Thursday, March 31, 2005

A powerful antidote to lunacy

This editorial in today's Star Tribune is worth a read. Despite their hiring of Katherine Kersten as a metro reporter, the Star Trib still seems to get it. We all want to know, where are the progressives on these extreme religious issues that are a massive distraction ploy by the administration? Meet Dr. Cranford, of Hennepin County Med. Center. Cranford is standing up on the Terry Schiavo issue, and he needs our support. Check these quotes from an interview he gave on the topics on Scarborough Country on MSNBC (NOT an objective news organization):
[Cranford:] "'Wait a minute. You are not accurate on a lot of things here. You're saying a lot of -- she's not starving to death. Do you understand that? She is dehydrating to death.'

Daniels [MSNBC] asked: 'Well, why do you say that? Tell us how you came to that conclusion?

Cranford responded: 'Can I tell you why? Because I have done this 25 to 50 times. I don't know how many times Joe has done it, but I've done it 25 to 50 times in similar situations. ....'

And so it continued, with both Scarborough and Daniels. At one point Daniels asked if a CAT scan had been done.

Cranford responded: 'The CAT scan is out there. It shows severe atrophy of the brain. The autopsy is going to show severe atrophy of the brain. And you're asking me if a CAT scan was done? How could you possibly be so stupid?'"

Emphasis mine. Emphasis necessary.

The second most important statement above, of course, is this one:
"You are not accurate on a lot of things here."

the next whore.....

Karl Rove is on his way to Minnesota to be the keynote speaker & "celebrity" at a fundraiser specifically for Gov. Pawlenty's gubernatorial campaign. The article is in the Star Tribune today
"... It may show that he [Rove] is thinking past 2008 himself. He may not want to leave the political scene and he may be looking for the next horse.'"
I was absolutely sure there was a typo in this quote. I could be wrong....maybe it was a Freudian slip. Or maybe they just got the end of the horse wrong. Not sure....

Monday, March 28, 2005

China Give U.S. a "D"

This is too perfect. Excerpts are at the New York Times and the report, in english, is here, but this has to be one of the best:
"The United States claims to be 'a paragon of democracy,' but American democracy is manipulated by the rich and malpractices are common. Elections in the United States are in fact a contest of money. The presidential and Congressional elections last year cost nearly $4 billion.

Campaign advertisement and political debates were full of distorted facts, false information and lies. "
Al Franken couldn't have said it better himself.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

money and politics

"...Citizens to Save California to 'enlarge our effort' in assisting Schwarzenegger."

Viagra? Steroids? what is it the Gubernator needs enlarging, and how will it be done? As further indication that money does indeed purchase influence, politicians and, it seems, morality and values, the Gubernator can now raise unlimited funds through "initiative committees" to pursue massive PR blitzes in favor of his agenda. He seems clearly to admit that he's unwilling to engage in the democratic process and face the admittedly democratic legislature to argue his platform.

While the 527's gave progressive causes a boost in the last election, it's clearly just another method by which money and focused interest groups can control politics, usually to the detriment of the majority. This is simply the state version, in a state that already decided that it didn't trust its elected officials and governs by initiative and referendum.

Taken together, these spell a dark day for social justice and a fair society.

it's as simple as this....

I found this quote, written as a short (to date, unpublished) editorial letter by a very dear friend of mine, simple, concise and dead on point:

As a citizen and as a physician, I am quite concerned about the risk that the selection of our future Supreme Court justices has become politicized. Justices are now being chosen based on whether or not they conform to the extreme religious bias that has gripped our current administration, rather than for their ability to interpret the US Constitution.

The result of this tainted judicial selection process is interference of government in the private lives of citizens. I cite examples such as a woman's right to choose abortion, Terri Shchiavo's right to die, and a homosexual person's right to spousal standing with a same sex partner.

In many countries, religion and government are synonomous. The US Constitution is based on the division of church and state. Supreme Court justices should be chosen based on their ability to recognize the difference.


Don't you just love the hypocrisy of the Right's totally self-serving and fickle position on "individual rights"? Don't even get me started on federalism...that'll have to wait.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

$11.1 TRILLION?

I heard some amazing stuff today on NPR (which, despite it's flaws is still one of the only decent news sources we have left). A story by John Ydstie (that is not how I would have guessed his name is spelled) about the social security report that came out today. He mentions how social security is now projected to have a $4 trillion deficit over the next 75 years. Now it seems to me that economists have a hard enough time projecting things out 6 months much less 75 years, but there it is. He then quotes Treasury Secretary Snow emphasizing a different more 'controversial' number:

The unfunded obligation looking out over the long time horizon on a permanent basis is $11.1 trillion.

Hmmmmm. . .what exactly is the 'long time horizon' and what does 'permanent basis' mean? It turns out, as Ydstie goes on to explain, that the projection which generates that number is the 'infinite future!' And you thought 75 years was a long time! That's nothing, apparently the government can make projections into infinity! But wait, it gets even better. Among the assumptions used to make that projection are that life expectancy increases to 150 years, but the retirement age stays at 67. Whoa! Talk about being born too early! Who knew that we were headed for a utopian world where we all live to be 150 and retirement lasts 83 years! So for our society to endure infinitely with more than half our lives spent in retirement we would only have to pony up $11.1 trillion more? Seems like a hell of a deal, sign me up!

