What's going on? Actually, it's quite simple: Mr. Bush and his party talk only to their base - corporate interests and the religious right - and are oblivious to everyone else's concerns.Yep. President Bush is kind of in his own world. What's that old Groucho Marx joke? "Your mind is wandering, and the longer it stays away the better."
The administration's upbeat view of the economy is a case in point. Corporate interests are doing very well. As a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, over the last three years profits grew at an annual rate of 14.5 percent after inflation, the fastest growth since World War II.
The story is very different for the great majority of Americans, who live off their wages, not dividends or capital gains, and aren't doing well at all. Over the past three years, wage and salary income grew less than in any other postwar recovery - less than a tenth as fast as profits. But wage-earning Americans aren't part of the base.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
LeftyBrown's Corner has a bit on an online archive you might find interesting.
Collective Sigh has a story on the Dissappointment to my Parents Meme, that I don't fully understand, but find interesting anyway.
Dohiyi Mir has some coments on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his ability to communicate with the people.
Gamers Nook has a quiz on what music has influenced you the most.
Rooks Rant has some well deserved rants on the concept of discouraged workers.
Sooner Thought reports on Former Vice President Gore's appearance before the Senate, on the issue of the judicial nominees.
The Fulcrum has some thoughts on supporting the troops in a way that would, like, actually support them.
Trish Wilson's Blog has a story on how "Men's Rights" groups are trying to shut down battered Women's shelters, or, to be more precise, the failure of one of their tactics.
MercuryX23's Fantabulous Blog has a bit on the First Commandment and what it has to do with hanging the 10 Commandments on everything.
Enjoy! Be back later with more stuff. Maybe.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Laura Bush - Married to the current president, and clearly deserving of consideration for the Greatest American.
Louis Armstrong - Revolutionized American Music. Changed the way we listen to music, the way we sing, and was one of the most popular performers of all time. Not worthy of consideration. See also Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis.
Rush Limbaugh - Right wing radio host, listened to by millions. Once told a black caller to"Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." Clearly worthy of consideration for the Greatest American.
Emily Dickenson - Reclusive poet. Only had two poets printed during her lifetime, but since then her poems have been read and beloved by millions. Not worthy of consideration.
Pat Tillman - Football hero who served in the military in Afghanistan and was killed. Clearly worthy of consideration for the Greatest American.
Ulysses S. Grant - Union General during the Civil War, in which he waged a successful campaign to preserve the Union. Not worthy of consideration.
Martha Stewart - Delightful TV personality dedicated to making all of our lives a little nicer and selling us stuff at the same time. Clearly worthy of consideration for the Greatest American.
Groucho Marx - Brilliantly funny comedian who, with his brothers, helped create the language of film comedy. Not worthy of consideration. See also Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and W.C. Fields.
Bob Dylan did not make the list, neither did Lenny Bruce. On the other hand there was room for four Bushs (Laura, George W., George H.W. and Barbara). I could go on, but I've made my point. Should be the Greatest Founding Father or Person who's been in the news in the last 3 years.
DHS, in fact, has little control over the overall number of people who can be physically held pending removal or deportation hearings — because it has very few places to hold them: Only 19,400 beds for the entire country (down from 23,000 just last year).Well, there it is. I guess protecting his wealthy supporters wallets is more important than protecting America's borders.
Congress thought it had solved this problem. Last year’s intelligence bill called for 40,000 new beds — 8,000 per year from 2006 through 2010. Lawmakers also authorized adding 800 agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency with the sole authority for detaining illegals.
When President Bush put forward his budget this year, however, both items got the shaft. Bush’s spending blueprint calls for only 1,920 new beds and just 143 additional ICE agents — a fifth of what Congress dictated.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I think he might have had some interesting things to say about the current Marvel series "Supreme Power" which contains two black characters (a "Flash" and a "Batman" (the series is loosely based on DC Comics Justice League, it also has a "Superman," "Wonderwoman," "Green Lantern," and "Aquaman.").
President Bush vowed after his three million vote electoral victory margin to spend his political capital. Yet his political capital drains slowly away, day by day -- his latest approval ratings are below 50 percent. Bush's political capital is not draining away because he's pushing unpopular measures; it's draining away because he isn't doing anything . Approval ratings for the Senate reflect similar disenchantment with inaction. The American people elected President Bush, a Republican Senate and a Republican House in order to see a certain agenda pursued.Yep. Polls show that the Majority of the American people remain leary of President Bush's plans for Social Security. Simple math shows that getting a Social Security Bill through the Congress will be very difficult if not impossible at this point. Other polls show Americans unsure about exercising the Nuclear option on judicial filibusters (for a rundown on recent polls, check out this post at Salon's War Room).
Actually now that I think about it, I'm a bit torn on what the Republicans should do. Certainly following Ben's strategy of charging ahead blindly would probably bloody President Bush and congressional Republicans, but they might do considerable damage to the Government at the same time. So it's kind of a wash.
I don't blame Ms. Chavez though, she's got to find a way to make these few rejected judges sound ominous, so fudging the numbers a little is to be expected.
Anyway, Ms. Chavez has a pretty sharp idea; she suggests rather than eliminating the Filibuster (which is what the Crybaby option would, in effect, accomplish), they instead force the Democrats to actually filibuster. She thinks this will not turn the American people against the nominees, but will make Democrats look like punks. I'm not sure about that; enough people have seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to know that filibusters are a tactic of the good guys.
