Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's Over

Terri Schiavo has finally been permitted to leave this life and move on to the next, whatever she believes that to be. My thoughts are with the Schiavo and Schindler families. Look at what we’ve become that this woman’s death (which actually happened 15 years ago), can be referred to as "it." The "it" isn’t her death, of course. The "it" to which I'm referring is the clusterfuck of a media circus surrounding this unfortunate family’s tragedy. And it is nothing less than a disgrace on our nation. The talking heads make sure to preface each segment with how sad it is that this can be happening, and then positively drool as they dive into every last detail about what starvation is like, about the jugglers and religious nuts and the national guard outside her hospice, and dissect the latest lies by some suspect doctor who insists he can heal her or some psychic who insists he can hear her thoughts. Good god, people. Where has our dignity gone? Or at the very least, where is our shame?

In Salon today, Glenn Reynolds and Sidney Blumenthal write that in violating their core principles in order to pander to the religious right, the Republicans may have fractured the coalition that Karl Rove has built these last five years, undermining the GOP's stranglehold on the federal government. We can hope that they’re right – at least some good could come of this farce. But in Slate Tuesday, Bert Brandenburg has a theory that, from accidentally watching cable news for five minutes last night, I’m more inclined to believe, (and worry about). He wonders what this situation represents for the American judiciary. Last night on TV, the loudest bellowing from the right-wing psychos wasn't about poor Terri Schiavo, it was about the Satanic judiciary. I’ll take it a step farther than Mr. Brandenburg and suggest that this was the plan all along. Pushing a pro-life angle was a nice bonus for them, but just seeing the polls, they knew that was a losing issue. Most people agree with Michael Schiavo. But this allows them to frame the upcoming Supreme Court appointment battles in the strongest light possible. Even though most of the judges who heard (or repeatedly refused to hear the case, *ahem* Scalia/Thomas) are Republicans - Judge Greer is even a Southern Baptist minister – the right wing can rail against them, calling them cold-hearted, fag-loving, death-craving liberal activists. Without an apology to anyone in the Schiavo or Schindler families, the zealots have hijacked this tragedy in order to push a larger agenda to pack the courts with extremist right-wing religious freaks. All the while, the MSM is paving the way for them. I don’t know where these "reporters" came from, but they should be forced at gunpoint to attend at least one semester of journalism school again. They seem to have forgotten every last tenet of their trade.

Here’s something to send a chill down your spine – Justice Pat Robertson. Uggida-boogida...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Culture of Life

In a frenzy to protect the life of (or avenge the death of) Terri Schiavo, a man offered $250,000 for the murder of Michael Schiavo, with a $50,000 bonus for Judge Greer, the Southern Baptist Republican judge who was put in the awkward position of enforcing Florida law, against the wishes of religious whackjobs.

Authorities said Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, offered $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed a week ago.

Meywes was arrested without incident at his home about 5 p.m. on charges of solicitation of murder and sending threatening communications, authorities said.

An affidavit filed in support of the charges alleges that Meywes wrote an e-mail Tuesday that said a "bounty with a price tag of $250,000 has been taken out on the head of Michael Schiavo." It also alleges he said an "additional $50,000 has been offered for the elimination of the judge who ruled against Terry in Florida," an apparent reference to Terri Schiavo.

The affidavit also says the same e-mail refers to the recent killings of a judge in Atlanta and family members of a federal judge in Chicago.
It's time for the pro-life folks to whip up a spreadsheet or something. Between this, family planning clinic bombings, starving the poor, and executing retarded teenagers, I'm having a really tough time keeping track of whose lives have value and whose lives do not.

That Other Budget Deficit

We're killing ourselves, and we couldn't care less.

The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries -- some of them world leaders in their fields -- Wednesday warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

  • Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

  • An estimated 24 percent of the Earth's land surface is now cultivated.

  • Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers have doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40 percent and 50 percent of all available freshwater running off the land.

  • At least a quarter of all fish stocks are overharvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing.

  • Since 1980, about 35 percent of mangroves have been lost, 20 percent of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed and another 20 percent badly degraded.

  • Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown diseases to emerge.

    In 1997, a team of biologists and economists tried to put a value on the "business services" provided by nature - the free pollination of crops, the air conditioning provided by wild plants, the recycling of nutrients by the oceans. They came up with an estimate of $33 trillion, almost twice the global gross national product for that year. But after what Wednesday's report, "Millennium Ecosystem Assessment," calls "an unprecedented period of spending Earth's natural bounty," it is time to check the accounts.

    Flow from rivers has been reduced dramatically. For parts of the year, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Colorado in North America dry up before they reach the ocean. An estimated 90 percent of the total weight of the ocean's large predators -- tuna, swordfish and sharks -- has disappeared in recent years. An estimated 12 percent of bird species, 25 percent of mammals and more than 30 percent of all amphibians are threatened with extinction within the next century. Some of them are threatened by invaders.

    The Baltic Sea is now home to 100 creatures from other parts of the world, a third of them native to the Great Lakes of America. Conversely, a third of the 170 alien species in the Great Lakes are originally from the Baltic. Invaders can make dramatic changes: The arrival of the American comb jellyfish in the Black Sea led to the destruction of 26 commercially important stocks of fish. Global warming and climate change could make it increasingly difficult for surviving species to adapt.
  • It's just a matter of time, folks. Even the Pentagon agrees. But, go ahead, get yourself another Hummer. You've had a rough year. Vote for your senator who supports subsidies for agribusiness, as long as he's keeping those faggots outta your face. Fuck the next generation - those lazy nogoodniks...

    Thou Shalt Not Lie...

    ...unless you are pandering to your base. I think that's how it goes. I would be able to remember the Ten Commandments better if they would just post them in our courthouses and public libraries. Anyway... Today's lie, (or religi-fact, if you prefer) concerns that stalwart of Republican values, abstinence:

    Uganda, considered a beacon in Africa for its AIDS-beating policies, is adopting sexual-abstinence-only programs financed by the United States that could undo all its successes, a report released Wednesday says. Human Rights Watch warns that the new policies, which promote abstinence until marriage rather than condom use, leave not only young unmarried people but also women married to unfaithful men without the knowledge they need to protect themselves from infection.

    Research within Uganda by Human Rights Watch has found that information on condoms, safer sex and the risks of HIV in marriage has been removed from primary schools, while some materials used in secondary schools falsely suggest that condoms have microscopic holes that allow the virus through. The AIDS awareness programs in schools are funded by the United States and overseen by an American technical advisor at the Ministry of Education. [Minitru]

    Human Rights Watch says condoms have been widely available in recent years in Uganda and have helped keep HIV prevalence down to around 6 percent, after the big fall from an estimated 15 percent in 1992. The infection rate dropped when President Yoweri Museveni's government promoted openness about AIDS and awareness of the dangers of HIV infection.

    Human Rights Watch says Uganda is falling in with the Christian right in the United States, which backs sexual abstinence before marriage and believes that promoting condoms leads to promiscuity. Uganda, says the report, is redirecting its AIDS strategy away from scientifically sound policies. "Although endorsed by some powerful religious and political leaders in Uganda, this policy and programmatic shift [are] nonetheless orchestrated and funded by the U.S. government."

    But while the United Nations and most organizations fighting AIDS back the "ABC" mantra -- abstinence, be faithful and condoms -- Uganda's AIDS commission last November issued a draft "Abstinence and Be Faithful" policy document, which argues that promoting condoms and abstinence at the same time would be confusing for young people.
    It's just like how they try to bewilder us with contradictory messages about driving safely, and wearing seat belts. Which is it, Bush? Do you want me to avoid an accident or go around smashing into people with my seat belt fastened?

    Is "Evil" a Disease?

    Poor Jerry Falwell. He’s not feeling well. While he recovers, let’s take a moment to reflect on his greatest hits.

  • On 9/11:
    "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

  • On apartheid:
    Falwell condemned Nelson Mandela as a "communist" and praised the apartheid regime in South Africa as a "bulwark for Christian civilization."

  • On children's television:
    Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet, he says: "He is purple - the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle - the gay-pride symbol." He said the "subtle depictions" of gay sexuality are intentional and later issued a statement that read: "As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children."

  • On the war on terror:
    "But you've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I'm for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord."

  • On AIDS:
    "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

  • On homosexuality:
    Q: And in every country, in every civilization, and in every religion, you'll also find homosexuality.
    Falwell: No question about it. And you'll also find bank robbers, drug addicts, and alcoholics.

