Friday, January 26, 2007

Vacation Break

Planning for a much-needed break this week has kept me away from updating...which is actually too bad, because there is much I want to write about. Our Decider-in-Chief, neglecting to address Katrina in his State of the Union speech, as one example.

I am leaving for my trip and will not be in a position to blog while I am away.

It will be hectic when I get back, but the blog posts should return the 2nd week in Febuary.

Thanks to those who have been coming in and checking out the posts. Hopefully, some of you will take time to see some of the archived posts from the past year-and-a half.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sen. Brownback: God's Chosen Candidate?

Sen. Hillary Clinton was not the only candidate to announce a run for the presidency on Saturday.

Senator Sam Brownback, an advocate for the right-wing extremist element of the GOP, threw his hat in the ring as well.

Makes McCain look left-of-center?

The most interesting thing about the Brownback candidacy is that he suddenly makes the other GOP nominees seem like liberals by comparison.

For example, the Washington Post has Gary Bauer's ludicrous take on the subject:
"There are really two primaries taking place simultaneously in the Republican party. One, for center-left candidates, is being fought out between Giuliani and Senator McCain. On the conservative side, nobody has captured that crown yet, but Senator Brownback will be a major competitor."
Only somebody speaking in forked tongues could refer to John McCain as a candidate of the center-left with a straight face.

The 3-antis

Thus far, Sen. Brownback, a Methodist who converted to Catholicism (okay, so not all evangelicals will be thrilled) has defined himself by his opposition to 3 things. He is anti-choice, anti-stem cell research and anti-gay.

In his 17-minute speech to announce his candidacy, the Senator Kansas had the right code-words to reach out to those that reside in the religious right. He re-iterated those points on the Internet.

On his official campaign website, Brownback makes the following policy statements:
We believe in a culture of life—that every human life is a beautiful, sacred, unique child of a loving God.

We believe in justice for all—at all times.

We believe in liberty.

But the central institutions that best transmit these values—the family and the culture—are under withering attack.
Somehow, I do not think that Sen. Brownback sees gay lives as beautiful. He probably doesn't think that justice extends to Guantanamo Bay. I seriously doubt that Sen. Brownback intimately knows of any family that is under 'attack.' And what candidate does NOT believe in liberty?

Also anti-manimal

Lest we forget, Sen. Brownback authored that notorious legislation that sought to prohibit mating humans with animals.

'The Human Chimera Prohibition Act of 2005' would have outlawed the following:
`(a) In General- It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly, in or otherwise affecting interstate commerce--

`(1) create or attempt to create a human chimera;

`(2) transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb;

`(3) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb; or

`(4) transport or receive for any purpose a human chimera.
This is a man who has seen "the Island of Dr. Moreau" one too many times.

The Brownback paradox

One interesting conundrum regarding Brownback.

The senator is virulently against federally-funded stem-cell research. As recently as last week, he equated it with murder:
"The House of Representatives fell well short of the votes they would need to override a presidential veto of legislation to increase taxpayer funded research that destroys human life."
and this:
"We all want to find cures and treatments for the many diseases and maladies that affect millions of Americans, but there are better options than research that kills nascent human lives."
In that same press release he equated support for stem-cell research with support for human cloning.

How ignorant. The man repeats the lie that these embryos are somehow being harvested for the procedure, as opposed to ackowledging the truth that the embryos that would be used are already available from fertility clinics. They are embryos that will be disposed of anyway, with no benefit to the millions with incurable and debilitating diseases.

And yet, Brownback allegedly made a vow to "end deaths by cancer in 10 years," in his speech on Saturday.

Really, Senator! How exactly do you propose to do that given your passion to thwart science and medical research?

Something tells me that he may be the only candidate, outside of Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer, to suggest the laying on of hands as part of a campaign platform on health care.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oprah Should Be Ashamed

This has nothing to do with Iraq. Or illegal wiretapping. It has nothing to do with the Hillary or Obama conundrum. Or McCain vs. Rudy.

It has to do with Oprah Winfrey.

And it tells you all you need to know about what is wrong with American media coverage.

Oprah gets the dirt

According to AP, and Winfrey has to be thrilled with her scoop, the mother and stepfather of apparent kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck speculated, on Oprah's show, that their son had been sexually abused during his 4 years with suspect Michael Devlin.

Craig & Pam Akers say that "they have not asked their son what happened on the advice of child advocacy experts." Yet, they see nothing wrong with then suggesting, on national television, that he was indeed, molested.

