Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fehlleistung

The Freudian slip is an error in human action, speech or memory that is caused by the unconscious mind. And you gotta figure that on Fox News the unconscious mind is working overtime, what with all the lying, excusing, and (truth) ignoring they're doing over there.

Media Matters finds a great Fox Freudian slip:

Responding to Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) suggestion that Senate Republicans had the necessary votes to invoke the so-called nuclear option and that such a step was necessary, Fox News anchor David Asman asked Lott why Republican senators had compromised on the issue. Why compromise, Asman asked, "if we should have done it and if we had the votes to do it." Asman clarified that it was "you guys in the Republican party" who had the votes.
Fair and balanced all the way (to the bank)!

The Cat's Out of the Bag!

How about that?! Deep Throat is former FBI official, W. Mark Felt. I didn’t think we’d EVER find out.

I’ll leave the clever analysis of Felt’s motivation and ethics to the ever brilliant pundits on cable news. But I hope that this new and exciting development in one of the greatest political mysteries of the 20th century will serve to remind us of a few things:

  • Whistleblowers are heroes. All of you in the CIA, the Pentagon, even the White House, you know you are serving evil masters. If you find yourself being told to cover up evidence of Bush wrongdoing or to fabricate intelligence, perhaps a phone call to your favorite reporter is in order. Undermining an evil administration is not traitorous. Covering up their evil is.

  • There’s the right kind of source to protect, and the wrong kind. A hero uncovering a crime is the right kind. A scumbag committing a crime is the wrong kind. Yes, I’m talking to you Judith Miller.

  • There is such a thing as investigative reporting. And it wins Pulitzer Prizes. Real reporters out there – I beg you, learn from this. All the young journalism students, go to the library, Netflix, whatever and read/watch All the President’s Men. Journalism is NOT two opposing points of view yelling at each other. It’s sources, hunches, fact-checking, and goddammed good writing! They didn’t set out to bring down the Nixon administration. Nixon brought himself down with his own crimes; Woodward and Bernstein just shined a light into the darkness. Stop letting Bush bully you into keeping your flashlight off.

    You are the stewards of the republic. You are the barrier that separates democracy from fascism. Don’t let the fascists win.

  • And the Moon Landing Was a Hoax Too!

    Big Dick Cheney really pushes the limits of tasteful lying with his new claim, they made it all up!

    Vice President Dick Cheney has emphatically defended the handling of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, saying that they have been "well treated, treated humanely and decently" and that some accusations to the contrary are lies.

    The vice president largely dismissed assertions that guards or interrogators at the United States base had mishandled the Koran or beaten detainees. He said repeatedly that freed detainees were "peddling lies."
    That reminds me of the joke about Bush knowing that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction – because we still have the receipts! Har, har, har... But the reason it’s analogous is because you can almost hear Cheney thinking, "Cuz the buttfuck sand niggers we really tortured were all shipped off to Syria. Those CIA agents aren't half the sadistic motherfuckers that those Syrians are..." Cheney’s not so much known for his clean language, you see. I was just quoting his thoughts.

    Syrian flair for brutality aside, there is so much evidence and internal Pentagon reports, and oh yeah, the pictures from Abu Ghraib. Remember them? It’s absurd to think that we’re running some sort of precious angel jail down there in Cuba. Who is he kidding?
    The remarks, in an interview taped on Friday for a "Larry King Live" shown on CNN on Monday night, were one of the more unapologetic defenses of conduct at Guantánamo. Amnesty International last week compared the detention center to a gulag-style camp. Asked about that, Mr. Cheney replied, "Frankly, I was offended by it."
    Well, Dick, I’m offended by this. So go fuck yourself.

    Not-So-Intelligent Design

    I’m always a few weeks behind reading The New Yorker. But it’s always worth the wait. There’s a great article from the May 16 issue, A Hard Faith by Peter J. Boyer. It’s a good piece which explores the direction of the Catholic church in today’s world. But this quote from Archbishop Charles Chaput sums up for me the problem with religion:

    While theological inquiry is a valued Catholic tradition, there is not likely to be much dissent on Chaput’s campus. "This is a seminary where people love the Church, and they love Jesus Christ," the Archbishop says. "And dissent is not part of that kind of love here. I think there’s real serious theological reflection, and we study all the issues of the time. But we don’t see them as being equal opinions. The opinion of the Church is the opinion. The others, it’s just important to know them so that you know what the Church’s challenges are."
    Did you see what he did right there? The first part is about loving Jesus Christ. That part is fine with me. Then he takes it from loving Jesus Christ to blindly following whatever the MEN (i.e. – not Jesus Christ) who run the Church say. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

    I beg of you, you religious types. Ask questions. Make your relationship with God be a personal one. You don’t need these Church middlemen mucking it up for you. They’re too busy deciding whether or not to let people eat meat on Fridays or drive a car on Saturdays to help you spiritually, and in any case, do you really think God cares about this minutia? He created the fucking universe for Christ’s sake! And really, if he didn’t want you to masturbate, wouldn’t he have made your arms shorter?

    Think about it...

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    Now THAT'S a Victory...

    The Dems (and a few Republicans with a conscience) have blocked, at least temporarily, the vote over the nomination of Uncle Pecos, er, John Bolton.

    At issue is the fact that the Bush administration has refused to turn over a bunch of documents requested by the Senate. The documents are related to Bolton's work as undersecretary of state for arms control.

    Also at issue is the fact that Bolton is a hot-headed asshole who deserves to be UN Ambassador about as much as I deserve to be the pope.

    Bolton will still probably be confirmed, but I think this delay in the vote sends a much clearer message to the administration that they can't just appoint any crazy nutjob they want than the filibuster compromise.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Thought Police Blotter

    I wrote this yesterday, and then didn't post it.

    From DoG’s newest staffer, The Constable of Freedom, comes the woeful tale - How Bill Maher Destroyed America:

    Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., takes issue with remarks on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, first aired May 13, in which Maher points out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42 percent in April.

    ”More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club,'' Maher said. “We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies.''

    Army Reserve Pfc. England was accused of abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

    “I think it borders on treason,'' Bachus said. “In treason, one definition is to undermine the effort or national security of our country.''
    Can anyone tell me how a comedy bit can in any way undermine our national security? You know what’s treasonous, congressman? Ignoring legitimate threats to our ports and chemical plants and the rest in order to send our young men and women off to die in a war based on lies. Allowing one’s cronies to “lose” (steal) over $8 billion from the American people without so much as an inquiry. Hiring one's friends to make sure that people who would vote for your opponent are kept out of the voting booths, thereby undermining our democracy. Running up such a high national debt that the country is one dip in the stock market away from banana republic status. These are things that truly undermine our national security. These are things that offend my sensibilities, congressman. Not meaningless jokes.

    I probably wouldn't have even bothered to post it if Bill Maher hadn't written a response. And he is such fun, is he not?

    Freedom of Religion

    This country is violating its founding principles left and right these days. Eliminate the filibuster! Don't count the votes! Don't let the husband decide what's best for his incapacitated wife! Well, here's the topper - a judge in Indiana has decided which religions you can follow and which you cannot.

    An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

    The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.
    So now are you scared? What, because it's Wicca it's ok? How about when it's Islam? Will that be ok? How about Judaism? Where are you willing to draw the line and call it unacceptable?

    Back to School

    Salon’s Jeff Horwitz explores the nefarious world of the right-wing brainwashing training institute run by notorious reactionary assclown Morton Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell’s biggest recent claim to fame would be when he handed out those purple heart band-aids at the GOP convention last summer.

    He has an institute where he runs seminars to teach the lost art of the political dirty trick, and lately his specialty – getting hold of college students and warping their brains nice and early. Universities, you see, are that last liberal stronghold and he needs to take it down from the inside, doesn’t he?

    As an aside, it really irks me when right-wingers complain about liberal bias on college campuses. Did you see the commencement address that Bush gave at Calvin College? Calvin College is a religious school in the western (conservative) half of the state of Michigan, (Ted Nugent country). Even those kids were all up in his grill. You see, it’s not about left and right on campus. It’s about knowledge. Even in a religious school where they teach you to embrace bogus doctrine no matter how absurd, they can’t accept Bush’s bullshit. As we all know too well, everything the Republicans stand for falls apart upon critical analysis or detailed scrutiny. Naturally, in an institution where they teach kids to think for themselves and never take anything at face value, it stands to reason that they would be havens of liberalism. Conservativism thrives in ignorance like bacteria in a Petri dish. (No offense, Alabama, but seriously – open a book.)

    Back to the point at hand – DoG sources have obtained top secret documents detailing the courses available through Mr. Blackwell’s institute, and I know you wanna know:

    Conservativism 101 – Disregarding Evidence:
    The first tenet of being a conservative is to ignore any “facts” that damage your cause. The Catholic Church has been doing this successfully for 2000 years. If the statistics show that condoms prevent the spread of AIDS and teen pregnancy, pull it out of the report; if most scientists state that global warming is a fact, pretend that more study is necessary. Remember that numbers are confusing to people; they would prefer soothing words that reinforce their existing beliefs. By the end of this course you will be able to refute the most solid scientific theories by casting fictional doubt on the evidence.