That said, she has this wise observation on changing the rules.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Republicans would make a mistake getting rid of the filibuster. Republicans won't be in the majority forever, and they may rue the day when they deprived themselves of the ability to block a candidate to some future Supreme Court. Worse, they may end up making themselves look like the heavies instead of forcing the Democrats to take center stage as the real fanatics. Let the filibuster stay -- and force the Democrats to actually use it.We'll have to see what happens, but the Republicans do seem pretty determined not to compromise.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Oh, and I ripped a joke off of They Might Be Giants above.
First, this isn't just about these seven judges. It's about three and a half more years of judges President Bush still has yet to appoint. And even more, it's about one or more crucial Supreme Court nominations he'll get to make. The American judiciary will look very different in 2009 with the filibuster than without it. And letting through a couple judges now to secure that difference isn't necessarily such a bad deal.The second is from Salon's War Room, written by Tim Grieve.
Every now and then, it begins to seem like a reasonable idea. What's the worst thing that would happen if a few really extremist judges get on the federal appellate bench? They'd sit on three-judge panels, where their votes would be diluted by predominately Republican but somewhat more moderate colleagues. And it's not like we're talking about a Supreme Court justice here, at least not yet. Is it really worth the senatorial version of World War III to stop these nominations?Truthfully I tend to lean towards Mr. Marshall's argument. That said, it's worth considering both.
Maybe that kind of thinking leads Democrats like Joe Biden and Harry Reid to be floating various compromise deals. Or maybe they're just worried that Bill Frist really does have the votes to go nuclear. Either way, a compromise on Bush's judges doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world -- at least until a nominee like Janice Rogers Brown starts to speak.
. . . In the modern America of the secular humanist, Brown said, people are still free to be "spiritual" or to "meditate," but only if they "don't have a book that says something about right and wrong."
At a time when the religious right controls the political party that controls every branch of the federal government -- at a time when the opposition party is racing to wrap its own policies in religious rhetoric -- it's hard to see how anyone could think that the right to be religious is somehow under attack in America. But Brown, like other cultural warriors on the right, clearly sees the advantage in playing the persecution card. Recall the election-year fliers warning that John Kerry planned to outlaw the Bible. It wasn't true -- it isn't true -- but somebody must think this sort of thing plays well with the voting public.
The campaign for Senate confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees got serious Sunday. God took a hand.OK, Mr. Murchinson perhaps you'd like to expand on your theory that God has taken a direct interest in a potential Democratic filibuster? Besides the non-evidence that some people, who claim to act in his name, held a special Sunday rally, that is. People do things in God's name all the time. So what proof do you have that God is showing his hand on the Republican Side of this issue? Apparently none whatsoever, so let's move on.
What kind of hand we can't tell, of course, given the Lord's engaging propensity to move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Still, the Family Research Council's "Justice Sunday" telecast-cum-rally, featuring Senate majority leader Bill Frist and broadcast potentially to millions of church-goers, was by any reckoning an event.
Next he presents his thesis which is that Justice Sunday is really about Brown Vs. The Board of Education.
Why Brown v. Board of Education, which proclaimed the constitutional duty to abolish public school segregation? Because Brown marked the first big occasion when Americans ceded power to the federal courts to patrol their nation's moral perimeter, a job previously reserved for the states.Ah. Interesting. One could certainly argue that Plessy vs. Fergeson did the same thing, considerably earlier. I mean if it is patrolling the nation's moral perimeter to declare that it's wrong to segregate, wouldn't finding the opposite be more or less on the same frontier?
It's also an interesting contrast. Liberals used the courts to ensure civil rights for all Americans; and now, in recompense, Conservatives should be able to use the courts to enforce their "morality." Said morality seems to include ending legal abortion, dealing with homosexuality, and, of course, making sure corporate power remains supreme.
Murchinson does make one good, if obviously, point.
The present conflagration over lower federal court appointees is the warm-up, so to speak, for the war that will start the instant President Bush seeks to fill the first Supreme Court vacancy in a decade.One might imagine this battle could be forestalled by Bush putting up a genuine moderate, but I doubt he will. Instead I think the right wants this battle. President Bush, in particular, needs this battle to convince the Christian Right that he and the Republican Party really are on their side. Otherwise they might notice that corporate America got their wishlist completed as quickly as possible, and President Bush only talks about the Marriage Constitutional Amendment at election time.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Well conservative columnist John Leo has some questions about Justice Sunday.
The premise is that Senate Democrats, by threatening to filibuster several of President Bush's judicial choices, have attacked religious believers.Obviously I agree that this issue has little if anything to do with picking on people of faith.
"Stop the filibuster against people of faith" is the slogan. The nominees "are being blocked because they are people of faith and moral conviction," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a sponsor of Justice Sunday. Pardon me, but this is clearly untrue. The Democrats would be delighted to approve fervently religious nominees, so long as they endorse Roe v. Wade and the party's general strategy of using the courts as an end run around the legislative process. The obvious is true: The filibuster threat is about abortion politics and left-right polarization, not religion.
