Monday, October 31, 2005

I wonder if any of the members of the Methodist top court were wearing mixed fabrics (polyester/cotton, etc.)...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...when they de-frocked Elizabeth Stroud today.

After all, these same fundie f*ckers used Leviticus to call this deeply religious woman, who is beloved by her congregation, and continually lauded for her good works, an abomination.

But...gee, pastor Dan, can you answer this one?

Here is my question:

Why don't fundamentalists organize protests and picket seafood restaurants, oyster bars, church barbecue suppers, all grocery stores, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and stores that sell suits and dresses made of mixed wool, cotton, polyester, and other materials?

All of these products and services are "abominations" in Leviticus.
When have you heard a preacher condemn the demonic abomination of garments that are made of mixed fabrics?

You know what? Every time some righteous person gets offended that I am offended by today's religion, and is just amazed that I would be angry at facing hateful words every day by religious groups, they still NEVER seem to have an answer to my "Leviticus" question.

And I am still waiting for an answer to my "Leviticus" question.

Hello? Hello?

Maybe I should take out my own personal ad:

WPF, in committed relationship to same, desperately seeking answer to question of why religious groups continually "pick and choose" amongst the abominations in Leviticus.

If this is the "word of god" how come mere mortals get to "pick and choose" what is and is not an abomination...

Leviticus calls many things abominations...yet why do self-described 'christians' decide that in this "day and age" only ONE is?

Sounds like a bit o' "cafeteria christianity" to me!

I have been asking this on my blog and others for over a year...

NOT ONE person has an answer...

Look at the Methodists eating their own right now: Rev. Beth Stroud. A faithful, intelligent woman, who could have "hid" her lover...and the "church elders" would have just ignored it.

But she committed a CRIME - the crime of being honest in front of her God and her congregation. She was in love, and it was beautiful, and she didn't shame it by hiding.

And now? She is a lay minister desperately clinging to a religion that thinks she is an abomination.

(As I stated in the heading of this post, I wonder if any of the members of the Judicial Council were wearing mixed fabric when they gave her the boot for violating Leviticus?)

Ms. Julien

Who needs Karl Rove…

by Shakespeare's Sister

…to orchestrate covert conference calls designed to reassure conservatives about a nominee’s position on abortion when you’ve got Rose Alito?

Abortion emerged as a potential fault line. Democrats pointed to Alito's rulings that sought to restrict a woman's right to abortion. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Republican who supports abortion rights, said that Alito's views on the hot-button issue "will be among one of the first items Judge Alito and I will discuss."

Alito's mother shed some light. "Of course, he's against abortion," 90-year-old Rose Alito said of her son, a Catholic.
Isn’t that just precious?

I’m bursting with pride that this is what the American judicial nomination process has come to—interviewing a nominee’s mother to make sure he’ll overturn 30-year-old cases protecting a woman’s right to choose.

(Hat tip No Blood for Hubris.)

Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.

Give Me a Break

by Shakespeare's Sister

Christopher at After School Snack:

Does this mean “garlic eater” is off limits?

They've gotta be kidding - the wingnuts are saying lib'ruhls hate Alito because of his ethnicity!

Earlier today on Fox News, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a member of the Judiciary Committee, followed Matt Drudge’s lead and implied that opponents of Samuel Alito’s nomination may be motivated by Alito’s ethnicity. He warned senators “to be very careful here,” because a vote against Alito would be “held against them” by Italian-Americans…
Hey, dimwits—don’t project your idiotic measuring sticks onto us. That ain’t the way we roll. I don’t give a rat’s tit if Alito is a straight white guy or a wheelchair-bound, multi-ethnic, queer deaf-mute with a glass eye. Anyone who wants to curb our rights is a turd onto which no amount of polish can be applied to make him look pretty.

Of course, I’ll never have the chance to prove it, since your grand dragon president is as about as likely to nominate a wheelchair-bound, multi-ethnic, queer deaf-mute with a glass eye to the Supreme Court as such a person would be likely to have the same despicable legal philosophy as a good ol’ boy like Alito does, anyway.

(And btw, nice attempt to disguise—as a “warning to Democrats”—a reassurance to the racist peabrains among your supporters that the vaguely swarthy Alito is, indeed, white.)

Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.

Homeland Insecurity

by Pam

"There's a lack of adult leadership on both sides. The department just doesn't have its act together."
-- James Carafano, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, on Homeland Security's efforts
As the Chimperor stood on the heap of rubble at the WTC, imagining himself as the savior of the country, he made his flock feel like he was going to keep them safe from the swarthy bin Laden-types from abroad. During the election, Darth Cheney even intimated that if voters cast a ballot for Kerry it was a vote for the terrorists.
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.
Between the White House and the Repug clowns on the Hill in the time since, the terrorists can rest easy when they read sh*t like this, from the AP:

* A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue.
* Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late.
* A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.
* The government has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to protect roads, bridges, tunnels, power plants, pipelines and dams.
The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.

..."The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA's leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department," said Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. "Our nation is still vulnerable."

Congress must share the blame for the department's sluggishness in protecting commerce and travel from terrorists, according to other observers. Lawmakers piled on deadline after deadline for reports, plans and regulations while the department, created after the 2001 attacks, had to integrate 22 agencies with 170,000 workers and cope with terrorist threats and hurricanes.

Those deadlines, sometimes for minor projects, distract the department from putting in place the most important security measures, experts say. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, scrambled to try to meet a Feb. 15 deadline to ban butane lighters from airplanes, a precaution that does little to protect airliners, they said.

...A report on how a grant program for shippers and ports would work is more than a year late; a report on cargo container security is eight months overdue; a national security plan for marine transportation is well past its April 1 due date.

Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security spending, was unhappy because the TSA missed a March 17 deadline for a plan to deploy bomb-detection machines at airports.
Can we take three more years of irresponsible right-wing, blowhard rule? it's depressing.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend

A Halloween Letter

by Shakespeare's Sister

Dear Bush Conservatives,

There’s an eerie specter among you—haunting your dreams and whispering assurances that he is real, that if you reach out you can touch him. Sometimes I see you try, and when your hands come up empty, a closed fist wrapped around nothing but the puff of smoke where the specter has been, you knit your brows and reassure each other, Yes, he is real, though all evidence points to the contrary.

This specter makes you promises, and entices you to follow him, trust him, as he leads you ever deeper into the darkness. The form he assumes is nothing but an illusion, a deceit that conjures a mirage strength and fortitude out of a thick fog that dissipates at any sign of challenge to its corporeality. You think it is clever defensive trickery, but fail to realize that is you being tricked. There is no substance; only mist.

Twice you have cast votes on this specter’s assurances and thinly fashioned figure, and as his image grows dimmer in the light of day, you continue to follow him deeper into the abyss where he determinedly leads you—the void where no sunlight can burn away his dew.

He makes you afraid of the things that go bump in the night, of monsters and ghouls, under your bed, in your closet, and in faraway places. He promises to protect you, but doesn’t tell you that he needs those summoned fiends to keep you scared and keep your eyes on him, believing in him, convinced he is real, ignorant to the reality that it is he of whom you should most be frightened.

I implore you to rub your eyes and see that the man you follow is nothing more than a figment of your imagination. He is not strong; he is not wise; he is not good. He is not your friend, he is not like you, and he does not have your best interests at heart. A specter, you see, has no heart.

The phantom in whom you’ve believed is not real. No treat; just a trick. It’s time to give up the ghost.

Happy Halloween,
Shakespeare’s Sister

'Scalito': The AmTaliban butters Bush's bread

by Pam

If there was any doubt, particularly among the moderates in his party, where this President turns to when he's got his tail between his legs, there isn't now.

The Chimp bowed down at the altar of Dobson, Bauer, Schlafly, and the rest of the AmTaliban to save his "base" of the wild-eyed Freeper set, nominating Samuel Alito. I'd someone will ask an obvious question -- how on earth did Harriet Miers rate ahead of Sammy when the Chimperor was looking down the short list? We know the answer, but I want to see the White House explain that one away.

While Miers was a crony pick, a weak choice not up to snuff, Alito has 15 years on the Philly-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, thus he has a paper trail that is clearly indicative of his conservative leanings -- which is the litmus test the religious right has been looking for.

This is an awful choice if women want to retain control of their wombs. (AP):
Liberal groups, on the other hand, note Alito's moniker and say his nomination raises troubling concerns, especially when it comes to his record on civil rights and reproductive rights. Alito is a frequent dissenter on the 3rd Circuit, one of the most liberal federal appellate benches in the nation.

In the early 1990s, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

"The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems - such as economic constraints, future plans or the husbands' previously expressed opposition - that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion," Alito wrote.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court where the justices, in a 6-3 decision struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist cited Alito's reasoning in his own dissent.
This one is going to spur a fight, possibly a filibuster and with that, the threat of the 'nuclear option.' How low can Bush go? Think Progress shows you why James Dobson is smiling as he has his morning cup of coffee:
ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by "immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias." [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that "few if any…cases would survive summary judgment." [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) "guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one." The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent "guts the statutory standard" and "ignores our precedent." In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted "well-recognized rules of statutory construction." [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]
I know you don't want to see all the happy dancing in Freeperland, but here you go anyway. This is why this nomination has to be fought. They know how important this shot across the bow is.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"IMHO, if Roberts and Alito (or anyone in the Scalia mold) is all we get from W serving as president, then he will have done us proud."

"This guy is on the most liberal appeal courts in Jersey. He has hasn't drifted left even being on that on that court .....WOO HOO!"


"SHOCKING. STUNNING. Fabulous, Mr. President."

"FOX news says confirmation will be a "bloodbath" and "cataclysmic". I can hardly wait for comments by Reid, Schumer, Kennedy & Leahy - the four stooges!"

"YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!...........This is what the GANG OF 7 RENEGADES never wanted... the spot-light is on the SENATE! - Let's the games begin :)"

"Catholics dominate SC. All the Evangelicals dissed."

"I cannot believe people in here care that he is Catholic. I'd expect that to be from liberals who want Muslims and atheists. You really can't please everyone, even with a great nominee."

"On Fox it's already started: "The President has pandered to the most extreme wing of his political party..blah, blah, blah""

"Talking about the Gang of Fourteen now on Fox & Friends... Can we count on the RINOs among us when the chips are down?"

"I am elated that the Miers-supporters who preditced the nomination of Gonzales were WRONG!"

"This pick of Alito is orders of magnitude better than the pick of Miers. NOW the country will have the right debate - that is, if the GOP is up to the task of expressing why a conservative jurist is NOT an issues advocate. A conservative Court only returns the issue to the people, it does not "finally decide" the issue for them."

"Let's see how many bridges the pundits are willing to burn. I'd guess they finally jump on the bandwagon. If not, here is where I think they'll complain. Coulter will say that Bush should have consulted her first and that candidate X was a better choice. Frum will be ticked that Alito is opposed to first trimester abortions (Canuck Frum is pro-abort). Krauthammer will moan and groan about Alito's views on stem cells."

"The GOP has to take control of framing the debate. THe DEMs have heretofor been successful at tframing the debate as issues advocacy. The GOP needs to redirect that, so that the people realize the COurt is going to be LESS likely to make decisions relating to social structure, so that the people can make social issue decisions, working through their legislatures."

"Good, I hope for a miracle on Alito and it goes to a vote and passes, even if by only 51-50. Or, we may just well see Borking #2."

"This is one the Demodogs have mentioned filibuster...I wonder how many "conservatives" will join them, after having their blood dinner with Miers."

"Too conservative? Nobody can be too rich or too thin. Or too conservative. I LIKE to see the veins pop out on Chuck Schumer's temples. Of course, no matter who George W. Bush may have nominated, Chuck's response would have been exactly the same."

"Way to go Pres Bush! If Scalito is unacceptable to the Dems he is automatically qualified, let the war begin and lets go to the mattresses."

"BRING IT ON!!! This is the kind of shot in the arm the GOP needs right now."

"I STRONGLY suggest we start emailing all seven of those 'stinkin... sniveling... RINO's who always 'sh_t-their-pants' in the Senate. Tell them you'll donate to ANY candidate who runs against them if they fail again to find their spines!"

This president is completely, utterly base, spitting on Rosa Parks's casket with this bit of business:
Wasting no time, the White House arranged for Alito to go to the Capitol after the announcement.The schedule called for Senate Majority Leader Bill First to greet him and accompany the nominee to the Capitol Rotunda to go to the coffin of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
And if you're looking for a strong reaction from Democrats, look at the weak pablum from Harry Reid.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he was disappointed with the pick and that the Senate, which must confirm the pick, will now have to determine whether Alito is "too radical for the American people."

"I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers," Reid said.
You can contact your Senators here.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Will Cheney step aside?

by Pam

"He's lost some of his confidence in the three people he listens to the most. The problem is that the President doesn't want to make changes."
-- unnamed White House adviser in Time article
The Chimp is pissed at Rove, Andrew Card, and Darth these days. With a Libby trial, it's almost certain the VP will be called to the stand, and the beans will be spilled on the lies and deception regarding the run-up to the Iraq war. Drudge blares on front page: "Prosecutor plans on calling Cheney as witness in open court; executive privilege fight looms." What's a Chimperor to do?

The prospect of Cheney stepping down to "remove" the noise distracting the White House could be a viable option, given that "unnamed sources" speaking to Time this week are squawking about the falling out between the Chimp and Darth. (via Raw Story):
As for Cheney, who retained Libby as the scandal unfolded and did not follow the advice of some to move him out five months ago, his relationship with Bush has suffered "a strain, not a rupture," says a presidential adviser. That much was clear when the White House let it be known that Card had called Cheney to inform him of the choice of Miers. In earlier times, he would have been intimately involved in such a decision.

Cheney's standing has suffered mainly because Libby emerges as such a liability. Fitzgerald threw the book at him not for anything he said to reporters but for what he said to the FBI and the grand jury. The indictments suggest that the aide whose aim was to spin the war might have tried to spin the prosecutor. "Lying was a remarkable act of stupidity on Libby's part," says Richard Nixon's former White House counsel John Dean. "He's old enough to know better. He watched Watergate and Iran-contra. To try to pull the leg of the grand jury was really quite remarkable."

Heck, you know there must be talk about big shifts on the Cheney front behind closed doors if his homo daughter is getting the heck out of Dodge, landing a cushy deal at same-sex spousal friendly AOL last week. Daddy's in trouble and it makes sense for her to escape to the private sector now.

The theory that Cheney could vacate the VP chair is not just whispers in back rooms, Christine Todd Whitman puts forth the option in today's NYT article, In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role:
Christie Whitman, the president's former E.P.A. administrator and a longtime Bush family friend who was critical of the White House and the Republican right wing in a recent book, said that she did not expect the president's personal relationship with Mr. Cheney to change. Nonetheless, Ms. Whitman said she believed that if more information about Mr. Cheney's involvement in the leak case became public, "and if it keeps hanging around and getting close to the vice president, he might step aside - but that's an extreme case."
Plus, Cheney's got a good fig leaf for stepping down. He's looking pretty death's door ill these days, and NY Congressman Charlie Rangel hasn't held back, saying Darth's not up to the job anymore.

"Sometimes I don't even think Cheney is awake enough to know what's going on," Rangel (D-Harlem) said during an interview on New York 1 last night. "[Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld is the guy in Washington to watch. He's running the country," Rangel added.

"He's a sick man, you know," Rangel said of Cheney, prompting host Davidson Golden to point out that the vice president suffers from heart disease. Rangel retorted, "He's got heart disease, but the disease is not restricted just to that part of his body. He grunts a lot, so you never really know what he's thinking." Asked whether he thinks Cheney is healthy enough to do the job, Rangel said, "Why do you think people are spending so much time praying for President Bush's health?
After all, how long can he hang around and try to clean up the "dry" drunk Chimperor's mess without having a fifth or sixth heart attack? Then again, maybe Darth's ticker has already been acting up.

In June, Arianna Huffington was in Vail, Colorado when the VP came into town, and noted that Dick Cheney was wheeled into the hospital, allegedly for his bum knee, but was serviced in the cardiac unit...hmmm. Managed care is getting mighty confusing, huh?

Why is the White House still insisting that the only health issue Vice President Cheney dealt with today is an old football injury to his knee, visiting renowned orthopedist Dr. Richard Steadman? At the Vail Valley Institute dinner tonight, I kept asking what those in the know here knew. Little by little, here is the story I pieced together: After the Secret Service secured the Vail Valley Medical Center, including the parking lot, the Vice President arrived under his own power and checked in at the orthopedic center under the name “Dr. Hoffman”. He was immediately whisked to the adjacent cardiac unit, suffering from what was described to me as “an angina attack”. The security was so high that a Secret Service agent wouldn’t let an ER nurse out of the bathroom that she had gone into just before the Veep arrived. “Get back in there,” the agent told her. Confounded, she called her husband on her cell phone, telling him “something big” was going on. And indeed it was… but you wouldn’t know it from the White House. It appears that not only doesn’t the public deserve to know what is really going on in Iraq (“last throes”?) we don’t deserve to know what is going on with our Vice President’s health.
The man's only had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties, surgery to remove blood clots behind each of his knees and an operation to implant a special pacemaker in his chest. It's perfect cover -- Cheney can step aside, saying it's time to smell the roses, testify a little and retire with his defibrillator intact and "unused."

Also see:
* Indictment Dissected: Cheney’s Role (Think Progress)
* "Bush losing faith in Cheney, top aides"
* "Calls for White House shakeup focus on Karl Rove"

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.


by Shakespeare's Sister

Great line from the always-clever Tina Fey during SNL’s Weekend Update last night, after noting that support of Bush (on some issue—the Iraq War?) is divided: “66% do not support the president; 34% think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church.”

Bizarro Kristof; Same Old Bush and Cheney

by Shakespeare's Sister

The only explanation I have for the NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof launching into a tirade which culminated in a recommendation of the vice president’s resignation should he continue his evasive silence, is that a day before Halloween, the evil spirit of a traitorous liberal has taken residence inside the normally empty space in his skull cavity and assumed control of his being.

Since Mr. Libby is joined at the hip to Mr. Cheney, it's reasonable to ask: What did Mr. Cheney know and when did he know it? Did the vice president have any grasp of the criminal behavior allegedly happening in his office? We shouldn't assume the worst, but Mr. Cheney needs to give us a full account. Instead, Mr. Cheney said in a written statement: "Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding."]

Balderdash. If Mr. Cheney can't address the questions about his conduct, if he can't be forthcoming about the activities in his office that gave rise to the investigation, then he should resign. And if he won't resign, Mr. Bush should demand his resignation.
Egad! Spooky.

Meanwhile, appearing on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Sen. Harry Reid noted that Bush and Cheney chose to laud Libby’s dedication. (“Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the Vice President and me through extraordinary times in our nation's history.” – Bush; “Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.” – Cheney.) Neither took the opportunity to register a modicum of anger, frustration, or disappointment with Libby, should the charges prove to be true. I imagine that’s because they already know they’re true—and don’t bloody care, just like they didn’t care about preventing three-quarters of a million dollars of taxpayer money from being spent on an investigation into something to which they could have provided an answer two years ago. These apathies should be of particular concern to American voters, but since the media has seemed reluctant to clearly acknowledge them, perhaps it hasn’t been given due consideration.

Then again, if there’s one success the Bush administration has had, it’s solidifying the cynical and too-popular notion that the government is irreversibly corrupt, so no one can be bothered to be shocked anymore. Quite a legacy that is—the killers of hope that goodness and governance are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

(Crossposted at Ezra's place and Shakespeare's Sister.)

From the Friday News Hole Files

by Shakespeare's Sister

Even on a regular Friday, this story may well have been missed, but particularly on Fitzmas Day, when there seemed to be no other news at all, it had no chance of being acknowledged, despite its importance as well as the irony that bad news for the White House is undoubtedly what prompted it. The story? The Federal Marriage Amendment has been resurrected.

And why wouldn’t it be? A new strategy memo issued by Carville and Greenberg notes that public confidence in the Republicans has collapsed, and with many of their most prominent members currently under investigation and/or indictment, it’s time for the GOP machine to kick the old hate-mongering mechanism into high gear. Sure, we may be criminals, but at least we’re not gay!

And what coincidental timing. The Senate Sub-Committee on the Judiciary will meet about the FMA on Nov. 2 to hold a vote, and then send it on to the full committee, with the hope of its supporters that it will come to a full vote in both Houses of Congress just before the 2006 mid-terms. So once again, we face an election cycle where the GOP tries to hide its heinous agenda and resolute incompetence behind the exploitation of homobigotry. And they say the Democrats have no new ideas?

With the possibility that they may be successful in making this an issue yet again, the Dems need to stop punting; semantic contortions about civil unions versus marriage are both unnecessary and unproductive. It’s time for a firm, simply stated position on the right of equality for all Americans, which should be about the least controversial position one could imagine.

Two days ago, the actor George Takei, most famously known for his role in Star Trek, came out. A Japenese-American, who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, likened discrimination against the LGBT community to racial segregation, and noted, “It's against basic decency and what American values stand for.” There’s something deeply touching to me about a man who spent four years of his childhood exposed to the ugliness of an internment camp and experienced a lifetime of bias because of his sexuality being more in touch with the notions of basic decency and genuine American values than many Americans , including those at the highest levels of government. Prejudice against gays is against basic decency and what American values stand for. Such a simple truth. Are the Democrats finally ready to say the same?

(Crossposted at Ezra's place and Shakespeare's Sister.)

WingNutDaily columnist on Halloween

by Pam

Photo enhancement by Mike Tidmus. See schoolmarm Linda here.
Halloween marks and highlights the forces of darkness. It's a showcase for mediums, fortune-telling, occult beliefs, to become more and more mysteriously appealing to uninformed children, all whilst they are surrounded in today's America by the lure of "magick." We're not in Kansas anymore. It's 21st-century America, where Christian parents lovingly hand their kids novels where the child hero is tutored in witchcraft. Hello?
-- Linda Harvey, of Mission[ary Position] America
Mike Tidmus, a blogger and frequent contributor of some seriously hysterical graphic images to my pad, sent me the above graphic of earlier in the week, saying "I have a feeling you might need this. I just couldn't stand looking at her." I told him that the graphic was perfect, because it was only a matter of time before she opened her pie-hole again and uttered something completely absurd and deserving of the image above.

Of course I was right. Queen of all things good for children in Mission[ary Position] America, Linda Harvey, has written another WingNutDaily column, this time on the evils of Halloween -- and the damnation it foists on our youth and the family. Satan is everywhere.

I do love the twisted gyrations Linda goes through to explain away that the "paganism" and commercialism surrounding Christmas and Easter.
Certainly not every child who goes trick-or-treating understands that it's the highest "holy" day of celebration for those immersed in the occult. But unless their parents are living under a rock, they can't have missed the wild popularity of "Harry Potter" and its many off-shoots. Only the brain-dead can fail to perceive that supernatural themes have eclipsed almost every other genre in youth media. The gatekeepers are not watching, don't get it, or don't care. It's almost as if Satan had some real power! The results portend spiritual trouble for this generation of biblically-illiterate kids. And so, we send them out in today's climate of supernatural evil's immense popularity, to celebrate it?

...Parents who claim to be Christian, who claim to love God and be followers of Jesus Christ, must not read their Bibles either. Don't they remember the clear admonitions against sorcery, witchcraft, all the forces of darkness? (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Samuel 15:23; Acts 19:19; Galatians 5:19-20) Or do they think this stuff is a joke?

...And those who say that, if we sacrifice Halloween, we'd have to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter, haven't thought this through. Yes, there were originally pagan holidays near Christmas and Easter, but Christ's birth and resurrection have really re-claimed both of these, despite the commercialization. Worldwide, people know what both these holidays are about.

God has left Halloween untouched. There is no significant Christian spiritual or historical event that occurs near Oct. 31. I think that might be deliberate by the Almighty, as a test. There is no "gospel" message in Halloween. It's a vacuum, and into vacuums rush all the demons of deception.
This goes on and on. I think I want to send Linda to a Hell House for reinforcement of the traditional values espoused on the holiday that she's missing out on.

More on Linda: Homosexual Activists Suspected of Pulling Students' Strings in GSA Lawsuit

More Halloweeny posts:
* I'm not sh*tting you, Halloween edition
* Harry Potter, faggotry and the comic book salvation

Daddy Dobson's legal goons pick on MCC

by Pam

"Well, it's a Goliath versus David situation. As a relatively small Christian denomination, we don't have the financial resources to go up against one of the largest Right Wing organizations in existence, and quite frankly, we wouldn't want to invest our funds to fight them. We'd rather put those monies into our ministry programs that provide faith and hope for people."
-- Reverend Nancy L. Wilson, presiding bishop of the Metropolitan Community Churches, on legal threats from Dobson's Focus on the Family
The Metropolitan Community Church is under fire from the legal dogs for James Dobson's Focus on the Family because of a similarly named program of the MCC that ministers to people with AIDS, deals with infant mortality issues and performs outreach to the GLBT community.

Daddy Dobson is more concerned about confusion over whether this program is affiliated with his organization than actually trying to do something positive in the community. As if anyone would mistake an MCC program for anything affiliated with his wingnut organization. What a f*cking pig. (
In a ceremony marked by tears of joy, a Florida minister was installed Saturday as the new Presiding Bishop of the Metropolitan Community Churches, but the just hours before the service began a Conservative Christian group threatened to take the Church to court.

Washington's National Cathedral was filled with worshipers as the Reverend Nancy L. Wilson was installed in her new role as leader of the world's largest predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christian denomination. Wilson succeeds veteran human rights activist, the Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry.

During the ceremony Wilson unveiled a 10-year international program of social and spiritual transformation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered.

...But, it has raised the hackles of Focus on the Family, a right wing Christian political organization often at the forefront in battles against LGBT civil rights. FOC objected to the name the MCC program was using: "Focus on the Human Family".
Maybe Dobson's right -- his sheeple are too stupid to be able to tell the difference between a gay-affirming program and his hate machine. I'm glad he's acknowledging the fact that most of his followers are knuckle-draggers. (UKGayNews, via PageOneQ):
"Even though many of our views are diametrically opposed, apparently Dobson's organization feels the name of Metropolitan Community Church's new campaign could create confusion for people," said the Reverend Wilson.

... "It's a bit puzzling," admitted Rev. Wilson. "The ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches is so different from that of James Dobson. His group tends to focus on one kind of family, what they often mistakenly call the 'traditional family'.

"In Metropolitan Community Churches, we believe that God's people find many ways to create family, and that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families."

..."Dobson's group is certainly within their rights to defend their trademark as they see fit," she said. "They may be able to stop the name of our program, but they can't stop our ministry or our commitment to all members of the human family, especially those that have experienced rejection by other faith communities."
As a result of the bullying, the MCC has Metropolitan Community Churches will remove the "Focus on the Human Family" name from its website.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wisconsin's junior-league 'Fred Phelps' spreads anti-gay pamphlets in Illinois

by Pam

Every year, this nation tolerates and embraces new abominations. This year, the perversion being mainstreamed is "same-sex marriage." But God created and instituted marriage, not man. Sodomite couplings never have been and never will be marriage. Today, I want to share five reasons why so-called same-sex marriage stirs up the wrath of God and will bring even more judgment on our land.
-- Ralph Ovadal, pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, in one of his many sermons
This bonehead is spreading the word -- it's obviously his right to do so. However, folks need to know about the kind of bile this alleged Christian pastor from Wisconsin, Ralph Ovadal, is delivering door to door in Freeport, Illinois (and mailing out all over the country). He sounds like a Fred Phelps wannabe without the budget to travel.

His church, Pilgrims Covenant, according to its web site is "an independent, unlicensed church which is fundamental in doctrine. We believe that the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, was verbally inspired and has been infallibly preserved by God. We believe that in the English language, God has preserved His Word through the King James Bible." We take literally our Lord's command to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations." We reject anti-nomianism and the ecumenical movement." There you have it. (CBS2 Chicago):
A Wisconsin pastor who says he is on a crusade against homosexual lifestyles has peppered neighborhoods in Freeport with pamphlets, and some residents who found them on their property are angry.

Anti-gay pamphlets were deposited at a number of Freeport homes last week -- some to the doors of homosexuals who believe they were being targeted. The pamphlets including anti-gay biblical references were written by Pastor Ralph Ovadal of Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe, Wisconsin.

The pamphlet, titled "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality," cites biblical references calling homosexual acts filthy, wicked and unlawful.
I had to check out this church's web site, and I was not disappointed by the kind of lunacy up there. A sampling.
For the past several decades, the homosexual movement has engaged in a massive public relations campaign aimed at demonizing anyone who dares to suggest that American citizens should have a right to discriminate--to use good judgment--when dealing with persons involved in homosexual activity. That campaign has borne bitter fruit.

Open homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers, and transgenders now serve as legislators, judges, policemen, medical technicians, food service workers, teachers, and adopters of children. This is a tragic situation given the fact that the homosexual community is the source of a greatly disproportionate amount of violence, sexual assault, and disease; and it brings the judgment of God upon our land.
I wasn't kidding when I said this was low-rent Westboro Baptist Church stuff:

Pilgrims Covenant Church members at a Monroe Gospel Witness, Monroe, Wisconsin, September 3, 2005.

But then you read the unhinged sh*t like this and you can't help wondering how much hatred is stowed up in this man. It's disgusting and sickening:
The homosexual life is a violent one. Many common homosexual acts themselves do violence to the body. Beyond that, sado-masochism, the intentional infliction of pain for perverse sexual gratification, is very popular in the homosexual community. And even the homosexuals have begun to admit that there is a disproportionate amount of “domestic violence” in their communities, violence directed inward.

Unfortunately, the homosexual community also projects violence outward, as any dispassionate study of history and current events reveals. For instance, considering the small percentage of the world’s population which claims to be homosexual at any given time, the incidence of members of that community committing rape culminating in murder is shocking!
If you want to have some fun, you can contact the church via its web form.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Inflammatory Opinion:
The Color of Whitewash

by Dark Wraith

On July 14, 2003, in "Mission to Niger," journalist Robert Novak wrote, "Valerie Plame... is [a Central Intelligence] Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." Mr. Novak continued, "Two senior [Bush] administration officials told me..."

That was 837 days ago.

