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Wednesday, January 31

And We Are Supposed to TRUST Them?

The woman was in Tampa on Saturday for Gasparilla, an annual pirate-theme parade that draws thousands of people. She said she was walking alone to her car when a man pulled her behind a building and raped her, McElroy said.

She reported the rape Saturday afternoon, and officers took her to a rape crisis center where she was given the first of two doses of the morning-after pill, McElroy said. The second dose is supposed to be taken within 24 hours.

Later, as she was riding in a patrol car trying to locate the crime scene in the dark, police found the warrant stemming from a 2003 juvenile arrest for grand theft and burglary. It said she owed $4,585.
"They stopped the investigation right there" and put her in handcuffs, Moore said.


Yep, you read it right. A college woman was raped, reported it to police, and during the investigation they found an outstanding warrant for a JUVENILE offense and put her in jail for two days.... and then the medical tech INSIDE the prison refused to give her the second part of the 'morning after' contraception pill.

Her lawyer only got her out by going public and straight to the media. So the rapist is running around free and the victim is put in jail. (Talk about shades of the Handmaid's Tale) And even worse they did this during the middle of the investigation.

What do I take away from this? A woman is worth shit and any excuse to let someone (anyone) get away with beating, raping or killing them is just dandy.

Oh, and that warrant? The rape victim states she has proof that it was, in fact, paid in full in 2004.

More disinformation from the protest

click on images below for larger version.












We just happened to be standing there when the supposed "rush on the Capital" happened on January 27th. You can see in the first picture a bunch of young people moving towards the steps. Many had bandanas over their faces. After a while police came in on motorcycles and stood on the steps of the capital while the young people chanted. There was no violence. I stuck around and took some pictures. Later, as we walked down the path away from the Capital, a few more kids wearing bandanas were walking up towards it. Despite what news accounts might have said especially this one which got the ball rolling, there was no painted graffiti on the capital. The story was bogus and cops were not ordered to stand down while kids defaced the capital. The right wing blogs, especially the stupid ass freepers, have run with this disinformation for days now. Check out all the bogus stories listed on google. Amazing. Not only that, the numbers of the protesters attending the whole shebang has been greatly misreported. The television news has done a great job in playing down the protest and minimizing the amount of those in attendence.

I found this blog with a picture of something written in charcoal on the ground about 30 ft from the capital. That was the extent of any graffiti and seemed to be the act of a lone charcoal-er.

And here's a video on YouTube from the other side of the steps from where DBK (who has pics too) and I were. Do the police officers look upset?

From The "You Just Can't Make This Shit Up" Department

On Friday, a major UN report on "global climate change" (I love the euphemism for "we have fucked the planet up royally") will be released. Ever the trend setters, the US government will suggest new and, ahem, unique ways to combat global warming.

Not for the US such prosaic solutions as reducing greeenhouse gasses or energy conservation. Nope, what we really, really need are gigantic mirrors in space to reflect the sun's rays. Or maybe a bunch of mylar ballons.

If so-called scientists got paid to come up with those ideas, I want their job.

Evangelical Studs

I watched the HBO documentary by Alexandra Pelosi, "Friends of God" yesterday. It was revealed by disgraced pastor Ted Haggard and others that evangelicals have the best sex lives and not only that, their women climax every time. Watch

You also get to see the story about the young woman who was in college studying law but found the lord and now has 10 beautiful kids whom she home schools. Aside from all the typical secular, liberal, northerner bashing, the program was pretty interesting. You can't really fault oppressed people for jumping on the "Jesus will save you" bandwagon. People need something to live for and something to make them happy. They seemed like nice enough people but perhaps a bit too gullible when it comes to anti-evolution and their questionable family values. Well ok, a lot too gullible. This country is supposedly big enough to grant freedom to believers of all sorts. I knew about these "holiest of holy" people, but since they didn't live around here, I didn't pay them much mind. However it bothered me that the ACLU and the rabid atheists made too much of a big deal about certain things and I feared that it would all come back and bite them in the rear while dragging the rest of us "live and let live" people into a theocracy.

You can however fault their leaders for making this movement a political issue and that is what you will see in the documentary, especially Jerry Falwell bragging about it: "Evangelicals are the largest minority block in this country. It's not a majority, but I don't think you can win without them. John Kerry learned that. Al Gore learned that. And Hillary will learn that in 2008." Hopefully not. But that is where their 'beliefs' become a threat to a free society. By coercing their believers to continually vote against their interests and with more and more people being forced into the fringes of society, their numbers will grow- their movement will grow. They are very organized and Falwell also bragged at how fast he can get them to literally shut down the Capital switchboard. Keep your eyes opened.

------
Something I noticed in the documentary that I really hadn't understood before: The evangelicals are so hell bent against Hollywood morality and homosexuality because they truly believe that god is going to punish the whole country for their acts. To me and you, it seems ridiculous, but this is what we're up against and it should be taken seriously.

Oh those bad bad peaceniks

Nevermind that it was a peace march, and that the marchers supported the troops so much so that they wanted them to come home safely and soon, the MSM decided to focus on an alleged incident where a veteran, who interestingly keeps coming up as the perennial victim was either spit upon or was spit near by an alleged protester. If it happened, it was an unfortunate incident and it was also not in keeping with the message of the march overall. The NY Times got the nonsense spewing in the news and most likely it was wishful thinking on the part of the reporters who were looking for something bad to happen. So far, no one has actually been able to identify the alleged spitter, even as far as gender. Media Matters reports on the NY Times article and asks some pertinent questions: Did anyone see the incident? Did the soldier actually spit back? What did the protester look like? Do the police have a record of this?

Media Matters reported yesterday with more questions for the NY Times, especially since Josh Sparling, the wounded Iraq veteran, appeared on most of the Fox programs to tell his side of the story with no substantiation. Sparling told Fox and Friends that there people with bats who wanted to hurt him and that protesters were cursing him out, flipping him the finger and spitting but remarked that there were a couple of non-violent peace protesters who passed by him though.

A DU'er who was present at the march posted a letter he wrote to the NY Times writer who wrote the original story:
Interestingly, while I was marching along the north side of the capitol, I was approached by a young woman who claimed to be a reporter for the NY Times working with you on the story. She interviewed my friend David Quinly and he was quoted in your story.

Then she turned to me and told me she had seen a protester spit on a soldier and asked for my comment. I told her I didn't believe that, and she repeated that she had seen this happen. I told her the peace movement is more supportive of the troops than anyone who supports this war, because we want our troops to come home, while those who support the war are advocating sending them into harm's way. So I really could not believe that anyone who opposed the war had spit on a soldier. My comments were not included in your story.

I was upset when I read your story the next day to see this was an "alleged" incident and the protester had supposedly spit on the ground in front of the soldier (which is quite different from spitting ON this soldier). In other words, what was related in your story was not at all what that reporter had told me. So she either lied to me or your story is false.

When I got back home, I did a little research that apparently you did not do and found out some interesting things about this soldier who claims he was spit on. He also claims to have received a death threat in the mail while he was in Walter Reed Hospital and he claims he was mistreated in an airport when he returned from Iraq.

He has been celebrated on Michelle Malkin's website and was a guest on Sean Hannity's show.