  • On privacy for homosexuals:
    "I don't want anybody in my bedroom any more than you want anybody in your bedroom. But I think this privacy issue goes too far. Is this right to privacy going to legalize prostitution, or bestiality, or the use of cocaine or heroin as long as you do it in your bedroom? Privacy can be taken to a great extent. ... [I]f we're going to do that, then why don't we just legalize bestiality since it's done in the privacy of one's home, perhaps?"

  • On Bill Clinton:
    ...protected an Arkansas-based cocaine-smuggling operation when he was governor of that state. The drug smuggling and Vincent Foster allegations were prominently featured in "The Clinton Chronicles," a video produced by Citizens for Honest Government and co-financed, publicized and distributed by Falwell. The notorious 1994 video also insinuated that Clinton's political adversaries often met untimely and suspicious deaths.

  • On gay churches:
    In 1985, Falwell publicly denied having verbally attacked a gay community church until a videotape showed Falwell calling members of the church "brute beasts" and "part of a vile and satanic system [that] will one day be utterly annihilated," the Associated Press reported on September 25, 1985. When Falwell was ordered to pay $5,000 to a former pastor of the church, he responded: "This situation is only one more example of harassment by a militant homosexual group."
  • So by all means, pray for Rev. Falwell. I'll leave it to you to decide the content of those prayers.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    Moral Bankruptcy

    Think Progress found some flippity-floppity over in the Senate vis-à-vis the Bankruptcy Bill.

    In 1991, 18 Senators who still serve today voted for a bill by Sen. Al D’Amato (R-NY) to limit the interest rate credit card companies can charge to 14 percent (the measure was consequently stripped out of the final bill). Those same 18 Senators voted a few weeks ago against a bill by Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) to limit the interest rate credit card companies can charge to 30 percent.

    Why would 18 Senators, including co-sponsors of the original measure, vote for a tougher pro-consumer measure in 1991, and then vote against a weaker measure in 2005? Could it be that the more than $2 million these Senators took from the credit card/banking industry in the interim made them change their mind? Or, was there another reason? I’d say the public deserves an answer.
    Perish the thought that our esteemed senators might have interests other than the good of the American people!

    I'd Like to Solve the Puzzle, Pat

    I had no idea, but it would appear that Pat "Buy a Vowel" Sajak has a blog. I guess after you spend decades of your life surrounded by the geniuses who can't quite figure out who ABRAHAM LIN_OLN is, some of that brilliance rubs off.

    He's currently lamenting how closed-minded and awful liberals are. So much so, in fact, he can't even stomach having a conversation with any of us. Let's see what he has to say, shall we?

    I was discussing the United Sates [sic] Supreme Court with on [sic] of my many Liberal friends out in Los Angeles when she said, without any discernable embarrassment, that Justice Anton Scalia was “worse than Hitler”. Realizing she wasn’t alive during World War II and perhaps she may have been absent on those days when her schoolmates were studying Nazism, I reminded her of some of Hitler’s more egregious crimes against humanity, suggesting she may have overstated the case. She had not; Scalia was worse.
    Putting aside the concept of hyperbole (look it up, Pat), in this case you're right. Scalia is an unimaginable asshole, but he's no Hitler. You must be proud that no one on the right ever invokes Nazi imagery.
    If a Conservative—one of the bad guys—complains about the content of music, films or television shows aimed at children, he is being a prude who wants to tell other people what to read or listen to or watch; he is a censor determined to legislate morality. If, however, a Liberal complains about speech and, in fact, supports laws against certain kinds of speech, it is right and good because we must be protected from this "hate speech" or "politically incorrect" speech.
    Are there any laws preventing me from spreading hate propaganda? Aren't the KKK permitted to hold rallies in even the most liberal of cities? Don't people have bumper stickers saying things like, "Kill the towelheads" or whatever other insipid racist garbage? The answer is yes. On the other hand, if the conservatives had their way, our nation's artists would have to work with their hands tied behind their backs, doing the world a disservice. I liked Eyes Wide Shut, Pat. I don't think kids should be able to see it, but I'm happy that it was made available to me. Furthermore, limiting speech in any fashion is (oh no, not Hitler again!) a step down the road to fascism. When people start making decisions about what gets to be said, and what cannot be said, it opens the door for corrupt politicians to limit what can be said about them and their policies.
    Protests about Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor and self-proclaimed Native American,
    Self-proclaimed? What does that mean? Who else is going to proclaim?
    who, among other things, likened some Sept. 11 victims to Adolf Eichmann (there go those pesky Nazis again), were characterized by much of the Left as an effort to stifle academic freedom. But, when Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers’ job is put in jeopardy over a caveat-filled musing about science and gender, it’s okay, because what he said was sooo wrong (even if it has to be mis-characterized to make the point).
    Well, I don't feel as qualified as you to speak for all liberals, Pat, but I didn't think there was anything wrong with what Mr. Summers said either. In any case, I think that had more to do with the preconceived notion of a pattern of sexism at Harvard in the first place. The woman who had to leave to room to barf, on the other hand - she's a whackjob.
    When Liberals want to legislate what you’re allowed to drive or what you should eat or how much support you can give to a political candidate or what you can or can’t say, they are doing it for altruistic reasons. The excesses of the Left are to be excused because these folks operate from the higher moral ground and the benefit of the greater wisdom and intelligence gained from that perspective.
    Allowed to drive - protect the environment, stop funding terrorist cells, and save people from needless death at the hands of tank-sized killing machines. What to eat - agribusiness is killing people with tainted food; lackluster enforcement of pesky rules like not covering up mad cow disease; pumping our food full of dangerous chemicals and high fructose corn syrup creating a health crisis not seen since the plague, not to mention fatass lazy kids; the cruel factory farms are poisoning drinking water and air, destroying people's property values and quality of life. How much support you can give a candidate - a) isn't it the McCain (R)/Feingold (D) bill? b) there is rampant corruption in our government, all due to outrageous corporate contributions to candidates with a tacit policy of quid pro quo. Try to remember, Pat - money is money, not speech.
    In a different West Coast conversation, I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Left’s tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those "red state" voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, "Well, don’t you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices?" It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt.
    While the term "red-necked rubes" is pointless invective, the fact is that the red-staters voted against their own interests, and it was studied at length in the PIPA Report that the people who voted for Bush were, by a wide margin, much more likely to be misinformed on most major issues. To name one, directly out of this report - 57% of Bush voters think we found WMD in Iraq, compared to 23% of Kerry voters. (Just in case you're unclear, Pat - there were no WMD.) So yes, to answer your question, I believe that having accurate facts makes me more qualified to make a decision about politics than someone who has inaccurate ones.
    The rhetoric has become so super-heated that, sadly, I find myself having fewer and fewer political discussions these days. And while I miss the spirited give-and-take, when Supreme Court Justices become worse than Hitler and when those who vote a certain way do so because they’re idiots, it’s time to talk about the weather.
    While you're bitching, Pat, maybe you ought to have words with Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, and the rest of those assholes. I don't see them doing anyone any good, either. In the meantime, why don't you go back to flipping letters and leave the thinking to us.

    Monday, March 28, 2005

    Check Out the Size of That Hypocrisy

    Oh, Tom DeLay, how is it that one man can be so chock full of shit? What is the deal with Republicans who apply one standard to their family, and another to everyone else? There's gay-hating Cheney and his lesbian daughter. There's Newt Gingrich decrying Clinton's fling with Monica, while dumping his wife for his young assistant. Now, there's Tom DeLay, a favorite at the DoG, saying that anyone who supports Michael Schiavo is a monster, yet when faced with his own father's vegetative state, he had no problem making the same exact decision as Michael Schiavo, (albeit with the privacy that he refuses to grant Mr. Schiavo). Furthermore, the champion of eliminating so-called frivolous lawsuits, turned around and sued the manufacturer of the machine that put his father in that coma. This guy really has a pair, doesn't he?

    DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls "an act of barbarism" in removing the tube.

    In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

    In 1990, the DeLays filed suit against Midcap Bearing Corp. of San Antonio and Lovejoy Inc. of Illinois, the distributor and maker of a coupling that the family said had failed and caused the tram to hurtle out of control.

    The family's wrongful death lawsuit accused the companies of negligence and sought actual and punitive damages. Lawyers for the companies denied the allegations and countersued the surviving designer of the tram system, Jerry DeLay.

    The case thrust Rep. DeLay into unfamiliar territory — the front page of a civil complaint as a plaintiff. He is an outspoken defender of business against what he calls the crippling effects of "predatory, self-serving litigation."

    The DeLay family litigation sought unspecified compensation for, among other things, the dead father's "physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and trauma," and the mother's grief, sorrow and loss of companionship.