    Conservativism 240 - Hypocrisy (do what I say, not what I do):
    In this class you will learn how to tell others what’s right for them, and what’s wrong about them, even when your own behavior displays otherwise. You can support a war, find a way to slither out of fighting in it, and then years later call your opponent a coward for actually going. You can be a massive drug addict and demand that drug addicts be locked up indefinitely. You can use faulty sources to start a war and then blame a news agency for using faulty sources when people die in that very same war. By the end of this course, you will have learned the cognitive dissonance necessary to be a true conservative.

    Conservativism 376 - Moral Superiority:
    In this class you will learn that you are always right, and anyone who disagrees with you is always wrong. Examples of successful students: Cast judgment on sinners while maintaining a multi-million dollar gambling or prostitute habit. Run on “family values” and drag your crying wife into S&M clubs and demand she service you in front of a crowd. By the end of this course, you will be able to denounce homosexuality, passing laws limiting their freedom while trolling the internet looking for underage boys.


    Campaigning 103 - Lying:
    There has never been a conservative campaign won on the truth. In order to be a successful conservative, you must master the lie. In this course you will learn the right sort of lie to tell, which is to say the bigger the better. If your opponent is a war hero, find a bunch of your friends who never met him to make it seem as though he is a war criminal. Remember, if it can’t be proven false with a single Google search, then the lie will be printed and reprinted as fact – the media will not do any research of their own. By the end of this course you will be able to tell massive lies so many times that everyone will come to think of them as truth.

    Campaigning 201 - Creating Degrading Nicknames/Slogans:
    The best part of any campaign is the funny name you give to your opponent. Take a phrase, no more than three words, and throughout the course of your campaign use it as many times as possible until the media takes it up and uses it to describe your opponent themselves. Best case scenario – if your opponent doesn’t have a stark black and white view of the world, call him a flip-flopper. People love yelling flipflopflipflop. By the end of this course, you will be able to make up any degrading nickname for your opponent and stick it on him like flies on honey.

    Campaigning 210 - Obfuscation:
    The most important thing to remember is that in order to win an election, you’re not going to win by catering to people’s intelligence and noble qualities. You have to stoop to the lowest common denominator. By the end of this course, you will be able to find an irrelevant point that separates people and use it to force people to vote against their own interests.

    Campaigning 390 - Push Polls:
    Polls are traditionally used to learn the views of the electorate so you can condescend to them more accurately. In some cases however, you can use your polling to change the opinions of the electorate. You will choose any outrageous completely made-up claim and drop it into your poll implying that it has something to do with your opponent. Example: “If you found out that Candidate X was a child molester, would that make you more likely to vote for him, less likely… etc.” This works best with racists (your base). Example: “If you found out Candidate X had a half-black baby, would that make you more likely…” By the end of this course, you will be able to contrive any claim about your opponent and have it stick in the minds of the electorate.

    Campaigning 495 - Election Fixing (advanced course):
    Being a conservative means standing up for big business and the super-rich. Therefore, you’re not going to be able to get all the little people to vote for you. Half of every winning campaign is making sure that your opponent’s voters don’t actually end up voting. This works best if you can install your campaign chairs into positions that decide who gets to vote and where – governorships, secretaries of state, etc. They can see to it that your opponent’s voters are taken off the voter rolls; that there are fewer working voting booths in your opponent’s districts; in some cases even see to it that all of the votes you don’t want aren’t counted. Note – this course ends with a project wherein you will design electronic voting booths that automatically record votes for you no matter whom the voter chooses. By the end of this course, you will learn how to create conditions such that the will of the people becomes irrelevant.


    Communications 102 - Screaming:
    In this course you will learn how to manipulate the media. In today’s climate of cable news, actually having legitimate points of debate are less important than yelling as loud as you can using the same talking points over and over again. On a cable news show, they will give equal time to two points of view no matter how ridiculous one point might be. The key is to yell as forcefully and loudly as possible, both keeping your counterpart from speaking as well as creating the impression that whatever nonsense you are spouting is true.

    Communications 225 - The Echo Chamber:
    If you say something often enough, it will become true in the eyes of the media who will not research any of your claims. As conservatives, we control talk radio, we have our own news channel, and 90% control over the rest of the media outlets. By the end of this course, you will be able to create a short list of talking points (true or not), find out where they must be distributed, and ensure that they are repeated enough times until even that rag New York Times will print them as fact.

    Communications 339 - Liberal Media:
    Despite the fact that our rich base controls most media outlets, the people still believe that the Jewey Hollywood liberal elitists control the news (see Communications 225). This course teaches you how to manipulate that belief into election victory. By the end of this course you will be able to counter any facts or statistics that you don’t want people to believe with the simple phrase, “liberal media.” This both casts doubt on anything you disagree with and serves to scare media outlets from even reporting those things in the first place.


    Governing 350 - Cronyism
    No man is an island. You need your friends in high places, and you always need more money for your next campaign. It is important that once you get into office, you offer huge no-bid contracts to your former colleagues in business and that you hire them to work in high-profile government jobs to do your bidding, especially in places that are notoriously independent. By the end of this course, you will learn how to take bribes without getting caught, and how to install your close friends into positions for which they are highly unqualified.

    Governing 384 - Ironic Policy Names:
    Since conservativism involves doing things that the proletariat would abhor if they knew the truth, it is vital that you give your policy initiatives benign names that without inspection might seem to be a good thing. If you want to create a law that allows your friends to chop down national forests for profit, call your policy “Healthy Forests.” If you want to allow your contributors to pollute more thoroughly, call it “Clear Skies.” By the end of this course, you will be skilled enough to eliminate most civil and human rights simply by using the word “freedom” in the name of your initiative.

    Governing 415 - Appointments
    Sometimes our policy initiatives are so egregiously against the will of the people, there is no way to enact them and survive politically. In these instances it is important that you appoint your friends and contributors to enforce those laws. For example, if your friends are bilking their shareholders out of millions, make sure that you appoint one of those corrupt CEOs to chair the agency that investigates corporate fraud, while simultaneously cutting the investigative agency’s budget in half. Install a former head of a coal-mining company to the environmental protection agency. Appoint a former logger to head the department of the interior. By the end of this course you will be able to circumvent any laws you don’t like simply by ensuring nothing is ever investigated.

    Governing 550 - Starting Wars (graduate level students only):
    There comes a time in every man’s life where he needs to invade a country that sticks in his craw. It’s easy to draw up a plan years, even decades ahead of time. But it’s politically infeasible to just run around invading countries without getting the American people behind you. Fear is integral in this plan. You must invent intelligence, lie about your “enemy,” and most importantly of all - foster a climate of fear, xenophobia, and extreme nationalism to rally the people around your cause. If anyone is against you, then he’s the one who wants to kill Americans. By the end of this course, you will be able to give yourself emperor-like power and control over most aspects of government. Investigation of your wrong-doings will become irrelevant, and you will be able to send your soldiers off to die with impunity. Note: this course has a final project wherein you will choose a country without weapons or aggressive action against the United States and develop a PR strategy that will give you the political capital to invade. Neither plans for winning the war nor honesty are not required for this course.
    So there you have it. These Republicans are smart; they start early and focus on winning. Winning the next election always takes precedence over what’s right. And that’s why they keep winning. All we have to fight them are actual universities teaching actual knowledge and ethics. We’re never going to win until we give up on those pesky ethics.

    Culture of Life. Sometimes.

    Slate has a nice little article today comparing and contrasting Bush's stance on stem cell research with his stance on the death penalty. A sampling:

    "The President is committed to medical research that does not violate the dignity of human life or exploit one human life for the benefit of another." - White House fact sheet

    "I happen to believe that the death penalty, when properly applied, saves lives of others. And so I'm comfortable with my beliefs that there's no contradiction between the two." - Dubbaya
    What do we call it again, when we profess one set of beliefs, but practice another? Something about hippos or something?

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Takes One to Know One

    Bush certainly knows how to kick the irony up a notch. He had one of his little tea parties at the White House yesterday. You see, Bush is against stem cell research if you hadn’t heard. Bush would prefer that we take all the embryos leftover from in vitro fertilization that are just sitting in freezers around the country and either leave them there or incinerate them with the rest of the medical waste rather than put them to use to try to cure Alzheimer’s, diabetes, spinal cord trauma, etc. etc.

    So Bush finds himself a bunch of prop kids who were adopted and taken out of those freezers and implanted into somebody’s womb. A noble endeavor to be sure, but unless we have 400,000 empty wombs waiting for all these embryos, adoption alone is not going to solve the problem. Anyway, so Bush has the prop kids running around, the little scamps. They’re being all cute and adorable as wee children are wont to do. And Bush says,

    "These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but gifts."
    Not exploited by anyone but you, right Mr. President?

