Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Great Balls of Fire

US troops are secretly using outlawed napalm gas to wipe out remaining insurgents in and around Fallujah.

-- Paul Gilfeather, Sunday Mirror, November 28, 2004

Gee, I really hope not. For the sake of our reputation, and of hoping against retaliation, I really, really hope not.

The U.S. military is secretly using banned napalm gas and other outlawed weapons against civilians in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, eyewitnesses reported. Residents in Fallujah reported that innocent civilians have been killed by napalm attacks, a poisonous cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel which makes the human body melt.

Since the U.S. offensive started in Fallujah earlier this month, there have been reports of “melted” bodies which proves that the napalm gas had been used.


-- Al Jazeera, November 28, 2004

Napalm might have been banned by the United Nations back in 1980, and for good reason, but that does not mean that the United States has ceased using such weaponry.

American jets killed Iraqi troops with firebombs – similar to the controversial napalm used in the Vietnam War – in March and April as Marines battled toward Baghdad. Marine Corps fighter pilots and commanders who have returned from the war zone have confirmed dropping dozens of incendiary bombs near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris River. The explosions created massive fireballs.

-- James W. Crawley, Union-Tribune, August 5, 2003

What have we wrought?

The Rich Get Richer

...and the poor get poorer.

Gas prices are up. Housing prices are up. Health care prices and interest rates are up. Even the poverty rate in this country is up. So are the numbers of millionaire households - way up to a record 8.2-million from 6.2-million a year ago. That's a whopping 33 percent gain of 2-million new households to achieve millionaire status in just the past year from June 2003 to June 2004.

-- Robert Trigaux, St. Petersburg Times, November 29, 2004

Real average weekly earnings fell by 0.4 percent in October for the seventh time this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Nov. 17.

-- International Labor Communications Association (ILCA), November 29, 2004

But hey, America's great as it is! Don't touch a thing.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Christian v. Liberal

Are the words Christian and Liberal so incongruous that I can't be both at the same time? Surely there are people out there who believe that this is true, they are often those who voted for Bush solely because he was the "anti-abortion" candidate, but are they truly looking at the party with the real Christian values? Many Christians, especially those among the Roman Catholic faith, couldn't bear to vote for Sen Kerry, who disdained abortion but didn't see how he can legislate according to faith. And because of this, they overlooked the immorality of the war in Iraq, the executions by a former governor, and the unethical dealings of a certain company with a country that harbors terrorists.

A coworker of mine even said off-handedly that she had told her sister, who is a registered Democrat and hates Bush's job record, that it would be unthinkable for her to vote for Kerry because of his pro-choice stance. Whether the sister took this to heart, I'll never know, but this type of behavior troubles Democrat candidates every day.

But why are the labels Christian and Liberal such a distance apart? By voting for the conservative candidate soley because of the abortion issue, they are denying the other teachings of early Christians, especially Jesus himself.

I believe anyone who knows me or reads this blog would assume that I am a bleeding-heart liberal. They'd be right, I am. But I'm not ashamed of that title no matter how hard conservatives try to make it a bad word. Liberal has come to have this cancerous connotation attatched to it, which disturbs me because everyone is a little liberal deep down inside. But because I'm liberal does not mean I'm godless, or that I'm any more of a sinful person because of my progressive views. Jesus himself was a liberal with progressive ideas. I'll attempt to explain.

Bender from Bendistraw has been going through the same questions in his mind. In his one post on the topic, he writes,

I was staunchly conservative and staunchly Christian for the first 18 years of my life--I mistook Paul's laws for Christ's teachings. The hypocrisy of Paul's Church drove me to look again at Christ--a political and social figure who I admire greatly--because I wanted to understand how it was that people who claimed to be Christian on Sunday were talking about killing Iraqis, shutting down head-start programs, and decrying universal healthcare on Monday.

One of the reasons I believe that the labels Christian and Liberal are so polar is because of the connotation that has taken over the word Christian. When I think of Christian, I see James Dobson. I see Pat Robertson, with his over-sized head and his hateful speech. I see Jerry Falwell and I see all the pastors who can't seem to get enough of same-sex marriage. These are the folks who overlook the Catholic Church's teachings on capital punishment -- and vote for the single killingest governor in recent history -- and the war in Iraq. Those who claim to be Christian have, to me, become synonymous with hypocrites and elitists. Just like what Bender said, they are the ones who sit in the front pew on Sunday, but screw the poor on Monday.

Aren't they the true elitists? There's a loaded word. Republicans and conservatives have an almost monopoly on whitetocity. They hate you if you're from the ghetto. They hate you if you come from Mexico. They hate you if you're gay. They hate you if you had an abortion. They hate you if you're on welfare. They hate you if you opposed the war in Iraq. They hate you if you like French wine. They are the elitists. They are the ones who think they're better than everyone else.

So I can't consider myself a "Christian" under those terms. But at the same time, I consider myself a believer in God. I'm not a godless heathen, hellbent on destroying the foundation of Christianity as we know it just because I support same-sex marriage and women's rights, and oppose school prayer, legislated morality and censorship. I believe it makes me more of a Christian than those who have present possession of the word.

Jesus hated gays so much that he never once spoke a single word about it. But he did preach against bank accounts, the rich and those who mistreat the poor. Try telling that to Pat Robertson. Jesus loved public prayer so much that when asked how to pray, he told the crowd that they should go to a room and shut the door and pray in private, for those who need to pray in public and put on a show do not please God.

These conservative Christians who preach "morality" are just a show, a facade of hate and fear. Fear the gays because they want to kill you. Err, they want to get married? That's it? That's not dangerous. Hell, that doesn't even affect me.

So are Christian and Liberal so different that I can't be both at the same time? By current definitions, yes. By true meanings, no. I don't hate you because you're different, just as I am different. Jesus loved the poor. Jesus treasured women. Jesus fed the poor and the hungry. Jesus never told a homosexual he was going to hell. He never condemned a prostitute for her sluttiness. He never lauded the goodness of school prayer. He told those who are wronged to turn the other cheek. He praised the peacemakers, for they hold a special place in Heaven. These are not conservative values. These are liberal values.

Nun With Nuts

Roman Catholic nun Carol Gilbert, 57, who is serving time in the same prison as the famous homemaker, says she enjoys eating with [Martha] Stewart, although the setting could be better. ... Gilbert is serving 33 months on convictions of obstructing the national defense and damaging government property for her role in an anti-war protest at a missile silo in 2002.

-- Associated Press, November 28, 2004

That's my kind of nun!

Thou Shalt Not

Now that his high school football season is over, Zak Coppinger has been playing poker every chance he can get. With his mom's blessing, he's turned the family dining room, complete with green walls and a chandelier, into a poker parlor for himself and his buddies. He also keeps a deck of cards at school so he can play impromptu games during class or lunch.

"It's better than homework, I can tell you that," the 18-year-old from Austin, Texas, says with a chuckle. He's just one of the many young people who have become avid players of Texas Hold 'Em and other poker games — a trend sparked, in part, by TV shows that feature tournaments for celebrities and professional poker players.


-- Associated Press, November 28, 2004

Uh oh. Wait until the Christian-Right Moral Police come for you!

Heathen boys,
Heathen boys,
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do
When we smite at you?
Huh!

