GOP: "Fascism!"

The AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of "Islamic fascists" in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings.


"I think it's an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms."
The right term?

But Muslim groups have cried foul. Bush's use of the phrase "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community," complained Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The article goes on to explain that the use of the term 'fascism' is probably meant to attach some of the 'good war' feelings about World War II to Bush's 'War on Terror' or whatever he wants to call it. What the article fails to do in any meaningful way is explain what fascism really means.

From the Wikipedia article 'Definition of Fascism,' Umberto Eco's essay "Eternal fascism" provides a list of features of Fascism, :
  • "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism (often disguised as a rejection of capitalism).
  • * "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
  • * "Disagreement is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
  • * "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
  • "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
  • "Obsession With a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
  • "Pacifism is Trafficking With the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight.
  • "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.
  • "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because "it no longer represents the Voice of the People".
  • "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
Does that sound like anybody you know?

Elements within the Republican party are inoculating themselves against the charge of 'Fascism' by saying it's Fascism that they're fighting against.

Despite the fact that yesterday I predicted a new Great Depression (twice) this blog isn't about hysterics or wild accusations. I'm not calling the Republican Party Fascist. I'm not even calling George W. Bush a Fascist.

All I'm saying is that certain elements within the Republican party are treading dangerously close to some very frightening ideas. The fact that they're throwing the word Fascism around like a football doesn't reassure me.

Returning to the subject of the AP piece, I agree that the 'War on Terror' is possibly the worst name for this war. War against Islamic Fundamentalism would be better. Perhaps even War against Radical Islamic Fundamentalism - WARIF.

Anyway... No more posts today. Real life is keeping me busy.


Other Fun News

Respectfully stolen from RawStory:

Pennsylvania Wing Nut Rick Santorum demonstrates his idiocy:

"I am outraged," Santorum said of the administration's approval of Mohammad Khatami's request for visa. "Mohammed Khatami is one of the chief propagandists of the Islamic Fascist regime... I believe that granting a visa to Khatami so that he can travel around the United States and mislead the American people is a mistake."

Ironically, Santorum's chief complaint about Khatami's plans to speak in America is the former president's record on free speech.

"During his presidency," Santorum elaborated, "the suppression of free speech was so great that the organization 'Reporters Without Frontiers' branded Iran 'the greatest predator of free press in the Middle East.' When Iranian students demonstrated against the regime in 1999, Khatami's government arrested thousands of people, some of whom remain in prison to this day."
FoxNews seems to be having a viewership problem:
According to the Nielsen ratings, as compiled by TV Newser, Fox News Channel's total viewership dropped 7 percent from last August, and it's prime time audience is down 28 percent.

Meanwhile, CNN's ratings increased 35% in total and 21% in prime time as MSNBC moved up 26% and 6%.
Asked about the drop, Fox News said through a spokesman that CNN must be "employing fuzzy math." The spokesman mean Nielsen was using the fuzzy math, right? Right?

Entitlement Joe

Via My Left Nutmeg:

Foxnews asks "Will Connecticut senator's independent run help embattled GOP candidates?"

Joe's response? "Well, they should have thought of that before they had the primary."
Damn it! What do those Connecticut Democrats think this is, a Democracy? They're my constituents and should be grateful for it. How dare they express their dissatisfaction with my actions by exercising their rights as American Citizens to follow the long established practices of our democracy and elect a different candidate to run for MY Senate seat!

Important News

At least for me. The AFP reports:

LONDON (AFP) - In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Manchester claims to have discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair.

By sending the code to more cells than usual, the scientists at the University of Manchester say they were able to breed mice with more fur -- a feat that could potentially be replicated in humans.
If they could figure out a way to confine the hair growth to my scalp (and not, say, my back) this could be very helpful for me in about eight years or so...

Labor Day?

Harold Meyerson has a great Op-Ed piece for the Washington Post today:

Labor Day is almost upon us, and like some of my fellow graybeards, I can, if I concentrate, actually remember what it was that this holiday once celebrated. Something about America being the land of broadly shared prosperity. Something about America being the first nation in human history that had a middle-class majority, where parents had every reason to think their children would fare even better than they had.

The young may be understandably incredulous, but the Great Compression, as economists call it, was the single most important social fact in our country in the decades after World War II. From 1947 through 1973, American productivity rose by a whopping 104 percent, and median family income rose by the very same 104 percent. More Americans bought homes and new cars and sent their kids to college than ever before. In ways more difficult to quantify, the mass prosperity fostered a generosity of spirit: The civil rights revolution and the Marshall Plan both emanated from an America in which most people were imbued with a sense of economic security.


Ours is the age of the Great Upward Redistribution. The median hourly wage for Americans has declined by 2 percent since 2003, though productivity has been rising handsomely. Last year, according to figures released just yesterday by the Census Bureau, wages for men declined by 1.8 percent and for women by 1.3 percent.

As a remarkable story by Steven Greenhouse and David Leonhardt in Monday's New York Times makes abundantly clear, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of gross domestic product since 1947, when the government began measuring such things. Corporate profits, by contrast, have risen to their highest share of the GDP since the mid-'60s -- a gain that has come chiefly at the expense of American workers.
Go read the whole thing, it's very good.

I can from a union family. I am unabashedly pro-union. That's one of the reasons I haven't shopped at a Wal*Mart since 2003.

Mr. Meyerson points out an interesting fact about Wal-Mart in his piece: "Of Wal-Mart's 10 top suppliers in 1994, four have filed bankruptcies." Think about that. Due to their own policies, Wal*Mart forces 40% of its suppliers out of business. I grew up near Hershey Pennsylvania, home of Hershey Chocolate. I remember a story that got some play locally explaining that Hershey had to make some change to satisfy Wal-Mart's demands because Wal*Mart made up 40% of Hershey's distribution or some such thing. Hershey didn't want to do it, but they had no choice. No business can absorb having almost half of its distribution disappear overnight.

I don't want to let this post turn into an anti-Wal*Mart screed, so I'll move on.

When Bush came to power, there were analysts who said that movement Conservatives were going to work to undo the '60s and move America back into the 'good old days' of the oh-so idealized 1950s. Evidently, they weren't generous enough in scope. It seems that Conservative's real goal is the 1920s.

Unbridled capitalism, efforts to constitutionally ban things that certain religious groups find offensive (gay marriage is the new Demon Rum) and the exploitation of workers by a elite ruling class that holds a vast majority of the nation's wealth and resources.

We know Bush and his cronies aren't big on history, but I am. Will Bushtowns be the new Hoovervilles?


