Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Why? Because if you go in with impeachment guns blazing you do yourself more harm than good. Not only do you rally the wingnuts to the Republican party when they are now split, not only do you give doubts to the American public about your seriousness about governing responsibly, not only do you chance a lack of credibility in a thousand different ways, you loose your most valuable tool for reigning in this most imperious President arguably in American history. And if you do that, then you deserve all of the above and then some.
Pelosi is correct in calling for hearings. Have the hearings. Make the bastards testify. But, hold onto that impeachment option. Make it a sword hanging above Bush's head. A sword of Damocles, if you will. Threaten him with it falling if he does not begin withdrawing the troops. Let it fall if and only if he removes that veto pen from his pocket when our bills cross his desk.
Use it in this way, and show the people how power, real power, is wielded with finesse. Let it fall and you only show the people how power is squandered, yet again, in the hands of Democrats.
Pretty much like I can make a mess out of similies and metaphors.
(I promised Paul that I'd post or cross-post anything I thought might not absolutely ruin his blog in his absence. Hopefully, this qualifies.)
Thursday, December 07, 2006
As I've scanned the various blogs and online news sources, I'm starting to feel like things in general are in a rut - some right winger says something totally outrageous and that leads to outrage by left. Then we rinse and repeat as necessary. And, of course, there's the standard day-in and day-out lying by Bush on whatever subject he feels like fibbing about on a given day. As this pitiful little man becomes more and more detached from reality, it almost becomes too easy to metaphorically slap him everyday, so I've decided to invoke a personal mercy rule on his sad little ass for a while. Like I said, I think that I just need to take a little break and recharge my batteries for a few months, then I'll be ready to chronicle the waning days of this dark chapter in our history.
After the '04 elections, I was completely burned out (but for obviously different reasons) and did nothing with politics for about six-eight months. I get the feeling that this break will be shorter but still substantial. I figure by the time I return in a few months, the early presidential campaigning will have begun and I can start sinking my teeth into it.
And there's also the fact that my first semester of graduate school is coming up (though a totally final decision on my attending hasn't been made at this point) so my time would be extra-short as I readjusted to schooling after a 10-year absense.
So anyway, I'd like to thank all those who have read and enjoyed my writing. For the most part I enjoyed it as well (and honestly, if all I had to do was write, I'd probably still be doing it; it's all the self-promotion in order to get eyeballs here that gets tedious) and look forward to getting back to it after a while. I would like to give a special thanks to all those who saw fit to bookmark me (the twenty or so of you); regular readers are a real catnip to me. Don't delete my bookmark just yet, folks. I shall return.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
All that being said, since I’m on a mini-hiatus, I wanted to direct my readers to a couple of things I’ve read recently that I would have normally taken a shot at molding a snarky opinion about, but instead will just throw at you link-pimp style:
Up first is a guy by the name of Peter Schwiezer, a conservative who systematically got his ass handed to him because he can’t take the time to actually research what he’s talking about and railing against. His response when called to the carpet for sloppy work: “It's not my responsibility to go and find out how every single particular circumstance…” Um, if you’re going to go around throwing around your unfounded accusations, then maybe making it your responsibility to go around and find out stuff is something you oughta look into.
Next up, the slings and arrows directed at potential Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama have already begun to fly. And because the GOP are a bunch of children, they’ve taken to noting that Mr. Obama’s middle name is Hussein. Because that’s important. See, Mr. Obama is a junior, so that means that he’s named after his dad, who was given the name before he was born. Not wishing to dig to deep on this, I’d assume that his dad was born in the 1930s or so. The evil Saddam Hussein was born about a quarter century later, and he wasn’t even all that evil until the 90s. I say this because the U.S. was awful chummy with him in the 80s. As a commenter noted, “Hopefully, this will only reinforce what should have been obvious at least by 1999 or so: Republicans are really good at childish, schoolyard taunting.”
I loved this piece from the Boston Globe. It gives a real historical perspective of Dick Cheney and his quest to restore the power of the presidency back to its pre-Watergate levels. It’s both fascinating and frightening the way the man will shit on any law that he finds personally offensive to his quest. (The piece does require a quick registration, which always bugs me, but it’s free so just do it and go read it. Highest recommendation.)
And finally, I suppose I'll close with this little tidbit from Bob Cesca over at Huffpo as it's something that's often stuck in my craw - (some in) the GOP's insistence on calling the Democratic Party the Democrat Party. Take it away, Bob:
10) The devilish wordsmiths who think it's strategic and clever to refer to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party" need to stop it. Shut the f*** up. The official name of the party is the Democratic Party, with the "ic" at the end. Yeah, I know. Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz invented the idea of saying "Democrat Party" or "the Democrat leadership" or "the Democrat voters" in order to emphasize the "rat" syllable, leaving a rat-like subliminal hint in the minds of listeners. President Bush, in his so-called "conciliatory" press conference Wednesday, used this incorrect pronunciation several times."And while the ballots are still being counted in the Senate, it is clear the Democrat Party had a good night last night, and I congratulate them on their victories."
"This morning I spoke with Republican and Democrat leadership in the House and Senate."
"...we'll begin consultations with the Democrat leadership starting Thursday and Friday."
"...and now work with Democrat leaders in the Congress because they control the committees and they control the flow of bills."
"We got some tax cuts passed with Democrat votes."
I know, it's a small thing, but it's just so silly and stupid and annoying; I'm glad I'm not the only one perturbed by it. Or, as slacktivist so eloquently put it:
Considering how popular this childish verbal tic has become among Republican politicians and pundits, I'm guessing that Luntz must've had some polling data to suggest it was somehow an effective "subliminable" way of influencing opinion, and that it must sound to some people as something other than what it sounds like to me: People who aren't smart enough to pronounce a four-syllable word properly. This kind of seriously unserious tactic is part of why I'm unwilling to trust these people with serious matters. (That and, you know, Iraq, Katrina, the deficit, etc.)
That'll about do it for me, folks. See you in a week or so. Thanks for coming by; I'll be back soon.