On the other hand I think it's a little sad that it is all about partisanship and abortion. Obviously the judges that President Bush is putting up, people like Priscilla Owens or Janice Rogers Brown are not only going to face all Abortion issues as judges. Far more often, they will face issues involving corporations behaving irresponsibly. And, history has shown, these are the sorts of judges who will always find on behalf of the Corporations, and always find against the rights of working class and middle class Americans.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Went to finally add the Practical Press to my Blogroll and realized the section I wanted to add it too no longer exists - so going to come back and work on it this afternoon, maybe creating a new section. Anyway the Practical Press is really good. Go check it out.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005
It is laughable that they demand an independent judiciary when what they really want is a judiciary they handpick for the express purpose of implementing policy they can't otherwise achieve through the political branches of government. They see the judiciary as both a high-powered vehicle to thwart the democratic will of the people and as a weapon for their side to use in the Culture War. They view the judiciary as a catalyst for social change, an instrument to supplant traditional values with secular relativism, and all the hedonism and licentiousness it entails.I have to say I think that good old David Limbaugh is engaging in a little bit of projection here. After all the bulk of President Bush's appointments have been confirmed (see the post below). Truthfully I think it is clear that it is he and his allies that want a judiciary completely under their thumb. They have everything else, so why not that too?
Thursday, April 21, 2005
President Bush has put up some 240 judges, 10 of whom has been blocked. President Bush has gotten 95.8% of his nominees. That qualifies as most doesn't it? Of course if you take just his nominees to the appeals courts. President Bush has made 57 nominations, 5 of which didn't come uot of the Republican lead committee, 42 of which were confirmed and 10 of which were blocked by the threat of Democratic Filibuster. That gives him a confirmation rate of 73.7%. Which still seems like most.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Cloud [the author of the Time Article] downplays Coulter's history of outrageous comments, unquestioningly quoting Coulter friend Miguel Estrada downplaying her vicious attacks as "a little bit of a polemicist" (Coulter herself sees no need for the qualifier; she told the Sunday Times of London that "I am a polemicist. I am perfectly frank about that") and writing that "Coulter can occasionally be coarse."Good to have all of those quotes in one place, just in case you think that Ann Coulter is harmless.
"Occasionally" coarse? A "little bit" of a polemicist? This about a "commentator" who claimed that the Democratic Party "supports killing, lying, adultery, thievery, envy"; who said of the idea that the American military were targeting journalists, "Would that it were so!"; who said President Clinton "was a very good rapist"; who insisted that "[l]iberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole"; who said that "I think a baseball bat is the most effective way these days" to talk to liberals; who said it was lucky for former senator Max Cleland's political career that he lost an arm and two legs in Vietnam; who has said her "only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building"; and who wrote that the only real question about Bill Clinton was "whether to impeach or assassinate."
And the second is from Salon Magazine, which goes more into why Time would choose to run this cover story now.
Polemicist pundits like Coulter purposefully drive political discourse into the ground, making a cushy, albeit factually challenged career out of labeling Democrats America-hating traitors. Time magazine stands on the sidelines and cheers, confident it has, for at least another week, placated conservative critics who demand proof that media outlets don't lean left. (And even that didn't work.)Anyway, I guess we are going to a heavy Ann Coulter period, so those of you who love to hate here, get ready.
Coming, as Wonkette.com noted, "seven years late," Time's Coulter push feels overly contrived. Her latest book is a five-month-old clip job of recycled columns. She has no full-time, high-profile media platform. Instead, she crisscrosses the country collecting $30,000 speaking-fee checks and shows up on late-night cable talk shows that are watched by the thousands.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. - Article III, Section 1, United States Constitution.Apparently Tom Delay is considering looking at the Good Behavior clause and what it entails. "We want to define what good behavior means." I suspect that what good behavior means is ruling the way Tom Delay wants you to rule. But Delay says he needs to get out there and educate people "as to what the checks and balances are." The article doesn't mention whether or not Mr. Delay was laughing when he said that.
Still Mr. Delay isn't talking about impaling judges, so I guess he's a bit of a moderate.
Apparently, I'm not alone. Indeed, given current trends, we may declare that we have reached a perfect storm of political backlash. Americans who cleave to neither extreme - some 50 percent of whom identify themselves as "moderate" - are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate and are looking for someone to articulate a commonsense, middle path. They may have found their voice in John P. Avlon, chief speechwriter for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a New York Sun columnist, whose 2004 book "Independent Nation" has just been released in paperback.Certainly something I believe in as well. Those things which unite us are greater than those things which divide us. I firmly believe that, with all but the most partisan of conservatives or liberals.
Avlon insists that centrism is the more patriotic political position because it adheres more strictly to American values and founding principles than to ideology. A balance between idealism and realism, centrism is a yin-yang proposition that rejects shrill extremes and embraces reason, decency and a practical perspective. To those who insist that centrism is the death of dissent, Avlon argues that centrism is dissent - from outdated political orthodoxies.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Apparently Byron Williams over at Working for Change thinks we shouldn't. He reviewed all of the Republican Parties recent missteps (Social Security, the Terry Schiavo Case, Tom Delay), but then offers this commentary.
. . . before Democrats start licking their lips in anticipation of the 2006 mid-term elections, they should realize that they have done little to contribute to the recent Republican misfortunes.He's not wrong. I do think it's interesting that he spends 4/5 of his article on the Republicans woes, but I suppose that's to get readers riled up.
I am aware they are the minority party and it is not their responsibility to set the agenda, but they must provide an alternative. They need only look to the 2002 and 2004 election results as evidence to what can happen when the voters do not have a clear alternative.