    Anyway, call me crazy, but I rather those frozen cells be "exploited" as you call it than burned or stored in a freezer indefinitely. It’s another example of how for Republicans, life begins at conception and ends at birth. Fuck the living, right George?

    Luckily, there are those who disagree with Bush, and are actually… wait a minute, did I read that right? They are standing up to Bush? Holy fucking shit. I gotta write this down.

    Dear diary, I never thought it would EVER happen! All my dreams are really coming true this time...

    (PS - the senate GOP plans to filibuster. Weird. I thought I heard someone say the filibuster was unconstitutional. Must have been a bad dream...)

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    A Little Skit

    Dedicated to Harry Reid and friends! Enjoy!

    Mother (to Bratty Child): Ok, Junior, mommy and daddy are going out. We’ve called a very nice honors student to baby-sit for you.
    Bratty Child: Waaaah! I don’t want an honors student! I want Priscilla!
    Mother: But honey, Priscilla is a crack-head who lets her crack-head friends come over and steal all of our stuff so they can sell it to buy crack! Also, she calls mommy a dirty whore and flushes her birth control pills down the toilet.
    Bratty Child: WAAAAAAH!!! I DON’T CARE, I WANT PRISCILLA! And if I don’t get Priscilla, I’ll burn the house down!
    Mother: But if you do that, we’ll have no place to live!
    Bratty Child: WAAAAAAAAAH!!! I don’t CARE! I want PRISCILLA! And if I don’t get her, I’ll burn our house down!
    Mother: But, you’ll be hurting yourself too!
    Bratty Child: WAAAAAAAAH!!! I don’t care! I want Priscilla!
    Mother: Well, ok honey. But we have to make a deal. I’ll let Priscilla baby-sit you if you promise not to burn the house down.
    Bratty Child: Ok, I promise! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
    Mother (to Father): Whew, that was a close one! But it looks like we won that one!

    Mother and Father go off to the movies. They come back to find the last of a long line of crack-heads running out of their house carrying armloads of the family’s valuables.
    Mother (to Father): Well, at least the house hasn’t been burned down! It still looks like we won!

    One week later, Mother and Father want to go out to another movie.

    Mother: Ok, Junior, mommy and Daddy are going out. We’ve called a very nice honors student to baby-sit for you.
    Bratty Child (holding a lighted match and a can of gasoline): WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! I don’t want an honors student! I want William!
    And scene! The moral of the story? Um, maybe it's "You don't win by giving in to spoiled brats." Or maybe it's "You can burn the house down, but you have to live in it too, dumbass." Or perhaps it's "Who in their right mind would want to have kids?"

    To Wit...

    In my previous post, I wrote:

    Progress as defined by Republicans is, of course, a few more steps towards dictatorial theocracy.
    Making my point for me is right-wing blogger extraordinaire, Neil Boortz:
    But let's talk more about the Republicans. They had total and complete victory in their hands, and they gave it up. Would the Democrats do that? Of course not! Democrats play for keeps. They know that when you have your opponent on the ropes, you don't feel sorry for them, worry about their "minority rights" and offer them something they're not entitled to. You put your foot on their throat and defeat them by the widest margin of victory possible. The Republicans gained seats in the Senate in the last election. They defeated the sitting Democratic leader over this very issue. They should have voted to change the rules on the first day of business back in January. Now that they have the votes, it should have been simple. Slam the door on the Democrats obstruction, just as voters elected them to do. Reverse the rolls here. How many of you really believe that the Democrats wouldn't have changed the Senate rules if it had been Republicans filibustering Democratic nominees?
    Put your foot on their throat? Doesn’t he sound like a pleasant chap with whom you’d like to sit down and have tea and cucumber sandwiches? Perhaps someone should remind Neil that the Democrats controlled Congress for quite a few decades and never once eliminated the filibuster, nor stepped on anyone’s throat. He continues:
    Maybe we should address this in terms of whether the Constitution won or loss [sic]. Here I would call it a loss. The Constitution has been losing for some time in Washington. There is no clause anywhere in the Constitution that gives a minority in the Senate any power at all to block a vote on a judicial nomination. This is a power that was created by Senators, not established by the Constitution. The Republicans had a chance to stand up for the Constitution, and they passed.
    There is no clause anywhere in the Constitution that sets up Robert’s Rules of Order either, but they still use them in Senate, don’t they? You know what else isn’t in the Constitution? Jesus. But that doesn’t stop you people from trying to drop his name into every speech to justify your unconscionable behavior. My point being that the Constitution neither wins nor loses in this battle. It’s a document, not a participant in some perverse contest in your mind, Neil. But let me ask - in your little game, was the Constitution winning when the Republicans put anonymous holds on Clinton’s judicial nominees? Just curious...

    Jesus 3 - America 0

    To follow up on my esteemed colleague’s remarks, I have to concur. I don’t understand how people like MoveOn’s Eli Pariser and Harry Reid can call this a victory. All this proves is that whenever the Republicans want something, they get it. Sure, they didn’t get all of them, but they got three of their highly unqualified, comically corrupt religious zealots on the bench. I hate to agree with Scott McClelland, but in his own self-satisfied way, I think he hits the nail on the head:

    "Many of these nominees have waited for quite some time to have an up-or-down vote and now they are going to get one. That's progress,"
    Progress as defined by Republicans is, of course, a few more steps towards dictatorial theocracy. As I said before, I think it would have been much better to let them do their nuclear magic. Frankly, I don’t think they would have had the votes, but even if they did, it would have been electoral disaster for them in 2006, and maybe even 2008. Furthermore, we have this "extraordinary circumstances" clause hanging on the filibuster now like one of Florida’s bum chads, which will only serve to a) cow the Democrats from using the filibuster in the future, and b) open the door for Republicans to call us liars and hypocrites when we're forced to use it again, e.g. – when Bush nominates Pat Robertson or James Dobson to the Supreme Court later this year.

    On the brighter side, Bill Frist does come out of this a little worse for wear. John McCain comes out a little better. And even though I think we have a better chance of beating Frist than McCain in 2008, if we can help it, I’d rather not gamble on getting Dr. Kitten Killer in the oval office.

    No Nook-yoo-lar Option. For Now.

    So the Republicans won't get to do away with the filibuster. But I fail to see how this is a "victory" for the Democrats.

    "We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical right of the Republican party an undeniable message....the abuse of power will not be tolerated."
    Of course, the Republicans still get Cruella Owen, William Pryor, and Janice Rogers Brown as judges without opposition from the Democrats, which is exactly what they wanted. So, basically, I guess the real message the Democrats sent the administration was, "Threaten us, and we'll give you whatever you want."

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Darth Vader

    I didn't think it was possible to be worse than William Safire, but somehow the New York Times found someone. Today, John Tierney decides to embrace the anti-Bush message in the new Star Wars film.

    [Anakin] says he could never betray the Jedi because they're his family, but then the chancellor puts the family question in perspective: "Learn to know the dark side of the Force, Anakin, and you will be able to save your wife from certain death." Anakin promptly recognizes the limits of altruism, just as Adam Smith did in the 18th century.
    It goes on like that - the world is too big to bother to care about anyone else these days, and like Darth Vader, we should ignore our impulse to help others and look out for ourselves. What a horrible world view this man has! There are too many problems, too many poor people to look after - government should cut their losses and let social Darwinism take its natural course. I don't want to live in that world. Even if I were one of those who managed to survive in the dog eat dog world that you are espousing, I don't want to hoard my riches and step over the homeless on my way to work. Even if it's a hopeless cause trying to be the "Jedi" so to speak, at least we're doing something instead of giving up and turning to the dark side.

    Friday, May 20, 2005

    Faster, O'Reilly! Kill! Kill!

    DoG’s personal favorite Bill O’Reilly advocates taking on the tactics of the terrorists in order to stop liberal journalists once and for all:

    O'REILLY: No, no. I want you to read it. Go to LATimes.com. I want everybody in the country to read this editorial 'cause it just -- I mean, you'll be sitting there pounding the table like I did. How can they -- how can they think this way? How can anyone think this way? You know, "Shutting down Guantànamo and giving suspected terrorists legal protections would help restore our reputation abroad." No, it wouldn't. I mean that's like saying, well, if we're nicer to the people who want to KILL US, then the other people who want to KILL US will like us more. Does that make any sense to you? Do you think Osama [bin Laden] is gonna be more favorably disposed to the U.S. if we give the Guantànamo people lawyers?

    E.D. HILL (co-host): No, of course not.

    O'REILLY: I mean, but this is what they're saying. It is just -- you just sit there, you go, "They'll never get it until they grab Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut his head off." And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, "Perhaps O'Reilly was right."
    If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em, eh Bill? Anyway, to the substance of what he’s saying – holy shit, could he be any stupider? First of all, we’re a nation founded on the rule of law. Mass murderers, even as horrific as Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh get to have lawyers. Shouldn’t everyone who wants to kill anyone still be protected under the Constitution and the rule of law? And that’s not even mentioning that because of the absence of law and civil rights, the majority of these prisoners aren’t guilty of any crime at all, and didn’t actually want to kill us until after we wrongfully imprisoned and tortured them.

