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Step off, old man!
Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Sure, he's non-partisan
After a few weeks of licking my wounds, I'm ready to start writing again.

I hadn't visited www.mediamatters.org in a while and when I did I saw this article. Come on everyone, repeat after me: the myth of the liberal media is a joke. See that wasn't so bad.

Here it is:

"In a November 30 article titled "Nearly a Month Later, Ohio Fight Goes On," detailing the controversy in Ohio over the results of the November 2 election, the Associated Press correctly identified J. Kenneth Blackwell -- who, as Ohio's secretary of state, oversees the election process -- as "a co-chairman of Bush's re-election campaign in Ohio." But two large news organizations, FOXNews.com and the Chicago Sun-Times, omitted that reference from their versions of the story.

From the November 30 AP story:

Blackwell, a Republican, has until Dec. 6 to certify the vote. The Green and Libertarian parties are raising money to pay for a recount that would be held once the results are certified.

[Reverend Jesse] Jackson said Blackwell, who along with other statewide GOP leaders was a co-chairman of Bush's re-election campaign in Ohio, should step down from overseeing the election process.

"You can't be chairman of the Bush campaign and then be the chief umpire in the seventh game of the World Series," Jackson said.


Posted by brettdavey at 12:15 PM EST
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Science bad
There are no two ways around it: there are certain fundamental Christians who think homosexuals and science are both evil.

I don't even know how to respond to these people. I'm a Christian, but I cannot take the Bible literally. I'm sorry. I might be going to hell for that but at least I'll have a large contingent of scientists and gay people with me.

This comes from: www.swiftreport.blogs.com

"Until recently, visitors to the Lincoln Memorial were treated to a unique video presentation in the Legacy Room, a historical summary of the nations greatest civil rights moments: Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, and marches for women's rights, homosexual rights, and reproductive freedom. But a powerful conservative group, the Traditional Values Coalition, headed by the Rev. Lou Sheldon, is urging the National Park Service to press the "stop" button on the video.

Instead, TVC wants the Park Service to "show a more balanced presentation", one that highlights less celebrated moments of our nation's history. Renegade Christian filmmaker Jed Rausch has been brought in to consult on the project. He says that he's hoping to construct a filmic testament to the powerful role that ordinary people have played in shaping this country, not just the elites.

"There are so many moments that are just begging to brought into the light," said Rausch, by phone from his home in California. "There are the valiant men and women who led the great crusade for temperance. There are the brave missionaries who brought Christianity to the pagan slave population. What about the untold stories of heroic mothers like Betsy Ross and Mamie Eisenhower? These are the narratives and images that we think should be shared with visitors to the Lincoln Memorial," said the filmmaker. Rausch's credits include, among others, the 2000 sleeper hit "Something About Mary: The Immaculate Conception."

The National Park Service has agreed to modify the current video, but hasn't said yet whether it will consent to air Rausch's version of the nation's history. But Sheldon and his group have good reason to be hopeful. The Park Service recently moved to allow a creationist account of the origins of the Grand Canyon, dating it back to the Great Flood, after a Christian employee joined forces with traditionalist groups to demand that the park stop privileging science over other accounts of history.


Posted by brettdavey at 12:12 PM EST
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Friday, 26 November 2004
Getting my head around a second Bush term
I haven't posted in some time because it's a very busy time for me at work and also because I'm trying to get my head around what a second Bush term means. Like millions of others, I had a lot of emotional investment in Bush's defeat, which is not the same as having a lot of emotional investment in Kerry's victory. (I was fully invested in Wes Clark's presidential bid, but in the end, he played himself by waiting so long to enter the fray. Simply put, he was unprepared politically to be on that stage at that time.)

There are rumblings that Kerry is already considering a second run, which is a patently bad idea. I want a Democrat who is willing to play as dirty as the opposition. If the other side isn't observing Marquis of Queensberry rules, you're a fool if you continue acting like you're in a fair fight.

This is not the same thing as judging a man's competence. As the campaign went on, I grew to respect Kerry and actually believe that he would make a good president. Most importantly, I was excited about the prospect of a new Cabinet. Bloggers level scathing indictments of Rumsfield, Powell, Cheney, and the rest every day, but to me the single most important adjective to describe them is inept. They're simply incompetent.