Here is how the exchange was described:
"OK, I'm going to go there and ask you, what do you think happened? Do you think he was sexually abused?" Winfrey asked Craig and Pam Akers, parents of 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck.

Both nodded and said, "Yes."
What on earth was the point of that exchange? For whose edification was it done? The titillation of the viewers?

Did anybody consider what that boy must be feeling to have that media molestation forced upon him?

The answer is that this boy was the last person anybody considered.

Questions I would like to see answered

As for Mr. & Mrs. Akers...

Do you think they asked their son if he wanted that to be trotted out for public consumption?

What 15-year old, whose identity is very well known, would want to be made a spectacle of in this way?

Have the parents, who were told that they shouldn't even discuss the topic with Shawn, considered what sort of damage they were doing by making this statement on Oprah's show?

Did Oprah consider the consequences of her question? Or was it sweeps week?

Blood money

I would really love to know what Oprah's people paid for their exclusive.

And I am wondering if everybody feels that they have gotten their money's worth.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Madness Of King George

George Bush, the worst leader this nation has ever seen, keeps getting away with murder.

After taking a month to allegedly listen to all sorts of expert opinion on the best way out of the morass we have created in Iraq, Bush has come up with a perfect solution....send more bodies in.

More than 21,500 troops, to be precise.

Forget the fact that he has yet to apologize for, or even acknowledge, the fact that our invasion was based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. Now he just wants to plug in more bodies and see how things fly.

Martyr complex

King George I does not seem to care that he is unpopular. He has little use for public opinion, because he thinks that only he knows what's best for this country.

Maybe it was all those years of military experience that made him what he is today.

Oh, I forgot, he couldn't even account for where he was during his stint in the National Guard.

The stubbornness of this man, to be so rigid as to be unable to recognize flawed decisions, and then be further incapable of attempting to correct course, is unmatched.

A final solution?

And then, there is his warped logic for this increased number of troops.

In his televised address on Iraq on January 10th, Bush made the following observation:
In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents — but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

So, let's see. When we have cleaned out neighborhoods, losing troops in the process, not to mention countless Iraqi lives, the violence returned when we left.

What is supposed to prevent that from happening again?

No matter how many troops we put in, unless we are planning on keeping a permanent occupying force, the same thing will happen.

Or is the goal to assist Maliki with a little bit of Sunni cleansing? Are we simply allowing the Shiite death squads to step up as we step down? Somebody please explain.

Continued ineptitude

Bush, who let Afghanistan fall back into disarray, is concerned about the violence that will occur if we leave. Interesting how he never considered what might occur, before removing Saddam Hussein.

Al Qaeda never had a foothold in Iraq until we moved in. His father knew what would result from an invasion, but Junior was probably more concerned with how he could secure Iraqi oil and reconstruction money for his corporate cronies.

I hope that the Democrats do all they can to minimize the destruction this madman has wrought upon America, and the world, because of his disastrous foreign policy.

As for his latest game of 'trust me'...

George Bush has lied about Iraq from the beginning. Why should we believe him now?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

With Friends Like These: The Demonization Of Nancy Pelosi

It's only the first day of Nancy Pelosi's term as Speaker of the House, but for weeks the knives have been out.

Some of the reaction has been predictable. Nobody expected the GOP to suddenly turn nice, or bipartisan, as the minority party. Cable outlets like Fox, CNN and MSNBC have been almost as obvious in their determination to tear Ms. Pelosi down, before she even has had a chance to settle into her new position.

But then there are the others. Like Lawrence O'Donnell, for example.

The O'Donnell Hatchet Job

I will focus on Mr. O'Donnell, because he to me represents everything wrong with both the media and allegedly progressive politics.

It is telling that O'Donnell's accomplishments are listed in his Huffington Post bio in this order:
Executive Producer "The West Wing"
Panelist "The McLaughlin Group"
Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

I bring up O'Donnell because of a nasty piece of butchery he had on HuffPo earlier this week, titled "Pelosi Needs An Agenda For 100 Weeks, Not 100 Hours."

Incredulously, the man whose visibility is due to his weekly appearance on a show known for people shouting soundbytes all over each other, writes:
Nancy Pelosi's first legislative move as Speaker of the House is a mistake. A big one. She is going to cram all the feel-good, easy-to-pass, politically popular legislation she can think of into her first hundred hours without any idea of what she's going to do for the next hundred weeks.
Sorry, but this stands as one of the most profoundly ignorant ramblings I have seen written about Pelosi anywhere.