First, I'll be driving from home (from Daphne, Alabama) to New Orleans so that I can catch a flight to a town south of Cleveland for my company's annual end of the year party (yes, we cannot call it a Christmas party; O'Reilly would flip). I'm sort of disappointed about this year's trip as this is usually my only chance at seeing snow for a year and it's been unseasonably warm with weather forecast in the 40s-50s with no snow; drat! My flight leaves at 6am the following morning (which should be a real treat what with the expected hangover and all) to make it back to New Orleans, at which point I'll travel west about 120 miles to Lafayette to do a little tailgating with some old college friends for the final game of the season for my Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. My wife has never tailgated or been to a college football game so she seems excited (and would be even more so if not for the driving). We'll also have my daughter there and she should have a great time playing with all of my buddies' kids. I've seen these guys at their worst (as they have seen me), can't wait to see them as dads.
We'll stay in Lafayette that night, then head home to Alabama, making every effort to make it home by noon for the Saints/49ers game. It's about a 4-5 hour trip so we'll need to get started early which probably won't be a problem given that we'll be sharing a bed with a restless two year old who likes to wake at 5:30 every morning.
I may be able to squeeze in a post or two, but I'm not expecting so. Hopefully Kat will still hit you with her usual wit and wisdom while I'm away. And on a related note, I'm still looking for an aspiring writer who might be interesting in taking a stab at political blogging. I've had a couple of nibbles of interest but they haven't panned out so I'm still in the market. As I've stated in the past, I'm just looking for someone with an opinion and an ability to competently express it. Kos wasn't born in a day and Atrios didn't start out huge; we all start somewhere. Interested?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Bush is just batting 1.000 when it comes to making friends with the new Democratic majority in Congress (from The Hill via TPM):
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked [new senator from Virginia, Jim] Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.
Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.
“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.
Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
Anybody got a knife? I think there be tension that requires some cutting.
Still, it seems sort of funny to waste time on a book about a party that's been out of power for twelve years and thus had no substantial power and therefore had no influence to peddle or corrupt. But there I go again attempting to make sense of rightwing nonsensery (yeah, it's a word I just made up).
Probably the funniest part of this whole thing in a monumentally ironic sort of way is the featured cover blurb by none other than one of the most corrupt politicians in the long and storied history of the United States Congress; disgraced and indicted former Rep. Tom DeLay.
I'm excited to report that Caucus of Corruption has received its first endorsement! Our first endorsement comes from Rep. Tom DeLay, a great man and politician who found himself the number one target of Democrats in their phony ethics war.
The true story has always been there, and we're pleased that we're able to tell it. Matt and I wish to thank Tom DeLay not only for his endorsement, but also for his service to our nation.
Here's a snippit from DeLay's endorsement:
"...Margolis and Noonan have cut through the smoke and mirrors to reveal what the liberals are really hiding - their complete lack of leadership and refusal to stand up for the values-based agenda most Americans are demanding. This book is a must read for all Americans looking for the unreported motivations behind the Left's political scene."
Oh, that's just awesome! Of course I won't even get into the fact that the post of this endorsement is dated September 24, 2006 which seems odd considering that the manuscript wasn't delivered to the publisher until November 12. It's just the fact that these two yahoos would proudly trumpet the endorsement of the offensively corrupt Tom DeLay (with a cover blurb, no less) is preposterous. It's like getting Dahmer's endorsement on the brutality of John Wayne Gacy. But then again, DeLay has demonstrated a marked proficiency towards corruption so who better to ask?
[h/t Sadly, No!]
[Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid's office has been alerted by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist that Republicans have decided to pass another stopgap spending measure when they return to Washington next month and leave the rest of the budget work needed to fund the government next year to the Democrats, said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid.
Such a move would leave the new Democratic majority with the responsibility to pass the nine remaining spending bills, totaling almost $500 billion for government programs ranging from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the national parks.
It also would complicate Democrats' plans to focus on their issues such as raising the minimum wage, lifting restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and cutting interest rates on student loans when they take control of both the House and Senate in January....
Manley called the Republican action an abdication of responsibility.
``This is only the latest example of why the American people rejected this do-nothing Congress at the ballot box earlier this month,'' he said.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), in keeping with the wave of bipartisan fellowship that is sweeping through Washington these days stated, “I know a lot of folks just as soon not to see them done this year and let the Democrats struggle here next year.”
Yes, that was Saxby Chambliss, again demonstrating why the GOP was swept from office this past November as they once again choose partisan politics over actually doing the work that the American people put them there to do.
[h/t Think Progress]
Monday, November 27, 2006
The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day. Over the long holiday weekend bombings killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad. And six Sunni men were doused with kerosene and burned alive. Shiite muslims are the majority, but Sunnis like Saddam Hussein ruled that country until the war. Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war — a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas.
The other news organizations however insist on doing verbal calisthenics when speaking of the Iraq civil war. It's almost funny the iterations the news organizations come up with, including the regular "sectarian violence," "snowballing sectarian violence," "sectarian slaughter," "widening sectarian war," and "sectarian strife". Then there are some other outlets who continue to claim that while there's not a civil war going on in Iraq, one could certainly be on the way like the Washington Post's "... closer to full-blown civil war...," and the Chicago Tribune's "... the prospect of civil war in Iraq festers...".
So instead of nutting up and calling a spade a spade, the majority of television and print media continue to toe the White House line and come up with new and clever ways to describe the CIVIL WAR that rages in Iraq. We as a nation cannot address the problem if the problem itself cannot be properly identified. Just because Bush cannot come to grips with the hell on earth he has unleashed (in the name of WMDs or spreading democracy or freeing the Iraqis from Saddam or whatever reason of the week Bush is using to justify this folly) doesn't mean the American people are incapable of embracing this awful reality.
UPDATE: A writer with the Washington Post explains why they do not label the ongoing and worsening sectarian violence in Iraq a civil war - because the leaders in Iraq do not call it a civil war. As Think Progress notes, "Government officials in Iraq have a direct interest in avoiding the characterization of violence there as a civil war. The Washington Post’s job is not to act as stenographers for officials in positions of power, but rather to report facts as they exist on the ground."
And the fall of a once great newspaper continues...
Sometimes you read things online and they just sound so preposterous on their face as to seem impossible. Then you remember that the subject in question has to do with George W. Bush and you realize that in matters where he's involved, the impossible is quite likely. Take for instance the plans for his presidential library/public relations firm.
He may be a certified lame duck now, but President Bush and his truest believers are about to launch their final campaign - an eye-popping, half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library.
Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995.
Bush sources with direct knowledge of library plans told the Daily News that SMU and Bush fund-raisers hope to get half of the half billion from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million a pop.
Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential "mega" donors and are pressing for a formal site announcement - now expected early in the new year....
"It's a stretch," said another source briefed on the plans. "It's so much bigger than anything that's been tried before. But the more you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert."
The half-billion target is double what Bush raised for his 2004 reelection and dwarfs the funding of other presidential libraries. But Bush partisans are determined to have a massive pile of endowment cash to spread the gospel of a presidency that for now gets poor marks from many scholars and a majority of Americans.
The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.
When all is said and done, I suppose that it is only fitting that this presidential library be a monument to influencing public opinion, given that this administration has always prided itself on looking busy rather than actually doing the hard work of governance. That fact that it will be financed by wealthy interests (including Arab money) also seems oddly appropriate considering all he's done for the huddled rich masses these past eight years.
I recall during the waning months of the Clinton presidency, when President Clinton worked tirelessly to reach some sort of accord with the Palestinians and the Israelis to facilitate a lasting peace in the area, confident that such an accomplishment would reflect well on his overall legacy. Bush on the other hand holds no such lofty ideals; instead he wants to have complimentary things written about him because he's paying people to do so as opposed to actually doing the hard work to earn such accolades.
I suppose my only question is, if you spend half a billion dollars to polish up a turd, don't you still just end up with a shiny turd?
Specifically, a woman in a southwestern Colorado subdivision has displayed a Christmas wreath on her home that incorporates a peace symbol. She is being fined $25 a day because of it. Yes, during the season that is meant to honor the birth the Lord our God, Jesus Christ himself, Mr. Prince of PEACE by the way, a woman is being harassed and bullied for displaying this decidedly un-Christian symbol on her home.
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
Alright, I'm beyond confused at this point. A woman displays a symbol expressing her desire for peace and the people who would most benefit from that peace, namely the families of the men and women who are dying in Iraq, are raising a stink. During the season of "peace on Earth and goodwill towards men" a couple of families get all knee-jerk over their belief that being against the war must by definition mean being against the troops. And don't even get me starting with the Satanic symbology nonsense - someone's been watching the Da Vinci Code just a little too much; step away from the DVD player, people. And even if the symbol were satanically motivated, don't we have that whole freedom of religion thing? Not here.
The association in this 200-home subdivision 270 miles southwest of Denver has sent a letter to her saying that residents were offended by the sign and the board "will not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive."
The subdivision's rules say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee.
Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.
Nothing that "can be considered divisive" can be displayed. Um, isn't that just about EVERYTHING!!! What if a person is offended by a Jewish family with a menorah in the window? What if a person dislikes a neighbor's plastic nativity display? How about a complaint over the tackiness of a lawn filled with an overabundance of lighted deer and other woodland creatures? Given the way the bylaws are written, anything could be viewed as objectionable or divisive, but to take offense of a symbol of peace during this season of honoring the Prince of Peace Himself is beyond absurd. Remember, nitwits - wishing for peace does not equal crapping on your sons and daughters who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in Iraq rather than with their loved ones (read: YOU) this holiday season.
If ever there was a salvo in O'Reilly's manufactured "War on Christmas" this certainly would qualify. I demand an immediate investigation by Bill-O into this horrendous attack. Rage RAGE against the dying of the wreath!!
UPDATE: The Kearn guy resigned and the woman received an apology and will not have to pay any fine. Good for her. Sanity returns to a small corner of the world.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
BRZEZINSKI: [...] But the point to understand is that if you undertake a historically mistaken adventure, the longer you stick with it, the higher the cost you pay for it.
BLITZER: You’re making the comparison to Vietnam.
BRZEZINSKI: Yes, our — or to Algeria. And when Henry says that the Baker commission is going to help us resolve it, I think that’s an illusion. The Baker commission will probably come out with some sound advice on dealing with the neighborhood, with Iran, with the Israeli- Palestinian issues, which is relevant but essentially will offer some procrastination ideas for dealing with the crisis.
The fact of the matter is, the undertaking itself is fundamentally wrong-headed. And I’ve been arguing this on your program with Henry for the last three years. And I invite viewers to go on the Internet and look what we have been saying, respectively.
This is a mistaken, absolutely historically wrong undertaking. The costs are prohibitive. If we get out sooner, there will be a messy follow-up after we leave. It will be messy, but will not be as messy as if we stay, seeking to win in some fashion.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
For those not aware, Fox News is planning a "conservative-centric" answer to The Daily Show called This Just In. I believe that it will fail and fail spectacularly. The beauty of The Daily Show is that it does not lampoon Republicans and conservatives exclusively; they do no shy away from smacking around a Democrat for saying or doing something boneheaded or hypocritical. And this is a point that conservatives and Fox News simply fail to understand. The Daily Show does not pander and curry favor with a particular political segment; the fact that a particular politcal segment finds them more humorous than others might is more a byproduct of intelligent satire and not necessarily a conscious effort to kiss ass. On the other hand, Fox News' sole reason for existing is to pander and curry favor with Republicans and the White House. Is it really that much of a stretch for a network that shills all things GOP might also attempt to put on an ostensibly comical program that would also pander and shill Republican talking points?
Anyway, the video below is more than likely representative of what a viewer to This Just In may be in for. The fairly illustrative of just how unfunny conservatives are, so without further ado, I bring you the stylings of The America Show:
If you were able to make it through the whole thing, bless you. If not, then you're smarter than I am. Either way, I beg the viewers' forgiveness for posting it. Now, forgive me while I go wash my brain out with ... well, whatever it'll take to make me forget about what I just viewed. Where the hell's my eggnog?!
Now that war criminal Donald Rumsfeld has been unceremoniously shown the door, the piling on has begun in earnest. Conveniently enough, information has recently surfaced that Rumsfeld himself authorized the inhuman treatment of detainees of Abu Ghraib prison.
Of course, this information might have proved slightly more useful a couple of years ago when the original offenses occurred, but I suppose it's never to late for this to come out. After all, anything that so blatantly illustrates how morally bankrupt those under Bush's employ are cannot be a bad thing by their very definition. Though given the way Bush operates, I see a Medal of Freedom in his future, given the heckuva job he's done (see: George "Slam Dunk" Tenet).