    Their lawsuit also alleged violations of the Texas product liability law.
    Tommy, Tommy, Tommy... It's ok for you, but not for anyone else, huh? What if your lawsuit prevented this company for making more of these defective products, and you actually prevented another family from having to make the same difficult decision you were forced to make? Isn't that a good thing? Isn't that what the "culture of life" is supposed to be about?

    Saturday, March 26, 2005

    We Report, We Decide

    I'm sorry, DoG fans, for writing about Terri Schiavo all day and all night. I see right-wing hypocrisy and I'm unable to control myself. And here's Fox News' John Gibson forcing my hand again:

    I think Jeb Bush should give serious thought to storming the Bastille.

    By that I mean he should think about telling his cops to go over to Terri Schiavo's hospice, go inside, put her on a gurney and load her into an ambulance. They could take her to a hospital, revive her, and reattach her feeding tube. It wouldn't save Terri exactly; she'd still be in the same rotten shape she was in before they disconnected the feeding tube.

    But the point is, the temple of the law is so sacrosanct that an occasional chief executive cannot flaunt it once in a while, sort of drop his drawers on the courthouse steps and moon the judges, as a way to protest the complete disregard courts and judges have shown here, in this case, for facts outside the law.
    So this is what he wants? An executive branch that can take the law into its own hands whenever it damn well chooses? Good God, John, use your brain for just one second! Is the rule of law so sacrosanct? We're a nation of laws. What if we elect a president who thinks we should just round up people randomly and throw them into inhumane prisons in order to torture them for information they may or may not possess?

    Uh... Scrap that. But you get my point. Unless you hate America and the foundation upon which she is based, you can't honestly be advocating for disregarding the Constitution, can you?
    ...any woman in America can see Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo are not really married anymore. But judge after judge after judge after judge still nods his or her head and mutters, married? Yup, they're married?

    This is important because as husband, Michael Schiavo is her guardian and allowed to say what happens to her, how the money in her estate is spent, and so forth.
    What were they like 15 years ago when you people started fucking with the sanctity of their marriage? Man, this poor family. Can you imagine what these people have had to suffer through, both this deeply personal tragedy and being a political football for religious zealots?
    I know lawyers and judges don't think that way, but real people do.

    Oh John, you're not saying judges aren't real people, are you?

    Well, judging by what happened here, I'd say yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

    So Jeb, call out the troops, storm the Bastille and tell 'em I sent you.
    Too bad they went to law school and learned our country's laws, while you went to douchebag school and learned how to be a fake journalist. Even your precious Scalia and Thomas agree with those non-persons whom you so disdain. Can you arrest someone for advocating the violent overthrow of the government?
    That's My Word
    Your Word is a proper noun?

    What Do They Want?

    Firedoglake wonders aloud about the right's end goal in the Schiavo case. The actions they've taken in this case undermines most of their platform positions, so what do they want to come from this? If they don't like how this worked out, how do they intend to fix it for the future? These are good questions.

    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Freedom, Iraqi Style

    Something's going on over in Kyrgyzstan. It's hard to tell exactly what's going to come of it. But I know one thing - it looks a hell of a lot like Baghdad circa 2003.

    Gunshots rang out on a street in downtown Bishkek after dark Friday and helmeted police in bulletproof vests chased a rowdy group of youths as looting continued for a second day.

    In another part of the capital, with its streetlights extinguished, shots were fired near the central department store on the main avenue where vigilantes and police were on duty against looters. Police fired into the air to warn off a group of looters, witnesses said.

    "The city looks as if it has gone mad," said Felix Kulov, a prominent opposition figure who was released from prison during Thursday's uprising and appointed coordinator of law enforcement.
    But let's not focus on the negative. I have to be honest with you, I'm not up on my Kyrgyzstan current events. But I have to say that a popular uprising sure beats the hell out of the United States sending 150,000 troops and shoving our democracy down their throats.
    Akayev's departure made Kyrgyzstan the third former Soviet republic in the past 18 months — after Georgia and Ukraine — to see popular protests bring down long-entrenched leaders widely accused of corruption.

    Putin, on a visit to Armenia, said "it's unfortunate that yet again in the post-Soviet space, political problems in a country are resolved illegally and are accompanied by pogroms and human victims."
    The overthrow of corrupt leaders, and Putin doesn't like the new guys, so it sounds pretty cool on the surface. Again, we have to stay tuned...

    Purity of Body and Spirit

    On Fridays, I like to take a step back and talk about the important things in real life.

    Being a teenage girl in today’s world brings with it a plethora of dilemmas. After centuries of mystery, bible scholars have finally stepped to the plate to answer the questions - "How can I get my groove on and still keep my noonie pure in God's eye?" And, "Does Jesus want me to swallow?"

    Spoiler alert! Jesus says yes.

    They Just Won't Give Up

    Despite the fact that Bush's approval rating is dropping faster than a cheerleader's panties on prom night; that the majority of Americans disagree with the Republicans' interference in the Schiavo case; and that their disgraceful grandstanding violates the principles of the party, turning a poor family's suffering into macabre political theater - many Republicans just will not give up this fight. And I say, keep twisting the knife.

    Completely by surprise, this unfortunate situation actually presents the Democrats with a real opportunity to speak to Americans in a way that they've been unable to these past 4 years or so. And it isn't just a matter of finally being on the "winning" side of an issue, (and I say winning only in the sense that the Democrats have the position favored by most Americans - no one wins in this disgusting display), it's that the Republicans have finally shown their true colors.

    People went along with their gay-hating, pandering platform in the last election because, hey - it's easy to hate gays if you don't know any. But everyone can relate to a family suffering through the agony of having to decide the fate of a loved one. And in this case, the religious right hijacked the Republican party to interfere with that family's decision making process. We liberals have been trying to explain to people that with the Ten Commandments and the anti-evolution and the anti-gay issues constantly coming to the forefront, that it's not the government's place to tell us which religious dogma should be mandated by the state. But the red-staters said, "But I like the Ten Commandments, I hate gays, and evolution is a load of hooey, so get your Hollywood liberal elitist garbage outta my house!"

    Now we can say - hey, this is what we've been talking about. This is why we need to filibuster those judges. This is why we're opposed to religious artifacts on display in courthouses. It's a slippery slope. Sure, it's gays today, but tomorrow, they're telling you what to do with your dying grandma, and the day after that, Bush declares himself a saint sitting to the right of Jesus, like Caligula to Jove. Everyone has their individual rights, and those rights are antithetical to this Republican party. Red states, is this what you voted for?

    Of course it isn't. It also makes me wonder what's in store for both parties in the future. The libertarians, who fit in nicely with the Republicans of the past, are more and more loudly questioning the direction of their party. Could it be that the Democrats are more in tune with their philosophies? Might the Republicans' uncomfortable partnership with the religious right become an influence so large that it forces a mass exodus from the Republican party, much like when the segregationist Dixiecrats gave up on the Dems back in the day and moved to the GOP? Will the Democrats become the small government, strong ethics, states rights populist party of tomorrow? Stay tuned...

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    The God Racket

    Sometimes I get angry when I read Frank Rich because I know I'll never be even a tenth as good as he is. I don't even feel qualified to choose excerpts for you; just read it.

    Willful Ignorance

    All of the Republicans are screaming about how Social Security's insolvency is just on the horizon, right? In 2018, the expenditures will exceed revenues! In 2042, it will be completely broke!

    Guess what they're not talking about. According to the recently released trustees' report, Medicare's expenditures exceeded revenues last year (2004)! It will go flat fucking broke in 2019! How about that, President Bush? Why the clamoring over Social Security instead of Medicare? I'd like to say something sarcastic and conspiratorial, but actually, I can't even speculate why there's such a focus on social security. He's just an idiot, I guess.

    And that's not even mentioning that in the overall budget Bush just submitted, the expenditures exceed the revenues by something like $400 billion dollars. And that's um... you know, NEXT year. Idiot.

    More Faith-Based Science

    It occurred to me last night that the Schiavo situation is another case of the religious right putting their trust in "faith" as opposed to the tried and true scientific method.

    Every reputable doctor, with the exception of our favorite Nobel laureate, (hey, if you're going to lie about it, you might as well have won), who has examined Ms. Schiavo has said explicitly that she is in a permanent vegetative state - she has no emotions, no awareness of the world around her, no ability to recover - she's, sadly, gone for good. Every single doctor. But on television, the only clip they show is the five seconds of the 1000s of hours of home movie footage in which she appears to mimic a smile while her mother is caressing her head. It's a touching picture, if you believe her reflexive muscle action represents thought, which I'm sorry to say, does not. Not according to every doctor who has examined her, in any case.