Now I am just a teacher and not a reporter but I hope you are wondering what I am wondering - what are the odds that a soldier who received a death threat also happened to get spit on at that march?? Adding in the fact that your assistant who interviewed me either lied to me or misrepresented the facts in your story, I now do not believe that this spitting incident happened at all.

Ian, the NY Times needs to print a retraction. I will wait for a reply from you and if I don't hear back I will contact your editor. The blogs are already on this story and it doesn't look like it will go away without a retraction in your paper.
Now go and read Digby's post, They Tried to Kill Me
It's unfucking believable.

Tuesday, January 30

Activism: Legislation to Help Breast Cancer Patients

Can you imagine your or your loved one having breast cancer surgery and then being sent right home? If you have one of those typical crappy health insurance plans, this may be something that you or a loved one will have to face. My mom (who actually had good insurance coverage plus Medicare) was sent home from the hospital with a big old disgusting drain attached to what was left of her right breast. It was a travesty. She came out of the surgery just fine but almost died from an infection afterwards.

DBK alerts us to some potentially good news and you need to act:
Representative Jo Ann Davis (R-VA-1) is the sponsor of H.R. 119, the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act. The legislation requires "that health plans provide coverage for a minimum hospital stay for mastectomies, lumpectomies, and lymph node dissection for the treatment of breast cancer and coverage for secondary consultations." The minimum stay period is 48 hours.
You can't even count on health insurers to do the right thing anymore. A measly 48 hours isn't too much to ask for if one needs it.
Sign the petition at lifetimetv.com or write to your congress critters.

The Liberal Media Strikes Hillary Again

... and ignores McCain's flip flops. The media didn't even bother to notice that McCain fell asleep while Bush was speaking. In a fair media, they'd take pot shots at his nap.

We can't rely on the media to expose GOP candidates for president in 2008 for who they are, but we can sure rely on the media, and even my local news station, to ask you to speculate on who Hillary was referring to in Iowa:
A man in the crowd asked Clinton what she had in her background that would make her a good commander-in-chief, given that the world has "evil" leaders and a lot of them "happen to be men."

Clinton rephrased the question for the audience because most did not hear what the man said.

"The question really is," she said, "we face a lot of dangers in the world, and in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of 'evil men.'

"People like Osama bin Laden comes to mind."

She paused.

"And what in my background equips me to deal" --Clinton waited a beat and got a gleam in her eyes -- "with evil and bad men?"
OMG. Stop the presses. This is important earth shattering news that must be disseminated even though no one knows for sure what she was thinking and most likely they guessed wrong. She must have been talking about her husband, right? Well that's what the media wants you to think when everyone knows that she was most likely referring to John Gibson at Fox News, the idiot who makes up news when there is nothing juicy enough for him to report for real. Or how about Bush, Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, Lush Bimbo, Everyone on Fox News, the GOP, et al. Duh. How about she was thinking of all the bad men who are reporting this nonsense and pissing me off? Or the bastard who asked the loaded question?

It's a smear, I tell you, to suggest that she was thinking of her husband. It was projection to the nth degree, for if she believed that her husband was indeed evil and bad in the real senses of the words, then she would be an absolute fool to stay with Bill. They want you to think she is a fool or power hungry or both. She may understand men more than anyone thinks. That scares them too.

The media wants you also to believe that she is weak or that she must be a lesbian. Maybe that is what GOP wives who stay with their cheating husbands are. But maybe she isn't weak for staying with him- maybe she's strong and she values their companionship more than their sex life. Maybe she does stay with him for his political connections, but I doubt it. Who knows? Who cares? The GOPer's, probably due to experience, believe that a real woman would dump her cheating man and take him for all he's got. Hillary's got her own. She doesn't need to take Bill's.

I suggest that it takes one to know one and every item that the GOP media uses to smear Hillary is something that they despise in themselves and something that they have done or would have done and even more so. Big babies. But enough on the Hillary smear campaign. I propose that we concentrate on the reality of the McCain campaign.

I demand to know what the hell that growth is on the left side of John McCain's face. It's getting bigger and bigger. What is it? Is it contagious? Has he had sex with an African ape? Is it a growth that may make his head explode while he is standing at a podium somewhere thinking up a new twist to appeal to his current audience? Will the explosion be so gross that it will make me barf? Is this the new Pinocchio syndrome?

You can bet your sweet bippy that if a Democratic candidate had a suspicious growth on his or her face, Dr Sanjay Gupta would be all over it with bigger than life diagrams and breaking news specials featuring "experts" from around the world: "Alien V: Is a Democratic presidential candidate is spawning an alien, lizard-like, communist creature in his very jaw that is set to take over the world? You be the judge."

Back to the real world and what this post was supposed to be about in the first place until I went off on one of my usual tangents: Welcome to "The Real McCain." Your source for all things McCain. Watch the video. Do you wanna see a flip-flopper? Get your talking points here.

Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO): Evil Slime Person of the Day

Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) proposed a bill to eliminate Federal Minimum wage altogether and revert to the lowest possible wage that a state mandated. If you live in Kansas, that means you can be paid, $2.65/hour. Allard insists that you can indeed support a family on $2.65/hr. I'd like to see him put his money where his mouth is.
-------------------------

Which Senators voted to kill the federal minimum wage? Bob Geiger Reports:
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thomas (R-WY)

For the record, those running for reelection in 2008 are Alexander, Bennett, Chambliss, Cochran, Cornyn, Craig, Enzi, Graham, Hagel, Inhofe, McConnell and Sununu.

If any of these are your Senators, please write to your local papers and of course, the Senators.

Tony Snowjob on Saturdays DC March

Q [Helen Thomas] What did the President think of the march on Washington?

MR. SNOW: I don't think he really thought a lot about it. It's nice to see Jane Fonda in front of the camera again. There are a number of people who were here making statements, and that's perfectly appropriate. This is a vigorous democracy.

Q [Helen Thomas] You said something earlier this morning, though. Would you like to repeat that?

MR. SNOW: It's simply that there were predictions of a larger audience than showed up for the protest.

Q [Helen Thomas] And you really counted heads?

MR. SNOW: No. Did you? Did you see 100,000?

Q [Helen Thomas] Don't you think we had a good turnout?

MR. SNOW: Honestly, I didn't go there, Helen, so I'm not going to characterize.

Q [Helen Thomas] How do you make a statement like that?

MR. SNOW: Well, because it's pretty clear from the press accounts that nobody attached six figures to the number who appeared.


Mr Snow is wrong on all accounts. Shame shame shame

Monday, January 29

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

It's quite juicy. When will Cheney be charged with treason and sent before the firing squad?

At the Libby trial, Ex-Cheney aide and spokeswoman Cathie Martin revealed the details of the Plame Leak. FYI: Cathie Martin was hired by Mary Matalin. She is married to Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. How convenient.
Ex-Cheney Aide Details Media Tactics
"...by July 6, 2003, Wilson wrote his own account in the Times and appeared on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

After that much exposure, Cheney, Libby and Martin spent the next week trying get out word that Cheney did not know Wilson, did not ask for the mission to Niger, never got Wilson's report and only learned about the trip from news stories in 2003.

Cheney personally dictated these points to Martin. She e-mailed them to the White House press secretary for relay to reporters.
[...]