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.
"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished,"" she told Saturday's El Pais.
"The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques."
The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" to secure information.
"Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind," the document states....
Rumsfeld also authorized the army to break the Geneva Conventions by not registering all prisoners, Karpinski said, explaining how she raised the case of one unregistered inmate with an aide to former U.S. commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
"We received a message from the Pentagon, from the Defense Secretary, ordering us to hold the prisoner without registering him. I now know this happened on various occasions."
Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman, also repeated the administration’s insistence that Iraq was not in a civil war. “We’re constantly asked that question, and while the situation is serious, Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani have said they do not believe it is a civil war,” he said.
So, if Maliki and Talabani say so, then everything must be going well; after all, they live in Baghdad, so they've got firsthand knowledge, right?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, firstly, let me say, perhaps it's easier to deny that this is a civil war, when essentially you live in the most heavily fortified place in the country within the Green Zone, which is true of both the prime minister, the national security adviser for Iraq and, of course, the top U.S. military commanders. However, for the people living on the streets, for Iraqis in their homes, if this is not civil war, or a form of it, then they do not want to see what one really looks like.
I mean, if this is not civil war, where there is, on average, 40 to 50 tortured, mutilated, executed bodies showing up on the capital streets each morning, where we have thousands of unaccounted for dead bodies mounting up every month, and where the list of those who have simply disappeared for the sake of the fact that they have the wrong name, a name that is either Sunni or Shia, so much so that we have people getting dual identity cards, where parents cannot send their children to school, because they have to cross a sectarian line, then, goodness, me, I don't want to see what a civil war looks like either if this isn't one.
In the upside-down world of Bushieland, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's definitely not a duck because, well they say it's not a duck. I guess.
(h/t Daily Kos)
Friday, November 24, 2006
So, to recap: when insurgents engage in violence before the elections, that's the fault of Democrats because it's done to help them win (and credit to Republicans because it shows how tough they are on The Terrorists). When the insurgents engage in violence after the elections, that's also the fault of Democrats because they are excited by the Democrats' success (and credit to Republicans because Republicans want to stay forever, which makes the insurgents sad and listless). And when there is no violence, all credit to Republicans because it shows how great their war plan is.
Put another way, no matter what happens in Iraq (violence increases, violence decreases), and no matter when it happens (before the election, after the election), it is the fault of Democrats and it reflects well on the Republicans. Isn't it fair to say that that's the very definition of the mindset of a cultist?
What an interesting world it must be for a koolaid-drinking believer.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
First up "gay = bad" crusade was the revelation that Romney will ask the state's highest court to order a ballot question on same-sex marriage if legislators fail to vote on the matter when they reconvene in January.
Romney said he will ask a justice of the state's Supreme Judicial Court to direct the secretary of state to place the question on the ballot if lawmakers do not vote directly on the question Jan. 2, the final day of the current session. Romney's term as governor expires Jan. 4.
The legislature is in recess and, because it did not adjourn, Romney has no legal authority to call legislators back into session.
Romney, an opponent of same-sex marriage, made his announcement to the cheers of hundreds of same-sex-marriage opponents at a rally on the Statehouse steps. A counter-protest was held across the street.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November 2003 that same-sex marriages are legal. Since then, more than 8,000 gay couples have tied the knot in the state.
Yes, faithful readers, gay couples have had the right to marry for three years now and there has not been a single report of a civilization-ending flood or fire come to wipe the unholy land of Massachusetts off the globe. And no, there's been no enormous hole opening up underneath Boston either to swallow our modern day Sodom and Gamorra. Yet there's Mitt, out there like some deranged nitwit holding up his metaphorical "The End is Near" sign.
Of course, Romney isn't satisfied with simply stripping gays of their civil rights; now he's hoping to up the suicide rate among gay teens. At least, that's what it looks like to me when he decided to cut funding to gay youth suicide prevention programs.
Last week Bay Windows reported that Gov. Mitt Romney’s $425 million in budget cuts announced this month included extensive cuts to HIV/AIDS and LGBT-related programs, but that the extent of those cuts was not completely known. One of the question marks was the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Supportive and Healthy Communities for Gay and Lesbian Youth (SHCGLY) programming aimed at reducing LGBT youth suicide, which had originally been allocated $350,000 for the Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07). Kathleen Henry, chair of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, said this week the commission has learned that the cuts will include $100,000 from the SHCGLY program budget.
“[Those cuts] coupled with the events over the weekend about ‘letting the people vote,’ that whole issue, it certainly seems like our community is being used as some kind of target practice for future political ambitions,” said Henry, referring to Romney’s Nov. 19 rally at the State House in support of an amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Hmmm, methinks Ms. Henry may be onto something there. An outgoing governor is doing everything he possibly can to wring every last bit of gay hate out of his agenda before leaving office January 4 by rehashing what is to many people a dead issue while also cutting funding to social programs primarily beneficial to gays. I think about the only other thing he could do to convince the anti-gay voters in the coming primaries of his sincerity to their plight is to actually start lighting random gay people on fire. Of course, I probably shouldn't be giving a hatemonger like Mitt such ideas. I know it's far to early to make too many predictions about the upcoming presidential primaries, but I think Romney's got the "I hate gays" voters locked up. Either that, or the other GOP contenders have got a lot of ground to make up if they hope to court this crucial swing vote.
Well, I gotta go pack up the car, so click over and enjoy a little funny, courtesy of the Seattle PI.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
So, with all that, how exactly is the Democratic Party now in bed with Bush's Iraq debacle? Can we at least take a look at the car you claim we own before we get the bill for the repairs caused by Bush's reckless driving?
[Incoming House Ways and Means committee chairman Charlie] Rangel [D-NY] announced on Sunday that he wants to reinstate the draft. He said the same thing a few years ago but quickly let on that he wasn't serious. He's playing it straight this time and has already introduced a bill. Local New York TV news has given Rangel saturation coverage. You can see his anger and frustration building each time he answers another reporter's question about the draft. The point he keeps repeating is: "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."