Sex Advice

Three guesses where I found this quote:

"Human beings differ in practically every characteristic. Our feet come in different sizes, our teeth are shaped differently, some people eat more than others, and some are taller than their peers. We are unique individuals. Accordingly, we differ in sexual appetites. Our intellectual "computers" are clearly programmed differently through the process of genetic inheritance. Some of us "hunger and thirst" after [...] Given this variability, we should learn to accept ourselves sexually, as well as physically and emotionally. "
Come on, guess!

Give up?

That'd be Focus on the Family.

It's from an article on their website (don't ask me why I was there) that was a sort of question and answer about why some people desire more 'married sex' and some less. The omitted portion said, "... our sexuality, while others take it much more casually."

They got so close to getting it, but it just went right past them.

The 'self help' portion of their website is sort of like a freak show. It's actually incredibly alarming. Downright horrifying at times, but also fascinating. You just can't turn away...

Return of the Dust Bowl

The New York Times reports that conditions in the northern Great Plains are nearly identical to those of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. With a Republican President and a housing bubble getting ready to burst, can another Great Depression be far behind?

Coming Soon to Reality TV!

The Fabulous Dancing Tucker Carlson, debuting September 12!

Profiled in the New York Times, which reminds us that more people will watch him dance than watch him report on the news...

Photo: Michael Temchine for The New York Times

Americans Turned Away at the Border

From the San Francisco Gate:

The federal government has barred two relatives of a Lodi man convicted of supporting terrorists from returning to the country after a lengthy stay in Pakistan, placing the U.S. citizens in an extraordinary legal limbo.

Muhammad Ismail, a 45-year-old naturalized citizen born in Pakistan, and his 18-year-old son, Jaber Ismail, who was born in the United States, have not been charged with a crime. However, they are the uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat, a 23-year-old Lodi cherry packer who was convicted in April of supporting terrorists by attending a Pakistani training camp.

Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan. An attorney representing the family said agents have asked whether the younger Ismail trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan.
First, let me say this: Two relatives of a man who attended terrorist training camps who have spent large amounts of time in Pakistan should receive extra scrutiny when returning to the United States. That's just good intelligence work. That doesn't mean they should be denied their rights as Americans.

If the FBI wants to question these men (which they probably should) then they should do so, in the United States, with the two men having access to legal council.
The father and son were forced to pay for a flight back to Islamabad because they were on the government's "no-fly" list, Mass said. Muhammad Ismail's wife, teenage daughter and younger son, who were not on the list, continued on to the United States.

Neither Muhammad nor Jaber Ismail holds dual Pakistani citizenship, Mass said.

"We haven't heard about this happening -- U.S. citizens being refused the right to return from abroad without any charges or any basis," said Mass, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Either these two men should be charged with a crime or allowed to return to their country.

The thought that every time I leave the United States I'm taking a chance that, due to any sort of administrative mix up, I could be denied my right of return simply because my name appears on a 'no fly list' or that my name is similar to that of a terror suspect is frightening. The fact that if such a thing were to happen, I could be shipped off to be 'questioned' in Pakistan is down right scary.
McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney for California's eastern district, confirmed Friday that the men were on the no-fly list and were being kept out of the country until they agreed to talk to federal authorities.

"They've been given the opportunity to meet with the FBI over there and answer a few questions, and they've declined to do that," Scott said.
Would you want to be questioned by anybody in Pakistan? I mean, even if I had absolutely nothing to hide I would decline to be 'questioned' in Pakistan. Let me speak to the FBI in the United States. That's fine. He'll, I'll talk to them over coffee in the airport lounge, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let them 'question' me in some Pakistani prison.

These men's names appear on lists which cannot be checked. If your name appears on the list, the only way you can find out is by trying to fly somewhere. Even then, you won't be able to find out why it's on the list or challenge the designation. No 'if you received this in error, call 1-800...'

This is one of the instances where there is no black and white. The FBI has legitimate reasons to view these men as suspect. They were named by a man convicted of being trained at a terrorist camp in Pakistan and were returning from a long stay in Pakistan. At the same time, they have been denied their rights, threatened with having their citizenship stripped simply because they refuse to strip themselves of the rights that the Constitution promises to them. The Ismails are Americans and deserve better than that.

Pat Buchanan: Racist Bastard

Think Progress has video of Pat Buchanan basically saying that the United States should limit immigration to white, English speakers "that have been assimilated before."

I've got some news for you, Pat. With a name like Buchanan, I can say with some certainty that somebody in your family tree immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Do a little research about how the nativist population liked the idea of Irish people being 'assimilated' into America.

At what point does the media realize that Pat Buchanan has no business spouting his pressed-and-dressed version of David Duke rhetoric on national television? His racist screed (often referred to as 'book') has gotten him more spots on news networks than he has for anything he's actually done including run for president, what, three times? Buy a clue, Pat!

If I write a book full of racially tinged criticism of the GOP, can I get on CNN to talk to John King? Will I get a free pass to spout baseless propaganda?


Karr DNA Not A Match!!

In what promises to be the biggest story of the day (if not the week) we learn that all-around creepazoid John Mark Karr's DNA does not match that found at the crime scene in the Ramsey House.

A look at other news that will be displaced so that you, the media consumer, can hear endless talking heads examine the implications of that piece of information:

But, you know, those things aren't that important. If past experience is any indicator, this post will get more hits than any other post today. Probably more than all the others combined...


The New York Times reports that the rich are getting richer and the poor are gettin poorer.

That is all.

First the President, now ...?

Ken Starr, once the dogged pursuer of powerful prey such as the President of the United States has now finds himself working to prosecute ahigh school kid. Joseph Frederick of Juneau, Alaska finds himself in the crosshairs of Mr. Starr, the man who once hunted Presidents, who has taken his case against the high school student to the Supreme Court, trying to make sure that Frederick stays expelled. His crime? Holding up a sign and refusing to put it down when told to do so by the principal.

The only problem is that it wasn't during school hours. Or on school property. What could the sign have said that would anger people so much?

Oh, that'd probably do it. Got it on TV you say? Well, you should know by now that First Amendment rights don't apply when you're making fun of Jesus...

Photo Property of the Wall Street Journal

Katherine Harris: Bottomless Bag of Idiocy

Via Wonkette:

Harris clarifies: When I said that voting against Christians is voting for Satan, I meant to say that I have at least one Jew on staff.