    Secondly, I’m sure Bill blew a gasket because Newsweek didn’t source its story well enough in reporting on the Koran Flush – why, Bill? Because your logic suggests that when they get word that our interrogators do harsh and cruel things to them it gets them riled up, right? So to take it another step, wouldn’t it prevent unnecessary death if we would stop doing harsh and cruel things? If we’re going to win this war, there’s that whole "hearts and minds" thing they keep talking about.

    Think before you speak, Bill. Please!

    Nuke Texas Instead of the Senate

    My good friend and colleague (we’ve neither met nor worked together) Joe Conason points out that the problem with Priscilla Owen isn’t her wildly out-of-the-mainstream point of view, it’s her appalling lack of ethics:

    While much of the debate over the Owen nomination has focused on her opinion in a controversial abortion rights case -- in which her activist interpretation earned a scathing denunciation from none other than Alberto Gonzales, then her colleague on the Texas high court -- it is not her extremist ideology alone that should give senators pause. Equally disturbing is her involvement in the Lone Star State's "pay for play" judicial system, which is something she has in common with Gonzales.

    Only a few states require nominees to their highest court to run for election -- and thus to raise enormous sums of money to pay for the cost of statewide campaigns. In Texas, where campaign fundraising taints so much of the political system, the state Supreme Court has suffered national ignominy for many years because of the confluence of corporate contributions and judicial decisions.

    Naturally, George W. Bush chose to elevate the two members of that court who took the largest sums of campaign money from Texas business interests while he was governor -- Gonzales, who set the record, and Owen, who came in second.
    ...

    Among the most notorious examples is a case in which Owen wrote the majority opinion that allowed Enron Corp. to escape more than $200,000 in school district taxes. In her 1994 campaign, she took $8,600 from the Houston energy firm and $31,550 from its lawyers at the powerhouse firm of Vinson & Elkins; her consultant Rove also worked for Enron. Two years later, when Spring Independent School District vs. Enron reached her court, she did not recuse herself from the case. Her opinion allowed Enron to choose its own method for valuation, cutting the taxable property assessment by millions of dollars.

    So obnoxious was her conduct in the Enron case that it provoked the Houston Chronicle -- a newspaper that has enthusiastically endorsed Bush -- to urge the Senate to reject her nomination three years ago. While acknowledging that Democratic objections to Owen were hardly apolitical, the newspaper's editorial said the Democrats were also displaying "a rational desire to prevent the lifetime appointment of a justice who has shown a clear preference for ruling to achieve a particular result rather than impartially interpreting the law."

    Owen's devotion to her business ideology and apparent sympathy toward her campaign contributions has often left her in the extremist minority, even on the right-tilting Texas bench. One of her better-known dissents came in a case that tested the constitutionality of a state law that had been written specifically to exempt a land developer from the city of Austin's water quality regulations.

    Having taken $2,500 from that developer (and an additional $45,000 from the developer's law firm), Owen blasted her colleagues for violating the firm's "property rights," which included the right to foul the water supply in her view. The majority replied that her dissent was "nothing more than inflammatory rhetoric and thus merits no response."
    When the Houston Chronicle calls you corrupt and the Texas Supreme Court calls you extremist – you got big problems. Joe successfully undercuts my previous let them win argument. It’s one thing for them to hit rock bottom. It’s quite another to let our country hit rock-rock bottom. They don’t call it "nuclear" for nothin’... I don't know what to think!

    Twelve Step Program

    Farhad Manjoo makes a pretty good point about the nuclear option.

    Republicans may not be wrong to want to eliminate the filibuster, and Democrats have nothing to lose by letting the GOP win this one.
    ...

    the filibuster is no friend to Democrats, whose policies, if not politicians, appeal to a majority of the American public. They may be in the minority now, but Democrats can win again. They can take the Senate and they can take the White House, possibly both, possibly soon. When that day comes, you can be sure Republicans will use the filibuster in the same way that Democrats are using it today. Wouldn't it make sense to take that option away from the GOP now, when they're agitating for the change -- and then, in the future, to hoist them with their own petard?
    I'll take it a step farther. We knew going into Bush’s second inauguration that the only way we were going to take this country back wasn’t going to be through our own doing – it was going to be through Republican hubris. Only 28% of Americans support the nuclear option, what could be more hubristic than doing something most people are against in order to more fully concentrate your own power? Rick Santorum hilariously compares the Democrats’ filibuster to Hitler in Paris, but I think it's clear, at least to 72% of us, that the fascists in this story are the Republicans. So let’s let them do it. It’s like with a drug addict. He can’t help himself until he’s hit rock bottom. It’s a shame that for these power addicts, we need to concede almost all control of our government, allowing them to install their religious zealot and racist judges for life. It'll be sad to see our country have to go through that, but I’m sure it's just as sad to change the locks on your house after your kid steals your appliances, and force him start turning tricks in an alley for smack. But sometimes, that’s what it takes to get your kid to realize that he’s gone too far.

    In the end though, as Mr. Manjoo says, rock bottom for the Republicans will be election gold for us. We'll have the White House and Congress, no filibuster, and a grudge to settle. Oooh boy! Doesn't that sound fun? What worries me more is this talk of compromise. I think we have two options. We win this battle and continue to block Bush’s Über-Christian judges, or we lose and the Republicans are displayed naked for the world to see as the power hungry sons of bitches they really are. Compromise is a lose-lose proposition. From the rumors I’ve heard floated, they’re talking about letting 5 or so of the not-as-bad judges go through, and dropping the worst few, and then we have to promise not to filibuster any judges unless we deem it really important. What would that mean? Do we get 3 filibusters every presidential term or something? I don’t know. But if we let a compromise go through it will allow Bush his judges, lose any leverage we have, and the whole power-grab naked-display electoral-victory thing would vanish. Compromise on this issue would be a complete disaster.

    Let them win! Let them win!

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    I'm a Big Boy, and I Can Testify All By Myself

    This cracks me up. There's this business guy, right? All independent and so forth. He's called before a Senate hearing to testify about how we need to privatize Social Security. You'd expect him to be regurgitating all the White House talking points, I know. But when he submitted the MS Word file in advance, he forgot to turn the "track changes" off, and it turns out the White House was all over it making changes to his testimony.

    I might not have even written about this. Compared to starting wars based on lies, this is small potatoes. But like a slap in the face, a spokesperson for the White House had to go and say this:

    "This president has presided over one of the most ethical administrations in history and has made clear he does not believe that career employees should be doing political work,"
    Wow! Do you ever wonder if you're watching a different movie than other people? Like, we went to the theater together but somehow he ended up in line for The Princess Diaries while I stumbled into A Clockwork Orange.

    Help! Police! That Man Stole $1.3 Billion From Me!

    Bob Herbert hits the nail right on the head. The new Jets stadium is utter rot. How dare richy-rich Mike Bloomberg give over a billion dollars of taxpayer money to his richy-rich friend. It is a complete outrage that he would even consider it.

    The rail yards on which the stadium would be built are owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the development rights have been valued by the M.T.A.'s own appraisers at $923 million. But the M.T.A. has agreed to sell the rights to this publicly owned property to Mr. Johnson and the Jets for a mere $250 million. That's a subsidy of nearly $700 million for the mayor's fabulously wealthy buddy.

    When you add that subsidy to the $600 million in public funds that the mayor and the governor had pledged from the beginning to hand to Mr. Johnson, we're talking about a giveaway of $1.3 billion. The rascals used to do this sort of thing in back rooms, while worrying about headlines, indictments and handcuffs. Now they've figured out how to do it legally.
    ...

    "This proposed sale of a $923,400,000 asset by a New York State public authority for a present value of $210 million [later increased to $250 million] is a disgrace and a violation of the M.T.A.'s duty to act in the best interest of the people of the state of New York and of our public transit system."

    That the M.T.A., which is hemorrhaging cash, is ready to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the Jets is beyond absurd. Over the past couple of years it has raised fares, reduced service on subway and bus lines, closed dozens of subway token booths, cut back on maintenance and cleaning, and treated its riders to a long succession of major fires, foul-ups and breakdowns.

    That's the first thing you need to know.

    The second thing is that hardly any of the ordinary taxpayers and transit riders subsidizing this glittering playground on the Hudson will be able to see the Jets play there. This is not like Yankee Stadium, where you can actually go to a game. Unless you've already got season tickets (or unless you're wealthy and can afford one of the staggeringly expensive luxury suites), you're out of luck.

    The Jets' Web site couldn't be clearer about this. Under the heading "Waitlist Policy," it says: "The New York Jets are sold out on a season ticket basis. There are NO individual game tickets available. If you are not a season ticket holder, you may join our Waitlist. There are currently over 10,000 people on our Waitlist."

    You have to pay $50 a year just to be on the waiting list. The wait is approximately 10 years.
    ...