Advocating war is easier when you and your family are not endangered by it. I've reached a Rangel-like breaking point with my TV pundit colleagues who championed the Iraq war and now say we can't leave even if we went there for the wrong reasons. For every one of them, I have a simple question: Why aren't you in Iraq? Or why did you avoid combat in your generation's war? The one unifying characteristic that all of us men in make-up on political chat shows share is fear of combat. Every one of us has done everything we can to avoid combat or even being fitted for a military uniform. Just like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney, we are all combat cowards. It takes a very special kind of combat coward to advocate combat for others. It's the kind of thing that can get you as angry as Charlie Rangel.
Though I am probably past the age of acceptability for a draft (alright, I'm not that old, but like Indiana Jones said, 'It's not the years, it's the mileage,' so figure the Army'd take one look at me and laugh me out the door), I would consider supporting Rangel's (futile) move, because he and O'Donnell certainly have a point. After all, how many members of Congress or the Bush administration have family members serving overseas in Iraq? It's easy to ask someone else to stand in harm's way for your freedom; try sending a loved one.
I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge and commemorate in my own small way, the anniversary of the death of the first President I loved, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I was a child of age...ok, lets say I was a very, very small child, but I remember him. My parents, and my Irish grandmother adored him and that made him very God-like and all powerful to me.
I can very faintly remember the Cuban missile crisis. I didn't know what was going on, of course, but I remember a few very tense days in my little family circle when my parents would sit around the kitchen table in our small post-war house they had built. I heard the stress in their voices as they talked with my other relatives and their friends who visited. And I remember the joy and relief when President Kennedy brought our country through that deadly, perilous time. The bourbon flowed in the South. I remember because it was so rare to see everyone celebrate in such a way.
I remember the shock of the assassination in the reactions of my parents, especially since my oldest sister had just brought home her newborn, my first niece. It should have been a happy time, but it was tinged with sorrow. I didn't realize what had happened exactly until I watched the funeral on the TV. I remember I was wearing a frilly white dress and patent leather maryjanes. I remember John-John saluting the coffin and I cried. We all cried.
I pray that mercy and justice will bring this country another great man, like John F. Kennedy, to lead us in a new direction. We need him.
The Secret Service failed to protect the daughter of the President from being robbed in Argentina at a crowded restaurant. Barbara was dining with Jenna in Buenos Aires, where they have been for about 3 weeks. Despite being surrounded by Secret Service agents, her purse was stolen.
Yes, I'm telling you that between the CIA, the Secret Service, the FBI and the rest of the intelligence community, we're all screwed. God knows, I'm no fan, but these are the daughter's of the President of our country. You'd think at this time, with all that is happening and nearly on the day of the anniversary of our last assassinated President, the great tradition of the Secret Service would ensure that they would be hyper-vigilent, wouldn't you?
UPDATE: I've checked the CNN newscast and website and not one word can I find on this. How is it that the BBC has the story and not the U.S. media? What does that tell us about the MSM in the U.S.? Are their heads totally up their asses or are they just owned lock, stock and barrel and willfully and wrongfully attempting to keep information from the American people?
Truthdig has a great interview with Gore Vidal up, so go check it out. Here is a sample:
'There are a few crazies who want to cheer the flag and this yappy little terrier as though he were a real president. Well, he’s not a real president. He’s a thing, a chimera who was put together by the Supreme Court, first time around, and reelected by, uh, Diebold, Sequoia and some other interested parties. Everybody knows he isn’t there. Or what is there isn’t for us—it’s not our president. We do have a real, uh, a shadow president in Vice President Cheney, whose wife is a famous novelist given to tales of unnatural love… . '
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
It's what they call a "candy bar" phone in that it's not a flip phone or one of those slider phones (which I cannot stand for some reason). It's about a 1/4" thick so it'll slide right into my pocket and relieve me the need to wear the thing on my belt, which I've long since grown tired of.
Can someone explain this to me - I went into the Cingular store and their price was about $200. Add to the fact that I needed to get my wife a new phone since we're on one of those family plans and that would have jacked up the price even more at the Cingular store - to the tune of $100 (she got one of those RAZRs). Boom, $300 right there and that's with the new customer discount (I'm sure they probably had some sort of rebate but that requires additional work on my part).
I check out Best Buy and I can get the my phone for $50 and my wife's phone for FREE. So, $300 or $50. I took the latter. The only downside I can see at this point is that I'll have to go to the Cingular store in order to get them to "port" my old number over, which I guess isn't that big of a deal. Can someone explain why the actual store would have such high prices for the same phones I can get much cheaper at Best Buy? Is it some sort of big box store discount like Wal-Mart benefits from? Just curious.
Anyway, the phone's really sharp. I've got it playing, sans earpiece, right now and the built-in speaker is pretty good. Of course, it sounds even better with an earpiece. It took me about 10 minutes to upload about 30 songs (my computer crashed earlier this year taking much of my 200+ song music collection with it), which is enough for right now.
So for anyone even remotely interested, and in the spirit of overly inquisitive reporters to politicians, I give you a sample of what's on my iPod. Right now, I've got some Stones playing (Sympathy for the Devil); a handful of U2 songs (much Joshua Tree), some Johnny Cash (mostly covers he did - One, Hurt, Personal Jesus) and a single apiece from Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Dixie Chicks, among several others. One of my personal favorites is by The Offspring called Spare Me the Details. Track it down; freaking hilarious.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me on my meandering and pointless post. I think I've got some early holiday lethargy. I'm sure before we all know it, we'll be back in the thick of some partisan battle, but for now a break isn't a bad thing. To paraphrase, all politics and no fun make Paul a something something (thank you, Homer).
Continuing my mad obsession with all things Prez '08, I bring you the comedy stylings of Newt Gingrich. Until now, it was only speculation that he would make a run for his party's nomination. Now, he's working on the plan; nay, not a plan, rather a movement that will become so powerful that he will have no choice but to acquiese to the will of the people and simply become president.
"I am not 'running' for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen."
Maybe I'm just picking at semantics here, but it's just such an odd way of courting voters. It's sort of like a bizarro version of LBJ's decision not to run in 1968: 'I'm not asking for your vote, but if chosen by the solemn and unsolicited approval of my legions of loving followers, I will humbly accept the post.'
As Shelly Lewis reminds us, Newt's list of offenses is an extensive one, including
[...] the ethics issues, the creation of the sleazy, bullying Republican revolving-door lobbyist system now known as the K street project, and the pouty government shutdown he orchestrated in a losing battle with Bill Clinton[.]