Technologically Advanced Iraqis



Iraqis -- most of whom live in fear of death, live without running water and live without electricity -- somehow found access to the Bush/Monkey pictures and then had the know-how to print them out in color. Wow.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Sticky Situation

The busiest shopping day of the year turned out to be a sticky affair. Vandals apparently glued the locks on dozens of Lafayette's biggest retailers, preventing managers from opening up promptly on lucrative "Black Friday." Hundreds of shoppers, some of whom arrived before dawn, were forced to wait outside Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and other stores while managers summoned locksmiths.

-- Associated Press, August 26, 2004

Damn it, Ian!

Gays Must Die!

According to the report by the New York-based group [Human Rights Watch], two Jamaican policemen allegedly took turns beating resident Victor Jarrett for staring at a teenage boy on a beach. An angry mob grew around the fight, chanting "Gays must die!" After chasing him to a nearby house, the crowd of civilians dragged Jarrett out and chopped, stabbed and stoned him to death, the report said, citing an account in a Jamaican newspaper.

A front-page photo of Jarrett's blood-spattered body was published the next day in the Western Mirror newspaper with the caption "What a way to go," referring to him as an "alleged gay man."


-- Associated Press, November 26, 2004

Just when I think homosexuals have it pretty bad here. How did the two policemen know he was staring at a teenage boy? And who are they to be the judge and jury? The gay man might have beem creepy, but nobody deserves this. They surely don't appreciate and respect the sanctity of life. Shame, Jamaica. Shame.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Day

The Pilgrims built seven times as many graves as they did houses and yet they found enough reasons to be thankful that they put together a large feast and invited their new friends, the Native Americans, who would soon be driven from their homes in a move to ensure what would later be coined Manifest Destiny. I believe we all can take time this Thanksgiving Day to take stock of the things we take for granted.

Refrain This

Congress last weekend included more than $131 million for abstinence programs in a $388 billion spending bill, an increase of $30 million but about $100 million less than Bush requested. ... The president has been a strong proponent of school-based sexual education that focuses on abstinence, but does not include instruction on safe sex.

-- Associated Press, November 25, 2004

Those who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnent or getting someone pregnent or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. But with only 50% of high schoolers graduating as virgins, this method of sexual education is obviously not the answer -- or at least the only part of the solution.

Those who are solarly abstinent have a zero chance of contracting a sun burn, which can lead to skin cancer and ultimately death. But that risk alone is not going to keep people from playing outside, and humans have come up with ways to protect themselves from the overly harmful radiation associated with sun exposure. Instructing students to stay indoors and avoid all solar contact isn't going to make them any less willing to go outside and kick around a ball.

Likewise, because we know of their curiousity and their unwillingness to sit on the couch all day and watch television, we can inform our children of alternatives. Yes, little Suzie, you can wear sun screen. Yes, little Bobby, a hat covering your head will protect your scalp. Yes, little Patricia, sunglasses lessen the effects of the sun's rays beating against your eyes. But no, children, you can still get a sunburn no matter how much precaution you take.

The only 100 percent way to avoid a car collision is not to drive. And yet we have safety belts in every vehicle to ensure our well-being. Even though we recognize the risks of driving in a fast-moving metal death trap, and we know that automotive abstinence is the only way to prevent such risks, we cannot so dumbly believe that we, unlike our children, are the only ones capable of making the right decisions for ourselves.

Safe-sex education doesn't make kids have more sex, it makes them have more sex safely. And as long as 50% of high schoolers are non-virgins and young people 15 to 24 account for about half the new cases of sexually transmitted diseases, teaching children all the alternatives in decision making is the best route. No one was worse for wear when given too much information on any given topic.

If we teach our children about the evils of sex, and never speak a word of protection, but instead drill at the importance of abstinence, the logical next step for children who believe that they are doing right could be even more dangerous. We teach that children should not have sex, but do we forget that the sexual urges our young adults experience is as innate as involuntary breathing? Without these urges, humans might have been extinct many, many years ago. Children who do not have sex, per se, are bound to find other sexually fulfilling interactions. They're not having sex and and being abstinent, and yet they are as much at risk for STDs, especially AIDS, as anyone performing the actual act. It reminds me of a scene in the movie Clueless when one of the actresses says that she is a virgin, but she keeps her man "satisfied." Bingo.

Knowledge is power. And we must let them make their choices. I say yes, teach abstinence. It is the only fool-proof protection keeping our children safe. But don't stop there. Because they don't conform to your beliefs on how teenagers should act doesn't mean we push them into the world uninformed. Any parent would agree with that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ann's Origins

I know I've always had my suspicions.

(VIA Wanted.)

Bad Religion, Part Two

I have nothing to add.

Matanuska Christian School's principal has been fired and a teacher has quit over a disciplinary incident in which the principal had himself whipped in front of two students. Principal Steve Unfreid, who said he was inspired in his choice of disciplinary tactics by the actions of Jesus, asked teacher Joe Brost to whip him in front of two male students in the school's basement last month after the boys were caught kissing girls in the locker room for the second time in a week.

The decision to take the boys' punishment on himself showed a form of Christianity that was too radical for some members of the school community, Unfreid said, sitting cross-legged on a leather couch in his Wasilla living room Friday afternoon.

When the two seniors, 17 and 18, got caught kissing girls in front of younger students in late October, Unfreid said that while contemplating what discipline to hand out, he woke at 3 a.m. and prayed how to avoid expelling them. He said that was when he remembered years ago he had cured his son of chronic lying by telling his son to hit him with a wooden ladle instead of spanking the youngster.

Later at school, Unfreid walked the boys down to a basement room with Brost. He told them, "'Guys, this has gotta stop,'" he said. "'I've let the atmosphere get too lax. I share in this discipline. This is a one-time deal.'" Then the principal took off his belt, gave it to Brost, and instructed the teacher to "discipline me like you would discipline your own son," he recalled. He told the teacher to stop only when the students acknowledged their mistake. The whole thing, starting with the trip downstairs, lasted 5 to 10 minutes, he said.


-- Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, November 13, 2004

Bad Religion

A 35-year-old mother of three has been charged with capital murder here, following the shocking discovery that she had severed the arms of her 10½-month-old daughter. Rescue workers found the baby barely alive Monday, with Dena Schlosser calmly sitting on her couch humming a religious tune and wiping blood from her hands and arms. The child was rushed to the Medical Center of Plano, about two blocks from their apartment, but was pronounced dead almost immediately.

-- Hugh Aynesworth, Washington Times, November 24, 2004

A religious hymn...?

Make a Difference!

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday against a Missouri high school that twice admonished a gay student for wearing T-shirts bearing gay pride messages. ... The shirt bore a pink triangle and the words "Make a Difference!" ... This one featuring a rainbow and the inscription "I'm gay and I'm proud."

-- Tamar Lewin, New York Times, November 24, 2004

That is what the high school is getting into a tizzy over? Wow. I'd hate to see them on Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Back Scratching

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has helped raise at least $113,000 for the legal defense of an embattled Texas congressman who will help decide whether Rogers gets a powerful House chairmanship this winter. In August, Rogers hosted a Lexington fund-raising luncheon for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, Texas.

-- John Cheves, Herald-Leader, November 23, 2004

I wonder if there is a Republican alive who believes in the innocence of Delay. I doubt it. 'Nuff said.

Big Spendas

This is the party of smaller-government.