On December 30, 2003, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced at a news conference that he had recused himself from the Department of Justice investigation of who in the Bush Administration disclosed the identity of Ms. Plame. Mr. Ashcroft appointed then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Comey as acting Attorney General with respect to the investigation. In the same news conference, Mr. Comey announced that Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, would serve as special prosecutor for the investigation.

That was 668 days ago.

Today, October 28, 2005, Mr. Fitzgerald announced that the grand jury considering possible wrongdoing in the matter of the outing of Valerie had issued a five-count indictment against Vice President Richard Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The indictment comprises a single count of obstruction of justice and two counts each of perjury and of making false statements.

In other words, this indictment has nothing to do with possible crimes committed in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity; instead, this indictment is entirely about directly and by omissions lying to a federal prosecutor and to a grand jury. This indictment clearly signals that lying to the American people, lying to the Congress, lying to the United Nations, lying to the entire world is irrelevant: just don't lie to Mr. Fitzgerald.

If it is now clear to the grand jury that Mr. Libby lied, then it is ipso facto the case that the truth is known; otherwise, no case would exist against Mr. Libby. That the truth is known, and yet no indictments arising from that truth have been issued, speaks volumes. At an unknown cost—likely in the millions of dollars—a federal prosecutor has threatened and jailed people, has obliterated the last vestiges of journalistic source confidentiality, has gone to at least one foreign country to obtain an unpublished report on the Niger forgery, and has otherwise burned 668 days of investigative power by the largest justice department on the planet to come up with a stunning prize: a five-count indictment against a cockroach who allegedly lied to him, an allegation at least to some extent supported by another Administration shill posing as a reporter who, in the end, likely saved herself from a criminal charge by rolling over on the cockroach.

And now, as if to throw out faint hope to those who had expected more—far, far more—the prosecutor intones to the public, "It's not over"; but in the very next breath he says, "[T]he substantial bulk of the work of this investigation is concluded."

In other words, it is over, save for the trial, the appeals, and the punditry.

In other words, the future will look something like this. The United States will continue to slog in a Middle East quagmire of its own making. Thousands of additional soldiers will be butchered by roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire. Thousands of additional Iraqis will die at the hands of insurgents and coalition troops, and hundreds of thousands more will suffer deprivations because we created a war cut from the whole cloth of cynical lies.

We shall continue to capture foreign men in dark alleys, strip them naked, jam sedative-laced suppositories into them, and then fly them to countries where they will be tortured by whatever manner of modern or ancient abomination the country of rendition favors.

We shall continue to cuddle beside the other monstrosity of empire on the planet, China, ruled as it is by elderly, corrupt, Communist murderers whose latter half of the 20th Century is a horror story legacy of genocide on tens of millions of its own people.

We shall continue within our own borders to inform women that the state has compelling interest in their fetuses and, therefore, in their private bodies.

We shall continue to incarcerate millions to show how tough we are on crimes that are overwhelmingly generated by the poverty we sneer at.

We shall continue to rip open wildnernesses for trees for our oversized homes and for oil for our petroleum-swilling engines of modernity and convenience.

We shall continue to mortgage the nation, recklessly and wildly beyond any semblance of sanity, to other nations of the world just so we can have cheap products because our labor force is and has been losing purchasing power for a generation.

We shall continue to gut the treasury of the republic, handing it out to corporations that have eternal life but no soul to wrest good from the howl of insatiable greed.

We shall continue to suffer a spineless opposition without even the guts to stand up and walk out of the charade that has become the federal legislature.

We shall continue to crank out from our elementary and high schools tens of millions of kids so ignorant that they are vulnerable to any mythology that poses as fact and any policy whose historical parallels in disaster can be hidden.

We shall continue to put up little cameras on every corner of America, just in case someone's committing an illegal act, just in case someone needs to be reminded that being left alone is simply not an option when safety is so very much more important.

We shall continue to pit ourselves one against the other with our pet peeves, our religious pretensions, our insistence that our own sensitivities should be everyone's sensitivities, and our conviction that ours are the noble demands upon others for compliance.

We shall continue an Administration whose leader failed to protect us from a small band of ragged thugs, an Administration whose leader then preened himself on the very rubble his miserable incompetence had allowed to happen.

Take note of the edifying commercial over on the little, tiny screen: a cockroach is getting squashed. But don't forget: on the big, huge screen front and center is the feature presentation.

The 21st Century will now continue.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.

Press Conference

by Shakespeare's Sister

Okay, I just watched most of Fitzy’s press conference (couldn’t liveblog it, because my TV’s upstairs and my computer’s downstairs). Here are my two big impressions:

1. Anyone who thinks they have the inside track on whether this thing is over or just getting started is nuts. Fitzy says mostly over, but at the same time, Official A remains unnamed. We may not know for awhile whether these are the only indictments or not. “Mostly over” in the context of 24 solid months of investigations may or may not be very different than “mostly over” in the context of “We want answers yesterday!”

2. Fitzy fucking rules. He made it perfectly clear that these charges are extremely serious. When some clever reporter asked him about the GOP talking points about these being “technical” charges, he came out swinging: “I’ll be blunt—that talking point won’t fly… The truth is the engine of our justice system… It is a very, very serious matter that no one should take lightly… These charges vindicate a serious breach of the public trust.”

Suck it, spinners.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Read the indictments...

by Shakespeare's Sister

2 Perjury
2 Making false statements
1 Obstruction of Justice

UPDATE: Read the prosecutor's statement here. It's really good.

Also, great juxtaposition of sub-heads at MSNBC:

And Raw Story says: "Bolton eyed as indictment reveals State Dept aided Libby; Sources confirm State Dept., NSC officials made deal with Fitzgerald... Soon..."

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Movie Times

by Shakespeare's Sister

There’s a big debate going on in “Hollywood” about reducing the wait time between big screen releases and DVD releases of movies. The distance between the two keeps getting shorter and shorter, and some moviemakers are advocating doing away with it altogether. Steven Soderbergh, for example, is a supporter of eliminating the window during which movies can be seen only in theaters.

M. Night Shyamalan, on the other hand, has a big problem with the possibility and is warning that it could mean the end of theaters.

Speaking at the annual ShowEast convention in Orlando, Fla., M. Night Shyamalan… [warned it] will not only destroy the exhibition industry… but it will also diminish the artistic integrity of moviemaking.

"Art is the ability to convey that we are not alone," Shyamalan told the gathering of more than 800 theater operators and suppliers at the convention's closing night dinner. "When I sit down next to you in a movie theater, we get to share each other's point of view. We become part of a collective soul. That's the magic in the movies."

Then he added: "If this thing happens, you know the majority of your theaters are closing. It's going to crush you guys."

…Shyamalan said his speech at ShowEast was intended to address what he believes has been sadly missing from the debate: what he called "the human factor" of the moviegoing experience. Simply put, he said, part of what makes movies an art form is that they are viewed on a big screen with a big audience.
I understand and sympathize with what Shyamalan is saying, and I do think there are certain films that are better on the big screen (although, ironically, I don’t count Shyamalan’s films among them). Films like Lord of the Rings or The Bourne Identity or Star Wars are more fun when you see them the first time in the theater. Or, at least they used to be.

Now, movie-going is routinely an unenjoyable experience, and it’s specifically because of “the human factor” that Shyamalan references, which rarely entails becoming part of a collective soul but instead becoming part of a hideous, throbbing organism that seeks to destroy its own parts through unmitigated rudeness. I’ve had the kind of movie-going experience that Shyamalan describes, but they are too few and far between these days.

Years ago, we started choosing which films we would see based on what was playing at the theaters that seemed to have the lowest irritation factor. It wasn’t as much a problem for smaller art films, but if you want to see something even remotely mainstream, or, god forbid, a blockbuster, even waiting until the midnight shows isn’t a guarantee of peace and quiet, since apparently babysitters don’t exist anymore.

And while I feel for filmmakers like Shyamalan, I have no sympathy whatsoever for movie theaters, because it’s their fault. They used to have a thing called ushers, who would make sure people kept quiet, and escort people in and out as needed. Now, ushers no longer exist, so audience members are left to risk getting into it with other patrons by shooshing them themselves, or grind their teeth and try to ignore it, all while sitting in a theater that’s no longer completely dark—because ushers have been replaced by little lights all over the blasted place.

Money concerns, they say. I say, then keep the theater closed during the day. Many of them have done away with matinee pricing except for the very first showing of the day, so unless you want to go to a show at noon, you’ve got to pay full price, anyway. I’d happily switch to having fewer movie times from which to choose if I were guaranteed a pleasant experience when I went. As it is, I hardly ever go to the movies anymore, and when even this movie fiend has been driven home, willing to wait for the DVD, that’s really saying something.

If you want me back in the theater, then bring back ushers. Make the theaters dark again. Quit letting kids into R-rated movies. Prevent theater hopping so I don’t end up with six chattering teens behind me halfway through the film. And stop making me pay to watch ten commercials at a volume that makes me cringe. Otherwise, I’m with Soderbergh.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Daddy Dobson's glad Harriet's outta there

by Pam

Whatever happened to Daddy Dobson's faith in this choice of Miers? After all, it was just last week that he was saying "I believe in trusting this president at this time," and that if he was wrong about the nomination, he would come before the microphone and "repent." I think I hear crickets chirping...
Focus on the Family Action founder and chairman Dr. James C. Dobson issued the following statement today in response to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw her name from consideration:

"I believe the president has made a wise decision in accepting Harriet Miers' withdrawal as a nominee to the Supreme Court.

"In recent days I have grown increasingly concerned about her conservative credentials, and I was dismayed to learn this week about her speech in 1993, in which she sounded pro-abortion themes, and expressed so much praise for left-wing feminist leaders.

"When the president announced this nominee, I expressed my tentative support, based on what I was able to discover about her. But I also said I would await the hearings to learn more about her judicial philosophy. Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy. Thankfully, that difficult evaluation is no longer necessary."

Mr. Sulu comes out

by Pam

"The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."
-- George Takei, in Frontiers magazine
I thought that he was "family", but it's gratifying to see a Hollywood figure fling open the closet door as a statement of activism. As he notes below, he's been out to those that know him, but it's another matter to be out to fans and the general public.
Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek," came out as homosexual in the current issue of Frontiers, a biweekly Los Angeles magazine covering the gay and lesbian community.

Takei told The Associated Press on Thursday that his new onstage role as psychologist Martin Dysart in "Equus," helped inspire him to publicly discuss his sexuality.

...The current social and political climate also motivated Takei's disclosure, he said...The 68-year-old actor said he considers himself as "having been out for quite some time." Takei and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling shameful about his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation. "It's against basic decency and what American values stand for," he said.
I was a big fan of Star Trek:The Next Generation, and always wondered at that time why there were no gay characters on the program. In fact, I can think of only a handful of episodes that dealt with same-sex relationships at all, which is kind of sad. (The series ran from 1987-1994).

A good site on gay characters (or lack thereof) on the entire Trek series: Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises. A snippet on TNG:
Star Trek is notorious for its tentative treatment of sexuality, most notably in two episodes, "The Host" and "The Outcast," which operate in a twilight realm in which sexuality can only be hinted at, and in an ambiguous fashion at that. In "The Outcast," a member of an androgynous society falls in love with the male first officer and declares her desire to adopt a female gender identity; ultimately she is brainwashed by her own people into an acceptance of their enforced androgyny. This episode could be read, of course, as a reverse allegory of discrimination against gays and lesbians, but the fact that it is reversed (the character's rebellion consists of affirming heterosexuality) testifies to how careful Star Trek's creators are to maintain a level of deniability.

In addition, the androgynous species, presumably representative of gays and lesbians, turn out to be the bad guys, enforcing their "deviant" sexuality by means of brainwashing. In "The Host," the female chief medical officer falls in love with an apparent male, a member of a species known as the Trill, who is the host of a symbiont, a parasitical creature that coexists with willing humanoid hosts. When the symbiont is implanted into a female body, Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is unable to accept her lover. Again, this episode disappointed gay and lesbian fans in its suggestion that Crusher (frequently featured in lesbian slash stories) would be so restricted by her heterosexuality. As Henry Jenkins notes, these episodes "can be seen as similar plays with connotation, often threatened with being swamped by some larger, more 'universal' concern" than gender and sexuality.


by Shakespeare's Sister

For something truly disgusting (and I don't just mean the picture), go see Fix.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Tyrannosaurus Sex

by Shakespeare's Sister

Shaker Angelos forwards this article from Slate, which reports more middle-aged male hand-wringing at the woeful state of modern women…from Harvard, no less.

Last week, Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield told students that the sexual revolution may not have served the best interests of young women. Instead, it had merely "lower[ed]" us to the crass level of men, who pursue sex thoughtlessly and without hopes of marriage. In a talk titled "Feminism and the Autonomy of Women," he suggested that men who grow used to "free samples" in the bedroom are going to leave women high-and-dry when it comes to committed relationships. And then he revealed his insights into the erotic: "[Today's] women play the men's game, which they are bound to lose. Without modesty, there is no romance—it isn't so attractive or so erotic," said the professor. The solution to the problem, clearly, was for women to start saying no a little more often.


[I]t is curious to watch middle-aged male traditionalists trying to keep up. If they have not quite absorbed the notion that women need to have a voice in shaping their own sexual identity, they acknowledge that it is no longer permissible, or at any rate very popular, simply to pronounce that premarital sex is wrong. Thus they cast the sexual revolution as something that makes women unhappy…

There's something slippery about the "sex will make you unhappy" position. It relies on a retrograde notion of female vulnerability while pretending to take women's side.
It’s patriarchal, in it’s most literal definition—fatherly counsel, bestowed upon a generation of younger women, whose own fathers, presumably, were so scarred by the feminist movement that they’ve been rendered incapable of advising their daughters themselves. Lucky for those poor, pathetic wretches, we’ve got men like Professor Mansfield, a qualified women’s expert by nature of his expertise in government, to intervene in their stead.


The article itself does a fine job of explaining exactly why the professor’s recommendations are bunk, from both a philosophical and evidentiary perspective, so I won’t rehash that here. It strikes me, however, that women seem to be getting all kinds of advice lately from “the experts” on How to Get a Man. Don’t be funny; don’t be sexy. But, as has been well established in the comments threads here, smart, funny, sexy men prefer smart, funny, sexy women, so if a woman who is all those things indeed wants to “get a man,” she’s probably not going to have to fundamentally alter herself to do it. And not only that—she’s going to choose a man who loves and values her specifically for those reasons. Not a man, say, like Professor Mansfield.

Could it be that these middle-aged experts are just a dying breed who see issuing dictates to young women from their bully pulpits as the only glimmer of hope to stave off their being rendered extinct through natural selection? Hmm. Maybe this is evidence of intelligent design after all.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

And this is why...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...Hillary will NOT get my vote.

From Arianna Huffington - the entire post is here - but this snippet is telling...

The Democrats Blow It On Iraq… Again!

With Plamegate dominating the day, the table is set for the Democratic Party to seize the moment. The scandal has reignited a national debate about the White House lies and deceptions that led us to war in Iraq, public support for the president’s handling of the war has hit an all-time low, and the 2,000th soldier killed in action has put the human cost of the war back on page one.

So how have the Democrats reacted?

You be the grand jury (Warning: have some Xanax or other suitable anti-depressant handy):

Exhibit A is the story NPR ran on Tuesday in which Senate Dems were asked if they regretted their votes to authorize the war in Iraq. Ben Nelson was among those who defended his vote, saying, “You just don’t look back.” Really? Why not? Afraid you might actually learn something from your mistakes, Senator?

Hillary Clinton refused to even address the question, telling reporter David Welna, “I really can’t talk about this on the fly, it’s too important”. As with everything Hillary says and does these days, you could hear her and her consultants doing the math: Expressing regret = too soft for the Oval Office. Continuing to express support of the administration’s Iraq policy = risking being overtaken by the post-Plamegate reassessment of the war. (So would offering a glowing assessment of progress in Iraq, as Clinton did during her visit there in February when she explained that suicide bombers are “an indication” of the “failure” of the insurgency, and that much of Iraq was “functioning quite well”).

Clinton and Nelson should get a copy of the NPR segment and listen to the responses of Sens. Dodd, Feinstein, Rockefeller, and Harkin who all said they would not have voted the way they did. They should also listen to the speech John Kerry gave today in which he said that “knowing what we know now” he would not have voted to give the administration the authority to go to war.

Eww. If you can stomach it, go on to read Exhibit B...

And the end is too good not to share here. Arianna nails it: Hillary and Bush feel the same way about the war. Look:

Have Democratic leaders completely forgotten that we are at war? A war that’s going very badly? A war Plamegate has brought to the forefront of national consciousness? A war the majority of Americans now feel was a mistake?

Cindy Sheehan hasn’t.

She’s making it clear that “any candidate who supports the war should not receive our support”. Including Hillary Clinton, about whom she blogged: “I would love to support Hillary for president if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don’t think she can speak out against the occupation because she supports it.”

Sheehan and Clinton met last month to discuss the war. “She said she has to make sure our sons didn’t die in vain,” Sheehan said this week. “That is a totally Republican talking point.”

Indeed it is. During his speech at Bolling Air Force Base on Tuesday, President Bush said, “The best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission.”

Cindy Sheehan, who even Democrats won't acknowledge as a presence, won't take any sugar-coated crap from a wannabe career politician (H. Clinton) who has forgotten why she got so far in the first place (on the backs of the "evil feminists" who allowed her to succeed in law school, and be treated equally...John Roberts, you recall, doesn't think women should be lawyers)...

Karl's concubine wants off that nasty ride

by Pam

Karl's been porking lobbyist Karen Johnson, but she wants no more of it. Right: Karl measures up.

You just can't make this stuff up. Karl's mistress, lobbyist Karen Johnson is ready to boot him, seeing that he could be heading to a fitting for an orange jumpsuit soon. (Radar Magazine):
In July we reported on the very close relationship Johnson, a single, Austin-based lobbyist, has enjoyed with Rove since they met over a decade ago in Texas. But now that Rove’s White House tenure is looking increasingly shaky, friends are whispering that the forty-something lobbyist—who pulls in well over $1 million a year thanks to her administration connections—may be cooling toward the married presidential advisor.

"Everyone knows how close Karen is to Karl, but she’s sick of it," says a person familiar with the situation. Johnson’s disapproving family has long urged her to settle down with the improbably named Rhett Hard, a handsome ranch foreman whom Johnson has dated sporadically over the last few years. "Karen’s dream has always been to own a cattle ranch, and two years ago she bought Cinco de Mayo [the name of her Austin property] and hired Rhett to manage the place. They even joined the Cattleman’s Texas Longhorn Registry together."
Also see:
* Going below Rove's belt

Antiabortion, anti-woman, anti-sex

by Lanoire

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to a series of Generation Life (a pro-life, pro-chastity group) meetings recently as a mole.

The one thing that my experience there really drove home is this: the antiabortion movement is not simply antiabortion. It is anti-sex and anti-female.

I'm not saying that it is impossible for an antiabortion person to be non-sexist. I am saying that the movement itself has sexism so interwined with it that the two cannot be separated.

Generation Life, like the antiabortion movement as a whole, can when convenient paint itself as secular and gender-neutral. But scratch the surface and you can easily see that it's neither one. This is something to emphasize to friends who may be wishy-washy about abortion but who would be turned off by blatant sexism.

Case in point: we spent a great deal of time discussing promotional material and arguments and tactics not only against abortion but also for chastity. Here is a sample of a very popular brochure the GenLife people give out to all the "young leaders" they try to empower. The title of the brochure is "The New Sexual Revolution," and has hearts in pretty colors and lots of minority faces on the cover.

Firstly, there is a system of gender roles that always comes with this abstinence nonsense.

Chivalry is the frontline of chastity for men.


-Are leaders
-Protect women and children
-Understand that they are visually stimulated
-Don't treat women as sexual objects (i.e. pornography, masturbation)
-Are dignified, courteous, brave, and respectful

So we've learned about men. They need to understand that they're visually stimulated (women, on the other had, feel nothing when seeing a naked male chest, no sirree...) and that masturbating despite what logic would tell you constitutes "treating women as sexual objects." They're also told to be leaders.

What are real women like?

Modesty is the frontline of chastity for women.


-Are beautiful [their italics]
-Receive respect from men when they respect themselves first
-Cover their "Four B's": Back, Bottom (underwear and thongs), Breasts (bra) and Belly
-Wear clothes that are fitted enough to be feminine and loose enough to be a lady.

Got that, everyone? While real men are leaders, real women are beautiful. While men are told to be brave and protective and dignified, women are defined entirely in terms of what they're wearing. We're not allowed to wear tight tank tops, presumably. But neither are we allowed to be comfy in huge baggy sweatshirts because they're not "fitted enough to be feminine." We need to be pleasing--because we want to be "feminine," not man-hating dykes--but not too pleasing, because we wouldn't want to tempt good Christian men, now would we? Every single thing we do has to be understood in terms of its sexual effect on men.

But objectifying women is BAD. Really.

This is another problem with these pro-modesty people. While they claim to be against the objectification of women, they are in fact its most egregious perpetrators. Yes, it's objectifying women to say that they must dress in revealing clothes to arouse men. But it is equally objectifying to say that women must cover themselves in order to avoid arousing men. Both arguments say that women are first and foremost sexual objects and that they must always think of the sexual effect they are having on men. Both arguments say that the most important thing about a woman is men's sexual attraction to her.

As I said before, the antiabortion movement is also anti-sex. You'd think a movement that wants to discourage unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion would look for ways for people to satisfy sexual urges without risk of pregnancy, right? So they'd be all for masturbation, mutual and otherwise, and oral sex (both of which also carry negligible risk of STDs when used with condoms). They'd be giving out vibrators for free.

But no. Because they're not just antiabortion, they're anti-sex.

Setting a Record

by TheGreenKnight

Jonah Goldberg has just set a speed record for hitting Godwin's Law: he nails it on the front cover of a book! Yes, his forthcoming masterpiece, Liberal Fascism : The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton, may not name Hitler in the title, but check out the cover image:

Okay, Jonah, I'll explain this again.

The basic idea of liberalism is that in the natural order of things, people are more important than institutions. That's because institutions are artificial and people are not. If you're of a religious mind, say that people are God-created and institutions are people-created. But whatever your metaphysics, the core idea of liberalism is this: Institutions serve the people. We do not serve them.

By contrast, fascism is just the opposite of this. This fact was expressed thusly by Mussolini:
Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere.
The word itself derives from the Latin word fasces, which is one of these:

The fasces was a bundle of twigs wrapped around or attached to an axe; it was carried in front of the rulers of ancient Rome. Fascism was in essence Mussolini's declaration that his Italy would be the new Roman Empire. In practice, this meant such things as militarizing Italy's culture, concentrating all political authority in the executive, and turning the control of the nation's economy over to large manufacturers, particularly those that specialized in military equipment.

When the Nazis rose to power, they took all these basic modes of thought and behavior, and added the central doctrine of anti-Semitism. And they imprisoned or killed all who opposed them, particularly, in the early days, people on the left.

The central idea of fascism, you see, Jonah, is just the opposite of the central idea of liberalism. Under fascism, institutions, particularly state institutions, control people, not the other way around. Mussolini again:
The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.
So, it's not enough for the fascist to let people make their own moral decisions, to have their own spiritual experiences, to live their lives as they see fit. The fascist brooks no dissent. If, Jonah, the "liberal establishment" actually were fascist, you would not be allowed to publish this book. In fact, you'd be either in prison or dead.

(People on the left sometimes say that BushCo is fascist; the Green Knight doesn't agree with that either, and for the same reason.)

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My GOD - can this family not do ANYTHING right???

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Gov. Bush admits state underestimated demand for water, ice on South Florida staff & wires
Posted October 26 2005, 4:45 PM EDT

Gov. Jeb Bush admitted on Wednesday the state underestimated the demand for ice and water in southeast Florida and didn't funnel enough supplies to the area immediately after Hurricane Wilma roared through.

So, I guess the answer to my *rhetorical* question above would be, Read on:

It didn't work as well as it should have yesterday," said Gov. Jeb Bush, referring to Tuesday's long lines of frustrated residents, many of whom left distribution sites empty-handed.
"My expectation was that within 24 hours we'd have our points of distribution set up."

Well - you did have almost a WEEK to prepare. It was, after all, the strongest f*cking storm in history just a few days ago...when it was moving 3-5 MPH in Mexico, don't you think you could have done a little more advance prep for the strongest storm ever recorded???

Kind of reminiscent of when the entire country (and the world, for that matter) watched Katrina hit Florida, and then work its way up as a Cat 5/Cat4 storm toward NOLA, newscasters, newspapers, blogs, etc. all covering the obvious and impending disaster... and when the levees broke, FEMA/Bush/HSA scratching their as*es and saying "Gee whiz, we had NO IDEA the storm was bad."

"We didn't meet those expectations and I accept responsibility for that," [Bush] said.

Well, that is more than your brother the chimpy pres would do, I'll give you that. Not much consolation though for the mothers with babies waiting for safe water...

Meanwhile, Michael "Heckava Job, Brownie" Brown gets his $12K/month contract extended ... again.

What's wrong with this picture??

Ms. Julien (evacuated in Baltimore from Miami)

Get me some more of those black bucks

by Pam

Every so often, it seems like some sports coach or broadcaster has one of those blast-from-the-past brain farts of racism and stupidity that just boggles the mind. Let's call it a romantic notion of the big, black, fast buck that just mesmerizes some people, especially when it comes to sports.

The latest bit of reality-based sports analysis is from Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry. I've not heard of the guy, but apparently this isn't the first time he's gone off the deep end. He thinks his winning record is due to all the darkies and their innate physical -- perhaps even magical -- gifts.
Coming off a 48-10 loss Saturday to the Horned Frogs, DeBerry was quoted as saying at a Tuesday news conference: "It's very obvious to me the other day that the other team had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well.

"Their defense had 11 Afro-American kids on their team, and they were a very, very good defensive football team. That's exactly what I was talking about."

DeBerry mentioned Monday that the academy needed to recruit more minority athletes than its opponents.
Earlier entertaining implosions of this kind that I can recall spewed from the mouths of sportscaster Jimmy the Greek and former Dodger exec Al Campanis. These are two guys that famously said, on the air, unbelievable comments that they proceeded to compound with even more mind-blowing defenses in the same breath.
"(Blacks) may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager."
-- former Dodger general manager Al Campanis in 1987 on ABC's "Nightline"
I was watching Nightline when Campanis had his live meltdown. Poor Ted Koppel tried asking him eight different ways to get out of the hole, but it got worse each time. I was embarrassed for the guy.

I didn't see Jimmy the Greek's infamous comments live (his faux pas came about year after Campanis's), but I saw plenty of replays of it; here's a good summary -- it takes my breath away all over again:
Jimmy 'the Greek' Snyder remarked that black athletes already hold an advantage as basketball players because they have longer thighs than white athletes, their ancestors having been deliberately bred that way during slavery. 'This goes all the way to the Civil War,' Jimmy the Greek explained, 'when during the slave trading. . .the owner, the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so he could have a big black kid, you see.' Astonishing though it may seem, Snyder intended his remark as a compliment to black athletes. If black men became coaches, he said, there would be nothing left for white men to do in basketball at all. Embarrassed by such rank and open expression of racism in the most ignorant form, the network fired Jimmy the Greek from his job. Any fool, the network must have decided, should know that such things may be spoken in the privacy of the locker-room in an all-white club, but not into a microphone and before a camera.
To add a feminist twist on this phenomenon, earlier this year we had a nice turn by Formula One head Bernie Ecclestone, digs himself into a giant hole of the dumb*ss variety.

Danica Patrick came in fourth at the Indy 500; president and CEO of Formula One, billionaire Bernie Ecclestone (center) attempted to pay her a compliment, but he needs to use some of his pocket change to buy a brain.

Ecclestone's chauvinist nonsense to Danica Patrick, who he was allegedly congratulating on her performance at the Indianapolis 500:
Among the comments Ecclestone made in the interview and to Patrick was: "Women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances."

Said Patrick: "I just didn't make sense of it. I was surprised."

Ecclestone offered a clarification, blaming his English sense of humor.

"What I was trying to say was that I've been completely wrong about women race-car drivers," Ecclestone said. "I was so impressed with the way she had driven, because I always thought women couldn't drive and should be in the kitchen with the other domestic appliances. I was surprised at the job she did and I was happy for her."
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend

WNBA star comes out

by Pam

Swoopes poses with the WNBA Most Valuable Player award after receiving the honor for the third time during a news conference in Sacramento, CA.< (AP)
"Being gay has nothing to do with the three gold medals or the three MVPs or the four championships I've won. I'm still the same person. I'm Sheryl."
-- Sheryl Swoopes on coming out, concerned that this could jeopardize her status as a role model.
You know, it's sad when coming out for a sports figure is feared as more damaging than say, steroid abuse (and lying about it), but here's a sports figure that is willing to take the heat and be who she is in this political climate.

The subtle and not-so-subtle lesbian-bashing and loss of endorsements prevents many women from declaring that they are gay. But Sheryl Swoopes is tired of playing the hetero image game. Thank you. (AP):
Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes is opening up about being a lesbian, telling a magazine that she's "tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about."

Swoopes, honored last month as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player, told ESPN The Magazine for a story on newsstands Wednesday that she didn't always know she was gay and fears that coming out could jeopardize her status as a role model.

"Do I think I was born this way? No," Swoopes said. "And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are."

Swoopes, who was married and has an 8-year-old son, said her 1999 divorce "wasn't because I'm gay." She said her reason for coming out now is merely because she wants to be honest.

"It's not something that I want to throw in people's faces. I'm just at a point in my life where I'm tired of having to pretend to be somebody I'm not," the 34-year-old Swoopes said. "I'm tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about. About the person I love."
Who wouldn't find Swoopes a wonderful role model of excellence in sports with an image untarnished by scandal.
A five-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Swoopes is the WNBA's only three-time MVP. She played for the Comets during their run of four championships from 1997-2000, but missed the 2001 season with a knee injury.

...Swoopes led the WNBA in scoring last year, averaging 18.6 points. She also averaged 4.3 assists and 2.65 steals while making 85 percent of her free throws and playing a league-high 37.1 minutes a game.
You can also read more about the Swoopes story on Outsports, Swoopes: The New Martina. Here's a snippet by Cyd Zeigler that rings so true.
While she is the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, she, of course, is not Michael Jordan. If Air Jordan himself was gay and came out of the closet, the impact would creep into every household in America and would be felt around the world. Given the place of women's sports in our culture, Swoopes' declaration won't have quite that impact. What it will do, though, is take the conversation about gays in sports to the next level. Despite the protests of many that an American professional sports team can't operate with an openly gay player, Swoopes' Comets will get the chance to prove all of those people wrong next summer.