    The third thing you need to know about this stadium is that it's part of a proposed Far West Side development scheme that would be in direct competition with the struggling effort to rebuild the downtown area devastated by the Sept. 11 attacks. The implications of this have not been fully analyzed by the stadium zealots.
    Yeah, I’d say that just about sums it up. And Mr. Herbert doesn’t even delve into the studies that show that new stadiums do nothing to improve local economic development.

    Mayor Bloomberg, have you no shame?

    Who Killed More - Bush or Newsweek?

    Read this column from Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan. (Go Blue!)

    Now that the Downing Street memo has become public, we know with absolute certainty that Bush was lying to us when he said every step would be taken to prevent war. We know with absolute certainty that he knew the intelligence was weak on Iraq. We know with absolute certainty that he came into office planning to attack Iraq come hell or high water, and on September 11, 2001 he was probably a little tingly with excitement.

    The question is, why doesn’t anyone care?

    Think about it. He lied day after day after day to ensure that he would entangle us in this deadly quagmire. Over 1,600 soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Some 15,000 of our soldiers are wounded, many seriously. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians are dead and the violence continues every single day. We’ve been torturing innocent people in Saddam’s old torture chambers, in Syria, in Cuba, in Egypt. Everyone in the world hates us. Osama bin Laden is all but forgotten by BushCo, but not by the Muslim world. Over there he’s a hero on the order of Superman and his recruitment is through the roof.

    We’re so broke, we can’t afford to protect our borders, our chemical and nuclear plants, our trains, our ports. The dollar is falling like Wile E. Coyote off a cliff; our debt is exploding. And it’s all due to this war. This war is an albatross that Bush eagerly reached for and placed firmly around our necks. God knows that it won’t be over by 2008, so someone else can pay the piper on his administration when we finally cut our losses and pull out of there. It’s always someone else with Bush, isn’t it? Cut taxes, pile up a huge debt that our children can pay. Start a war that we can’t win, and our children can die. Eliminate social security so that our children won’t be protected. Cut funding to our schools so our children can’t compete in the global marketplace. Cut Medicaid so our children don’t have insurance. Refuse to do anything about our disgusting polluting ways, so our children can live (or maybe not) in the steambath that will be the future. As long as Bush is riding high politically, the next generation can suck it.

    America doesn’t start wars. This is not what our country is about. And this is why. North Korea and Iran are looking at our pathetic attempt to keep order in Iraq and they know a) we don’t have the troops to attack them, and b) even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to beat them. So they’re like, “fuck it – let’s get some nuclear weapons. Now’s our only chance!” And once they do, we definitely can’t attack them. Shit, they’d take out Seoul or Tel Aviv.

    Why does no one care about this? How can we pay more attention to some guy’s source in Newsweek than to Bush’s lack of sources on Iraq. Look at it this way – at least the Newsweek guy tried to find a source. Bush couldn’t have cared less. Just convince the American people that we need to start a war, the truth is irrelevant.

    The truth is irrelevant. That is our president. 51% of you voted for him. And you’re probably still happy. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, and as far as I’m concerned, the blood is on your hands as well.

    Riddle Me This, Batman!

    Frank Gorshin - Rest in peace.

    You put Jim Carrey to shame.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    I Learned It From Watching You!

    The White House correspondents must have been given a set of balls for their birthday or something. I'm not quite sure what's going on...

    Q With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

    MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not telling them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help --

    Q You're pressuring them.

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm saying that we would encourage them --

    Q It's not pressure?
    ...

    Q: In context of the Newsweek situation, I think we hear the caution you're giving us about reporting things based on a single anonymous source. What, then, are we supposed to do with information that this White House gives us under the conditions that it comes from a single anonymous source?

    MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to.

    Q: Frequent briefings by senior administration officials in which the ground rules are we can only identify them as a single anonymous source.

    MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I know that there is an issue when it comes to the media in terms of the use of anonymous sources, but the issue is not related to background briefings. But I do believe that we should work to move away from those kind of background briefings. ...

    But there is a credibility problem in the media regarding the use of anonymous sources, but it's because of fabricated stories, and it's because of situations like this one over the weekend. It's not because of the background briefings that you may be referring to.
    Yeah. The White House has never fabricated any stories before. They didn't send the Secretary of State to the U.N. to spout a series of lies. They didn't raise the terror alert level when Bush dropped a point or two to Kerry. Nah... It's only the OTHER guys who fabricate stories. In fact, the only things that are ever fabricated are the stories that make Bush look bad.
    Q: What prevents this administration from just saying from this point forward, you will identify who it is that's talking to us?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of background briefings, if that's what you're asking about, which I assume it is, let me point out that what I'm talking about there are officials who are helping to provide context to on-the-record comments made by people like the President or the Secretary of State or others. ... And as I said, one of the concerns is that some media organizations have used anonymous sources that are hiding behind that anonymity in order to generate negative attacks.

    Q: But to our readers, viewers and listeners, I think it's all the same.

    MR. McCLELLAN: And then you have a situation -- you have a situation where we found out later that quotes were attributed to people that they didn't make. Or you have a situation where you now learn that a single source was used for verifying this allegation -- and that source, himself, said he could not personally verify the accuracy of the report. ...

    Q: With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are OK and everyone else's aren't.
    Oooh... Good zinger there. Meanwhile, it's BAU at the White House. Do as we say, not as we do. Pay no attention to the hypocrisy behind the curtain!

    Return of the Jedi

    Bill Moyers strikes back at CPB and Bush's minions with a scathing speech about freedom and democracy. He takes on the sad state of the media today:

    I decided long ago that this wasn't healthy for democracy. I came to see that "news is what people want to keep hidden and everything else is publicity." In my documentaries -- whether on the Watergate scandals 30 years ago or the Iran Contra conspiracy 20 years ago or Bill Clinton's fundraising scandals 10 years ago or, five years ago, the chemical industry's long and despicable cover-up of its cynical and unspeakable withholding of critical data about its toxic products from its workers, I realized that investigative journalism could not be a collaboration between the journalist and the subject. Objectivity is not satisfied by two opposing people offering competing opinions, leaving the viewer to split the difference.
    ...

    An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinions that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy -- or worse.
    False patriotism:
    The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
    And especially the new all-propaganda-all-the-time plan Bush has for PBS, (as previously discussed at DoG):
    On Fox News this week [CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson] denied that he's carrying out a White House mandate or that he's ever had any conversations with any Bush administration official about PBS. But the New York Times reported that he enlisted Karl Rove to help kill a proposal that would have put on the CPB board people with experience in local radio and television. The Times also reported that "on the recommendation of administration officials" Tomlinson hired a White House flack (I know the genre) named Mary Catherine Andrews as a senior CPB staff member. While she was still reporting to Karl Rove at the White House, Andrews set up CPB's new ombudsman's office and had a hand in hiring the two people who will fill it, one of whom once worked for -- you guessed it -- Kenneth Tomlinson.
    You must read the whole thing.

    That's Quite Enough!

    This completely bullshit Newsweek flap has gone WAY too fucking far. Yes, the MSM is terrible at almost everything - real reporting, actual sources, covering stories that matter. But in the case of the Koran flushing incident, Bush's forced indignation is too much for me to bear. This administration's insistence that the media is to blame for fucking everything that he does demonstrates a deeper personality defect, doesn't it? Do you think that George Bush might have such a deep cognitive dissonance such that he wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that he's directly responsible for over 100,000 deaths? Instead, his brain has convinced him that it's not his fault. A few bad apples, or the liberal media, or John Kerry.

    This week it's all the liberal media.

    Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said at his televised noon briefing that the magazine should decide for itself how to undo what he called the "serious consequences" and "lasting damage" from its reporting, but he repeatedly offered a suggestion.
    Let's remake that sentence - "...that the administration should decide for itself how to undo what he called the "serious consequences" and "lasting damage" from its decision to start an unprovoked war based on lies." How does that sit with you, Scotty? Let's face it, Newsweek wouldn't have any Koran flushing incidents if you didn't have the Guantanamo Bay torture center prison and Abu Ghraib. And that's the real shame of this, isn't it? There is real torture going on every single day - today! - which has been reported on time and time again. Bush always manages to find a way to blame it on someone else, whether it's footsoldiers or generals, but never on his team, Rumsfeld, Gonzales or the CIA. And if the media reports on that torture, it's the media's fault for not minding its own business. This shit is real, and whether or not this one isolated Koran thing really happened or not could not be more irrelevant. When the media (finally) shines some light into the darkness of Bush's evil, you should stop the evil, not turn off the light.
    "One way is to point out what the policies and practices of our United States military are," Mr. McClellan said. "Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care."

    Newsweek declined to comment on Mr. McClellan's statement that the magazine should help repair the damage to the United States' image abroad.
    That first part is a lie. Here's a fact:
    Mr. al-Mutairi said there were three major hunger strikes in his more than three years of imprisonment at Guantánamo. He said that after one of them, a protest of guards' handling of copies of the Koran, which had been tossed into a pile and stepped on, a senior officer delivered an apology over the camp's loudspeaker system, pledging that such abuses would stop. Interpreters, standing outside each prison block, translated the officer's apology.