The $388 billion spending bill that cleared Congress on Saturday and will head to President Bush for his signature has 11,772 earmarked special projects totaling $15.8 billion, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. Among them:

$25,000 for the study of mariachi music in Nevada's Clark County School District.
$225,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in South Carolina.
$1 million for the Missouri Pork Producers Federation to convert animal waste into energy.
$75,000 for renovating the Merry Go Round Playhouse in Auburn, N.Y.
$100,000 for a weather museum in Punxsutawney, Pa.
$800,000 for "soybean rust research" in Ames, Iowa.
$75,000 for "hides and leather research" in Wyndmoor, Pa.
$1,593 for potato storage in Madison, Wis.
$1 million for a world birding center, Texas.
$150,000 to pay for beaver management and damage in Wisconsin.
$200,000 for the American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas.
$100,000 for a swimming pool in Ottawa, Kan.
$70,000 for a "Paper Industry International Hall of Fame" in Appleton, Wis.
$1.5 million for the Rep. Richard Gephardt Archive at the Missouri Historical Society.
$2 million for the government to buy back the presidential yacht USS Sequoia, sold in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to demonstrate frugality.

Book Burning, Next Sunday

In another move to crack down on broadcasting indecency, federal regulators have drawn a record $3.5 million payment from media giant Viacom, plus a pledge to instill safeguards to prevent future violations.

-- Jeffry Bartash, CBS.MarketWatch, November 23, 2004

Santorum, Part Three

This Santorum story gets stranger and stranger.

Penn Hills municipal code enforcement will be visiting the house owned by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on Tuesday, Nov. 23, to conduct an inspection needed to issue an occupancy permit. The municipality began investigating why Santorum never filed an occupancy permit for his house at 111 Stephens Lane, which was purchased in 1997, after the PROGRESS broke the news on Oct. 20 regarding questions of Santorum's residency.

-- Zandy Dudiak, Penn Hills Progress, November 17, 2004

Neighbors apparently have never seen any of the kids playing in front of the $106,000 house Santorum and his wife, Karen, never bothered to get an occupancy permit to inhabit. Nor have they ever witnessed Rick cutting the grass or Karen pruning the peonies.

-- Eric Heyl, Tribune Review, November 21, 2004

Evidently, he bought the house in Penn Hills in order to establish his residency in Pennsylvania, which is needed to run for the Senate. But he's never lived there, as we can see with a lack of an Occupancy Permit. Either he never lived there or he's breaking the law.

Hmm. A $757,000 home in Leesburg, VA or a $106,000 house in Penn Hills? Where would you live?

Diverse Views

President Bush has ordered up new measures to bolster the CIA in combating weapons of mass destruction, directing the agency to present "diverse views" to policy-makers.

-- Associated Press, November 23, 2004

Lie. Lie. Lie.

(See: Cleaning House.)

It was embarrassingly apparent during the first debate that President Bush is not used to hearing two sides of a debate. He doesn't usually hear opposition, and there's no reason to believe he wants that now.

Santorum, Part Two

Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife will immediately begin home-schooling their five school-age children after they drew criticism from a school board member for sending them to an Internet-based school paid for by taxpayers.

A member of the Penn Hills school board said last week that the district has paid about $100,000 for the Santorums' children to attend the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. Erin Vecchio said Santorum has never lived in the district, despite owning a two-bedroom house there; the family of six lives in a home in Leesburg, Va., so the senator can be close to Washington, D.C.


-- Associated Press, November 18, 2004

He's just too funny, that Mr. Non-Liver-in-Pennsylvania man.

What would fellow Republican Alan Keyes say about such a situation? "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by [enter name here]'s willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So, I certainly wouldn't imitate it." And yet he did. And yet Santorum is too! Oh the irony of Right's love-affair with Federalism.

Santorum

Too funny.

And he wants to make a run for President? "...while Santorum’s supporters expect him also to run for the White House, perhaps as early as 2008." Say it ain't so! I will not go. Turn the lights off. Carry my home.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Not Any of Your Business

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday that "accountability will be carried out" against whoever slipped a provision into an omnibus spending bill that would have allowed two committee chairmen to view the tax returns of any American.

-- CNN, November 21, 2004

We have an always-elevated terror alert which is keeping Americans in a constant state of fear, the FCC is doing its damnedest to crack down on "indecency" and throwing its weight around in the name of censorship, legislation is being introduced in order to allow non-law enforcement people to access anybody's tax returns and there's a possibility that the president won reelection because of the religious right. We are either turning into Iran or communist USSR.

The price of gas has gone from roughly $1.49 to $1.89 in the past several months, which around these parts has created quite a stir. And a couple of weeks ago, the price went up and touched upon $2.00, which really made people uneasy. An interesting thing happened since then. Now that it has lowered and is back down to $1.89, people are sighing in relief while still anxious about the price. But compared to $2.00, $1.89 rocks. It's all about pushing extremes and then slowly getting them used to a state of complacency and of slight constant anxiety.

A parallel can be struck between this and the terror warnings. Yellow is elevated and Yellow is where we are now. Elevated. Huh. Are there any specific warnings that makes the feds believe that we need to be in this "elevated" state of awareness? We haven't been attacked in three years. Couldn't we possibly drop a notch just for the sake of putting peoples' minds at ease?

But aren't they really already at ease anyway? We've been conditioned to live in a Yellow world. We haven't been attacked in three years and the terror level has never been lowered a single notch below Yellow. Is there any indication -- or do any of you believe that we'll ever see -- that the feds will lower the alert below Yellow? It's become the norm.

And fear sells. Just like sex sells, fear is a perfect way to rally Americans to your side. Vice President Dick Cheney offered great advice to the voting public right before the election that a vote for Kerry would almost certainly bring upon another terrorist attack. Fear, fear, fear. And fear works. It is also how dictators keep the public in line. Step across this line and we will stone you. Step across this line and we will throw you in jail and not allow you to contact a lawyer or your family. Step across this line and we'll fine you millions of dollars.

Which brings us to censorship. Ah yes, the great friend of theocracies. Show a little skin, we will stone you. Show a woman's tit, like no one in this world -- save John Ashcroft -- has ever not seen one of those, and you'll pay a price. Gather intelligence that disagrees with the policies of the White House, consider yourself fired. One must keep in line for fear of retribution for free-flowing ideas. That's what they do in Iran.

And finally, the religious right. Oh how they bother me. But they're free to do whatever they want, as long as they don't break any laws in the process. But with Bush signing executive orders allowing the mixture of church and state with faith-based initiatives, who's to be the wiser? The church, not even the church of the whole country, is becoming more and more influential in the policies of the governemnt. Do you know where else religion is the law of the land? Oh yes, Iran.

What happened last time religion and government mixed? They burned witches. Oh well. Witches, liberal Democrats, pro-choicers, homosexuals, gun-controllers, anyone who doesn't fall in line with the Republican agenda, they're all the same.

And now there was legislation introduced and about to be passed by the Congress that would allow two "chairmen to to view the tax returns of any American." That's outrageous!

Please explain to me how, rushing to adjourn for the year, the House passed the $338 billion omnibus spending bill, which was necessary to keep government operations funded after Congress ran out of time to pass nine regular appropriations bills, without finding the time to read the more than 1,000 pages of the bill! What else are they missing? What else should I be worried about?

The Drudge Report has received a tip that the little piece about tax returns was introduced by Republican Ernest Istook of Oklahoma. Remember, this is the party of smaller government, more responsible citizenry.

Stay vigilant. The Republicans are lurking and finding new ways to invade your privacy.