For that matter, Swoopes' timing couldn't have been better. Many have said the "media circus" that would erupt around an active player coming out would be detrimental to their team. Swoopes' timing makes playing with her team the final act of the show, not the main event, with the season still over seven months away. And besides, Air Swoopes attracts significant media attention anyway; a couple more reporters asking for comments from her partner wouldn't be any more of a distraction.

The most important impact of her coming out will be felt in the high schools and the colleges of this country. Homophobia lurks in the locker rooms of most institutions; it's no different for the women than the men.
This is spot-on, especially in the light of the lesbian-baiting by Penn State coach Rene Portland, which I posted about recently (Gay-baiting coach needs to zip it). Outsports bring this up as well.
The last few weeks have seen the emergence of one of these stories. Penn State head women's basketball coach Rene Portland has a long history of anti-lesbian policy on her basketball team, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. NCLR has recently brought complaints against Portland, who is accused of kicking a star player off her team in the last couple of years because the player is a lesbian, and is prepared to file a lawsuit against her and/or the University if something isn't done about it. NCLR sports guru Helen Carroll, a former collegiate head basketball coach, has told me many stories about anti-lesbian collegiate coaches and "negative recruiting," in which a coach will tell recruits that a competing program is a "lesbian program."

Hopefully, what these coaches and programs will start to realize is that they may be scaring off the next Sheryl Swoopes.
Surf over to more Outsports coverage, Sheryl Swoopes Comes Out and this earlier Blend post on women in sports, Women, sports and sexism - has anything changed? A snippet:
It's like stepping back in the days of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s and 50s (romanticized in the entertaining Penny Marshall flick A League of Their Own). The "girls" were professionally groomed, sent to charm school and expected to be a lady. From the charm school guide:
You should be the best judge of your own beauty requirements. Keep your own kit replenished with the things you need for your own toilette and your beauty culture and care. Remember the skin, the hair, the teeth and the eyes. It is most desirable in your own interests, that of your teammates and fellow players, as well as from the standpoint of the public relations of the league that each girl be at all times presentable and attractive, whether on the playing field or at leisure. Study your own beauty culture possibilities and without overdoing your beauty treatment at the risk of attaining gaudiness, practice the little measure that will reflect well on your appearance and personality as a real All American girl.
These young women, some of them lesbian, were allowed to play pro baseball - but all of them were forced to present a feminine image to the crowd, to assure that only heterosexual energy was radiating on the field.
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Who’s Getting Paid for This Shit?

by Shakespeare's Sister

If only I were laughing because this is a joke:

The Hill: "House Democratic leaders are holding a closed-door meeting with members of their caucus this afternoon to discuss a new slogan for the 2006 midterm elections: 'Together, We Can Do Better' or 'Together, America Can Do Better,' according to Democratic sources."

Over the last few weeks, the phrase "has become a common refrain in Democratic leadership statements, usually appearing at the end of Pelosi's press releases or sprinkled liberally in Reid's comments."

Chris Bowers comments: "I suppose it is impossible to ever be excited about a quick catch phrase. This is especially true in politics, where pretty much every catch phrase long ago reached the lowest level of cliche hell."
Cliché hell?! That piece of shit slogan aspires to cliché hell.

Aside from the language itself being about as inspiring as a stinky wet sock, the sentiment behind “We Can Do Better” rings appallingly devoid of what I can best describe as self-esteem. The Democrats have internalized the old “at least we’re not the Republicans” chestnut to such a sickening degree that they’ve turned it into their blasted slogan. Why oh why oh why oh why are the Democrats allowing their own message to reinforce the notion that the GOP is “the norm,” so inescapable that the Dems’ own party identity must even abstractly reference the GOP, in answer to the question of whom, exactly, they can do better than.

Beyond its insipidity, this asinine slogan says nothing new. The Dems have been going on about how they’re better than the GOP for years, but what we have here is a failure to communicate how they’re better, so the American people don’t believe them in large enough numbers to vote them into office. It’s a rehash of the same strategy to position themselves as a milquetoast alternative, wrapping it up with an inoffensive little bow and hoping it can compete with the three-ring circus of insanity the GOP puts on for its base.

The Dems need to get back to the drawing board ASAP, because this is pathetic. For crying out loud, I’ve seen high school student council campaigns with more gusto. Pfft.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Time Imitates Art

by Shakespeare's Sister

Via Mannion, who got it via Linkmeister, comes TIME Magazine's list of the 100 Best English-language Novels published since 1923. Link explains, “Why 1923? Because that's the year Time started publishing.”

Whatever, Time.

Link notes the list is “highly subjective,” as these lists tend to be, and Mannion takes issue with some of the list's rather strange choices, particularly Gone With the Wind:

But it's on the list for the same reason Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret are on it---so that there are novels that the average TIME reader will have read. All of those, except for Gone With the Wind, are good books too but they have another virtue as well. They are all standards of high school reading lists, which means that teenagers can have a connection with the list.
I think something else seems to have influenced the list. Take a look at it. Does it also strike you, by any chance, that an inordinate number of books on this list have been turned into films that are either award-winning, regarded as classics, or have a cult following? I suspect many of these books would likely be off our collective radar (not to mention left off this list) had they not been turned into films of some acclaim.

Unlike Mannion, I happen to like Naked Lunch, but I don’t think it belongs on any “best” list, aside from perhaps “Best Books Written by Morphine Addicts Who Killed Their Wives During a Game of William Tell.” (In fact, I think it’s a shoo-in for that list.) If David Cronenberg (following not long after the 1985 documentary Burroughs) had never turned Naked Lunch into a film, which quickly developed a devoted following and introduced a whole new generation to its author’s work, I daresay the novel in question would have escaped consideration by the compilers of this list.

And I wonder if even a book like To Kill a Mockingbird, which inarguably deserves its place on the list, is offered some advantage because of the spectacular film made of its story.

In any case, these lists usually suck, and this one’s no different. Until I see a Best of… list that contains Parts Unknown, Life of Pi, and The Secret History, I’ll remain decidedly unimpressed.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Another Pharmacy Flare-up

by Charlie

Just about nothing makes me madder than pharmacists who refuse on moral grounds to fill birth control prescriptions. Having said that, I'm going to take a deep breath and try to write calmly. It won't be easy, because there is a lot to get mad about in this article.

*deep breath*

Okay. Let's start here. If you've followed this debate at all, you're probably aware that the compromise championed almost without fail is to allow a troubled pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription as long as the customer is provided another means of obtaining the drugs in question. Normally this means that it will be filled by another pharmacist on duty, or that the prescription will be transferred to another pharmacy.

But as I wrote here, this isn't a valid compromise:
Where does this leave rural areas? Shall we leave out the large percentage of people who live in small towns with only one pharmacy? When there is no competition, the free market is not a viable solution.

Another way of putting this is that it fails Immanuel Kant's first moral imperative: "Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature." In other words, what happens when all the pharmacists refuse to either stock the drugs or fill the prescriptions?

Enter Tucson, AZ.
Although it is safe, effective and legal, emergency contraception - the "morning after" pill - can be hard to find in Tucson.

After a sexual assault one recent weekend, a young Tucson woman spent three frantic days trying to obtain the drug to prevent a pregnancy, knowing that each passing day lowered the chance the drug would work.

While calling dozens of Tucson pharmacies trying to fill a prescription for emergency contraception, she found that most did not stock the drug.

When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections.

How many more concrete examples do we need before we wake up and realize that this isn't a viable compromise? In fact, it isn't a compromise at all. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. A pharmacists right to practice his religion ends where it becomes forcing his belief on me.

Cross posted at Shades Of Grey

Fitzmas is almost here

by Charlie

Do you have your Fitzmas bingo card?

Hat tip to Rox Populi

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks, 1913 - 2005

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Dear, brave, true person:

Who will carry your torch now? Who will stand up for her or his individual rights the way you did when you said, "No, I will NOT sit in the back of the bus?"

I make a promise tonight, Ms. Parks - I will NOT sit in the back of the bus either!

I will be vocal, and not just accept the scraps of those who call my spouse my "friend," or my "companion"...

I will NOT accept being called an abomination, or a mistake, or unlawful.

I will be me, and proud to be so.

Ms. Julien
24 Oct, 1005

Dr. John Diggs should attend this event in Austin!

by JJ

Its a match made in heaven!

The KKK will be holding an Anti-Gay Rally in Austin in anticipation of the Anti-Gay marriage amendment.

They have so much in common I would think that anti-gay Dr. John Diggs who has published such studies as "The Health Risks of Gay Sex" would be enthusiastic about attending the anti-gay event. In fact the two share the same viewpoints on homosexuality and even quote the same studies.

After Dr. Diggs gets done stiring up the anti-gay groups such as the Gonzaga Young Republicans and the College Womens Association here in Spokane, I hope he gets things stirred up at the event in Austin!

Cross posted at JJs Blog For the Reality Based People of Spokane

It's Okay If You're a Republican

by TheGreenKnight

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, December 9) -- The text of four proposed articles of impeachment and a resolution against President Bill Clinton drafted by House Judiciary Committee Republicans was released Wednesday....

Resolution and Article I: Perjury before the grand jury....

Article II: Perjury in the Jones case....

Article III: Obstruction of justice....

Article IV: Abuse of power
Article alleges abuse of power, charging the president with making misleading statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States, his Cabinet and White House aides. The last charge also contends Clinton frivolously asserted executive privilege and made perjurious statements to Congress in his answers to the 81 questions asked him by the Judiciary Committee last month.
Also then:
"Willful, corrupt, and false sworn testimony before a Federal grand jury is a separate and distinct crime under applicable law and is material and perjurious if it is 'capable' of influencing the grand jury in any matter before it, including any collateral matters that it may consider."
-- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality."
-- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

The Blame Game

by Shakespeare's Sister

It’s time to play the blame game—hey, not you, Democrats! You just keep your traitorous traps shut. It’s time for the president to play the blame game. The “frustrated, sometime angry and even bitter” Bush inexplicably “remains quite confident in the decisions he has made,” according to one of his political friends (whatever that is), in spite of the backlash against those very decisions, as support for the Iraq War diminishes, the bungling of Katrina’s aftermath takes a political toll, and his base revolts against Miers’ SCOTUS nomination. If you can believe this story (and I'm not sure we've any reason not to, considering the number of others of a similar tone that are suddenly finding their way into the press), he sounds like he’s practically on the verge of a meltdown, with his increasingly talked-about temper rearing its ugly head more and more frequently, as it gets directed now even at junior staffers, wild mood swings, and a delusional insistence that “history will vindicate the major decisions of his presidency even if they damage him and his party in the 2006 and 2008 elections.”

But even as he preemptively takes the credit for this imagined legacy of success, he refuses to take responsibility for anything that has gone wrong.

At the same time, these sources say Bush, who has a long history of keeping staffers in their place, has lashed out at aides as his political woes have mounted.

"The President is just unhappy in general and casting blame all about," said one Bush insider. "Andy [Card, the chief of staff] gets his share. Karl gets his share. Even Cheney gets his share. And the press gets a big share."

The vice president remains Bush's most trusted political confidant. Even so, the Daily News has learned Bush has told associates Cheney was overly involved in intelligence issues in the runup to the Iraq war that have been seized on by Bush critics.

Bush is so dismayed that "the only person escaping blame is the President himself," said a sympathetic official, who delicately termed such self-exoneration "illogical."
Illogical is not only delicate, but kind. The guy is a narcissistic megalomaniac with a paranoiac twist, creating his own grand reality of which he is the flawless star; any perceptions of flaws with him or his decisions are the fault of everyone else. For honor and glory, the buck stops here, but for blame and shame, it stops there … and there … and there … and there. I’m not saying there were mistakes made, but if there were, they weren’t my fault!

The bubble has burst, and the boy inside isn’t very happy at all to be exposed to the real world for a change.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Insiders see hint of Miers pullout

by Pam

That's the headline at the WaTimes. As all over the Harriet Makeover ProjectsTM have spontaneously combusted, the backup plans are under way in case she pulls out before the hearings, or more likely if she melts down during the hearings. Considering the events over the last week (the questionnaire "do-over"), I suppose even the dunces in the White House know this nomination is toast.
"White House senior staff are starting to ask outside people, saying, 'We're not discussing pulling out her nomination, but if we were to, do you have any advice as to how we should do it?' " a conservative Republican with ties to the White House told The Washington Times yesterday. The White House denied making such calls. "Absolutely not true," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

But a conservative political consultant with ties to the White House said that he had received such a query from Sara Taylor, director of the Office of White House Political Affairs. Miss Taylor denied making any such calls.

...A second Republican, who is the leader of a conservative interest group and has ties to the White House, confirmed that the White House is making calls to a select group of conservative activists who are not employed by the government.

"The political people in the White House are very worried about how she will do in the hearings," the second conservative leader said. "I think they have finally awakened."
An interesting aspect of this article is the intimation that Karl Rove's "troubles" are taking him away from the Harriet Project, and it's all unraveling because the rest of the White House clowns don't know what to do.
Just who in the White House may have asked Miss Taylor to seek advice from outside about the best way to drop Miss Miers' nomination without causing excessive embarrassment to the president or to her was unclear.

Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove no longer appears to fill the role as chief political strategist in the White House, a role he has filled from the start of the first Bush term. Mr. Rove's clear leadership hand went missing some time ago, the leaders say, when speculation grew that he might face indictment in the CIA leak investigation led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
The Freepers just don't know who to blame for this mess.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Look what happens when Rove is "out of the loop" and Andy Card fills in for awhile. Can we expect more of the same for the remainder of the term?"

"The buck stops at GWB. All else is excuse."

"YEP, you're sooooo right...Go Hillary, beat John, win over our RINO's who like to play the blame game like the demonRATs do!"

"Blame Laura Bush for this one."

"Amen..I did not crawl thru broken glass for Rove or Card..I did for W and nothing else..He's president...not those two."

"I didn't either. But it now appears that one or the other has actually been driving the train for quite some time. Which, in turn, leads to some interesting questions . . . ."

"Folks, even the W Times doesn't have any idea what is going on. GW Bush picked Miers because he knows her philosophy. He doesn't care if you don't trust him. He is a brick wall and you all know it. "

"Bush makes the decisions, not Card or Rove."

"Therein lies the problem. Bush and his minions took conservatives for granted one time too many."

"Look what happens when Rove is "out of the loop" and Andy Card fills in for awhile. Card is from Massachusetts. Need I say more?"

"Hey, a fall guy could be useful this debacle. The White House could blame Card, withdraw Miers, appoint Edith Jones. Problem solved. Everyone is happy, but the Demonrats."

"I just don't think Bush has the political capital to appoint a moderate if Miers withdraws. Of course I could be wrong, maybe he likes Jimmy Carter style approval numbers, but I doubt it."

"You underestimate the power of the party faithful. They will crush the insurgency, the purists, the one percenters, the whole-loafers."

"Pretty sad state of affairs when a party thinks it has to crush its rank and file in order to protect its leaders' egos."

"Bring it on!!!! After being lied to "most qualified nominee", if there must be war, war will be had. It's sad, I used to crush lefies who said "Bush lies" because they couldn't come up with one I couldn't refute. Now there is one I can't refute "HM is the most qulified nominee""

"I see, George is tough enough to stand up to all his critics about Iraq, but will bow to his wife's wishes? You're all nuts."

"Thye buck stops with Bush, and he has disappointed time after time."

"Yes. A fall guy (Card) is needed. No point putting the President through more than necessary. Simply nominate Jones. And, he could even nominate Miers to Jones' position on the appeals court once Jones is confirmed."

"Did you read the thread about how the WH was going to "turn the screws" on Conservative Senators who had expressed reservations about Miers? How come we never read any threads on him "turning the screws" on the Moderates who derailed several of his other nominations? Zero competent leadership, and the proof is that the Presidents party has 55 seats in the Senate, and he can't even get his picks up for a vote, much less confirmed. So sad."

"Card = Nice guy, good manager, bad political advisor. Mark Raicoit perhaps would be a better replacement?"

"You know...I for one am getting pretty damned sick and tired of clicking threads and seeing you on every thread taking pot shots at the President. Why don't you get lost? You add nothing to either side of an arguement you just take your shots at W. You're really starting to look like a DUmmy disruptor to me."

"Lets see, GWB was the Man because he only nominated "our guys to the bench". Miers must know what he was looking for cause she was in charge of the venting process. Bush knows her better than ANYBODY else that could have picked. That means that he sold us out. I think I must have missed something."

"ann coulter's ego seems unchecked especially when she is on bill maher's show. Too bad her appetite isn't as big as her ego."

The present-day celluloid closet

by Pam

Fifties movie idol Tab Hunter recently published his autobiography, featuring an eye-opening look on his life as a gay actor in Hollywood when the closet was king. Having a starlet on your arm was a necessity if you were a gay man that wanted a successful career.

He wondered, in an interview in the Philly Inquirer, whether there's been any progress in the land of make-believe in terms of major movie stars kicking open the closet door.
Have things changed? So few big-name actors are out that the nation's few gay magazines stock their covers with nongay stars playing queer roles. A major film about two cowboys called Brokeback Mountain is about to be released, two cowboys in love, two cowboys afraid, two cowboys in a closet as big as all outdoors. We can already see the interview: Yeah, I had to kiss a dude, but I shut my eyes and thought about his hottie sister. They always say that.

So what's stopping you, Oscar-winner with yet another forgettable opus on the charts, or you, drop-dead-handsome lead with wrong-gender eye candy on your arm? Do you think you'll be importuned to raise money for causes that embarrass you, or be forced to grin and wave to hordes of ravenous gay teens? You do anyway.

A good actor can play any role, but sometimes the acting should stop.
No kidding. In a town full of gay folks at high levels of the industry, there is still plenty of room for homophobia based on the need to make a buck. Execs are nervous afraid of box office tanking based on any inkling of a portrayal of gay relationships or same-sex encounters (outside of indy films of course).

Look at the Oliver Stone film Alexander. The film's poor performance was blamed for scenes depicting same-sex acts between principal characters, by the director himself, who re-edited the film for release on DVD to pacify the bible beating set, back in May:
Director Oliver Stone has cut the gay references from his "Alexander" movie for the DVD version of the 2004 flop. Stone claimed his epic was unpopular with American audiences because of the subtle homosexual content.

He said, "They didn't even read the reviews in the South because the media was using the words: 'Alex is Gay.' As a result you can bet that they thought, 'We're not going to see a film about a military leader that has got something wrong with him.'"

In the DVD version, the relationship between Colin Farrell's Alexander the Great character and Hephaistion -- played by Jared Leto -- will be portrayed as simply a friendship. However, fans of Rosario Dawson will be pleased to know more angles of her character Roxanne's naked exposure will be included in the DVD.
Universal is so paranoid of homo-sex that the planned biopic of the life of Brit singer Dusty Springfield is going to be whitewashed of any lesbianism. And this was a woman that did eventually come out.

An anonymous Universal executive that was asked about the excision of Dusty's lesbian affairs said, "Film-goers are growing weary of overt scenes of homosexuality." WTF?

I guess Tab was right. Not much has changed. If these kinds of decisions are going on in Hollywood boardrooms, is it any surprise that PR gurus to the stars still keep their meal tickets locked away in the closet?

Strangely enough, some of our favorite TV stars of the past never played it straight, even if they never came out:

Is there anyone who didn't think Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) was queer as the day is long? And how about one of my favorite game show queens, Charles Nelson Reilly?

Also see:
* Ms. Julien: Why I support the outing campaign.

* Fox News anchor Shepard Smith outed; will people of note ever willingly come out?

* Classic Hollywood teen idol Tab Hunter comes way out in autobiography

Saturday, October 22, 2005

This would be great....

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...if the Democrats weren't so ineffectual, and if the silent majority of Amurkans weren't sitting so complacent, while the price of a gallon of gas and the Federal Minimum Wage get nearer to equality.

This is worth posting in its entirety - if it is too small, read it HERE.

Published on Saturday, October 22, 2005 by the Boulder Daily Camera (Colorado)
What to Do Now? Here Are a Few Ideas
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas — You can only sit around wringing your hands and moaning about what a mess the Bushies have made of America. Sooner or later, even the gloomiest doom-meisters are bound to get beaned by an acorn on the noggin, leading to the startling and productive thought, "So, what could we do that would make things better?"

For those mired in loathing the Bush administration, the program would start with a long, long list of things that need to be undone: repeal the bankruptcy bill, repeal the tax breaks for the rich, and fix the farm bill, the transportation bill, the energy bill, etc. Or you could start with a list of gentle suggestions, such as:

Making a rude jerk with a bad temper ambassador to the United Nations, probably not a good idea

Putting a veterinarian in charge of women's health policy, maybe not.

Making someone with a background in Arabian horses the disaster-relief czar needs reconsideration.

Invading a Middle Eastern country with no provocation, a country that posed no threat and had no connection to 9-11 ... perhaps not a shrewdie.

You can even do a sort of Golden Oldies list, such as:

How's about we start enforcing worker safety laws again?

What say we have a go at stopping big corporations from poisoning the air and water just so they can make higher profits?

Say, how about helping people whose lives have been ripped to shreds by natural disaster?

But that's still not stepping up to the plate to take a swing at the always-relevant question, "What the hell do we do now?" Yes, we should follow the First Rule of Holes and stop digging. True, we need to go back to doing a lot of things we used to before George W. Bush "won" that remarkable "election" in 2000. And we need to go back to NOT doing a lot of things we didn't do before the 5-4 vote. But we also need to come up with solutions to the problems this man has created.

We need a plan to get out of Iraq. I think Bob Herbert had a good idea when he suggested: 1) A Serious proposal for withdrawal of American forces over a reasonable (reasonably short) period of time, and 2) couple that with a broader national security plan that focuses on Al-Qaida-type terrorism and domestic security.

One of the many problems created by the invasion of Iraq is that it took our eyes off fighting terrorism and dragged us into this endless struggle between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. We're supposed to be fighting terrorism, and the single most useful tool for that purpose is international cooperation.

The go-it-alone, forgeteverybody-else Bush foreign policy will require serious repair work. We need a beefed-up State Department and a new emphasis on human rights, complete with an acknowledgement of our errors in this regard. We also need beefed-up intelligence — tracking terrorists and their money, their plans and their people requires good intelligence work and good detective work.

That, in turn, requires a whole lot of smart Americans who are fluent in Arabic. Isn't it lucky we have them, right here at hand? Of course, we will also need some repair work done with the Arab-American community, since it has not exactly been treated with the full rights to which every American citizen is entitled. Perhaps we need a Bureau of Damage Control.

Next, the economy is in need of repair. We're obviously spending ourselves into deep doo-doo, and if ever there was a time for the classic Democratic solution, this is it: Tax the Rich! Democrats should swipe Poppy Bush's old slogan, "No New Taxes," adding, "Only old taxes back again." Since Republicans decided they needed to make Democrats look like cheapskates in the pork-barrel spending department, there's lots of thrifty, prudent stuff Democrats can do to fix that — and think how surprised everyone will be to see that.

While we're at it, the last time the minimum wage was increased was 1997, and $5.15 an hour ain't what it used to be. Another big chunk of what's wrong with the economy can be solved by fixing another major problem at the same time: health care. In case you haven't noticed, major employers and high-wage industries are increasingly choosing to locate in Canada instead of the United States. And what have they got that we haven't? National health insurance.

Yep, that ol' debbil "socialized medicine" against which the right wing has so long and so relentlessly inveighed is now the darling pet of huge corporations. Not only is it good for General Motors, folks, the rest of us need it desperately, too.

Why I support the outing campaign.

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Particularly for those in political offices who vote against equal rights for all.

Great article by Kevin Naff, Managing Editor of the Washington Blade.

A few of my favorite excerpts (bolded text by Julien's List):

Cooper chooses the closet over honesty.

“The whole thing about being a reporter is that you’re supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you’re in,” Cooper told New York magazine, “and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that.”

Does he believe that female and African-American reporters lack credibility to cover stories since their minority status is showing? Should any heterosexuals who let it slip that they’re married to someone of the opposite sex be kept off the air, or does his rule apply only to gay journalists?

(Note to Cooper: I have been a journalist for as long as you have and being open about my sexual orientation has never cost me a job, a story, a source or a promotion.)

And here is the money quote:

The biggest sleeping asset in the fight for full gay equality lies in the shadows of the closet. When we live openly, we force those around us to reconsider their negative views of homosexuality. That’s when the stereotypes give way to understanding and real change occurs.

No Human Rights Campaign ad campaign in the “red states” can produce the impact of gays who live in those states actually coming out.

How can we expect the construction worker making $20,000 a year to come out when the rich and pampered are still hiding in the closet? How will gays living in Peoria find the fortitude to live honest lives, when the gay denizens of New York and Hollywood won’t?

No one is asking Anderson Cooper to wear a pink triangle on the air or Jodie Foster to ride with the “Dykes on Bikes” contingent. Simply acknowledging the truth — whatever it is — would be enough.

We need role models and spokespeople to boost visibility, increase understanding and, most importantly, to inspire those living less privileged lives to come out and stand up to those who would deny us the right to marry, to adopt children and to go to work free from the prospect of legal discrimination.

Shame on the rich and famous closet cases who have let us down.

Why I support the outing campaign.

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Particularly for those in political offices who vote against equal rights for all.

Great article by Kevin Naff, Managing Editor of the Washington Blade.

A few of my favorite excerpts (bolded text by Julien's List):

Cooper chooses the closet over honesty.

“The whole thing about being a reporter is that you’re supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you’re in,” Cooper told New York magazine, “and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that.”

Does he believe that female and African-American reporters lack credibility to cover stories since their minority status is showing? Should any heterosexuals who let it slip that they’re married to someone of the opposite sex be kept off the air, or does his rule apply only to gay journalists?

(Note to Cooper: I have been a journalist for as long as you have and being open about my sexual orientation has never cost me a job, a story, a source or a promotion.)

And here is the money quote:

The biggest sleeping asset in the fight for full gay equality lies in the shadows of the closet. When we live openly, we force those around us to reconsider their negative views of homosexuality. That’s when the stereotypes give way to understanding and real change occurs.

No Human Rights Campaign ad campaign in the “red states” can produce the impact of gays who live in those states actually coming out.

How can we expect the construction worker making $20,000 a year to come out when the rich and pampered are still hiding in the closet? How will gays living in Peoria find the fortitude to live honest lives, when the gay denizens of New York and Hollywood won’t?

No one is asking Anderson Cooper to wear a pink triangle on the air or Jodie Foster to ride with the “Dykes on Bikes” contingent. Simply acknowledging the truth — whatever it is — would be enough.

We need role models and spokespeople to boost visibility, increase understanding and, most importantly, to inspire those living less privileged lives to come out and stand up to those who would deny us the right to marry, to adopt children and to go to work free from the prospect of legal discrimination.

Shame on the rich and famous closet cases who have let us down.

Friday, October 21, 2005

GOP: Dumbest. Tactics. Ever.

by Pam

This is desperation, plain and simple. Ken Mehlman is flailing.
The Republican National Committee today unveiled a new interactive Web-based news program entitled "In The Know," seeking to shore up support for Bush court nominee Harriet Miers and efforts to reach out to minority voters, RAW STORY has learned.

"In the Know" mimics a CNN-style news program. An olive-suited auburn-haired anchor sits in front of an ghosted capitol and two active LCD screens.

"Each edition of In The Know and all of will keep you connected to President Bush," she says. To view the program, go to
I sullied my keyboard by surfing over to the site. Let me tell you, I nearly had to pick myself off of the floor after laughing so hard that it hurt.
Other segments of the show, "On the Move" and "Life of the Party," examine the latest GOP happenings and events. The first edition features the Republican celebration of Hispanic Heritage month and the RNC summer meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The "Life of the Party" segment is available in both English and Spanish.

"Mi partido is su partido," declares Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.
I moved on to the GOP blog, where I read some illuminating commentary from a party functionary, "eCampaign Staff Assistant" Katie MacGuidwin, in a post with the enlightening title, "More On Miers: Questionnaire Reveals Much More Important Info Than MSM Reported."

In an effort to ensure that you are getting all of the information regarding Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, not just what the main stream media chooses to report, each day we will give you “More on Miers.”
Katie cites a chunk of an answer to question 28, which deals with "her judicial philosophy and feelings on judicial activism." It's quite dry pre-digested stuff you'd expect. Katie also notes that Dallas Bar Association will endorse Harriet Miers. That's the same Bar Association, along with the State Bar of Texas, that Harriet (or her staff) can't quite seem to figure out what she was doing when, as Harriet attempted to fill out her questionnaire for the Judiciary Committee:
Dallas Bar Association (joined in 1971)
1984-1987 President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President
Date unknown: Chair of the Board
Date unknown: Vice Chair of the Board
Date unknown: Vice President, Activities and Administrative
Date unknown: Secretary
Date unknown: Member, Evaluation Committee, Committee for a Qualified Judiciary
Date unknown: Charter Fellow, Lifetime Member, Dallas Bar Foundation

I have made my best efforts to include all organizations of which I was a member. However, I may have been a member of other organizations for which I no longer have records.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oh, Heavens to Betsy!

by Shakespeare's Sister

Blech. From USAToday:

In May, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education posted the inevitable culmination of a trend: Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional.

Cause for celebration - or for concern?
Nice lede, jackholes. And the rest of the story is just as appalling, with absolutely no reference to the fact that often men without a degree can make just as much or more money than women with a degree. Until women don’t need to rack of up four years of schooling and the associated debts just to find commensurate employment with men who only graduated high school, there’s no reason to get a case of the vapors over the fact that men aren’t earning as many degrees. The game is structured so that women have to have more education to be competitive, so all these calls for affirmative action for men in college placement programs is either overtly or unintentionally supporting the idea that men must be given special privileges so…they can continue to have special privileges, like making more money than their female cohorts with the same amount of education.