Answering bewildered criticism with a similarly bewildering non-sequitur, Harris' office issued a "clarification" this weekend that gives a little context to statements ("If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin") that seemed pretty clear to begin with.
All this fun came from Katherine's interview with the Florida Baptist Witness.
In a couple paragraphs [from the 'correction'], we learn:
  • Harris campaign manager Bryan Rudnick is a Jew.
  • "In Congress, Katherine Harris has consistently supported pro-Israel legislation."
  • "As Harris frequently reminds voters in her campaign speeches for the U.S. Senate, she is committed to standing by Israel."
So, to sum up, electing Christians is still urgent and key, but you're allowed to have a couple Jews working for you (and we're totally cool with that country they have).
The question we need to start asking every Republican candidate is 'Katherine Harris said that voting for non-Christians is voting to legislate sin: Could you please explain how your position is different from Katherine's?'

It's a no win situation for any GOoPer. They either have to say 'voting for Christians is not important' or 'I agree with Katherine Harris.' Sit back and watch the heads explode...

Conservatism and Katrina

Today the Liberal Blogosphere is drawing attention to the failures of our government in response to (and preparation for) Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans one year ago.

Debris still clog the streets 12 months after the storm. What work has been done is tainted by price gouging and no-bid contract awards. Katrina refugees, yes American refugees, still live in trailers with no signs of change or progress.

This is due to George W. Bush's the implementation of the Republican ideology in a purer form than any seen since before FDR.

Most frightening, Katrina and the disaster in New Orleans is only the tip of the iceberg. All the problems with infrastructure in NOLA that lead to the destruction of an American city exist in infrastructure all across the nation. From the Seattle Times:

WASHINGTON -— A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.

None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country's basic operating systems are deteriorating.

"When I see events like these, I become concerned that we've lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation's infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad -— if not worse -— as being an insecure nation," said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch.

The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation "D" for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.

"I thought [Hurricane] Katrina was a hell of a wake-up call, but people are missing the alarm," said Casey Dinges, the society's managing director of external affairs.
Katrina has shown that Republicans have no interest in maintaining our nation's vital infrastructure. It's a question of ideology. Small government conservatism laid bare.
It noted that half the 257 locks operated by the Army Corps of Engineers on inland waterways are functionally obsolete, more than one-quarter of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient or obsolete, and $11 billion is needed annually to replace aging drinking-water facilities.
What does The Decider, the Compassionate Conservative, the leader of the Republican Party have to say about that?
"Infrastructure is always a difficult issue," Bush acknowledged. "It's a federal responsibility and a state and local responsibility. And I, frankly, feel like we've upheld our responsibility at the federal level with the highway bill."
And we spend billions every week rebuilding (or not rebuilding, as the case may be) that we destroyed in the first place in Iraq.

If this is the Republican vision of America, I want no part of it. I believe that government can and should provide for the construction and maintenance infrastructure for all Americans, rich or poor. I believe that the government's greatest responsibility is for those need the most. To borrow a phrase, "The least shall be first."

As citizens in a Republic, we entrust our government with the authority and ability to provide the things necessary for the population as a whole which individuals cannot provide for themselves. Things like protection, in the form of just law enforcement and public defense, roads, dams, levees, with the common good being the motivation, not profit for favored corporations, industries, or individuals.

The Republicans have shown absolute disregard for this obligation.

As the new hurricane season starts with Ernesto bearing down on Florida, the sad consequences of a decade of Conservative government will become harder and harder to cover up with media blitzes and public relations offensives.

S.D. Abortion Ban

Via the Washington Post:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Kayla Brandt had an abortion three years ago and instantly hated having done it. Now, hoping to stop other women from making the same choice, she is a public advocate for the most severe abortion ban in the nation.

"I don't want anyone to feel what I did," Brandt says.
So because you're upset with your own decision every other person in South Dakota is required to make amends? Fuck you, Kayla Brandt!

South Dakota is the unlikely home of this year's most intense duel over abortion, a Nov. 7 referendum to decide the future of HB 1215, a measure that would institute a broad ban on the procedure. No exceptions would be allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest -- abortion would be permitted only when the mother's life is in jeopardy.


A fresh poll suggests voters are inclined to oppose the law as too severe. In a late-July sounding, opponents of the ban held an eight-point lead, with 14 percent undecided.
This is the correct strategy to defeat abortion bans. Americans favor giving women the choice to have safe, legal abortions. Having voters defeat these types of measures discourages politicians from both introducing them and voting for them to curry favor with voters. Why would any sane politician support something that voters don't? Relying on the Supreme Court to defeat these measures only encourages the Medievalists to keep trying to strip women of their right to control their own body and reinforces the false 'activist judges' meme.

That said, the Washington Post notes that if the ban included provisions in the case of rape or incest, the majority of South Dakotans would favor the ban. (South Dakota is only 775,000 Americans out of nearly 300,000,000 and skews more rightward than the nation in general.) Even still, a state that elected George W. Bush twice, with 60% of the vote gives the current bill, with no exception for rape or incest, only 39% support. With the exceptions, only 59% would support the ban - still less than the total percentage of votes George W. Bush received.

This is a wedge issue that the GOP has exploited for years. The closer they get to over turning Roe v. Wade, the less effective the issue becomes for them. In most parts of the country, a strong majority of voters support a woman's right to chose. As those voters begin to feel less comfortable due to Republican efforts to strip women of their rights, expect them to go to the polls to express their opinion.

Republican strategists must know this. I'm sure that their 'perfect scenario' didn't include a draconian abortion law that makes Republicans look like uncompromising zealots. This is a miscalculation that could cost them.

Our Iron Lady

Time has a profile of Nancy Pelosi:

"The 66-year-old San Francisco lawmaker is an aggressive, hyperpartisan liberal pol who is the Democrats' version of Tom DeLay, minus the ethical and legal problems of the former Republican House leader."
Overall, it's an even-handed profile. It shows an unapologetic liberal getting things done in congress. It points out the fact that there is no more logic in attacking somebody for being 'too liberal' than being 'too conservative,' if in a round-about way. It shows how opponents on both sides of the isle have tried to run against her a 'too liberal' and lost. That fact is one that the whole party would be better off having learned.

The profile really acts as an introduction to the woman that will be Speaker of the House. The first woman to be Speaker of the House. And that quote '... without the ethical and legal problems' was great.


The Republican Party Seal

Media Priorities

It's Starting to Seem Compulsive...

Republicans lie so much that they can't even stop themselves from lying when they don't need to. Via the AP:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt is fast, capable of running a marathon in 3 hours, 19 minutes, 6 seconds.

At least that's what a photo on the Ohio congresswoman's Web site shows.