What Have Been Its Fruits?

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

-- James Madison, warning against state support for religion and for disestablishment in Virginia more than 200 years ago

Rebellion

What's worse than "opposition Democrats" when it comes to the Republican agenda? "Rebellious House Republicans."

In a defeat for President Bush, rebellious House Republicans on Saturday derailed legislation to overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies along lines recommended by the Sept. 11 commission.

-- Associated Press, November 20, 2004

The Democrats and those treacherous Republicans worked to defeat the legislation that "could interfere with the military chain of command and endanger troops in the field." Who wouldn't want to defeat that? Don't the Republicans who support this legislation support our troops?

Fear Factor

What happens when the government creates a climate of fear to the point where nothingness becomes something?

WUNC-FM recently informed Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based international women's rights and health organization, that the phrase "reproductive rights" in the group's on-air announcement could be interpreted as advocating a particular political position. The station required Ipas to use "reproductive health" instead. WUNC made the change to avoid trouble with the Federal Communications Commission, general manager Joan Siefert Rose said. The FCC prohibits public radio stations from airing underwriting announcements that advocate political, social or religious causes.

-- Dave Hart, News Observer, November 11, 2004

So, so very sad. The FCC is turning into its own Spanish Inquisition and they're getting away with it. This makes my patron saint lady very happy.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Coincidence, I'm Sure

I'm sure this has nothing to do with anything.

Thanks, John

If by "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

-- John F. Kennedy

Heard Any Good Jokes Lately?

Yeah, me neither.

Ms. Boxer

Who says liberalism's dead? Few noticed that in this month's presidential election, the two of the three top vote-getters were "liberal Democrats." Sure, President Bush received the most votes, followed closely by Sen. John Kerry, both of whom beat Ronald Reagan's record, but in third place was Sen. Barbara Boxer. The California Democrat received 6.4 million votes, compared to Ralph Nader's 407,000 nationwide count.

If Democrats were in such a tough spot, wouldn't it make sense that those who received the most votes would've been Republican?

Sleep Here

"There are other more vivid memories of the Clinton years, such as the selling of the Lincoln Bedroom..." (1)

"Firing up the Lincoln bedroom again as a hot-sheet flop house for fund raising seems out of step with the quest of Democrats to compete with Republicans on the emerging issue of moral values." (2)

"That would be the Bill Clinton who rented out the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder." (3)

"You know, when the Lincoln bedroom becomes the Motel 6, that resonates with the American people." (4)

The perks for 246 "pioneers" who raised at least $100,000 also included overnight stays at the White House and Camp David, parties at the White House and Bush's Texas ranch, state dinners with world leaders and overseas travel with U.S. delegations to the Olympics and other events, the review found.

-- Associated Press, November 18, 2004

When will the media stop being so damned liberal? Why do they give a free pass to Clinton and yet exploit all of Bush's unethical behavior?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Evil Activist Judges

Today at lunch I perused the Opinion section of the Wall Street Journal and found a great little article by Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News. He wrote to warn the world about the fate of an innocent reporter who may be incarcerated for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Shapiro writes what the reporter, Jim Taricani, is charged with. "His crime: doing his job. A confidential source gave Jim a videotape of a city politician accepting a bribe. The station broadcast it. Ever since, the heavy hand of the federal government has been squeezing Jim in an effort to get him to reveal his source."

What kind of free press would we have if the federal government -- state or local, for that matter -- can and does incarcerate reporters for keeping secret their sources? These sources, too afraid to come forward as a named informant, would all but disappear and the unlawful few of our culture would be able to freely frolick with no worry of getting caught. Federal whistleblower legislation protects employees who step forward to call attention to corporate fraud and illegalities. By law, they are unable to be punished. Where is the same justice for confidential sources? Are they not whistleblowers in their own rite?

This isn't even the only case of reporters getting in trouble for protecting their sources. As I've posted on earlier, two people -- a Times magazine reporter and a NYT reporter -- are being held in contempt for not divulging their sources. But they're not even connected with the crime that was committed.

Surely, rational people can see that this is a sad state of affairs.

And although Taricani has committed no real crime, he was found guilty today of criminal contempt. He faces up to six months in jail for no reason other than he would not break his code of ethics.

On top of that, Taricani is "a heart transplant recipient whose required medicines leave his immune system vulnerable to infection." This man had to choose between "the perilous environment of a jail cell, or breaking his word." And this true patriot of freedom chose possible death.

Title Grabber

Watch out, John Hostettler, you've got some competition. In my humble opinion, Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan, creams you for the title of Douchebag of Freedom.

You may remember Brownback from his attempt "to sneak into a military spending bill an increase in the amount the FCC will be able to fine so-called violators of decency, boosting the amount up to a whopping $3 mil" back in June. Like a good boy should, of course.

Now he's at it again, this time attempting to rid the Internet[s] of pornography, calling it pervasive and detrimental. Brownback has called a panel of anti-porn advocates to explain to him the addictive effects of pornography. Such double-sidedness. Where are the pro-porners?

While the whole idea of anti-pornography measures to "protect" Americans from its evilness has always been cited as against the First Amendment, these champions of the no-touchie Second Amendment don't seem to mind all that much. The ridiculousness of the situation at hand being said, I must commend Brownback for setting himself up so wonderfully for folly.

Brownback, an outspoken Christian conservative who has championed efforts to curb indecency on television and the Internet, said the public is beginning to realize "they don't just have to take it."

I'm sure he whispered "lying down" under his breath. Just sure of it. And he recounted how "some of his middle-age male friends limit their time alone in hotel rooms to avoid the temptation of graphic pay-per-view movies." Jees! It's pornography, for crying out loud!

But not to be outdone, Mary Anne Layden, co-director of a sexual trauma program at the University of Pennsylvania, called for billboards and bus ads warning people to avoid pornography, strip clubs and prostitutes. Because, as Americans, we surely won't do something just because we see a billboard telling us not to do it. Surely.

What hacks.

Criminal Leader, Revisited

This morning, as I have a little bit of time before work, I read the New York Times' take on the rule change of the GOP in order to let the House Majority Leader stay in power even if he's indicted.

The new rule was adopted by voice vote. Its chief author, Representative Henry Bonilla of Texas, said later that only a handful of members had opposed it. ... Mr. Bonilla said revising it had been necessary to prevent politically inspired criminal investigations by "crackpot" prosecutors from determining the fate of top Republicans.

-- Carl Huse, New York Times, November 18, 2004

Isn't this back to front? I don't see Mr. Bonilla's logic. The old way "required a member of their leadership to step aside temporarily if indicted." It doesn't truly matter what political motivations a "crackpot" proscecutor (See: Kenneth Starr) has. He can't get an indictment without a grand jury.

If a Texas grand jury finds something wrong with Delay's actions, then you can be pretty sure that there is sufficient evidence to go to trial. If Delay did nothing wrong, and he claims that there is no evidence to corroborate that he did anything illegal, why would he worry about being indicted?

A guilty mind?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Experimenting With Drugs

Flamingo Jones relates a story about a small Texas town that had a Homecoming tradition of switching gender roles and allowing the women to take charge. This went on for a few years until an irate mother complained that the gender-bending promoted homosexuality.