    So, once again, they would prefer to make decisions based on their initial knee-jerk emotional reaction to something, rather than reason and science. This is the same train of thought that led people to believe that comets caused volcanic eruptions, or for that matter, that there is some hidden code in the bible. Coincidences happen. It might be hard to admit, right-wing crazies, but there are people out there who know more than you do. Get over it, and let the experts handle it.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    Michael Barone

    Pompous ass or assous po... uh... Yeah, that doesn't work with every two word phrase.

    Anyhow - Michael Barone wrote a column, and Wonkette graciously interprets for us. Plain brilliance.

    I Lie, Therefore I Am

    Not me! I'm the benchmark for honesty and integrity. Seriously! It's the usual scoundrels - Scarborough and Hannity. And it's a good one.

    Our favorite right-wing shills have been booking this "doctor" to talk about the Schiavo case. In their introductions and peppered throughout their conversations, the scoundrels refer to him as "Nobel Prize nominated." But with just a teency bit of research by the great folks at Media Matters for America, they find - oops! He wasn't actually nominated at all. But facts don't really concern Joe and Sean, do they? Nope - they repeat the false claim over and over and over and over and...

    Dubious doctor touted as Nobel Prize nominee by Hannity, Scarborough

    Fox News host Sean Hannity and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough both promoted Dr. William Hammesfahr's false claim that he is a Nobel Prize nominee.

    Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine who claims he can help Terri Schiavo, testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending him for the prize. But Bilirakis is not qualified to make a valid nomination under the Nobel rules.

    According to the process posted on the Nobel Prize website, the Nobel Assembly sends out invitations to approximately 3,000 people who are allowed to propose candidates. The 3,000 are "mainly members of the Nobel Assembly, previous prize winners, and a selection of professors at universities around the world." In providing detailed information about those who can submit nominations, the site states:
    Right to submit proposals for the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, based on the principle of competence and universality, shall by statute be enjoyed by:

    1. Members of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm;
    2. Swedish and foreign members of the medical class of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences;
    3. Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine;
    4. Members of the Nobel Committee not qualified under paragraph 1 above;
    5. Holders of established posts as professors at the faculties of medicine in Sweden and holders of similar posts at the faculties of medicine or similar institutions in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway;
    6. Holders of similar posts at no fewer than six other faculties of medicine selected by the Assembly, with a view to ensuring the appropriate distribution of the task among various countries and their seats of learning; and
    7. Practitioners of natural sciences whom the Assembly may otherwise see fit to approach.

    Decisions concerning the selection of the persons appointed under paragraphs 6 and 7 above are taken before the end of May each year on the recommendation of the Nobel Committee.
    But the fact that Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate Nobel Prize winners did not stop Scarborough or Hannity from referring to Hammesfahr as a Nobel Prize nominee. Hannity did so a total of eight times during a single hour-long program; Scarborough made the reference four times. Additionally, Scarborough erroneously claimed that Hammesfahr has "treated" Schiavo; in fact, Hammesfahr has merely examined her as one of five doctors approved by a Florida court in 2001 to do so. He was one of two doctors selected by Schiavo's parents; two others were selected by Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, and the fifth was chosen by the court.
    This gives me a great idea!
    Dear old Swedish dudes,

    My name is Mike, and this one time, I helped this old lady across the street. And like, it took forever! So like, I think I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. She was totally getting all mad and junk like she was all gonna stab someone with her hatpin or something, I could tell! Who knows, she might have like killed a bunch of babies or something.

    And that's why I think I should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Thanks or whatever.
    Check it! I'm a Nobel Prize nominee, everybody! And you'll rue the day if you forget it.

    Remember When We Thought He Had Integrity?

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen. John McCain was the candidate of straight talk in 2000. He would have won the nomination if Bush hadn't smeared him with racist push polls and rumors about his sanity. Yet, in 2004, Johnny Boy let bygones be bygones, hugging Bush at a rally and standing up to smear Kerry in the same way that he was smeared by Bush.

    Now, he's just full-on lying alongside the president.

    McCain took a jab at AARP, the lobby for older citizens, which has been buying television and newspaper advertisements in cities Bush is visiting to oppose his idea to let younger workers divert some of their payroll taxes into private investment accounts.

    "Some of our friends, who are opposing this idea, say, `Oh, you don't have to worry until 2042.' We wait until 2042 when we stop paying people Social Security?" the Arizona Republican asked rhetorically at the Social Security event here.
    But Senator - no one's saying not to worry. On the contrary, we're worried enough to try to do something productive about social security, as opposed to privatizing it, which Bush himself admits does nothing to protect its solvency. As always, however, Bush drops the best lines at the rally:
    "This isn't a political issue," Bush insisted, in New Mexico. "This isn't, you know, Democrats trying to get ahead of Republicans or Republicans trying to get ahead of Democrats. If that's the spirit in Washington, nothing's going to get done."
    If Bush wasn't the anti-christ, he'd be so cute...

    Oh! Senator McCain, while you're here... As you're the chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I was wondering when you're going to investigate Tom DeLay's shakedown of the Texas Indian casinos. Thanks, man!


    From The Onion:

    EPA To Drop 'E,' 'P' From Name

    WASHINGTON, DC—Days after unveiling new power-plant pollution regulations that rely on an industry-favored market-trading approach to cutting mercury emissions, EPA Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson announced that the agency will remove the "E" and "P" from its name. "We're not really 'environmental' anymore, and we certainly aren't 'protecting' anything," Johnson said. "'The Agency' is a name that reflects our current agenda and encapsulates our new function as a government-funded body devoted to handling documents, scheduling meetings, and fielding phone calls." The change comes on the heels of the Department of Health and Human Services' January decision to shorten its name to the Department of Services.

    Ethics Rules Were Made to Be Broken

    We all know by now how much of a criminal Tom DeLay is. And the criminal conspiracy runs through the entire Republican party, since no one will stand up to this pirate of democracy. You know - he broke the ethics rules, so they changed the ethics rules. He gets his cronies to shut down some business, then goes and has that very same business hire him (well, support his campaign) to get them reopened. The man is getting protection money, in essence. I mean, Tony Soprano is less of a prick than this guy. Well, GOOD NEWS! Here is a new blog dedicated to tracking his various illegal schemes, and trust me, there are more than I can count.

    Daily DeLay

    This blog is run by the Public Campaign Action Fund. Go there too. Sign the petition; give them some much needed cash. This man is single-handedly destroying American democracy as we know it. He can't be allowed to succeed.

    Grk-- ack--- Choking on My Own Rage Here!

    Speaking of witchcraft, at least the scientists who conducted this study weren't burned at the stake. They were just completely ignored.

    When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff.

    What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion.


    The Harvard study concluded that mercury controls similar to those the EPA proposed could save nearly $5 billion a year through reduced neurological and cardiac harm. Last Tuesday, however, officials said the health benefits were worth no more than $50 million a year while the cost to industry would be $750 million a year.
    So, there you have it. In Bush's America, if it costs the utilities any extra money, it's not worth it to preserve your health or the health of you children. Pardon my French, er, I mean Freedomspeak, but what a crock of shit. The utilities would just pass the costs on to the consumers. So, ask yourself: Would you rather pay a little more each month in your utility bills if it meant cleaner air and water, or would you rather pay a lot more in medical bills and taxes to cover increased community health care costs?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    The Best Laid Plans

    To recap - Bush and the rest of the right-wing politicians scurried back to Washington like ants to a picnic and passed something late on a Sunday night to allow the Schiavo case to be heard in front of like the millionth judge. So, after compromising their fundamental principles of states' rights, of keeping the government the hell off my property, of James Madison's checks and balances, of Thomas Jefferson's separation of church and state, and in Bush's case, of killing as many people as is humanly possible, the case will now be heard in a federal court.

    Surprise! He said the exact same thing that all of the 10,000 judges said before him: I'm sorry; her husband represents her interests.

    Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, said his family was crushed. "To have to see my parents go through this is absolutely barbaric,"
    Barbaric? BARBARIC? It is YOU who is barbaric, Bobby. It is you who has been dogging your brother-in-law for 15 fucking years! It is you who has been denying your sister's wish to please not let her be a vegetable in a hospital bed. It is you who is prolonging everybody's suffering. Well, you and your parents. But don't be pointing your barbaric-finger at all of the courts and judges who are following the law as established for this land. Look around your own house, there, Bobby.

    Guess what? Unmoved, they're going to appeal... Again.

