paranoid about this and Howard's on the up and up? Well, guess what? Look at this latest development at the DNC...
3. DNC Annual Grassroots Report Omits Any Reference to GLBT Americans
. Via Out for Democracy
, the news that this new report, unlike previous DNC reports, doesn't even mention the LGBT community or any outreach efforts.
How do you feel now, homos? A tad marginalized, under-appreciated...that doormat/ATM kind of feeling?
Let's take a look at Howard Dean's vision of the core values of the party for 2006
. Pay close attention to the sections on civil rights and civil equality
, especially given we have state after state passing or preparing to pass amendments making lesbian and gay taxpaying residents second-class citizens.
Focus On Our Core Values
Never Backing Down: Governor Dean has lived up to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to never remain silent about the things that matter. From the failed management of the war in Iraq to the moral crisis of 45 million people without access to healthcare, he has shown honesty and backbone and encouraged more Democrats to do the same.
A Clear Agenda: Working with other party leaders, we have created and begun to communicate a clear agenda for change:
Honest Leadership and Open Government -- We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a sense of responsibility to elected office, and we will pass fundamental reforms that make government more honest, open, and accountable to the American people than ever before.
Real Security -- We will protect Americans at home by getting serious about homeland security, and address the real threats abroad by capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and focusing on actual (not imagined) nuclear proliferation. We will be prepared for the threats of tomorrow, and we will always tell the truth to our troops and the American people.
Jobs in America that will Stay in America -- We will keep good jobs from leaving and ensure that every job in America is a fair deal. We will balance the budget, ensure that the tax code is simple and fair, and create jobs by making America energy independent.
A Strong Public Education System -- We will strengthen our nation’s public schools to restore opportunity and optimism for every American.
A Health Care System that Works for Everyone -- We will join every other industrialized country by making sure everyone has access to affordable health care. We will change a corrupt, inefficient system into one that makes sure the world’s wealthiest country is also the healthiest.
What did you think about the civil equality section? Oh, oops...I'm sorry, you didn't skim past it. IT'S NOT THERE
And how does that square with past acknowlegments of LGBT outreach? Let's look at a section of a report under former DNC Chair, Terry McAuliffe
, from DNC's Facts and Figures Glossary
GLBT Outreach: Under the leadership of Chairman McAuliffe, the DNC in partnership with the Kerry campaign, embarked upon the most comprehensive GLBT pride outreach program in the history of a national political party and presidential campaign. During this election year, the DNC manned tables and marched in more than 75 gay pride events in 22 states, taking the DNC's message of equality and fairness to more than four million GLBT and allied voters. This year's DNC Convention was a historic one for the GLBT community, with a record number of GLBT delegates, standing committee members, DNC members, and staff.
The message is clear -- the Dems are going to avoid the gay issue like the plague again. They are not interested in reframing the issue and not ready to counter the AmTaliban. The Democrats are just not "comfortable" enough to fight at the national level for our rights. Thanks for the heads-up, Howard.
The truth of the matter is, there is no spine in this party, no desire to really take on Republicans on anything remotely related to gay civil equality on any matter (and I'm not just talking about same-sex marriage). One can only conclude that the party doesn't see any urgency about the amendments sweeping through the nation, and that it's a perfectly acceptable position to say "let the states decide" -- to make discrimination of a class of citizens permanent law. Many of those states don't even have a fig leaf of "separate but equal" civil unions/domestic partnerships/"marriage" to offer up to same-sex couples (they can't be equal because none of the over 1000 federal benefits that convey with civil marriage are available to gays).
At this point, because of Dem silence while the void is filled by the hate mongers demonizing gays, you've got some states considering a ban on gays adopting or fostering kids
(adoption's already banned in Florida), deep-sixing same-sex benefits
, and choosing to kill anti-discrimination bills
that propose adding sexual orientation to existing law -- what icing on the cake this is in the daily lives of gay Americans in those locations.
How sad is it that the Democrats allow its agenda to be driven by fear of the likes of the American Family Association's Don and Tim Wildmon, for example, who have effectively bullied and led the GOP by the nose (and has moved on to corporate America). The Dems refuse to politically counter an organization that, reminding folks again:
* has an advocate for executing gays and abortion providers
on its radio show
* believes gays were the real evil behind the Holocaust?
* thinks gays are responsible for the "end of times"?
* tries to convince the public that gays are a "public health" threat?
or diseased perverts who die early?
These folks are extremist windbags and theocrats, along with the Dobsons, Bauers, and Lou Sheldons screeching out there. If we weren't in Bizarro World, a real Democratic party with real core values would be scorching and silencing these clowns as the crazies that they are.
We're in for a rough ride folks -- and those of you concerned about reproductive freedom, I don't see anything up there for you either. Welcome to the club.
* BlogActive: Howard Dean goes on rampage... Kills constituent desks
* Keith Boykin: I Want My Gay DNC
Hat tip, Out for Democracy
, via PageOneQCross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The endless Katrina f*ckups
I think Skeletor better start cleaning out his desk and polishing up his resume (One can only hope his isn't as uniquely padded as "Brownie's"). The White House says it stands behind Chertoff.Michael Chertoff did a tap dance yesterday
, saying he's getting that whole Homeland Security thing down pat and bringing some common sense and preparation to FEMA.
It's a wonder people didn't break out into hysterical laughter, knowing this was nothing more than a dog and pony show to deflect the butt-scorching he, his agency and his incompetent Chimperor were going to receive in the 520-page House report
, "A Failure of Initiative," released today (highlights here
Last night, Anderson Cooper
had a report on about more mind-blowing FEMA incompetence. It makes you sick to see the pictures of over 11,000 empty, new mobile homes sitting in the middle of an Arkansas field when 12,000 Katrina victims are being kicked out of hotels
and are homeless once again.
In -- in case you think this disaster is over, remember, there are tens of thousands of people without homes, families who face eviction from the hotel rooms they have been crammed in to, and still bodies unidentified and missing.
And, in Arkansas -- take a look at the pictures on the screen there -- 11,000 mobile homes that have been sitting empty in the city of hope for months now, tied up in red tape. And now, according to a Homeland Security inspector who testified yesterday, they are literally sinking in the mud.
Yesterday, federal officials said the trailers may end up in the dumpster, unused by Katrina victims. They were meant to shelter them. And they -- according to this inspector, they may be unused. The math behind this is mind-boggling. It's enough to make you scream -- 10,777 mobile homes sitting empty in Hope -- the average cost per trailer, almost $28,000 -- that's the number we came up with when we did the math, based on the numbers that FEMA has so far released -- which adds up to a potential loss of $301.7 million.
That's taxpayer money, your money, my money. Why aren't the mobile homes installed where they're needed? FEMA's rules and red tape.
Here's the AC360 blog
by CNN Correspondent Susan Roesgen.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
by Shakespeare's Sister
Speaking of lobbyists
, the White House has been doing a little lobbying of its own, and seems to have successfully cajoled Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee into voting against an official inquiry
into the domestic spying program.
Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.
The Senate intelligence committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a Democratic-sponsored motion to start an inquiry into the recently revealed program in which the National Security Agency eavesdrops on an undisclosed number of phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents without obtaining warrants from a secret court. Two committee Democrats said the panel -- made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats -- was clearly leaning in favor of the motion last week but now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it.
“Top administration officials,” including Dark Lord Cheney, have been making private appeals to GOP members of the committee. Yesterday, Cheney also held a GOP-only meeting on intelligence matters in the Capitol. Coincidentally, I’m sure, Maine GOP Senator Olympia Snowe, who, back in December
, signed a bipartisan letter registering grave concerns about the program and calling for a joint investigation, has suddenly changed her tune, and said, ahem, yesterday:
"I'm not sure it's going to be essential or necessary" to conduct an inquiry "if we can address the legislative standpoint" that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. "We're learning a lot and we're going to learn more," she said.
She cited last week's briefings before the full House and Senate intelligence committees by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and former NSA director Michael V. Hayden.
"The administration has obviously gotten the message that they need to be more forthcoming," Snowe said.
Oh yeah right
. This administration is never going to get that message, and they’re never
going to be more forthcoming, and, in fact, if you let them off yet again
with slap on the wrist (if that), they’re only going to be more
secretive and more
abusive and hostile toward the public, the media, and their GOP minions. Unbelievable.
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair and West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller has drafted a motion “calling for a wide-ranging inquiry into the surveillance program,” on which the committee is meant to vote tomorrow. At this point, it looks like Rockefeller’s motion will be tanked in favor of one being proposed by Committee Member and Ohio GOP Senator Mike DeWine, which not only does not call for inquiry, but seeks to specifically authorize the domestic spying program by excluding it from FISA
. In other words, retroactively legalizing the administration’s actions.
And even the normally fairly credible Nebraska GOP Senator Chuck Hagel, who also
signed the December letter, is set to vote against Rockefeller’s motion.
"If some kind of inquiry would be beneficial to getting a resolution to this issue, then sure, we should look at it. But if the inquiry is just some kind of a punitive inquiry that really is not focused on finding a way out of this, then I'm not so sure that I would support that."
Complete and utter bullshit. No one in the GOP is willing to hold this administration accountable for anything
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
AFA has advocate for executing gays and abortion providers on its radio show
"The Bible lays forth the severest penalty, which would be capital punishment for two men who publicly engage in sodomy."Media Matters
-- Gary DeMar on gays
"Well, one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers is Gary DeMar."
-- Tim Wildmon on DeMar
points to more homo-bashing and homo-fixation by the American Family Association. This is beyond the pale. It seems Tim and Don Wildmon don't mind sharing the airwaves with a man who thinks homos should be put to death, along with adulterers and abortion providers.