-- I can say as a side note that I have never met a homosexual who cross-dressed. Perhaps I'm sheltered, but I've known many homosexuals and not a one like women's clothing. But I do have to say that Eddie Izzard, the cross-dressing comedian, is freaking hillarious and very straight. --

Anway, so a chance to let girls invite boys on dates, open doors and pay for sodas is a gateway into the sordid world of man-on-man lovin'. It almost makes perfect sense!

The mother said: "It's like experimenting with drugs. You just keep playing with it and it becomes customary. ... If it's OK to dress like a girl today, then why is it not OK in the future?"

I can't discern if she was talking about her baseless bigotry or the school's one-week tradition of switching gender roles. They both fit just fine.

$8.18 Trillion

Do you remember the day after the election this month when I posted that the Bush administration's first order of business was to raise the debt ceiling when it convenes for a special post-election session?

It's happening.

A divided Senate approved an $800 billion increase in the federal debt limit Wednesday. ... Enactment would raise the government's borrowing limit to $8.18 trillion — $2.23 trillion higher than when Bush became president in 2001, and more than eight times the debt President Reagan faced when he took office in 1981.

-- Associated Press, November 17, 2004

Delivering the Republican Response to President Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole spoke words that seem to be truer today than they were eight years ago.

If you have a child asleep in your home tonight, you will probably check on him or her before you go to bed. As you bend over to tuck your child in, think about this: If we continue down this path we will place a tremendous burden of debt on every child in America. How can we betray them, their parents and grandparents? How can we fail to act? We cannot, and we will not.

American debt was no where near the levels of today. Where are these screaming fiscal conservatives now? The War on Terror is a part of the problem, but not the sole enemy of this mind-numbing debt we leave for our children. If you continue to give tax break after tax break, thus restricting and diminishing the funds that the government gets in order to operate, there is no reason to believe that the debt bothers anyone in this administration. The warning signs are looming large over the horizon, and yet we turn a blind eye.

What about our children? Where are you, Bob Dole? Where are you now that the out-of-control spender is one of your own?

Allan Sloan writes in this week's Newsweek on Bush and his tendencies, "There's never a reason not to cut taxes. The economy's good? Cut taxes, give people their money back. Economy's bad? Cut taxes to stimulate it. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, W's gotta cut. Deficits, shmeficits. Who cares? Just borrow some more from China and Japan."

Toooo true.

They Get Straight

Wow. A group of old virgin men who never have been married and never will be married finally came to the realization that the American public's inability to get married and stay married is the real reason marriage is "under extreme pressure," and not just because two men want to solidify their love.

[Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Kansas City-St. Joseph Missouri] said the U.S. marriage rate had dropped by more than 40 percent in the last 30 years, with the rate of Catholics who marry within the church declining by a comparable rate. Boland said "cohabiting relationships" are now seen as a preparation for marriage or an alternative to it, in opposition to church teaching, and 35 percent of those who have ever been married have been divorced at least once.

-- Reuters, November 17, 2004

Oooh, oooh! Don't forget about them using... condoms! Straight to hell, they will go!

Also, almost as a lesser side-note, "The bishops also voted to continue gathering statistics on the victims of priests sexual abuse through 2005, adding an extra year to a data-gathering effort." Yes, now the Bishops seek morality. Bishops taking advantage of little boys is of lesser importance than two people with the same genitalia getting married in a loving, monogamous relationship. Priorities, people!

Criminal Leader

If the congressional leader of your party has a very good chance of being indicted by a Texas grand jury on state political corruption charges, wouldn't you admonish him and replace him with someone who isn't so criminal?

One would think.

House Republicans approved a party rules change Wednesday that could allow Majority leader Tom DeLay to retain his leadership post... The current party rule in this area requires House Republican leaders and the heads of the various committees to relinquish their positions if indicted for a crime that could bring a prison term of at least two years. It makes no distinction between a federal and state indictment. Three of DeLay's political associates already have been indicted by that Texas grand jury.

-- Associated Press, November 17, 2004

The party with a monopoly on morality shows its true colors. Shine Republican Party, shine. This is, after all, the party of Nixon.

In Sickness and in Health

No, no one scared me away. Don't you worry any longer for I have returned. A really bad sinus cold, which migrated and morphed into a really bad chest cold has finally cleared up and I'm feeling better. I'm sorry for the lack of posting the past two days, but political commentary was the last of my worries, let alone abilities.

To make up for such bad posting habits lately, I will post no fewer than four posts tonight. Look for them! Until then, now that I am better I must tend to real-world errands.

Keep your eyes peeled tonight, and thank you for reading my blog.

Zachary

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Sunday Moment of Zen

John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.

-- August Wayne, Hoosier Gazette, November 2004.

That's right. John Hostettler: Zac Attack's new Douchebag of Freedom.

Apology Accepted

In the beginning, there was Sorry Everybody where people from around the country, the 48% of us, can share their apologies for letting down the rest of the world. Then came We're Not Sorry -- the Republicans' turn to thumb their noses at the world for their lack of intelligence and rational reasoning. I stayed out of the fold until I saw this:



And now I'm sorry.

Life, Interrupted

The Progressive Wolf makes a great point in his post regarding the death of Yasir Arafat and the slightly troubling chest cold Dick Cheney's dealing with right now.

CBS News reportedly fired a producer responsible for interrupting a television show with a special report on Yasir Arafat's death. The report came during CSI: NY (does anyone watch this anyway?) and I suppose a few angered people complained. PW was watching the Saturday Northwestern - Michigan football game on ABC when it was interrupted by news of Vice President Dick Cheney's shortness of breath and his admission to the hospital.

Does PW get to have someone fired at ABC by disturbing his sports-watching Saturday? What's more important: the death of a leader of people, or the common cold of a Vice-President? True, Arafat was not a nice man, but he was a world leader to whom his people looked in times of good and bad.

How many millions of people will get a cold this winter? And how many of them don't have the health insurance to get blood work done up to make sure they're not more seriously sick? If anything, this instance should reshed light on the fact that millions upon millions of children are uninsured, along with millions of adults. Health insurance premiums rose 64% in the last four years. How does getting insurance for the uninsured rank with Republicans with regards to, say, banning same-sex marriage? Let's look at the upcoming legislative agenda.

Cleaning House

This is just unbelievable. You almost have to step back for a second and see where those in charge are putting all the blame. It spans across many professions, including intelligence gatherers, those who sort that intelligence, and two innocent reporters. What a game they're playing.

"The [CIA] is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

-- Knut Royce, Newsday.com, November 14, 2004

I suppose I should take some relief in the word and. "...to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats." I'm sure in the eyes of the White House, they are one and the same, but for the efforts of this article, they can be separate entities.

That's the crux, isn't it? Liberal Democrats aren't the soft leakers. They may disagree with what this administration is doing in the name of national security against the Red Scare -- I mean terror -- but they don't leak information as some conservatives we know.

Someone in the White House leaked the name of a CIA operative to several journalists, apparently to punish the husband of the covert agent for taking issue with the administration. All of the journalists declined to participate in the apparent retaliation, with the exception of syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who revealed the name of the agent in a column published on July 14, 2003.

-- Paul K. McMasters, Daily Herald, November 11, 2004

Soon after, Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed a special counsel -- Patrick J. Fitzgerald -- to investigate the possible federal crime of leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent to the press. Now, after more than a year of gathering evidence, after talking to Karl Rove back on October 15 and after sifting through White House personnel telephone records, email logs and other material, Fitzgerald is ready to send people to jail. But you won't believe who.