No way, says a rival who contends that the picture from the 1993 Columbus Marathon is doctored and complained to state election officials. A four-member commission panel ruled Thursday that there was enough evidence to look into the complaint.

State law prohibits candidates from publishing false statements designed to promote their election.

The photo shows Schmidt near the finish line at the marathon with a time clock showing 3:19:06, which would have made her one of the top finishers. But a newspaper list of the top runners does not include Schmidt, said Nathan Noy, who is seeking to run as a write-in candidate against Schmidt.

Noy said he believes the photo may be fake and suggested that Schmidt never even participated in the event. In the photo, Schmidt doesn't cast a shadow while other runners do.
Obviously Schmidt is a vampire.

Kidding aside, why would a candidate run an ad about running in a marathons that she hadn't actually run in? They couldn't come up with any other sort of ad that didn't involve photoshopping the candidate into a picture? Worse yet, they couldn't find anybody to do a decent job!
On her Web site, Schmidt, who is 54, said she has completed 59 marathons. In April, she received a public reprimand from the Ohio Elections Commission for claiming on her Web site that she had two college degrees when she had only one.
I bet when somebody tells a story at a party, she'll always tell a story to beat it.
Person 1: "One time in college, I was kinda drunk down by the pond and got attacked by a duck!"

Shmidt: "Oh yeah? When I was hiking in the Ganges delta, I was attacked by a flock of whopping cranes. Their razor sharp beaks took off two fingers!!"

::looks down at hand::

"Doctors reattached them, of course..."
is it just me or does it seem that the Republican Party is having trouble attracting 'top tier' candidates this election cycle?

GOP "Friend of Religion?"

The New York Times reports on a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll asking Americans about their views on religion and politics:

A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as "“friendly to religion" than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants - constituencies at the core of the Republicans'’ conservative Christian voting bloc.

The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from 55 percent. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points.

The Democratic Party suffers from the perception of an even more drastic religion deficit, but that is not new. Just 26 percent of poll respondents said the Democratic Party was friendly to religion, down from 29 percent last year.
When there's a 3 point dip in perception that the Democratic Party is a 'Friend of Religion' no one notices, but when there's a 14 point collapse among Catholics and Evangelicals calling the GOP a 'Friend of Religion,' that's news.

John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life speculated that the drop among the some of the Republican's strongest traditional supporters could be due to the recent votes by some Republicans in favor of stem cell research or the inability or unwillingness of a Republican controlled to pass legislation important to them, such as a constitutional ban on gay-marriage, outlawing abortion, etc.

Other interesting results from the poll include the finding that "49 percent [of Americans] agreed that conservative Christians had "gone too far in trying to impose their religious values on the country."

44 percent of Americans view "the Christian conservative movement" favorably, 36 percent unfavorably.

42 percent of respondents see religious influence in government increasing. 45 percent see it decreasing. Most of those 45% said that was a bad thing.

51 percent said churches should engage in political matters. 46 percent said they should stay out of politics.

Most interestingly, "79 percent said there was 'solid evidence' of global warming, and 61 percent said it was a problem that required 'immediate government action.'"

There's plenty of encouraging findings in the poll, though there are some rather scary findings too. It's too bad that these results weren't broken down geographically. I would love to see this same poll conducted in every state and the results mapped. Even better, if it could be done by county... But that won't happen so there's no use wishing. In the end, if Religious Conservatives are less enthusiastic about voting Republican in this midterm election, that would be a good thing.


The jingoism in this country knows no bounds. Via the ABC 7 News, Denver:

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A Jefferson County geography teacher was placed on paid administrative on the second day of school for hanging several flags from other countries in his classroom.

Eric Hamlin said the flags were part of a world geography lesson plan at Carmody Middle School and refused to take them down. The school's principal escorted Hamlin out of class Wednesday morning after he refused to remove the flags of China and Mexico.

The school district placed him on administrative leave for insubordination, citing a Colorado law that makes it illegal to display foreign flags permanently in schools.
So you're telling me that it's illegal for the French teacher to have the tri-color on display in his or her class room? It's ILLEGAL for the geography teacher to have foreign flags on display in the classroom?

Can somebody please explain to me who the fuck thought this law was a good idea? Can somebody explain to me WHY THIS LAW WAS NEEDED?

I mean, was there a rash of Colorado teachers expecting children to pledge allegiance to the Canadian flag? The Italian flag?

Idiots on the Right are always complaining about frivolous lawsuits clogging up our court system. I'd like to register my complaint about frivolous fucking LAWS clogging up our legislative system.


Republicans Have a Problem

One is tempted to diagnose it as a 'loose lips sink candidacies' sort of problem, but that's not really it. It seems that there are (Gasp!) actual racists amongst the GOP ranks.

Via 365Gay:

(Salt Lake City, Utah) A state senator responsible for some of Utah's most anti-gay legislation is under fire for saying that the landmark court case that ended state-sanctioned segregation is wrong.

During an interview on KVNU radio this week Chris Buttars (R) was asked about a bill he has authored that would give the Senate the right to overturn the election of judges and to remove judges from office if senators disagreed with their rulings.

Buttars, who authored Utah's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, prepared the bill after a ruling this spring that the city of Salt Lake did not violate the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by offering benefits to the same-sex partners of municipal workers. (story)

During the radio interview host Tom Grover noted that courts historically have been used by minority groups "to ensure [their] rights are protected."

"I don't know of an example where the minority is being jeopardized by legislative action," Buttars replied.

Grover then brought up the Kansas desegregation case that resulted in the busing of black students to white schools and vice versa.

"I think Brown v. Board of Education is wrong to begin with," Buttars shot back.

There are very few things that a politician can say today, in the year 2006, that are as unbelievable as 'I disagree with Brown v. Board of Education.' Hell, you can actually get away with saying things like 'I think Evolution is only a theory' and still get elected.

By itself, this would just be the ramblings of some old white guy in Utah who happened to be a politician. Add in Sen. George Allen's use of the 'M' word, Sen. Conrad Burns' remarks about his house painter and Tramm Hudson's musings on the swimming ability of African Americans and this really starts to look like a tendency.

Throw in some 'Muslims should get special screening at the airport' bullshit by the House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King and anti-Latino immigrant blusterings by nearly every Republican in a border state (and beyond) and you have a trend.

Top it off with Pat Robertson's racist diatribes in his new book and things are pretty damning for the GOP.

Oh, and there was that whole Katrina thing too.