With a resume like that, let's hope that people do not find his amazing panaceas all that compelling so that we can continue to consign him to the dustbin of history.
After months of it staring me in the face, I finally decided to take the plunge into Firefox. I'm an IE guy, specifically IE6 and I'm a real creature of habit abut such things. IE6 allowed me to customize a very unobtrusive navbar that maximized my screenview without a bunch of unnecessary buttons and such. But with the advent of IE7, I felt that it might be time to make a switch. But instead of IE7 I went ahead and checked out Firefox (which 35% of my visitors here use [50% use IE6]). Overall, I'm fairly satisfied. It's customizable (though not as much as I want) and of course, there's the whole "tabs" thing. Within a month's time, I'm going to wonder how the heck I ever lived without tabs. I have a widescreen monitor (1680 x 1050) with ample space on my taskbar to display many windows, but by utilizing tabs it makes everything so much easier. I can have one window with tabs for blogger, this blog and the counter; one window for about six-eight different blogs that I monitor and another window for a couple of email programs I use. So instead of 10-12 open windows, I've got three - very smooth. Me likey.
So, is there anything else I'm missing as far as nifty tools in Firefox?
Murdoch's statement is as follows: "I and senior management agreee with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."
Ill advised, huh? Ya think!? Can you imagine if this had taken place. There's the double-murderer Simpson sitting there and conjecturing on how he would have killed these two people "if" he had done it - so basically this book would have been a tell-all. Dear lord, but the man has two children by this slain woman! Can you imagine the conversation between the children and their father. "Hey kids. I'm writing a book and doing an interview where I'll talk about how I would have killed your mommy. Doesn't that sound great?" "Offensive" just doesn't quite describe just how dispicable such a spectacle would prove.
As Eugene Robinson wrote in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post:
Only a narcissist of the first order would be compelled to revisit the scene of the crime and walk us through the butchery, knowing that no one would take his use of "if" or "would have" as anything but a mocking formality -- knowing that everyone would read the book as a true confession of his sins. Only a textbook narcissist would have such a warped need to bask once again in the limelight.
Thankfully, Murdoch has proven not to be utterly and completely tone deaf to the public outrage that was growing throughout the country. Murdoch may be many things, but I believe him to be a businessman first and foremost. And this Simpson pollution was bad business.
Monday, November 20, 2006
"One lesson is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."
"We'll succeed, unless we quit."
At which Olbermann removed himself to behind the woodshed and proceeded with the beatdown:
The primary one — which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy– is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.
The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: if you don't have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask South Vietnam's President Diem, or President Thieu.
The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: don't pretend it's something it's not. For decades we were warned that if we didn't stop "communist aggression" in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.
This president has his fictitious Iraqi W-M-D, and his lies (disguised as subtle hints) linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and his reason-of-the-week for keeping us there when all the evidence has, for at least three years, told us we needed to get as many of our kids out, as quickly as we could.
That president [Lyndon Johnson] had his fictitious attacks on Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and the next thing any of us knew, the Senate had voted 88-to-2 to approve the blank check with which Lyndon Johnson paid for our trip into hell.
And then, my favorite passage:
The Domino Theory was nonsense, sir. Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one. Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.
And most importantly — as President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Korb said on this newscast Friday — we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.
We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy, and allowed us to win the Cold War.
This is basically an encapsulation of everything level-headed (read: non-neoconservatives) people have been claiming for years - the war in Iraq has distracted us from your beloved war on terror, and has in fact made the latter war almost impossible to win. As has been said, our presense in Iraq has done more to recruit would-be terrorists than anything Osama bin Laden could have said or done. The world is a more dangerous place, and it is because you fail to grasp the historical significance of what you have done to this nation. You may be weakened by your party's loss of Congress but you daily demonstrate just how dangerous you are to the world.
C&L has video and a full transcript.
 I don’t own an iPod. I would never wear an iPod… If this is your primary focus in life - the machines… it’s going to have a staggeringly negative effect, all of this, for America…
 [D]id you ever talk to these computer geeks? I mean, can you carry on a conversation with them? …
 I really fear for the United States because, believe me, the jihadists? They’re not playing the video games. They’re killing real people over there.
I, like millions of Americans, am an iPod owner. I recall the days of the Walkman, and I'll take my small iPod Shuffle over that big honkin' yellow cassette player anyday of the week. And while I'll admit that it is not the primary focus of my life, I do find it handy while cutting the grass or riding the subway the couple times of year I find myself doing so. It seems that on my all too frequent journeys to New York that everyone seems to have the white earpieces in their ears listening to their own personal soundtracks. Whether this is having a "staggeringly negative effect" on America seems a bit of a reach.
Next, he takes the swipe at computer "geeks"? Why? Is that some remnant of his younger days as a bully or something? What's the point really? And his query, "I mean, can you carry on a conversation with them?" would be applicable to the majority of his audience in my mind.
Finally we have the jihadist remark? So, while Americans are playing video games, the jihadists are killing people; is he suggesting that we put down our controllers and start killing people as well in order to prepare for the coming apocalyptic conflagration when our skills at hand-to-hand combat against these devil worshippers will finally be put to the test? He really stumped me with this one. Then again, perhaps we should provide the jihadists with video games and maybe that will stip them from killing people since they would then have something else to do with their time.
Bill-O really stumped me with this rant. Maybe he's choosing to forgo his annual war on Christmas diatribes and is instead focusing on the laziness of Americans (and the awkward social skills of computer geeks) who ought to be practicing the art of jihad rather than cuddling up with our iPods and Xboxes.
The basis for his disdain is a new Pew poll out with its early frontrunners:
So what does this mean? Is Hillary a lock? Is Giuliani in the driver’s seat? No and no.The bottomline is this: these polls are all but meaningless. Perhaps nothing illustrates this point better than looking back at polls from this point in the last election cycle. For example, a Fox News poll conducted in January of 2003 (which was closer to the election than we are now) reported the following results:
In fact, throughout 2002 and much of 2003, Joe Lieberman led in virtually every poll. Did that mean that Lieberman had some deep base of support among Democratic primary voters? Of course not. All this reflected was the fact that Lieberman had the highest name recognition of anyone in the field by virtue of his status as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2000.