    A former interrogator at Guantánamo, in an interview with The Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans.
    The second part, that it's Newsweek's responsibility to repair the damage of the United States' reputation? How removed from reality is McClelland? Let's assume that the Newsweek story IS completely bunk, that they just made it up to sabotage the "war on terror." Do you think that the riot started in a vacuum? Or is at least possible that perhaps the United States' policies of propping up dictators in the region in exchange for cheap oil, for invading Iraq, for supporting Israel unequivocally, for torturing innocent people in Saddam Hussein's own torture chamber might have them all riled up in the first place? No? That's not possible? OK. It's all Newsweek's fault.

    Of course, maybe, just maybe they're only manufacturing their hypocritical outrage to once again attack the first amendment and a free and independent press. Do you think?
    Republicans close to the White House said that although President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were genuinely angered by the Newsweek article, West Wing officials were also exploiting it in an effort to put a check on the press.

    "There's no expectation that they're going to bring down Newsweek, but there is a feeling that there is no check on what you guys do," said one outside Bush adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be identified as talking about possible motives of the White House.
    There's no check on the press. Those cocksuckers can just write whatever they damn well please. Someone needs to set up an office in the White House to which all the newspapers should submit their stories before they go to print. A Ministry of Truth, if you will, to make sure that everything in the press is in line with the fantasy world that Bush inhabits.

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    News We Already Knew

    The U.S. Government values Saudi interests more than the health and well being of American citizens. More news! The earth goes around the sun. More on that later, but first, from Think Progress:

    According to the Boston Globe, a rich Saudi company called SABIC - which happens to be the leading maker of the cancer-causing gasoline additive MTBE – paid lobbyists more than $1.5 million in an attempt to gain protection from lawsuits stemming from the damage caused by the dangerous chemical.

    They got what they paid for - the House of Representatives recently passed an energy bill which shielded the company from all lawsuits stemming from MTBE contamination of drinking water. (Surprise, surprise - the measure had strong support from House leader Tom DeLay.)

    In low doses, MTBE makes water undrinkable; in higher doses, it causes cancer. The toxin has been detected "in 1,861 water systems in 29 states, serving 45 million Americans. This is up from about 1,500 systems in 19 states in November 2003."
    Now, about this sun/earth thing. Is that every day or what?

    Love Thy Neighbor (Unless He's a Faggot)

    It's happened again. And by "it" I mean hypocrisy exposing itself for all to see. A favorite topic over at DoG, to be sure.

    Communion denied to rainbow-wearing parishioners.

    A Roman Catholic priest denied communion to more than 100 people Sunday, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show support for gay Catholics.
    ...

    Sister Gabriel Herbers said she wore a sash to show sympathy for the gay and lesbian community. Their sexual orientation "is a gift from God just as much as my gift of being a female is," she said.
    Sister? That damn well better be short for "soul sister" or P. Benny (formerly known on the street as Joey Rats) is gonna come down on her like a ton of bibles. How many Hail Marys does one have to say to absolve oneself of the sin of compassion? Wait... is that a sin anymore? I'd better consult my Catholic to Real Life Omnibus.

    Mainstream Media Blows it Again

    Alright. How about that - the Koran flushing incident was totally bunk. Shame on them. Seriously. Did we not learn anything from Judith Miller's unnamed sources spouting lies? Although I guess we have known for some time that truth and accuracy are secondary to being "first."

    But what I'm actually fascinated by is the Pentagon's manufactured indignance on this subject. Perhaps it's not manufactured, but if not, it's definitely ironic. Check out some quotes:

    The chief spokesman at the Pentagon, Lawrence Di Rita, called the apology "very tepid and qualified," adding: "They owe us all a lot more accountability than they took.
    Oh, like how Bush took responsibility for the intelligence failures that led to 9/11, the lies and faulty intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq and the unnecessary deaths of over 100,000 people? Like that? Oh wait. Or did he instead give the head of the CIA a fucking medal?
    "My reaction and I think our reaction is that Newsweek reported something that was factually inaccurate on several points. It's demonstrably wrong, and Newsweek has acknowledged that. But they have not retracted it, and have tried instead to water it down.
    Like how the Pentagon has retracted all its statements about candy and flowers greeting our troops? Like how Bush retracted his "Mission Accomplished" press conference? Jesus Christ. I appreciate that Newsweek royally fucked up and they now have blood on their hands. But if anyone in the whole world should just keep their trap shut about fucking up a story and causing the deaths of innocents and soldiers, I think it should be the fucking Pentagon who got us all into this mess in the first place.
    "They printed a story based on an erroneous source or sources that was demonstrably false and that resulted in riots in which people were killed. I don't know how else to parse it."
    They need an irony detector. Like some kind of geiger counter that starts beeping like mad when they make statements like that.

    UPDATE: It's come to my attention that a) The Pentagon had 10 days to object to Newsweek's story, but when presented with the story merely declined to comment rather than denying it outright. b) The Pentagon has admitted to and apologized for soldiers treating the Koran with contempt in the past, including but not limited to putting it in the toilet. and c) Last week, Richard Myers said that the Koran toilet story had nothing to do with the riot in Afghanistan. Now they're saying that it does. My point being that perhaps Newsweek doesn't have blood on its hands. But that doesn't change the wildly ironic and now it would seem entirely hypocritical comments coming from the Pentagon.

    It's eerily reminiscent of the Dan Rather situation. They printed a story in which the essence of the story is true, but instead of the right-wing attack dogs weighing the merits of the story, they're going to find a tiny niggling detail to attack and blow wildly out of proportion. All sound and fury signifying nothing. But Bush's bread and butter is sound and fury, innit.

    Mmmm... Pork...

    I read an article today that made me think about an older, forgotten issue. Bush decided that he's going to send some extra money to hospitals that treat illegal immigrants. It seems to make sense; we can argue the merits later. But there was something profound in the way they are distributing the funds:

    The largest allocations this fiscal year are going to California, which will receive $70.8 million; Texas, $46 million; Arizona, $45 million; New York, $12.3 million; Illinois, $10.3 million; Florida, $8.7 million; and New Mexico, $5.1 million.
    It would seem that they're giving the money to the states with the biggest illegal immigration problem. I don't see Kansas or North Dakota on there, do you? Contrast that with the pork laden homeland security funds:
    But 12 states bested New York on a per capita basis, the AP tally showed. The $17.7 million sent to Wyoming worked out to nearly $36 per person, the most of any state. New York, by comparison, got nearly $17 per person, California $9. ... After Wyoming came Alaska ($35.66 per person, based on the 2000 Census) and Vermont ($29.77 per person). ... American Samoa, a U.S. territory 2,300 miles south of Hawaii, got $5.4 million in homeland security funds, or $94.40 for each of its 57,291 residents.
    So are we to assume that the Health and Human Services department is better organized than Homeland Security? Perish the thought! Do you think it might have anything to do with weapons systems and Bush's friends who can profit from defense spending? I doubt that. How about Cheney being from Wyoming? Couldn't be! On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that Tony Rocky Horror isn't working anywhere in the west wing. I'll have to look into that.

    I wouldn't go so far as to call the brother fat...

    Sunday, May 15, 2005

    I'm Rich, Biatch!

    Dave Chappelle - Not Crazy.

    Here's hoping Dave gets his shit together and gets back on the set, cuz I'm jonezin' for some new shows, yo.

    Friday, May 13, 2005

    Family Values Roundup

    It's Friday, so as always (starting today), we take a moment to observe the behavior and attitudes of the leaders of the "family values" community. The only way to improve yourself is to look at those who are better than you and learn from them.

    First stop on the express train to Heaven, Dr. W. David Hager, prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    That day, a mostly friendly audience of 1,500 students and faculty packed into the seats in front of him. With the autumn sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows, Hager opened his Bible to the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel and looked out into the audience. "I want to share with you some information about how...God has called me to stand in the gap," he declared. "Not only for others, but regarding ethical and moral issues in our country."

    For Hager, those moral and ethical issues all appear to revolve around sex: In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books--which include such titles as Stress and the Woman's Body and As Jesus Cared for Women, self-help tomes that interweave syrupy Christian spirituality with paternalistic advice on women's health and relationships--he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality.

    And because of his warm relationship with the Bush Administration, Hager has had the opportunity to see his ideas influence federal policy. In December 2003 the FDA advisory committee of which he is a member was asked to consider whether emergency contraception, known as Plan B, should be made available over the counter. Over Hager's dissent, the committee voted overwhelmingly to approve the change. But the FDA rejected its recommendation, a highly unusual and controversial decision in which Hager, The Nation has learned, played a key role.
    ...

    Hager cast himself as a victim of religious persecution in his sermon. "You see...there is a war going on in this country," he said gravely. "And I'm not speaking about the war in Iraq. It's a war being waged against Christians, particularly evangelical Christians. It wasn't my scientific record that came under scrutiny [at the FDA]. It was my faith.... By making myself available, God has used me to stand in the breach.... Just as he has used me, he can use you."