    Monday, March 21, 2005


    That word is hilarious.

    blasphemy n.
    1) a. A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
    b. The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.
    2) An irreverent or impious act, attitude, or utterance in regard to something considered inviolable or sacrosanct.

    Since we don't really know what God wants from us, (just some old book full of contradictions that they keep in hotel rooms), let's just talk about definition two, where His name is merely implied. An utterance in regard to something considered inviolable or sacrosanct.

    Considered by whom?

    Interesting question! I've never heard God declare someone to be a blasphemer, only men, so I suppose that it would be considered by whomever is witnessing the impious or irreverent utterance. In fact, that’s a great point, chum – check out a small slice of what I like to call Blasphemy’s Greatest Hits&trade :

    Jesus Christ
    Theo van Gogh

    Here we have two blasphemers as decided by Christian law, one by Jewish law, and one by Islam. But, of course, the punishment is the same – death, (Galileo was allowed to live under house arrest for the rest of his life; how enlightened of them). It all sounds horribly archaic, doesn’t it? I mean, jeez – they were so STUPID, they thought they had fucking witches among them? It’s absurd! Galileo was just "pardoned" by the pope like in the last 10 or 15 years or so. What's that? Galileo was right? The old school pope was wrong until the 90s? What gives? Is it possible that the term blasphemy has no intrinsic definition, but it is, in fact, defined by the times in which we live? What was blasphemy 400 years ago, isn’t necessarily blasphemy now?

    Hmmn... So, maybe we should try to condemn things only using terms that are fixed. For example – "Biblical creation theory has no basis in fact." Or, "All known evidence suggests that the biblical creation myth is entirely false." Do you see how I didn’t use any subjective terms in my statement?

    With that in mind, how about those Satanic IMAX movies that they play in museums, to, you know, teach our children? Are they BLASPHEMOUS?

    They are the epitome of safe family entertainment, renowned for lavish animations, exquisitely filmed scenes of natural grandeur and utterly tame scripts. But IMAX films have suddenly found themselves catapulted into controversy, thanks to their occasional use of the dreaded E-word: evolution. In several states, IMAX cinemas -- including some at science museums -- are refusing to show movies that mention the subject or suggest that the Earth's origins do not conform with biblical descriptions. The films include "Cosmic Voyage," an animated journey through the universe; "Galapagos," a documentary about the islands where Charles Darwin made some of his most important observations; and "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea," an underwater epic about the bizarre creatures that flourish near ocean vents.

    In most Southern states, theater officials found recent test screenings of several of these films triggered accusations from viewers that the films were blasphemous. Carol Murray, marketing director of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Texas, said audience members who had watched "Volcanoes" had commented, "I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact" or "I don't agree with their presentation of human existence." As a result, the science museum has decided not to screen the film. "If it is not going to draw a crowd and it is going to create controversy, from a marketing point of view, I cannot make a recommendation," Murray told the New York Times Saturday.
    I, for one, hope that this means we can start executing witches again, because I’ve got this ex-girlfriend, and I KNOW she turned my cat against me.

    The Will of the Many

    An update on Terri Schiavo - Salon's Eric Boehlert explores the issue further and finds:

  • The majority of people believe that this is the spouse's decision to make, not the parents'.
  • An overwhelming majority of people would want to have the feeding tube removed if they were in Ms. Schiavo's situation, and would remove the tube if they were in Mr. Schiavo's situation.
  • Only 2% (TWO PERCENT) of people think the government should make these types of decisions.
  • The mainstream media commissioned these polls and reported on them UNTIL Congress started talking about it.
    But perhaps even more shocking are ABC News and the Washington Post, which, like Fox News, commissioned their own poll regarding the matter, and yet, again like Fox, neglected to present the findings once the story became a political one. On March 15, when ABC devoted its "Nightline" program to the Schiavo story, host Chris Bury informed the audience, "A new ABC News poll suggests that a clear majority of Americans, 65 percent, believe that husbands and wives should have the final say in family disputes over life support. Only 25 percent say parents should make that decision. And when asked, 'Would you want to be kept alive in Terri Schiavo's condition?' an overwhelming number, 87 percent, said no."

    The next morning, ABC's "Good Morning America" repeated the poll's finding. On March 17, however, as conservative Republicans in Congress announced that they would try to intervene on Terri's behalf by passing legislation, it became clear that the story was morphing from a legal and ethical one into a political one. That night ABC's "World News Tonight" covered the story, but suddenly any references to the network's own poll had disappeared. The next night the same program opened with three straight reports about the day's developments in the Schiavo story. But again, not once did anchor Peter Jennings or ABC reporters inform viewers that just a few days earlier 87 percent of Americans had said they would not want to go on living with a feeding tube if they were in Schiavo's condition, or that they sided with the husband in this saga by a margin of nearly 3-to-1.
    So what do we learn from this? 1) Once again, our representatives in Congress represent not the will of the people, but instead the will of an insignificant but extremely loud and rich minority. 2) That the MSM knows no ethics, only subservience to power. Truly shameful.

    And as a (hopefully) final editorial on the subject - I resent the godfreaks out there who are forcing me to discuss this poor family's unfortunate situation in the terms of a disgusting abuse of power by our government, instead of granting them the privacy and dignity they deserve. I'm sorry, Schiavo family, for being so crass while talking about your life. They drove me to it in memos such as this:
    An unsigned one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators, said the debate over Schiavo would appeal to the party's base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year and is potentially vulnerable in a state President Bush won last year.

    "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue," said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. "This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."

  • Reason Number 70021 Why CNN Sucks

    This is front page news?

    An Indiana pet store owner says he sees the image of Satan on the shell of a turtle that was the only survivor of a store fire in October.
    And he knows it's Satan because... it looks just like all the pictures he's seen of Satan? Personally, I don't think it looks anything like Ann Coulter. Maybe he should get the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich, throw it in the turtle's bowl, and have his own little apocalyptic religious death-match.

    The Needs of the Few

    Someone needs to tell Congress that a war is going on. They don't seem to understand what is important, and what's not.

    I turned on CNN last night, SUNDAY night, at around 11:30 pm to see the United States Congress debating the case of a single woman and her husband's right to take her off the machinery that has kept her alive these last few years. Think about what raises the ire of Congress - those deadbeat single moms and fools who decided to give their spouse cancer, so they permanently enslaved them to their predatory lenders; a few athletes who may or may not have taken steroids at some point; and now an unfortunate woman whose husband wants to end the suffering of his wife by detaching her from the matrix-style machinery that keeps her technically alive.

    Meanwhile, Halliburton is stealing money from United States taxpayers, soldiers are dying daily because of a lazy press and a lying president, Iraqi prisoners are being systematically tortured and murdered. It's a complete outrage. I understand that Congress goes where the news goes so they can grandstand for their constituents, but the media is a joke. If someone is supposed to lead, shouldn't it be our elected leaders? You can't get Bush to end his vacation for a specific warning about an impending attack on our nation on 9/11, but the politicians are staying hella-late on a Sunday night to "protect" the "life" of a single U.S. citizen? Perhaps if Terri Schiavo was the only person to have voted in the last few elections, this would make sense. But by my count, somewhere around 100,000,000 people voted in 2004. What about our needs?

    As an additional bit of editorial, when did we change the longstanding policy of having spouses in charge of each other when tragedy strikes? Isn't that, in fact, the main purpose of a marriage license? When you're a kid, your parents are your emergency contact. When you get married, it's your spouse. End of story. Does anyone doubt that this man loves his wife? For her sake, and for his, (and now for ours), can't we let her go? He's been suffering long enough.

    Oh, and anti-individual-rights busybodies, I know your argument is that only God may choose to take a life. Let me ask you something - did God shove that feeding tube down her throat, wipe her ass every day, and invent the robotica that's keeping her out of Heaven? No. The dirty, sinning humans did all those things. God made His decision for her to die, it's we who are denying His will.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    I Wasn't Born With Enough Middle Fingers

    In a fit of presidential hubris, Bush sticks it to the world again and suggests the architect of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. He's got some good reasons for it too:

    "The World Bank is a large organization," Bush pointed out, just as "the Pentagon is a large organization." In other words, if Wolfowitz can manage the generals, he can certainly manage a bunch of bankers. Almost as an afterthought, Bush added a second thing Wolfowitz has going for him: "Paul is committed to development," he said.
    If by development, you mean bombing the shit out of stuff, I'm with ya, George.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Everybody Just Slooooow Down...