If the federal government influenced a tiny fraction of our lives, then few would care if a contractor or businessman wanted to take a favorite congressman or Senator on a golfing trip. But when the federal government consumes one of every four dollars produced by the U.S. economy and congressman and senators significantly influence our social and economic reality, we care what they do.This does seem like a complicated way of saying the Democrats made him do it. If only Government were the right size, nobody would try to bribe Tom Delay. Corporations wouldn't need to; they could pretty much do whatever they like.
We have seen many changes in congressional rules on "ethics" over the last quarter century. A couple of House speakers, among others, have been booted out. Yet, who would say that Washington today is a more virtuous, more ethical place than it was 25 years ago? With trillions of dollars at stake and outcomes dependent on the inclinations of politicians, it is a joke to think that arbitrary rules about how much can be accepted from whom and for what will change the game.
Still as a defense of Tom Delay, it's pretty weak. It works better as an indictment of the system, because the implication is that Mr. Delay probably is guilty.
"No one seriously believes the murders were motivated by indiscriminate anger against the judiciary or judicial activism. It's laughable to think the killers were crusaders on a mission to restore the constitutional separation of powers." - David Limbaugh, April 19, 2005
Monday, April 18, 2005
Friday's Daily Howler points towards a reason people may not think she's a positive influence.
At present, about twenty percent of American adults identify themselves as "liberal." But according to Coulter, these people - one-fifth of the nation's population - are a group of "traitors" who are "out to destroy the American way of life!" Obviously, this is the view of a raving lunatic, if the view is sincerely held.My take, for those who are curious, is that Ann likes money and so acts crazy so as to get more money. But I have no way of knowing, really.
. . . Is Coulter sincere - or is she just playing the rubes, separating them from their money? We don't have the slightest idea. (For what it's worth, she has always struck us as the one public figure who may well be mentally ill.) But as almost any sane person can see, that is the work of a screaming nutcase if we assume that Coulter is sincere.
Robert Heinlein, speaking through the voice of Lazarus Long had something to say on the subject.
Bread and Circuses is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader--the barbarians enter Rome.Most conservatives and libertarians would interpret that as meaning welfare programs. I've always had trouble with that particular interpretation, as it turns out that lower income people who benefit from said programs don't tend to vote as frequently. We are supposed to think the poor are greedy bastards bleeding us all dry by voting for these programs. But the facts don't really back that up.
I think that Michael Barone's latest article might point to a circus the American people are voting themselves. He notes that this last election saw an uptick in both mean spirited partisan rhetoric (all the Democrats fault of course (whereas in reality, I'd say Republicans are at least as guilty)) and in voting.
The point is that you cannot have all good things at once. Enthusiasm in politics usually contains a large element of hatred. You could see it in 2004 in the rants against George W. Bush and in the surges in turnout in central cities and university towns. You could see it as well in the surges in Republican turnout in exurban and rural counties, surges produced partly by affection for Bush but also by a hatred of cultural liberalism and moral relativism.Centrism, being an attempt to bring sides together, naturally fails to provide such hatred. Compromise, the lifeblood of a Democracy, saps the enthusiasm of a true partisan. What partisan wants to see compromise?
Of course the question presents itself once again; is such partisan hatred good for Democracy?
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Friday, April 15, 2005
All Facts and Opinion has some thoughts on the war on drugs and Crystal Meth (The drug which may have inspired the Crystal Method).
Bark Bark Woof Woof has some comments on Sen. Frists plans for the Judiciary.
iddybud has a story on John Edwards visiting fair Harverd.
LEFT is RIGHT has a bit on receiving a letter from a Congressperson and continuing support for the War in Iraq.
Respectful of Otters has some fabulous news. So that's nice.
Scrutiny Hooligans has some good news for those of you who favor tight governmental control over the media.
The Invisible Liberary has the scoop on a new group of hand-shaking Jihadists. Sounds like a very interesting group.
Speedkill has a bit on Tom Delays recent comments and a retraction / clarification of some of those comments.
And that's it for now. Be back later.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Michael Schwartz must have thought I was just another attendee of the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference. I approached the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn outside the conference in downtown Washington last Thursday afternoon after he spoke there. Before I could introduce myself, he turned to me and another observer with a crooked smile and exclaimed, "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"Ha ha ha! Boy those Republicans have one wicked sense of humor.
Anyway the rest of the article doesn't quite reach that standard, and repeats some of what the other articles say, but it's worth checking out anyway.
It still seems to me ridiculously easy to blow up a car in the heart of Chicago. And anyone who has flown on a private jet since 9/11 can tell you that security at these private terminals is still so lax that if you showed up in a Saudi headdress with a West Virginia driver's license under the name of "Billy Bob bin Laden" and asked for flight directions for your chartered Learjet to Lower Manhattan, there's a good chance no one would stop you.If the C.I.A. et al are doing such a bang up job, why does airport security seem so lax? I guess his point would be that they are keeping terrorists from getting to the airports, where, presumably, they wouldn't have that tough a time of it.
So, how then do we explain the calm? To begin with, I'd give a tip o' the hat to the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.
He also brings back the fly-paper theory, which says that we are drawing the terrorists to Iraq so that they will leave us alone here. If that was ever a valid theory, it might not be for much longer. As Friedman notes, if they don't think they can win in Iraq, they will strike back at us here.