Does Mr. O'Donnell think that after the first 100 hours Speaker Pelosi was planning to take a vacation at hour 101?

Obviously, the 100 hours strategy was, as much as anything, a rhetorical device to make a loud statement that this Congress is going to be all about action, as opposed to the prior group that got nothing accomplished.

After years of being relegated to the basement, Democrats now have a chance to take the lead. What better way to start than to put everyone on notice that the work hours of Congress have been changed (which has been done) and that those changes will include by starting on projects important to most Americans.

When O'Donnell writes that Pelosi has "no idea what she's going to do for the next hundred weeks," it is petty character assassination.

Does this man not realize that the various committees will be beginning their own investigations into the behavior of the Bush administration these past 6 years? Does O'Donnell not understand that maybe it does not make all that much sense to list the entire rundown of exactly what Pelosi will be doing for the next 100 weeks. Does he really think that after 6000 minutes, the Democrats will have played all their cards and the carriages will turn into pumpkins?

As a man who spends a weekly stint on a show designed for people with no attention span, that like their messages delivered in staccato, shouted sentences, does Mr. O'Donnell even believe what he writes?

The False Argument

Under the guise of giving her his wise counsel and direction, O'Donnell amplifies his beef, writing:
Pelosi's hundred-hour agenda is a smart one; it's the hundred hours that's the problem.

The biggest minimum wage increase in history is long overdue and very popular with voters. Why cram it into a frenzied legislative session with a bunch of other bills that will have a claim on headline space? Why not let the minimum wage increase have a hundred hours all to itself?
He's kidding, right?

The minimum wage has been debated to death. America wants the increase. The votes are obviously there. We need 100 hours on this?

Thoughtless sabotage

Whatever Mr. O'Donnell's intentions, I am offended that he chose to attack and discredit Pelosi before she had even served a single day as Speaker.

In the same way I am tired of hearing the voice of James Carville, I grow equally sick of self-important rants such as the O'Donnell HuffPo piece.

I am beginning to think that all those guest spots on the myriad of political and cable shows has caused the talking heads to lose touch with reality.

On shows like the McLaughlin Report, it's all about who can shout the loudest and make the most outrageous statements.

Blog posts like the pre-emptive hit O'Donnell put on Pelosi will surely make him more valuable to the producers at Fox, CNN and MSNBC.

However, they do nothing to aid the Democrat's cause in Congress.

It is sabotage, pure and simple.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Breeding: The New GOP Strategy?

Chris Cillizza, who writes on politics at the Washington Post, is always good for a chuckle. However, today, he has outdone himself.

Cillizza, whose allegedly impartial writings often have a distinctly right-of-center slant, has found a beam of hope for demoralized Republicans.

They're breeding faster than Democrats.

Not sure how Cillizza was able to scoop everybody else on this groundbreaking story, but today he writes the red states are bursting with potential new voters and, with careful redistricting, could actually increase their representation after the 2010 census.

Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes

Citing U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, Cillizza writes:

At first glance, the numbers appear encouraging for Republicans. The ten states with the highest percentage population growth between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006 -- Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Georgia, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, Florida and South Carolina -- were carried by President George W. Bush in 2004.
And if that isn't scary enough, he adds:

Regionally, too, the highest population growth is in areas that are Republican-red. The states comprising the South gained 1.5 million people over the past year, and the region now accounts for 36 percent of the national population. The West picked up more than 1 million people in the same period and now makes up 23 percent of the population; the Midwest gained 281,000 people and represents 22 percent of the nation's population total. The Northeast, which produced Democratic gains in the House and Senate in 2006, added just 62,000 people and is now the smallest region of the country with 18 percent of the population.

The breeding advantage?

I just knew that those anti-choice states that were forcing little Abigail to carry Uncle Henry's unwanted love child to term were only looking out for the greater good; GOP domination.

Actually, I am looking for the bible thumpers to start salivating over the fact that an embrace by Democrats of same-sex relationships may be hurting our chances of spawning.

Obviously, these statistics, devoid of context, are meaningless. After all, who's to say that a population shift by Democrats into redder turf might not result in a less polarized political landscape? Maybe it will turn some red states blue.

Cillizza seems to think that the GOP will be able to capitalize on redistricting to safeguard future majorities.

However, if all else fails, they could always fall back on the time-tested strategy of placing pods under our beds.

For the full text of the Cillizza column, click here.