...she had to call National Security Council and CIA press officers to learn which reporters were still working on stories. Once Martin got names, Cheney ordered his right-hand man, Libby, rather than lowly press officers, to call _ a signal of the topic's importance.

Top levels of the Bush administration decided that CIA Director George Tenet would issue a statement taking the blame for allowing Bush to mention the Niger story. Cheney and Libby worried Tenet would not go far enough to distance the vice president from the affair. Libby asked Martin to map a media strategy in case Tenet fell short.
Dana Milbank in WaPo reports more on Martin's testimony. Turns out that Cheney's office believes they can control the news with Tim Russert on Meet the Press. The strategy to alter the truth by Martin was shown at the trial directly from her notes for all the world to see:
Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under "pro," she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."
And it gets more juicy:
She walked the jurors through how the White House coddles friendly writers and freezes out others. To deal with the Wilson controversy, she hastily arranged a Cheney lunch with conservative commentators.
and this...
She put "Meet the Press" at the top of her list of "Options" but noted that it might appear "too defensive." Next, she proposed "leak to Sanger-Pincus-newsmags. Sit down and give to him." This meant that the "no-leak" White House would give the story to the New York Times' David Sanger, The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, or Time or Newsweek. Option 3: "Press conference -- Condi/Rumsfeld." Option 4: "Op-ed."

Martin was embarrassed about the "leak" option; the case, after all, is about a leak. "It's a term of art," she said. "If you give it to one reporter, they're likelier to write the story."

For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek.
When further questioned, she replied:
"Few of us in the White House had had hands-on experience with any crisis like this."
TPM comments further at how Darth Cheney's office refuses to reveal who works there and how many staffers he has. From American Prospect:
His press people seem shocked that a reporter would even ask for an interview with the staff. The blanket answer is no -- nobody is available. Amazingly, the vice president’s office flatly refuses to even disclose who works there, or what their titles are. “We just don’t give out that kind of information,” says Jennifer Mayfield, another of Cheney’s “angels.” She won’t say who is on staff, or what they do? No, she insists. “It’s just not something we talk about.”
UPDATE: Hannah informed us in the comments that TPM Muckracker has the staff list from Darth's office. You can get your copy here. Thanks Hannah

Sunday, January 28

Anti-war protest review

The anti-War on Iraq protest yesterday didn't get enough publicity in the lead up as I think it should have. Some big old lefty bloggers didn't say much about it, but when you're sponsored by the "man," I guess you have to keep a low profile on patriotic matters. The wingers, naturally, had a field day criticizing it because of the hollywood types who attended. Big deal. Try to find a peace-nik who gives a hoot about what movie stars have to say. They were there to garner some publicity for the event, no doubt. Even bad publicity is better than no publicity.

For a January 27th, there was a darn good turnout. It's not easy to get out of your comfort zone and go to DC when it's 19º outside with the windchill at -8º. The god's must have blessed the gathering because it was downright balmy at 52º during the march. No one knows how many people were there, but there was a flood of people for miles and it warmed the cockles of my heart to see so many people who oppose our troops being used to further the corporate agenda and the deaths of so many people who should be alive today. Surely there were 10's of thousands and maybe even 100 thousand. Each person counted for maybe another thousand or even 10,000.

A bunch of kids were reported to have "stormed the Capital." DBK, Mimus Pauly, Jersey Cynic, Red State Blues and I were standing right there at the steps of the Capital admiring its architecture when the kids ran up the path towards the steps. When I find my card reader, I'll upload the pictures I took when it happened. It wasn't a big hoopla really. The police didn't look too disturbed as they lined up under the steps. They weren't wearing riot gear and the kids were just chanting and exercising their free speech as far as I could see.

I understand that there were counter-protestors there, but we missed them unfortunately. There were approximately 40 of them- a few more than at the last protest. I think the pro-war types were afraid of being approached by military recruiters. But where else could you find new recruits during an unpopular war but at a counter protest?

Read below about the march on the Pentagon coming up in March.

Quote of the Day:

The psychic depths are nature, and nature is creative life. Whatever values in the visible world are destroyed by modern relativism, the psyche will produce their equivalents. -- C.G.Jung, Modern Man in Search Of a Soul

Save The Date

On March 17, 2007, there will be a march on the Pentagon, again to demand US troop withdrawal from Iraq. Be there or be square.

Talking with Blonde Liz, Jersey, DBK and Mimus Pauly yesterday, we were wondering why the organizers chose March 17th, which is, after all, Saint Paddy's Day, when usually all we have on our minds are various licentious pursuits: drinking, drinking, potentially sex, and drinking. However, a short google expedition revealed the reasons this particular date was chosen.

March 17, 2007 is not only the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war; it is also the 40th anniversary of the historic march on the Pentagon during the Viet Nam War.

How very appropriate, therefore, is the choice of March 17th. Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes (and props to whatever historical figure said that; I'm brain dead today and can't recall off-hand).

The Queen of Blonde Bloggers has the pictures from yesterday's anti-war protest in Washington, and I am sure that she will be posting them on the blog soon. Allow me a personal moment to says how great it was finally to meet in person: Jersey Cynic (you rock, girl), DBK (what kind of man walks around with AA batteries, to be whipped out at need?), and Mimus Pauly (we are so glad you came yesterday; see you at the train station on March 17th). And, of course, it was fabulous to see Liz, as always.

Friday, January 26

Over at The Big Brass Blog...

...is a post entitled, Spambot Attack which I recommend to one and all (watchers included). In the post the Dark Wraith goes into some detail about how spambots have really picked up their activity lately. The comments are quite illuminating also but one in particular caught my eye. It reads thusly:

"Oh, and a by-the-way, my friend. We are being watched.
The Dark Wraith wishes everyone pleasant dreams."


To which I respond:
And I shall have them, friend Wraith, for I rest content with the reasonable certainty that these watchers also, will, with most of the rest of us, be deposited upon the beach like so much flotsam and jetsam when the killer tide comes in to sweep away humanity.
(Aside to the "watchers": You don't really trust those people you work for, do you?)


(EDIT. UPDATE):
One of our commenters, "nolocontendere", has responded to this post with such a fine piece of advice that I'm moving the comment up here to the main part of the post. Check out his appropriately named blogsite at PIGLIPSTICK. Here's his comment:

"I use this as a signature on all my emails. Anyone should feel free to swipe it if you'd like":

[Confidential to all US government personnel to whom this private letter is not addressed and who are reading it in the absence of a specific search warrant: You are violating the law and you are co-conspiring to subvert the Constitution that you are sworn to defend. You can either refuse to commit this crime, or you can expect to suffer criminal sanctions in the future, when Constitutional government has been restored to the United States of America. I do not envy you for having to make this difficult choice, but I urge you to make it wisely.]

How Do I Hate Housework?

Let me count the ways.

I have guests coming this weekend (the ever lovely Blonde Liz and the charming Jersey Cynic), so I'm doing the right thing and cleaning my house. I generally don't mind vacuuming, washing the floors, changing the linens, or even cleaning the bathroom. I even don't mind changing the cat litter and taking out the garbage. But I hate, Hate, HATE dusting! I don't know why that is, but dusting just works my nerves. So, Liz and JC, forgive me, it may not get done.

What household chores do you absolutely detest?