I fear that when and if the Jihadists conclude that they have been defeated in the heart of their world, they will be sorely tempted to throw a Hail Mary pass. That is, they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home.So that's comforting news. Maybe we should stop winning so much?
Of course some would say that maybe we aren't doing quite as well as Mr. Friedman thinks. Jonathan Steel, in the Guardian, suggests that Iraqis just might not like us all that much.
I added in additional paragraph spaces to make it easier to read. Anyway I have to admit my first thought was a phrase involving the words "ass" and "door," but I decided that was not charitable enough. Instead I would like to say how sorry I am that Rush is expected to pay his taxes like everybody else. I mean it is a shame that Rush's incredibly opulent lifestyle may be reined in just a little bit. Poor guy.
I am angrier today, and I can't tell you why. I just want to tell you I'm mad. I had to deal with some things for four hours last night and I'm not going to whine about it.
I'm just going to tell you: I have been angrier than I was and still am last night in years. I cannot tell you how angry, and everything that's happened this morning is just irritating the absolute living daylights out of me and I'm just about ready to chuck all this and head to some island, get everybody's hands out of my back pocket as soon as I frigging can because I have had it. I've had it with the state of New York. I've had it with the federal government. I've had it with everybody with their hands in my back pocket wanting this and wanting that. Nothing is ever enough for anybody and it's not worth it. At some point you just decide it isn't worth it and let people fend for themselves.
I have just about had it dealing with these people, these little Nazis that run around and claim that I live someplace that I don't and want to extract multiple millions of dollars in taxes in a place I don't even live, and I've just had it! I've just literally had it with all of this stuff, and I'm not going to say anything more about it, but I just want you to know that I'm still fuming and anything that irritates me in the slightest bit reminds me how mad I was last night and still am today, and it just frosts me, and when I couple it with all of this rigmarole I hear from the liberals in this country about (sigh) taxes and who's not paying their fair share and stuff, it just makes me boiling mad with livid rage.
In America, where we find our scene,
Ancient pattern breaks to new betrayal,
Illegal acts make civil hands unclean.
Discovering the horrid acts of men
A pair of star-cross'd writers take their pens;
In a futile attempt to overthrow
The mendacity of corporations
At this point I'd like to make two points. One, I know it doesn't rhyme. That would take extra work. Two, there's a pretty good chance I'm taking poetry month too seriously.
On to the scandals. Terrence Jeffrey writes about the fact that companies are paying the social security wages to workers who do not have social security numbers (and are, apparently, illegal aliens). He paints a picture that these illegal aliens coming from Mexico might very well be terrorists based on the theory that Al-Qaeda might want to come into the country illegally.
I don't doubt there might be some advantage to coming into the country illegally, but I question why they would pick Mexico as the appropriate location to enter. Consider the Canadian border. About the same distance from the Middle East. And much less guarded. At any rate, he eventually returns to his point, which is that the Government needs to clamp down on corporations hiring illegal aliens. Which I agree with. I also have some concern for the people that these corporations are exploiting, but don't think that Mr. Jeffry shares that concern.
On the other hand Molly Ivins writes about another scandal involving our banking industry.
Which brings us back to the howling over the plan to give government access to possibly hundreds of millions of international banking records in order to track and deter terrorism. As a good civil libertarian, I'm concerned about the privacy issues here myself. But money laundering, whether for terrorist purposes or tax evasion, is a crime.I'm curious about the mental calculus that goes on in the Bush Administration to make this call. "Well it would stop terrorists but it would make it harder for the very wealthy to avoid paying taxes. What to do, what to do."
I also think its stunning that in two obvious areas, international financing of terrorists and making our borders more secure, the Bush administration shows little to no interest in solving the problems. I mean think what they might accomplish if they put in the type of effort they have put into passing tax cuts.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
One man who won't be removed from the database is Ebert, No. 298. "I was surprised to find myself linked to a terrorist I have never heard of," Ebert said, facetiously. "I was not curious enough about him to Google him, but perhaps he will Google me and, having discovered my wonderful reviews, will renounce terrorism and spend more time at the movies." (What earned Ebert his spot, the site says, was his criticizing "runaway corporations," accusing the U.S. death penalty system of inequity, and making an unflattering reference to former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.)Good question, but it sort of misses the point. Horowitz believes in ideology over the truth and has for years. He believed in ideology when he was on the far right and he believes in it now that he is on the far left. And his ideology trumps any sense of perspective a real reporter needs to have.
"The one link Discover the Network seems to be missing is 'David Horowitz and Sen. Joseph McCarthy,'" Ebert says. "David was a respected journalist. He could be a respected conservative commentator. Why does he lower himself to rabble-rousing?"
In their view, the Founding Fathers never intended to erect a barrier between politics and religion. "The First Amendment does not say there should be a separation of church and state," declares Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a team of 750 attorneys trained by the Dominionists to fight abortion and gay marriage. Sears argues that the constitutional guarantee against state-sponsored religion is actually designed to "shield" the church from federal interference -- allowing Christians to take their rightful place at the head of the government. "We have a right, indeed an obligation, to govern," says David Limbaugh, brother of Rush and author of Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Nothing gets the Dominionists to their feet faster than ringing condemnations of judicial tyranny. "Activist judges have systematically deconstructed the Constitution," roars Rick Scarborough, author of Mixing Church and State. "A God-free society is their goal!"Doesn't the word "Dominionists" send a chill up your spine?