Far-right Christian author and American Vision president Gary DeMar was the guest on the February 2 broadcast of Today's Issues, a program of American Family Radio, a network of nearly 200 radio stations owned by the conservative American Family Association (AFA). American Vision
DeMar denounced "the continual assault on all things religion and, in particular, Christian," and AFA president Tim Wildmon praised him as "one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers." In the past, DeMar has advocated the installation of a theocratic government in the United States in which homosexuals, adulterers, and abortion doctors would be executed.
...DeMar is a leading promoter of an extremist theology called Christian Reconstructionism, also known as Theocratic Dominionism, which, according to journalist and author Frederick Clarkson, "argues that the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life -- such as government, education, law, and the arts, not merely 'social' or 'moral' issues like pornography, homosexuality, and abortion."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State documented, DeMar wrote in his book, Ruler of the Nations: Biblical Principles for Government (Dominion Press, 1987): "The law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectually drives the perversion of homosexuality back into the closet." DeMar added: "The long term goal [is] the execution of abortionists and parents who hire them. If we argue that abortion is murder, then we must call for the death penalty."
's motto is "Equipping and Empowering Christians to Restore America's Biblical Foundation
." And look at its mission...
Have you reached your “tolerance” level for political correctness? Are you tired of being vilified by the press and Hollywood just because you are a Christian? Are you fed up with politicians who romance you for your vote and then ignore you until the next election cycle? We are. That's why we invite you to join us in doing something about it.
What can we do together? Plenty. First, we must understand our nation's past, identify today's issues and problems, and look to the Bible to guide our future.
What's truly frightening is that this guy is coming to the Tar Heel state this week
. He will be featured at something called a God and Country Rally
on Friday and Saturday (Feb 17-18) at Swansboro Middle School.
Remember, while the AFA beds down with people like DeMar, it is an organization on the warpath, trying to impose its Christofacist agenda on the marketplace by targeting these corporations recently, with mixed results:
(American Girl Dolls)
* Proctor & Gamble
* Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot
* Rick Santorum
And one has to ask, why would any corporation cave to an organization that believes in the unhinged filth of Gary DeMar and foments bigotry with outrageous positions like these:
* Were gays the real evil behind the Holocaust?
* Is Europe "infested" with Muslims who breed "faster than we do"?
* Are gays responsible for the "end of times"?
* Are gays a "public health" threat?
* Do Jews control Hollywood?
* Are gays diseased perverts who die early?Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
The Conservative Echo Chamber '06 Playbook
Without creating a Dr. Phil moment and trotting out my pivotal therapist for corroboration, TCF must confess a familial underpinning is the root cause that prompts me to exact truthfulness on Conservative blogs and other cyber havens for Bush Apologists. And, as you acknowledge TCF’s Wall Of Banishment (located below, column right), be assured that my IP address was exorcised from those offended rival web sites, not
because I used offensive language, not
because I threatened and insulted, and not
because I was disrespectful.
In order to best gauge the pulse of the opposition, TCF has relied on visiting those Right bloggers that, at the very least, offer opportunities to reply in comment threads. It is important to here to point out that one of the primary tactics employed from the likes of Rush Limbaugh to the Conservative blog Powerline, is the option to censor dissenting opinions, or distort their views without providing verbatim examples of such. Nothing credible (unless it supports their position) comes from the biased New York Times
or Washington Post
, and if a global warming analysis accurately corroborates why the sky is blue, it’s inconclusive, and still needs study.
Al Franken recently made the keen observation that Bill Clinton’s familiar soundbite of denial concerning ‘sex’, with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, got far more airplay than George Bush’s videotaped clarification as to the precise role of the FISA courts when it came to domestic wiretapping. All the while CNN’s Wolf Blitzer still insisted to DNC’s Howard Dean a connection between Sen. Byron Dorgan (Democrat) and direct payoffs from Jack Abramoff, where there was none. And these two incidents perfectly reflect how the mainstream media has become complicit in accommodating the Right’s spin and distortions of their scandals and crisis’s, a direct result of the successful bullying of the MSM for being Liberal conspirators.
But, if there were a credible, sane voice from the Right and the Republican Party presently, it would be one of contrition and candor. It would be a principled stalwart outside of the Grover Norquist/Tom DeLay neo-Con cabal rightly concerned of the political fallout to be exacted shortly at the ballot box. They would not be placated knowing a slim majority of Americans (51% percent) will give Bush latitude on domestic surveillance, or trust that Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Dept.’s hollow vindication of Bush’s arrogant overreach will end the controversy. Neither would they endorse the hurried revision of Congressional ethics rules concerning lobbyists, also knowing little will change in Washington without effective oversight and enforcement.
Yet, if such a brave group had succeeded in effecting a discernable wake-up call throughout the GOP, the Bush administration would not be pressing a compulsory fishing expedition upon Google, and House Speaker Denny Hastert would be in grave jeopardy of losing his post.
Realistically, TCF believes the conduct of future presidential candidate John McCain accurately indicates how far the Republican Party is actually willing to go to such an end. Along with his Campaign Finance co-sponsor Russ Feingold, he is offering one of many proposals to address the current ethics lapse. However, do not expect him to advocate real enforcement, either. In the past, McCain has been one of the few in his party to question the execution of the Iraq War. However, he has now so muted his concerns, that his public comments are indiscernible from Condi Rice or Don Rumsfeld. To put such curious behavior of the former ‘maverick’ and principled Conservative of the GOP, I should point out that McCain is quietly co-opting the Bush/Cheney campaign apparatus and the services of their former fundraising moneymen.
Now, to the extreme opposite direction of McCain’s calculated behavior, we can look forward to the unavoidable (and deliberate) tactics of demagogue and distortions from members of the Conservative Echo Chamber, as we enter Mid-Term elections season. Think about it. What do the Republicans credibly have to run on? Lacking that, what possibly could their strategy and message be then? Well, it has already started, and TCF would like to offer a prime example.
For quite awhile, Say Anything
has been the main Right blog that TCF has gone to do verbal battle with the enemy. As you can expect, I am insulted and baited on a regular basis. Yet, I have never been threaten or cursed. It has been the most accurate barometer of the actively, partisan Right, and useful site to collect the latest Republican Talking Points.Say Anything
epitomizes everything I’ve described previously in this post. They foster a willful-denial-of-the-facts/Liberal-conspiracy/partisan-witchunt line of reasoning that can only be silenced by a Republican indictment or conviction. Criticism of the President (exampled by the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Sweet Neo-Con’) is just plain Bush Bashing. Questioning whether the administration has an Iraq strategy, in turn puts our troops further at risk, and not so the inadequate troop levels or the continuing problem of lacking body armor. The championed ‘democracy’ we delivered is deficient in specifics (intentionally), and changes not one iota lacking the participation of the Sunnis’. SA
bloggers see Republican woes simply as a failure to focus and implement Bush’s second term agenda (Social Security and Immigration reform, for example), yet lacking an acknowledgement why no Presidential veto has ever been invoked. They will disingenuously appropriate the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday. Yet, knowing he’d oppose the Iraq War on the same grounds as he dissented on the Vietnam War, TCF assures you he’d be regarded quite differently if alive today.
In light of the recent travails to hit the Republicans, you may understand why TCF has spent far less time visiting Say Anything
these days. Not more than 13 months ago, the Right had the luxury of a duped, sedated electorate, cowering news media and the better part of plausible denial. Yet, aided by corrective hindsight, we can now be as certain the overdue blowback began with Armstrong Williams, just as we can now be certain it will not end with an indicted Bob Ney. How deep it gets, depends on whether the Bush-Abramoff pics Time Magazine has seen find the right tabloid buyer; whether Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald finally catches Karl Rove in the legal definition of perjury he already has been pardoned for by Bush; whether the joint Congressional wiretapping investigation determines the rule of law is paramount only when it comes to lying about consensual sex and not a violation of the Fourth Amendment; and, whether the Medicare Prescription Drug boondoggle actually figures in the death of a confused enrollee.
Sadly though, in response to these unfortunate events, the Say Anything
bloggers have not chosen the righteous path of a principled Republican, but have taken the lead from the even more sinister Karl Rove, and have started a campaign of Demagogue and Distortion.
Such a strategy is exampled by assailing the expected unanimous Senate Democratic opposition to the Alito nomination as the same onerous ‘partisan politics’ that brought the nominee’s wife to tears, and by semantically recasting Bush’s arrogant overreach from ‘domestic surveillance’ to ‘terrorist surveillance’. By framing the debate in such stark, stupid terms, the Bush White House is again counting on swaying a distracted electorate none too concerned with the important details. While the Democrats should always recognize that this proven strategy initially puts us at a disadvantage, more importantly, we must get the message that the political playing field has changed significantly since the 2004 election.
This time around, the administration does not have a convenient scapegoat in John Kerry, whose politically motivated criticism was really dangerous, weak-kneed rhetoric from the man Al Queda wanted as our next President. Conversely, in this new mean season of permanently lost Bush credibility, functioning news media and embolden Democrats, said Rovian offensive will not succeed in shutting down the debate prematurely. Sure, the nation can be evenly indecisive at this moment while weighing the legal versus the urgent justification for Bush’s secret wiretapping. However, this scandal will not be played out in a constricted election campaign news cycle, where Attorney General Roberto Gonzales’ Nixonian turn as Bush’s John Mitchell would have done the White House some good.
Back in 1996, encouraged by initial polls to pursue Articles of Impeachment against Bill Clinton, Newt’s Rule Of Law Posse soon reaped public scorn as their own hypocrisy and partisan recklessness became evident. Would you agree then with TCF that presently there’s possibly no deliciously ideal set of circumstances for the outcome to play out in reverse?