The March Against The War Tomorrow

A bunch of us will be meeting up tomorrow morning at 10:30ish am in DC for the march. We're joining this contingent:

Blogger's MARCH!
January 27, 2007
From: 11:00 AM until 04:00 PM
I think we are meeting before 11 though.

LOCATION: Starbucks Coffee: Liberty Place 325 7th St NW Washington, DC 20004 (202) 628 5044 This is literally at the Archives/Navy Memorial stop on the DC Metro for those without transportation.
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From UnitedforPeace.org
Stay Informed and Take Action Help Build the Peace Movement

Have You Been A Bad Girl?

Spanking should be practiced among consenting adults in privacy. Period. Some people in this day and age, still however feel that spanking should also be practiced between an adult and an unwilling child. "Spare the rod, spoil the child," is yet another biblical exhortation taken with gusto by those who only read the dirty parts of the bible- hence we have "corporal punishment," a nice way of saying it's ok to spank/smack/hit/beat the shit out of kids.

Some psychologists suggest that spanking is ok when it is not done in a moment of fury. They say that parents should wait until they are calm and then issue the punishment. I would imagine however that for a sane parent, once the fury is over, they wouldn't bother to hit to their kids if they managed to hold off in the first place.

California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber will propose a bill in the state of California next week that will make it a misdemeanor for anyone to use corporal punishment on children three years old and under. The shit is hitting the fan in California and nationwide. The discussion of spanking is back.

I seriously can't imagine a well adjusted person hitting a baby, but I do recall my aunt telling me to hit my son when he was 2 because he was touching things at my house. But no one in her family was well adjusted. She was so good to him, so generous and loving... I was simply shocked that she would suggest such a thing. And I told her so.

Two opinion pieces in USA Today concern spanking. In To spank or not to spank? the author suggests that parental behavior bordering on abuse is already illegal and therefore the government should not meddle in family affairs and furthermore, it would be impossible to enforce (unless of course your baby is so brilliant that he can pick up the phone and call the cops.) He says that defenders of occassional spankings do not think that it causes psychological trauma and opponents of spanking say that it does cause harm. I think that it does cause emotional harm.

The author says that if spanking should be banned anywhere, it should be banned at schools. (I had no idea that corporal punishment was still allowed in schools but apparently it is in many states. Stop that!) I went to Catholic schools and we were hit and humiliated regularly. It didn't work. Most kids were used to being spanked for every little thing anyway and adopted the attitude that adults were control freaks. I say that if you are an "occassional" spanker you are already treading on thin ice towards becoming a regular spanker. Take it from someone who walked around with a book in her pants to soften the blows from the shoe or the belt.

I can still see in my mind's eye, my mom taking her shoe off as she ran after one of us or hitting me even harder if I put my arm up to block a strike, which is actually a natural and normal reaction when you detect that someone means you harm. "Don't you ever raise your hand to me! How dare you! Now you are REALLY going to get it!"

In Spare the rod, save the child the author, Kerby T. Alvy, a defender of this new bill in California, reports that 16 countries have banned spanking and the US should follow suit because "spanking, slapping or hitting - is violence, defined as acts carried out with the intention of causing physical pain. By banning its use with children, they take the most basic stand against violence that any society can." It couldn't hurt to ban the spanking of babies, those 3 years old or under, but it seems unfeasible to enforce it when it occurs in one's home.

I just had a flash back while writing this. After my brother was adopted, for years a woman, Mrs Beardsly from the adoption agency, would visit regularly to see how we were doing. We were admonished to be on our best behavior and we were yelled at, belittled and spanked in the days and hours leading up to her visit to ensure that we looked like the happiest and most well behaved family ever. By her last visit, I had figured out what this was all about and we sure fooled the authorities.

I grew up being hit and yelled at regularly. I think it was due to my mother's eastern European background where lashing out at someone else in frustration and in the heat of the moment was considered acceptable. She enjoyed smacking me "for nothing" in front of company and everyone would laugh. The adults were rather loaded at the time. But that's another story.

When I grew older my mom told me horror stories of how her father beat her and her 4 sisters regularly. I asked her if it was because I was adopted that she felt free to smack me for every little thing I ever did. She said no, that she would have hit me if I was her own flesh and blood (and maybe harder.) I believed her and still do. She was the nicest of the 5 sisters.

According to my cousins, the natural children of my mother's sisters, they too were beaten regularly and some reported even more violent beatings by both parents especially if their father was Italian. Their fathers enjoyed throwing them down the stairs, something that my brother and I missed out on fortunately. This explains the substance abuse issues of my relatives, their relationship issues and that they are lifelong members of the "Who's Who of Prozak and Lithium" with arrest records galore. My brother died very young (20) of an overdose of booze and drugs after he got out of rehab (it was either that or go to jail.) He had started abusing drugs at 12. My father was raised in a more civilized, well to do family and he preferred diplomacy over violence although he wasn't around enough to save my brother. My cousins on his side of the family, who were very well behaved, reported no beatings in their childhoods. They all grew up to be successful and well adjusted with no episodes of substance abuse or failed relationships. I followed in his footsteps and opted to stop the madness and discontinue the tradition of losing one's temper and acting out in violence (unless of course someone attacked me first.) My cousins on the violent side of the family report that they do not hit their kids. They had enough violence growing up. I did too. I never hit anyone.

Do you think that this bill is worthwhile, even if it just brings to light the fact that people are hitting babies? Should it extend further to older children? Are the laws prohibiting child abuse strong enough as they stand?

Thursday, January 25

What Mythical Beast Are you?


I am a Unicorn.

You're a unicorn. You're very pure and innocent. Almost everyone loves you and you love almost everyone. You may be naive to the point of gullibility. You're pretty much incapable of violence, the exception being when someone you love is threatened. While your intentions are nothing but good, some might call you a "straight-edger." Your alignment is EXTREMELY *good*.

Not sure about that "pure and innocent" stuff, but dead bang on with the violence thing.

What mythical beast are you? Take the quiz here.

Hat tip to the every lovely and entertaining Shakespeare's Sister.

You'll Probably Want to Shoot Yourself By the Elections Next Year...

The right wing smear machine is at it in full speed.

I don't watch cable news as you know. My delicate constitution cannot abide it, but co-blogger Billydoom watches regularly and tells me what the big stories are so that I can look them up in print without having to subject myself to their faces and voices. I do occassionally watch Keith Olbermann, but he shows clips of those who upset my mental feng shui.

As if the "Osama Obama" and the "Hussein" didn't smear Barack Obama enough on the cable "news" channels, John Gibson at Faux News has been pounding an unsubstantiated "news" story from a website, InsightMag.com, controlled by their very own Sun Myung Moon claiming that Hillary Clinton outed Senator Obama's childhood education at a madrassa/Muslim school in Indonesia.

Lush Bimbo claims that this couldn't be a Republican smear because the Republicans wouldn't have the guts to smear someone like this- it has to be the work of Hillary. This was Gibson's "big story." His "big story" is based on the lamest of evidence that Obama was trained by radical terrorist Muslims, but nevertheless, Gibson feels that he must nip Obama's popularity in the bud at any cost.