Two people are facing jail time, but not the two "senior administration sources" cited by Novak. Instead, Fitzgerald has focused on Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, who wrote about the leak several days after Novak published his column, and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who didn't write about the story at all.

These are the two people who are facing years in jail. And Novak, as far as anyone can tell, has never been subpoenaed, questioned, threatened with contempt of court, or asked to divulge his sources. He's the man in the forefront of the investigation. He leaked -- let me say it again -- leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent and two others are taking the blame. I'm sure it has nothing to do with Novak's undying devotion to covering Bush's back with every lie-filled opinion piece he writes.

Perhaps what started the whole shakedown of the CIA was a single book.

As the presidential race heated up, the C.I.A. permitted an analyst - who, we now know, is Michael Scheuer - to publish anonymously a book called "Imperial Hubris," which criticized the Iraq war.

-- David Brooks, New York Times, November 13, 2004

Mr. Scheuer had the permission by the CIA to write "Imperial Hubris" in order to, as he wrote in his resignation letter, to open adequate debate over the threat of Osama bin Laden.

I have concluded that there has not been adequate national debate over the nature of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and the forces he leads and inspires, and the nature and dimensions of intelligence reform needed to address that threat. It is my intention to articulate a series of views in the hope of producing a more substantive debate than what has heretofore occurred.

-- Michael Scheur, resignation letter, as reported by CNN

Hardly a "soft leaker," though I'm not sure what his political leanings are. Plenty of Republicans, conservative ones at that, have come out to denounce the war in Iraq, or at least comment on the distraction it has caused in regards to the real threat to American national security. As John Kerry spoke during his campaign and in the debates, this president has failed to capture Osama bin Laden when he was within our grasps. And someday we will pay a price for that.

But until then, we will punish the "soft leakers and liberal Democrats" and kick them out of our intelligence agencies in a move to continue the administration's close-held policy of the echo-chamber. How many people got into Bush rallies this summer and fall without signing allegience pledges to the Texan? Exactly zero.

President Bush wants to clean house and get rid of "people who have been obstructing the president's agenda." In other words, those intelligence officials who have come forward to say that they never believed that Saddam possessed those pesky weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam was a threat to our national security, and that Saddam had even the slightest link with our real enemy, Osama bin Laden. Who wants people obstructing your agenda when your mind's already set, against all opposing evidence? Certainly not the big guy in the little white house.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Backtrack to 1775

In the fall of 1775, the British were occupying Boston and the young Continental Army was holed up in Cambridge, woefully short on arms and ammunition. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Washington's troops had been so low on gunpowder that they were ordered "not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes." In October, a merchant ship called The Black Prince returned to Philadelphia from a voyage to England. On board were private letters to the Second Continental Congress that informed them that the British government was sending two ships to America loaded with arms and gunpowder for the British troops.

Congress decided that General Washington needed those arms more than the British. So a plan was hatched to capture the cargo ships and take the bounty for themselves. They authorized the creation of a Continental Navy, starting with four ships. The frigate that carried the information from England, the Black Prince, was one of the four. It was purchased, converted to a man-of-war, and renamed the Alfred.

To accompany the Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines. Together, the Alfred, its sailors and marines went on to achieve some of the most notable victories of the American Revolution.

The Marines who enlisted that month in Philadelphia were carrying drums painted yellow, emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike. The drums sported the motto "Don't Tread on Me." It spoke as the American voice to the English occupiers. Don't mess with our freedoms. And I sit here tonight and demand the same of the Republicans who now sit in power in Washington. Don't Tread on Me.

Don't tell me who I can or cannot love when love is the last thing our country needs to worry about. Don't tell me how I should practice religion, or whether I have to at all. Don't fill my classrooms with religious mockery, or my churches with political propoganda. Don't tell me about the sanctity of life as our brethren are in Iraq fighting an unjust war against ruthless foes. Don't tell me how I'm not pro-life when I cherish the life of mothers and their bodies. Don't tell me how I have a freedom of speech as long as it's not cuss words in music or pornography on the Internet. Don't tell me how limited government is key when you can read my emails, watch my reading selection at libraries, and listen to my phone calls all without me ever knowing. Don't brush aside my freedoms.

Occupied

U.S. military officials said Saturday that American troops had now "occupied" the entire city of Fallujah and there were no more major concentrations of insurgents still fighting after nearly a week of intense urban combat. A U.S. officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Fallujah was "occupied but not subdued."

-- Associated Press, November 13, 2004

Wait, I thought American forces were liberators, not occupiers. Who does this unnamed "U.S. officer" think he is, anyway?

Please, whatever you do, leave Zell Miller under the rock he's called home since the GOP Convention. Heaven only knows who'll be within spittle range when he starts ranting over semantics this time.

Bad PR

Today while I was channel-surfing on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I happened across one of the myriad of "Christian" channels offering salvation for a monthly donation of no less than $50. Great entertainment. There is actually an older woman with really over-the-top makeup and pink hair.

One of the ministers said to the audience, "Jesus is a great guy, but he has really bad PR people." How true, I thought. How true.

It is easy to rejoice today, because Christ has allowed you to be His servant in this nation for another presidential term. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government. You have four years—a brief time only—to leave an imprint for righteousness upon this nation that brings with it the blessings of Almighty God.

-- Bob Jones III, open letter to President Bush, November 3, 2004

Friday, November 12, 2004

How Dare They!

Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday. ... "The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers' group.

-- Associated Press, November 12, 2004

Oh, silly me. I thought an unconstitutional thing like that was called Checks and Balances.

Lie Girls

Too funny for words.

MiddleName-gate

If Alberto R. Gonzales becomes the Attorney General of the United States, he will have the power to access every book you check out of the library, to detain swarthy-looking Arabs for no good reason, and to wire-tap phones all in the name of National Security.

And this epitome of the privacy invaders will not release his middle name to the public.

Alberto R. Gonzales -- the White House declined to release his middle name, saying that Mr. Gonzales prefers the initial -- was born on Aug. 4, 1955.

-- David Johnston, Nominee for Attorney General, New York Times, page 2

I think we must ask ourselves in this situation: What Would the Republicans Do? Can you imagine a Clinton-appointee for the job of Attorney General refusing to give his middle name? They'd go ape-shit with lust for a scandal like that.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

You're Impeached

And speaking of crooked Republican state-politicians doing dumb things...

Nevada Controller Kathy Augustine was impeached by the state Assembly Thursday for using her state-paid office workers and equipment to help run her 2002 re-election campaign. In a series of 42-0 voice votes, the Assembly sent three articles of impeachment to the state Senate, where a trial will be held to determine whether Augustine will be removed from office.

-- AP, November 11, 2004

Does their immoral behavior ever end?

Barnyard Fun

I don't know how many of you have a farming background but I can tell you right now that notion even defies barnyard logic ... the barnyard knows better.

-- Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, referring to the idea of same-sex marriage.

No word from the Cheneys on whether or not they have any strong feelings against such a prominent Ohio Republican comparing their daughter to a barnyard animal.

Morality without Reason

This election was supposed to be about terrorism, the economy, and Iraq. But there was a more pressing issue that motivated people to vote this year, and that was the issue of moral values. According to exit polls from the National Election Pool, the official election source for broadcast and cable television stations, "moral values" was cited as the most important issue this election by more people than any other concern.

-- Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Catholic Herald, November 11, 2004

Those who cited "moral values" as the top of their priority list voted for Bush 80 percent to Kerry's 18. Cause, as you know, Bush is the more moral of the two.