Activist judges, of course, are precisely what the Dominionists want. Their model is Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who installed a 5,300-pound granite memorial to the Ten Commandments, complete with an open Bible carved in its top, in the state judicial building.
The safety net for American journalism throughout history has been not so much the First Amendment - rather, it's been public approval of the role of the free press. Public approval is our life-support system, and it is now at risk.It is a tricky time for reporters, on has to admit. Mr. Kristoff lays too much of the blame for current conditions at the feet of his colleagues I believe. He argues that his colleagues need "More openness, more willingness to run corrections, more ombudsmen, more acknowledgement of our failings."
That's only partially true. While those steps help, it will not stop the right wing from claiming massive liberal bias all the time. The right wing sees no value to real journalism. They only see value in that journalism that is subservient to the values and ideals of conservatism. So they are unlikely to ever shut up about liberal bias.
Monday, April 11, 2005
"Now that there is the Tec-9, a crappy spray gun from South Miami. This gun is advertised as the most popular gun in American crime. Do you believe that shit? It actually says that in the little book that comes with it: the most popular gun in American crime. Like they're actually proud of that shit." - Ordell Robbie
Joe Monday: Last I heard you were gonna have a talk with some fellas. Next thing I hear one of them's dead."You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig." - The Man with no Name
John Smith: The conversation kind of went downhill...
"Let me tell you something else. It's a minor crime, to kill your wife. The major crime is that he stole my money. Your friend stole my money, and the penalty for that is capital punishment." - Marty Augustine
Anybody want to take a shot at getting the movies these quotes came from?
One version of this future was expressed by former Nixon staffer Howard Phillips.
Christian Reconstructionism calls for a system that is both radically decentralized, with most government functions devolved to the county level, and socially totalitarian. It calls for the death penalty for homosexuals, abortion doctors and women guilty of "unchastity before marriage," among other moral crimes. To be fair, Phillips told me that "just because a crime is capital doesn't mean you must impose the death penalty. It means it's an option." Public humiliation, he said, could sometimes be used instead.One has to wonder how non-Christians and Atheists would fit into such a scenario. One might also wonder how Christians who do not fight into this hard right belief system might fare. Christians like, say, Judge Greer who ruled against the Schindlers in the recent Schiavo case. Well, the closing prayer of the event might give a hint.
"Father, we echo the words of the apostle Paul, because we know Judge Greer claims to be a Christian. So as the Apostle Paul said in First Corinthians 5, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus."As Goldberg notes, "It sounded like a prayer for death."
I just have to say, I'm not sure I want these guys in charge. But as the article points out, given his recent troubles, Tom Delay needs their support and will have to pay the piper to get it. And I don't the impression they are going to be shy about asking for President Bush's support either.
Today things are different. We know who the communists are and where they come from. Most of them teach at American universities. We work hard every day to pay the taxes which, in turn, pay their salaries. Meanwhile, they work hard to subvert everything we do, everything we value, and everything we love.Of course, since Mr. Adams also teaches at a University (UNC - Wilmington), some of your money goes to pay him. And, looking over his suggested reading list, I'd say he'd be comfortable destroying the things I do and the things I value.
For starters, he puts Ann Coulter's Treason on the list.
I'll pause here so you can digest that. Whiny Conservative professor recommends Ann Coulter are a valuable source for understanding Communism. You might see why I have lost my sympathy and respect for this guy.
He suggests 10 books. Four of them are by Ayn Rand (We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged), two by George Orwell (Animal Farm and 1984). For the record I like both Animal Farm and 1984. I've read Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead. Both of them reminded me that selfish people who have life pretty good enjoy reading books which tell them that they deserve a pretty good life and everybody who has a crappy life deserves to have a crappy life.
The other ones are The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayak, Witness by Whittaker Chambers, and The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. Nothing too objectionable here, although I can recommend ten better more balanced books on the Red Scare than Witness. But, I suppose if you are going to recommend Ann Coulter, you aren't interested in a balanced look at the Red Scare.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
I mention this because I just saw a commercial for a product called Kellogg's Smorz Cereal. It contrasts two kids--a happy kid eating the product and a poor kid out in the woods trying to make actual S'Mores. The kid in the woods just had an awful experience and the kid eating in his happy suburban home has a great time. What's the lesson? Nature is scary; staying out of nature is fun. A lesson every kid should learn. It does make for a funny joke (well not all that funny) but couldn't you get the same lesson showing a kid loving the woods, and loving smores and wanting that same delicious taste at home?
For a review of the cereal itself, check this out.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
. . . here is Social Security reform. Republicans set forth with a plan to give people some control over their own retirement accounts. Here, too, Republicans have been surprised by the tepid public support.Except, I don't know if that is the right explanation. I think it might be fairer to say that Americans are practical. When the American people have been sold on a program, even a radical one, they do get behind it. If the Republicans were able to sell their social security reform as a real improvement the American people might get behind it. Instead they seem to be making a lot of pie in the sky promises that may or may not pay off. And so the American people aren't interested.
Americans understand that there is a big problem, but right now most oppose personal accounts invested in the markets. According to a Wall Street Journal poll this week, a third of Republicans currently oppose them.