Highlights of the smear campaign from Media Matters:

Terry Holt, Rethuglican strategist with John Gibson: "This was either a despicable act by an absolutely ruthless Clinton political machine -- we know that they are capable of doing this. But I also thought, you know, it wasn't directly linked to Hillary Clinton." Holt suggested that Obama was behind his own smear tactic to get the story out of the way early in the campaign and also suggested and rightly so that a madrassa was not a radical Muslim school 40 years ago.
So even if it isn't true that Hillary is behind all this and if it isn't true that Obama was educated by terrorists...
John Gibson will not let the story die: "Americans have a visceral reaction to the word 'madrassa.' In our world, a madrassa's where zealots train your Muslim kids to hate America, to hate the West, and to be killers.."
Conservative talk show host Lee Rodgers: "According to Muslim law, Islamic law, the penalty for leaving the faith is death. Today, Barack Obama proclaims his adherence to the Christian faith, he's a member of a church in Chicago -- they say he's not a regular churchgoer, but he's a member -- but will this make him a potential death target?"
It was also suggested by the right wing spin machine that Hillary also leaked a story about Obama's past drug use. Notice how the machine packs a one two punch but smearing Obama and blaming it on Clinton?

The media matters article has quotes from right wing smear conservative talk show hosts that will make your blood curl. Facts and investigative journalism be damned.
John Gibson: "Two days ago, we did a story about Barack Obama's dirty little secret -- he smokes cigarettes. I got a lot of angry email from the "how dare you" variety. After all, angry emailers said, this is old news. Everybody knows he smokes, and what difference does it make, anyway?

"Well, not everybody knows, number one. (So he will make sure that everyone knows but he won't mention that the first lady cannot quit smoking and that many, many members of congress also smoke.) And number two, many people do care if a person is a smoker. Some people view smoking as a character weakness. (So he will make sure that everyone knows but he won't mention that the first lady cannot quit smoking and that many, many members of congress also smoke.) I used to be a smoker, and I know what people think about smokers. But smoking cigarettes is a nothingburger compared to what Hillary's people are reported to be doing to Obama. (He will continue to drive home the unsubstantiated rumor despite debunking and even if it is fully debunked, he will still report it as news that they once thought that Hillary was behind it and that even if it isn't true, Obama is a Muslim terrorist.)

The whole story was debunked by CNN, but John Gibson refuses to back down. From Think Progess:
"On his radio show this week, Gibson refused to back down. He claimed the CNN reporter who debunked the false report “probably went to the very madrassa” as Obama. Gibson implied that CNN’s report had covered up religious extremism at the school:

GIBSON: The whole point of this story last week, and, you know, Blitzer’s just been on their air with some update on this, right?

HOST: Yeah, he sent a reporter out there.

GIBSON: Yeah, cause they got a reporter in Indonesia, probably went to the very madrassa, now works for CNN. But that reporter went out there, and what did they see when they went to the madrassa where Barack Obama went to school?

HOST: Kids playing volleyball.

GIBSON: Playing volleyball, right. They didn’t see them in any terrorist training camps?

HOST: No.

GIBSON: No. Um, but they probably didn’t show them in their little lessons where they’re bobbing their heads and memorizing the Koran.

HOST: I didn’t see any tape of that, no.

GIBSON: No, no, no, you didn’t see that."



UPDATE January 29th: Who is behind this false story? From the NY Times: Feeding Frenzy for a Big Story, Even if It’s False

May I not lose my sense of humor during the campaign.

Wednesday, January 24

going public to keep it private?

When John Ashcroft was Attorney General he requested the medical records of women who had late-term abortions. People with sense realized that medical records and indeed whether a woman opted for an abortion are private. The entire basis of Roe v. Wade is that government cannot place restrictions on a woman's right to an abortion in the first trimester. That means record keeping, intimidation, or asking a woman if she had an abortion.

Abortion, the Supreme Court reasoned, is a private matter.

He wouldn't even need a subpoena if Ms. Magazine cons American women into signing a list that touts the signatories as not only pro-choice but active participants.

Again this solicitation came in my e-mail and I share it with you:
In commemorating Roe v. Wade, Ms. magazine is delivering thousands of names from our "We Had Abortions" petition to President Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other U.S. Representatives and Senators. These brave women lent their names to the continuing struggle to protect our reproductive freedom. Top decision makers will see that thousands of women can personally attest to the necessity and importance of safe, legal, and accessible abortions.

Join these brave women. Send a letter to your Representative and Senators now.

We recognized that today, during a time in which local, state, and national attacks on abortion rights are not uncommon and social stigmas surrounding abortion persist, women and men still need to speak out in support of reproductive freedom.

The response to the new Ms. petition has been overwhelming. Women have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share their stories and to hear that they are not alone. Women of all ages from every state in the nation signed, showing their desire to preserve the legal right to abortion for future generations.

Our voices are making a difference. Join us by sending a letter to your Representative and Senators.

For Women's Health and Lives,

Eleanor Smeal
Yes and those government officials will know who had an abortion because these women were conned into believing that if they gave their medical history to the government it will somehow protect their rights to privacy.

This is patently ridiculous. And dangerous.

Women do not need to have an abortion to attest to the value of the right to control their own bodies and reproductive capabilities. And a woman does not need to attest to her most private decision to have power. And if Ms. wants to show that they can rally women, why should men sign the petition? They don't get pregnant. Should they say, "I paid for my girlfriend's abortion? I drove her to the clinic. Aren't I a mensch."

How is a woman's opinion or political power more valuable if she had an abortion?

Women inherently embody the obvious reason to support abortion: no government should be able to tell a woman that she must be pregnant. Government does not tell men that they must father children. Government cannot tell women that they must be mothers. A woman either has control over her uterus or she is not equal to men. A woman either can control her body or she gives her body to the government and then ultimately to men.

Ms. Magazine is being disingenuous when it uses women's bodies to further a political agenda. In order to make Ms. a force on the political stage a woman may sign this petition and receive harassing phone calls, criticism or worse at work, from her "friends," from her loved ones. Is Ms. going to help women deal with the consequences of naming their own names?

If abortion need not be private then why not publish women's names who are pregnant. Let people call them and tell them that they must give birth. Make sure that they are weighing all their options. Why is Ms. promoting abortion the way that hair coloring is sold. We used to say only our hair dressers knew for sure.

Why should we air our most private decisions in public? In this age of television confessions and kidnapping victims telling their stories to television personalities before they tell their stories to prosecutors--see if they can get a conviction against the monster of the month in Missouri now--I suppose we should tell everyone about our vaginae and uteri. Ms. used to promote the notion that women were more than their body parts.

Pretty soon it'll be easier to tell who we're NOT at war with:

US plane 'bombed Somalia targets'"

"US forces carried out a fresh air strike in southern Somalia on Monday, a senior US official has said."

Article in the BBC.

That was just this Monday. Earlier this month we blasted away at the Somalians and as this report says:
"Reports of civilian casualites run as high as 80 dead, with large numbers of cattle, goats and other livestock wiped out as well."

Neo-conservative pundits have been heard to say, "Why do liberals hate America"?
I would counter that question with one of my own: "Why do George Bush and the neo-conservatives hate every living thing on earth"?
Prehistoric Shark Appears Off Japan

I'm sure you've all heard about it by now, but I'll put the link to the article in the comment section just in case you want to know more

TIMZ

Keep your eyes and ears on this young man. His lyrics are amazing and while I personally am not a huge fan of rap, I will be buying this album. Tommy Hanna (aka TiMZ) is an Iraqi-American who is articulate and timely, his video IRAQ is one that must be seen.