(via Weapon of Choice)

But really, what did morals have to do with anything in this election? Democrats are the ones who really are winning the culture war, but no one's talking about it because the Republicans won the election. Not only are they winning the war, it's a landslide.

The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats' Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans' Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out.

-- Frank Rich, On 'Moral Values', New York Times

How can you explain that the Right has the moral monopoly, of sorts? It's a party whose front is moral purity, but whose backroom is filled with hypocrites and liars who will do anything to win. There is no moral vaccuum within the Republican party. How many marriages has Rush had? How many illegal pills did he pop? How many times did O'Reilly solicit his executive producer to have phone sex? These are just two of the blowhards who claim to be the voice of the little-r right.

With regards to morality, what could be a reasonable excuse for saying that the Left is lacking? Of course the abortion issue is hit-or-miss, with no in between, there are plenty of other issues where the Democrats rock. Capital punishment, anyone?

Well, speaking for the designated Immoral Minority, there are a whole lot of folks who believe that starting a preemptive war on false premises is a moral issue. There are a whole lot who believe that giving tax cuts to the rich and a deficit to the grandkids is a matter of values. There are a whole lot who put our faith, secular and sacred, in the most religiously diverse country in the world.

-- Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe, November 7, 2004

Democrats aren't at a loss this time around. Two ideals that have been floating around for the last week and a half -- "mandate" and "moral values" -- mean jack. The latter is nothing more than hocus to explain away the unexplainable, and the former is a way to take that hocus and solidify the lie into a foundation. There's no other reason as to why Bush got more votes than John Kerry, and the Right and the press know this.

How did Bush really win? Disinformation.

Millions of Bush supporters turned out as a simple act of faith. Polls (assuming we can still trust them) show that at least a third of the president’s supporters believe there were or are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Similar numbers think Saddam Hussein was aiding and abetting Osama bin Laden. No matter that blue-ribbon commissions have determined both claims to be false, these are items of faith for a large segment of Bush voters.

-- Ben Goddard, Work on Message, Messenger, The Hill

Pure and simple.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Alberto Gonzales

President Bush named White House counsel Alberto Gonzales as attorney general on Wednesday, picking the administration's most prominent Hispanic for a highly visbile post in the war on terror. He commended Gonzales for "his sharp intellect and sound judgement [that] helped shape our policies in the war on terror." You don't know the half of it!

In August 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad "may be justified," and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations" conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained memo.

-- Dana Priest, Washington Post, June 8, 2004

Guess who's linked with the memo! Mr. Gonzales.

Working for then-Governor Bush in Texas, Gonzales acted as Bush's legal counsel when he decided whether to grant clemency, or to allow the executions to go forward. According to Alan Berlow of The Atlantic Monthly, who had access to the memos Gonzales wrote, Gonzales "repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence."

Take the case of Terry Washington, a thirty-three-year-old mentally retarded man with the communications skills of a seven-year-old executed in 1997. Gonzales's clemency memo, according to Berlow, did not even mention his mental retardation, or his lawyer's failure to call, at trial, for the testimony of a mental health expert on this issue. Nor did it mention that the jury never heard about Washington's history of child abuse; he was one of ten children, all of whom "were regularly beaten with whips, water hoses, extension cords, wire hangers, and fan belts."

-- John W. Dean, Alberto Gonzales's Texas Execution Memos, June 20, 2003

"During Bush's six years as governor 150 men and two women were executed in Texas, Berlow writes, "a record by any other governor in modern American history." As an accomplice to the copious amount of executions, "I have found no evidence that Gonzales ever sent Bush a clemency petition -- or any document," Berlow writes, "that summarized in a concise and coherent fashion a condemned defendent's best argument against execution in a case involving serious questions of innocence..."

Gonzales believes that the abuse of prisoners (not even convicted but supposed prisoners, mind you) "may be justified" for no other reason than because we're at war. And he evidently believes full-heartedly that executions of people with the mindset of seven-year-olds is cool.

I want him to be my next Attorney General!

Bring Back Reno.

Update: Even before the formal annoucement, one Senate Democratic liberal welcomed the appointment of "someone less polarizing" to the position.

-- AP, November 10, 2004

That would be "someone" ever so slightly "less polarizing."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Declaration of Expulsion

The U.S. Constitution is not easily changed, primarily because so many states (75%, now 38 of 50) must agree. Yet, there are 38 states today that may be inclined to adopt, let us call it, a "Declaration of Expulsion," that is, a specific constitutional amendment to kick out the systemically troublesome states and those trending rapidly toward anti-American, if not outright subversive, behavior. The 12 states that must go: California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware. Only the remaining 38 states would retain the name, "United States of America." The 12 expelled mobs could call themselves the "Dirty Dozen," or individually keep their identity and go their separate ways, probably straight to Hell.

A difficult-to-pass constitutional amendment, however, is not necessary. There is an equally lawful route that mercifully would be both easier and faster. Inasmuch as Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies that "New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union," it is reasonable that the same congressional majority may expel a state from the Union. Is there, after all, any human organization in existence (including a family or law firm) that may not disown, disinherit, ostracize, alienate or expel diabolical members? Whether the nation is purged of these 12 states via the Constitution or statute, the process of elimination must begin now, for the need of societal detoxification has waxed so overwhelmingly clear.


-- Mike Thompson, Declaration of Expulsion, November 3, 2004

He may scare the shit out of me, but he is perhaps the only intelligent conservative I've ever encountered. Who is this learned wonder?

Oh Happy Days!

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, John Ashcroft.

Oh. Thank. God.

Remember to Pray

Pro-life leaders have planned a "pray-in" in Washington on Tuesday to protest Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) being considered for the chairmanship on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Remember, we're praying that he doesn't get the chairmanship and gets so pissed off that he goes on a tirade and turns Democrat -- in other words, becomes enlightened. Keep your fingers crossed, or at least pressed tightly together in hushed prayer.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Nothing from Nothing

To mandate or not to mandate. That is the question.

Mr. VP himself, Dick Cheney, has said, "President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate."

This is, as we know, very wrong and an all-out lie by Mr. Lying-Pants, himself.

Bush may have won, but he certainly did not win a mandate. The very liberal media is reporting that he received the greatest popular vote in the history of the United States election. But that's not the end of the story. Not even close.

Previous holder to his grand title was the excellently homophobic and crooked Ronald Reagan. Reagan had 54,455,075 votes in the 1984 election. Bush received 59,459,765 in 2004 and Kerry received 55,949,407. Hardly a mandate, and hardly reason to celebrate.

Unite this.

Elite Federal Judges

Cal Thomas, host of his very own late-night Fox News show and creator of the cleverly named Cal-toons portion of said show, said this in his recent article:

"[A certain social issue] was defeated by wide margins, again proving that when the people, and not the courts, get to decide things, the people have a different view than unelected federal judges."

How true are these words? Yeah, cause if it were still up to the people, we'd have segregated schools (rightly deemed unconstitutional by federal judges), a ban on interracial marriages (rightly deemed unconstitutional by federal judges) and women would no longer have a right to choose.

No, sorry. A majority of Americans would give women that right. The opposition is just overly vocal.

Don't Know Why

A full 23% of homosexuals voted for Bush.

Masochism, anyone?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What a Shame

More blood is senselessly spilt.