Meanwhile, if I were a dude, I would be furious with a statement like this:

For his part, author Gurian says one reason colleges may fail to attract more men is precisely because they are more geared to female learning styles and interests. Colleges that want to compete for the dwindling pool of men should emphasize male interests, such as sports, he says, and offer more male role models.
Yeah, because guys can’t handle book-learnin’ without proximity to a ball and a field on which to fight other guys for it.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that Gurian “synthesizes science and religion, and applies them both to child care.” Not that you’d find that out from USAToday.

(Listen to Gurian’s bloviations, like how anorexia is a disease of loneliness, here.)

Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.

DeLay is booked and released

by Pam

This is not a normal mug shot. I want the real deal.

Cheated. Where's the little sign that you hold when they snap your pic? Why isn't there a profile view?
Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself Thursday in at the Harris County sheriff's office, where he was photographed, fingerprinted and released on bond on state conspiracy and money laundering charges.

"He posted $10,000 bond and they have left the bonding office," Lt. John Martin with the sheriff's department said.

DeLay, accompanied by his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, showed up about 12:15 p.m., appeared before a judge and was gone in less than 30 minutes, Martin said.

The appearance came a day after a state court issued an arrest warrant for DeLay and set an initial bail, a routine step before the Texas Republican's first court appearance Friday in Austin.

DeLay had been expected to make the appearance in his home county, Fort Bend, a suburban county southwest of Houston, where an entourage of media had been camped out awaiting him. Under Texas law he could check in anywhere in the state.


by Shakespeare's Sister

Media whore Bill “Falafel Master” O’Reilly, who’s been moaning all over the MSM about how he wants to retire and how mean the MSM is to him, appeared on yet another MSM mainstay this morning, The Today Show, to register his complaints with how tough his life is.

Via Think Progress, who note:

This image has not been altered. It’s not clear whether the caption is an error or a sudden decision by NBC to raise their standards of accuracy.
Chuckle snort guffaw.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

This Rant is, Like, Totally Gay

by Shakespeare's Sister

In the comments thread to my post on the reintroduction of the Federal Marriage Amendment, Praxxus asks:

Did you see the recent study (done at Tufts University, I think) that found, to paraphrase, "kids reared by queers fare the same as their peers?"

To quote: "The vast consensus of all the studies shows that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way," (Ellen C. Perrin, MD) tells WebMD. "In some ways children of same-sex parents actually may have advantages over other family structures."

So really, why shouldn't same-sex couples be allowed to marry? What's left to be debunked here?
I did see that study, and I can’t even believe it’s news; I’ve got friends with gay parents and gay friends who are parents, and their families are exactly as mundane as my own for exactly the same reasons—no more troubled or fabulous than any other collection of people who eat turkey together twice a year.

Which is why a question like “What’s left to be debunked here?” makes me so sad. The lengths to which the LGBT community has to go to "prove" their fitness for marriage or parenting or anything else is beyond ludicrous; who one loves / dates / fucks has no bearing on whether one deserves equal rights (as I noted in comments, if I believed that it did, I'd be petitioning to have Laura Bush committed to a criminal asylum)—nor does the conference of those rights require, from any other portion of the population, a demonstrable baseline competency of the practice of those rights.

A straight person can, in fact, be a verifiable failure at both marriage and parenting, and yet go on to remarry and have more kids without so much as a sneer from even the most conservative quarters. Their great saint, Ronald Reagan, was married twice and had children in both marriages, yet I’ve never heard his history cited in the repeated denunciations of That Which Undermines the Sanctity of Marriage. Nor should it be, but neither should it be considered anything but un-American to hold to a different standard a select segment of Americans.

It’s truly pathetic that we have to keep pointing to these studies—See? Gays can be good parents after all!—as reason to extend the same rights that are automatically afforded to any pair of nutwits with matched babymaking parts, even if they don’t have the money to properly support a child, or a healthy environment in which to raise a child, or any one of a number of other factors that, if we’re going to preclude people from parenting, ought to make the list of prerequisites.

I’m sick to the teeth of indulging people who want some kind of evidence, some reason, to extend equal rights to gays. Fuck them for thinking some people have to earn rights the rest of us get for free, and fuck them even more for pretending that all the “proof” in the world is going to make a damn bit of difference. Hiding bigotry, hatred, and fear behind a mask that we treat as reasonable each time we indulge their requests for “proof” won’t work anymore. They can shove their condescending bullshit straight up their asses—or whatever orifice they deem acceptable.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

(52% of) Americans have been "completely punk'd"...PLEASE PASS IT ALONG...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Hat tip to Karen Zipdrive - Julien's List is indeed willing to pass this along. Those who voted for this idiot and his evil team are as much to blame for what we are facing as a country as anyone. Some voted out of protection for their pockets. Some voted because their pastors told them to, and so they did...not even caring that their "pseudo-godly" pastors were breaking every tax exemption law in the books by "commanding" their vote. Some people voted in ignorance - a misguided attempt to protect themselves from "terrah" (which was about as effective as the duct-tape-on-the-windows scenario...*pfft). But 52% of Americans have to accept the responsibility that their vote, for whatever reason, has seriously damaged America. They need to be the first in line to help fix our once-wonderful, once-respected, nation.

Dick Cheney's Covert Action
Larry C. Johnson
October 19, 2005

Larry Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Face it, America. You’ve been punk'd.

It is now quite clear that the outing of Valerie Plame was part of a broader White House effort to mislead and manipulate U.S. public opinion as part of an orchestrated effort to take us to war. The unraveling of the Valerie Plame affair has exposed their scam—and it extends well beyond compromising the identity of a CIA officer. In short, the Bush administration organized and executed a classic “covert action” program against the citizens of the United States.

Covert action refers to behind-the-scenes efforts by U.S. intelligence agencies to plant stories, manipulate information and shape public opinion. In other words, you write stories that reporters will publish as their own, you create media events that tout a particular theme, and you demonize your opponent. Traditionally, this activity was directed against foreign governments. For example, the U.S. used covert action extensively in Greece in the 1960s to help fend off communists. Covert action also played a major role in rallying world support for the Afghanistan mujahideen following the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Revelations during the past week about the Plame affair make it clear that the Bush administration used covert action against its own citizens. Consider, for example, the charge that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger. The key event in this disinformation campaign was the intelligence manufactured by the Italians. The Italian intelligence service, SISME, provided the CIA with three separate intelligence reports that Iraq had reached an agreement with Niger to buy 500 tons of yellowcake uranium (October 15, 2001; February 5, 2002; and March 25, 2002). The second report, from February, was the subsequent basis for a DIA analysis, which led Vice President Cheney to ask the CIA for more information on the matter. That request led to the CIA asking Ambassador Joe Wilson to go check out the story in Niger.

We learned last May that in the summer of 2002, the Bush administration told our British allies that they would "fix the facts" around the intelligence. In other words, the United States sought to manufacture a case that Iraq was trying to build a nuclear capability. Note, not only did bogus intelligence reports and fabricated documents surface, but senior administration officials—Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney—went to great lengths to try to convince Americans that the United States would soon face the wrath of Iraqi attacks. Remember the smoking mushroom cloud?

Despite repeated attempts by the Italian intelligence service to help us cook the books, the senior CIA intelligence analysts resisted the administration’s effort to sell the bogus notion that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger. Even in the much-maligned October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the entire intelligence community remained split on the reliability of the Iraq/Niger claim. During briefings subsequent to the publication of the NIE, senior CIA officials repeatedly debunked the claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. They also dismissed as unreliable reports from Great Britain, which also were derived from the faulty Italian intelligence reports.

It is now clear that Italy’s intelligence service, SISME, had a hand in producing the forged documents delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in early October 2003 that purported to show a deal with Iraq to buy uranium. Many in the intelligence community are convinced that a prominent neocon with longstanding ties to SISME played a role in the forgery. The truth of that proposition remains to be proven. This much is certain: Either SISME or someone with ties to SISME helped forge and circulate those documents, which some tried to use to bolster the case to go to war with Iraq.

Although some in the intelligence community, specifically analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Energy, believed the report, the intelligence community as a whole did not put much stock in the reports and forged documents, and repeatedly told policy makers that these reports were not reliable. Yet the Bush administration ignored the intelligence community on these questions, and senior policymakers—like Vice President Cheney—persisted in trying to make the fraudulent case.

Two weeks before President Bush spoke the infamous 16 words in the January 2003 State of the Union speech, the Department of Defense was fanning the flames about Iraq’s alleged Nigerien uranium shopping trip. Starting in late 2001, senior Department of Defense officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, provided favored military talking heads with talking points and briefings to reinforce messages the administration wanted the public to remember.

One of those who frequently attended these affairs, Robert Maginnis, a former Army officer and now a commentator for Fox News and the Washington Times , published an op-ed on January 15, 2003, for United Press International, subsequent to one of the briefings.
In writing about the case for attacking Iraq, Maginnis affirmed that Saddam, “failed to explain why Iraq manufactures fuels suited only for a class of missile that it does not admit to having and why it sought to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger.”

Notwithstanding repeated efforts by intelligence analysts to downplay these intelligence reports as unreliable, DOD officials fanned the flames.
This, my friends, is one example of “cooking intelligence.”
These facts further expose as farce the Bush administration’s effort to blame the CIA for the misadventure in Iraq. We did not go to war in Iraq primarily because of bad intelligence and bad analysis by the CIA. The Bush administration started a war of choice.

While CIA did make mistakes, and while some key members of the National Intelligence Council were willing to drink the neocon Kool-Aid and go along with the White House, when it came to questions of whether Iraq was buying uranium in Niger or if Saddam was working with bin Laden, CIA and INR analysts consistently got it right and told the administration what they did not want to hear.
It was policymakers, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, NSC Chief Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who ignored what the analysts were saying and writing.

The evidence of the White House effort to manipulate and shape U.S. public opinion is now overwhelming.
Just last week, President Bush appeared in a pathetic scripted “dialogue” with hand-selected U.S. troops.
We also know that male escort Jeff Gannon Guckert was granted special access to White House press briefings and that pundits like Armstrong Williams sold themselves to the White House.
The Bush administration had an organized campaign to manipulate the U.S. media to get its message out.
Unfortunately, the corporate media played along.

The attack on Valerie Plame Wilson was not an isolated incident.
It was part of a broader pattern of manipulation and deceit.
But this was not done for the welfare of U.S. national security.
Instead, we find ourselves confronted by an unprecedented level of terrorist attacks and a deteriorating military situation in Iraq.
At the same time, we now know that the Bush administration gladly sacrificed an undercover intelligence officer in order to keep up the pretense that the war in Iraq was all about weapons of mass destruction.

Americans have died because of the Bush deceit.
The unmasking of Valerie Plame was not an odd occurrence.
It was part of a pattern of deliberate manipulation and disinformation.
At the end of the day, American men and women have died because of this lie.
It is up to the American people to hold the Bush administration accountable for these actions.


Starbucks bends over for the AmTaliban

by Pam

Rev. (and best-selling author) Rick Warren. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Starbucks got a lot of heat for creating cups with a quote by Armistead Maupin (below), so now it is soothing the sensibilities of the bible-beater set by finding Jeebus and putting on some spiritually-centered content. (USAToday):
Coffee drinkers could get a spiritual jolt with their java in the spring when Starbucks begins putting a God-filled quote from the Rev. Rick Warren, author of the mega-selling The Purpose-Driven Life, on its cups.

It will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign, The Way I See It. In 2005, Starbucks is printing 63 quotes from writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, politicians and cultural critics on cups for company-run and licensed locations to carry on the coffeehouse tradition of conversation and debate.

...Warren says the idea of a grande pitch for God as creator came to him after seeing a Starbucks quote on evolution from paleontologist Louise Leakey. Because Starbucks solicited customer contributions for 2006, Warren sent his in. On Tuesday, Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould confirmed that it would be used.

Baylor University pulled this Starbucks cup after objections to it; perhaps you catch homosexuality if you drink from them. Hey...we need to add this tool to our recruiting arsenal in our Homosexual AgendaTM.

One of the wingnut leaders that is marshalling a campaign against Starbucks is our homo-fixated friend Bob Knight, the penis-possessing leader of Concerned Women for America, and director of the organization’s Culture & Family Institute.
There are active homosexual groups in most major corporations now and they do a shake down, where they say, ‘If you don’t promote our events, you’re exhibiting bigotry and hatred, and we’re going to let everybody know that and you’ll feel bad about yourself and maybe it will hurt your sales.’ I don’t think it has ever hurt a company’s sales. I think they just cave in all too easily.”

...“It’s not enough not to go to Starbucks anymore,” he said. “You really need to visit your neighborhood Starbucks and ask to see the manager and just say, ‘You know, I’ve gone here a lot and I would love to go here but I have to tell you your company’s promotion of something that is against my values prevents me from having coffee here anymore, and I’ve found alternatives ... You make a great product, but you deserve to know why people aren’t buying your product anymore.’
Hat tips to Jennifer of Intous and Paul's Rants.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Queen LaBarbera's mad at Walgreens for sponsoring Gay Games

by Pam

"The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it's wrong for Walgreens to sponsor it. They've taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event."
-- Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute
It's like the AmTaliban jackpot today! Give a shout out to Walgreens, Kraft and Harris Bank for not caving to these bible-beating, homo-sex obsessing ninnies. (
Walgreens is the latest company to come under fire by a conservative Christian group for its support the 2006 Gay Games to be held in Chicago.

The drug store chain has given games organizers $100,000 and has been named a Platinum-level sponsor of the event. But, the Illinois Family Institute is calling for the company to take back the money.

The institute, which already has begun a campaign against Kraft Foods and Harris Bank which have each contributed $25,000 to the games, says that if Walgreens does not disassociate itself from the games it will encourage its members to stop patronizing the company's stores.

...The company, like Kraft and Harris, shows no sign of caving in to the institute's demands. A Walgreens spokesperson said that the company is participating in the Gay Games to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

LaBarbera said he has no problem with AIDS awareness and education because: "Homosexual behavior itself is a leading cause of HIV." But he said that he is opposed to an event to promote gay athletes to do it in.
Here are some choice quotes from Peter LaBarbera, who's also founder of something called "Americans for Truth":

"I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools...Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the 'sexual orientation' agenda works its way into their children's education."
(backing the Southern Baptist's call to investigate the influence of the homo agenda in public schools)

"It seems that liberals are afraid of Christians who will run for office as Christians. It's ironic that a group that fights discrimination is willing to basically foment discrimination against people of faith. I just found it shocking."
(whining that Christian candidates for public office feel like they have to "be in the closet about their faith.")

"We're opposed to the use of taxpayer dollars to promote an event that celebrates homosexuality. The idea of using sport to promote homosexuality is wrong."
(calling on Chicago to withdraw support for the 2006 Gay Games).

Peter recently did a lot of research at the bathhouse during his undercover work at the International Mr. Leather conference because he needed to educate his Christian audience about the inner workings of "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men."

Peter also spends a good deal of time "going undercover" to gay pride events, and in multiple instances, an International Mr. Leather event, to do research on deviance. He also doesn't take criticism well. When Fred Phelps decided to demonize poor little Petey, he decried that The Rotting CryptkeeperTM was a plant of the homo agenda.
"Politically and culturally speaking, Phelps and his protesters serve as a crude caricature of pro-family traditionalists who oppose the normalization of homosexuality. Fred makes an easy target for the media and secularists who are tempted (partly by their own prejudices) to paint any opposition to "gay rights" as hateful. For this reason, I have sometimes wondered if Phelps and his lawyerly clan are 'gay plants.' "
-- Peter LaBarbera, undercover homosexual lifestyle investigator
I think these companies can swat this gnat.

Dare to Discipline: Teaching Respect and Responsibility to Children

by Shakespeare's Sister

As promised, this installment of Dr. Dobson’s handy guidebook for parents will focus on Chapter One: Teaching Respect and Responsibility to Children. This chapter begins with a sentence that pretty much sets the tone for the whole book—“Nature has generously equipped most animals with a fear of things that could be harmful to them.”—and gets even more interesting from there. Now you tell me: How could you not be fond for a book on child-rearing that starts out like this?

Nature has generously equipped most animals with a fear of things that could be harmful to them. Their survival depends on recognition of a particular danger in time to avoid it. But good old mother nature did not protect the frog quite so well; she overlooked a serious flaw in his early warning system that sometimes proves fatal. If a frog is placed in a pan of warm water under which the heat is being increased very gradually, he will typically show no inclination to escape… He will just sit there, contentedly peering over the edge of the pan while the steam curls ominously around his nostrils…

Now obviously, this is a book about parents and children, not frogs. But human beings have some of the same perceptual inadequacies as their little green friends. We quickly become excited about sudden dangers that confront us. War, disease epidemics, earthquakes, and hurricanes bring instant mobilization.
Or, they used to, anyway, back when this book was written. Now, not so much.

Upon reading this passage, I was thinking that Dr. Dobson is right! There are lots of kids who find themselves in the boiling waters of parental oppression and intolerance, as the steam of bigotry and willful ignorance curls around their nostrils, oblivious to the fact that they could—and should—escape, the poor little froggies, sitting in the sad pan of their fate. I was surprised to see that Dr. Dobson was encouraging kids to pay attention to their surroundings and hop on out of the deathtrap of dogma before it was too late.

But that’s not really what he was saying.

However, if a threatening problem arises very slowly, perhaps over a decade or two, we often allow ourselves to “boil” in happy ignorance. This blindness to gradual disasters is best illustrated by the way we have ignored the turmoil that is spreading systematically through the younger generation of Americans. We have passively accepted a slowly deteriorating “youth scene” without uttering a croak of protest… Without being unnecessarily pessimistic, it is accurate to say that the traditional concept of morality is dead among the majority of high school students today.
Wow. That’s a pretty strong charge. Dr. Dobson says he draws this conclusion from having spoken to high school teachers. Let’s say he spent a year or two researching and writing the book, which was published in 1970. Who were these heinous high schoolers, bereft of any shreds of morality, plaguing America in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s?

Well, who am I to argue with a doctor, anyway? Ribbit.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Bush and the Turd Blossom

by Shakespeare's Sister

So—surprise, surprise—in spite of claims to the contrary, Bush has allegedly known about Rove’s role in the Plame leak since 2003:

An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."
Rove’s life is miserable, huh? Really? Because as far as I can tell, he’s still got his cushy, well-paid job, and the administration has been consistently lying to protect him from criminal prosecution. Until Rove’s either in jail where he belongs or out on his ass and worried about whether he’s going to lose his house(s), I don’t really think his life is all that bad.

Bush has already circled the wagons around Rove, whose departure would be a grievous blow to an already shell-shocked White House staff and a President in deep political trouble.

Asked if he believed indictments were forthcoming, a key Bush official said he did not know, then added: "I'm very concerned it could go very, very badly."

"Karl is fighting for his life," the official added, "but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that."
In other words, in spite of the fact that Rove committed treason, outing a covert CIA operative working on weapons proliferation in the Middle East while we’re engaged in a war in Iraq for which the primary justification was WMDs, Bush remains more loyal to him than to the country, nevermind than to Valerie Plame, who did nothing but serve her country honorably. Bush has looked her and the rest of the nation in the face and said, “Fuck you. Karl turned my pathetic ass into the leader of the free world. What have you useless fucks done for me lately?”

A proud day to be an American, no?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Texas justice on Harriet: take my wife, please...

by Pam

On Monday the White House trotted out six former justices of the Texas Supreme Court to vouch for Harriet's qualifications. That's no story. What is interesting is the observation Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill made about Bush's #1 fan.

Maybe there's something he knows about Harriet that we've only been speculating about...(Reuters):
The six former justices, all of them men, said they had worked with Miers while she was a lawyer in Dallas and they endorsed her Supreme Court nomination.

"I'd trust her with my wife and with my life," former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill told reporters on the White House driveway after a meeting with President George W. Bush.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

While all other "civilized" countries are at least attempting to discuss global warming...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...this is what is making news in America:

After Burger King Crash, Man Parks, Eats

Tue Oct 18, 4:46 PM ET

WAUSAU, Wis. - A man whose car ran into the front entry of a fast-food restaurant backed away, parked and went in for breakfast, officials say.

Should you be interested in the entire banal story, it is here...

Just another example of George Bush's ALL CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND. This is what our country is turning into, folks.

This is who you voted for when you wanted to "get the queers."

Ms. Julien

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Woman refused emergency contraception at Target

by Pam

Target's in deep doo-doo now. Man, I hate to be mad at this retailer, but this blows big time.

Via AmericaBlog, the latest in corporate womb control. A woman is unable to get emergency contraception filled at the red bulleye.
A 26-year-old Missouri woman was refused EC when she handed her prescription to a pharmacist at a Target store in Fenton, MO, on September 30. The woman was told by the pharmacist, “I won’t fill it. It’s my right not to fill it.” She was told that she could go to a local Walgreens instead. The woman said, “When the pharmacist told me she wouldn't [fill the prescription], I went from disbelief to shock to anger. I guess I'm still pretty angry. It seems unbelievable to me that a medical professional could/would deny access to a federally approved drug and impose their personal beliefs in a professional setting. I am also grateful that I did not need it filled at that time. I don't know how it would be if I had just been raped or if the condom broke and I was a feeling confusion and panic anyway -- and then was denied access and told to go across the street.”
There are several major corporations that have not declared what their policies are regarding pharmacists with "ethical or religious objections" to filling certain prescriptions. This is bull.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America has made three unanswered attempts to contact the following corporations in order to ascertain their policy regarding pharmacists' refusal to fill valid, legal prescriptions for birth control, including emergency contraception:

* Target
* Safeway
* Giant
* Duane Reade
* Piggly Wiggly

What you can do: go to the Planned Parenthood Fill My Pills Now campaign site and fill out a form to request that they release a public statement regarding their policies. Consumers need to know where to choose to spend their dollars if women cannot fill prescriptions in those stores.

You can also read more about refusals to fill from around the country here.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Rumor Mongering

by Shakespeare's Sister

Nope, I’m not above it. No matter how unlikely. Not when the rumor is that Cheney may resign:

Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn't get the job or run for president in 2008.

"Isn't she pro-choice?" asked a key Senate Republican aide.
The funny thing is that I’ve been predicting for a long time that Cheney would resign during the second term so they could set up Condi for an ’08 run, but I always thought the excuse would be his literal bad heart, not his figurative one.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

You Dirty Rat: John Hannah

by Shakespeare's Sister

Shaker Bill H. tipped me that the flipped snitch might be John Hannah, and, sure enough, Raw Story confirms that the likely guts-spiller is, indeed, John Hannah. I’m just devastated to hear that this lovely Scottish actor, of whom I’ve always been a fan, has had such sinister involvement with this despicable administration. I had no idea he was even serving as a senior aide to Dick Cheney, no less that he’d been a target of Fitzgerald’s investigation.

Oh, wait. Wrong John Hannah.

Individuals familiar with Fitzgerald’s case tell RAW STORY that John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.

Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.


Those close to the investigation said in June 2003, Hannah was given orders by higher-ups in Cheney’s office to leak Plame’s covert status and identity in an attempt to muzzle Wilson, who had been a thorn in the side of the administration since May 2003, when he started questioning the administration’s claims that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and its neighbors in the Middle East. The specifics of who issued those orders and what directives were given were not provided.

To many following the case, Hannah’s involvement will not come as a surprise. Wilson pointed to Hannah as a possible leaker in his book, The Politics of Truth.

“In fact, senior advisers close to the president may well have been clever enough to have used others to do the actual leaking, in order to keep their fingerprints off the crime,” Wilson writes.

“John Hannah and David Wurmser, mid-level political appointees in the vice-president’s office, have both been suggested as sources of the leak …Mid-level officials, however, do not leak information without the authority from a higher level,” Wilson notes.
Looks like I can still enjoy Sliding Doors and keep on hating everyone involved with the Bush administration, after all.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

G.I. Judy

by The Heretik


SHE HAD HER OWN UNIFORM She had a Top Secret Security Clearance. [story] She was a “reporter.” Her career was wounded when her pen and Iraq both exploded alongside an election. Judith Miller: The Search for WTF continues.

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY lying down with the dogs of war, censor or sensibility: how could Judith Miller do her job in such an Iraqi desert, where deception lies not in front but within?

COMING HOME the war continued. PTSD, Post Tikrit Stress Syndrome, took over. Miller made the madness her friend, her ally. For some the war never ends. Officials at the Veterans of Foreign Reporting hospital said they could not comment on Miller’s particular case. The sign for the hospital was being taken down due to slashed funding of benefits by the Bush administration.

[Raw Story] Two senior Democrats have called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to explain an apparent "top secret" clearance given to New York Times reporter Judith Miller while she was on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The best explanation of Miller's access comes from a New York Magazine article from 2004, which was highlighted on Talking Points Memo today.

THE HERETIK NOTES up to now Rumsfeld is one of the few Bush Administration officials who has not had to comment on Miller’s dubious doings. Perhaps now he will be caught in the vortex of the swirling sandstorm, or is that sh*storm?

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS [E&P] E&P columnist William E. Jackson Jr., had first raised this issue in a 2003 column published on E&P's Web site. On Sunday, former CBS national security correspondent Bill Lynch posted his views in a long letter about it at the Romenesko site at Here is the letter:

There is one enormous journalism scandal hidden in Judith Miller's Oct. 16th first person article about the (perhaps lesser) CIA leak scandal. And that is Ms. Miller's revelation that she was granted a DoD security clearance while embedded with the WMD search team in Iraq in 2003.

This is as close as one can get to government licensing of journalists and the New York Times (if it knew) should never have allowed her to become so compromised.

THE HERETIK LAMENTS Miller was given a license to kill news that didn’t fit her story. Or was it the government’s story? And what will be the Times’s story as more of the back story of Miller comes out? The editors, including Bill Come Lately Keller, will be taking a killer tanning before they find their permanent place in the sun.

A BEAUTIFUL MIND [Reddhedd /Firedog Lake] And it looks like Judy Miller didn't really have any super secret clearance for herself after all. According to the Guardian (who got a quote from Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman which essentially details exactly what someone has to go through to get clearance and his snide tone indicates that Judy did no such thing).

NBC came to the same conclusion on La Vida Judy, with Jim Miklaszewski reporting that:

Officials from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon say they have no idea what New York Times reporter Judith Miller was talking about when she claimed to have been given a "security clearance" while she was embedded with a U.S. Army unit in Iraq in 2003.

Ouch -- "no idea." Not even a "let me check on that and get back to you." Double ouch. Although if Judy were to have been given clearance and then revealed classified information she obtained through her clearance access...well, maybe she'd better put Bob Bennett on speed dial.

if we are now to believe Miller made this all up? Is the Security Clearance Issue yet another Miller exaggeration? More evidence of what happens when pens attack? Miller is down, the Pentagon is looking to come up for air. The military under the Bush administration says it has no idea on this sounds like Scott McLellan talking about Rove and Libby two years ago.

DOUBLE DUH [Howard Kurtz/Wapo] I've been trying to figure out why the Judy Miller saga has become so all-consuming for so many people. . . . Then it hit me. It's the war, of course. We're re-fighting the war through this case.

THE HERETIK THINKS Howard Kurtz must have been asleep during the scenes of the Bush offensive. Now the White House makes the siege of Stalingrad look like a picnic.

AND WE’VE GOT A CHICKENHAWK DOWN [WaPo] As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.

the return of Rumsfeld to the field and a WHIG party gone wild. Chickenhawks are on the grill and everyone will take their shots, but avoid bud chasers. Oy.

(Crossposted at The Heretik)

Gay-baiting in the Virginia governor's race

by Pam

I don't know what to think of this bottom-feeding campaign. Is Repug Jerry Kilgore gay because he has a queeny voice? Or is it that his effeminate voice when paired with his homophobic positions - no gay marriage, no gay adoption, no civil unions, etc., leads one to the conclusion that the married-with-kids conservative is a self-loathing closet case? Or is he just a bigoted Repug that has a "gay-sounding," rural voice that is being gay-baited by the other side, playing on people's stereotypes and prejudices?

Opponent Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is raising that spectre, and people are talking -- get a load of this editorial in the Cavalier Daily:
So, Jerry Kilgore has a "gay-sounding" voice. This is apparent to almost anyone who has heard him speak. The Republican candidate also has a rural accent, but that's not what his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, has been making fun of. Few outlets have dealt with this issue honestly, though several papers have danced playfully around it, such as the Staunton Daily News Leader, which has commented on "the 'Ned Flanders meets Mr. Rogers' whine that passes for Kilgore's voice."

These comments are, of course, meaningless, and insinuations drawn from Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice are based solely on unfounded stereotypes. There is no distinct correlation between voice and sexuality and Kilgore, for his part, is married and has two children.

But for Virginia Democrats, the idea of connecting Kilgore to a slate of negative stereotypes associated with gay men -- and to therefore weaken his support among conservative voters -- has proven tempting. Discussion of Kilgore's effeminate tone has been all over the Internet for months, and prominent Virginia bloggers have repeatedly speculated on Kilgore's sexuality and the effect his voice could have on the election. Suggesting that Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice gives the impression that he is "weak" and effeminate, some online commentators have implored the Kaine campaign to take advantage of Kilgore's voice in order to implicitly connect him to gay stereotypes.
The Kaine campaign in my mind is crossing the line. If you have some factual information about Kilgore being a gay hypocrite and not just a homo-bigot with a sissy-boy voice, then out the guy. If you want to just point-blank ask the man if he's gay, do it. Don't do bush-league crap like this:
Last week, the Kaine campaign debuted a radio ad, "Weak." As the title would suggest, the spot suggests that Kilgore is "too weak to lead Virginia." Has Kilgore done anything, more than most other politicians, to define himself as "weak?" That's not clear. What is clear is the throwaway line in the "Weak" spot: "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight." The Kaine camp fails to add the obligatory "with voters;" the ad simply observes, "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight," period.
The bottom line is, if Tim Kaine wants to win by equating an effeminate voice with weakness and inability to lead, that's bigoted as well, regardless of whether his political positions are more favorable to gays than his opponent. He needs to be called out on this. As the Mike Slaven editorial notes:
But even if one accepts the principle that ends can justify means, it is not clear that Kaine could ever benefit the gay community as much as he is damaging it with a campaign that insinuates that sexuality is a matter of public discussion and fair ground for humiliation. After all, if such indignity can happen to a conservative, married father of two with a flutter in his inflection, what keeps it from happening to a self-avowed gay man?
I'd refocus that slightly. Sexuality is a matter of public discussion if you are a hypocrite in the closet who intends to oppose legal equality for gays and lesbians in the office you seek.