The sad thing is, in some circles, this will not only be permitted, but encouraged. I hope, I hope, that there are enough suburban moderates out there to counter-act the rising racist bent in the Republican Party. I will say one thing: If Bush had started to make inroads into traditionally Democratic leaning minority groups by appointing non-WASPs to key positions, he forgot to tell the rest of his party that for the strategy to work, they have to at least stop acting like racists. It seems that expecting them to actually stop being racists is still a little to much to ask...

Not A Planet?

The AP reports that astronomers in Prague have defined 'planet' in such a way that Pluto is now considered 'dwarf planet.' Any good fundie will tell you that this is all smoke and mirrors stuff to hide the truth - Pluto IS a planet. It revolves around the earth just like everything else in the sky. The Bible told me so.

Thoughts on the JonBenet Ramsey Case

As more details emerge about John Mark Karr and the JonBenet Ramsey case, I wanted to look at why America is so fascinated.

The news right now is scary. Really scary. Civil War in Iraq. Cars blowing up on crowded streets. Planes (almost) falling out of the skies. War in Lebanon. North Korean missile tests. A defiant Iran moves ever closer to the bomb. Gas prices up. Wages and the housing market down. Immigration. Murder. Crime. I could go on and on.

People get tire of news that scares them. Your average news watcher can identify with passengers on airplanes. They can see themselves in that situation. They can relate to the fear of a terrorist attack as they walk down the street or shop in a market. They can feel the fear of war. Most news watchers remember the fear of nuclear stand-offs.

News watchers don't relate to being a six year old beauty queen.

The 'fear' of JonBenet Ramsey isn't one that they feel personally. The Karr/Ramsey media circus is something they can watch without the feeling of fear or apprehension. When the media reports on that creepy Karr guy, it's not something that they need to be afraid of. JonBenet Ramsey is a reprieve from the constant stream of scary news.

The details of the story aren't really important. The pattern would be the same if all of a sudden a new suspect in the OJ Simpson case had come to light. People are looking for a way out of fear. TV news producers know this. People will watch hours of reporting on JonBenet. They won't watch hours of reporting on Iran.

GOP Needs Iran

Via the New York Times:

Some in G.O.P. Say Iran Threat Is Played Down

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.
Well, of course they are! How does the CIA expect the GOP to win an election without 'ominous warnings' coming out, at least three times a day, about impending nuclear war? Does the CIA want the Republicans to run on, like, issues or something?
Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran's role in Hezbollah's recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.
Oh, right... The Iraq war. That was the last time the intelligence community gave the Republicans exactly what they wanted. Look how well that turned out.
"Analysts were burned pretty badly during the run-up to the war in Iraq," said Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. "I'm not surprised that some in the intelligence community are a bit gun-shy about appearing to be war mongering."
And now BushCo. wonders why they won't play the same game again. If you make somebody the scapegoat for your failures, they're not going to volunteer for that roll again.
"When the intelligence community says Iran is 5 to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon, I ask: 'If North Korea were to ship them a nuke tomorrow, how close would they be then?" said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

"The intelligence community is dedicated to predicting the least dangerous world possible," he said.
That's because the best way to ensure the least dangerous world for America is to prevent another Republican lead catastrophe like the war in Iraq.
"It reflects a certain way of looking at the world - that all evil is traceable to the capitals of certain states," said Paul R. Pillar, who until last October oversaw American intelligence assessments about the Middle East. "And that, in my view, is a very incorrect way of interpreting the security challenges we face."
Mr. Pillar hits the nail on the head. Republicans don't like gray area. Republicans don't like the idea that governments aren't in control - even for the bad guys. Mix those two things together in a hostile electoral environment and you're bound to get Republicans bleating about how the intelligence agencies aren't giving them what they want.

In the end, Republicans know that the only way they can win elections is by scaring the crap out of the electorate. Voters won't come to the polls to vote for the party that let New Orleans drown, prevented any raise of the minimum wage, and tried to kill popular programs like Social Security for their domestic policy. As much as Iran need the United States to be the 'Great Satan' to absorb all the dissatisfaction within Iran, the Republicans need Iran to be the 'New Russians' to keep control of the House and Senate.

It's really rather fitting in a way...



RawStory is reporting on Herman Cain's latest attempts to demonize Democrats. Cain is a member of the Wal-Mart advocacy group Working Families for Wal-Mart and wrote in a column posted on Townhall.com labeling Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden "Hezbocrats ... determined to take down Wal-Mart."

Apparently he didn't like the fact that some people (who happen to be Democrats) are trying to break Wal-Mart's anti-union policy.

But back to the situation at hand. Where did 'Hezbocrat' come from? Does Cain really think that Democrats are taking their cues on unionization from a Middle Eastern terrorist group trying to destroy Israel? Who's dumb enough to buy this line of 'reasoning?'

Hezbollah, as far as I know, has no position on Wal-Mart. To my knowledge, Hezbollah has no position on organized labor. Did Democrats start advocating rocket attacks, bombings and kidnapping as ways to get what they want from Wal-Mart without telling me? Couldn't Cain come up with a more appropriate slander? 'Communocrats' or 'Socialcrats' at least has some tangential relation to what's being argued.

I was going to proudly point out that as Democrats, we're not engaging in this sort of name-calling but I think that's our problem. We're playing by Marquess of Queensberry Rules while the Republicans fight dirty. Maybe we need to come up with some names...

Sorry About not Posting Yesterday.

Real life kept getting in the way of blogging.

An appeasement gift from Think Progress:

"Nothing short of a miracle." - Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on the "“incredibly successful"” U.S. efforts in Iraq
I've heard that his favorite Kool-Aid flavor is Very Cheery Cherry: Guaranteeded to keep Red State Red Heads ready to swallow any misinformation!


Baby Gap?

Arthur C. Brooks has an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal:

On the political left, raising the youth vote is one of the most common goals. This implicitly plays to the tired old axiom that a person under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart (whereas one who is still a liberal after 30 has no head). The trouble is, while most "get out the vote" campaigns targeting young people are proxies for the Democratic Party, these efforts haven't apparently done much to win elections for the Democrats. The explanation we often hear from the left is that the new young Democrats are more than counterbalanced by voters scared up by the Republicans on "cultural issues" like abortion, gun rights and gay marriage.

But the data on young Americans tell a different story. Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.
Mr. Brooks is a professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs, so maybe he knows more than me, but I'm going to poke a few holes in his theory.

If, as an adult, you vote conservative, almost assuredly your parents did too. But in my experience (I know the plural of anecdote isn't evidence but work with me) if you vote progressive as an adult, your about equally as likely to have progressive parents as conservative parents. Therefore, if 80% of people vote the same as their parents, I'd say that nearly ALL adult conservative voters are from that 80% even though they make up only approximately 50% of the electorate while the 20% left over would predominantly turn to progressive politics.