Now, witness the purge taking place at the CIA. In essence, the Bush loyalists who came up with the faulty WMD evidence the Administration wanted are being elevated. Those who came up with evidence that turned out to be correct are being ferreted out. So, in the end, incompetence is being rewarded.

Feel safer?

I can only shrug at the expected Cabinet resignations. Powell turned out to be a lapdog. In many ways, the Paiges, Abrahams, and Evans of the world were just front men who voiced the desires of the corporations that clearly own the soul of this administration. And yes, it's good that Ashcroft is gone but Gonzalez, the chief architect of the American torture doctrine, is replacing him. Is that good? Think about all those people who were recently released from Guantanamo with no charges ever being filed against them. If you were unjustly held in near-solitary confinement for two years, what would you do when you were released? I'd be looking for revenge.

We've created a whole new group of enemies there and in Iraq as well. Call them Revenge Terrorists. And there's not much difference from what they will be and what the US has turned into. Our retribution has been indiscriminate, with little regard for the tens of thousands of innocents we have killed. Expect the same from those looking for revenge.

Today, I heard that two soliders were killed on Thanksgiving in Iraq. It made me flinch. Does anyone care? Is America so sedated from a concoction of reality television, fast food, and porno that it doesn't matter?

There's a numbing redundancy to these stories about 50 or 60 year old reservists who thought they'd never serve another day in the military being called back to action. There's a blatant disregard for the lives of our soldiers that is the M.O. of this administration. And still, the perception is that Republicans care more about the military. It's a myth like the grilled cheese sandwich that resembles the Virgin Mary and sold for $28,000. Still, people want to believe in it.

Did the ignorant fools in this Administration really think the insurgents were going to hang around in Fallujah while we announced weeks beforehand that we were getting ready for a major attack?

It makes me think of the scene in "Stripes" with John Larroquette as an ambitious, empty headed officer. He's sitting in his office, playing war with a bunch of toy soldiers and tanks, adding in his own sound effects of guns firing and soldiers screaming.

That's what W is doing. Sadly, the screams of soldiers and innocent civilians are real. And tragically, more than half of America doesn't care.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:41 AM EST
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Wednesday, 17 November 2004
P.S. Your party hates you
Normally, I'm not at all interested in someone's sexual orientation. I admit to some fascination, however, with closeted homosexuals in positions of power in the Republican Party. It's compelling in the same way an African-American belonging to the KKK is.

Message to gay Republicans: your party thinks you're a deviant freak who can be "cured."

This is from www.bluelemur.com.

The National Field Director and deputy political director for the Republican National Committee Daniel Gurley solicited unprotected sex and multiple sex partners in an online profile at Gay.com, in seeming contradiction with the Party's call for abstinence and positions on gay issues.

His adult chat profile soliciting men for unprotected sex and said he has sex three to five times weekly was discovered yesterday by activist Michael Rogers of blogACTIVE.com.

Gurley admitted to RAW STORY Tuesday he had a profile in his America Online screenname.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:40 AM EST
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Children as guinea pigs
George W. Bush is the worst American president in a number of areas, including the environment. Essentially, he thinks the Dow Chemicals of the world should be in charge of our environmental policy.

This is from a website called www.organicconsumers.org.

"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Bush appointees, is seeking input on a new proposed study in which infants in participating low income families will be monitored for health impacts as they undergo exposure to known toxic chemicals over the course of two years. The study entitled Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS) will look at how chemicals can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed by children ranging from babies to 3 years old.

For taking part in these studies, each family will receive $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation.

In October, the EPA received $2.1 million to do the study from the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry front group that includes members such as Dow, Exxon, and Monsanto. Critics of the research, including some EPA scientists, claim the study's funders guarantee the results will be biased in favor of the chemical industry, at the expense of the health of the impoverished children serving as test subjects.

For 30 years the ACC has known the high level of toxicity of the specific chemicals being "studied" in this project. These are some of the most dangerous known chemicals in household products. The ACC knows full well the intensely negative impacts that these chemicals have on humans, as does the EPA. This is fully documented in study after study and memo after memo and meeting after meeting over three decades.