UPDATE: A regular reader of my blog, Sean in Dallas, thought the Kaine campaign might want this little bit of handiwork for their man's site, since sounding and appearing like a big old queen is all the rage...



Also, what about openly gay candidates that run? Is is OK for an opponent to run ads saying someone is "weak" if they are effeminate? What about dyke-baiting? Is that OK to do if you're a purportedly pro-gay Dem?

What about taking on a person's record, and their hypocrisy if that's what is going on? That's the issue at hand, not whether the guy swishes or sounds like Ned Flanders.

How does the person vote? How does the person lead? Are they a crook? Those seem to be more useful things to look at, not this kind of cheap shot.

Unless a campaign wants to publicly take on the justifiable charge that an opponent is an anti-gay homo, cut this vague, devious, dangerous sh*t out. It's confusing the issue for the average voter, and perpetuating stereotypes about gays and lesbians as capable leaders.

Female candidates face gay-baiting all the time, as a slur to suggest they aren't taking care of the hearth and home, that they are somehow fatally flawed, especially if they happen to hold pro-gay positions. Back in March I posted an item on the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's report, "Written Out: How Sexuality is Used to Attack Women's Organizing." It specifically tracked the impact of this on women here and around the world.
"With the rise of fundamentalism in both the U.S. and abroad, we are seeing that women who take public leadership on any range of issues are on the receiving end of very calculated attacks," says Susana Fried, IGLHRC's program director. "We want to connect the dots to show how women's sexuality is manipulated in this specific and increasingly common way to discredit and silence women around the world."

The 189-page report, written by Cynthia Rothschild, documents examples of such attacks in countries ranging from the United States to Argentina, India, Thailand, Costa Rica and more. "If a woman is single, she's attacked as a lesbian," says Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director. "If she's married, she's attacked for neglecting her family. Either way, the issue becomes gender and sexuality rather than the merits of the issue under discussion."

One result, says Ettelbrick, is that it becomes more difficult for women's groups to support gay and lesbian rights. "It makes our natural allies more afraid," she says. "We see female politicians retreat into self-censorship. Not only do campaigns go down to defeat, but leadership and vision suffer as well."
The Kaine campaign can and should do better than this. One would hope that if there were advisors or liaisons to the gay community in this campaign they wouldn't have let this kind of nonsense out there, but as we've seen with the self-loathing, closet case gay Repugs, sometimes the paycheck and power is worth more to them than principles.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sleazy Dick Morris pumps Condi for '08

by Pam

This media hog is going to be appearing in Durham at a local bookstore to promote his new tome pictured above. He's so full of hot air. Look at some of the BS that he's promoting in the book.
In “Condi vs. Hillary” you’ll find out:

--The former Clinton Cabinet member who goes on the record for the first time in Morris’ book to say Republican Condi Rice will take an unprecedented 40 percent of the black vote in 2008.

--How Condi will generate huge support among women, blacks and Hispanics – insuring a GOP victory.

--Condi’s real-life experience fighting the “war on terror” makes her the presumptive heir to the Bush presidency.

--Condi never held elected office, but could easily join other great American presidents who hadn’t held office either.

--The childhood vow Condi made to her father that someday she’d live in “that house” – the White House.

--Race: How her election to the presidency will be the final battle of the Civil War, break the glass ceiling and affirm America’s vision of equality for all.

--Condi and Bush: why they really hit it off (and it has little to do with politics).

--Condi’s fervent Second Amendment views and why she really believes in gun rights.

--The real Condi you haven’t read about in the liberal papers, and much, much more.
Then he goes on to describe Hillary's plan (as if he's privy to any of this, since no one trusts the guy).
--Hillary’s secret 2008 campaign: She has already raised millions for it – and incredibly, has even locked up 20 percent of the Democratic primary delegates! (You won’t read this in the New York Times!)

--Hillary’s ties to “Pardongate,” which helped her raise money for her 2000 Senate bid.

--How the Clintons’ “Rolodex of millions” has made them the most powerful Democrats in America.

--Bill Clinton’s secret role as Hillary’s media consigliere.

--Cat tricks: Hillary cleverly avoids getting photographed with Ted Kennedy.

--Hillary’s reinvention – how she has changed her image and politics – and why one poll even had 33 percent of conservatives supporting her.

--Unmasked: Despite the masquerading, Hillary remains a hardcore liberal -- for partial birth abortion, for more taxes, for lifting the travel ban to Cuba, for more union power and worse.

--Morris’s advice to Hillary on how to emulate Margaret Thatcher – and how Hillary has taken the advice!

--Why Hillary’s “Living History” was the ultimate “chutzpah.”

--Hillary’s two agendas in 2008; one involves Bill.

--Surprise: Morris says Hillary may actually drop out of the New York Senate race. (Morris reveals a private conversation with Terry McAuliffe about this.)

--2004 Games: The Clintons cleared the way for their 2008 run by sabotaging the Kerry campaign.

--Why Hillary has become scandal-proof and the old complaints over Whitewater just won’t work against her.
Well, it does sound interesting, almost high comedy -- he sounds like he's setting up a bitch-slapping fest. How does this sleazebag keep getting on the air to prognosticate anything? He will be all over the airwaves shilling this soon.

It's too bad for Dick that this news broke today: Rice Says No - and No Again - on Presidential Bid

I decided to wade into Freeperland to see how they view Dick Mor me to stop being so derisive, that harsh language and ridicule turn people off and repel the very ones we're trying to persuade. My reply is like the one above; by refusing to ridicule the ridiculous, by watering down every criticism into a mannered circumlocution, we have created an environment where idiots thrive unchallenged. We have a twit for a president because so many people made apologies for his ludicrous lack of qualifications—we need more people unabashedly pointing out fools.

I'm doing my part to fight Idiot America. I hope more people join me. I couldn’t agree more. In addition to the regular missives I receive about my foul language, I also get similar comments regarding my refusal to take anything but a hard line on any issue on which I feel accommodating the “alternative” viewpoint indulges the idiotization of America. As I’ve said before, I’ve got no problem if someone wants to personally believe in Intelligent Design and teach it to their own children; I do, however, have a big problem as soon as that person asserts it ought to be taught in a science class—and that has nothing to do with my personal beliefs about Intelligent Design and everything to do with my belief that only science ought to be taught in science classes. I’m not dogmatic; I’m pedantic.

The fabricated evolution v. ID debate is only one part of a larger movement to frame irrationality not just as the definitive opposite of rationality, but as an equally viable, opposing epistemological process. It is a rejection in whole of critical thought—the attempt to undo the successes of the Age of Enlightenment. Who needs the rigors of logic when you’ve got faith-based reasoning?

There is, however, a secret truth behind the Irrationalist Movement. Most of those who purport to subscribe to such instinctual, or inspired, reasoning, don’t. It’s not their faith that guides them, but authority. The encouragement to eschew facts in favor of faith, or instinct, or inspiration, is, for most people, little more than a justification for intellectual laziness. Bush tells them he gets divine inspiration from God, and so they listen to what he (Bush, not God) says. And Bush may make outrageous claims about what God tells him, but, in the end, his decisions are suspiciously well-aligned with the interests of his base. It seems if God, or his gut, is telling him anything, it’s “Play politics.”

Bush is coldly calculating, not divinely inspired. And he and his team know that faith-based reasoning is a sham—a righteous delusion that puts a friendly mask on the ugly mug of authoritarianism.

It’s the same mask used by a particular breed of preachers who instruct dutiful compliance, not expansive love, who rain down on the bowed heads of their parishioners, week after week, the fire and brimstone of an angry and vengeful God. These men of the cloth are useful servants indeed to the Bush administration, conditioning their flocks with a predisposition toward tyrannical benevolence, telling them not to question, encouraging them to eradicate all threats to their fragile faith. And all the while, the justification for, and legitimization of, such blind belief is being insidiously woven into the national discourse. Make way for the faithful…and their dictator.

This is not an argument against religion; it’s an argument against granting equal footing in the national discourse to a particular type of thought associated with a particular brand of religion. And I will not water down my criticism into a mannered circumlocution, because the future of this country may very well depend on those of us who don’t. Authoritarianism is the enemy of democracy, and I don’t give a shit what mask it’s wearing when it comes to my doorstep.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Political Fiction

by Shakespeare's Sister

In commenting on Christopher Lehmann's Washington Monthly essay, on the problem with American political fiction, Brad Plumer notes:

[M]aybe it's hard to write good political fiction because the real-life plots are so outlandish, and the characters so twisted, that there's no sense trying to top reality—any book that included Tom Coburn, Andy Card, and Michael Brown's Arabian Horse trade would be pretty quickly dismissed as a crude absurdity.
Ain’t that the truth?

Meanwhile, Ezra pulls something, which I haven’t yet identified as more humorous or scary, from the NY Post:

THEY'RE saying the President, spending inordinate time working on handling his multiple problems of Iraq, Supreme Court, Karl Rove, gas prices, sliding polls, economy, has begun rehearsing answers to questions that might come up at a press conference. More importantly, he's even watching reruns of "West Wing."
Rather convoluted, to be sure, but it seems that the current reality is that our president is learning how to do his job from a television show, making the truth both stranger than, and apparently informed by fiction.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Funny Business

by Shakespeare's Sister

The Wall Street Journal reports that two conservative judges, Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Ed Kinkeade, a Dallas-based federal trial judge, participated in am October 3 conference call regarding Miers’ nomination during which they reassured participants that Miers would overturn Roe. Someone on the call took extensive notes, which have been turned over to the WSJ’s John Fund.

The call was moderated by the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. Participating were 13 members of the executive committee of the Arlington Group, an umbrella alliance of 60 religious conservative groups, including Gary Bauer of American Values, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and the Rev. Bill Owens, a black minister…

According to the notes of the call, Mr. Dobson introduced [the two sitting judges] by saying, "Karl Rove suggested that we talk with these gentlemen because they can confirm specific reasons why Harriet Miers might be a better candidate than some of us think."

What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"

"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.

"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."
Aside from raising some serious questions about the ethics of Justices Hecht and Kinkeade, this also casts a different light on what the administration knew about Miers’ position on abortion. As you’ll recall, the president said he had never discussed Roe with Miers, and yet the conference call with Justices Hecht and Kinkeade was arranged at the suggestion of—surprise!—Karl Rove.

Kinkeade is declining to discuss his role in the conference call; Hecht has a vicious case of Reaganitis and “can't recollect who invited him or many specifics about it.” He also says he answered “I don’t know” regarding how Miers would vote on Roe, although Fund asserts that several participants have confirmed to him that both jurists stated she would overturn it.

This is a text book example of how this White House operates. The president says he never discussed something with someone, even though anyone with a semi-functioning brain can easily discern he wouldn’t have taken the action in question without first having ascertained the information he denies having. Then, while the president continues to assert his ignorance, questions about some dodgy business surface, and the name of the president’s closest advisor, Karl Rove, pops up in association. But the president didn’t know. Doesn’t know. Knows nothing. Nothing to do with it. The people involved in the dodgy business get a collective case of amnesia. It’s ridiculous. And anyone who thinks that Bush is still just an unwitting accomplice is sorely mistaken. This pattern is so patently obvious by now that if he didn’t overtly condone Rove’s shenanigans, he would have fired him, before the entire administration is crushed under the weight of a two-ton turd blossom.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Super-size that schadenfreude as Abramoff, Reed, Sheldon, and Norquist get closer to hoisting themselves on their own petard(s)

by Nancy in NYC

Dunno why everyone in the blogosphere isn't jumping on yesterday's superb WaPo investigative piece, "How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck." Staff reporters Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi looked through the plentiful emails, financial records, and and interviews that tie together 4 of the biggest snake-oil salesmen in the country in a major scandal. It appears that eLottery, Jack Abramoff's gambling business client, made pay-offs to Ralph Reed and Lou Sheldon, through Grover Norquist, to insure that no nasty anti-gambling laws were passed.

Relish this one, folks.

Take the time to read all 9 pages. Remember the days when MSM did genuine investigative reporting. Breathe deep and allow yourself to dream that perhaps, just perhaps, we won't have to live out the rest of our lives in this Orwellian nightmare that is the current administration.

Seriously, this article made my wife so happy that she's been humming all day.

Hats off to Digby over at Hullabaloo, who, as far as I can tell, spotted this one first first in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Boykin banned from stage at Millions More March by homo-bigot Rev. Wilson

by Pam

Keith Boykin, and bigot Rev. Willie Wilson.

[UPDATE: I am posting a re-edited piece on the fallout at the Millions More March yesterday. This version has been front-paged at DKos. There are contacts at the end to take action on this bigotry. It's also time for a blogswarm. --P.]

Kossack TerrenceDC of the excellent Republic of T, had a diary on this subject that scrolled off very quickly yesterday and it deserved more exposure; I've excerpted snippets here.]

Several days ago, there was a meeting between Keith Boykin and members of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)  and Millions More March (MMM) leader Louis Farrakhan over GLBT representation at the march.

Keith Boykin was chosen to speak, but at the last minute, as he made his way to the podium, he was turned away by the homo-bigot co-organizer Rev. Willie Wilson.

Wilson was making sure that no one at that march was going to hear what Keith had to say about homophobia and the black community, or the need for gay visibility, recognition and acceptance.

From Metro Weekly's Will O'Bryan:
When NBJC president Keith Boykin and vice-president Donna Payne reported to the event on the Mall, they say, they were blocked from speaking by MMM organizer Rev. Willie Wilson.

Boykin was supposed to to represent the black LGBT community at the event.

Back at the Freedom Plaza rally, Payne said that when she and Boykin arrived at the MMM site, Wilson said, "They will not be speaking."

"I'm so angry, so angry," Payne said.
From TerrenceDC's diary, Million More March (Not) Missed:
The Million More March took place this weekend, and I did not miss it. Don't take that to mean that I attended, however, because I didn't. I didn't march, and I didn't miss marching either. After observing the behavior and listening to the words of those who organized the march, I don't believe I missed anything other than more of the same. And at this point in my life, I no longer wish to waste time on it.

...I've been over this ground before. I've been over it as a black gay man in an interracial relationship. I've been over it before in countless online flamewars and "blacker than thou" battles, in which it was asserted that I needed to prioritize one identity -- black or gay -- over the other; something I can no more do than, as I heard it put in Marlon Riggs' movie Tongues Untied, choose between "my left nut or my right."
I agree with Terrence. This is part of a sad sickness, a schism in our community that widens -- why should we have to choose? Why are the voices of bigotry against black gays and lesbians allowed to be leaders, to be organizers, to be arbiters of who is included and excluded in the community?

Wilson, a man placed in charge of organizing this march, said the following comments (and all involved, including Farrakhan knew he said these things) from the pulpit:

"But... women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain't real. That thing ain't got no feeling in it. It ain't natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it's something wrong with that. Your butt ain't made for that."

"No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can't make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female."
--The Rev. Willie Wilson
There's a real class act, huh? A man chosen to represent leadership in the black community for this march.

It is a sad state of affairs and if the other leaders present today are silent on this rebuff, they need to be held accountable.

Keith recounts what happened on his blog, in the post, "The Speech That Didn't Happen."
After eight months of discussion, four productive conversations with Minister Farrakhan and a heated exchange with Rev. Willie Wilson, the Millions More Movement March took place today and I was not allowed to speak. Although I believe we have opened the door for historic and positive dialogue with Minister Farrakhan, Rev. Wilson does not appear to be ready for such dialogue.

This is what happened today. After I arrived at the VIP tent shortly after 8 in the morning, my colleague Donna Payne spoke directly to Rev. Willie Wilson backstage, and he informed her that no one from the National Black Justice Coalition would be speaking today. Donna told Rev. Wilson that he was violating our agreement, and Wilson replied that the agreement was void because the Coalition had not responded by Friday. That was not true.

Rev. Wilson's excuse seemed a mere pretext to prevent us from speaking. Sadly, I am not surprised. He has been an obstacle to this process all along. Ever since his controversial July 3 sermon in which he blamed the rise of lesbianism for the problems in the black community, Rev. Wilson seems to have developed ill feelings toward the black gay community for responding to his attack. That was three months ago, and I had hoped to use my speech today to extend an olive branch to Rev. Wilson to move beyond our differences and heal our wounds, but his actions this morning made that impossible.
Eva at Lloydletta has thoughts on what went wrong.
I was thinking this probably happened because Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick did the outing campaign looking for stories about Willie Wilson being a closet gay. [I posted about the series on my blog here -- Pam]

This reminds me alot of what happened between Log Cabin Republicans and the Bush campaign in 2000. Jake Tapper's account discusses the Log Cabin internal divisions on this.
Keith gave it the old college try, but after Wilson's behavior (as a minister, no less), it's time to hang it up with getting a seat at that particular table.

Farrakhan knew exactly what he was doing when he extended the invitation in the first place. The National Black Justice Coalition had sent him a list of 10 prospective gay speakers for the MMM -- Keith wasn't on the list -- yet Farrakhan asked Keith to speak, knowing that Wilson was hopping mad over the outing campaign from a few weeks ago.

It's no surprise then, on the day of the event -- with festivities in motion -- Wilson could pull rank and block Keith from taking the stage and call it miscommunication. The goal is achieved -- the NBJC doesn't get a chance in front of thousands of people that needed to hear the message Keith planned to deliver.

For me, the larger issue is the whether there will be a follow-up reaction to this incident by the other black leaders at that march -- will they ignore this slight? Will they address Wilson's bigoted remarks and end-run on the black gay community?

These are the people that need to be asked to comment on what it means when a segment of the black community that has been marginalized and demonized is explicitly denied an opportunity to openly address a painful issue -- black homophobia -- with a message of hope.

Instead, Farrakhan and Wilson played Keith -- letting him publicize the "success" of being given a seat at the table, and then pulling the chair out from under him -- all to show him who was in charge. It's disgusting.

I don't want a seat at the table of homophobes and bigots claiming to be religious leaders. Keith, you're better than these people. They are brothers under the skin with the white evangelical AmTaliban -- they'd rather bed down with those jackals.

As Terrence noted in the comments of his diary in response to the above:

"A seat at the table? From what I've seen, we aren't even wanted in the house, let alone at the table."

Keith's speech -- the one that he could not give because of bigotry by a man of the cloth -- is powerful. You can read it here.


Sunday's press coverage on the conflict

The WaPo has an article on what occurred, "Gays Protest Rejection Of Speaker at Gathering," which describes Wilson's unhinged behavior at the meeting prior to the MMM, which tells you even more about this man.
Leaders said they were sure Wilson was responsible for the snub after their bizarre and angry meeting with Wilson earlier in the week.

...Boykin said Wilson said he was furious about hate mail and angry calls he had gotten since he was criticized for delivering a sermon at his Southeast Washington church that described gay sex in graphic and derogatory terms. He has since written about an "epidemic" of lesbianism among young black girls.

...Donna Payne, an organizer with the Human Rights Campaign who also attended the meeting, said Wilson told them he had to change his telephone number and was worried about his family. He then pulled out a book, "The New Joy of Gay Sex," and accused gay leaders of sending it to him.

Payne also said Wilson accused gay leaders of not knowing what is happening in the community.

Boykin and Payne said Wilson then grabbed a white plastic bag and pulled out a bottle of sleeping pills and a G-string made from Pez candies strung together. He said black girls use the items to try to turn other girls into lesbians.


You can find the contact information for the Congressional Black Caucus here, and ask if they have any comment on the outrageous statements and behavior of Willie Wilson.

Sheila Jackson Lee (202-225-3816 - phone, 202-225-3317 - fax), is on the board of the Millions More Movement.

I'll update with more contacts as I have time. If you have some, please post in the comments, and pass the word for a blogswarm.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

God Is Still Speaking -- But Not on CBS

by TheGreenKnight

Looks as if the allegedy ultra-liberal CBS is going to reject the United Church of Christ's "God is Still Speaking" ads again. The UCC's Ron Buford reports:
It is not yet official, but it is likely that CBS will reject our new ad - again. We await final word from NBC and CBS, but CBS says our ad is an "advocacy ad."

With our ad agency partners, Gotham, I met with high-level CBS executives at their New York offices recently. We told them that the United Church of Christ commercial was not advocating anything; rather, we are letting people know that no matter who they are, or where they are on life's journey, they are welcome.

Having reached an impasse, we tried a different approach. I asked, "What has to change for the United Church of Christ ad to be acceptable, to not be considered an "advocacy ad?" The executive said that it would have to become commonplace across the US for churches to welcome gays and lesbians.
Pam, who gets a tip o' the hat, asks the obvious question:
What kind of ass-hat logic is this? Running the ad would make it more likely that gays and lesbians would be welcome in more churches, not the other way around - if churches were welcoming, then the commercial wouldn't be needed.
The Green Knight asks the other obvious question: since when is it forbidden for somebody to advertise the fact that their product or service is different from those offered by other people?

Buford continues:
Perhaps the Good News of Jesus Christ is advocacy. If it is, then call me an advocate....

Since the Advent ad run last December, there have been more than 5 million visits to and Of those, more than 521,000 have taken the next step and entered a city name or zip code to find a church near them. We don't yet know how many, but many of them have found a home among us – straight, gay, all races, all ages, all abilities, agnostics, believers, democrats and republicans....

Forget about divisive issues. See the needs of the spiritually homeless of our time -- all kinds of people who don't know a church like ours exists. People who ask, "Where have you been?"
It's the same conundrum that progressive and moderate religious people across the USA face: Where have we been? Right here, doing what we always do, but the right-wing corporate media would rather eat live worms than admit that we even exist.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

We Caught the Barber!!!

by TheGreenKnight

Surely victory is just around the corner!!!
US forces say they are holding the man who helped Iraqi insurgents evade capture by changing their appearance. Walid Muhammad Farhan Juwar al-Zubaydi, known as "The Barber", and another man were arrested on 24 September in Baghdad, said a US military statement.

The other, Ibrahim Muhammad Subhi Khayri al-Rihawi, was a "close associate" of Abu Azzam, al-Qaeda's second in command in Iraq, it said.
Another second in command? Or was this the last one? I'm losing track.
"'The Barber's' duties included altering senior al-Qaeda in Iraq members' appearances by dying hair colour, altering hairstyles and changing facial hair in their efforts to evade capture," the US military said in the statement.
Wow, since nobody else in Iraq could possibly know how to do that stuff, we've surely got them on the ropes. Last throes blah blah blah blah blah.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Wingnuts at 'tent revival' kickoff for Reformation Ohio

by Pam

"Sound an alarm. A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place. Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load."
-- Rev. Rod Parsley, pastor of the World Harvest Church, met with thunderous applause, at a rally for his Reformation Ohio baby
After reading a quote like that, it's merely a revival missing the tent -- there's a political/evangelical event going on, so I'm sure there may be a few tents up there where Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) is heading to press the flesh.

In a truly scary AmTaliban move, Reformation Ohio seeks to converting 100,000 people to Christianity within four years (and get those voters registered), but the event is also being used by a who's who of right-winger politicians that are bellying up to glad hand with the "base," and to get those holy photo ops.

Televangelist clown Rod Parsley is the man behind this nonsense. Parsley and his political arm, Center for Moral Clarity is also planning to rally up wingnut support for homo-bigot Keith Butler in his race for the Senate seat in Michigan. (ABC):
A new coalition dedicated to converting thousands to Christianity and getting thousands more on voter registration lists got its start Friday with a tightly scripted rally that resembled a revival meeting.

More than 1,000 people gathered outside the Statehouse for the launch of Reformation Ohio. The group, founded by the Rev. Rod Parsley, a television evangelist and pastor of the World Harvest Church in suburban Columbus, vehemently opposes gay rights, and Parsley has written that the teachings of Islam were inspired by demons.

The group's formation comes after last November's election in which Christian conservatives helped pass a gay-marriage ban in Ohio and give President Bush the electoral votes he needed to claim victory.

Speakers included U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas who is considering a White House run in 2008; Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor next year.

Brownback was a supporter of FMA and promised not hire openly gay people for his staff. Ken Blackwell plans to profit from the support of the fundamentalists in his race for governor of Ohio. NC Rep. Walter Jones is pushing H.R. 235, which would allow pastors to endorse candidates without jeopardizing church tax exemption. (Blackwell photo: Greg Sailor for The New York Times).

Blackwell, who also won Brownback's endorsement Friday, praised the efforts of Parsley and others to sign up new voters. Parsley's goal is to add 400,000 people to voter rolls. "Reformation Ohio is about history-making times, reforming the culture," Blackwell said. "We are a government that governs only with the consent of the governed."

Brownback, who has emerged as a leading skeptic of President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, said the nation is engaged in a cultural struggle. "We need a culture that buttresses our families, not attacks them. We need a society that honors good and condemns what is bad," Brownback said.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Online cruising, Jim West style

by Pam

Ryan M. Oelrich (L), and West
"He also asked me to accompany him to a (Gonzaga) Bulldogs game in California but told me there would only be one bed in the hotel room, and I would have to share it with him. He told me he'd pay for the expenses. I declined."
-- Ryan Oelrich, one of West's pursuits, who also received a job from the Spokane Mayor
I really don't want to visualize this, but the online chats of Spokane Mayor, the gay self-loather, Republican James West, have been released by court order. This humiliated, disgraced homo-bigot hypocrite [link is to a great post by B3's JJ, who has covered all the angles on this story] won't step down, even now, when the dumb*ss's chats are out there for all to see. And so Blenders, you get to witness a yet tortured closet case exposed, this time e-cruising on the taxpayers' dime.
Ryan Oelrich, 24, was appointed to the Spokane Human Rights Commission by West, and later complained the mayor harassed him for sex.

In a detailed timeline released Thursday to the newspaper, Oelrich said he was first contacted by RightBi-Guy in August or September of 2003 on and later by Cobra82nd, who said he'd changed screen names. Both were computer names used by West. Oelrich was a Gonzaga University student at the time.

After learning he was corresponding with West, Oelrich said the mayor promised to help him find a job, offered him a City Hall internship, and continued to pressure him for sex.

...West dropped by Oelrich's home, offered him $300 cash to swim naked with him and continued to press him for dates, Oelrich said

Oelrich used the online names "GonzagaRy" and "HappyCollegeGuy" in the conversations.

During Memorial Day weekend in 2004, Cobra82nd said he'd been working on his house.

"Now I'm looking for some cuddle bunny to nuggle with. You game?" Cobra82nd asked.

"You will never score with me," HappyCollegeGuy replied.

Later in the same conversation, Cobra82nd said he was getting a new Lexus convertible.

Cobra82nd: "You think? Maybe I'll have to give you a ride? Maybe give you a lil more."

Cobra82nd said he was buying the car because of a "midlife crisis."

"Is it over?" asked HappyCollegeGuy.

"No, just starting.haha.need a sports car and a new mistress you interested in being the latter?"

HappyCollegeGuy: "hmm, no. but best of luck anyway."
Oooh, strike out.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Log Cabin head urges conservative gays to come out

by Pam

For all the self-loathing Republican hypocrites out there, Patrick Guerriero, of the Log Cabin Republicans is issuing a challenge to you today in an editorial -- come out of the damn closet.

Our approaches have differed greatly -- Guerriero clearly is against forced outing of even the most offensive hypocrites, but even he realizes that the days of helping a bigoted boss to pass legislation detrimental to gays and lesbians (think Santorum's self-hating gay and black PR man -- there's a real double-dipper of a head case -- Robert Traynham).
Now is the time for closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted. Now is the time we can really make a difference. If every gay conservative came out of the closet today, the journey to full equality would be over in years instead of decades.

It would soon become ineffective to use gay and lesbian families as wedge issues in campaigns. The cynical efforts to amend our federal and state constitutions would be stopped. The hypocrisy of anti-gay political tactics being used by way too many Republicans and some Democrats would be finally exposed.

One of the biggest unkept secrets in Washington, D.C., is that closeted gay Republicans are everywhere: the White House, Republican Party organizations, the halls of Congress, the most influential law offices, and the most powerful lobbying firms in our nation’s capital.

Some of those who remain closeted have chosen to be either passive bystanders or, in some cases, active critics of our movement while comfortably partaking in the fringe benefits of our community work, sipping the finest martinis in our trendiest gay bars.
Who do you think he might be referring to...?

While as progressives we can differ with theoretical fully out gay Republican legislators on many political positions, It's pretty clear that we could unite on basic gay civil rights issues. But what's common among the closeted Republican homo-hypocrites is that their padlocked closets are impeding their ability to think clearly. They are are living a lie, and often they are products of their environment -- socially conservative families and neighborhoods, that make the personal aspect, let alone the political aspect of coming out too psychologically difficult to deal with. Look at Ed Schrock.

In my opinion, closeted gay legislators like Schrock that consistently work against the cause of gay civil rights have no business being in public office. They are simply unbalanced and not able to carry the weight of the closet, a weight I can guarantee you is more of a burden, as a human being, than coming out and dealing with the fallout. I don't know anyone that has come out that would prefer to be back in the closet.
During these historic times, the closet is not only a place that suffocates personal dignity, but that suffocates personal integrity that has the potential to change hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans.

Coming out doesn’t have to mean putting a sticker on your car, flying a rainbow flag from your front porch or marching in a parade.

It may be as simple as putting a picture of your partner on your desk at work, sharing your personal story with your boss, or speaking up when someone says something anti-gay. It may be as difficult as offering a letter of resignation instead of implementing or assisting with an anti-gay campaign strategy.

...Only with the help of gay conservatives can we prevent anti-gay conservatives from hijacking the Republican Party. Only with the help of gay conservatives can we defeat the voices of fear and intolerance. The history books will note not only those who had the courage to stand up, but, sadly, those who remain silent. The time is now.
Time after time, you've seen on this blog that it is the publicly pious legislators who are privately deviant fools unable to reconcile who they are with their ethics, morals or basic priniciples. These people need to just come the f*ck out and get it over with, get a shrink, heal themselves, and not cast a vote on the floor to restrict my rights because they are a mental case about their orientation.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Sickness in Indiana: judge rips foster child from lesbian couple planning to adopt

by Pam

"There is no justifiable reason for this family to be torn apart and their legal ties jeopardized. The adoption decree keeps Morgan in a stable and loving home where she has done well. It makes no sense to uproot her from her family in hopes that another will be better because the couple can marry."
-- Patricia M. Logue, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago
I am so damn tired of homophobes like this judge thinking that this kind of bullsh*t is somehow better for the child. The lesbian couple has had the baby since she was two days old, and now the judge wants to take her away and place her with a heterosexual couple, now that the lesbians want to adopt her. This is an outrage. It should be noted that Indiana has no laws banning gays and lesbians from adopting, so this is a cruel judge's call. (
Becki Hamilton and Kim Brennan for several years have served as foster parents to a number of Indiana children. In 2004 the lesbian couple was asked by the state to provide a home for an abandoned infant and to consider adopting her. They took the baby home when she was two days old and have provided care for her since then, including naming the child Morgan.