His My Space page has some basic info and a few video, or you can see it here.

"There is a war going outside, no birds in the air, just bullets that fly"

He goes on to comment about how Iraq is part of the cradle of civilization and how the Abrahamic faiths all have roots in Iraq, how antiquities are being destroyed, humans are being destroyed and how 'America the beautiful' has been abused and how the troop are being used to add fuel to the fire. It is a timely and excellent song that needs to become viral and infect the net and hopefully open more eyes to what has happened and is still happening.

The Virgin Mary Smack-Down

Yep, even the Blessed Mother has a response to the SOTU address, she stopped by the Magic Meadow and gave a message to a few peasants.

The State of the Union

Randy Newman style, from a song soon to be released on line:

A Few Words in Defense of Our Country
By Randy Newman

I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They had split Gaul into three parts
Fed the Christians to the lions
And burned down the City
And one of ’em
Appointed his own horse
Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something
That’s not a very good example, is it?
But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position

I don’t even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Hitler. Stalin.
Men who need no introduction
King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?
Malaria

A president once said,“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

I luvs me some Randy Newman.

Caption anyone?

Highlights from Jim Webb

Jim Webb's response to POTUS' SOTU address was pretty good. I liked how he compared this president to past presidents, when faced with similar situations. Presidents who did something about it. They happened to be Republican presidents. The transcript is here.

Bush says the economy is strong. It is if you're wealthy. Bush says that we will win the mismanaged war. But what does he know?
Webb: In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.
...
Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other. And he did something about it.

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the general who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War II. And as soon as he became president, he brought the Korean War to an end.

These presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight we are calling on this president to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way."
I have to admit that I could not watch the chimperor (I tend to get sweaty and gag). I read it afterward. Hat tip to Billydoom who called me when it was over so that I could watch Jim Webb.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi had this to say about the SOTU (among other things):
"Unfortunately, tonight the President demonstrated he has not listened to Americans' single greatest concern: the war in Iraq. The overwhelming majority of Americans, military leaders, and a bipartisan coalition in Congress oppose the President's plan to escalate the war. Democrats, Republicans, and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have offered the President a plan to end our open-ended commitment to Iraq, transition the U.S. mission, and begin the phased redeployment of American troops. While the President continues to ignore the will of the country, Congress will not ignore this President's failed policy. His plan will receive an up-or-down vote in both the House and the Senate, and we will continue to hold him accountable for changing course in Iraq."
The forecast for this Saturday in DC is 49º. This is the day that hopefully hundreds of thousands of Americans will put their money where their mouth is. March On Washington
I hope that congress will be paying attention.

Tuesday, January 23

Ya Gotta Hand It To Her

Shown below, allegedly, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year-old woman. The bank manager though it was amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

"Dear Sir.

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing the brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on I like you choose only to deal with a flesh and blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his/her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public and the mandatory details of his her financial situation (income,debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course at MY CONVENIENCE, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealing with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press the button as follows:
IMMEDIATELY AFTER DAILING PRESS THE STAR (*) BUTTON FOR ENGLISH
*1. To make an appointment to see me.
*2. To query a missed payment.
*3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
*4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I'm sleeping.
*5. To transfer to my toilet in case I am attending nature.
*6. To transfer to my cell phone if I am not at home.
*7. To leave a message on my computer a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
*8. To return to the main menu and to listen to option 1 through 7.
*9. To make a general complaint or injury the contact will be then put on hold pending the attention of my automated answering service.
*10. this is a second to press* for English.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

(Remember-- This was written by a 86-year-old woman. Which goes to show you that it's best to not tapper off, and yes, you can not always beat City Hall, but you sure as hell can arm wrestle them.

Oh My!!!

Turdblossom just got thrown under the bus.

Hee hee hee. Haw haw haw.

Could it happen to a nicer guy?

Now it's Cheney's and Rummy's fault too

Is anyone keeping track of McCain's flip flops?
Maybe we ought to compile a list and keep it up to date... just in case.

There IS a Bright Side To This

I didn't post anything about this yesterday because, well, I didn't want to depress anyone. Yesterday, January 22, 2007 was the most depressing day of the year and dubbed "Blue Monday."
Apparently if you were "blue" yesterday, your credit card bills from Christmas arrived, the weather sucked, your new year's resolutions tanked or you are just fed up with the short days and long nights, not to mention, Mondays usually suck if you are off on weekends.

I promised a bright side- there is no other direction to go than up.
;)

SOTU Will NOT Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Notice in the article below how Tony Snowjob answers concerns about climate change.


CEOs Urge Bush to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A06

On the eve of the State of the Union address, the chief executives of 10 major corporations urged President Bush to embrace mandatory ceilings on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in order to stem climate change.

But yesterday White House spokesman Tony Snow said that binding caps on carbon dioxide emissions would not be part of the president's proposals tonight. And a member of the corporate delegation said that last week the White House canceled a meeting with the executives that had been scheduled for yesterday morning.

"The President has always believed, when it comes to climate change, that the best way to achieve reductions is through innovation," Snow said, "and to figure out ways to come up with energy sources that are going to meet our economy's constant demand for energy, and at the same time, do it in a way that's going to be friendly for the environment."

There has been widespread speculation about what Bush might say about climate change tonight. Several legislative proposals have emerged in Congress with different ways for addressing climate change.

Major corporate leaders have been changing their position on climate change for the past year or two, and many of them are convinced that some form of regulation of or tax on carbon emissions is inevitable. With many states talking about coming up with their own laws, corporate leaders have started to urge the federal government to establish a nationwide standard.

"We can and must take prompt action to establish a coordinated, economy-wide market-driven approach to climate protection," the executives said in a letter to Bush. In an interview later, Jeffry E. Sterba, chairman of PNM Resources, a New Mexico utility, said that it was better to act now than to be forced to act in a "precipitous way" later.

The executives support a system that would create a cap on emissions, give allocations to companies based on past emissions and allow firms to trade allocations to meet gradually declining emission targets. The system, similar to one being used in Europe, would have far-reaching implications for utility rates, power plant construction, energy efficiency and American automobiles.

The executives' plan would slow the growth in greenhouse gases over the next five years, then reverse that growth and cut annual emissions by 70 percent to 90 percent of today's levels in 15 years.

Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of General Electric, pointing to initiatives in California and a group of Northeastern states, said "this is happening already." In addition to Immelt and Sterba, the group included the chief executives of Lehman Brothers Holdings, PG&E, Alcoa, Caterpillar, BP America, Duke Energy, DuPont and FPL Group.

Snow said that he thought Bush's proposals "address in a comprehensive and realistic way concerns about greenhouse emissions, and also their primary sources."

The Pink Elephant Is Still In The Building.

In 1999, responding to questions about his use of drugs and alcohol, George Bush told the Washington Post, "Well, I don't think, I had an addiction. You know it's hard for me to say. I've had friends who where, ya know, very addicted and they required hitting bottom (to start) going to AA. I don't think that was my case."

This not only confirmed my worst fears but adds to them. That kind of rationalization, willfulness, and arrogance are so classic of an alcoholic. Never mind the bottomless pit of failures and your total disregard of reality, Mr. C-Student. Your lack of intellectual depth or curiosity does not let you off the hook.