Take Rudy Giuliani, for example. He polls well because most people know who he is. But I suspect most Republican voters don’t know very much about the guy, and the more they learn, the more likely they will be to reconsider their support. Conversely, most Republican primary voters don’t know who Mitt Romney is. But, like Howard Dean in 2004, Romney may well emerge as a real contender as we get closer to the actual primaries.
The Democratic side is even more interesting. Four out of the five candidates topping the polls are people who have significant name recognition. Gore, Kerry, and Edwards are all former national candidates. And Hillary is, well, Hillary. But notice that the least well known (by far) among the five, Barack Obama, is already polling at 23%. That strikes me as far more significant than any other data point in the poll.
And, of course, you always have to be on the lookout for the person who will inevitably emerge from total obscurity to become an important player. It happens almost every cycle.Long story short, don’t read too much into these polls.
I think AL makes some really excellent points, including the name recognition factor. One candidate in particular, Romney, is someone who I'm favoring given my big love for governors-as-prez-candidates and the fact that he's putting together quite an operation (the guy just bought Clear Channel for crissakes!), including his courting of bigtime Bush donors. And his last paragraph lends credence to my Mike Huckabee theory, as he fits the bill of obscurity while still being a governor (Arkansas). His time is growing short to make a big splash, but I still see him having potential.
On the Dem side, he also makes a good point about Barack Obama, a man who entered the national scene in a somewhat limited capacity just two years ago. For him to already be polling this strong this early bodes well for him.
Still, AL does make the most important point of all; this stuff means next to nothing. Still, if nothing else, I'll be able to look back on this 18 months from now and see just how right or wrong some of my ramblings may have been.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Of course, back in 1999, John "Moderate Edition" McCain claimed that overturning Roe would be dangerours for women and would not support such a move. From Think Progress:
I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.
Seven years can apparently change a man's mind, as John "Right-Wing-Jerry-Falwell-Courting" McCain now claims that the Supreme Court should not be legislating from the bench as they did on Roe and should most certainly be overturned by a newer high court decision so that the issue could be decided by the states. Further, he supports a constitutional amendment prohibiting a woman's right to control her own body.
Seriously, if nothing else this is a good thing for our side. For years, we have been attempting to shine a light on John McCain, who is so adored by the media that they refuse to see him as anything other than the Maverick who occassionally talks tough to George W. Bush (but then inevitably toes the company line - remember the ban on torture?). This portrayal of him has been so infuriating because anyone who would choose to do even a cursory evaluation of his record would find that he is one of the most conservative members of his party, despite the Maverick nonsense. His decision to support the overturning of Roe v. Wade may go long way to convincing independent voters that McCain is most certainly not one of them. The final question will come down to media involvment - will they allow McCain to have his cake and eat it too? Can he continue to kneel at the altar of Falwell and the hard right wing while simultaneously getting a pass from the media because they like using the term "Maverick" to describe him?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The twenty-second amendment to the Constitution establishes that a president shall not be elected to the office more than twice, so as far as George W. Bush running for office again, we are obviously in the clear. There are unfortunately no amendments on the books that cover who runs a presidential election, so have more than likely not seen the last of one Karl Rove.
A recent report suggests that his time in the employ of the White House may be drawing to a close.
The rumors that chief White House political architect Karl Rove will leave sometime next year are being bolstered with new insider reports that his partisan style is a hurdle to President Bush’s new push for bipartisanship. “Karl represents the old style and he’s got to go if the Democrats are going to believe Bush’s talk of getting along,” said a key Bush advisor.
Other elements are also at play: The election yesterday of Sen. Trent Lott to the number two GOP leadership position in the Senate is also a threat to the White House and Rove, who worked against him when he battled to save his majority leader’s job after his insensitive remarks about Sen. Strom Thurmond.
And insiders report that Bush counsel Harriet Miers isn’t a fan, believing that Rove didn’t do enough to help her failed Supreme Court nomination among conservatives. In fact, one top West Wing advisor said that the unexpected ouster of Rove aide Susan Ralston over ethics questions was orchestrated by Miers as a signal to Rove to leave. The advisor said that Rove is aware of the situation and that a departure might come in “weeks, not months.” A Rove ally, however, noted that he has a record of out-witting his critics.
Some find this scenario far-fetched, including David Kurtz, (the indespensible "recent" addition to the Talking Points Memo crew).
I'm not inclined to give a whole lot of credence to the rumors that Karl Rove will leave the White House soon. Does it make sense on some levels? Sure. But part of the rumor involves Harriet Miers plunging a shiv into Rove's back, and I find that so hard to believe, it makes me skeptical that any of the rumor is true.
While the actual mechanics of his potential departure may still be up in the air, I find the timing of the situation indicative of the fact that we have not seen the last of Rove on the campaign trail. After all, Rove's dirty tricks career stretches back over three decades.
In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Illinois State Treasurer, and stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead. Rove then printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing," and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon's rally (Dixon eventually won the election).
I see no reason that just because Bush's time in office is thankfully coming to an end that Rove's time as a political consultant should also cease. His leaving the White House in the near future allows him the opportunity to latch onto any one of a plethora of potential GOP candidates in '08. While an ugly history would seem to preclude him working for John McCain, I could certainly see him latching onto Mitt Romney or possibly even Rudy Giuliani (though I find the latter less likely for some reason).
I thought during the entire debate that it was amazingly stupid and shortsighted of the Republicans to even consider such move as there was no guarantee they would always be the majority party, despite bloated claims the contrary. If the GOP leadership had decided to detonate this option, and then subsequently lost power in a future election (which is what happened), they would have been the first to stand up and scream about what an unfair move it was and that the Democrats should immediately revert to its original formulation.
Alas, the option was not chosen, and the filibuster remains in place. And so much the better for the Republicans as I've noted two separate instances where they intend to use their filibuster power during the coming session. The first instance I noted was Senator James Inhofe (R-KS), a man who has a sort of "earth is flat" mentality when it comes to global warming. Despite mountains of evidence of it's existence and it's man-made causes, Inhofe continues to zealously insert his fingers in his ears and scream LALALALALALALALA! No surprise of course that Inhofe's biggest contributors are in the energy/natural resources sector. And anyone who dared bring any climate change legislation to a vote, he would most certainly filibuster it (C&L has the video). Though to be fair, Inhofe claims that he won't have to use a filibuster because "the votes aren't there because the science is not there." I can almost see this neanthertal riding home in his little foot-powered Flintstone mobile, the man is so damn out-of-step with the present and reality.