But when the judge supervising the child's foster care placement realized that the child's prospective adoptive parents were lesbians, the court ordered the State child welfare agency to find her a home with a heterosexual married couple instead.

The State did not locate such a family for many months and meanwhile the two mothers, who are licensed pre-adoptive foster parents, applied for and were granted an adoption by the Marion Superior Court. The Morgan Juvenile Court then ruled that the adoption was invalid.

Represented by Lambda Legal, Hamilton and Brennan have appealed the order. In papers filed Friday with the Indiana Court of Appeals, Lambda argues that the adoption must be honored.

"Morgan has been a part of this family since she was two days old, and is thriving. The judge's view that children should only be placed with heterosexual married couples is not the law and would leave her with strangers," said Patricia M. Logue, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago.
Ms. Julien is also on this story she reminded me that Indiana is also the wonderful slice of America where a state legislator attempted an end-run on gays with a womb-control bill (that thankfully was withdrawn) that would have required the following from anyone thinking about artificial insemination:

* “intended parents” must be married to each other.
* an unmarried person could not be an intended parent.
* A doctor couldn’t begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child’s being born until the intended parents of the child have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill.
* Info required from the prospective parents would have included:
-- the fertility history of the parents
-- education and employment information
-- hobbies and personality descriptions
-- verification of marital status
-- child care plans
-- letter of reference
-- criminal history checks.
-- a description of the "family lifestyle," including whether there is participation in faith-based or church activities.

Clearly the Hoosiers must not have any issues with crime, poverty, political corruption, environmental concerns and any other critical matters that need tending to if they are focusing on whether gays and lesbians are trying to raise the state's unwanted children or have some on their own.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Help Wanted

by Shakespeare's Sister

AfterDowningStreet is in need of a programmer to design a site for them very quickly in conjunction with a new endeavor. It will be a very simple site but will require developing the functionality to dump emails into a database. All copy will be provided, but some design expertise will be needed, too. If you are willing and able to help, please email me or ADS’ Jonathan Schwarz. Thanks!

And It’s Not Silent Velcro, Either…

by Shakespeare's Sister

This post from Political Wire reminds me of something I’ve said before about Bush’s plummeting support—his presidency is so inextricably linked to the war in Iraq, that as support for the war falls, it’s inevitable that support for his administration will, too.

Craig Crawford's latest column is a must read (available here later today) in that it sums up the Bush administration's political problem perfectly:

"The source of this president’s power -- the cult of personality so finely crafted in his image -- is proving to be the key to his undoing. The secrecy, spin control and demands for loyalty in his White House have always been about making Bush the one and only face of his presidency. From the West Wing inner circle to the Cabinet, the Bush team was on orders to stay out of the limelight and let the president take the lead on all fronts.

"This system worked well for Bush when there was mostly good news to claim credit for. But now that blame for bad news must be handed out, the president stands almost alone in the receiving line."

By letting others take credit in good times, it's easy to blame someone else when something goes wrong. Crawford notes Ronald Reagan’s "famous detachment from the particulars of governance earned him a reputation as 'the Teflon president.' Nothing bad ever seemed to stick to him."

Now, Bush is in danger of becoming "a Velcro president" with all bad things sticking to him.

Case in point: The New York Times reports on yesterday's teleconference with American troops in Iraq that "came across as carefully scripted and a bit awkward." Worse than that, the event backfired and the staging became the entire message. For instance, the AP story only talks about how the teleconference was scripted.

Hotline On Call got it right: "We think the Daily Show will have a month's worth of fodder."
When someone insists on being the center of a poorly constructed universe, he oughtn’t be surpsrised to find himself at the bottom of the rubble heap when that universe comes crashing down.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

R.I.P. Vivian Malone Jones

by JJ

Another civil rights pioneer has passed.

Gov George Wallace blocking the entrance of The UofA - Vivian Malone Jones attending class

Vivian Malone Jones, the first African-American student to graduate from the University of Alabama, has died at age 63. Malone was one of the students Gov. George Wallace tried to block from entering the university in 1963.

She was the first African American to graduate from the school.

Its difficult to believe that this was just over 40 years ago. This just goes to show you that people change, society changes and it is, for the most part, for the better.

We in the gay community are at that crossroads that Vivian Malone Jones was at 40 years ago. Society is changing in our favor, there is no turning back now, civil rights, equality and tolerance will be had by all people of all cultures. The fact that so many people seem to be against us is becuase they realize that they are losing the battle, equality for gays in marriage, housing, and employment is inevitable. This fact scares the crap out of those who stand against us so they speak loudy and with vehement vitriol.

Those on the far right, the neo-conservatives, are the ones who opposed educating African Americans and interracial marriage forty years ago and these are the same people who oppose us today. They are afraid because their ethos has always been to hate someone, if they can't hate the gays anymore then who is left? The disabled? The poor? Their entire way of life is going the way of the doodoo, whatever will they do?

(Crossposted at Spokane Reality Based Blog)

Lou Sheldon and Tim Wildmon get their grooves on

by Pam

From Media Matters...homo-infatuated AmTaliban big shots Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA), and Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), teamed up on a radio show for a real love-in on homosexuality.

Lou, in this case, seems to be a big advocate of exorcism as "reparative therapy," and clearly doesn't have a clue about what gender identity disorder is. From the October 11 broadcast of American Family Radio's Today's Issues:
WILDMON: And let me just say one other thing, and we'll go on to our next caller. And I'm not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a social scientist, or anything like that. But I have heard from people who know and understand these things that two of the most difficult sins or bondage to break out of are alcoholism and homosexuality.

Sheldon graphic:Mike Tidmus

SHELDON: Oh definitely, because the groove is built, and I've talked to many psychotherapists who are Christian, and they say once you enter into that lifestyle -- Now, you may have gender identity conflict -- that's the medical-scientific name for homosexuality --where you're attracted to the same-sex person, but once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater, and all of that kind of -- and gay travel -- once you immerse yourself into that, you have really put yourself into a groove that only a sort of an exorcism can release you from.

Do you think Tim and Don really want to get their groove on, or should I just put them down for a RealDoll stud dressed as a priest edition?


Bonus points for Tim: we get a two-for-one special, a double-dip of insanity. He agrees with a caller that is concerned about the possible preponderance of homos on HGTV -- and Animal Planet. I hate to inform Tim, but there is no need for evidence-gathering on that matter, at least HGTV or any of the home-related channels. There is faggotry and dykery at every level on almost every program. It's called Home and Garden Television for god's sake! Designers and carpentry!

Perhaps the caller was not sure whether Christopher Lowell is queer.
From the October 11 broadcast of American Family Radio's Today's Issues:

CALLER: I just wanted to make a comment that you really, really, really have to watch what you are watching on TV. I have come upon evidence of homosexuality and lesbian people on programs like HGTV and Animal Planet, where you really don't expect this to be an issue.

WILDMON: Right. You're very perceptive, [caller], because that does happen, even in the most innocent of places. You have to watch out for children's programs today as well because they'll slip it in there as well.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Game over, man: Kenny and Chimpy and the black vote

by Pam

It's just too bad. All that work with the darkies, Ken. Aside from the bigoted pastors and black Republiclowns you've bought up over the last few years, it looks like your big man in the White House flushed that effort down the toilet. The numbers are in free fall. Dan Froomkin in the WaPo:
In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent.

But Bush's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina -- seen by many blacks as evidence that he didn't care about them (see my September 13 column ) -- may have brought support for the president in the African American community down to nearly negligible levels.

Tim Russert called attention to this startling statistic on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday: "Brian, listen to this," he said. "Only 2 percent -- 2 percent! -- of African-Americans approve of George Bush's handling of the presidency -- the lowest we have ever seen in that particular measure."

So this morning, I called Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, to get a better sense of the significance of the results.

Rubbing for luck: it ran out.

"African Americans were not supporters, but I don't think that they outright detested him -- until now," Hart said. "The actions in and around Katrina persuaded African Americans that this was a president who was totally insensitive to their concerns and their needs."

Hart said he has never seen such a dramatic drop in presidential approval ratings, within any subgroup.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.


by Shakespeare's Sister

The title of this post is taken from the cover story on the Oct. 17 issue of The New Republic, which notes:

[W]hile cronies populate every presidency, no administration has etched the principles of hackocracy into its governing philosophy as deeply as this one. If there’s an underappreciated corner of the bureaucracy to fill, it has found just the crony (or college roommate of a crony), party operative (or cousin of a party operative) to fill it.
And just when one might foolishly think the Bush administration can’t get any more hackocratic than it already is, oddjob points to this article, which reports that a political loyalty test is now being used by the National Park Service in filling all positions of mid-level management and above.

The National Park Service has started using a political loyalty test for picking all its top civil service positions, according to an agency directive released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under the new order, all mid-level managers and above must also be approved by a Bush administration political appointee.

The October 11, 2005 order issued by NPS Director Fran Mainella requires that the selection criteria for all civil service management slots (Government Service grades or GS-13, 14 and 15) include the "ability to lead employees in achieving the ...Secretary's 4Cs and the President's Management Agenda." …

The President's Management Agenda includes controversial policies and proposals such as aggressive use of outsourcing to replace civil servants, reliance on "faith-based initiatives" and rollbacks of civil service rights.
The order, which is described as “an unprecedented political intrusion into what are supposed to be non-partisan, merit system personnel decisions,” applies to “park superintendents, assistant superintendents and program managers, such as chief ranger or the head of interpretive or cultural programs.” If you’d like a mere preview of exactly what this could mean for our National Parks Service, check out this post from November, which focused on possible changes to a film shown at the Lincoln Memorial and the decision to sell a book at the Grand Canyon, claiming it was formed by the great flood from the biblical story of Noah.

"Presidents come and go but the civil service is designed to serve whoever occupies the swivel chair in the Oval Office," [PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch] added. "It is downright creepy that now every museum curator, supervising scientist and chief ranger must be okayed by a high-level political appointee."
It’s beyond creepy—it’s un-American, and it’s the logical extension of a hackocracy run amok.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Texas Republican Charged with Drunk Driving in South Dakota

by Dark Wraith

Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)The Houston Community News is reporting that Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX, 8th District) has been arrested in South Dakota for driving under the influence. Although carrying a maximum penalty as a Class 1 Misdemeanor of a year in the pokey, Clay County State's Attorney Tami Bern said that it was unlikely that the five-term Republican would serve any jail time. Brady was given field sobriety and Breathalyzer™ tests, the results of which are not admissible in court, that indicated that he was intoxicated, but he refused the subsequent police station blood test.

Brady is the Majority Deputy Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as on the Joint Economic Committee and the House Policy Committee. Among his better known, recent legislative contributions is his role in the passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). According to Wikipedia, he is an advocate of "victim's rights" and the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. His Congressional Website provides further details on his career and his close relationship to the Bush Administration. The 50-year-old Congressman is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, the state in which he was charged with driving while intoxicated. His Congressional homepage describes him as the father of two young children, a Rotarian, and a member of the Saints Simon & Jude Catholic Church.

The Dark Wraith thought folks might like to know about this.

I Don't Want to Know

by TheGreenKnight

So it turns out that Bush and Harriet Miers have been sending each other mash notes for years. A lot of bloggers have noted some of the yummier ones, such as:
"You are the best governor ever -- deserving of great respect."

"Keep up the great work. Texas is blessed."
And others, which make the spoof site Harriet Miers's Blog!!! look as if it just might be real.

But, unless I missed it, only IndyStar and the Rude Pundit (and who else could it have been?) have so far noted one absolutely bizarre note from Bush to Miers, which concludes -- and this is true:
"P.S. No more public scatology."
I don't want to know. I just don't.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Our Healthcare System is Complete Bullsh*t...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...and anyone who dares to "complain" about it is called a "commie" or a "socialist"...

An article in today's NY Times really hits it on the head. I have excerpted the complete article here, boldings done by Julien's List.

Being a Patient

Treated for Illness, Then Lost in Labyrinth of Bills

When Bracha Klausner returned home after an extended hospital stay for a ruptured intestine three years ago, she found stacks of mail from doctors and hospitals waiting for her.

There were so many envelopes - some of them very thick - that at first, Mrs. Klausner, 77, could not bring herself to open them, and she stored them in large shopping bags in her Manhattan apartment.

When she finally did open some of the envelopes, there were pages filled with dozens of carefully detailed items, each accompanied by a service code: "Partial thrombo 2300214 102.00," "KUB Flat 2651040 466.00."

On the 15th page or so of each bill, a "balance forward" line listed amounts in the tens of thousands of dollars. One totaled $77,858.04.

Another mailing, from her insurance company, clearly said, in large type, "This is not a bill." But she could make no sense of the remark codes: "G7 - Your benefit is based on the difference between Medicare's allowable expense and the amount Medicare paid" or "QN - Your claim may have been separated for processing purposes."


The system is so impenetrable that it mystifies even the most knowledgeable.

"I'm the president's senior adviser on health information technology, and when I get an E.O.B. for my 4-year-old's care, I can't figure out what happened, or what I'm supposed to do," said Dr. David Brailer, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, whose office is in the Department of Health and Human Services. "I can't figure out what care it was related to or who did what."


(this is the part that is the biggest of above-mentioned bullsh*t):

In the days before managed care, most insurance plans operated on a fee-for-service basis. Patients paid 20 percent of medical fees; insurers paid 80 percent. But as health care costs have continued to rise, many patients are being required to pay an ever-larger part of their medical bills, and deductibles continue to increase. And to keep the system churning, close to 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes for administration, much of it spent generating bills and explanations of benefits.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gay-baiting coach needs to zip it

by Pam

"I struggled with whether I should just walk away and try to forget what happened. I finally realized that I could never put this incident behind me as long as other students were being subjected to the same sort of humiliation and discrimination I experienced from Coach Portland."
-- Jennifer Harris, a former basketball player for Penn State, on Coach Rene Portland's abusive homo-bashing attitudes.
Penn State's basketball coach Rene Portland has a problem with lesbians. She doesn't want them playing on her team.

In fact, despite Penn State adding sexual orientation to the school’s non-discrimination policy in 1991, she told the media that she does not allow lesbians on her team. [I hate to tell Portland the obvious, but it's likely she's coached many a lesbian on the b-ball team in spite of whatever bullsh*t beliefs she has.]

Finally, a player is coming forward calling Portland on her bigoted ways. (
Jennifer Harris was a 6 foot guard from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Despite Harris’ outstanding performance as a player during her two-year career at Penn State from 2003 to 2005, Coach Portland repeatedly questioned Harris about her sexual orientation, repeatedly threatened to kick Harris off the team if she found out Harris was a lesbian, and eventually told other players not to associate with Harris because she believed that Harris was gay.

I guess Portland better be careful about hugging the lesbos -- it might be catching...

In 2005, Coach Portland abruptly told Harris to find somewhere else to play.

“My departure from Penn State was very painful,” said Harris. "...In the end, I knew I had to speak out. Coach Portland very nearly destroyed not only my athletic career, but also my dream of completing my education and becoming a doctor. I do not want to see a single other student damaged in this way.”

Harris transferred to James Madison University.

...Tuesday the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a letter to Penn State University President Graham Spanier, demanding that action be taken against Portland.

Despite student protests and an alleged investigation into Portland’s anti-gay conduct, Penn State has refused to take any action against her.

...“Coach Portland’s anti-gay recruiting methods and infamous ‘no lesbians’ policy have continued for nearly three decades. Coach Portland’s behavior not only violates the school’s anti-discrimination policy, it is illegal," said NCLR Regional Counsel Karen Doering.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Always Prepared; Always a Hack

by Shakespeare's Sister

Lawyers Recall Miers' Preparation Skills:

Most of the cases the Supreme Court nominee handled were settled before they went to trial, her former law partners say. Those colleagues and lawyers who opposed her remember Miers for her preparation and attention to detail.
Wow, astounding. So, in other words, she was a competent attorney. Color me impressed.

And here’s something for which all of us who love and admire our current Pres and VP owe Miers a debt of gratitude:

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Miers defended Bush and running mate Dick Cheney against a lawsuit claiming that Texas representatives to the Electoral College couldn't vote for the Republican ticket.

The Constitution forbids electors from voting for a president and a vice president if all are from the same state. Cheney had lived in Dallas for five years and returned to Wyoming only after joining the ticket. Miers argued that the Texas residents who brought the lawsuit didn't have standing to sue.

The appeals judges hearing the case later decided that Cheney was indeed a Wyoming resident. The opposing lawyer, Charles W. McGarry, said Miers focused on a narrow procedural issue but did a competent job.
Thank you, Harriet, for bringing your exceptional skills of competency and dignity to such an important matter. How can we ever repay you?

Oh, right. I guess the President is taking care of that.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


by Shakespeare's Sister

Mannion takes on Bush’s obvious behavior issues and suggests that our petulant president may have undiagnosed learning disabilities. One of his readers, Anne Laurie, suspects that ADD, along with alcoholism, runs in the Bush family. I certainly don’t intend to contradict any of the possibilities they have posited, although any analysis (amateur though it may be) of Bush’s childhood issues is surely incomplete without an acknowledgement of that which plagues many children, conceivably those from wealthy and/or powerful families more than most—being excessively, and damagingly, spoiled.

Spoiling a child in the extreme can, much like learning disabilities or chemical dependencies, have the effect of emotionally stunting the indulged child. Bush and his siblings may or may not have been spoiled with “things,” but clearly all of them were spoiled with reassurances about their future successes, spoiled with often undeserved opportunity, and, in W’s case, this immoderation clearly continued into his adulthood, as his mistakes (Air Force antics, DUI, etc.) were handled by others on his behalf, as much as they could be. Whether Bush suffers from depression, untreated learning disabilities, addiction, we can only speculate from the sidelines, but there is undeniable evidence that he has been irreparably spoiled.

The traits of a spoiled child and indulged adult run throughout Mannion’s piece:

Who would tell him? And it's not as though he goes out of his way to find out what people think.—Indeed, he endeavors to do the opposite, surrounding himself with yes-men and blind loyalists; in effect, spoiling himself, as he shields himself from criticism and complaint.

an angry, volatile, mean-spirited, unhappy man—A man who acts angry, volatile, mean-spirited, and unhappy most evidently when he does not get his way (ref. his debates with Kerry, during which, as Mannion notes, “I sometimes thought he was going to start crying out of frustration and fear”). I don’t believe it’s a stretch to suggest that, for many of us, his ill-tempered displays at such times have evoked the image of a child’s temper tantrum.

when he should be acting most Presidential he will seem to be in his own, rather childish world—The center of his own universe. He will even seem to be completely unaware that other people can see him.—Completely unaware, or, perhaps, completely unconcerned. Witness his rude and obnoxious behavior during his interview with an Irish journalist, using a condescending tone that seems to be dripping with the sentiment that he runs the goddamned show, dammit. He doesn’t consider his behavior unacceptable, specifically because he has the expectation that it will be categorically accepted, by anyone in his presence.

There are other times when I think that he is emotionally and even intellectually retarded. Think about it. Doesn't he often come across like Tom Hanks in Big, like a 12 year old boy trying to pretend to be a grown-up?—Yes. His communications with colleagues are ridiculously immature, he insists on making up asinine nicknames for his associates and reporters and even other world leaders, he loves to play dress-up, and he makes inappropriate jokes—always casting himself as the star (hunting for missing WMDs, partying in NOLA when he was younger). He’s never grown up, because he’s never been forced to do so.

George Bush did not have patient parents.—It is often the least patient parents who are the most likely to spoil their children, the parents who find it easier to give in to junior’s whims than put a foot down firmly and draw the line, even if it means whining, howling, and crying. It’s not difficult to surmise that Bush learned this tactic early, considering he still employs it today—those in his circle who dare to oppose him are quickly dispatched to nowhere, while his devoted indulgers are promoted to their vacated positions.

The young George Bush undoubtedly had an insular childhood, while his parents refused to sully their beautiful minds worrying about the troubles of others, and in his adulthood, he has recreated that insular world. The only construct he knows, and the only one in which he feels comfortable, is that in which he is the star—the good ol’ boy jokester, the fearless leader, the #1 muckity-muck whose wisdom cannot be questioned or denied. In President Pan, where I first addressed my consternation with Bush’s habitual spoiled childishness, I wrote:

I remember being young and foolish, thinking that I knew more, knew better, than all the adults around me. I was smarter than they were, the unbearably dull old fools. Rejecting the counsel of those wiser, sensing the years in which that wisdom was earned create a seemingly untraversable distance, are familiar marks of youth, one that falls away as we ourselves age.

But imagine if someone spent his entire life never recognizing the folly of declining guidance, never learning to defer to the advice or judgment of others, always believing that he knew more, knew better, than everyone else, and so had no use for curiosity or counsel. Imagine if he were handed the power of an empire. Imagine if the boy who refused to grow up became the most important man in the world.
Well, it’s not really hard to imagine at all, is it?

Update: Pam's got more on the spoiled brat in the White House.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Fitzgerald Puts on his Asskickin’ Boots

by Shakespeare's Sister

It’s looking more and more like Fitzgerald is in hot pursuit of a conspiracy:

The New York Times reporter who went to jail to avoid testifying in the CIA leak case was quizzed by the special prosecutor again yesterday and has agreed to return to the grand jury today.

Judith Miller's additional testimony comes as the endgame is intensifying in the legal chess match that threatens to damage the Bush administration.

There are signs that prosecutors now are looking into contacts between administration officials and journalists that took place much earlier than previously thought. Earlier conversations are potentially significant, because that suggests the special prosecutor leading the investigation is exploring whether there was an effort within the administration at an early stage to develop and disseminate confidential information to the press that could undercut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame.


Ms. Miller, the Times reporter, was interviewed again yesterday to discuss conversations she had with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. She testified on Sept. 30 before a grand jury about conversations she had with Mr. Libby in July 2003.


Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims.
A moment to offer some blogprops: True Blue Liberal suggested back in July that the White House Iraq Group was the key to this whole thing, as the Big Brass Alliance attempted to continue to keep the issue in the news by tying the Downing Street Memos to Plamegate.

The key to understanding what is the great success—and what may well be the ultimate downfall—of this administration was summed up beautifully by Mr. Shakes not so long ago: "The problem is that this administration is incompetent at absolutely everything except politics, at which they are extraordinarily good." It may have won them two elections, but I’m not convinced, for the first time, that they’ll be able to spin their way out of this one.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

There Is Only One Taxpayer

by TheGreenKnight

The problem with tax cuts is that they are almost always an illusion.

Nobody likes paying taxes; it's irritating to see money get scooped out of your paycheck before you've had a chance to blow it on pizza 'n' beer. I hate that too, as much as everyone else. But the fact is that there are certain things that government just has to do because nobody else can (because they haven't got the resources or legitimacy for it) or will (because they can't make a profit on it): infrastructure maintainance, law enforcement, public safety, and so on. None of that work comes for free, and all of it benefits everybody. So the only sensible way to pay for it is through the unpleasant business of taxation.

When somebody comes along and cuts taxes, none of that essential public work goes away. Sure, it may be postponed for a while, allowing huge potholes to develop and levees to remain unrepaired, but that often has disastrous consequences that end up being far more expensive than plain old maintainance would have. Or, sometimes there's bureaucracy that can be trimmed, but that usually only produces marginal savings.

More often, tax cuts have to be paid for like this:
President Bush's tax reform panel, which is expected to send him its recommendations by November 1, is proposing to scale back two of the nation's most popular tax breaks, for home mortgage interest and employer-paid health insurance. The panel is proposing the rollback as a way to compensate for its also-proposed elimination of the alternative minimum tax.
How do you pay for a tax cut over here? Usually by means of a tax hike over there. You put money back into people's left pocket, but then you take at least an equivalent amount out of the right pocket. An illusion, as I said.

There is only one taxpayer, and that taxpayer has to foot the bill for all the government's essential work. Whether the taxpayer pays the bill in income taxes, property taxes, user fees, sales taxes, it's still the same dollars coming out of the same account going to the same place. It's almost always a lie to tell people that you're going to lower their taxes, when most of the time, you're just going to sneak them back upwards anyhow.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Inflammatory Opinion:
The Circle and the Corner

by Dark Wraith

Rumors of political meltdown within the Bush Administration are swirling both in the mainstream media and in Blogosphere Left. As an example, in an October 11, 2005, post at Attytood, an amalgamation of speculations from speculators was provided to the end of demonstrating that Bush and Cheney have become something less than best buddies. The way the story goes, Cheney is entirely weary of cleaning up the messes into which Bush gets himself by way of his 'it's all in God's hands' way of governing in the face of crises. (A variation on this story, serving as an example from the mainstream media, is that the White House is imploding with internal war between White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.)

Suspicions should run high on such stories. Based upon the "I overheard a Cheney conversation" foundation of the whole arc, it smacks of a rumor mill feed. Cheney, himself, might very well be behind it; or it could be Rove, who is no stranger to releasing the occasional and tempting red herring into the back streams of the media to later be caught and displayed as prize walleye in the mainstream. The story isn't getting much in the way of legs, but it might be grist for a mill of more comprehensive rumors later about Cheney being the power behind the throne for "all that was accomplished" during the Bush Administration. The logical consequence of that perception by average folks would be that the nation simply cannot allow Cheney to be removed from power by indictments and convictions because the White House would then be left in the hands of a miserably incompetent and dangerously out-of-touch man. In a bizarre way, that would translate to President Bush as a more simplistic message concerning how he may survive as leader.

Would Bush actually pardon Cheney? Possibly. Cheney could do enormous damage to Bush; and although the religious Right would side with Bush, the far more powerful neo-con engine of war and internal social change wouldn't need a second's thought before setting Bush aside as a moron. And even if Rove were to be indicted and convicted, he would still wield incredible power, but he would use it to Bush's, not Cheney's, advantage.

Even though the offices of the President and of the Vice President are both filled with mendacious, vicious men, neither side has much incentive to go to a war that would very likely scorch the earth upon which all stand, not unless one side were far more wounded by the federal grand jury than the other.

If Bush pardons Cheney, will it lead to more widespread calls for Bush's impeachment? Yes, but that doesn't mean much in a Beltway political culture laced with fear of powerful Administration and Congressional henchmen. Power does not evaporate overnight, and challenges to it can actually end up being bugle calls to rally the troops to the afflicted. This is what Tom DeLay is doing right now by going on a media blitz against prosecutor Ron Earle and the indictments Earle has obtained from two grand juries. DeLay is shaping the landscape of public opinion, and in the same breath, he is shaping the underlying assumptions of the universe of potential jurors who could be ultimately chosen to adjudicate his guilt or innocence on the charges. Keep in mind that DeLay is facing the possibility of life in prison under Texas law on the money laundering charge. While this gives him just about as much incentive as possible to fight like a wild animal cornered for a kill bite, it also breathes a hurricane wind under the wings of his political stardom. It's Texas roulette with a two-chamber gun: one has a bullet for his head, the other has a heroic symphony of victory over his oppressors.

DeLay is not going to go gentle into that good night; and Tom DeLay is a small, money-grubbing version of much more powerful men who snarl and roar from the halls of the White House. Anyone from the circle of predators and scavengers who feels the urge to play the role of the hyena who goes into the corner to make that kill bite on the wounded is volunteering to be the meal that will re-invigorate the injured beast.

Few Republicans have the stomach for such an end game; and despite the handful of Democrats who have pranced about holding "hearings" to make themselves the fancy-folks of vocal but marginalized constituencies, not all that many more Democrats want to get mauled just to claim the hide of this Administration as a grim wall tapestry.

Watching from a safe distance as the critter bleeds itself to death is perhaps the wisest strategy for the astute politician of either party. Eventually, perhaps far too late to save this Republic, some of the more adventuresome types can go over and kick the carcass to make sure it's safe to flay the hide from the bones as a trophy. In the years to come, the fetid pelt's claimants can pull it off the wall every now and then to wear as they stand before the People as the heroic opposition of old who cornered and then slew the evil monster of neo-conservatism.

Heroes of the mid-21st Century just won't be what they once were. Of course, that's because they really never were... at least, not when their heroism could have saved the Republic.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

This op-ed article is based upon a comment made by the Dark Wraith at The Dark Wraith Forums Message Boards.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Timing Is Everything

by The Heretik


NYC THREAT a hoax [story] And the timing of the threat after Bush said he stopped ten threats is um dubious. Is the scariest thing that these threats seem um manufactured? Or is it scary that Bush believes they work? Or has paranoia struck three?

[Steve Soto/ The Left Coaster]
Both the FBI and the DHS thought the threat was questionable, even though it was the CIA and the Pentagon that gathered the information from the Iraqi informant in the first place. A local TV news station had the information on Tuesday, the 4th, but held it at the request of federal officials until Thursday. I’d like to think that the federal officials wanted the story held until they could check it out, but with the sorry track record of this administration in manipulating terror threats for political advantage, who knows why the threat was held until after a string of bad political news came out last week? Bloomberg, in the middle of a reelection campaign, went with the information.

There are a number of ways to look at this. First, it could be Al Qaeda toying with us once again, just to see how they can make us jump.Second, what kind of credibility does military intelligence and the CIAhave left after this, especially since the military had deemed this informant to be reliable?

FROM THE YOU CAN'T DISPROVE A NEGATIVE DEPARTMENT [Roger L. Simon] I should I feel chastened now that it has been disclosed this threat was a 'hoax.' I do not.

out a note from the real world. The 'hoax' was a hoax, no quotation marks needed

(Crossposted at The Heretik and The Tattered Coat)


by Shakespeare's Sister

Slate has an interesting photo essay of megachurches worth checking out. Generally, I find them truly hideous displays of everything wrong with modern architecture, which is why I’m strangely fascinated by them. This is my favorite all-time example of a megachurch:


(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Blah Blah Sputter Garble Blather Blahbiddy Blah Blah

by Shakespeare's Sister

President Mumbles:

Delisle Elementary School Pass Christian, Mississippi
10:54 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, first I want to thank the Superintendent. We're delighted to see that the schools of pass Christian are blue ribbon schools. They have been blue ribbon schools before and they'll be blue ribbon schools in the future. Part of the health of a community is to have a school system that's vibrant and alive. And in spite of the fact that a lot of equipment was damaged and homes destroyed and teachers without places to live and -- this school district is strong, and it's coming back. And it's a sign that out of the rubble here on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a rebuilding, is a spirit of rebuilding.