    Up on the dais, several men seated behind Hager nodded solemnly in agreement. But out in the audience, Linda Carruth Davis--co-author with Hager of Stress and the Woman's Body, and, more saliently, his former wife of thirty-two years--was enraged. "It was the most disgusting thing I've ever heard," she recalled months later, through clenched teeth.

    According to Davis, Hager's public moralizing on sexual matters clashed with his deplorable treatment of her during their marriage. Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."
    ...

    Back in Lexington, where the couple continued to live, Linda Hager, as she was still known at the time, was sinking into a deep depression, she says. Though her marriage had been dead for nearly a decade, she could not see her way clear to divorce; she had no money of her own and few marketable skills. But life with David Hager had grown unbearable. As his public profile increased, so did the tension in their home, which she says periodically triggered episodes of abuse. "I would be asleep," she recalls, "and since [the sodomy] was painful and threatening, I woke up. Sometimes I acquiesced once he had started, just to make it go faster, and sometimes I tried to push him off.... I would [confront] David later, and he would say, 'You asked me to do that,' and I would say, 'No, I never asked for it.'"
    ...

    By the 1980s, according to Davis, Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn't have otherwise engaged in--for example, $2,000 for oral sex, "though that didn't happen very often because I hated doing it so much. So though it was more painful, I would let him sodomize me, and he would leave a check on the dresser," Davis admitted to me with some embarrassment. This exchange took place almost weekly for several years.
    It's like they say - What would Jesus pay his wife for sex?


    Next stop - Spokane, Washington. Anti-gay zealot Mayor Jim West (R):
    Over two decades, West rose to power in the Washington Legislature with a carefully cultivated image as a fiscally conservative Republican opposed to gay rights, abortion rights and teenage sex.
    Sounds like a good man, no?
    For a quarter century, the man who is now Spokane's mayor has used positions of public trust – as a sheriff's deputy, Boy Scout leader and powerful politician – to develop sexual relationships with boys and young men.

    One man, Robert J. Galliher, claims in a court deposition that Jim West molested him in the mid-1970s when he was a boy and West was a Spokane County sheriff's deputy and Boy Scout leader.

    A second man, Michael G. Grant Jr. [no relation], also accuses West of sexual abuse during the same era, including an incident at Camp Cowles, a Boy Scout camp on Diamond Lake.

    In addition, an investigation by The Spokesman-Review has revealed that 17 months after leaving the state Legislature, West has used the trappings of the mayor's office to entice and influence young men he met on a gay Web site.

    On one recent occasion, West offered a man he believed to be an 18-year-old – whom he met online at Gay.com – gifts, favors and a City Hall internship, Internet dialogues retained by the newspaper reveal. The 18-year-old was actually a forensic computer expert working for the newspaper.

    Last June, West went on a dinner date with another 18-year-old he met in the same gay chat room. The young man, initially unaware of his date's identity, paid for dinner, and then was allowed to drive West's blue Lexus convertible. The evening ended with consensual sex, the 18-year-old told the newspaper.
    I'm not going to suggest that everyone who believes in so-called "family values" are as evil and corrupt as these two men. My point is that the entire concept of "family values" is a bullshit term that no one in power really believes in. It's a made-up meaningless phrase that they use to control you. Maybe not you, but the feeble minded. It's a cheap, manipulative way to trick you into voting for them. And look what you get. A sicko who ass-rapes his wife while she sleeps, and a freakshow trolling for 17 year old boys on the internet.

    Think for yourself. Decide what you think is right for you and your family. Don't let other people tell you what's right (family values), and don't tell other people what you think is right. Think for yourself and mind your own business.

    He Says He Doesn’t Like News...

    It seems almost inconceivable that they would evacuate the entire Congress, the Vice-President, the First Lady, and not tell the President about it, doesn’t it? After a couple of days, the media is finally coming to this conclusion as well.

    Q: The fact that the president wasn't in danger is one aspect of this. But he's also the commander in chief. There was a military operation underway. Other people were in contact with the White House. Shouldn't the commander in chief have been notified of what was going on?

    McCLELLAN: John, the protocols that we put in place after Sept. 11 were being followed. They did not require presidential authority for this situation. I think you have to look at each situation and the circumstances surrounding the situation. And that's what officials here at the White House were doing.
    ...

    Q: Even on a personal level, did nobody here at the White House think that calling the president to say, by the way, your wife has been evacuated from the White House, we just want to let you know everything is OK?

    McCLELLAN: Actually, all the protocols were followed and people were -- officials that you point out were taken to secure locations or evacuated, in some cases. I think, again, you have to look at the circumstances surrounding the situation, and it depends on the situation and the circumstance.
    Beep boop beep *protocols* beep beep boop.

    Alternate joke: Yeah... protocols. Yeah... five minutes to Wapner. Definitely got protocols...
    MR. McCLELLAN: The president did lead, and the president did that after September the 11th when we put the protocols in place to make sure that situations like this were addressed before it was too late. And that was the case -- that was the case in this situation.
    Beep beep boop *9/11* Boop beep boop. That aside, as I recall, Bush did a whole lot of nothing even after he was told about 9/11. I believe there was a children's book involved? Seven minutes or so? That's why they didn't tell him; the secret service didn't want to have to deal with the deer-in-a-headlights look until the all-clear was given. Mr. President? Mr. President! You've got to snap out of it! *smack* Mr. President! It was just a small plane, everybody's fine. Mr. President?!
    Q: I have one more question. When we walked out of this door yesterday, when those of us who heard that there was a situation, when we walked out of the door, we heard aircraft, jets overhead. There is a concern that that plane came closer to the White House than the White House said, more -- it came within the three-mile radius, it was closer than you --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I said that it came within three miles.

    Q: OK, but you said three miles. How close --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, it came within three miles.

    Q: How close was it? Because someone has taken a picture of a plane being escorted on K street. How close was the plane?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I mean, if the Department of Homeland Security or FAA has any additional information, I'm sure --

    Q: Scott, how close was it?

    McCLELLAN: April, it was within --

    Q: You know how close it was. Please tell us.

    McCLELLAN: Yes, within three miles. I don't know beyond that.
    News on parade! Today in the headlines - Derek Jeter was playing shortstop for the Yankees within three miles of Yankee Stadium!

    The best question of the day:
    Q: Might there be something wrong with protocols that render the president unnecessary when the alarm is going off at his house?
    And then there's a whole pile of comic gold, (gold, Jerry!) that needs no commentary from me:
    McCLELLAN: That's not at all what occurred, Ken. And I would disagree strongly with the way you characterize it for the reasons I started earlier, and that I talked about. This was a situation where the president was in an off-site location. He was not in danger, a situation where protocols have been put in place to address the situation. The protocols were followed. ...

    Q: And those protocols are OK with the president despite the fact that his wife was in a situation where she might have been endangered?

    McCLELLAN: She was taken to a secure location, as were some other officials.

    Q: And wouldn't he want to know about that as it was happening?

    McCLELLAN: He was briefed about the situation.

    Q: After it happened.

    McCLELLAN: He was briefed about the situation, Ken. And I think that he wants to make sure that the protocols that are in place are followed. The protocols that were in place were followed.

    Q: Scott, to follow on the same line of questioning, if there is a possibility that a plane may have to be shot down over Washington, doesn't the President want to be involved in that type of decision?

    McCLELLAN: Well, Keith, I think again, it depends on the circumstances in the situation. You have to look at each individual situation and the circumstances surrounding that situation. There are protocols --

    Q: Doesn't the President want to be involved in what could be a decision to shoot down a plane over Washington?

    McCLELLAN: To answer your question, I was just getting ready to address exactly what you're bringing up. The protocols that were put in place after Sept. 11 include protocols for that, as well. And there are protocols there. They're classified. But they do not require presidential authority. ...

    Q: They don't require presidential authority, but they don't obviate the need for presidential authority, do they? They don't say the president cannot be involved --

    McCLELLAN: Like I said, that depends on --

    Q: -- wouldn't he want to be involved --

    McCLELLAN: It depends on the circumstances and it depends on the situation.

    Q: And wasn't there a possibility that a plane headed for the White House, that this was the leading edge of some broader attack, isn't the president concerned that maybe he should have been alerted to the fact that this could have been the beginning of a general attack?

    McCLELLAN: That was not the case, and I think the Department of Defense yesterday indicated that they didn't sense any hostile intent on the part of the plane, so again --

    Q: How did they know -- how did they know this plane wasn't laden with WMD or some other type of weapons like that? Did they get reassurances from the pilot? Or how did they know that?

    McCLELLAN: Well, again, if you want to give me a chance to respond, I'll be glad to. The protocols were followed. This situation, as you're well aware, turned out to be an accident. The Department of Defense pointed out yesterday that they didn't sense any hostile intent on the part of the plane. There were fighter jets scrambled. There was a Blackhawk helicopter scrambled, as well, to get in contact with the plane. ...

    Q So if it was assessed that there was no hostile intent on the part of this aircraft, can you tell us why 30,000 people -- 35,000 people were told to run for their lives?