While we see a failed war, the waste of "reconstruction" the growing pile of the dead, the spoiled Frat boy, sees democracy. The undeclared war totally dominates the man as thought that's what he gains importance from , not having to solve actual problems, but it makes him self-important. God forbid there be any objectivity . He cannot see the world for what it is. He not only rejects reality, he has no sympathy for it. Reality is something that happens so far outside his belief system, it doesn't effect him. He stands firm in his beliefs, he stands on his head. It boggles the mind.

"I believe in what I'm doing."
That means he doesn't have to actually think about what he's doing. So it's not like Bush won't change his mind, he can't. He is totally inflexible and completely inflexible. It's all or nothing!

Bush has also said, "That he had pity for those who attack him" Oh really? Imagine being patronized by Bush. Well, you are. Meet us--the American people---the victims of the sublime smugness of sublime ignorance.

Tonight instead of listening to the State of the Union address I would suggest that the nation instead attend an Al-anon meeting.

Monday, January 22

Some Interesting Headlines:

All of a sudden, Ed Brown has a lot of friends
Concord Monitor, NH - 10 hours ago
"As Brown declared that Plainfield might become another Waco, three strangers huddled in his heated garage and emphasized that they had no interest in ..."

Man skips tax trial, holes up in house; jury deliberating
Boston Globe, MA - Jan 18, 2007
"A "Don't Tread on Me" flag was hung on a tree and e-mails and Web sites asked, "Will Plainfield be another Waco?" There was no sign of any law enforcement..."

More at GoogleNews.


"Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong...."

"US brings in new passport rules"

"New rules go into effect on Tuesday requiring citizens of Canada, Mexico and Bermuda to produce a passport on arrival by air in the United States.

"American citizens returning home from the three countries will also have to show their passports."


BBC NEWS

King George's Cold, Cold Heart

You may have heard about King George's Saturday radio address concerning health care. His proposals are simply out of this world.

What does Paul Krugman have to say?

Gold-Plated Indifference
President Bush’s Saturday radio address was devoted to health care, and officials have put out the word that the subject will be a major theme in tomorrow’s State of the Union address. Mr. Bush’s proposal won’t go anywhere. But it’s still worth looking at his remarks, because of what they say about him and his advisers.

On the radio, Mr. Bush suggested that we should “treat health insurance more like home ownership.” He went on to say that “the current tax code encourages home ownership by allowing you to deduct the interest on your mortgage from your taxes. We can reform the tax code, so that it provides a similar incentive for you to buy health insurance.”

Wow. Those are the words of someone with no sense of what it’s like to be uninsured.

Going without health insurance isn’t like deciding to rent an apartment instead of buying a house. It’s a terrifying experience, which most people endure only if they have no alternative. The uninsured don’t need an “incentive” to buy insurance; they need something that makes getting insurance possible.

Most people without health insurance have low incomes, and just can’t afford the premiums. And making premiums tax-deductible is almost worthless to workers whose income puts them in a low tax bracket.

Of those uninsured who aren’t low-income, many can’t get coverage because of pre-existing conditions — everything from diabetes to a long-ago case of jock itch. Again, tax deductions won’t solve their problem.

The only people the Bush plan might move out of the ranks of the uninsured are the people we’re least concerned about — affluent, healthy Americans who choose voluntarily not to be insured. At most, the Bush plan might induce some of those people to buy insurance, while in the process — whaddya know — giving many other high-income individuals yet another tax break.

While proposing this high-end tax break, Mr. Bush is also proposing a tax increase — not on the wealthy, but on workers who, he thinks, have too much health insurance. The tax code, he said, “unwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive, gold-plated plans. The result is that insurance premiums rise, and many Americans cannot afford the coverage they need.”

Again, wow. No economic analysis I’m aware of says that when Peter chooses a good health plan, he raises Paul’s premiums. And look at the condescension. Will all those who think they have “gold plated” health coverage please raise their hands?

According to press reports, the actual plan is to penalize workers with relatively generous insurance coverage. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about the wealthy; we’re talking about ordinary workers who have managed to negotiate better-than-average health plans.

What’s driving all this is the theory, popular in conservative circles but utterly at odds with the evidence, that the big problem with U.S. health care is that people have too much insurance — that there would be large cost savings if people were forced to pay more of their medical expenses out of pocket.

The administration also believes, for some reason, that people should be pushed out of employment-based health insurance — admittedly a deeply flawed system — into the individual insurance market, which is a disaster on all fronts. Insurance companies try to avoid selling policies to people who are likely to use them, so a large fraction of premiums in the individual market goes not to paying medical bills but to bureaucracies dedicated to weeding out “high risk” applicants — and keeping them uninsured.

I’m somewhat skeptical about health care plans, like that proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that propose covering gaps in the health insurance market with a series of patches, such as requiring that insurers offer policies to everyone at the same rate. But at least the authors of these plans are trying to help those most in need, and recognize that the market needs fixing.

Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is still peddling the fantasy that the free market, with a little help from tax cuts, solves all problems.

What’s really striking about Mr. Bush’s remarks, however, is the tone. The stuff about providing “incentives” to buy insurance, the sneering description of good coverage as “gold plated,” is right-wing think-tank jargon. In the past Mr. Bush’s speechwriters might have found less offensive language; now, they’re not even trying to hide his fundamental indifference to the plight of less-fortunate Americans.

Harry Blackmun, You Was Da Man

Today is Blogging for Choice Day, so allow me a moment to pay homage to the man who authored the Roe v. Wade decision.

When I was a first year law student, Harry Blackmun came to speak at my law school. (Possibly the only benefit of law school in the Nation's Capital is the access to people who work in the 'hood.) Justice Balckmun gave some introductory remarks and then opened the floor to questions, but before he did, he said, "I will not take questions regarding Roe v. Wade. All I will say is that the decision was correct when it was made, it is correct today, and it was the greatest step toward the liberation of women that this country has ever known."

Damn straight, Harry.

What do you think about this?

Sure, there are people in the world who are absolutely fed up with those who take advantage of the good will of others. I've had my moments of exasperation. But social justice is not simply black and white- and when it borders on "get with the program or get out of my face" mentality, especially coming from so-called "christians," we demonstrate that we have failed as a society.

It just seems to me that there are too many people in jail, too many children born who don't stand a chance of making it out of the fringes of society and too many people who work full time jobs and yet live in poverty- signs of a weak and sick society. Maybe you've seen the following before, but I hadn't seen it until this past weekend and discovered that a close relative was passing this around. (Boy you think you know someone...) It's harshly stated overall and there are some points which are downright mean. (I checked this out on the internet and it appears to be a somewhat popular email going around.) While people shouldn't expect that the world owes them a living, on the other hand, if we're a nation supposedly claiming to be avid followers of Jesus, we have totally missed the boat if "christians" espouse much of the following:

New Preamble to the Constitution:
This is probably the best e-mail I've seen in a long, long time. The following has been attributed to State Representative Mitchell Aye from GA. This guy should run for President one day...

"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters.

We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. (This one is my pet peeve...get an education and go to work....don't expect everyone else to take care of you!)

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (lastly....)

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!!!!