And thank you all for having us. I want to thank the principals and teachers for understanding the quality of education -- the quality of the education in a community helps define the nature of the community. And one of the things that's interesting is the high school principal told Laura and me that the -- and Madam Secretary -- that the high school was deemed to be a blue ribbon high school after Katrina hit. And yet a lot of the students don't know that yet. And so when the high school comes back next Monday, the first thing the principal is going to tell them is that the school that they go to, even though the building is different -- the buildings are different -- is a blue ribbon high school.

And the Superintendent says, blue ribbon high school last year, this year, and next year. And I appreciate your spirit. Thanks for letting us come by.

Thank you all. Bye-bye.
The President was then whisked away by the Secret Service before his desire to celebrate such spectaculous schoolosity with the students by passing out cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon could be realized.

(Hat tip Catherine. Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Miers: Lost in Translation

by The Heretik


THE RIGHT’S COOL RESPONSE to George Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers’s to the Supreme Court won’t get any warmer with disclosure of key documents the NY Times got its recently Judith Miller sullied paws on [story]. The paper trail on My Little Crony Miers is so short, personal notes and cards are now submitted as evidence of a closer personal relationship than Bush would suggest for this remarkable and accomplished, totally exceptional woman. Cool!

In October 1997, Ms. Miers sent Mr. Bush a flowery greeting card in thanks for a letter that he had written on her behalf. In it, she said of his daughters: "Hopefully Jenna and Barbara recognize that their parents are 'cool' - as do the rest of us."

THE TWINS JENNA AND BARBARA were not available for comment. The Right’s comments grow increasingly more heated to the nominee who thinks Bush is cool. No version of Babel Fish exists that can translate Bush’s message for The Right to understand what Bush is doing here. The picture of Bush emerging will not fade soon and only more misunderstanding and disappointing reviews are on the way.

(Crossposted at The Heretik and The Tattered Coat)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Harry Potter, faggotry and the comic book salvation

by Pam

Cleanse your mind of sorcery with Hairy Polarity; it's the creative work of evangelist Tim Todd (seen here with his family). No Photoshop was involved.

The Religious Reich creates its own bastardized version of Harry Potter, just in time for Halloween. Praise Jeebus!
A green-haired demon holds his foot on Minnie's neck and warns her friend Ari, "Put down your magic wand, Ari Potiphar -- or I'll deep-fat fry Minnie and the others!"

Minnie urges Ari to use his magic to free her, and Ari wonders, "How did it ever come to this: how did I end up here in this wack world of wizards? I never imagined such a thing could be for real...."

The scene is the teaser for Hairy Polarity and the Sinister Sorcery Satire, a 32-page, full-color comic book that takes its characters on a dangerous adventure through the world of the occult. The story incorporates a number of themes that will resonate with youth -- peer pressure, rebellion against parental authority and witchcraft.

It is an original creation from Truth for Youth. Evangelist Tim Todd, founder of Truth for Youth, believes the state-of-the-art comic story can be a powerful evangelistic tool during the Halloween season.

Other Christian leaders have cited that potential as well. For example, Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, said, "The unique format of Hairy Polarity and the Sinister Sorcery Satire grabs young people's attention with the biblical truths that will transform their lives."

Tim also transforms young lives by having his "little friend" deliver messages from The Good Book.

The ministry inserts attractive full-color comics in the front section of the Bibles. Each comic story addresses a specific moral issue -- abortion, peer pressure, drug abuse, homosexuality -- and examines how the Bible deals with the subject. Hairy Polarity is the latest addition to the comics, and Truth for Youth makes it available in single-comic format. In fact, for Halloween, it can be purchased below cost through the Truth for Youth website.
But wait! You can learn the Truth About Homosexuality on Tim's youth site, with the stark, direct (and well-informed) message about faggotry in his comic book, "Father Figure."

And you thought the AmTaliban wasn't down with new, hip ways to work that Bible.

UPDATE: Shakes Sis is sharing images from a Satan-thumping comic her nephew got in his Trick or Treat bag last Halloween.

Take a look at the rest.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Batsh*t crazy Pat: disasters point to second coming

by Pam

"It's possible. I don't have any special revelation to say it is but the Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time. And could this be it? It might be."
-- Robertson, thinking aloud on live TV with Wolf Blitzer
He's at it again, spouting hysterical end-times nonsense, comparing recent natural disasters to labor pains indicating the Rapture is upon us.
This weekend's catastrophic earthquake in South Asia in the wake of recent U.S. hurricanes and December's tsunami is catching the eye of televangelist Pat Robertson, who says we "might be" in the End Times described in the Bible.

"These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity," Robertson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Robertson, a former GOP presidential candidate and host of the "700 Club" daily Christian TV show, noted, "If you read back in the Bible, the letter of the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonia, he said that in the latter days before the end of the age that the Earth would be caught up in what he called the birth pangs of a new order. And for anybody who knows what it's like to have a wife going into labor, you know how these labor pains begin to hit. I don't have any special word that says this is that, but it could be suspiciously like that."
Pat also took this live news opportunity to lash out again at Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias, accusing him of negotiating with Iran for nuclear material and sending $1.2 million to terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"One day we're going to be staring at nuclear weapons and it won't be Katrina facing New Orleans, it's going to be a Venezuelan nuke," Robertson said in an interview.

On Aug. 22, Robertson told viewers of "The 700 Club" program that the United States should kill Chavez to prevent the Latin American country from becoming a "launching pad" for extremism. The next day, the television evangelist said his comments were misinterpreted.

Robertson also said yesterday that "sources that came to me" [Are these actually voices speaking to him at this point?] told him that Venezuela sent money to bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also said Chavez befriended Moammar Gaddafi of Libya and "these people who are considered terrorists."
Venezuela Electronic News commented on Pat's utterances, referring to him as a "millionaire Bible-basher" with this:
Robertson's increased senility apparent in CNN Late Edition Chavez nuke spook!.

US televangelist Pat Robertson is showing distinct signs of advanced senility in his latest rabble-rousing on Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias. Ranting again on CNN's Late Edition program, Robertson now says that "this man (Chavez) is setting up a Marxist-type dictatorship in Venezuela."

Letting off more steam, the claims that "he (Chavez) is trying to spread Marxism throughout South America ... he is negotiating with the Iranians to get nuclear material...Big deal! The only operative nuclear reactor in Venezuela is factually a mini-moke located at the Venezuelan Science & Technology Institute (IVIC) near Caracas ... for 'peaceful' research into medical dangers inherent in dental X-rays...

...The Bush administration will now have to again deny any connection between the Bush family's favorite propagandist and already-developed CIA contingency plans to remove President Chavez from power by fair means or foul ... undoubtedly a White House spokesman will again trot out meaningless platitudes that Robertson's latest tirade "in no way reflects United States policy..."
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Mon Frère Colbert

by Shakespeare's Sister

I’m looking forward to The Colbert Report with what can only be described as unhealthy anticipation. Mr. Shakes and I aren’t big TV watchers; the only shows we watch with any regularity are Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Daily Show, our ardor for all three apparently having escaped the attention of the network executives charged with their fates, since they are still on the air, unlike every other show I’ve ever liked which has promptly been cancelled (see: Freaks and Geeks). So it’s a pretty big deal in our house when there’s a show we’re actually looking forward to.

Howard Kurtz has a good write-up of the show, and its namesake, in today’s WaPo. (One more reason to appreciate Colbert—he was the voice of Ace in one of my favorite Robert Smigel creations, The Adventures of Ace and Gary: The Ambiguously Gay Duo.)

It’s the not-funny stuff that was most interesting, however—the stuff that has made The Daily Show a good news source, even in spite of its dependable hilarity. The article starts with a quote from Colbert:

"The most common thing that real reporters say to me is, 'I wish I could say what you say.' What I don't understand is, why can't they say what I say, even in their own way? . . . Does that mean they want to be able to name certain bald contradictions or hypocrisies that politicians have?"
Then later, this:

When Colbert talks about skewering hypocrites, he makes clear that, like Stewart, he cares about politics as more than a punch line. He recalls Vice President Cheney, in a CNBC interview last year, being asked about having said it was "pretty well confirmed" that terrorist Mohammed Atta had met with an Iraqi official in Prague -- part of a White House attempt to demonstrate a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Cheney denied making the comment, but "The Daily Show" later aired a tape of a 2001 "Meet the Press" interview in which the vice president had said the Atta meeting was "pretty well confirmed."

"When Dick Cheney says, 'I never said that,' and then we play the tape, why did we do it?" Colbert says. "Why wasn't it done broadly? Because he wasn't speaking about something inconsequential. It wasn't like we were playing gotcha journalism over some quibble. It was over weapons of mass destruction. That's not advocacy journalism. That's objectivity in its most raw form."

So why don't more working journalists do what Stewart and Colbert are doing? Perhaps, Colbert says, "there's a sense that if they engaged in what we do at 'The Daily Show,' they'd be accused of being too aggressive."
Frustratingly, he’s probably right—although the who of the accusers is an interesting question. When Anderson Cooper, Shepherd Smith, and others went apeshit on air during the aftermath of Katrina, they were largely praised by the viewing audience. Reporters routinely say they don’t face pressure from within to cast stories in a particular light, but they’re clearly getting it from somewhere. That is, as they say, however, a whole other post.

In any case, I’m eagerly looking forward to The Colbert Report. There can’t be enough “skewering” of the news by offering “objectivity in its most raw form” as far as I’m concerned. Bring it on, Colbert.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Pepper Posse

by Shakespeare's Sister

Two of my favorite bloggrrls, Pepper of Daily Pepper and Catherine of Poverty Barn—and a third with whom I’m only now becoming familiar, Pell-Mell—have joined forces and become a Pepper Posse. As of today, the Daily Pepper has become a group blog…with a new look, to boot. Stop on by and say hi!

Karen Hughes: Selling Bush to the World

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Too bad Dumb-ya doesn't read the papers - he would realize what an ass Karen Hughes is making of herself, in her (un)successful attempt to make el prez not look so much like the ass he is...

From World Press Review:

Sworn in on Sept. 9 as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, Karen Hughes became the latest top official charged with repairing a U.S. image soured by the war in Iraq, and complaints in Europe and the Middle East over Bush's policies and leadership. To that end, she visited three Muslim countries last month on what was billed as a “listening tour.”

Who Should Be Doing the Listening?

DUBAIGulf News (Independent, English-language), Sept. 28: Hughes is visiting Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey but seems unsure as to who should be doing the listening. Is it her job to listen to what the Middle East is saying of the U.S., she may wonder? Or for these “soft target” Middle Eastern countries to listen to what the U.S. wants to tell them. A U.S. official is already on record as saying it is not their intention to change U.S. policy on Middle East issues. Which poses the question: So why is Hughes on her visit? Anyone who has even a limited understanding of events in the Middle East can spell out loud and clear exactly what aggrieves people in the Middle East with regard to the U.S. It is their policy. Therefore, if the avowed intent prior to Hughes visit is for “no change, steady as we go” then it is best for Hughes to return home.

Counterproductive and Artificial

JERUSALEM — Al Quds (Pro-Palestinian Authority), Sept. 29: The White House has invented a slogan under the name, “Improving America’s Image” … to reach out to the Arab people. Though such a campaign has been counterproductive to its goals, the U.S. has put forth more plans for administration officials, all of whom have so far ended in failure, to visit the region. The most recent of such visits have been conducted by the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, who has herself just concluded a failed trip to Egypt. In a few words, the reason for the failure is the fact that her mission is artificial, one that tries to convince the Arab street that killing tens of thousands of people in Iraq … is a noble task … A successful public relations campaign [however] can only be achieved by taking care of the problem instead of trying to fix its outcomes.
— Daoud Sharyan

Unreasonable Point of View

JIDDA — Saudi Gazette (Business, English-language), Oct. 1: [In her] recent visit to Saudi Arabia … Hughes appears to have predicated her presentation on the assumption that everyone in the world wants to live as Americans do and was clearly bemused to find not everyone present agreed with her … Saudis, in common with other Muslims, want to enjoy the technological benefits of the modern age while retaining their religious and cultural identity. They want progress without the associated social ills that bedevil so many economically developed countries. It doesn’t seem an unreasonable point of view … Islamic values may not accord with the prevailing attitudes in places such the United States but then why should they?

Dressing Up Failed Policies

CAIROAl-Ahram (Semi-official), Oct. 3: Karen Hughes, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East and Muslim countries, clearly hopes to patch up the U.S. image. Her instructions are to promote U.S. policy as one might any new consumer durable. She hopes to overcome the hostility that Muslim and Arab nations feel toward U.S. policy — a hostility that is on a par with that felt by the United States toward Osama bin Laden … What the United States should be doing is changing policy, not dressing it up to look better … We notice the harassment that millions of Muslim Americans had to deal with. We notice the indefinite detention of hundreds of suspects in Guantanamo. We notice the horrors committed in Abu Ghraib. We notice things that no one — not even Hughes — can justify.
— Salamah A. Salamah

America as Morality Play

JIDDAArab News (Pro-government), Oct. 5: If all the world’s a stage, then what’s playing on it is America as morality play. And the painfully clueless Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, who visited the Middle East last week to promote what is now called “public diplomacy” — the use of culture to foster goodwill toward the U.S. — was drama director. The problem here is not American popular culture — beloved and emulated everywhere — or even American political culture, imbued with the richest ideas about freedom, democracy, and individual rights … The problem rather is American foreign policy, that remains, where it is not bellicose, overtly and unabashedly moralistic in tone … Let the record show that no one has identified the gushy Hughes as an “ugly American,” just an inane one.
— Fawaz Turki

Viewpoints include items drawn from the U.S. Department of State’s daily digest of international media opinion.

Crossposted at Julien's List

Christian Coalition leader accused of molesting generations of family members

by Pam

Via Wayne Besen, yet another sick, pious hypoctrite that needs to be added to the Conservative Values Monitor. Two of the cases occurred more than 10 years ago, and in Oregon, the statute of limitations on sex abuse cases is six years. One case, however, does fall within the timeline for prosecution - the abuse of an elementary-school age female family member. Gee, all the wingers tell me that only homos are the depraved child abusers, not fine, upstanding Christians like Louis Beres...
The Oregonian reported today that police are investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, molested three female pre-teen family members.
"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffereall my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with (Beres)."
Rich Galat, 41, of Oakland, Calif., is Beres' nephew. He said he told detectives that Beres has molested several female family members over two generations.
"My family has gone through hell," Galat said. "Lives have been ruined. Those of us who have come forward have been ostracized, verbally abused and the victims of character assassination...It must stop."
The details are new, but the story is ancient. The very right wing zealots who want to tell everyone how to live are the very people most likely to be knee-deep in sin. These creeps are so filled with guilt that they often project their own insecurities and sick longings into the political arena. Imagine this pig working to keep loving same-sex couples from marrying, in an effort to supposedly save the American family! The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
One should note that the CC's web site describes itself as 'Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage.'

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What about the rights of the Iraqi women?

by Pam

Mike Tidmus and I want to know why, with less than a week left before a vote on the Iraqi Constitution, is the current and future status of women not on the radar of the media. I've blogged on this topic before, it's like a broken record:

* Iraqi women say freedoms are slipping away

* Meeting deadline for Iraq constitution more important to U.S. than women's rights

* Bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq - but not for women

* Freepers on the Iraqi draft constitution

And there's even less media coverage of the topic now than at that time of any of those entries. Back in August, I posted "The Iraq mess and the rights of women", addressing the growing desire along the political spectrum to pull out and cut our losses.
It may be useful to try and think pragmatically, but it's easy to speak this way when you are not from an oppressed group, or in this case a group -- Iraqi women -- that is looking down the barrel of a gun of Sharia law about to blast basic rights away. The path this constitutional draft is currently heading in regards to women's rights is unacceptable.

Bush has repeatedly talked about democracy AND freedom. Freedom includes women's rights if I'm not mistaken. I think it's unfortunate to say that "there is very little the United States can do" when none of its citizens are about to lose basic civil rights. Why in god's name is it expected that a nearly destroyed country such as Iraq must take only a few brief months to craft a document that is to serve future generations of Iraqis, not the U.S.'s desire to get out ASAP because it fucked up.

South Africa took almost five years to work out a final constitution, and it wasn't a country blown to shreds. It was, however, a country made up of many races, religions and factions that united to craft a document that everyone could agree on. Even the rights of gays and lesbians are protected. That couldn't have been an easy negotiation.
With such murkiness in the current iteration of the constitution, if approved it would not be surprising if the end result would be civil war because it is not a document with true buy-in by those affected by its adoption. What protections for women that are there on paper, clearly can be diluted in practice. Emboldened radical clerics are already beginning to harrass women that do not cover themselves in public.

But our President is working hard to make it possible to say that whatever chaos ensues as a result of his immoral adventure is not our problem. Is that OK? Is the MSM just going to let it ride?

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend

VA Victoria's Secret display freaks the AmTaliban

by Pam

The display ''is not about lingerie. It's about sadomasochism and three-way sex.''
-- Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition

"I've already tried to get security to arrest them for indecent exposure and I've talked to the managers in there. They don't care. They're just more happy they're getting the exposure and the marketing."
-- outraged citizen with nothing better to do, Tim Cutler
Too much time on their hands. The nutjobs at Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition are protesting a Victoria's Secret display in a Tysons Corner mall because it "promotes lesbianism and sadomasochism."
About 30 women -- no men -- picketed the Tysons Corner (Va.) Center store Friday. Some of them were not satisfied that store workers had toned down the display, and promised to boycott the newly expanded mall, now among the nation's largest.

Does Lou Sheldon want to smack her bottom? (WRC-TV)

A mannequin that had been tied up was unfettered, though it still leaned against a pole with arms raised above the head, and a rope and pulleys still loomed ominously in the background. Two female figures spooning in a bed were replaced with a single mannequin sitting with legs crossed.

The company calls the new display ''Back Stage Sexy,'' and a company spokeswoman at the mall Friday said the Tysons store is the nation's third outlet to adopt the theme. She referred other questions to a corporate spokesman, who didn't return calls. The mall had received complaints almost since the new display went up, and after discussions with Victoria's Secret's corporate parent, Limited Brands in Columbus, Ohio, it announced Thursday that the display had been changed.

Others weren't bothered by the display. About 40 customers were lined up and roped off outside the store waiting to get in Friday afternoon. ''It was fun. It was different. That's what I liked about it,'' said Alexis Daisley, 19, who shopped at the store with her mother and left with a large bag full of merchandise.

''I had no problem with it, and I had no problem taking my daughter there,'' Lesley Daisley said.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend

Let's Set the Record Straight...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Pam's House Blend has a very outrageous post on Smack-Daddy Dobson and his charges that Gay Marriage will lead to sex with donkeys....

Howler -- Dobson: gay marriage will lead to getting hitched to a donkey

I find his antics humorous in the extreme, considering the following from this month's HARPERS:

Number of U.S. states where bestiality is legal: 20
WTF??? 20??? Which states??

Want to harbor a guess that the states where it is legal are somewhat tinged with wingnuttery and red?

Well, most are:

Bestiality is legal (or at least not expressly outlawed) in these U.S. states:

Also of note, different topic, same HARPERS Index:

Rank of 2004 among the most fiscally reckless years in U.S. history, according to the Comptroller General: 1

Projected cost of disability payments to Iraq War veterans in 2050, based on rates for Gulf War Veterans: $285,000,000,000

Friday, October 07, 2005

Tell Me AGAIN Why We Didn't Get Al Gore...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

We lost out. Our country lost out. And, though they don't know it and would never agree to it, the majority of moderate to centrist-right conservatives also lost out. This below-referenced speech is worth reading in its entirety.

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by
American Democracy in Trouble
It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse
Keynote Speech by Al Gore
We Media Conference in New York, NY
October 5, 2005

“Shame! Shame!”

by Shakespeare's Sister

That’s what the Democrats were chanting in the House today as the GOP held open the vote on another scheissty energy bill for 40 minutes until they had strong-armed enough support for it to pass. BradBlog’s got the video. Unbelievable.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Get your Tidmus Homeland Insecurity Chart

by Pam

Mike has this up at his pad.

I call for a constitutional amendment to ban f*cked up churches like this one...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I also call this animal cruelty.

Ala. Church Youth Swallow Live Goldfish

So, if they actually chew them, does that mean they are even closer to jeezus?

BBC: Bush said he was on a mission from God

by Pam

Can it get any worse? We already knew Bush was delusional, sociopathic and morally bankrupt, but to see the pathology laid out like this on the BBC is frightening. I will expect the President of the United States to begin speaking in tongues during foreign policy jaunts. (BBC Press Office via Raw Story):
In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq '?" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."
And over on AmericaBlog, John is speculating that it's more than a religious experience that explains the Chimperor's demeanor:
A source in the media, who has the opportunity to see the president in person regularly, has pointed out to me that Bush appears to be uncontrollably grinding his teeth, or having a jaw spasm, when he speaks.

Reader Eric sent me a link to a video on the Huffington Post (the video is here, their post on an unrelated topic is here) that clearly shows this problem at the end of Bush's sentences, his lower jaw twitches or grinds. Eric and his friends noticed it too.

I'm told by folks who know that this is something that happens when people do too much cocaine. I've also heard that alcohol abuse can do the same.
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Today's moaning of dingbat wingnuts

by Pam

Bring out the tiny violins again.

Our first victim is Daddy James Dobson. He's whining that Repugs of the highest ethical standards (you know, DeLay, Frist, folks like that), are being smeared to hurt his man Chimpy and the AgendaTM.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson says conservatives are being attacked in an effort to intimidate the president and Republican leaders.

During a recent interview on the Fox News Channel, Dobson said the recent indictment of Texas Congressman Tom DeLay for an alleged campaign finance scheme, and questions about the timing of a large stock sale by Senator Bill Frist, are both attempts to undermine Republican strategy. The ministry founder said the media's response to such attacks differs greatly from its reporting during the Clinton administration. "In the nineties, we heard an awful lot about the 'politics of personal destruction' [from people defending] President Clinton when he lied under oath," Dobson pointed out. "You don't hear that anymore -- the media doesn't talk about that." But Dobson is convinced that, indeed, that is what is happening now. "If you just look at the people who have been targeted, I think it is the politics of personal destruction," he stated.
I'm wondering if Daddy Dobson has taken a look at this story: Emails may show DeLay role in illegal fundraising case.


I guess the lack of a Miers paper trail is making the Right sweat profusely. Look at these squirming wingnuts...

Pat Buchanan sounds like he's about to lose it:
For as of today there is no evidence Harriet Miers possesses the judicial philosophy, strength of intellect, firmness of conviction or deep understanding of the gravity of the matters on which her vote would be decisive to be confirmed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

If she does not exhibit these qualities in testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Harriet Miers should be rejected. That she is a woman, a good lawyer, a trusted friend of the Bush family, a born-again Republican and Evangelical Christian is not enough. That Dr. James Dobson has been secretly assured by Karl Rove she is pro-life is not enough. After all, we have a president who professes to be "pro-life," yet cannot bring himself to say that Roe v. Wade was an abomination he hopes will go the way of Dred Scott.

Because of the immense damage the Supreme Court has done to our society over fifty years, seizing upon and dictating on issues beyond its constitutional province, imposing a social revolution from above, tearing our country apart over race, religion and morality, conservatives cannot take any more risks. We are too close, now, to the promised land.

...Why did Bush do it? Is he unaware of the history or savagery of this struggle? Does he not understand the cruciality of this one court appointment to conservatives who vaulted him to the nomination over McCain and gave him the presidency twice? Does he not care?


Little Gary Bauer's having second thoughts about his "wait and see" approach on Miers when it comes to Roe v. Wade. Retro-female Elaine Donnelly is obsessing that softball-playing Harriet might be willing to allow homos in the military and women in combat. Why am I having way too much fun watching them squirm?
Gary Bauer's Washington, DC-based group, the Campaign for Working Families, labels itself as "unapologetically pro-family, pro-life." Bauer himself is considered by many among the conservative community to be the most effective spokesman on behalf of the family and unborn children. That is why the CWF chairman is concerned about conflicting reports regarding the pro-life stance of the Texas native who could be the next Supreme Court justice.

Bauer is concerned that "not one friend, associate, co-worker or White House official is able to produce one sentence she has written or spoken in criticism of Roe v. Wade." And he admits he is troubled by her apparent silence on the controversial issue -- especially since she was baptized into the Christian faith more than 25 years ago and is an active member of an evangelical church in Dallas.

"Surely in a pro-life state like Texas," Bauer wonders, "there was no reason for her to be silent on the fundamental legal controversy of our age."


Elaine Donnelly, however, is openly expressing her disappointment in President Bush's choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the high court. The conservative military watchdog, who heads up the Center for Military Readiness, says while it is true that Harriet Miers does not have a judicial paper trail, her record as White House counsel is a legitimate cause for concern.

"I've been told that she has been the gatekeeper on all legal issues in the White House," Donnelly shares. "The issues of concern to the Center for Military Readiness -- such as women in combat, women's continued exemption from registration for Selective Service, and of course homosexuals in the military -- I have sent numerous messages to the White House [regarding those issues]. But apparently those messages did not get through the gate -- the gate that Harriett Miers was keeping."

The CMR president says she is concerned that once Miss Miers is on the Supreme Court, she might side with those who want to use the military for social experimentation. And Donnelly is also anxious about the fact that Miers, in her capacity as White House counsel, apparently has not advised the president to enforce the ban on women serving in ground combate.

"We see the president saying in January, 'No women in land combat' -- and yet the Department of the Army has been changing the rules without notice to Congress, which is required by law," Donnelly observes. "You would think that the White House counsel -- the president's good friend -- would say, 'Mr. President, the Army needs to be brought back in line with the law.'"
Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low

by John Howard

CBS News | Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low | October 6, 2005�22:30:04

Good. I'm glad his poll numbers are finally starting to actually reflect his performance. And just to be clear, I should point out that I'm not hoping for him to fail because I don't like him, I don't like him because he's a failure. And I'm not happy that his poll numbers suck because it makes him look bad (although that's ok by me), I'm happy because people are finally starting to realize how bad he is.

But I have mixed feelings aobut these things, too. On one hand, I'm glad that people are finally starting to see what a fraud this guy is, and hopefully that will lead to us not making similar mistakes in the future. But on the other hand, I just want to scream at people "What the fuck are you seeing now that hasn't been there the entire fucking time?" Bush hasn't changed one bit, it's just people's perception of him that has changed. Maybe if they hadn't been so blind, or apathetic, or whatever in the first place, then this guy wouldn't have gotten elected (or appointed or whatever) in the first place, or re-elected after that. Seriously, all the things that he's criticized for were there in 2004, except for the hurricane response. Some of them have developed a lot more during that time, like the Plame leak, and the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, but everything was there before the 2004 election for anyone who wanted to make an informed decision.

Anyway, hopefully these new attitudes will be reflected in the midterm elections in 2006, because Bush isn't doing this crap alone, and again in the 2008 Presidential election, assuming anyone worthwhile ends up running.

Cross-Posted at Upon Further Review...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Growly Guts

by Shakespeare's Sister

Check out this picture of Cheney that the AFP used with its story on the spy scandal.


That is one. scary. dude.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Dare to Discipline: A Moment for Mom

by Shakespeare's Sister

As promised, I’d like now to share with you some more wisdom from the very knowledgeable Dr. James Dobson. First, I’ll introduce you to the good doctor’s explanation of why, exactly, Mom needs “a moment,” occasionally:

It is not uncommon for a mother, particularly, to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of her parental assignment. For each child she raises, she is the primary protector of his health, education, intellect, personality, character, and emotional stability. She must serve as physician, nurse, psychologist, teacher, minister, cook, and policeman. Since she is with the children longer each day than her husband, she is the chief disciplinarian and main giver of security and love. She will not know whether or not she is handling these matters properly until it is too late to change her methodology. Furthermore, Mom’s responsibilities extend far beyond her children. She must also meet her obligations to her husband, her church, her relatives, her friends, and in some cases, her employer.
That’s a lot of shit, huh?! And he doesn’t even mention some of the really important stuff, like Mom’s responsibility to keep the house shiny clean and smelling lemon-fresh or making sure the oil is just the right temperature for cleansing Dad’s feet with her uncut hair when he gets home from the salt mines.

A foolish, non-Christian woman might think that perhaps Dad could help out with some of this stuff, rather than expecting Mom to be an indentured servant, but that’s just stinkin’ thinkin’. If Dad had to wash a dish or change a diaper, he might not have enough energy to get it up for Mom’s nightly duty of servicing him orally. Instead, these are Dr. Dobson’s recommendation for Mom:

1. Reserve some time for yourself.

It is important for a mother to put herself on the priority list, too. At least once a week she should go bowling or shopping, or simply “waste” an occasional afternoon… Even more important is the protection and maintenance of romance in her marriage. A husband and wife should have a date every week or two… A woman finds life much more enjoyable if she knows she is the sweetheart, and not just the wife, of her husband.
2. Don’t struggle with things you can’t change.

The first principle of mental health is to learn to accept the inevitable… Life has enough difficult crises in it without magnifying our troubles during good times, yet happiness is often surrendered for such insignificant causes. I wonder how many women are miserable today because they do not have something which either wasn’t invented or wasn’t fashionable just fifty years ago.
3. Don’t deal with any big problems late at night.

When husbands and wives discuss finances or other family problems in the wee small hours, they are asking for trouble… Tension and hostility can be avoided by simply delaying important topics until morning. A good night’s sleep and a rich cup of coffee can go a long way toward defusing the problem.
4. Try making a list.

When the work load gets particularly heavy there is comfort to be found in making a list of the duties to be performed…
5. Seek divine assistance.