Consider the plight of the soon to be twice indicted Tom DeLay. TCF would bet that out of 100 of his Congressional constituents polled, a solid majority would sustain the notion of a Ronnie Earle led partisan witch hunt, while dismissing DeLay’s deeds as merely hardball politics. However, the reason DeLay currently has approvals in the low 30s’ and trails his likely Dem opponent, is because he has embarrassed his constituency. Meaning, an equal majority of voters believe the charges against him are valid to the point of violating the law, while corroborating the litany of accusations that have come before. Denny Hastert may publicly profess his innocence and the American Enterprise Institute may throw another rally of influential Movement Conservatives, but it’s clear DeLay is off the charts on the Brownie-Kerik Liability Meter.
Which begs the obvious question – how best do we shame an embarrassed Republican base into staying at home in March and November?
Having been backed into an untenable corner with dire historical ramifications, a Republican/CEC playbook of Demagogue and Distortion is the only viable game plan at this junction. Think of it, as the Dems finally figuring how to disrupt Rove’s ‘triangle offense’.
Monday, February 13, 2006
America for Sale—Literally
by Shakespeare's Sister
Preservation schmeservation. We need cash
for the empire!
The Bush administration Friday laid out plans to sell off more than $1 billion in public land during the next decade, including 85,000 acres of National Forest property in California.
Most of the proceeds would help pay for rural schools and roads, making up for a federal subsidy that has been eliminated from President Bush's 2007 budget.
The beast is getting hungry—the inevitable consequence when you endeavor to starve it.
"This is a fire sale of public lands. It is utterly unprecedented," said Char Miller, professor of environmental history at Trinity University in San Antonio, who has written extensively about the Forest Service. "It signals that the lands and the agency that manages them are in deep trouble."
The U.S. Forest Service has earmarked more than 300,000 acres for sale in 32 states.
In a companion proposal inserted into this week's massive 2007 budget, White House officials directed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials to sell off at least $350 million worth of public land, with the funds to go directly to the general treasury.
The proposed sale would be the largest of its kind in the century since President Theodore Roosevelt—who actually paid attention to the root of the word “conservative”—established the U.S. Forest Service.
The public has 30 days
to contest “after maps of the acreage proposed for sale are published, which the agency expects to do by the end of the month.” I question whether enough of “the public” will even hear about this crackpot plan for their collective complaint to register as more than a mere blip on the radars of those who care little to hear dissenting opinions in the first place.
(Hat tip to Tata
at Blanton’s and Ashton’s, and Fix
, who pointed me there. Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
File this under WTF: US to sell oversight of ports
by Shakespeare's Sister
The WaPo reports
A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.Stranger at Blah3
The Bush administration considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings and is not objecting to Dubai Ports World's purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
The $6.8 billion sale could be approved Monday and would affect commercial port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.
DP World said it won approval from a secretive U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry.
[J]ust where does the Right side of the blogosphere--you know, the people who wake up in the morning thinking of new ways to demonize people from the Middle East--come down on this issue?
My guess? Since their Handsome and Powerful SuperPresident Bush has approved it, it's all just peachy-keen with them. Morons.
And one more note--the Washington Post obviously sees the import of this story, seeing as how they chose to print it on page A17. Way to go, WaPo.
I don't know what I find more disturbing--that the oversight of ports is being sold like a bobblehead on eBay, or that a "secretive U.S. government panel" has cleared the way for the sale without so much as a murmur beyond page A17.
(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK
and Shakespeare's Sister
Well, it did not take long to cross the line from stupid to evil
According to Katharine Armstrong, the daughter of Anne Armstrong, Mr. Whittington broke away from a line of three hunters, including Mr. Cheney, and failed to announce that he was returning to the group. When he approached, Mr. Cheney had already begun to shoot into a covey of quail that was taking off from the ground.
"This all happened pretty quickly," Ms. Armstrong said in a telephone interview from her ranch. Mr. Whittington, she said, "did not announce — which would be protocol — 'Hey, it's me, I'm coming up,' " she said.
"He didn't do what he was supposed to do," she added, referring to Mr. Whittington. "So when a bird flushed and the vice president swung in to shoot it, Harry was where the bird was."
Mr. Whittington was "sprayed — peppered, is what we call it — on his right side, on part of his face, neck, shoulder and rib cage," she said, noting that she, too, had been sprayed on her leg in a hunting accident.
"A shotgun sprays a bunch of little bitty pellets; it's not a bullet involved," Ms. Armstrong said. She said she believed that Mr. Cheney was shooting a 28-gauge shotgun and added that guests typically bring their own firearms.
Now, I'm not a hunter, but I did a bit of rifle-shooting with my dad when I was a kid. I've also done some shooting with bow and arrow. And I can tell you one of the first things I was taught: when person A accidentally shoots person B, it's person A's fault. No excuses. He pulled the trigger, he shot the guy, end of story. Bullet, birdshot, doesn't matter. You look before you shoot, period.
But it's typical, isn't it, for anyone in the current Administration to blame their victims. This is just standard operating procedure for them. FEMA screws up in New Orleans? It's the fault of the stranded people. Illegally deport an innocent guy to Syria to be tortured? It's his fault for, well, for being something. Allow the worst terrorist attack in US history to take place on your watch? It's them blue-staters' fault for not taking things seriously. Out a CIA agent for political revenge? It's her fault for being someone's wife. Mislead Congress on intelligence? It's Congress's fault for misfollowing. Torture the citizens of a country that didn't attack the USA? It's their fault for being pissed off at their conquerors.
Shoot some old guy? It's his fault for hitting my birdshot with his face.
Oh, and just imagine, imagine
what the storyline in the media would be if exactly the same thing had happened but with a Democratic Veep. "He doesn't know how to handle a gun, he's not manly, he's faking this image for the press, he's irresponsible, maybe he's on drugs, he's obviously unhinged, maybe he was trying to kill the guy and make it look like an accident, maybe he was drunk, what if the President were unfit and this loose cannon had to command our armed forces, do we really want a guy who can't even handle a gun under controlled conditions in charge of our military, yadda yadda yadda."
Cross-posted from The Green Knight
Saturday, February 11, 2006
by Dark Wraith
A Walk-Down Primer on the U.S. Trade Deficit with China
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Ohio anti-gay foster parent/adoption bill killed
Hey, that was fast
. I posted Thursday
about the latest gay-bashing bill
under consideration in the Buckeye State, which would have banned gays, bisexuals, and transgenders from fostering or adopting children.
It looks like even the state GOP legislators had to scurry away from the bigots in their midst on this one -- they have announced it's DOA. Woohoo!
GOP leaders in the House and Senate said they would not permit the measure to move through committee. Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
House Speaker Jon A. Husted (R- Kettering) through his chief of staff blasted the proposed bill.
"Most reasonable people would have a preference for being in a loving, alternative setting rather than an abusive, heterosexual setting," Scott Borgemenke told the Columbus Dispatch.
...House Minority Leader Chris Redfern said Democrats will join with Republicans to ensure the bill never gets to a vote.
The bill's chief sponsor, Ashville Republican Ron Hood, said if the measure does not make it to the floor this session he will re-introduce it again and again until it does. "Studies have shown that the optimal setting to raise children in is a traditional setting with a mom and a dad," Hood said. Hood claims that children raised in gay households are at "increased risk" of physical and emotional problem.
"To reach out and be a bigot is bad enough. To do it on the backs of children is just wrong," said Jeannette Birkhoff, of Equality Ohio.
The tawdry hits keep coming from Coulter
Her mouth opens, and the incredible hate and filth just spew out. The latest wordvomit from this darling of the horny young Repugs, came at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in front of 1000 young GOP mouthbreathers. Just a few gems... (Max Blumenthal via Raw Story
Coulter on Muslims:
"I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'" (This declaration prompted a boisterous ovation.)
Coulter on moderate Republicans:
"There is more dissent on a slave plantation then amongst moderates in the Republican party."
Coulter on the Supreme Court:
"If we find out someone [referring to a terrorist] is going to attack the Supreme Court next week, can't we tell Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalito?"
The hilarious part of this story is that Video Diagnostician Senator Bill Frist was asked for a comment on the "raghead" bleating, and he said:
"I wasn't there so I better not comment
."The Brad Blog
has audio of the speech.
***Mehlman: Dems can't protect the U.S. against terror
While Ann Coulter was sensitively talking about "ragheads" at the Conservative Political Action Conference, "Hetero" dancin' man
and RNC mouthpiece Ken Mehlman
was there as well, bleating the most ridiculous shite. (ChiTrib
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
"We do not and we never should question these Democrat leaders' patriotism, but we do question their judgment and we do question their ability to keep the American people safe. These are people we know love their country, the question is: Can they protect it?"
In a speech to activists gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mehlman suggested Republicans should make an election-year example out of Democrats who criticize the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program. He made no mention of a growing number of Republicans who also have raised concerns about the wiretapping.
"Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they should hang up when those terrorists call their sleeper cells in the United States?" he asked, referring to the House minority leader and the Democratic National Committee chairman.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
by Dark Wraith
The Sound Bite and the Fury
At a meeting today in New Hampshire of the Business and Industry Association
, President Bush spoke
about the 2007 federal budget. Striking a humane tone, he said, "I look behind the numbers and see the quality-of-life issues... Those of us who put [the budget] together really did see the human dimension." Allaying fears of gratuitous or harmful spending cuts, he pointedly emphasized that programs eliminated or whose budgets were reduced were those that hadn't produce results.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has even published a Website called ExpectMore.gov
, which details what the Administration considers productive and unproductive agencies.
The record $2.8 trillion budget proposed for 2007 includes
a nearly five percent increase in Pentagon spending to $439.3 billion and another five percent increase in spending on Homeland Security.
Only hours after the speech, Mr. Bush signed into law the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005
including as it does $39 billion in spending to cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidy programs, and student loansthereby making good on his promise that only unproductive programs would face the budget cutting axe under his Administration.