    McCLELLAN: Because of the protocols that are in place, John. We want to make sure that the people in the area of the threat are protected. After --

    Q: But what was the threat? You just said there was no threat.

    McCLELLAN: John, after Sept. 11, we have to take into account the world that we live in. We live in a very different world than we did before Sept. 11. And the president is going to do everything in his power to make sure we are protecting the American people and to make sure that the people in areas that could be high-risk areas are protected, as well.

    Q: Right, but there seems to be so many disconnects here. You've got a plane that was assessed as not being a threat, you've got 35,000 people evacuated, you've got a person who you claim is a hands-on commander in chief who is left to go ride his bicycle through the rural wildlands of Maryland while his wife is in some secure location somewhere, it's just not adding up.

    McCLELLAN: Well, John, I disagree, and let me tell you why: You have highly skilled professionals who are involved in situations like this, in a variety of different fronts, from our Homeland Security officials to our National Security Council officials to our Secret Service officials and to others and to local officials, and they work very closely together. The protocols that were put in place were followed, and I think they were followed well.
    Beep boop boop beep boop.

    Let There Be Light (in their Brains)

    I sure am sick of talking about evolution. It's like talking to a brick wall. I mean, either you believe facts, or you don't. Anyone so willing to ignore all the evidence sure isn't going to be convinced by reading a few more articles, or listening to a few more scientists. Nevertheless, here's another pretty good article on the subject. I think the problem all comes down to this one paragraph:

    But Martin had trouble even articulating just what she dislikes about the current standards. Martin, you see, has not really read the curriculum committee's report, nor does she think such scrutiny is necessary.

    "Please don't feel bad that you haven't read the whole thing," Martin told a creationist "witness" at the hearings on the science curriculum, "because I haven't read it myself." Audience members groaned. To clarify, Martin later explained: "I'm not a word-for-word reader in this kind of technical information." So it went at Kansas' evolution hearings, which concluded Thursday, a Board of Education event where a concrete understanding of all that pesky technical information involved in science was apparently considered unnecessary to reach a verdict on evolution.
    Bingo! There's the problem. As Butthead used to say, "If I wanted to read, I'd go to school." Books are for sissies.
    "It's frankly not a controversy," said Alan Lesher, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, about the hearings. "In the scientific community, evolution is an accepted fact." Krebs, though, sat through the hearings, which began in Topeka on May 5, watching a parade of creationists testify about intelligent design, and working with evolution's lone advocate in the proceedings: Topeka civil rights lawyer Pedro Irigonegaray, who concluded matters with a presentation highlighting the religious underpinnings of intelligent design -- the contemporary version of the 19th century argument that life is too complex to have evolved incrementally from simple forms.
    And as I'm sure you're aware - that is not science. I don't get it, so it must be false. Science involves coming up with theories for things we don't understand, not for giving up and saying - too complex! Had to be God! Even if your theory falls apart upon inspection, that is to say, even if they did find some evidence disproving evolution, that doesn't prove that God did it. Science starts again to find another, better non-supernatural theory.
    A principal aim of the creationists is to scrub the definition of "science" from Kansas classrooms -- now described as "human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations" for phenomena -- and to replace it with a more general definition lacking the words "natural explanations." If that sounds like an innocuous change -- well, that's the aim. By removing the notion of "natural explanations" as part of science, the creationists aim to give religion a foothold in the classroom, in the name of scientific balance.
    It's basically the same strategy as the one used by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against John Kerry. Make up a whole bunch of shit to confuse the feebler minds among us, leaving in their minds some doubt as to what happened. If you just throw around a bunch of half-truths you can create your own controversy, and then point to it as evidence that there's controversy on the subject. You see the circular logic that's involved there? Then kids grow up with the impression that it might not be true. But as any scientist will tell you - it is, kids.
    Foundations like the Discovery Institute, which produced creationist witnesses at the Kansas hearings, are better funded than their pro-evolution opponents and churn out sound bites by the score. "Teach the controversy," for instance, is a favorite slogan of creationists, who say their own dissent is evidence that a scientific controversy exists.
    Teach the controversy that we've stirred up apropos of nothing.
    "The mainstream religious community, the business world, the scientific community, they haven't always taken this as a serious threat, but they're starting to," says Krebs. "We're seeing a much greater level of concern than we had in 1999." After all, the notion that bad science education can lead to fewer jobs in the future is an argument almost everyone can follow -- even if they don't want to read a bunch of technical stuff about science.
    And there's the problem at the end of the day. We can't be turning out stupid kids who are willing to disregard science in the name of existing prejudicial dogmatic beliefs. We just can't. I'm begging you.

    Activist Judges!!

    Watch out. Those evil bogeymen that parents have substituted for communists to scare their children into going to bed, federal judges, are at it again. Nebraska's ban on gay marriage was struck down by a federal judge who ruled the measure interferes with the rights of gay couples and people in a host of other living arrangements, including foster parents and adopted children.

    "Seventy percent of Nebraskans voted for the amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and I believe that the citizens of this state have a right to structure their constitution as they see fit," [State Attorney General Jon Bruning] said.
    See? Right there! That's the problem. If 99% of Nebraska voted for it, they still don't have the right to structure their constitution as they see fit. We have a system of government in place that seeks to protect the rights of the minority. It's kind of one of the main governing principles in our constitution. It's kind of why we all came here from England in the first place. If 90% of America agreed that we should ban shoes, a judge would come around to say hey - shoes are a guaranteed right in this country, no matter who is against them. God bless America for that.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Hypocrisy and Bullshit

    Your favorite, Joe Conason has a few thoughts on the "nuclear option" as well.

    Now that they control both the White House and the Senate, they seem determined to enforce a majoritarian absolutism they would have deplored a few years ago -- when they were in the minority. Suddenly, the White House and the Senate Republican leadership are insisting that the highest principle is presidential prerogative and a nominee's "right" to an "up or down" vote. Justifying this position has required them to engage in repeated deception about the history of the filibuster, their own voting records, their treatment of judicial and executive nominations by previous presidents, and the very concept of majority rule.

    What is truly at issue for Republicans in these debates is not constitutional principle but absolute power -- and their continuing drive for total domination is itself offensive to the most basic constitutional principles and the intentions of America's Founders.

    The simple truth is that Republicans not only have not hesitated to use the filibuster against Democratic nominees but were the first to mount a filibuster against a judicial nominee to the Supreme Court, when they filibustered President Johnson's elevation of Abe Fortas to chief justice as a replacement for the retiring Earl Warren.
    ...

    Flash forward to the presidency of Bill Clinton, when Senate Republicans often used every technique at their disposal, including the filibuster, to deny an up-or-down vote to both judicial and executive nominees. They felt no particular obligation to uphold Clinton's right to his own nominees.

    And now, as Senate majority leader, Bill Frist is running around the country, sucking up to religious extremists and pretending that he has never supported a judicial filibuster. But in fact Frist, and a host of other Republicans, including Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., voted to filibuster the U.S. District Court nomination of Richard Paez. (During the floor debate over the nuclear option, listen for stentorian addresses by GOP Sens. Bunning, Craig, DeWine, Enzi, Inhofe and Shelby -- all of whom voted to filibuster Paez.)

    A number of Republican senators also voted to filibuster Clinton nominee Marsha Berzon. And many more voted to indefinitely postpone the Paez and Berzon nominations -- which had precisely the same effect -- after the filibusters failed.
    ...

    Republicans will reply that the filibuster is a legitimate tool in deliberations over executive nominees, but not judges. They will insist that Democratic obstruction of the current president's judicial choices is "tyranny of the minority" that democracy shouldn't countenance.

    Those arguments, however, ignore two of the most salient facts about our system. First, federal judges are appointed for life. They should be subject to much more searching scrutiny than temporary appointments to the executive branch. In choosing judges the president should consult with senators of both parties and seek consensus rather than conflict whenever possible. It is quite clear that Bush is seeking to pack the courts with extremists such as Priscilla Owen, whose judicial activism offended his own counsel and now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Second, the Senate is not apportioned according to population and, in the absence of preventive instruments such as the filibuster, can easily enforce a true tyranny of the minority. At this point, the 26 senators from the nation's smallest states could enforce their will in the Senate with 52 votes, even though they represent less than 20 percent of the nation's population. The 44 Democratic senators represent several million more Americans than their 55 Republican colleagues. And in the 2004 elections, Democratic Senate candidates received about 3 million more total votes than Republican Senate candidates -- even though Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate itself.

    The struggle against the "nuclear option" is a fight over democratic and constitutional issues, but not in the sense claimed by Frist and Bush. The nuclear option is the latest maneuver by a party seeking absolute, permanent, unchallengeable power -- and doing so in the interest of a political-religious faction. Such a partisan juggernaut is not what the Founders intended. It is instead exactly what they warned us against, if we hoped to preserve their legacy of liberty.
    I know, that's practically the whole article, but you had to read it. I was afraid you wouldn't click through.