Being conservative, many Americans are suspicious of bold government initiatives, especially ones that seem complicated and involve borrowing. Being conservative, they prefer the old and familiar over the new and untried.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Store of Samuel
And elderly greeters
Dating Services offered
to those Germans
By chains of Relationship
All hail mighty Walmart
were claimed to be
their travel expenses
Sing praises to Walmart
Yea, for they have
and best pistachios
Only it turns out that congressional aid to Sen. Mel Martinez (from my home state of Florida) apparently wrote the memo. And has admitted it and has been fired. So I guess the memo wasn't a fake after all. And those conservative bloggers who pushed forward the theory that this was a Democratic Dirty Trick? Well, they managed to put the whole story in perspective. "This story serves as an object lesson in how the mainstream media can take a dopey, one-page memo by an unknown staffer and use it to discredit the entire Republican party." Darn Media.
Of course that is the interesting part of this story. Conservative Bloggers are determined to find the Democratic Party and the Media guilty regardless of the facts.
And has gone to TJ Max
Who employs justly.
A blog named Corrente
Considers Thomas Delay,
And his betrayal.
Musings Musings has
Reviewed Delays recent crimes.
Happy days ahead.
A New President
For Echidne of the Snakes
To consider now.
'Rassler meets Happy Furry
Puppy Story Time
Studies phony news reports
And Mark McClellan
Pen Elayne has news.
National Poetry Month?
She is on the web.
rubber hose comments
on the love of acronyms
and a tax debate.
I picked a good week to use this particular technique, with Happy Furry Puppy Story Time (9 syllables), Echidne of the Snakes, and Pen Elayne on the Web (both 6 syllables). But still it's at least as coherent as normal.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
And if you aren't sure, well, instead of scaring you into doing it (which may not work, based on the evidence so far), this time i'm going to bribe you into doing it. Anybody who signs the petition will get a Dollar*. So sign it today!
* Dollars are a metaphor; no actual money will change hands.
Aliens are going to invade the earth and force you to perform The Two Gentlemen from Verona in the park in underwear. Not your underwear. Somebody else's underwear. And please don't imagine it will be particularly flattering underwear because it won't.
Alright, so I'm exaggerating. A little. But still if you want to avoid this fate, or fates like it, you need to support this site. By . . . uh . . . reading a poem. Yep. If you don't want perform Underwear Shakespeare, you'd better read a poem. If you don't have any poems handy, visit this site.
Oh, and so I can see if this works or not, report back to tell me how you have supported this site in thwarting the aliens! And tell me what poem you read.
Todays article, by Kathleen Parker goes a step further.
If you don’t contribute generously and soon:Pretty scary eh? Well she admits that she's exaggerating (maybe), so you shouldn't worry too much (but you should still give money to Townhall.
Sen. Hillary Clinton will become the first woman president of the United States. Michael Moore will make a documentary about sex on America’s college campuses. He will film it at your daughter’s school. He will try to date your daughter. PETA will paint a red bulls-eye on your front door to indicate that you are a family of carnivores who probably own fur wraps. The Rev. Jesse Jackson will come to your house and pray while trying to hold your hand. Michael Jackson will make frequent visits to your son’s elementary school. The ACLU will merge with the Department of Education.
But it did get me to thinking. Does this kind of ploy really work? I mean if I painted a picture of how awful society would be without Make me a Commentator would my hits go up? I'm going to think about this some more.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
First and foremost, I have believed since childhood that my country is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Never once during my long years as a public servant did I drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to my office at the US Capitol--past the majestic memorials to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln--without experiencing the genuine thrill of knowing that I worked for the US government and its citizens.Interesting. It almost reads like George McGovern doesn't hate his country.
However my guess is that Republicans will respond to this article (if they respond at all) by pretending that McGovern must be guilty about something if he feels the urge to proclaim his patriotism so loudly.
Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, rose in the chamber and dared to argue that recent courthouse violence might be explained by distress about judges who "are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public." The frustration "builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in" violence, said Mr. Cornyn, a former member of the Texas Supreme Court who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which supposedly protects the Constitution and its guarantee of an independent judiciary.I have to say, I don't disagree with the Times here. This stepped pretty far over the line.
Listeners could only cringe at the events behind Mr. Cornyn's fulminating: an Atlanta judge was murdered in his courtroom by a career criminal who wanted only to shoot his way out of a trial, and a Chicago judge's mother and husband were executed by a deranged man who was furious that she had dismissed a wild lawsuit. It was sickening that an elected official would publicly offer these sociopaths as examples of any democratic value, let alone as holders of legitimate concerns about the judiciary.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
A senior Republican senator who avoids the headlines and tries to help President Bush as much as possible two weeks ago was discussing with me the problems of seeking Social Security reform. Then he said something that surprised me: "I have been around a while, and this is the worst administration at congressional relations that I have ever been associated with."Hard to know exactly what this means. Novak does point out that the administration prizes Loyalty to the exclusion of all other qualities, and this isn't the type of loyalty that allows for candid discussion of mistakes. This is more the type of loyalty that fails to acknowledge mistakes in the first place. Demanding this kind of loyalty from Senators and Representatives, many of whom are accomplished and opinionated men with healthy egos, may not be the best approach.
. . . The dirty little secret, however, is that this administration succeeds despite chronic malfunctioning, and this more often than not is a matter of bungled personnel decisions.