    It would be nice if democracy spread throughout the Middle East. It'd be great if we had something to do with it. But it bothers me when Republicans, right-wingers, and some left-wingers (like Bill Maher for instance) insist, "Hey, Bush was right! Our invasion of Iraq is changing things in the Middle East!"

    University of Michigan history professor and frequent NPR contributor Juan Cole does a great job of throwing a little cold water on the Bush administration's democracy boner. His basic premise is "Let's not get ahead of ourselves and think everything is changing politically, and let's be careful what we attribute to the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent elections." Some highlights:

    The argument for change through inspiration has little evidence to underpin it. The changes in the region cited as dividends of the Bush Iraq policy are either chimeras or unconnected to Iraq. And the Bush administration has shown no signs that it will push for democracy in countries where freedom of choice would lead to outcomes unfavorable to U.S. interests.

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recently announced that he would allow other candidates to run against him in the next presidential election. Yet only candidates from officially recognized parties will be allowed. Parties are recognized by Parliament, which is dominated by Mubarak's National Democratic Party. This change moves Egypt closer to the system of presidential elections used in Iran, where only candidates vetted by the government can run.

    I think we should all remember that Iraq had "elections" under Saddam, they were just only allowed to vote for Saddam. Elections don't necessarily equal democracy. I mean, look at Florida...

    Has Bush's direct pressure produced results, outside Iraq -- where it has produced something close to a failed state? His partisans point to the Libyan renunciation of its nuclear weapons program and of terrorism. Yet Libya, hurt by economic sanctions, had been pursuing a rapprochement for years. Nor has Gadhafi moved Libya toward democracy.

    As with the so-called municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, the change in presidential elections is little more than window-dressing. It was provoked not by developments in Iraq but rather by protests by Egyptian oppositionists who resented Mubarak's jailing of a political rival in January.

    The dramatic developments in Lebanon since mid-February were set off by the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

    Do we all hope things turn out in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Israel? Of course. If they do, will it be because of, or in spite of, the actions of this administration? I guess we'll have to wait and see. As far as Bush (and his administration) being right, he wasn't. He was wrong about almost everything, in fact. He was wrong about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, he was wrong about Iraq being a threat to the US and to neighboring Middle Eastern countries, he was wrong about Iraq having ties to Al-Qaeda, he was wrong when he said the US would be welcomed as liberators, he was wrong when he said we'd be out in six months to a year, he was wrong when he said "Mission Accomplished," he was wrong when he said the cost to American tax-payers would be nil because Iraqi oil would fund the country's liberation and reconstruction... do I really need to go on?

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    Strange Twist

    From the Daily Kos, we find this vote on an amendment in the Senate:

    To express the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt.
    It failed. But that's not the interesting part. The interesting part is how it failed: 50-50. In case you were in the remedial math classes, that's 44 Dem + 1 Ind + 5 Rep.

    They used the words, "deep cuts" and "massive increase." Both vague and highly loaded. Yet, 50 Republicans still voted against it. Putting that aside, see what we have before us - a unified Democratic party and a few Republicans with a conscience, (an endangered species, to be sure). Doesn't bode well for Bush's social security "plan," eh?

    Scandal Fatigue

    I don't know what's happening to me. I'm reading the news as much as always, but nothing seems to piss me off enough to make me bother writing the last couple of days. The thing I'm most worked up about is this phony grandstanding steroids hearing in Congress. What a waste of time. Some guys in baseball took steroids. Duh. Maybe if they had held hearings the year that McGwire and Sosa were gunning for the record, it would have made sense (not really, it's still just fucking BASEBALL. Not, you know, like war or crappy intelligence or corruption in Washington or anything). But with the innate sense of timing possessed only by politicians, they knew better. Why come down on baseball when everybody is having a grand old time? It would just piss people off. But now that it's boring again - Bonds only hit 45 HRs the last 2 years, and Sosa completely sucks - now it's time to look out for the CHILDREN. It's all about the CHILDREN with these people. Bullshit. This is about a couple of house members getting some facetime on TV bloviating about something that no one can possibly be against. It's so politically calculated, it makes me physically ill. If Bonds had hit 74 home runs last year, I can promise you there would be no hearings, no MLB crackdown, and the country's steroid policy would remain - wha? stera-what-now?

    Anyway... Some other things in the news I can't seem to summon the strength to be enraged by:

  • Propaganda OK says Bush's lawyers.
  • Halliburton - ripping off taxpayers to the tune of $108 million, and rising.
  • Mainstream media sucks, to the surprise of no one.
  • Bush lies about social security.
  • Judicial tyranny is alive and well in San Francisco! (a single quote: "If this is unconstitutional, there is another constitution to answer to, and that is the word of God," said Wang. Where the hell was Jesus during the Constitutional Convention anyway? It's HIS fault for blowing that shit off!)


    Don't worry DoG fans, I'll get the mojo back soon. It's just that it's the same thing over and over and over again. None of it is covered on the television news, of course, not while there's Michael Jackson to re-enact, so it feels like I'm yelling at a brick wall. But such is life in the noble, God-fearing U.S. of A!

  • Saturday, March 12, 2005

    Report at 11

    Some crazy guy shot up a courthouse and ran off. They can't find him. Yikes! That's creepy and exciting. However, it is NOT news.

    At 4am last night, they were covering this live in the studio with satellite photos of Atlanta and a telestrator. They're still doing so this morning. He killed at least three people, maybe more. Do you know how many people were murdered last night nationwide? Me neither. But I bet more than three people died in New York City alone. This perfectly demonstrates what's wrong with the mainstream media today. Their biggest bias isn't liberal or conservative. It's biased towards that which titillates our basest urges, whether or not it actually matters. What's more important - one freakshow who went nuts in Atlanta, or:

  • U.N.: More than 70,000 dead in Sudan’s Darfur
  • Hezbollah backs Syria in Lebanon
  • Iraq's main Shiite party, Kurds reach deal
  • Bankruptcy Bill Passes In The Senate
  • President's proposed budget cuts seen as threat to social services
  • Iraq: Three dead in attacks as death toll of Mosul bombing on the rise
  • New scientific research says there are at least half a billion cases of malaria around the world each year

    It goes on and on. There are so many more important, but less exciting stories every single day. Some wacko killing a judge does not warrant 24 hour coverage. Ratings should not decide what the American people need to know.

  • Friday, March 11, 2005


    Good news for the right-wing nutjobs out there - evil Dan Rather is finally off the air. Thank the Christian, vengeful, fag-hating Lord! A bland, if sometimes strange, but ultimately harmless network anchorman has been removed from the airwaves.

    In the wake of the ridiculously overblown Memogate scandal, two important details have been either forgotten, overlooked, or intentionally ignored. Let's take a moment to reflect on them...

    1) Rather is (was) the managing editor of CBS News. He is therefore responsible for being the final check before something goes on the air. His team is guilty of not adequately verifying a few documents used in his report about Bush's National Guard experience, (I am hesitant to use the word "duty"). So, yes, Dan Rather arguably dropped the ball as a journalist. But the essence of his story is still all true: Bush used his family's influence to get himself placed in the Champagne Unit of the Texas Air National Guard to avoid serving in Vietnam, a war he supported. He abandoned his duties, after the United States spent $1,000,000 training him as a pilot, and was AWOL for a year, supported by the fact that he skipped his pilot's physical the year after they instituted a drug testing policy. Is that worse than Judith Miller relying solely on Bush's and Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi's bogus claims of WMD in Iraq? Is it worse than Brit Hume intentionally taking FDR's words out of context to make it seem as though the genius behind the hugely successful New Deal was in favor of privatizing social security? Is it worse than all the White House press release transcription that the mainstream media's White House correspondents do every single day? All of those people still have their jobs.

    2) The documents have never been proven to be false, they were just never proven to be authentic. Furthermore, even today - they can't find the source of these documents. This is not being seriously investigated. We know that Karl Rove once planted a bug in his own office and then blamed it on the Democrats. This situation has Karl Rove's stink all over it! People have blamed him for the CBS documents, but the story unsurprisingly failed to find any traction. I'm not saying that I know he did it, but doesn't this deserve looking into? Not by the MSM. They're content to let sleeping dogs lie. Or to put it another way - they're content to appease the right-wing freaks to avoid the absurd charge of liberal bias.

    The poor, shat-upon Republicans, who control all three branches of government, have their own cable news network, and a veritable army of shills, cannot keep playing the underdog card. They literally control the world. And they must be stopped.