The Dark Wraith is always grateful when the news, itself, renders scathing commentary anticlimactic.
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Outing the pedophile priest enablers
The Village Voice
blows the clergy pedophilia scandal wide open, profiling a priest who works on behalf of abuse victims who is alleging in a lawsuit what we already suspect -- the child molesters are being protected by the dysfunctional, sick closeted hierarchy who are afraid of being outed
A priest's lawsuit is about to kick the closet door of the head of the New York archdiocese, Cardinal Edward Egan
, wide open, as well as some others.
The suit, now pending in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, was filed on December 13 by Bob Hoatson—a 53-year-old New Jersey priest considered a stalwart ally among survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. Hoatson, the now-suspended chaplain for Catholic Charities in Newark, is suing Egan and nine other Catholic officials and institutions, claiming a pattern of "retaliation and harassment" that began after Hoatson alleged a cover-up of clergy abuse in New York and started helping victims.
But that's not all his lawsuit claims. Halfway through the 44-page complaint, the priest-turned-advocate drops a bomb on the cardinal: He alleges that Egan is "actively homosexual," and that he has "personal knowledge of this." His suit names two other top Catholic clerics in the region as actively gay—Albany bishop Howard Hubbard and Newark archbishop John Myers.
Outed: Egan, Hubbard, Myers
It's not that Hoatson has a problem with, as the suit puts it, "consensual, adult private sexual behavior by these defendants."
No, what Hoatson claims is that, as leaders of a church requiring celibacy and condemning homosexuality, actively gay bishops are too afraid of being exposed themselves to turn in pedophile priests. The bishops' closeted homosexuality, as the lawsuit states, "has compromised defendants' ability to supervise and control predators, and has served as a reason for the retaliation."
Hoatson realizes what he's up against. "I stopped and I thought long and hard about these allegations," he says. "It's time the church confronts this dysfunction. I couldn't do this outside of filing a lawsuit. The only thing the church responds to is negative publicity or a lawsuit. If I kept trying to do this within the system, I would be gone."
This is an explosive, lengthy article, well worth the read.
How do you think the Vatican will respond to this? They've had the luxury of buying off victims, but this lawsuit is another animal altogether. Assume that they will do everything possible to destroy Hoatson's character -- that's a given, but if he produces some damning homo evidence, what will the church do then?Hat tip, BlogActive and Proceed At Your Own Risk.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
John Bolton Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
by Shakespeare's Sister
I kid you not.
We are living in Bizarro World.
How to Make Friends and Influence People
by Shakespeare's Sister
Uh-huh. You’re reading that right. An MSNBC producer is speaking at a conference about How to Reach Masses of Conservative Voters with Your Cause, Policy or Political Message.
Your Media: Actively Pro-GOP. If the Democrats were smart, they'd make the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine an integral part of any reform platform during the 2006 elections.
More from John Aravosis.
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)
by Shakespeare's Sister
That’s the headline of an article
telling the tale of Nia, a 17-year-old schizophrenic.
A railway line ran a few hundred yards past the bottom of their garden, far enough away for the family to ignore it. Nevertheless, Nia said she could hear people talking about her inside the painted steel carriages. In the clank of heavy rolling stock she could pick out snatches of conversations about her—derogatory insinuations that crept into her room through the plastic veneer of the double-glazing. She also told him that she had seen things on television. The newsreaders had begun looking at her. In the corners of their eyes she began to read signs. They were sending her messages; messages that linked up with the voices on the trains…
On the day before her admission to hospital, Nia had stood at her parents’ front door, unmoving, for five hours.
Does that madness sound “beautiful” to you?
Of course, the whole point of the story is not that Nia’s madness was beautiful; it’s that she
was. And that when the effective antipsychotic drug with which she was treated made her gain weight, she suddenly wasn’t beautiful anymore. Nia didn’t care; she was just happy to be well again. But everyone else around her, including her doctors, were fretting endlessly about her having to give up her beauty for her sanity. So much so, that they took her off the drug and replaced it with a different one that didn’t have weight gain as a side effect. When she slipped back into psychosis, only reluctantly did they put her back on the original drug.
The treatment had reversed a Faustian pact in which Nia had been beautiful and mad, and replaced it with another—in which she was fat and sane.
Give me a fucking break. The girl went from standing for five hours
, not moving a muscle, to mental healthfulness. Perhaps the most devastating part of this article is the final salvo, in which her newfound sanity is actually questioned because she doesn’t care that she’s fat
But was it really a blessing that Nia seemed to have no conception of what she had lost?
I suppose the notion that Nia maybe managed to have a modicum of perspective and felt that extra weight was a small price to pay for a normal life is just too outrageous to consider—that maybe her priorities aren’t the ones that need questioning.Twisty
, and Zuzu
all have more—great pieces each.
I just want to take a moment to address something I found particularly distressing in the piece—the notion that “fat” and “beautiful” are mutually exclusive. My entire life I was teased for being fat. Even when I was thin, I had large breasts, which got translated into being fat by my pre-teen peers. I was 12 years old, and not a pound overweight but already sporting D-cups the first time I got called “a fat cow.” I’ve spent my whole life feeling fat, whether I was or not. And consequently, I never felt beautiful, because there’s no such thing in our culture as being both fat and beautiful.
I’ve been told, “You’d be so pretty if only you lost weight,” I’ve been mooed at by cars of passing teenage boys, I’ve been called ugly more times than I can count.
I’ve also been called sexy, cute, and, yes, even beautiful. But those words don’t ring the loudest in my ears when I look in the mirror, because I have an entire culture telling me that you can’t be both fat and beautiful—and even trying to feel that way is of questionable sanity.
I never suffered from a dearth of potential partners, even those who had never dated a fat girl before, or never thought they would, and I’ve never felt that regarding weight as a preference, when it comes to attraction, isn’t legitimate; preferring someone thin is no different than preferring someone blonde. But I remember having a conversation with Mr. Curious once, before he lost some weight, during which he said, “You and I are both attractive, but most people don’t see it, because we’re fat.” And I was reminded of that as I read “Beautiful Madness,” in which Nia, so beautiful at first that she was considered “too beautiful to be in a psychiatric ward,” but stripped of her beauty, in the eyes of others, as she gained weight. You can be fat or you can be beautiful, but you can’t be both.
Or so goes the conventional wisdom.
But I know women who are fat and beautiful. I see famous women—Queen Latifah
, Mia Tyler
, Dawn French
, Kathleen Turner
, Kathy Najimy
, Liza Tarbuck
, Kathy Bates
—who defy the conventional body shape and are stunning to boot. Are they crazy, or wrong, for feeling beautiful? Am I, when I manage it?
Are we crazier than those who value beauty over sanity?
(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister
This is the Republican base
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery
, in keeping with the spirit of political truth-telling set by Dr. Martin Luther King and Mrs. King, said this at Coretta's funeral today (Think Progress
We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.
The moment those words left Lowery's lips, you knew it was only a matter of time before the Swift Boating would begin. Apparently it didn't take long at all
Lest we forget the class of the people we're dealing with, the cretins who stand behind the criminal Bush administration no matter what
, we only need to turn to the desperate, filthy underbelly of The Republican Base
. Read my friends, this statement
by the founder of the Free Republic, Jim Robinson.
We oppose all forms of liberalism, socialism, fascism, pacifism, totalitarianism, anarchism, government enforced atheism, abortionism, feminism, homosexualism, racism, wacko environmentalism, judicial activism, etc.
With that laughably and quickly dispatched, let’s take a look at the Republican base
. Let’s also look at the black Republicans, because Coretta and Dr. King fought for their right to lie down with the flea-ridden dogs of The Base
Actual Freeper Quotes™
Lowery : Blah Blah blah bash bash bash bull bull bull Dubya : What a maroon. Laura : Please let me kick his ass. Please OK - give it your best
"I would like another roll with dinner please."
"Two classy people sitting behind a pile of trash."
Colonel Sanders has been palling around with George Hamilton.
Lowery: And yesim, we's be black and we's be proud. We's for the gubmit but not Bush's gubmit. Bush's gubmit is against us black peoples...
Bush thinking: They just can't leave politics out of it, can they? How low CAN they sink?
Laura thinking: Say it...say one more word about my husband....come on...
Laura looks determined and dignified. And is striking!
Dubya: "Hey Laura, listen closely here, I had Rove slip some political stuff into his speech so that the Dims end up "Wellstoning" themselves again..."
"psssst, look Laura, his trousers move when he's talking out his arse."
"They're running this funeral like a PLANTATION!!! And you KNOW what I'm talkin' about!!!"
Bush is going to get the last laugh, as usual. Watch his approval rating skyrocket after this shameful display.
W: "What's that old saying, 'Better to be thought a complete race baiting moron than open your mouth and remove all doubt.'"
It is so nice to have a first couple with class in the White House.
You got that right. I caught part of the service. What a disgrace. I wish Pres. Bush and First Lady Laura did not have to sit through that. They are better people than I.
"Psst...Laura, you sure that ain't Looter Guy?"
Un-by-God-believable! These people have no shame at all! To take a funeral that was supposed to celebrate a life and turn it into a political hack job has got to the lowest act possible. I hope that black america sees this and knows just how disgusting their leaders are.
47 posted on 02/07/2006 2:56:13 PM PST by Horatio Gates (Go Seah....uh...Mariners! Congrats to the Steelers. Well done.)
Yes, this is the base -- the alleged new friends of Bush's back-slapping Self-Loathing NegroesTM
, the ones who don't mind waiting for some to-go leftovers from The Man, some faith-based cash, and a few photo ops to make them feel like power brokers in The Big House.