Oh, and the author conveniently ignores immigration.

I'm not buying the conservative "we'll out-breed you!" argument. Especially when it's tied to the ineffectiveness of 'get out the vote' campaigns for the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party hasn't come up with any candidates that excite young people. It's that simple.

And another thing to remember is that most of the 'hot button' issues that the GOP uses to excite its base will have decreasing impact as people who accept gay people (they grew up watching them on TV and meeting out people in their high schools) reach voting age. Environmentalism is an issue on which the GOP and the majority of young people disagree.

Young people today don't remember the '50s. They have no resentful feelings about the '60s. What they do know is the '90s and they know that we've moved in the wrong direction since then.

Should war develop with Iran/Syria/North Korea a draft would be the only way for the Republicans to sustain that new war in addition to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's not going to be popular with voters in the 'draftable' age bracket.

In the end, I just don't believe that how your parents vote has as much impact on who you vote for as Mr. Brooks contends. The vast majority of people vote for politicians, not parties. Party registration, perhaps, but in the end most people vote for the candidate they like better, regardless of how their parents vote.


I've Got a Bad Feeling About This

Via the AP:

VIENNA, Austria -
Iran has turned away U.N. inspectors wanting to examine its underground nuclear site in an apparent violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, diplomats and U.N. officials said Monday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the information, told The Associated Press that Iran's unprecedented refusal to allow access to the facility at Natanz could seriously hamper international efforts to ensure that Tehran is not trying to make nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader said Tehran will pursue nuclear technology despite a
U.N. Security Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment by the end of the month or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has made its own decision and in the nuclear case, God willing, with patience and power, will continue its path," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to state television.
Warmongers rejoice. You've got your October Surprise. To bad that in the face of a real threat, our Armed Services are stretched so thin that any sort of response is bound to fail. That ignoring the fact that any armed response was going to fail to begin with.

I better start running again. It'll make boot camp a lot easier when the draft rolls around...

YouTube Politics

The New York Times has an article on the growing influence, or at least impact, YouTube is having on politics.

The story was brought on, it would seem, by Senator George Allen's recent bigoted diatribe involving a student working for the opposing campaign's Indian heritage and the slur 'macaca.' Unfortunately for Allen, the incident was caught on video and quickly found its way onto the internet.

The student, working for the opposing campaign, taped the comments, and the video quickly appeared on YouTube, where it rocketed to the top of the site's most-viewed list. It then bounced from the Web to the front page of The Washington Post to cable and network television news shows. Despite two public apologies by Senator Allen, and his aides'’ quick explanations for how the strange word tumbled out, political analysts rushed to downgrade Mr. Allen'’s stock as a leading contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
That's some pretty serious consequences for something that never would have made it to the evening news two years ago. (Rasmussen says 6%.)
When politicians say inappropriate things, many voters will want to know. Now they can see it for themselves on the Web.

But YouTube may be changing the political process in more profound ways, for good and perhaps not for the better, according to strategists in both parties. If campaigns resemble reality television, where any moment of a candidate's life can be captured on film and posted on the Web, will the last shreds of authenticity be stripped from our public officials? Will candidates be pushed further into a scripted bubble? In short, will YouTube democratize politics, or destroy it?
The article takes the position that YouTude will force politics deeper into the sound-byte, pre-packaged realm. Ex-Bush strategist Matthew Dowd says "that politicians now have to be perfect from Day 1. It's taken some richness out of the political discourse.‚”

We all know what Republicans mean by the 'richness of political discourse.'

Dowd thinks that YouTube will prevent politicians from crafting a message over time, refining speeches and trying out new frames, all out of fear that the oldversionss will circulate on the internet.

What Dowd misses is that it's not bad speeches and outdated frames that end up being popular on YouTube. It's the spectacular gaffes that YouTube craves. People aren't going to call their coworkers over to their cubicle to show them the video of Senator Smith using last week's talking points. People don't want to watch wonkishness, they want to watch a Senator belittle a college kid using racial epithets.

Politicians only need to worry about letting their personalities slip into speeches if that personality is going to offend the voting population! If you're a racist bastard, then you need to worry about letting something slip out. Politicians don't need to worry about censoring themselves if they aren't going to accidentally use the N-word.

YouTube has left handlers with less control over their candidate's image. For that reason, it's probably good for politics. Plus it allows essentially free forums for campaign adds to be distributed. What's not to like?

Image: Christopher Serra - New York Times

Maryland Politics

I guess since I live here, I should probably start figuring out the politics here.

Rasmussen reports that the Democratic Candidate for Governor, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, leads incumbent Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich 50% to 43%.

The race for Governor has been tough for the incumbent from the start. Last summer, Ehrlich narrowly led O'Malley and was trailing Doug Duncan, a Democrat who left the race a few months ago.

Governor Ehrlich is a Republican chief executive in a famously Democratic-leaning state. Given the trouble the GOP has been having this year, his troubles are not surprising. Still, a seven-point deficit with more than two months to go is not insurmountable.

In a recent campaign ad, Ehrlich touts the state's support for schools, including Baltimore schools, while also criticizing Mayor O'Malley's stewardship of the Baltimore public school system. O'Malley's campaign counters that, under Governor Ehrlich, college has become too expensive.

Ehrlich enjoys 11% more support from GOP voters than O'Malley does from Democrats. But O'Malley does better with unaffiliated voters. The same differences show up in their favorable numbers, with Ehrlich viewed favorably by 89% of Republicans, O'Malley by 70% of Democrats.

O'Malley has a fifteen-point edge among those who regard the economy as the most important issue affecting their vote.
I haven't quite figured everything out here in Maryland, but I get the idea that the politics here is largely Baltimore vs. DC suburbs based. The two together are large enough to pretty much completely ignore what's going on in the western part of the state.

In a separate report, Rasmussen has Republican Senate Candidate Lt. Governor Michael Steele trailing both Democratic contenders.
Congressman Ben Cardin (D) leads Steele 47% to 42%. Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (D) leads the Republican 46% to 44% (see crosstabs). This sets the stage for a closely fought general election no matter which Democrat wins the September 12 primary.


Cardin was seen early on as the clear frontrunner in the race. More recently, Mfume is thought to be much more competitive in the Democratic primary. In our general election poll, among Democrats, Mfume now collects a few percentage points more support than Cardin does. Mfume is also favorably viewed by more Democrats. Cardin, though, is still thought to be the better organized and better funded candidate.
I've actually done shockingly little research on any of these candidates. I do know that race has been a theme in the election. The Washington Post covers that angle:
The most spirited moment of the first one-on-one debate since April between Maryland's two leading Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate yesterday wasn't over foreign or domestic policies. It was about the role of race in a potentially historic election that could pit two black candidates against each other.