    List of Shame

    How do they sleep at night? Eighteen (18) Democrats voted "yea" on the disgusting, credit card company windfall bill, also known as the (moral) bankruptcy bill. There are some good names on here too. No longer. Senator Biden, you can just lose my number, cuz you'll be getting my voice mail. The list:

    Baucus (D-MT), Yea
    Bayh (D-IN), Yea
    Biden (D-DE), Yea
    Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
    Byrd (D-WV), Yea
    Carper (D-DE), Yea
    Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting [coward]
    Conrad (D-ND), Yea
    Inouye (D-HI), Yea
    Johnson (D-SD), Yea
    Kohl (D-WI), Yea
    Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
    Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
    Nelson (D-FL), Yea
    Nelson (D-NE), Yea
    Pryor (D-AR), Yea
    Reid (D-NV), Yea [some leader]
    Salazar (D-CO), Yea
    Stabenow (D-MI), Yea

    Is your senator on there? Call him/her. Although, again, unless you're about to donate a few hundred thousand dollars, they probably won't take your call. They're only in the business of selling votes. They don't just give them away.

    [UPDATE - my co-editor just pointed out that it might be unfair to label Hillary a coward for not voting on this bill. Her husband, the last great POTUS, is in the hospital recovering from fairly serious minor surgery. OK, fair enough. However, this is an extremely important, extremely corrupt bill. President Clinton doesn't exactly keep Senator Clinton's feelings at the top of his to-do list, which involves a story you might have read about. Furthermore, she's been leaning right on every issue in preparation for her run for the oval office. Don't you think it's possible that if she felt strongly enough about this disgusting giveaway to the ruthless credit card companies, she would have stayed in DC to make a statement? Or perhaps she found this convenient excuse to skip town so that she doesn't have to be one of the assholes who voted in favor of stomping the poor into perpetual poverty, while still feeding at the bottomless money trough provided by the parasites who will eventually fuel her presidential campaign. I give it even odds either way.]

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Down in a Hole

    Not sure what to make of this yet. A former marine says the military fabricated the story of Saddam's arrest. Some of the highlights:

    Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

    "I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

    "We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.
    Odd that they would leave out details about Saddam shooting at anyone or anyone being killed. Seems like that would make him seem like even more of a bad guy. Then again, at the time, the administration believed Saddam was the lynchpin of the insurgency. Portraying him as a coward hiding in a hole who surrendered without a fight could have been caluculated to take the wind out of the insurgents' sails. Seems like it didn't work so well.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Fuck You, Rest of the World!

    Bush gives the world another of his patented one-fingered victory salutes with the appointment of John Bolton as the US ambassador to the UN. God, we're assholes.

    Bolton will be presenting his credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whom he accused in the Weekly Standard of a "power grab," denouncing his "doctrine that force is unimportant while 'international law' is practically everything," which he scornfully admitted "is widely held in Europe" and was also "popular here, particularly in the Clinton administration." He also dismissed Annan, whose cooperation Bush is trying to secure in Iraq, as a "chief administrative officer."

    We are sending to the United Nations, which we founded, and for which we pretty much wrote the charter "to save succeeding generations from the curse of war," someone who recently said, "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so -- because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."
    Not that Mr. Bolton has any imperial visions or anything... Honest!
    One of the treaties Bolton has tried hard to tear into scraps is the one establishing the International Criminal Court, which he made his immediate personal task. The court was set up so that the perpetrators of mass murder -- in the Balkans, in Rwanda, in Iraq -- would never again have impunity for their crimes. Not only did Bolton "unsign" the treaty, previously signed by President Clinton -- his "happiest moment," Bolton said -- he "unsigned" the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which binds countries not to frustrate the purposes of treaties they have signed.
    It goes on and on. But the point... Imagine that you work at some company - Spacely's Sprockets. Some guy is on and on in the paper and television saying how much of a corrupt, waste of time organization Spacely's Sprockets is. Now say that this guy was hired at Spacely's to be your boss. How would you feel about that? Now imagine that it was your job to protect the world from nuclear holocaust, genocide, and starvation.

    George! Just ONCE try seeing someone else's point of view for like a fucking second!

    Outrage of Outrages

    Bankruptcy Bill Set for Passage; Victory for Bush. That's the headline in the New York Times this morning. Does it make you angry? No? You need to take a closer look.

    The bill would disqualify many families from taking advantage of the more generous provisions of the current bankruptcy code that permit them to extinguish their debts for a "fresh start." It would also impose significant new costs on those seeking bankruptcy protection and give lenders and businesses new legal tools for recovering debts.
    How about now? Oh, I see... You think that people who go bankrupt are just fools who went on a spending spree with their credit card and now are crying about all the money they don't have.
    But critics of the measure say that the rise in such filings is not evidence of unfair filings. Rather, they say, it is symptomatic of broader economic problems - the growing distress in families plagued by high health care and education costs. A recent study by bankruptcy and medical experts at Harvard University found that more than half of the 1,771 personal bankruptcy filers in five federal courts cited medical bills as a primary reason they filed.
    Sick kids, getting laid off, not having medical insurance. You see? This is like when Bush said that social security is unfair to African American men because they don't live as long. So instead of keeping them from dying young, he'll just "fix" social security for them. Same thing here. Why not pass a bill that protects people from exorbitant medical bills when their kid gets asthma from the smokestack they built down the street from his house because of the Clear Skies Initiative. How about legitimate unemployment insurance and job training for when dad gets laid off after his job is outsourced to India? Let's look at problems instead of symptoms.

    Also, think about what America represents. What is the American dream? It's the entrepreneurial spirit that gets people up off the couch, out there getting credit and venture capital to start something new and exciting. Guess what? They're not always inventing MS DOS. It might be a new kind of ball bearing or whatever. And maybe the marketing doesn't work out. Or maybe manufacturing costs ended up unfeasible. Whatever. Sometimes you fail. Bankruptcy protection keeps this spirit alive. It keeps the American dream alive. People have to know that if they fail, they're not going to live on the street or their family is going to leave them, (one of the most common causes of divorce is money problems - where are your family values now, Mr. Bush?). They need to know that they can get through this hardship and strive for success another day. But how on earth will they ever get to try again if they're effectively an indentured servant to Citibank for the rest of their lives? And knowing that they have no safety net, isn't it a lot easier to just stay on that couch? Still not moved? Man, you're cold. Well, try this on for size:
    Senate Democrats were thwarted Wednesday in their attempts to soften the impact on seniors and sick people of a proposed law making it harder to erase debts in bankruptcy.

    Mostly along party lines, the GOP-controlled Senate voted 59-40 to reject an amendment that would have allowed older people to get special homestead exemptions to keep their homes when they file for bankruptcy. Currently, such exemptions are determined by the states.

    Also rebuffed, 58-39, were two proposals focused on people whose significant medical expenses for illness force them to file for bankruptcy.

    The first would have allowed people to keep at least $150,000 of the equity in their primary residence. If, in addition, the medical bills exceed 25 percent of the person's income, the second proposal would have exempted them from a new test in the legislation measuring income and assets of bankruptcy applicants to determine if debts can be discharged.
    So even in cases where it's explicitly the fault of an illness, not personal irresponsibility, the Republicans said, fuck you, pay me. I mean, Christ! The Republicans are in favor of foreclosing on Grandma and Grandpa's house! They're monsters!

    So, I don't get it. It seems as if this bill is completely one-sided, in favor of the credit card companies and not at all looking out for the American people. How on earth could that be?
    The bill’s backers include some of the biggest contributors in politics. Finance, insurance and real estate interests combined for more than $306 million in individual and political action committee contributions during the 2004 election cycle, 59 percent to Republicans. President Bush raised $33.5 million from these interests, which contributed $13.9 million to the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

    Credit companies and commercial banks arguably have the most at stake in the bankruptcy debate. The credit card industry has contributed $24.8 million to federal candidates and political parties, 65 percent to Republicans, since 1999. MBNA, the nation’s No. 1 issuer of credit cards, has accounted for $6.7 million of the total over that time period. The company’s employees and PAC are among President Bush’s top contributors, having given a total of $594,000 for his two presidential campaigns. MBNA spent a little more than $17 million lobbying Congress from January 1999 through June 2004.

    Commercial banks have contributed $76.2 million to federal candidates since 1999. Of that, 64 percent has gone to Republicans. The American Bankers Association, the leading trade group for commercial banks, has strongly supported bankruptcy reform for years. It has contributed more than $5.8 million in individual and PAC donations to federal candidates, 57 percent to Republicans, since 1999. It spent about $22 million on federal lobbying between 1999 and mid-year 2004.
    Oh! Of course! How does that expression go again? A government of the lobbyists, for the lobbyists, by the lobbyists. Excellent. I'm so proud of our system of government.