Dr. King and Coretta Scott King spent their lives courageously fighting for equality and social justice. Their work enabled people like these losers below to bed down with the Right. Even after the naked exposure of The Base
after Katrina, you will find these fellows standing behind their Man.
Armstrong Williams, well-paid, ho-beast shill for the Administration
Keith Butler, homo-bigot running for the Senate in Michigan.
Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, running for governor
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of winger org Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, famously saying after Katrina
: "If black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror
Alan Keyes, member of good standing in the AmTaliban, who kicked his "selfish hedonist" lesbian daughter out of the house
Our faux token on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas.
Our shuffling and jiving man from Plantation, er, Project 21, Mychal Massie, with Rick Santorum
. Massie, on a radio show, opined
that blacks should thank God for slavery
I'm sure the Republican base would agree with Massie.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Bahamas school official: Lesbianism=bad grades
I had to read this editorial twice to make sure that I wasn't imagining things. This represents some of the most unhinged thinking on the planet (not counting the plentiful U.S. wingnut theories, of course). It appears that an epidemic of lesbianism in the Bahamas is causing grades to plunge (someone get Willie Wilson
on the phone!). (The Freeport News
If the problem is as serious as has been suggested by Stephen Plakaris, deputy director of government school security for the Northern Bahamas, a much bigger crisis exists in our school system than the disgraceful "D" average performance that is now the norm nationally for students in government schools.
In an article published in The Freeport News on Tuesday, Mr. Plakaris confirmed that there is a network of lesbians operating in private and government high schools in Grand Bahama. "Unfortunately we cannot deny it," he told our reporter, adding: "To deny it would put us in a situation where we're looking at ourselves in the mirror and pretending we don't see what is there."
Didn't he know that I have been working with my local contacts there to disseminate The Homosexual AgendaTM
? Our work has been effective because the Ministry of Education's Security Section clearly has no idea how well we've infiltrated the schools...
Although he could not say how many girls on the various campuses engage in lesbianism, Mr. Plakaris made the shocking assertion that the numbers "are alarming, disturbing and growing." Even more disturbing is the claim made by Mr. Plakaris that there are some adults of this orientation - including some teachers and parents - who "are not inclined" to discourage young girls from engaging in this kind of lifestyle.
Rumours have long been in circulation about lesbianism becoming a growing problem not only in schools in Grand Bahama, but in New Providence as well. Gauging just how pervasive it is in our schools, of course, has always been difficult because gay women do not physically exhibit the characteristics which make it easy to determine that a man is homosexual.
Did someone find my Universal Gay Man DetectorTM
in the Bahamas? Damn, now I know who has it -- the editor of the Freeport News
. I'd go retrieve it, but it sounds like someone might brain me down there.
On the heels of that editorial, it looks like the local version of Daddy Dobson, the Grand Bahama Christian Council President Bishop Ricardo Grant
, has called for a probe
into the allegations of rampant lesbianism in the schools involving a joint effort between parental groups, the Christian council, education officials and counselors. They have to get to the bottom of this matter tout de suite
Now that it has come to his attention and he has read the article, Bishop Grant says the Christian Council will definitely launch its own investigation into the allegations.
The deputy director of government school security said the lesbian network in our schools could not be denied as the females are bold, growing in numbers and most disturbing is that they are preying on young girls.
...The problem, Mr. Plakaris adds, stems decades old, as far back as the late 80s, but are now more blatant among teachers and students. The problem is not exclusive to The Bahamas as research shows that there is seemingly also rampant lesbianism in schools in the United States and Canada, Plakaris says.
Mr. Plakaris says once his department receives information on anybody it is passed on to the Department of Social Services. "If criminal charges are necessary then we would recommend as such," he said.
"But we will not sit back and allow it to continue without letting persons know that we have been watching and we have been documenting -- teachers as well as students."
I'm making light of this bullsh*t, but imagine if you are a gay or lesbian teen living under these conditions.
Crossposted at Pam's House Blend
Rove wannabe unleashes smear campaign
Jim Roth was the target of an anti-gay automated phone call set up by Oklahoma GOP stooge Tim Pope.
I see we have a Karl Rove wannabe sleazing out in Oklahoma
. Nothing like a little round of anonymous phone calls to voters, intimating that the openly gay Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth is "advancing the homo agenda."
Nice touch, Tim Pope
. (The Dallas Voice
The recorded message accused Roth of "advancing the homosexual agenda in Oklahoma County" and mentioned a speech he was to give. The recorded female voice did not say who paid for the call or leave a return number. The number that showed up on caller ID was from a Michigan area code. The calls were made last weekend.
"I think it's an outrage that they send those type of smearing, trashy phone calls to people on a Sunday afternoon and don't have the courage to remove the white hood and show their face,” Roth said. "I'm concerned that it has the potential of violating a number of laws."
Tim Pope, a Mustang resident and board member of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly, said he paid for the calls. Pope said he was not required to put a disclaimer claiming responsibility on the call because he was promoting an event at which Roth was scheduled to speak.
"It's not a political call for a political candidate, so there is no requirement that there be a disclaimer," Pope said.
"We just wanted to help him get a bigger crowd. It didn't attack anybody." The event mentioned in the call was a Monday evening program sponsored by GayOKC.com, called "The State of Our Community 2006."
Pope's bio at the Vanguard:
Tim Pope is TheVanguard.Org's Grassroots Director and President of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly. A seven-term member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, he served six years as Republican Whip, and won awards for legislative excellence from the Oklahoma Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Oklahoma Taxpayers Union. He has worked across Oklahoma and the nation teaching conservatives the nuts and bolts of how to win.
Nuts and bolts=sleazeball tactics, which are the hallmarks of the Rovian style (which sadly, works). Take note Dems, when you have small-time GOP operatives willing to do this sort of BS time and again, what do you all plan to do to counter this? Yawn...
I will give Pope credit for one thing -- the bigot actually fessed up to it. Ken Mehlman and his clowns try to dodge responsibility for sleaze, like the mailings sent out to voters in 2004
saying Kerry would "ban the bible."
Crossposted at Pam's House Blend
by Shakespeare's Sister
I coined a new word at Ezra’s place
today: Oathish. It’s kind of like truthiness, except it describes the congressional testimony of someone who isn’t put under oath, but promises
he’d say the same thing either way.
Monday's hearing into the NSA program got off to a rocky start when Democrats protested that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be given a sworn oath before testifying.Oathish
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the panel's senior Democrat, argued that Gonzales should be sworn in like any other witness. At the very least, Gonzales should be asked if he would volunteer to being sworn in, Leahy said.
"It's not up to him," said Specter, who was upheld by a quick party-line vote by the GOP-led committee.
Gonzales, who was not sworn in, told the committee he would voluntarily take the oath if the committee so desired. Either way, "my answers would be the same whether I was under oath or not," he said.
: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ testimony was oathish
Oathishness avoids all those persnickety little problems such as having traitorous liberals like Senator Russ Feingold point out you may have lied
during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, or being indicted
on two counts of perjury.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
by Shakespeare's Sister
Displeased with the new bankruptcy law, Judge Frank Monroe of Austin has issued a ruling including a scathing critique
which, apparently, has set the legal world “abuzz.”
In his ruling, Monroe said the new federal bankruptcy law is full of traps for consumers, calling some of its provisions “inane,” “absurd” and incomprehensible to “any rational human being.”
He stopped just short of accusing Congress of being bought and paid for, dryly noting, “Apparently, it is not the individual consumers of this country that make the donations to the members of Congress that allow them to be elected and re-elected and re-elected and re-elected.”
“Can any rational human being make a cogent argument that this makes any sense at all?” he wrote.
Monroe's opinion inspired Austin lawyer Randy Howry, president of the Austin Bar Association, to send it to all 3,700 members. He praised Monroe's order as “a reminder to us all that as lawyers and judges, we are the protectors of our democracy. . . . We must not sit idly by as our constitutional rights are being shredded.”
Code blue! Code blue! Somebody convene Judicial Sunday IV! We’ve got activist judges on our hands!
I know that Bush likes to say that the judiciary should interpret the law, not make it, so if they’re interpreting laws as “inane,” “absurd” and incomprehensible to “any rational human being,” maybe the lawmakers need to head back to the drawing board.
(Hat tip Jedmunds
. Crossposted at Ezra’s place
Special Blog Post:
by Dark Wraith
Response on Blogging and the Democratic Party
Below this article, Charlie has written well on the subject of Blogging and the Democratic Party
Here, I bring to the fore a point of terminology that has much deeper implications. I shall at length publish a more detailed post on this matter, but I should like here to set forth the point in informal summary.
Few readers would disagree that a number of voices within the ranks of the Republican Party are extreme: this extremism draws not merely from religious tenets—as in the case of sects within American Christian evangelicalism—but also draws from secular cords that model geo-political dynamics from a mercantilist/statist perspective—as in the case of the neo-conservatives like those of the Project for the New American Century. That we can find examples of individuals who are in both groups at once does nothing to dismiss the distinction between these separate counterforces against modernism.
Among the successes of these two groups is one that has gone largely unheralded, and that has been at the expense of great harm to causes of those in opposition to them. These two groups, each in its own way, have successfully and invalidly redefined Centrism. Many bloggers have accepted without consideration the label that they are "Left," and Democrats moving toward neo-conservative and religious Right positions are said to be moving "toward the Center."
This is nonsense, but it certainly demonstrates the extent of the ideological power of those forces we oppose. They have taken without so much as a meager fight the claim to semantic authority, and that fight was not engaged because, to some extent at least, far too many marginalized agents within our ranks take with some perverse pride a label of repression. This is precisely the same phenomenon seen when other marginalized groups embrace and use upon themselves pejorative, discriminatory, hateful language. It is the semantics of defeat: it is the victory of the abuser that his names for his victims somehow become their names for themselves.