The concepts of marriage and parenthood were not human inventions. God, in His infinite wisdom, created and ordained the family as the basic unit of procreation and companionship…

“He (the father) must have proper authority in his own household, and be able to control and command the respect of his children. (For if a man cannot rule in his own house how can he look after the Church of God?)” — I Timothy 3:4-5

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” — Proverbs 22:15

“Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” — Proverbs 23:13-14
Those aren’t all the verses the good doctor shares, but most of them are just more of the “obey Dad and beat the kids” variety, so I figured you’d gotten the gist.

I hope this has been helpful to all you parents out there, especially the moms, who now know how to take a moment for themselves. Have fun bowling! But don’t pretend the pins are your husband and kids; it wouldn’t be Christian.

Next time: “Teaching Respect and Responsibility to Children,” and how “human beings have some of the same perceptual inadequacies” as frogs.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Bush says more sacrifice needed in war on terror

by John Howard

US News Article |

"Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims: 'What is good for them and what is not.' And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride," Bush said.

Wow, I always realized Bin Laden was an asshole, but what kind of a man who grew up in wealth and privelege would try to tell poor people to sacrifice for his cause while not sacrificing anything himself? Someone would have to be a real dickhead to do that, I wonder if there is anyone else in the world who would do something like that. I wonder...

Cross-Posted at Upon Further Review...

Indiana legislator pulls womb control bill

by Pam

"The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission."
-- Indiana State Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis), coming to her senses

Did she just come out from under a cultural rock? This gal had no clue the poorly conceived (pun intended) legislation to control procreation outside of the fertile, married, male-female, faith-based experience was a flaming pile of sh*t? Looks like a little fire was lit under the ass of this Hoosier, so she pulled it.
A controversial proposed bill to prohibit gays, lesbians and single people from using medical procedures to become pregnant has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.

...Miller had asked that committee -- a panel of lawmakers who meet when the Indiana General Assembly is not in session to discuss possible legislation -- to recommend the bill to the full legislature when it meets in January.

Under her proposal, couples who need assistance to become pregnant -- such as through intrauterine insemination; the use of donor eggs, embryos and sperm; in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer or other medical means -- would have to be married to each other. In addition, married couples who needed donor sperm and eggs to become pregnant would be required to go through the same rigorous assessment process of their fitness to be parents as do people who adopt a child.
My earlier post: Hoosier legislators want to quash lesbian pregnancies

And in related news, perhaps this idiot's theory is what the Indiana boobs looked to for inspiration for the legislation.

'Sexless' Pregnancy's Threat to Families
Author and Stanford University research fellow Jennifer Roback Morse is pointing out a trend she finds very disturbing -- the increasing incidence of "instant" or "sexless" pregnancies.

A recent article in the London Telegraph newspaper highlighted this rising trend among career-driven women in England who want to have children. Despite being perfectly healthy, many of these women either do not have the time or the inclination to start a relationship in order to create children naturally. So, instead, these career-focused women are turning in increasing numbers to in-vitro fertilization.

Morse, author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up World (Spence Publishing, 2005), contends that such "sexless pregnancies" only serve to further society's disconnect between having sex and the act of procreation. In effect, she says, something that should be an act of pure love is being replaced with technology.

"And many people who are using this technology to create a baby without sex are doing so precisely because they are afraid of having the relationship with the opposite-sex person that, for whatever reason, don't want to deal with," Morse asserts. "They think it's easier to have a baby basically by themselves, without having that relationship with the other person."

Those touting the "sexless pregnancy" option are trying to turn the right of a married couple into an individual right "so that a woman can have a baby on her own terms -- with or without getting involved with a man," the researcher says. "And this, I think, is deeply, deeply wrong from the point of view of the child," she adds, "because often what these technologies turn out to do is to create a situation where the mother has planned in advance that her child will never have a relationship with his or her father."

Torture is A-OK for these Senators

by Pam

As John Howard noted in his B3 post below, yesterday the GOP-controlled Senate voted 90-9 to back John McCain's amendment to the $440 billion 2006 Pentagon authorization bill that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

That's a slam dunk vote, wouldn't you think, even as it is a slap in the face of the Chimperor. Apparently nine GOP clowns have a problem with disallowing torture...

"Uncle Pork" Ted Stevens - Alaska

Wayne "Marriage Protection" Allard - Colorado; Kit Bond - Missouri

Tom "Dr. Mengele" Coburn - Oklahoma; Thad Cochran - Mississippi

John "Box Turtle Sex" Cornyn - Texas; James "no gays in my office" Inhofe - Oklahoma

Pat Roberts - Kansas; Jeff "Lynch 'em" Sessions - Alabama.
The latter brainiac was quoted as saying: "We do not have ... systematic abuse of prisoners going on by our United States military."

OK, never mind this.

I'm sure they are simply in line with our Attorney General on the matter.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

NC student "turned in" to Secret Service by Wal-Mart photo lab

by Pam

More police-state insanity in Bush Country - you can't even have a little photo fun without the fuzz coming to your door. Barco, the town where the student's school is located, is across the sound side of the Outer Banks of the Tar Heel state. (Raw Story):
Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

...Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights," she says. One student "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.
What would be the potential charge? Assaulting a photo of the Chimp?

In another report, it looks like SS didn't file any charges.
Concerned that the thumbtack might represent a potential threat to the president, the company that developed the student's film notified authorities.

...The Secret Service closed its investigation after learning that the photo was nothing more than a creation for a class project, said Jim Henry, a Secret Service agent based in Raleigh. He said no charges will be filed in the case.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Senate Approves Detainee Treatment Rules

by John Howard

ABC News: Senate Approves Detainee Treatment Rules

Delivering a rare wartime slap at Pentagon authority and President Bush, the GOP-controlled Senate voted 90-9 on Wednesday to back an amendment that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

Jesus Christ, I can't figure out what bothers me more; that we need a bill to tell us not to treat people badly, or that it's actually opposed by 9 Senators, the White House, the Pentagon, or anyone else in power. Anyway, it's still nice to see something with bipartisan support, even if it is something so basic that it should be assumed in the first place.

Maybe if we beat those other nine Senators enough, they'll change their votes. After all, they are in favor of that sort of thing, right?

Cross-Posted at Upon Further Review...

Hallowed ... er ... Hollowed Institutions?

by STP

I love the institutions of the U.S. Government and what they mean to the strong democracy we have in this country. I look upon the Constitution as being a sacred text. I walk through the Capitol with a deep respect. Sitting in the Supreme Court is the equivalent of being in a house of worship to me. And the White House, ah, the White House, where Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Ike, and JFK led this nation. So many other landmarks in Washington D.C. hold a special place for me, too.

Does anyone else besides me feel that these wonderful places have been infected; that they are sullied, spoiled, ridden with disease?

The Congress has become a wholly corrupted institution, with levels of criminality and unethical behavior never before seen. Its leaders operate solely for the benefit of wealthy corporate sponsors and right wing zealots. The only motivation for decision-making by the likes of Frist, Delay, Hastert, Blunt, and others is to maintain and consolidate power.

The White House has literally become a den of evil. It has gone to war against its own people and other countries with reckless abandon. President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their COO Karl Rove ruthlessly plot the ruination of the economy, environment, civil rights, and anything else they can get their hands on by appointing stooges and cronies and making deals with business that sell out the nation.

The Supreme Court rapidly becomes a cheapened home for hacks and lesser men and women. The first George Bush installed a man not even remotely qualified for the highest court in the land, Clarence Thomas, and now it increasingly appears that his son has done the same. The 2000 election, and the purely partisan decision of handing victory to the man who did not earn it, damaged the reputation of the U.S. Supreme Court to such an extent that no one living today will see it recover.

The Constitution; that masterpiece document that is the backbone of our system of freedom, justice and the balancing of many, divergent interests. It has been torn to pieces. The rights of the people are repeatedly violated, secrets have become the rule, our leaders lie with a blatant disregard for the law or any principle, and the building blocks that form the basis of the Constitution are slowly chipped away into nothing. The document means little to those running this country and it increasingly becomes nothing more than a piece of paper to them.

I look at my beloved institutions and they seem so much less to me than they did only five years ago. Does anyone else see what I see?

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Separated at Birth?

by Shakespeare's Sister

You decide.

She’s been reminding me of someone, and I couldn’t figure out who until awhile ago. Then I realized it was the esteemed Salacious B. Crumb, which seems even more fitting, considering he could probably be aptly described as the "work-wife" of a hideous dictator, too.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Dr. Dobson is a Very Knowledgeable Man

by Shakespeare's Sister

Tim Grieve wants to know what Dr. James Dobson, patriarch of Focus on the Family and professional wingnut, knows that we don’t.

While other leaders of the religious right are reacting cautiously to the nomination of Harriet Miers, Dobson says he's all in. Karl Rove lobbied for the support of the Focus on the Family leader even before Miers' name was announced, and his efforts paid off: On his radio show, Dobson is telling listeners that they should get behind Miers now.

What makes Dobson so comfortable with Bush's nominee? He won't say, exactly. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," Dobson tells the New York Times.


Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, who has had his spats with Focus on the Family before, says that if Dobson knows some secret about Miers, he should share it with the rest of the class -- especially if he heard the secret straight from the White House. "It seems to me, all of the [information] the White House knows about Harriet Miers should be made available to the Senate and the American people," Salazar says. "If they're making information available to Dr. Dobson -- whom I respect and disagree with from time to time -- I believe that information should be shared equally with a U.S. senator."
Now, I never thought I’d find myself in the position of defending the good Dr. Dobson, but the truth is, he is a very knowledgeable man, so I think we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. As proof of just how wise he is, I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned from his famous book on child-rearing, Dare to Discipline, a copy of which my mother recently gave me off her very own bookshelf. (That’s right—my mother read Dr. Dobson’s handbook on child-rearing, and if I’m not all the proof you need at how successful his recommendations are, then I don’t know what ever could convince you.)

Today, I’m going to share with you some things I learned from Dr. Dobson’s “Glossary of Narcotic Slang,” which provides parents with a handy guide from a knowledgeable source on drugs, the doctor himself. Now, this isn’t the whole list, mind you, because I want you to go out and buy the whole book, but hopefully this will give you an idea of how clever Dr. Dobson is and make you better able to trust his judgment on the estimable Ms. Miers.

Acid Heads—Users of LSD

(Actually, I knew that one before I read Dr. Dobson’s helpful glossary, since I used to be one, but I thought I’d throw it in, for those of you who didn’t know.)

Boxed—To be in jail.



Dealer—Drug supplier.

Establishment—Organized society as we know it today.



(See—now I didn’t even know that was “Narcotics Slang.” Where would I be without Dr. Dobson’s help?)

Goof Balls—Barbiturates.



I’m flush—I have money.

I’m holding—I have narcotics, can make a deal.

I’m looking—I wish to buy.

Kick—Abandon drug habit.

Nickel bag—$5 purchase of narcotics.


Turning tricks—Prostituting.

Wasn’t that helpful? Now you see how knowledgeable Dr. Dobson is, and why we ought to trust him, don’t you?

Next time from Dare to Discipline: A Moment for Mom.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Assisted-reproduction bill would bar singles, gays

by John Howard

Assisted-reproduction bill would bar singles, gays

Reading what little I've read about this stupid bill, it seems like it would do a lot more than that. It looks like there would an excuse to bar pretty much anyone that the government wanted to from having a child using assisted reproduction, given the extent of the assessment required. Not that just banning gay and single people from having kids isn't bad enough.

Even in the ridiculous time we live in, where people don't seem to understand the role of government at all, and would rather vote for people that make them feel safe, rather than people who actually do anything for them, or who make them feel like they're better than other people rather than trying to make everyone better, I still don't see a law this ridiculous having any chance of ever even threatening to be passed, so it really woulnd't normall bother me all that much.

Luckily, our son is the genetic child of both my wife and myself, so this wouldn't apply to us anyway, but if it did it would have likely made it impossible for me to have my son, or at least made it much more difficult (and it was had enough already, not so much for me, but for my wife who had to do all the work), since he was conceived using IVF. I'm not at all religous, don't participate in any faith based activities, my wife has been married before, we don't really have a lot of money, so I'm not at all confident that we could have gotten a positive assessment under this ridiculous law. Anyway, anything where the government might try to regulate IVF really gets to me, since it hits so close to home.

No one should have to prove themselves worthy to reproduce. It's a basic fundamental right that shouldn't be regulated by anyone. And even if we could all agree that people should have to prove it, I don't think the standards suggested in this law would help at all in that regard. Excluding gay people, single people, non-religous people, all those people can be great parents, and all the married, straight religous people can actually turn out to be horrible parents. It's not something you can predict ahead of time.

Strange (ok, not really) that this law is being pushed by a Republican. What was that about small govenment again?

Cross-Posted at Upon Further Review...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Incestuous Administration

by Shakespeare's Sister

Everyone is all tied up with everyone else, and the same names keep popping up over and over in different scandals than the ones during which we may have learned their names—Abramoff’s got ties to the White House, Bolton’s got ties to Judy Miller, etc. Yesterday, MSNBC ran the following photo alongside an AP story on Harriet Miers with a cryptic caption:

Harriet Miers, at the time staff secretary, is
seen on Aug. 6, 2001, briefing President Bush
at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Familiar date, no? Today E&P notes:

Indeed, that was the date, a little over a month before 9/11, that President Bush was briefed on the now-famous “PDB” that declared that Osama Bin Laden was “determined” to attack the U.S. homeland, perhaps with hijacked planes. But does that mean that Miers had anything to do with that briefing?

As it turns out, yes, according to Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. An article by Richard A. Serrano and Scott Gold observes that early in the Bush presidency “Miers assumed such an insider role that in 2001 it was she who handed Bush the crucial 'presidential daily briefing' hinting at terrorist plots against America just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Awesome choice, Mr. President. You’ve done the nation proud.

Meanwhile, there’s no information at all at Give ‘Em Hell, Harry about Miers at all, no less an explanation as to why the Senate Minority Leader would endorse this woman.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Six Veterans

by Shakespeare's Sister

Six Iraq War veterans have announced Congressional bids—and they’re all running as Democrats. Paul Hackett will also challenge Mike DeWine for his Senate seat in Ohio.

Lawyer Patrick Murphy and five other veterans of the Iraq war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions. Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.


Bryan Lentz, 41, an attorney from Swarthmore, Pa., volunteered to go to Iraq at age 39 with a civil affairs unit. The Army reserves major was so disillusioned by the lack of a plan in Iraq that he decided while he was in Iraq to run for Congress.

He is trying to unseat 10-term GOP Rep. Curt Weldon (news, bio, voting record), who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

"I'm not anti-war, I'm anti-failure," Lentz said. "We need to define what victory is and we need to set a plan to get there. You cannot stay the course if you do not set a course."
Best of luck, guys.

After seeing what I can only call a cavalier attitude toward sending American troops off to war on the part of an administration filled with chickenhawks, having more veterans involved in our government can only be a good thing.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Well, What Did They Expect?

by TheGreenKnight

Today's last word on Miers:

Most real conservatives out there are deeply upset by this nomination, and who can blame them? Getting a really conservative judge to tip the balance on the Supreme Court has pretty much been the central goal of the American conservative movement for the past generation. Now, when the goal was finally in sight, psych! Bush yanked it away like Lucy used to do with that ol' football.

But honestly, what did the conservatives expect from Bush? I mean, please. The Bush family -- and Dubya's no exception -- has always and only been about two things: money and power. Now that Dubya no longer has to run for election, now that his opinion polls are crap anyway, now that he and his cronies in the White House may be getting indicted for federal crimes, of course he's going to throw over his base. He has no further use for them.

What he needs right now is a lawyer he trusts in a high place, so of course he's going to appoint his own personal lawyer to the Supreme Court. Whether she's a bona fide conservative or not doesn't mean jack to him. Bona fide conservatism doesn't mean jack to him either; neither does spreading freedom around the world; neither, even, does "protecting the homeland" or running the economy or anything else that he ran for office on.

What he cares about is maintaining his power, keeping his money, and staying out of trouble with the law. That's it.

You got played, people. This is your reward for all your loyalty -- all the soul-destroying anger you unleashed on your fellow Americans, all the sacrifices of time, money, and effort you made to get conservatives elected, all the friends you lost over politics, all the excuse-making for a President you know never really had the trust of the people as a whole -- none of it mattered. He was going to appoint a Scalia; well, instead you got another Souter, the same as his dad gave you.

I actually feel bad in a way for the real conservative activists out there. As I've said elsewhere, even though I disagree with their point of view I've got nothing but admiration for their dedication to principle. The hard-core conservatives that I've met all have one thing in common: they care. They really care a lot. They're willing to go to the limit for what they believe in. But that, unfortunately, is why they can sometimes be easy marks for a self-serving user like Bush. It's not fair, it's not right, but it's the way things are when you've got a cynic running the show.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.

Roy Moore plans to 'Return Alabama to the people'

by Pam

"But I'll tell you what I will do. I will defend the right of every citizen of this state - including judges, coaches, teachers, city, county and state officials - to acknowledge God as the sovereign source of law, liberty and government."
-- Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore, kicking off his run for governor of Alabama
Wifey and native Alabamian Kate just sighed as she heard the news. The bible-beating parade in "Heart of Dixie" continues as Roy got the phone call from God that he was waiting for to tell him to throw his hat in the ring. Things in the Cotton State won't ever be the same. Boy, that's going to be a fun race.
Roy Moore, who became a hero to the religious right after being ousted as Alabama's chief justice for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse, announced Monday that he is running for governor in 2006.

Moore's candidacy could set up a showdown with Gov. Bob Riley, a fellow Republican, and turn the Ten Commandments dispute into a central campaign issue in this Bible Belt state. Two Democrats, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and former Gov. Don Siegelman, are already running. The Republican and Democratic primaries are June 6.

Fun Roy fact: While Alabama’s highest judicial officer he declared homosexuality “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature.” Gay sex, he wrote, is “an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it,” an “inherent evil” that “should never be tolerated.” And if homo-bamians continued to insist on fornicating? The state might have to use force, Moore wrote, wielding a biblical “power of the sword” to root out this evil once and for all.

Moore, 58, said that if elected, he has no plans to relocate the Ten Commandments monument from its new home at a church in Gadsden. In 2000, Alabama voters elected Moore as chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and the next summer he had a 5,300-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments installed in the rotunda of the state judicial building. A federal judge ordered Moore to remove it as an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, but Moore refused.

His fellow justices had the monument moved to a storage site out of public view. And in November 2003, a state judicial court kicked Moore out of office for defying the federal court. Moore took appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost at every level.

Since then, he has traveled the country, speaking to church and conservative groups and promoting his book about the controversy, "So Help Me God."

To those who have criticized him as a one-issue candidate, Moore said Monday that his main issue is summed up by his campaign theme: "Return Alabama to the people."
See more posts on this ass-clown at my blog.

Cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.

Bill Bennett going down

by Pam

" could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
He's forced to resign from the board of curriculum and learning program company K12 over the above remarks made on his radio show (see Bill Bennett's guide to crime reduction):
K12 Inc. today announced that William J. Bennett has resigned as an employee, and as Chairman and member of the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately. K12 Inc. said the Board accepted his resignation, thanking him for his contributions to the company. K12 Inc. said that it has no relationship with, or involvement in, Dr. Bennett's radio program. The opinions expressed by Dr. Bennett on his radio program are his and his alone. Dr. Bennett, in a separate statement said: "I am in the midst of a political battle based on a coordinated campaign willfully distorting my views, my record, and my statements. Given the controversy surrounding the remarks I made on my radio show, I am stepping down from my positions at K12, so that neither the mission of the company, nor its children, are affected, distracted, or harmed in any way."

The Insufficiency of Impending Justice

by Dark Wraith

On a topical thread at The Dark Wraith Forums Message Board, BlondeSense contributor Peter of Lone Tree asked the question in regard to the possible indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the Valerie Plame scandal, "If YOU had to take the fall for everybody, including Bush and Cheney, how much would you charge?"

My response, herewith recast as an open opinion, was as follows:

It is not a matter of how much one would charge to take the fall for the wrongdoing of others in this matter, but rather of how much those others are willing to pay not to take the fall. The present situation is not a seller's market for exoneration, but a buyer's market for rectitude.

I am, however, still cynical. If Libby goes down, but nobody else does, it will be scandalous but not ruinous for this Administration; but I still have my doubts that even Libby will go down; and I stand by my earlier assertion, for which I can find few other writers in concordance, that Judith Miller very well could have sung because Fitzgerald threatened her with an indictment for felony obstruction of justice.

This scandal may yet explode into a broadside on the entire war-making propaganda machine, but that will be a slow-motion explosion, led as much as anything by a mainstream media tentatively probing whether or not it has become once again fashionable to serve as guardians of the public trust.

For his part, Fitzgerald has done a magnificent job of ensuring that the road back to a semblance of independence for the media will be frought with much peril. Judith Miller, serving as she did as the mule for Administration propaganda, has been Fitzgerald's best weapon in the eviceration of media respectability.

But Judith Miller and Patrick Fitzgerald are not to blame for being craven shills of their respective masters. The New York Times, on the other hand, has no right ever again to pose as some reputable newspaper worthy of public trust: it printed Judith Miller's war propaganda, and its faint mea culpa of May 26, 2004, in which the editors promised to be more careful in the future in vetting articles before publication, stands in stark contrast to its unwavering support of the very person who posed as a worthy journalist while turning the newspaper into a warhorse from which was sounded the clarion call to unjustified and ultimately ruinous battle. I wonder sometimes if the editors and publishers of that newspaper ever close their eyes and see the dead of the war that their newspaper stories helped to make that way.

The mighty fallen are rare. The mighty fallen in tears of shame are even more so.

From Mr. Bush to Judith Miller, from the neo-conservatives to The New York Times, we shall hear no weeping. Not for war unwarranted, not for lies unforgivable.

And not for the war dead, silenced as they are for the rest of Eternity.

The Dark Wraith has rendered his opinion.

I don't need to say another word...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...about the vatican/pope and their witch-hunts and inquisitions.

Deb Price does it just fine. Entire article is below.

Banning gay priests won't solve Catholic abuse problem

Difficult as it is, looking squarely at what happened to the Catholic children of Philadelphia is the only place to start:

• At age 11, one girl began being raped by her priest. He impregnated her, took her for an abortion, then continued abusing her until she was 17. He had at least 16 victims.

• After waking up drunk in his priest's bed, one boy realized the priest was sexually assaulting him while three other priests fondled themselves.

• A 12-year-old boy was told that his mother had given the priest permission to repeatedly rape him.

In 418 unflinching pages, a Philadelphia grand jury reported Sept. 21 on the three-year investigation that enabled it to identify 63 sexual predators in the Catholic priesthood who abused hundreds of children, robbing them of "their innocence, their virginity, their security and their faith."

But those 63 horribly sick men weren't the only ones to blame. The church's hierarchy, including two cardinals, made sure the cops were never called, the investigation concluded. "Sexually abusive priests," the grand jury says, "were either left quietly in place or 'recycled' to unsuspecting new parishes -- vastly expanding the number of children who were abused."

If top leaders of the Catholic Church were finally dealing forthrightly with an international scandal that has cost it not just its reputation but an estimated $1 billion in the United States alone, then non-Catholics and those who don't live in Philadelphia could be forgiven for ignoring the latest revelations. But we have to focus on what happens to Catholic children when their church lets them down because it is still failing them.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese blasted the meticulous report, produced by a heavily Catholic grand jury, as the work of a "discriminatory" Catholic-bashing inquisition. Such circle-the-wagons rhetoric suggests that posturing -- not healing the child-abuse problem -- remains a primary concern.

Similarly disheartening is the Sept. 21 news leak out of the Vatican. To supposedly "purify" a church rocked by sex crimes, the pope reportedly intends to stop allowing gay men to study for the priesthood.

What the Vatican ought to know by now -- because reputable researchers shout it from the mountaintops -- is that child molesters are sexually fixated on children and molest them. Well-adjusted adults, whether straight, gay or bisexual, don't molest children.

Weeding out gay priests would unfairly smear all gay people and deprive many worthy men of fulfilling their calling. But it wouldn't protect Catholic girls or boys. Sexual predators prey on handy victims. Who's handier than an altar boy or girl if child molesters worm their way into the priesthood?

"Banning gay priests is a misguided effort at blame shifting. ... This was and remains a crisis caused by duplicitous and insensitive church officials," says David Clohessy, who was abused by a Catholic priest and is the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Catholic Church, like every religious group, has a legal right to set its own clergy admissions requirements. But no church, school or club should be allowed to coddle and hide child-abusing fiends.

Punishment for predators and their enablers must be swift, certain and severe. And all of us ought to be on the lookout for adults developing improperly close relationships to children -- and be willing to take action.

Standing up for Catholic children is not Catholic bashing. It's just a responsibility that comes with being an adult.

The Chimp's pick for SCOTUS is Harriet Miers

by Pam

[UPDATE: I address the mention of Exodus Ministries in the Chimp's announcement of Miers below.]

Harriet Miers. Is it a head fake or the real choice? The woman with no judicial record is in.
President Bush has chosen Harriet Miers, White House counsel and a loyal member of the president's inner circle, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, a senior administration official said Monday.

If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, Miers, 60, would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the nation's highest court. Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association.

Without a judicial record, it's difficult to know whether Miers would dramatically move the court to the right. She would fill the shoes of O'Connor, a swing voter on the court for years who has cast deciding votes on some affirmative action, abortion and death penalty cases.
In Bush's announcement, he mentioned that Miers had done work with Exodus Ministries. I almost wrecked my car when hearing this, and had to get online when I got to my desk to check it out. The most well-known EM is the notorious "ex-gay" organization.

However, it looks like there is another Exodus Ministries, a faith-based initiative located in East Dallas. It's a program for ex-drug offenders and their families. EM provides a furnished apartment for 6 months for the ex-offender and his/her family. This outfit is the more likely affiliation. I cannot imagine that Bush would nominate someone tied to an "ex-gay" ministry, given the political heat he is under. He and his aides would have to be morons.

If you do want to hear something scary about Miers, check out this entry by the National Review's David Frum on 9/29, who's queasy about the possibility of Miers as a Justice:
I believe I was the first to float the name of Harriet Miers, White House counsel, as a possible Supreme Court. Today her name is all over the news. I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking. Harriet Miers is a capable lawyer, a hard worker, and a kind and generous person. She would be an reasonable choice for a generalist attorney, which is indeed how George W. Bush first met her. She would make an excellent trial judge: She is a careful and fair-minded listener. But US Supreme Court?

In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect.
Attytood also has some interesting background on Miers. She knows all the inside dope re: Chimp and his National Guard "service."
White House counsel Harriet Miers has never served as a judge before, and while this career "hard-nosed lawyer" (as she is invariably described) from Texas certainly deserves some kudos for a trailblazing career as a female lawyer, she's not a legal scholar, either.

But she does know better than just about anyone else where the bodies are buried (relax, it's a just a metaphor...we hope) in President Bush's National Guard scandal. In fact, Bush's Texas gubenatorial campaign in 1998 (when he was starting to eye the White House) actually paid Miers $19,000 to run an internal pre-emptive probe of the potential scandal. Not long after, a since-settled lawsuit alleged that the Texas Lottery Commission -- while chaired by Bush appointee Miers -- played a role in a multi-million dollar cover-up of the scandal.
Early Freeper reaction...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Bush knows her well, so I think we have to assume she is on the same wave-length."


"If this is true- there are going to be a LOT of unhappy people."

"This is "one" of the "many" last straws."

"Lack of paper trail..."

"Total BS! Argh!!!"

"I've heard she's not staunchly pro-life, but how do we know this and what do we know about her?"

"Wonder if this is a head fake. If not, she fits the "Roberts" mold as in not being a high profile possibility."

"Pisses me off. Well, don't know that I will be voting next year."

"At 8:15 am the President is going to announce he will officially switch to the Democrat Party."

"Yep! He might as well."

"I am not surprised. When we went to vote in 2000 we thought we were getting a Ronald Reagan Conservative. In 2004, we were merely content to keep a Kennedy liberal out of the White House. Now it seems to be confirmed: When we elected and re-elected G.W. Bush, we got a younger version of his father. Conservatism is officially dead in Washington DC.
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Interesting photo on the wires

by Pam

This is an actual AFP photo up now on Yahoo News.

And here's the real caption: "US President George W. Bush delivers remarks on the anniversary of the 'No Child Left Behind Act' to teachers, parents, and students 05 January 2004. Bush's administration broke the law as it resorted to illegal 'covert propaganda' in trying to sell its key education initiative to the public, US congressional investigators have found."(AFP/File/Paul Richards)

Also see: Pay-for-promotion 'news' and 'commentary' ruled illegal.

Vatican Considering Barring Gay-Friendly Politicians From Sacrament

by Ms. Julien in Miami

And this is the reason why I am considering barring anyone who thinks the Pope is anything but an evil, bigoted, pedophilia-protecting fucker from my life.

A Significant Assessment Discrepancy

by Dark Wraith

Posted on the Website of the U.S. Department of State is the transcript of President Bush's radio address of October 1, 2005, to the nation. In that transcript, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying, "I'm encouraged by the increasing size and capability of the Iraqi security forces. Today they have more than 100 battalions operating throughout the country, and our commanders report that the Iraqi forces are serving with increasing effectiveness."

On September 29, 2005, the senior military commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the number of Iraqi battalions that could fight without U.S. support had dwindled from three to one.

The President's statement that 100 battalions are operational in Iraq does not directly contradict General Casey's testimony: there could very well be 100 Iraqi battalions in existence, while only one of them is capable of engaging in operations unsupported by Coalition forces. However, the President's descriptions of "increasing... capability" and "increasing effectiveness" of federal Iraqi forces are directly at odds with the military officer's testimony that the number of self-sufficient battalions had diminished by two-thirds.

Through misinformation or deliberate misrepresentation, either the general or the President is wrong. It is also possible that both men are wrong. In any event, either the Senate, the American people, or both have been misled with respect to the situation on the ground in Iraq with respect to the ability of the Iraqi military to function without occupation troops providing command, control, and firepower in routine and battlefield operations.

If the President is correct, then it is only a matter of time before Coalition forces can begin a tiered, well-ordered withdrawal from Iraq. If the general is correct, any such withdrawal will be attended by the implosion of what little military structure exists for the federal state of Iraq, leaving the nation to the mercies of both the powerful forces pulling the country apart from within and the powerful forces of bordering nations waiting to carve up the nation from without.

The Dark Wraith leaves it to astute observers to determine whether President Bush or Gen. Casey is better informed.

This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.