Of course the other question is why is Novak willing to take this shot at the Bush administration? Does he think that the bloom is off (they haven't had the best year so far)? Does he think that the Congress is where the power is going to be? Or is he simply trying to distance himself from the Administration so he can look independent?
"It is difficult to overstate the depth of the differences between the Judeo-Christian view of the world and that of its opponents, most particularly the Left." - Dennis Prager, "The Left's battle to restore chaos: Judeo-Christian values: Part X."
Dennis Prager has also written on the coming Second Civil War (between, one assumes, Judeo Christian Values and liberals). I find it striking that there doesn't seem to be much hope for reconciliation in Mr. Pragers mindset. Basically the American Left has to either capitulate totally or it will come to war.
Personally I prefer to believe that the things which united us as Americans are greater than the things which divide us.
But then I'm not trying to make money off of stirring up hatred, so I might be prejudiced.
Monday, April 04, 2005
The longer-term trend is even more disturbing than the monthly snapshot. In 6 of the last 12 months, job creation has not been strong enough to absorb the growth of the work force. In such a weak labor market, wages are stagnant or falling. Over the past year, for instance, hourly wage increases averaged only 2.6 percent for the 80 percent of the work force made up of non-managers in both white- and blue-collar jobs. The inflation rate for the same period has not yet been released, but it's a safe call that in March, wages failed to outpace price increases, as has happened every month since last May. That adds up to only one thing: a downturn in living standards, which will accelerate as oil prices, now well above $50 a barrel, consume an ever larger chunk of take-home pay.Kind of depressing, but that's what we get, I suppose.
About method actor Christopher Lloyd (Jim)One suspects playing the blissed out mellow Reverend Jim would make Christopher Lloyd less likely to hit someone. One also suspects this review says more about the author of the review than the subject reviewed.
A method actor is a very deranged person in real life. Method actors crazily feel they can't play a character unless they figure out that character's motivation! Also, method actor's often really hit other actors (or the method actor gets hit himself or herself) in a scene instead of just faking the hit.This can result in serious bodiy harm. Furthermore, a method actor often does crazy things like staying up late for real just so they'll appear tired. And lastly, method actors often really put themselves into the mood of their characters and they can't easily get out of their character's mood once the director yells "cut". Remember all this when you watch Christopher Lloyd in the second season oif Taxi and on so you don't admire his performance as Reverend Jim too much.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
At any rate, I see that some enterprising computer people have developed an awsome new computo-mo-box weapon against the Chinaman. It's called an online computer game. According to the Guardian it drives Chinaman crazy. Apparently someone named Qiu Chengwei had a sword stolen from him, and so went and stabbed the person who stole it with a knife.
Actually that seems pretty reasonable. Allow me to reperuse this story.
Ah apparently it was only a pretend sword in this online computer game. So Mr. Qiu believed the sword to be real and then stabbed someone else when he couldn't find it.
Anyway I don't understand the fuss over a sword. Surely the Chinamen have Guns by now? Guns are much more efficient and modern than swords. If I were creating an online computer game it would have lots of guns.
I am directed to do a review of some of the Liberal Coalition, who sound like a bunch of weak-kneed ninnies. Let's see what they have to say.
Kick the Leftist writes a note on how the new directer of the World Bank, Wolfowitz is replacing a gentleman named Wolfensohn. What odd names!
A gentleman by the name of Steve Gilliard proves himself no gentleman by using language unfit for a Turkish sailor. He passionately criticises a woman who runs one of these Computerized Web Logs for failing to dignify the position of running a Computerized Web Log. Apparently this woman, with the odd name of Wonkette, is not a lady either in that she discusses the libations she enjoys publically. It's very confusing, but I think Wonkette is a Estonian name which may clarify matters.
Rick's Cafe Americaine, which must be a computerized web log for a cafe, is reporting that the President has exonerated himself. I must say you futuristic people should be less trusting of your leaders! Although this President Bush sounds like a good pro-business leader, this report might not have been entirely forthcoming.
I guess one would expect T. Rex's Guide to Life to offer advice, and it does. Apparently Mr. Rex thinks that just because your candidate fails to garner a nomination or your views aren't wholly accepted in your party, you shouldn't leave the party. Pish Posh! Each person should see them as the center of the universe and demand that the universe mold themselves to them. Compromise? Pish Posh!
Take this person of Words on a Page. Let him be an example to you T. Rex. He refuses to compromise in the slightest, even if his head is scrambled and he is unable to speak or move. He still has determined to live the life he wishes, no matter who it inconveniences. Why, he is a man after my own heart? Except he seems to be a woman named Wanda. And while I find the sentiments entirely appropriate for a male, woman should not be this demanding.
Apparently you future people have some program called Social Security to help the elderly? Bah! Let the elderly take care of themselves. President Bush has presented a revision to the program that would do just that, but First Draft reports that Congressional Leader J. Dennis Hastert says that it is not possible. It is nice to see that the uselessness of Congress has remained consistent over the years.
The Yellow Doggeral has a beautiful ode to Republicans, that I advise you all to read with gusto!
It is hard getting used to this strange future world, and a post by archy makes it all the more clear that I don't completely understand you. You mean your teachers are not armed? When I was a lad our headmaster had a rifle he had acquired in the civil war which he regularly showed to us lads. Do not modern school teachers show their students how to use Guns Responsibly? What if a bear or a cossack enteres the class room?
At any rate I shall be back later to provide you the commentary required on the events of the day.