The trick here is that these products are known to have negative long term health effects. This is a short two year study. The results are already known...there will be little to no obvious negative effects on these children at the end of the two year period. The seemingly positive results of the study will allow the ACC to advertise positive "EPA study results" to the public, which will allow the ACC to more effectively lobby congress to weaken regulations on these products even more (thereby increasing profits dramatically). This technique has been exercised by the ACC for decades.

The real negative effects of these types of chemicals come further down the road, when these children could exhibit learning disorders, a propensity for various types of cancer, early puberty, and birth defects in their children.

Participants for the study were chosen from 6 health clinics and three hospitals in Jacksonville, FL. These medical facilities report that 51% of their births are to non-white mothers and 62% of mothers have only received an elementary or secondary education.


Posted by brettdavey at 9:35 AM EST
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Bush the Infallible
The word is out amongst the intelligence agencies, "Don't dare come up with intelligence that is contrary to what the President thinks."

And your new Secretary of State is Condi Rice, who didn't think the memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike inside US" was a warning.

Great. It's been said on numerous occasions that Bush values loyalty above everything else. When you're the closest thing we've ever had to a tinhorn dictator, what that means is: no dissent will be tolerated.

In the final analysis, the Administration is saying to the American public: the President's political security is more important than national security.

From today's NY Times:

Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work,'' a copy of an internal memorandum shows.

"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."

Posted by brettdavey at 9:31 AM EST
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Monday, 15 November 2004
Subsidizing the red states
Conservatives love to bitch about how liberals love spending the taxpayers money. They love to talk about self-sufficiency. What they don't say is that those of us in the blue states are subsidizing your sorry slavery-missing, gay hating red state asses.

Here's an interesting graphic that shows how much states receive back from the federal government, compared to the revenues they send to Washington. In the first (what states get back per dollar sent to Washington), the highlighted states are ones that voted for Bush. In the second, the highlighted states are ones that voted for Kerry.

Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)


States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)


You can look at it yourself by copying and pasting:
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html

Posted by brettdavey at 1:17 PM EST
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Innocent civilians
When the U.S. was revving up to attack Iraq, I happened to be at the home of a conservative friend of mine. He was reading something on the Drudge Report about the "MOAB"s (Mother of All Bombs) that the US was going to use. To be honest, he was pretty gleeful about them. I think the bombs were 500 lbs.

I was taken aback by his attitude, knowing that thousands of innocent civilians were going to be killed or maimed by such a weapon. Did he think the bad guys were all going to stand in a central square together awaiting the MOAB?

Cut and paste this link to see some of the damage from Iraq. Warning: it's sickening. I have a son who's a year and half years old. If someone attacked the US under the guise of liberation and he was maimed like some of these poor kids, I'd be the first one to strap on a bomb. Don't those who thought attacking Iraq was a great idea realize this? Iraqis love their families too. Kill their innocent loved ones and they'll want revenge. If the numbers are correct and 100,000 innocent civilians have been killed, think how many terrorists we've created.

Here's the link. Again, it is very graphic: http://fallujapictures.blogspot.com/

Posted by brettdavey at 11:40 AM EST
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Sunday, 14 November 2004
Thanks for making us safer
This is precisely why George Bush is a terrible Commander-In-Chief. And why are we in Iraq and how does it make America safer again? Word is that 100,000 innocent civilians have been killed. Why doesn't the values crowd care about them?

On "60 Minutes" tonight, the former head of the CIA unit charged with tracking Osama bin Laden says the terrorist now has religious approval to use a nuclear device against Americans. From the CBS website:

"The former agent, Michael Scheuer, speaks to Steve Kroft in his first television interview without disguise to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Even if bin Laden had a nuclear weapon, he probably wouldn't have used it for a lack of proper religious authority - authority he has now.

"[Bin Laden] secured from a Saudi sheik...a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans," says Scheuer. "[The treatise] found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans."

Once again, Bush's best friends, the Saudis, come through for us. Remember when the Administration scared everyone by claiming they didn't want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud? They were talking about Iraq, a country that had no weapons capable of causing such destruction. They should have been talking about Al Qaeda.