Is it really—and I mean really
—some "Leftist" position to demand a clear, hard, unyielding wall between church and state?
Is it truly some "Leftist" hyperbole to anticipate that a civil society will not prohibit contracts of union between people because of the particulars of their emotional and sexual relationships, relationships I might point out that otherwise comport in every way with the standards recognized and encouraged in such unions?
Is it honestly the exclusive domain of some diffuse and insufferable "Left" to anticipate the state in absolutely the most minimal ways possible directing the choices women make with regard to their internal biological processes?
How did it happen that it is the "Left" that finds reprehensible a conduct of foreign policy that uses systematic, sustained, and ultimately disastrous misrepresentations and miscalculations to take our nation to war?
What exactly is "Leftist" about demanding a law enforcement apparatus that does not have some "right" to use whatever means it can to promote public safety, but rather has the privilege
to do so in a professional, disciplined manner where the rights of citizens permanently take precedence over any and all techniques officers of the law could employ?
This is the issue: why is it a mark of pride to let these wrongful forces perverting this nation define not just the debate, but the very words used
in the debate? No one wins an argument where the very semantic foundation has already been conceded to the opponent.
Others may choose as they wish; but for my part, I
occupy the Center; and I will not concede it in word, definition, or label to a cabal of Medieval simpletons who toil to the craft of reverting the world to an ugly time before the modern age.
Now, who else will not yield?
The Dark Wraith wants to know.
Blogging and the Democratic Party
I was talking to Melissa
last night, ranting about how politics have been depressing me. This is part of the reason I've made a deliberate effort not to blog politics recently. But she convinced me to set my reluctance aside, at least this one time. So I'm going to talk about the Democratic party. I intend to say some things that I think a lot of people haven't quite understood yet. So listen up.
I'm getting very tired of hearing that our issues can't win with the American public. A lot of people are acting as though the fact that conservatives are in power right now means that a slim majority of Americans are themselves conservatives. I actually can't stress how utterly and resoundingly wrong this idea is. High ranking officials in the Democratic party, I'm talking to you. The fact is, most
Americans identify strongly with liberal values. For example, they want control over their bodies. They believe in the the freedom of speech and the right to protest. Just like we self-identified liberals, their sense of morality is offended by the idea of poor people dying from treatable illnesses because they couldn't afford health care.
So when I see things like this
Reuters article, titled "Bush to seek Medicare cost savings," whose first paragraph is this --
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush will propose reining in Medicare payments to hospitals as he seeks savings in one of the largest U.S. entitlement programs, an administration official said on Saturday.
-- I hope you can understand why I get a little upset. How did it ever get this bad? Have you forgotten your own liberal values? Because the day I read that it is permissible to find "cost saving" in Medicare is the same day that most Americans have been allowed to forget that Medicare payments translate directly into poor people not dying
. Most Americans don't want people to die. So you see, when conservatives say Bush is "reigning in Medicare payments to hospitals as he seeks savings," I should hear it said that Bush is "contributing to the needless deaths of many Americans by cutting hospital care for the elderly, poor, and needy, all the while calling this a 'savings.'" And don't even get me started on the use of the phrase "entitlement program." It has actually reached the point where conservatives are allowed to portray money spent on saving lives as wasteful. It's not that Americans have gradually become more conservative. It's that they are focused on their day to day lives, and if we -- if you, the elected and appointed officials of the Democratic Party -- don't constantly remind them why
it funding Medicare is worth their tax dollars, they will forget. And then they will think that "reining in payments to see saving on one of the largest U.S. entitlement programs" sounds like a damn good idea.
You'll recall that I said I intended to say something that I haven't heard said yet. I find it interesting that up to this point, I haven't said anything that hasn't been said a million times before all over the liberal blogosphere. No, these are hardly original thoughts, and that brings me to point number two: You, high ranking Democratic officials, are ignoring your base.
I'm going to say it again, because I think this is an important point. Democrats are ignoring their base.
I've read a lot of bloggers recently who have come very
close to saying that, especially Peter Daou (and especially in this post
). Daou acknowledges that there is a disconnect between the Democratic Party and liberal bloggers. But even Daou describes a system where the Democrats tell a network of bloggers what to points to hit. I'll tell you what I think: Daou has it exactly backwards. It is backwards for two reasons: One, because he is assuming that blogs have a lot more power than they do. I think it has been quite well demonstrated that this isn't the case. The stories that we bloggers focus on generally don't catch on with the public at large until the mainstream media deigns to pick it up. In a few rare cases, we have been able to make that happen. But the vast majority of the time, we can't. Daou's system might be effective at getting the word out to other bloggers, but it would do very little to raise awareness of the issue to the mainstream public.
But there is another bigger reason that Daou has it backwards: we liberal bloggers represent the Democratic Party's base
. Think about it. What constitutes the base of a party if it isn't the people who care enough about the issues to write obsessively about them almost every single day? Consider this as well: if my little rant above -- the one about liberals who have let Americans forget why they should care about liberal issues -- didn't contain anything new, it is only because liberal bloggers -- the base -- are already providing a consistant message. And that is the very thing the Democrats have been accused of not being able to do.
If I'm right and liberal bloggers really do represent the base of the Democrats, this tells us a couple of things about what kind of results we should expect given certain behaviors of the Democratic Party generally. For example, as they move to the center on issues that are important to their base, one should naturally expect support for the party to fragment. Indeed, that is exactly what we have seen. It makes sense, then, that because the base sits considerably to the left of the party itself, if the Democrats were to move to the left on the issues, they could reasonably expect greater success. Note that this is in direct contrast to Daou's theory, wherein the Democrats continue to do what they are already doing to determine what issues should be emphasized, and then use blogs as an additional way to get the message out.
Also note that there is no reason to expect us to lose popularity by moving left. In fact, we should actually gain it, because the day-to-day process of moving to the left will force our elected officials to explain themselves, and as I've already mentioned, most Americans share our liberal values. (And if you still aren't convinced, think about it this way: The Republicans have been forced to carry out most of their goals under a veil of deception. They already know
that we have the ideological upper hand. We are the only ones acting unaware of this fact.)
I'm certainly not claiming that liberal bloggers themselves are the base of the Democratic Party. The set of people in the party's base is much bigger than the set of liberal bloggers. But I think it is safe to assume that liberal bloggers represent the base fairly accurately.
I'm also aware that it is often claimed that it is hard to get the liberal blogs to agree on anything. I think anyone making that claim has drastically misunderstood what blogging is about. If we all agreed perfectly, there would be nothing more to write about. Perhaps more importantly, blogging is a process by which we bloggers grow. When I write something, someone else reacts to it. Sometimes they leave me comments and I rethink my position. Just as often, someone publishes their thoughts on my post, highlighting my post's flaws and suggesting a different way of approaching the same issue. The disagreements are not unlike a social or philosophical version of the scientific method: mistakes are uncovered so that they may be corrected. The fact that we liberal bloggers have reached anything like a general consensus on so many diverse issues speaks volumes for our process. The fact that we don't all march in lock step isn't a weakness. It's one of our greatest strengths.
The only thing left is for someone in power to recognize the potential.UPDATE:
None other than Peter Daou himself writes in with this:
Hi Charlie – someone sent me a link to your post, which I think has some interesting points. However I think you’ve misunderstood my ‘Triangle’ concept. If you read the first essay in the series, you’ll find we agree on the role of blogs.
And to think I was just saying that one of the strengths of blogging is being told when you're wrong. Peter is right, I had not read back far enough to completely understand his Triangle concept. The link he provides gives an excellent introduction, but the general idea is very close to what I just said: bloggers are only one leg of a triangle. The other two legs are the media and the party establishment. Without participation of the other two legs, the power of blogs is greatly diminished.
I misunderstood Daou's Triangle to mean that information flows only one direction. In fact, his premise is that with a successful triangle in place, information and cooperation would be free to flow in all three directions. Mea culpa.Cross posted at Shades Of Grey
Friday, February 03, 2006
by Dark Wraith
And Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, a Rant
The National Science Foundation
that the NSF Fiscal Year 2007 budget overview will be held on February 6, 2006. As noted by the Los Angeles Times
, President Bush stated in his Tuesday night 2006 State of the Union address
that he wants to create "...a program to train 70,000 teachers for Advanced Placement high school classes in science and math, as well as bring... 30,000 math and science professionals into schools to teach [with] $380 million in 2007." As noted on such blogs as Dynamics of Cats
(from which comment made there by the Dark Wraith this post is derived), this level of funding is of dubious sufficiency to the goal set forth by the President.
In fact, $380 million for the preparation of a total of 100,000 new teachers would mean that the average beneficiary of this initiative would directly or indirectly receive $3,800. Important to note in this regard is that this money will likely not be distributed in its entirety to those in training: colleges and universities will receive at least some of this money in the form of NSF grants for establishing or upgrading their teacher training programs. With the cost of a four-year education
at a public college averaging $5,491 per year (an increase of 7.1% over the previous academic year) and that at a private college averaging $21,235 per year (an increase of 5.9% over the previous academic year), a small share of a $3,800 sum will provide little draw for most students. More importantly for the long run, this initiative offers no fundamental change in salary structures for educators in service or planning to enter the profession. Driven largely by local and state factors, those salaries will not be affected in any material, permanent way by an initiative that throws what appears at first blush a large amount of money at a gaping chasm that is orders-of-magnitude larger.