Sunday, January 21

Hope this isn't Homeland Security money at work

There is a website that was started in 2006 that keeps track of trouble-making church goers. (Oxymoron or redundancy?) I was doing a little research on evangelists and came across it here. It is called Wolf Warning and it allows pastors to rate people from one, a minor annoyance, to ten, a "bona fide church-splitter". I may not have a file yet since the moon isn't blue that often but if I did it would probably be around a five and the comments would probably say that I am under the impression that there is a better chance of finding God in the garden on a Sunday morning than in church. It would probably also note that I sing the benediction wrong. What, it's NOT "As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without men. No men. No men?"

I'm going to go play with my Jesus dolls now and try not to think about how really scary the evangelists are. You are so right about that Liz.

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism.

Randall Terry

The Audacity of Hope

You know, I was a child of Watergate, which is to say I am highly cynical about politics, politicians, the state of the union, and all other things Washington. Still, every once in a while, I allow myself some hope, and today was one of those days, when I read this piece by William Friedkin on HuffPo.

Y'all know that I was highly skeptical of Jim Webb when he started his campaign. The best I could say of him then was that he wasn't Felix "Macaca" Allen. But, he started to grow on me, a bit like fungus. I listened more carefully and liked what I heard. I sent a little money to the campaign, and then I sent a little more. I volunteered some time, but not too much so that I was truly engaged. I maintained my emotional distance, not wanting my heart broken yet one more time, not wanting the disillusionment to set in.

I'm never too proud to admit when I might, just might, be wrong. I still need to see a little more "walking the talk" before that happens. But I'm paying more attention. The man my actually be a leader with some potential. We shall see. All I know right now is that a couple of the locks guarding my heart have opened.

I may not watch Our Delusional Leader's incoherent mumblings on Tuesday, but I damn sure will be watching the Democratic response.

Saturday, January 20

How to become a crack spider's bitch

I found this little snip posted by Mark Morford -- make sure to click on the article after watching the brief video -- a most excellent read:

Wait, you say this video clip is really old and has been around the blogosphere for ages? You say you saw it like, two years ago or something, which was even before YouTube existed and therefore is very nearly impossible unless you are so fantastically blog-hip that you have the gift of blog-o-prescience? You say there's even a follow-up article on the spider video's creator that's sort've a fascinating insight into a certified YouTube mini-phenom? Dude, that is like, so cool.
Posted By: Mark Morford (Email) | January 17 2007 at 12:23 PM

BIG COAL'S DIRTY MOVE -- By Jeff Goodell -- Rolling Stone 1/27/07

As the world heats up, the coal industry is racing to build more than 150 new power plants before Congress decides to crack down on global warming


"Like most stories about energy, corruption and greed, this one is centered in Texas. TXU, an electric-power company based in Dallas, has announced plans to build eleven new coal plants in Texas by 2011 -- a move that a trade publication calls "one of the most ambitious generation capacity expansions in recent power industry history" and whatayaknow -- the Nuge's best bud, govna RICK PERRY, was the one who "issued an executive order fast-tracking permits for the new power plants that TXU and other coal companies want to build."

In the article we learn about the AMAZING EFFORTS of Laura Miller, Mayor of Dallas, who is leading the fight to prevent these plants from going up. (Here's a related NPR story)

"Pissing off Miller was not a smart move. A former investigative journalist who got elected mayor by campaigning against her city's billionaire boys club, she is now taking aim at Big Coal. Miller, a mother of three, spends many of her evenings and weekends traveling to small towns in rural Texas near the sites of the proposed plants, urging residents to join the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition, which she formed to make sure that citizens have a voice in the permit process."

Unfortunately, Laura Miller will not be seeking re-election. I am happy that she will be able to spend more time with her kids though.

I decided to take a quick look into the current Dallas political scene -- Who's running down there? I hope Laura Miller has inspired others to take over for her. Well, I stopped at this article -- JMJ!! Is Dallas really that large an area that they have a "North" and "South" thing going on? Is this some kind of family feud thing that goes way back? I know nothing about Texas. JR Ewing and GW Bush are the only associations I have with Texas...

Friday, January 19

Speaking of surges, this is the "real" surge:

"This week, the administration sent another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf— the second to deploy in the region."

That's from this article at Yahoo news, the headline of which is rather interesting:
"Democrats warn Bush not to attack Iran"
(As if he could give a shit.)

The point is, the effort by buttfuckboy to have a 21,500 troop "surge" in Iraq is a smokescreen, a distraction, something to divert our attention AWAY from what is happening in the Persian Gulf with the U.S. NAVY.

Any of you whippersnappers ever see the 1959 movie or read the novel "On The Beach"? "Plot Outline: The residents of Australia after a global nuclear war must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months." For some reason I recall one of the characters (Fred Astaire?) saying something about how drinking copious amounts of alcohol could delay the effects of radiation poisoning. Maybe I'll add a few cases of booze to my "survival supply stock". That way, just maybe, mine can be the last voice on earth cursing the mad demons of darkness that inhabit the halls of power.


UPDATE: BTW, the Chinese did blast a satellite with one of their missiles lately. It was one of their "old" satellites. Guess it was just "practice" though. Read about it at Voice of America. My question is: All that shit that's been falling to earth lately--Are those comets, asteroids, and meteorites, or pieces of flaming wreckage?

UPDATE 2:
Meteorite Down On Altai :: Russia-InfoCentre
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Dwarf planet 'becoming a comet'
Brightest comet in 40 years in Australian skies
Meteors over Wisconsin?
South of Scotland | 'Fireball' calls blamed on comet
CHILE´S SKIES LIGHT UP THIS WEEKEND WITH COMET MCNAUGHT

Got all these from the "Quirks and Quarks" section of Signs-of-the-Times.

Gonzo: ‘There Is No Express Grant of Habeas Corpus In The Constitution’

My dad fought in WWII against countries like the one ours is trying to be.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was playing the spin game again. It's a crying shame that the freaking Attorney General of the freaking United States of America, the only country on earth that God blesses regularly, would mess with the second most important writing in the world next to the holy bible. Gonzales was debating Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) about whether the Supreme Court’s ruling on Guantanamo detainees last year cited the constitutional right to habeas corpus.

From Think Progress:
GONZALES: ... The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —

SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —

SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.
Oh dear. Why bring something like this up Mr Gonzalez unless you are attempting to pull the wool over someone's eyes?

Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Also in Think Progress:

Col. Dwight H. Sullivan, the Chief Defense Counsel in the Office of Military Commissions, issued a statement yesterday criticizing the new rules unveiled by the Pentagon following the guidelines set by congress last year in the Military Commissions Act:
The rules appear carefully crafted to ensure than an accused can be convicted — and possibly executed — based on nothing but a coerced confession. The rules would allow an accused to be executed based on nothing but hearsay.

[…]

The rules’ broad protections for classified information threaten to swallow everything. These rules are particularly scary coming in the wake of new Guantánamo classification guidelines that make even the prisoners’ own name classified as ‘SECRET.’

The rules violate the principle that the jury shouldn’t be allowed to see anything that the defendant can’t see. Witnesses can be shielded so that the defendant can’t see them, but the jury can.
If we let them treat the so-called "bad guys" like this legally, maybe one day your neighbor or even you will be deemed a "bad guy" and they won't even have to prove it.