A Georgia man fatally shot himself at Ground Zero in New York, in what was believed to be a protest against President Bush's reelection and the war in Iraq.

-- UPI, November 7, 2004

Like We Didn't See This Coming

President Bush "absolutely" will use his second term to push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, his top political strategist said Sunday. Karl Rove, who oversaw Bush's re-election victory, said Bush will renew the effort, which failed in Congress this year but may enjoy new support after 11 states approved bans on same-sex marriage on Election Day.

-- Jim Drinkard, USA Today, November 7, 2004

Oy. We really are turning into Jesusland.

The Game Plan

My recommendation to Democrats is not to become more religious. Religion is a personal matter. Nor should Dems move toward Republican positions on matters of personal morality, such as gay marriage or abortion. (One caveat: I do think Democrats should be clear that they want fewer abortions in America—not by prohibiting them, but by making sure young people have access to contraceptives and family-planning counseling, and other social services.) My recommendation is that Democrats offer somewhat fewer plans and policies and have more moral conviction.

Democrats used to talk in moral terms—about fighting for civil rights, for example. What should Democrats say now and in the future about public morality? That it's morally wrong to give huge tax cuts to the rich while cutting social programs for the poor and working class—especially when the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than it's been in more than a century. That we have a moral obligation to give every American child a good education and decent health care. That it's morally wrong that millions of Americans who work full time don't earn enough to keep their families out of poverty. That corporate executives who steal money from their investors and employees are morally reprehensible. And that it's morally wrong to kill over a hundred thousand Iraqis and send over a thousand young Americans to their deaths for a cause that is still undefined, in a war that was unnecessary.


-- Robert Reich, Slate

Really, Truly

Sorry Everybody.

Indeed. We've got some 'splaining so do.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Don't Leave Me Here Alone

The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after President Bush's election win this week.

-- Reuters, November 6, 2004

Friday, November 05, 2004

French Attack

One of the Right's greatest and most enduring obsessions is France, and more specifically, Jacques Chirac. America has always had an image of the archetypal Frenchman, eating his bread and cheese, guzzling down his expensive wine, all with a nose in the air to everything non-French. Americans have always called the French snobby and arrogant.

But now the tables have turned, at least in some minds. The Right still believes that the French are snobby, arrogant, and now lilly-livered. But to a harsher degree, the French see America as overbearing, aggressive, and deaf to the cries of other nations.

Any conservative blog will have a dig at anything French almost on a daily basis. Conservative radio hosts love to throw Paris' dirty laundry in the air, as if that makes up for France standing up against the United States' desire to go to war against Iraq. And we all know that Bill O'Reilly's boycott on French goods has done, well, hasn't done much of anything. (Who could easily forget when he cited a report that the French economy had faultered by billions after his boycott from a magazine that didn't exist and O'Reilly so clearly made up?)

And the fact that Israel's most hated man, Yassir Arafat, is now seeking medical attention for some deadly illness in Paris is not lost on these blowhards.

But to clear the air, and have absolutely triumph over the other, I have a proposal. I believe that Jacques Chirac should challenge George W. to a duel. It's the perfect plan. Bush certainly could not refuse this challenge. By doing so, he'd be seen as running from a European, a Frenchie no less. He'd have to stand up and protect his family honor and the integrity of the United States. Bush could even have say over what form of weaponry would be used.

Former Senator Zell "I wish we lived in the day when you could challenge a person to a duel" Miller could officiate over the whole ordeal. Perhaps he could suggest the use of spitballs for dramatic effect.

It's a win-win situation. No more Chirac? He's pretty conservative by mainstream standards, no matter how liberal the Bush administration tries to paint him. Tony Blair is more liberal. France could do better. And no more Bush? I hope he's not mortally wounded: Dick Cheney would only be less than a heartbeat away from total power. And that's a scary, scary thought.

What's Happening Here?

Is this all some kind of April Fools joke that I'm not in on? Or does anyone else think that this world is going all kinds of batty lately?

  • 1 Officials at a North Texas school say an Election Day civics lesson for some third-graders inadvertently included a sexually explicit videotape.

  • 2 At a Thursday news conference, the Republican governor who branded Democrats "girlie men" during a budget fight last year was asked whether he would listen to tax-increase proposals from Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata or other Democratic leaders. "Why would I listen to losers?" Schwarzenegger asked. "Let's be honest."

  • 3 A man was charged with trespassing after he stripped naked, scaled a airport fence, ran across the tarmac and climbed into a plane's wheel well before firefighters talked him out, officials said.

  • 4 The U.S. dollar hit an all-time low against the euro Friday, shrugging off positive U.S. employment data and falling on worries about oil prices and concern over the U.S. budget deficit.

  • 5 As NASA's Mars rovers keep rolling past all expectations of their useful lives, scientists have a happy mystery: For some reason one of the vehicles has actually gained power recently.

  • 6 Two golf course managers and a tournament organizer were sentenced to house arrest for hosting two competitions featuring prostitutes and strippers stationed along the putting greens. ... About 160 golfers paid $200 apiece to play, though some showed up without their clubs, officials said.

  • 7 Attorney General John Ashcroft is likely to leave his post before the start of President Bush's second term, senior aides said Thursday.

    And this is just the drop in the bucket. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Oops, don't be afraid. Be vigilant. Thanks Tom.

  • Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Our Putative Enemies

    The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies.

    -- Garry Wills, "The Day the Enlightenment Went Out," New York Times

    What could he possibly mean? Is he trying to insinuate that we are slowly (or already there?) turning into a country run by the moral and religious majority? Are we not the nation of seperated church and state?

    Only the mullahs of Iran and Iraq would begin any conversation or public announcement with "In the name of Allah, most merciful and beneficent." They're the enemy. That's something the enemy does. Those freedom-haters are the ones we're fighting.

    No to religious fundamentalism! Must bring democracy to all countries!

    Oh wait, what does the conservative Peggy Noonan first utter in her newest Wall Street Journal opinion piece after the election?

    God bless our country.

    Huh.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    You Saw This Coming

    Come on, I mean really. What's next?

    A man was attacked and injured after jumping into a lion's den at the Taipei Zoo and trying to convert the lions to Christianity.

    The 46-year-old man leaped into the den of African lions and shouted "Jesus will save you," according to the report. He also said, "Come bite me" before one of the male lions attacked and bit the man.


    -- local6.com (WKMG Central Florida)

    Honestly, if the man taunted one of the lions by saying "Come bite me," he's just asking for it. The zookeeper should have just let the situation work itself out to a close. That'll teach 'em.

    First Things First

    Today is the first day of President Bush's second term. What's the first order of business, do you suppose?

    The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will run out of maneuvering room to manage the government's massive borrowing needs in two weeks, putting more pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling when it convenes for a special post-election session.

    -- Associated Press, November 3, 2004

    Of course.

    In case you're wondering, the Republican-controlled Congress hit the current debt ceiling of $7.384 trillion on October 14. If you reduce the money you receive (tax breaks) and increase spending (defense, nat'l security), this is what happens. No economics doctorate needed.

    Oh Well

    The next four years will be Hell, mark my words. But at least now I'll continuously have stuff to talk about and poke fun. Who doesn't love a circus in his backyard? It can only get better from here.

    Zachary

    PS -- Don't mess with Pennsylvania.

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    Who's Going to Win?

    Electoral Vote.com has

    Kerry: 298
    Bush: 231

    Who knows.