They took their eyes off the ball. Big time. It's that simple.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:31 AM EST
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Religious intolerance
Some nitwits -- like Joe Scarborough -- are trying to make hay with the accusation that those who denounce the influence of the Christian right are guilty of religious persecution. That's not what it is, Joe. It's the fact that these people seem so ... un-Christian.

Think back to the days after 9-11. Remember Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (the Jason and Freddie of the Christian right) blaming the pagans, homosexuals, and ACLU for that national tragedy? You can look it up. Later , they backpedaled from that crazy-ass accusation but that's how they felt.

The thing that's wrong with those who know it all and are more moral than you -- yes, you -- is that they are usually proved to be just as weak as everyone else. Let's put Rush, Bill Bennett, O'Reilly, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, and the whole bunch on a desert island and host a special "Holier than thou" version of "Survivor."

If that's not possible, let's just put them on a desert island.

Maureen Dowd in the NY Times got it right this morning. Here's her column:

You'd think the one good thing about merging church and state would be that politics would be suffused with glistening Christian sentiments like "love thy neighbor," "turn the other cheek," "good will toward men," "blessed be the peacemakers" and "judge not lest you be judged."
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Yet somehow I'm not getting a peace, charity, tolerance and forgiveness vibe from the conservatives and evangelicals who claim to have put their prodigal son back in office.

I'm getting more the feel of a vengeful mob - revved up by rectitude - running around with torches and hatchets after heathens and pagans and infidels.

One fiery Southern senator actually accused a nice Catholic columnist of having horns coming up out of her head!

Bob Jones III, president of the fundamentalist college of the same name, has written a letter to the president telling him that "Christ has allowed you to be his servant" so he could "leave an imprint for righteousness," by appointing conservative judges and approving legislation "defined by biblical norm."

"In your re-election, God has graciously granted America - though she doesn't deserve it - a reprieve from the agenda of paganism," Mr. Jones wrote. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." Way harsh.

The Christian avengers and inquisitors, hearts hard as marble, are chasing poor 74-year-old Arlen Specter through the Capitol's marble halls, determined to flagellate him and deny him his cherished goal of taking over the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Not only are they irate at his fairly innocuous comment after the election that anti-Roe v. Wade judges would have a hard time getting through the Senate. They are also full of bloodthirsty feelings of revenge against the senator for championing stem cell research and for voting against Robert Bork - who denounces Mr. Specter as "a bit shifty" - 17 years ago.

"He is a problem, and he must be derailed," Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, told George Stephanopoulos.

Sounding more like the head of a mob family than a ministry, Dr. Dobson told Mr. Stephanopoulos about a warning he issued a White House staffer after the election that the president and Republicans had better deliver on issues like abortion, gay marriage and conservative judges or "I believe they'll pay a price in the next election."

Certainly Mr. Specter has done his part for the conservative cause. He accused Anita Hill of "flat-out perjury" for a minor inconsistency in her testimony against Clarence Thomas, that good Christian jurist who once had a taste for porn films.

Some in the White House thought of giving Mr. Specter the post and then keeping him on a short leash. But the power puritans have no mercy. They say he's a mealy-mouthed impediment to the crusade of evangelicals and conservative Catholic bishops - who delivered their vote with ruthless efficacy - to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Mr. Stephanopoulos asked Dr. Dobson about his comment to The Daily Oklahoman that "Patrick Leahy is a 'God's people-hater.' I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people," noting that it was not a particularly Christian thing to say about the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (Especially after that vulgar un-Christian thing Dick Cheney spat at Mr. Leahy last summer.)

"George," Dr. Dobson haughtily snapped back, "do you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian is all about?" Why not? The TV host is the son of a Greek Orthodox priest.

Acting as though Mr. Bush's decisions should be taken on faith, John Ashcroft lashed into judges for not giving Mr. Bush unbridled power in his war against terror.

Speaking Friday before an adulatory Federalist Society, a group of conservative lawyers, Mr. Ashcroft echoed remarks he made to the Senate soon after 9/11 arguing that objecting to the president's antiterror proposals could give "ammunition to America's enemies."

He asserted that judges who interfere in or second guess the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war can jeopardize the "very security of our nation in a time of war."

And since the president has no end in sight to his war on terror, that makes him infallible ad infinitum?"

Posted by brettdavey at 8:10 AM EST
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