The candidates did not attack each other, were cordial and appeared relaxed. The starkest difference came in the way they framed their candidacies less than one month before Democrats select their nominee from a crowded field of 18 hopefuls: Cardin presented himself as a lawmaker proud of his record, and Mfume painted himself as an outside agent of change.
For such a Blue State, there should be two major races this fall where either a Democrat or Republican could win. It should be fun...

Joe's Backers

Not to dwell too much on Joe Lieberman, but let's take a look at some of the endorsement's he's picked up in the past few days:

The New York Times tells us that Newt Gingrich has chosen 'Strong Democrat' Joe Lieberman over the Republican Alan Schlesinger.

Robert Novak points out that President Bush's lack of an endorsement of Alan Schlesinger is the first time since 1970 that a President has failed to endorse his own party's nomination for Senate. The other time? Richard Nixon refused to endorse an anti-war Republican nominee in New York. He endorsed (and Spiro Agnew campaigned for) James Buckley who ran on the Conservative Party ticket.

Iraq is looking more and more like Vietnam everyday...

Republican Senate Candidate from Washington State, Mike McGavick, has thrown his considerable support behind the 'true Democrat' Joe Lieberman.

The Washington Wire reports that John McCain endorsed 'loyal democrat' Joe Lieberman on Meet the Press.

Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy has endorsed 'faithful democrat' Joe Lieberman.

Ann Coulter is on the 'Democrat's Democrat' Joe Lieberman train.

So is RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Even the Republican Senate Committee has backed 'died in the wool Dem' Joe Lieberman.

If you have any more links to GOoPers supporting, endorsing, or otherwise encouraging 'Enabler Joe' leave them in the comments.


How Disappointing....

According to US News & World Reports, White House Strategists are disappointed about the terror plot foiled by the British. It seems they didn't get the political 'bump' they were hoping for.

That's right, a Republican Strategist in the White House went on record saying that he or she was really hoping to get more political benefit out of an attempt to kill large numbers of innocent civilians.

It seems that BushCo. and his Republican lackeys can't get their prize dog to run anymore. That must be scary.

It probably also explains why the Vice President is busy telling people that if they vote for Democrats, they're going to die in a fiery terrorist attack.

Might have something to do with Orrin Hatch twittering about terrorists waiting for Democrats to win, then mounting a new offensive.

But I really doubt it has anything to do with Tramm Hudson waxing on the inability African Americans to swim.

GOP racism aside, I'm surprised that the Bush Administration hasn't been playing with the color coded terror alert system. Maybe they think it's still a little early to bring out that trick. The only issue that the GOP has to run on is Iraq/Terrorism. The Economy sucks. They've outlawed gay marriage in all the states that will outlaw gay marriage...


I forgot about immigration. They can still run on not letting brown people into the country. While saying it's important to spy on other brown people once they're in this country, especially when they're calling brown people in their home countries. Oh, and the importance of continuing to bomb brown people in Iraq.

I guess all the main planks of the Republican Platform fit together better than I thought...


Activist Judge! Activist Judge!

How DARE she actually uphold the Constitution!

CNN reports that (SHOCK!) wiretapping without a warrant is unconstitutional:

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.
Well, that took a lot longer than it should have. It doesn't take a constitutional scholar to realize that listening in on someone's phone calls without a warrant is unconstitutional. Doesn't anybody in the White House watch Law & Order?

Now we get to wait for the hysteric reactions from the likes of Malkin, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly. Shrill damnations and denouncements of the Judiciary Branch will surely be falling like rain from their proto-fascists mouths. It should be entertaining.

Why are We There?

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction
2. Regime Change
3. Violating UN Resolutions
4. Iraq's Links to Al Qaeda.
4. Iraq was an imminent threat.
5. Freedom and Democracy
6. He tried to kill my Daddy!

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for pointing out this article in the New York Times:

Bush administration officials now admit that Iraqi governmentÂ’s original plan to rein in the violence in Baghdad, announced in June, has failed. The Pentagon has decided to rush more American troops into the capital, and the new military operation to restore security there is expected to begin in earnest next month.

Yet some outside experts who have recently visited the White House said Bush administration officials were beginning to plan for the possibility that IraqÂ’s democratically elected government might not survive.

“Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

“Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect,” the expert said, “but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.”
I wonder how the troops on the ground feel about that?

These were the last four paragraphs in an article about the growing number of road side bombs (and the death and injuries they cause) used against our troops in Iraq. If the Republicans keep telling us that we must 'stay the course' in Iraq, the least they could do is be straight up with us about where the course is leading.

Photo: PBS

What Would President McCain Do?

Despite being the presumed GOP front-runner for the 2008 nomination since time immemorial, nobody's really bothered to find out what John McCain would do as President. On Tuesday, a voter in Iowa did. Via the Globe Gazette:

Though McCain has not formally announced his candidacy for the presidential nomination, he was asked to define his priorities if elected.

He ticked off four without hesitation.

  • "“I start by vetoing spending bills. There is just too much pork-barrel spending and we must become fiscally responsible."
  • "I would work more closely with our military allies. We need their support in the struggle that is ahead."
  • "“I would speak every two weeks to the American people. You need to know what is happening -— about the war and the many serious issues we face."
  • "“I would make sure we donÂ’t torture prisoners. I would close Guantanamo Bay."”
Well, those four positions are about as non-controversial as you can get.

(Except that in a way, they aren't. For the population at large, these are pretty safe. For the Republican privary voter they're out of the mainstream. Especially that last one. But that's another story...)

Not surprisingly, McCain's positions make him the 'anti-Bush' in approach, but not in policy. Work with allies, talk to the people and hide the torture are all nods to procedure, not sweeping change to Republican policy.
Asked if he agrees with farm subsidies, McCain said, "I don't like subsidies. I am a free-trader, and I believe subsidies do damage, especially to undeveloped countries. And while I support ethanol for its greenhouse effects, I do not support ethanol subsidies."”
That could really hurt you in Iowa, Senator. And that talk about 'greenhouse effects' won't get you very far with the global warming deniers.

All that said, John McCain still enjoys the status as a 'moderate' in the eyes of most Americans. That, of course, isn't accurate, but it doesn't change what people think. Many Democrats still look back at 2000 and say things like "I would have voted for McCain if he'd been the Republican nomination." That's bad.