    Two men much wiser than I am:

    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

    "I have two great enemies, the southern army in front of me and the financial institutions, in the rear. Of the two, the one in the rear is the greatest enemy... I see in the future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of the war." - Abraham Lincoln

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    The Three Gs

    What was Bush on about during the campaign again? That it was he, and he alone, who could protect us from the terrorist threat? A vote for Bush is a vote for a safer America? Fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. Right? Dead wrong, no pun... eh... I guess that pun was intended. They wanted to heighten your fear through vague terrorist threats (anyone noticed that they haven't raised the "alert" level since November?), meanwhile, they were intentionally ignoring ACTUAL threats to our safety, and conveniently forgetting to bring it up.

    Dozens of terror suspects on federal watch lists were allowed to buy firearms legally in the United States last year, according to a Congressional investigation that points up major vulnerabilities in federal gun laws.

    People suspected of being members of a terrorist group are not automatically barred from legally buying a gun, and the investigation, conducted by the Government Accountability Office, indicated that people with clear links to terrorist groups had regularly taken advantage of this gap.

    F.B.I. officials maintain that they are hamstrung by laws and policies restricting the use of gun-buying records because of concerns over the privacy rights of gun owners.
    Hmmn... I wonder if any of Bush's campaign donors were fighting for the privacy of gun owners?
    The gun buyers came up as positive matches on a classified internal F.B.I. watch list that includes thousands of terrorist suspects, many of whom are being monitored, trailed or sought for questioning as part of terrorism investigations into Islamic-based, militia-style and other groups, official said. G.A.O. investigators were not given access to the identities of the gun buyers because of those investigations.

    Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, who requested the study, plans to introduce legislation to address the problem in part by requiring federal officials to keep records of gun purchases by terror suspects for a minimum of 10 years. Such records must now be destroyed within 24 hours as a result of a change ordered by Congress last year. Mr. Lautenberg maintains that the new policy has hindered terrorism investigations by eliminating the paper trail on gun purchases.

    "Destroying these records in 24 hours is senseless and will only help terrorists cover their tracks," Mr. Lautenberg said Monday. "It's an absurd policy."
    Of course it's an absurd policy. But unless someone with several hundred grand agrees with Senator Lautenberg, we'll just have to live (and die) with Bush's complete and utter disregard for public safety.

    Lincoln Can Suck It!

    In Washington D.C. circles, they define a gaffe as "accidentally saying something true." Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) scoops out a heaping dollop of truth:

    "We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina," Senator Graham told a Lincoln Day gathering in Tennessee Saturday. "It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things."
    Nothing personal against whom, Senator? You mean nothing against the descendants of slaves? I see... Well, it's a good thing you added that part on, or else we might have gotten the mistaken impression that you and your state are still in favor of slavery.

    Sort of puts in perspective that whole Republican civil rights freedom calendar, eh?

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Tactics vs. Policies

    If a man compares his wife to an elephant, the remainder of his evening will most likely be unpleasant. If, however, his wife remembered to grab the theater tickets before they left the house, and he said, "You never forget anything, like an elephant," he'll probably be just fine. Agreed?

    Senator Robert Byrd is taking crazy heat from the right lately, for a Hitler comment. The problem? He's absolutely correct.

    First of all, we have to get over the KKK stuff in Byrd's past. I'm no fan of the KKK, obviously, and I never would have voted for him back then. But he's been a senator for a long time now, and ever since his conversion, he's not once betrayed his new ideals. There's a difference between a hypocrite and an evil man who's seen the light. I happen to believe that Senator Byrd is the latter. Moving on, here's what happened:

    In his comments Tuesday, Byrd had defended the right senators have to use filibusters -- procedural delays that can kill an item unless 60 of the 100 senators vote to move ahead. He is a long-standing defender of the chamber's rules and traditions, many of which help the Senate's minority party.

    Byrd cited Hitler's 1930s rise to power by, in part, pushing legislation through the German parliament that seemed to legitimize his ascension.

    "We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men," Byrd said. "But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends."

    Byrd then quoted historian Alan Bullock, saying Hitler "turned the law inside out and made illegality legal."

    Byrd added, "That is what the 'nuclear option' seeks to do."

    The nuclear option is the nickname for the proposal to end filibusters of judicial nominations because of the devastating effect the plan, if enacted, would have on relations between Democrats and Republicans.
    You're a smart person. Do you see what he's saying? He's not, (repeat, NOT) comparing Cheney or Bush or the Republicans to Hitler. He doesn't think they want to send Jews to concentration camps. He's saying that eliminating the rights of the minority party (no matter which party), is a step on the road to fascism. It's not Hitler's policies that the Republicans are aping, it's his tactics in his rise to supreme power. I challenge anyone to demonstrate this to be an invalid comparison. And as a principled member of the minority party the Senate, it is Senator Byrd's duty to speak out.

    Our country was founded on the principle of the rights of the minority. And now, it is something we are desperately trying to ensure is written into the Iraqi constitution. If the protection of minority rights was good enough for the Founding Fathers, and it is good enough for the Iraqis, why, Mr. Bush, is it too good for the United States in the present day? It's not, of course. When these rights are destroyed, it is one more step down the road to single-party rule, which is exactly what Hitler did. Senator Byrd is yet another unfortunate example of a Democrat being attacked for telling the truth.

    But I Still Can't Smoke

    Buncha crazy rednecks out there, west of the Hudson River. In Arizona, they're passing a bill to let you take your guns into bars.

    Could someone please explain how second-hand smoke became more dangerous than drunks with guns?

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    How Dare the Democrats Politicize Social Security!

    Wow. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), plopped a few jaw-dropping laughers on Meet the Press this morning.

    If Pat Moynihan were still alive, he'd be here to speak for himself.  But here's what he said about the use of the word "privatization," which you notice my good friend Dick Durbin keeps putting in.  Senator Daniel Moynihan said about privatization, "That's a scare word.  That's a scare word. No one is privatizing Social Security.  Nothing of that sort is happening."

    Now, that's Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Democratic expert on Social Security. I wish he were still alive to be here and make that statement himself.  Why do we have to keep using that word?  The reason they want to use that word is they want to politicize this issue.  Why don't we just stop that and sit down together now that it's clear from the tour of the last two days, that Dick and Harry Reid and others believe that it's time to start talking?  Why don't we just sit down and start talking about the subject and see what we can work out on a bipartisan basis?
    The DEMOCRATS want to politicize the issue? Hasn't Senator McConnell read Frank Luntz's handbook? Sen. McConnell is under orders to politicize Social Security. And as I recall, it was the Republicans who started with the word "privatization," but changed it, on Luntz's suggestion, to "personal." And why? Because POLITICALLY, personal sounds better. Forgive the Democrats, if you would, Senator, if they choose not to use the word that your pollsters have discovered helps serve your desire to phase out Social Security.

    And an ever better one:
    Can I start first with the fact that you were playing a Democratic ad run by the Democratic National Committee.  My recollection is we just had an election about five months ago.  Can we ever quit campaigning? There is not going to be another election until November of '06.  What we ought to do is quit running ads and sit down and start figuring out how to solve this problem.
    Holy shit, dude! Bush is on a 60 day "tour" right now! Look at this Knight Ridder story:
    Bush starts campaign-style tour to promote Social Security changes
    The word campaign is right in the headline! And while we're on the issue of ads, at least the Democrats aren't hiring fake journalists to push their agenda.

    Of course, did Tim "Lapdog" Russert call him on either of these? How naive do you have to be to even ask that question?

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Comedy Break

    You must click on the following:

  • Drug Companies have the FDA in the palm of their hand.
    (thanks Gawker)
  • Abstinence-only sex education at Iron Hymen.

  • White House Day Passes

    Remember on the heels of the Jeff Gannon affair, Scott McClellan said that it's not all that hard to get day passes for the press briefing room? "We're practically giving them away!" [ed. - quote from used car commercial, not the White House]

    Well, apparently, that's not quite accurate. FishbowlDC documents their futile attempts to get a White House day pass.

    We started planning last week while President Bush was in Europe, enlisting the help of MediaBistro's editor-in-chief and talking with several White House correspondents about how the process for admittance should (in theory) work. According to everyone with whom we talked, MediaBistro, Fishbowl D.C.'s parent, should meet the criteria for a day pass to cover the White House: It is (a) independent and nonpartisan, (b) regularly published, and (c) primarily supported by subscribers or advertising.
    They're on day three, and already the White House has stopped taking their calls. Read about their efforts, and check back for updates. Aren't you curious?