The next contestant in the biggest hypocrite race is new Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who issued a threat to obstruct Senate business if Bush doesn't get a vote on his far-right nominees.
The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society Friday not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.
If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote," McConnell said.
So, do what we say, or we stop all Senate work. Wait, aren't the Dems the party of obstruction? After all, no less a personage than Bush himself recently called Democrats the party of obstruction, which, based on the context of his remarks would seem to indicate that this is something of a bad thing. Yet now it is the Republicans who wish to champion the mantle of obstuctionism now. Just so we're clear, when Dems do it, that's bad. When Repubs do it, that's good. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you hypocrisy in action.
Incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked an official with the Justice Department if Ingraham's offense should be considered a violation and the official appears to agree (Think Progress has the video).
I glad that there are people like Senator Leahy in office who chose not to gloss over such offenses simply because our side was able to overcome the various voter suppression tactics employed by the right. Of course, the question has been asked; I await to see if there is follow through.
Oh, almost forgot to mention, the irritating robocalls that harassed hundreds of thousands of voters may become a thing of the past. In addition to federal legislation being considered in both chambers of Congress, the movement is underway to make it a state offense as well. For those not in the know, a quick refresher - the robocall would start by saying "I have information about (Democratic Candidate X)," then leave a pause, and follow with a hit piece on that Democratic candidate, with the disclaimer about the call being sponsored by the NRCC coming at the very end. If the voter hung up early on the call, it would automatically call back 7 or 8 times until the call ended. If you kept hanging up, you were annoyed with what you think is the campaign for the Democratic candidate. If you listened to the end of the call, you heard a hit piece on that candidate.
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the system may have had an effect as some people noted that they would not vote for a Dem candidate because they kept being harassed by them, which of course, they were not. This is simply more evidence that Republicans cannot win on their merits; they must resort to trickery in order to succeed. It speaks volumes abou the current state of the Republican Party.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Giuliani is laying the groundwork to make the case to social conservatives that he isn't the social liberal he's been made out to be. Maybe he'll blame the liberal media for painting him as a liberal, or something.
Seriously, Rudy's impending effort to pull off a convincing ideological self-transformation is going to form one of the more interesting storylines to watch as we move into the Presidential race. As someone who's seen him up close undergoing previous political mutations over the years, I can tell you that he's way better at distancing himself from the reality of his own past -- and sounding awfully sincere in the process -- than many people might think. So: Will the big news orgs hold Giuliani accountable for his own past statements and positions on issues important to GOP primary voters, or will his designation by the media as an "independent" Republican who allegedly says what he thinks earn him the same kind of hands-off treatment the big pundits and commentators have tended to grant to fellow "straight-talker" John McCain?
So, a plan is apparently in place to whitewash years of executive decisions during his time as mayor of New York. Giuliani knows that his credentials as "America's Mayor" will only gain him so much goodwill with voters; the next phase of Extreme Makeover: President Rudy Edition begins soon.
The moves by Bush were widely heralded as examples of his innate inability to even comprehend the word bipartisan, let alone govern in such a manner. Given that these appointments require approval for the Congress, they have little chance of ever getting through, thus negating some amount of pandering to the right wing Bush was hoping to achieve (though the simple fact of renominating these figures will probably be enough of a gesture to placate them for a time).
There are however some positions that Bush can fill that do not require congressional approval, and such is the case in regards to a Dr. Eric Keroack, who was recently appointed as new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. The position puts Keroack in charge of "$283 million in annual family planning grants that are designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons", according to HHS.
From the Washington Post:
The Keroack appointment angered many family-planning advocates, who noted that A Woman's Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six centers in eastern Massachusetts.
"A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness," the group's Web site says.
From Alternet, an exploration into the types of tactics used by 'crisis pregnancy centers' like A Woman's Concern:
According to a recent Planned Parenthood email, a 17-year-old girl mistakenly walked into a crisis pregnancy center thinking it was Planned Parenthood, which was next door. "The group took down the girl's confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their 'other office' (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby)."
When she showed up for her nonexistent appointment, she was met by the police, who had been erroneously tipped that a minor was being forced to abort. The crisis pregnancy center staff followed up this harassment by staking out the girl's house, phoning her father at work, and even talking to her classmates about her pregnancy, urging them to harass her.
As Michelle Goldberg at Huffington Post notes,
Bush has appointed a number of pro-life activists to important positions in the federal bureaucracy. Keroack is unique, though, because the job he's been given is all about the distribution of contraceptives, something he appears to oppose in principal. Again, from A Woman's Concern: "A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness."
So, in Dr. Keroack, we have someone who opposes contraception and won't tell women about birth control, he basically advocates the exact opposite of what family planning is supposed to function. He is just another example of the fact that while Bush's power has been weakened now that Dems control Congress, he is still a dangerous commodity that must be scrutinized at every turn. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino noted, "The president has said we will look to reach common ground where we can find it. However, he's not going to compromise on his principles." I question if there will be any position where Bush can compromise.
A couple of days ago, CNN developed the label moderate conservative and applied it to "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani. I'm assuming the moderate part of the label is to cover up any number of instances where Rudy would most certainly fall on the far end of conservative, including getting a few divorces, living with a gay couple and supporting a woman's right to choose.
Now joining the lexicon on pointless political spectrum labels, we have the common sense conservative, embodied by presidential hopeful John McCain. While I'm not precisely certain, could this be some sort of verbal exposition that diagrams McCain's obvious conservative streak that is somehow completely hidden in the light of the media as they continue to felate him with his maverick label? In other words, moderate and mavericky on the outside, conservative and squishy on the inside?
I suppose my only question now is, what's next? What presidential hopeful will step up with a brand new label? Perhaps Mitt Romney will come out as a Soft-and-Fuzzy Conservative - go give Mitt a hug - he's the cuddly conservative. Maybe Newt Gingrich can be the Mr. Rogers Conservative - he could wear cardigans and explain his economic plans with puppets.