Luckily, the guy's been in the Senate for years. There should be plenty of fun quotes, flip-flops, faux paus, and votes McCain would like to take back. We must begin to educate the public. McCain is NOT the moderate that his image-makers want you to think he is.

Abstinence Only? Not Anymore...

Salon reports on a school district in Ohio that abandoned Abstinence Only education because of some problems it created.

It became nearly impossible for the Canton, Ohio, school board to ignore the unintended byproducts of its abstinence-only program when 13 percent of Timken High School's female student population became pregnant last year. Thanks to Feministing for pointing us in the direction of this ridiculous-but-true story about a school board that has, to its credit, finally seen the light of sex education.

Of course it took 65 of the 490 female students becoming pregnant within a year to adequately deliver that message, but as Jessica of Feministing queried, "I guess better late than never?"
Yeah, except for those 65 mothers. Perhaps some of them wanted to become pregnant. But I'm guessing not. And I wonder how many abortions the 'pro-life' Abstinence Only program ended up causing? Maybe I'm out of my mind, but if you believe abortion is murder, doesn't it make sense to teach young people how to put on a condom?

But for the crazies, it doesn't. For fundies, the child is the punishment for the mother's lack of morals. The baby is to be a living, breathing reminder of the shame that she's supposed to feel. How sickeningly Christian of them.

Of course people only go along with the fundies because they don't want to look like 'libruls or anti-Christians to the other people in the community. But faced with a situation where one in eight females at the local high school is pregnant, common sense prevails.

Parents are now demanding that health textbooks (some older than the students reading them) be replaced. Here's a scary statistic:
According to the Canton Health Department, statistics through July 2005 showed that 104 of the 586 babies born to Canton residents in Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center had mothers between the ages of 11 and 19.
That's 18% - statistically speaking, one for every other Bush supporter.

I'm out of High School. I'm out of college. I have a stable job, a wife, and a pretty good place to live and I'm not ready to have a child. Will these young women have a chance now to better themselves? Will they be able to act on their dreams? Will they go to college? Will they go to a trade school? Will they learn professions that allow them to be successful individuals?

Abstinence Only education actively subjugates women. Of course that's exactly what the Christianists want.

Lieberman Leads Lamont

The Quinnipiac Poll released today shows Lamont trailing Lieberman in a three way race:

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, running as an independent, gets 53 percent of likely voters, with 41 percent for Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont and 4 percent for Republican Alan Schlesinger, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Among registered voters, Sen. Lieberman gets 49 percent, followed by Lamont with 38 percent and Schlesinger with 4 percent. This compares to a 51 - 27 percent Lieberman lead over Lamont, with 9 percent for Schlesinger in a July 20 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

In this latest survey, Lieberman leads 75 - 13 - 10 percent among likely Republican voters, and 58 - 36 - 3 percent among likely independent voters, while likely Democratic voters back Lamont 63 - 35 percent. Two percent are undecided, but 28 percent of those who name a candidate might change their mind before Election Day.
Staunch Liberal? Getting 75% of the Republican Vote, not including Karl Rove and George Bush.

It's a long way to November. Give Lamont some time. Without a viable Republican candidate, this could go down to the wire.

Bush, Swann, and GOP Multiculturalism

Via the Washington Post:

LANCASTER, Pa., Aug. 16 -- Gerry Robinson slowly made his way between the small, round tables set up in an exhibition hall here, as he and a couple hundred supporters of NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann awaited the arrival of President Bush.

Bush spent the afternoon in southeastern Pennsylvania, where he also visited a Harley-Davidson plant, in an effort to shine a light on his handling of the economy and boost Swann's candidacy for governor. Both have been struggling lately.

Polls have found that high gasoline prices and flat wages have left most Americans anxious about the economy. Meanwhile, Swann, a Republican, is facing a 20-point deficit and a huge fundraising gap in his race against incumbent Edward G. Rendell (D).

Sporting Bono-style shades, Bush hopped on a Harley and held an economic roundtable with workers at the company's plant in nearby York. Later, he took a helicopter here to headline a fundraiser that drew 350 people and raised $700,000 for Swann.
Wow. Two fashion disasters in as many days. The Bush administration needs to step it up! If you're going to be a terrible President it's absolutely imperative that you don't LOOK like a terrible President. Here in America, you can count on a large portion of the population not to read about what's going on in the world - but everybody still looks at the pictures.

Fashion aside, the story talks about the difficulties that the GOP is having in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All three states have seen the Republicans nominate African Americans for high office: Swann and Blackwell for Governors of Pennsylvania and Ohio, Michael Steele for Senate in Maryland.

Part of this is the difficulty of being a Republican in a time when Steele himself has admitted that membership in the GOP is akin to a scarlet letter. Part of this is local. Rendell is a popular incumbent governor of Pennsylvania. The Ohio Republican Party is looking pretty corrupt. Being elected as a Republican in Maryland is hard to begin with.

But one has to wonder? Is there anything else to this? I'm not about to propose that the Democratic party is devoid of racists. I'm sure that there are many Democrats that wouldn't vote for a person because of their skin color, nation of origin, sexual orientation, or religion. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there are more people like that in the Republican Party. The sad truth is that bigotry is still a large force in America.

I would give credit to the Republicans for being so forward thinking if I didn't already know that the whole thing is a cynical attempt to peel off a Democratic voting block that the GOP feels is most likely to embrace the 'God and Gays' agenda that they're running on.

Bush may have more people who aren't WASPs in his cabinet than any nation in history, but that's just posturing. How do I know?


Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

New Zogby Poll: Bush Approval at 34%

According to Zogby, Bush didn't get a post-terrorist-plot bounce.

President Bush’s job approval rating dipped two points in the last three weeks, despite the foiling of an airline terror plot and the adoption of a cease–fire deal between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

The survey was conducted Aug. 11–15, 2006, included 1,018 respondents, and carries a margin of error of +/– 3.1 percentage points.

The numbers continue to reflect erosion in the President’s political base – just 62% of Republicans give him positive marks for his job performance, while 38% give him negative marks. Even among weekly WalMart shoppers – a demographic group identified by Pollster John Zogby as a critical support group for Bush – just 45% now give him positive job marks, though his numbers among those shoppers have improved 10 points since early June.
The Wal-Mart demographic: Who would have guessed?
Asked if the war in Iraq has been worth the loss of American lives, 38% said “yes,” while 56% said “no,” a ratio that has held steady over the past year or so.
I don't think that there's any possibility that opions about Iraq being 'worth it' are going to improve before the 2006 elections. Bad news for the GOP.