The President, reflecting the concerns of other well-meaning and less well-meaning commentators on education, is attemptingalbeit inadequately, at best, and disingenuously, at worstto address a "shortage" of qualified teachers in math and science. There is, however, no shortage: shortage
from an economics standpoint implies a non-market distortion that imposes an effective price ceiling below the equilibrium price that would clear the amount of a product being supplied with the amount of that product being demanded. In the present matter, a shortage would exist only if it could be argued that the price (salaries) for teachers was less than what would exist in an unregulated market. That would be difficult to establish: private schoolsa market in which no argument can be made that government or majority voting blocs impose salary distortions pay less than public schools
The price being paid to teachers is, unfortunately, creating no shortage; but it is
producing a long-term catastrophe, particularly since simplistic, short-term solutions keep getting piled, one atop the last, on the fiasco.
The problem is no better at the college level. One of my specializations is teaching remedial and "developmental" math. In other words, I am charged with accomplishing in a matter of months what was left unaccomplished over twelve or more years of formal, pre-college education. This I do quite well.
The students come in droves; and no fewer are arriving now than did before the "No Child Left Behind" initiative. In fact, the prospective learners are in even worse shape now because they are rammed through pass-the-test-at-all-costs curriculum without the least regard for solid, years-long skills development appropriate at each grade to both emotional and mathematical maturity level.
And that is emerging as the second problem now looming on the horizon: schools are rushing to prove how butch their math programs are by ramming high-level material into the curriculum at lower and lower grade levels. This is an exercise in futility on stilts: even if it could be argued that some "average" emotional maturity stage could be altered at a certain grade level, the mathematical maturity stage (which exists in its own matrix of cultural, social, and other parameters) has its own, separate pace that is not going to dance to the tune of great sounding, pandering curriculum scope and sequence overhaul. More to the point, teachers cannot magically change the parameters of the society in which the children grow up, so teachers cannot construct whatever effect would be necessary to proceed with getting kids to do calculus while in diapers.
No Child Left Behind is destined to become No Child Left, Period
So what's going to happen? More of the same will be forthcoming: kids who cannot write a grammatically correct sentence, much less a cogent, essay-length review and analysis; students who have no essential sense of how numbers work in basic mathematical operations (oh, but they'll be able to apply math to "real world" nonsense); parents who will continue to drift in their own fog of self-indulgent materialism conveyed to their kids in everything from electronic noise addiction to crippled attention-at-length skills; and politicians (both Republican and Democrat) who will preen themselves before the voters with yet another round of disgraceful funding tied to useless, ill-informed, git-tuff-on-them-kids-and-teachers education mandates.
Oh, yes, I almost forgot. For my 25 years as a college math teacher I'll still be making under $20,000 a year to do the impossible. And while the education Renaissance earns applause for Mr. Bush, Congress, state legislators, and local school boards, the miracle show of mind, magic, and math will continue on schedule in Lecture Hall 12B.
The Dark Wraith has ranted.
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Florida doctor's office prescribes 'ex-gay' treatment
Some licenses need to be revoked in this case. There's nothing else to it. (Daytona Beach News-Journal
A 36-year-old lesbian has filed a state complaint against a doctor and physician's assistant alleging she was given literature condemning homosexuality as "sinful and sexually impure" after a routine appointment.
Jamie Beiler, formerly of Kissimmee, saw physician's assistant Dawn Pope-Wright on March 11, 2005, for a bronchitis checkup because her normal doctor was on vacation, according to a Jan. 27 complaint filed with the Division of Medical Quality Assurance. Beiler's sexuality was noted in her medical file, but unmentioned during the appointment, her lawyers said.
When she opened up an envelope Pope-Wright left at the checkout counter, she was shocked to find photocopied pages including Bible verses that denounced homosexuality and asserted God can help her change. "The information that Ms. Pope-Wright gave to Ms. Beiler was derogatory and offensive, and completely disrespected her right to dignity and privacy," the complaint says.
From the National Center for Lesbian Rights
Also named in the complaint is Dr. John R. Hartman, who allegedly deflected Beiler's concerns when she complained to the office.
The article notes that Hartman hasn't commented to the press and the office says that Pope-Wright no longer worked there -- she also hasn't commented on the matter. The complaints have been filed with Florida Department of Health and CIGNA Healthcare.Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Still More Culture War Nonsense
and the good people at Open Letter to Chris Matthews
want to know what is wrong with the ad that Verizon just pulled (linked at the Open Letter post; WMV).
It became the target of radio host Glenn Sacks
, who complains that the ad makes dads -- and men in general, by implication -- look like idiots. Watch for yourself and make up your mind.
Personally, I have a smidgen -- but only a smidgen -- of sympathy with the culture warriors on this one, simply because the ad, like a hell of a lot of TV, follows what has become a fairly predictable narrative: gormless guy surrounded by capable women. Call it the Xander effect
. You see it on a lot of ads, sitcoms, and so on these days, and it can get a little irksome just because it's so unoriginal.
What the culture warriors don't get, though, is that this narrative almost never appears in any serious context. It's always in the form of comedy
, and one point of comedy is that it's an inversion of what people think of as the natural order of things. The reason our culture considers a gormless man funny (and a capable woman funny) is that we don't really believe in them
. Despite what the culture warriors think, ads like this reinforce the patriarchy as much as they subvert it, because they require it as a norm against which to contrast their comedy.
And the other thing, frankly, that the culture warriors don't get is that what really
makes men look like idiots is the spectacle of grown men organizing and getting all upset because of a thirty-second TV ad. Now that's
comedy, and not in a good way.
Cross-posted at The Green Knight
Freepers already turning on Alito
Drudge is blasting as his banner headline this AM - SURPRISE! ALITO SPLITS WITH CONSERVATIVES ON FIRST DAY.
Sammy didn't vote the "right way" yesterday for the wingers regarding a death penalty case; he didn't side with Roberts, Scalia and Thomas. (AP
New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito split with the court's conservatives Wednesday night, refusing to let Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection.
Alito, handling his first case, sided with inmate Michael Taylor, who had won a stay from an appeals court earlier in the evening. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported lifting the stay, but Alito joined the remaining five members in turning down Missouri's last-minute request to allow a midnight execution.
...An appeals court will now review Taylor's claim that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, a claim also used by two Florida death-row inmates that won stays from the Supreme Court over the past week. The court has agreed to use one of the cases to clarify how inmates may bring last-minute challenges to the way they will be put to death.
...Scalia and Thomas have consistently sided with states in death penalty cases and have been especially critical of long delays in carrying out executions.
Let's see, the Freepers were expecting Sammy to be bloodthirsty right out of the box, because the knuckle-draggers have the wingnuttery expectations bar set very high for him. With this decision, one is already worried about having to "wipe egg off of our faces."
Sigh, if only I could actually believe that, given Alito's record, but for now, I will take pleasure in the squirming coming out of the swamp. It is a delicious feeding frenzy.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
Actual Freeper Quotes™
"From what I understand there was a lot of court activity today. Someone wiser will help spell it out for us."
"Wow. He's growing in office. That was quick."
"Maybe his Catholicism came into play. The AP seems to be trying to make this non-story a story."
"Just trying to make us look bad, then? Ho-hum, just another day at the office."
"Thank you all. I guess I should be used to it, but I'm not!"
"Those of us who supported this guy did so because we trusted his judgement. Wow, that could be a FR record for turning on one of our own; less than 24 hours."
"Did you expect anything less? The Donner Party "Conservatives" look for any and all excuses to have another Nacht der langen Messer."
"Except it has become so common place, one no longer has to see it to believe it. Just look at Mr. "Bush is the Antichrist" and all of his sycophants."
"The question seems not to be a review of the scum's conviction, but wheter death by lethal injection is, "Cruel and unusual punishment." Alito has definitely thought this issue out before. I hope his decision on this matter is not portending another death penalty bleeding heart---let alone anoter Souter or Kennedy."
"I hope you are right or we'll be wiping egg off our faces for the next 25 years......."
"I am sending you a Reynolds tin foil roll, please give me your address. I will send you some pampers as well."
"I'll send you a check to help pay for pampers to send to him!"
"Yea, and to prove it, notice how his head is tilted to the left":
"This was a second decision apparently. I don't know what all is going on with this case, but I would not be concerned about Alito on this really. I read it as Alito just not feeling comfortable with saying go ahead and kill a guy whose case he had not read. When the case reaches the SCOTUS (just in an appeals court presently), I am sure he will agree with the conservatives and hopefully Kennedy that lethal injection is NOT cruel and unusual punishment."
"Exactly. There may be nothing wrong here, but it sure raises some questions. If the libs have managed to get another stealth leftist on the Supreme Court right under our very noses, it'll be one of the most stunning political defeats ever. I'll wait and see before jumping to conclusions, but I'm concerned."
"He likely had a heads up on this case as he has been a nominee for months. No excuses for first day on the job."
"And how do you know that he had a heads up on this? Who told you a Supreme Court nominee will be reviewing Supreme Court cases behind the scenes while waiting for his confirmation? Where do some of you people come up with this crap? Your stupid conclusions are no different from the delusional conclusions of the liberal media."
"I'm not going to jump to conclusions over this, but I will have to say, IF ANYONE HERE IS CONCERNED ABOUT LETHAL INJECTION BEING CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT (and that includes Alito unfortunately) FOR A RAPIST KILLER OF A YOUNG GIRL OR ANY RAPIST KILLER FOR THAT MATTER THEN YOU'RE ALL SCREWED UP."
"After careful consideration, I'm just going to let certain Freepers determined to make fools of themselves by claiming Alito is Souter! march over their hastily constructed cliff. Things will be far more peaceful around here when they follow Wily Coyote and hit the dirt. Much thanks to the Freepers trying to speak logic and sense to them. I just haven't the desire to spend the next ten years assuring them he's a good selection as every decision comes down."
Special Blog Post:
by Dark Wraith
How Not to Get the Story
The arrest of Cindy Sheehan on February 1, 2006, in the House chamber of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., offers some valuable lessons to the investigative journalist. Presented below are a few of those lessons.Do not look for Capitol Police arrest records at the Capitol Police Website; it's not much more that a recruitment gateway. If, however, you actually want a job with the Capitol Police, then you should definitely go to that Website.Although the Website noted above is primarily for recruitment purposes, one link at the Capitol Police Website is to the Press Room, where you will now find a press release dated 02-01-06 entitled "Accountability", which deals with the arrest of Ms. Sheehan and the related, subsequent events. The document is remarkable in its clarity. While upholding the actions of the officers involved in the detention of Ms. Sheehan, it bluntly states the following:
[N]either Mrs. Sheehan’s manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention.Also, do not call your Senators or your Representative to get help in tracking down any information. While some people have been fortunate enough to develop relationships with the aides to Members of Congress, the average citizen will come up bupkis. The people who work in those offices are almost to the last one of them bright, talented individuals. They will use their native intelligence to act like their as dumb as rocks when you start asking pointed questions about where information is hiding in Washington and why it's not where it should be.And the most important lesson of all has been reserved for last. Whatever you dono matter how hard up you are for a source, for a lead, for even a tidbit of informationdo not under any circumstances tell an important person, or even a person who thinks he or she is important, that you're a blogger. Lie through your teeth if you have to; just don't use the word 'blog' or any derivation thereof. You will be disrespected. You might very well get your feelings hurt. In fact, you'll be lucky if you don't get the telecommunications version of your backside kicked right out the door while it's still closed. And once you get up off the ground, dust yourself off, and go back to your blog to write a post, all you'll have is a story about how not to get the story you spent the whole stupid day chasing.
The Dark Wraith has thus offered some insights.
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Werewolves: The new axis of evil
Be afraid! Werewoves are a reality! In the state of the union speech last night, Bush said "Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids..."
I am relieved that fear mongering over the Werewolf agenda will take the place of the angst over the homosexual agenda. The religious right is now less concerned over their children being forcibly indoctrinated into homosexuality in light of the new fear of their children being devoured by werewolves.
It is also interesting to discover that The Island of Dr. Moreau was in fact a documentary.
Well known actor and Animal-Human hybrid activist Salacious Crumb had this to say. "Bring it on! We are tired of being in the closet! Freedom means freedom for everyone!"
In Washington state and with the support of Focus On the Family, little Timmy Eyman has filed a referendum banning all Animal-Human hybrids from service in the public sector.
As far as the State of the Union is concerned, this was the most note-worthy information to be gleaned from the speech.
My god...why didn't I think of Joe Biden?
Bankruptcy Bill Joe is the answer to Dem's prayers.
, Jane points to evidence that there is no sign of brain activity in the political consultant class. Don't faint at the headline for this commentary over at MSNBC
:The Case for Joe Biden
A long time political consultant argues that the senior senator from Delaware is the Democrat’s best shot
I cannot bring myself to cut-and-paste any excerpts from this piece by Ron Goldstein, "a veteran of 10 Democratic presidential campaigns dating back to 1976." OK. One mind-blowing snippet:
The senior senator from Delaware has an appealing media persona: He’s not a bad-looking guy, and his performances seem real, not wooden like those of the last two Democratic nominees. Unlike Howard Dean, his outrage and passion is controlled, not manic. His voting record is appealing to centrist America...
It's just incredible. This is why Bob Shrum will always find work. One commenter over at Jane's pad says it best
"Good God. Don't kill Bob Shrum. He writes the best concession speeches in the business. We need such experience on the front lines."
He couldn't lay off of the gays, could he?
Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage.
Every one of those closets in the White House and on the Hill needs to be blown wide open. Listening to him bring up Coretta Scott King, btw, made my stomach turn. I wonder how the thousands of displaced victims of Katrina feel about his remarks.
Just a few comments on the drivel last night...And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory.
I just can't muster the energy to go over the glorious, flaming pile of bullsh*t he said about Iraq; at this point he's delusional, attempting to convince some small segment of the population not drunk on the Kool-Aid that we're somehow winning and that peace and democracy are flourishing. And, of course, he's going to "stand behind our military." Troops have all the resources and protection that they need, don't they? How's that stop-loss policy working out for you?
As expected, Dear Leader leaned heavily on the use of Terror UnlimitedTM
. He mentioned terror, terrorism, or terrorists 21 times
in that speech. My favorite section of the night, delivered in his best bogus bumf*ck hick accent:
This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaeda, we want to know about it because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
There you have it -- the neatly-wrapped-and-tied-with-a-bow justification for his domestic spying program. I could hear the Freepi from afar, giving a standing ovation for this bullsh*t.
Aside from the Terror UnlimitedTM
campaign, the secondary theme of the speech appeared to be "Keeping America competitive," while using examples of his efforts that completely undermine the phrase as most thinking people understand it.
* "Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing
Translation: tax cuts are good; make them permanent. Let's just run up the tab for the great-grandkids.
* "Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars
WTF? Leaving aside the matter of the out-of-control spending from the rolling in the pig filth Congress, what has he done to control what happens to our tax dollars? He's hiding behind the line item veto question; he could have vetoed any of that bloat wholesale once it made it to his desk.
* "Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American
Sorry, bud. Who is buying this? In his many travels to the South, including this state, has he not seen and heard about the shuttering of factory after textile factory, all the jobs going overseas where workers can "thrive" under heinous working conditions for meager wages? Opening global markets won't fix this problem.
* "Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally and reduces smuggling and crime at the border
Whatever. Of course everyone wants secure borders. He's talking out of both side of his mouth on this one -- he's not going to make either side happy with this guest worker idea; the wingers have been eating him alive on the immigration issue. This is the one area where it's not clear to me that either party has any good solutions yet, and the politicians in those states significantly affected by the surge in undocumented workers/residents aren't getting any guidance out of Washington.
* "Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility
Good god. After the prescription drug benefit fiasco, he really needs to shut his piehole. This is embarrassing. He's still blaming lawsuits for the woes of our health care system. He talked about health savings accounts as an answer. Please. Whatever initiative comes out of the White House on this matter -- aside from hot air -- will not address all the people who have no health coverage of any kind. As Russ noted
in his live blogging, Bush is still worried about OB-GYNs not being able to practice their love with women
all across this country.
* "Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world
This almost doesn't deserve a comment. I will refer you to this: ExxonMobil posts record profit
.Cha-Ching! Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and CEO Lee Raymond laughs at you. (AP).
The painful text of the Chimp's speech is here
On the other side...There has to be a "better way" to counter that sorry-ass State of the Union address.
Since I've been Kaine-bashing
for the last week or so over his anti-gay BS, I'll weigh in on Shakes Sis's poll
. Here's her question:On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being uninspiring but not offensive, and 10 being a disaster of catastrophic proportions, how bad a speaker is Tim Kaine?
He sucked donkey dick. 8.5 (the mitigating factor was the nice setting behind him; the fire distracted me enough to keep me from falling asleep -- good choice there, Tim). The whole "better way" of governing drivel (basically "we know how to do it in Virginia") was uninspiring, to be charitable. With a trail of devastation domestically (Katrina) and internationally (Iraq) left by the man sitting in the White House, this timid speech practically glossed over the level of disaster that Bush has laid at our doorstep. Kaine made it sound like it was just a gentleman's diagreement on policy.
If the Dem party is going to put up a Mr. Repug Lite, get someone in there who has the much-lauded charisma that would entice the feeble sheeple. He called for more bipartisanship (good luck with that one, Congress), and lifelessly delivered the rest of obvious (and necessary) talking points.
BushCo's management failures re: Hurricane Katrina, Iraq are enormous, and Kaine barely tapped the fertile ground of the lobbying and corruption scandals hanging over the entire Bush Admin. Any Dem centrist-right fantasies that this "new face" of the Dem party is going to slide into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave should be dashed pronto.
Shakes Sis gave him a 9.5, saying the only thing that would have given it a 10 was if Kaine's "dick had fallen out of his pants to reveal it was emblazoned with a tattoo of Calvin peeing on The New Deal
."Well if his dick fell out, Shakes, that wouldn't improve things because the audience would then have to endure shouts of "forgive me Jeebus" because his pee-pee was exposed.
The full text of Kaine's remarks is here
: If you want to read a kick-ass response from a Dem, check out John Edwards
' speech over at Tom Paine
, The America We Believe In
Edwards's launching pad for 2008 is called One America Committee
. I intend to push the former Tar Heel senator and VP candidate on the civil equality issue, since his stated position is that he opposes same-sex marriage, but he does not think the Constitution should be amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
He needs to re-articulate what civil rights and liberties he feel gays and lesbian taxpaying citizens are entitled to. Here are some of the knowns, based on his public statements to date
* the recognition of partnership benefits
* changing our immigration and adoption laws, so that they provide equality to gay and lesbian couples
* a re-examination of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy
* he's taken the punt of "let the states decide
" on whether to ban or allow same-sex marriage.
That last bit of business has been the Dem's "safe" position for the time being. However, this is little comfort to those gays and lesbians now living under those constitutional amendments and any Dem candidate for president is going to have to address this.
Dems taking this position are saying civil equality should be something decided at the ballot box
, something they never would have said to Dr. King.
On his blog
, Edwards praised the life and work of Coretta Scott King, who was for full civil equality for gays and lesbians.
"Our nation owes her a debt of gratitude for all of her efforts to bring about peace and equality both here in America and around the world. Today, we must continue her legacy by working to end poverty, so all Americans have the same opportunity to realize the American dream. We honor Coretta Scott King by carrying on her commitment to ensuring civil rights and justice for all Americans."
I would hope that he has come to embrace the idea that allowing states to decide to enshrining discrimination into their state constitutions against taxpaying citizens is wrong.
***The Moderate Voice
has a good roundup of SOTU coverage.