But that wasn't even the most amazing part of the story as we all know that whatever dribbles out of the mouths of the Bushies is going to be bullshit anyway. After pointing out that Medicare is in much worse shape than Social Security, Ydstie says:

So far the Bush administration has not put forward a plan to restore solvency to either the Social Security or Medicare trust funds. The President's proposal for private Social Security accounts would do nothing to improve the solvency of the retirement system.

I had to slap myself to see if I was awake. Did I just hear a reporter say, straight up, that Bush has no plan and private accounts won't fix Social Security?

Like I said, amazing stuff.

EVEN SOME REPUBLICANS. . .

. . .can see the dangers of what their party is doing:

This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy

--Rep Christopher Shays (R) CT

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

JUAN COLE -- READ HIM

Juan Cole, Professor if Middle East History at the University of Michigan, and writer of the excellent Middle East blog Informed Comment, clealry illustrates our slide into theocracy:

The cynical use by the US Republican Party of the Terri Schiavo case repeats, whether deliberately or accidentally, the tactics of Muslim fundamentalists and theocrats in places like Egypt and Pakistan. These tactics involve a disturbing tendency to make private, intimate decisions matters of public interest and then to bring the courts and the legislature to bear on them. President George W. Bush and Republican congressional leaders like Tom Delay have taken us one step closer to theocracy on the Muslim Brotherhood model.

The whole thing is worth a read, and it is not that long, but I will leave you with his conclusion.

Republican Hisba will have the same effect in the United States that it does in the Middle East. It will reduce the rights of the individual in favor of the rights of religious and political elites to control individuals. Ayatollah Delay isn't different from his counterparts in Iran.

Whatever happened to the good old days when conservatives opposed government interference in people's personal lives?

Monday, March 21, 2005

MORE THEOCRACY: ON TERRY SCHAIVO

I won't start this post with "I wasn't going to blog about the Schaivo case" because every post I read about it starts that way. I will only say that what the Republicans in congress are doing defies imagination and I cannot find words to describe my disgust and anger in this case. Other, more talented, bloggers and writers do have some words though, so I will point you to them:

To read about the absolute hypocrisy of the GOP check out Digby.

Check out how Senate Republicans consider this a great political issue.

Read about Bill Frist's mendacity here.

Ed Kilgore has good thoughts here and here.

If a profanity-laden rant is what you are looking for, look no further.

On the positive side polls are showing broad disapproval of congress' intervention by the American Public.

[UPDATE] Dahlia Lithwick, who is, in my opinion, one of the best political wirters around (and THE BEST writer on legal issues), has a must read article on the case.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

We're worried about a theocracy in Iraq????

Hendrick Hertzberg quotes Antonin Scalia in the March 14th print issue of the New Yorker:
it [is] a "fact" that "government derives its authority from God."

This is in addition to Scalia's "angry denunciation of his brother and sister Justices for removing the United States from the short list of countries (the others include Iran and China) in which the execution of minors is legally sanctioned."

Scalia is Bush's judicial idol. Who are we kidding?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

JUST TO PROVE WE'RE NOT PARTISAN

Democrats can do things that need to be resisted as well. Here is MN DFL State Senator Sandy Pappas talking about her proposed legislation to make it illegal for kids to buy adult-rated video games (not illegal for stores to sell them, but for kids to buy them:
Who says children have First Amendment rights?

I guess she's right, after all we all know that children are to be seen and not heard, right? I mean who says children have any rights at all? They are property of their parents and, failing that, the state I guess (Hat tip: MN Politics Guru)


Unbelievable

UPDATE: Who says children have first ammendment rights? Apparently the United States Supreme Court, which held in Erznoznik v. Jacksonville in 1975 that:

Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them. In most circumstances, the values protected by the First Amendment are no less applicable when government seeks to control the flow of information to minors.

So, not to trample on your first ammendment rights Senator Pappas, but I think you need to shut up unless you know what you are talking about.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

CORRUPTION ABOUND

A picture is worth a thousand words:

For further info on the absolute corruption among the Republican leadership I give you the excellent daily Delay.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

how much is enough??

According to the MN DFL,

That’s right, the following Senators voted for their own $28,500 pay increase over the last five years, yet voted against increasing the minimun wage above $5.15 per hour.

Lamar Alexander (R) TennesseeWayne Allard (R) ColoradoGeorge Allen (R) VirginiaRobert Bennett (R) UtahChristopher Bond (R) MissouriSam Brownback (R) KansasJim Bunning(R) KentuckyConrad Burns(R) MontanaRichard Burr (R) N.C.Saxby Chambliss (R) GeorgiaTom Coburn (R) OklahomaThad Cochran (R) MississippiSusan Collins (R) MaineJohn Cornyn (R) TexasLarry Craig (R) IdahoMichael Crapo (R) IdahoJim DeMint (R) S.C.Elizabeth Dole (R) N.C.Michael Enzi (R) WyomingBill Frist (R) TennesseeLindsey Graham (R) S.C.Chuck Grassley (R) IowaJudd Gregg (R) N.H.Chuck Hagel (R) NebraskaOrin Hatch (R) UtahKay Bailey Hutchison (R) TexasJim Inhofe (R) OklahomaJohnny Isakson (R) GeorgiaJon Kyl (R) Ariz.Trent Lott (R) MississippiRichard Lugar (R) IndianaMel Martinez (R) FloridaJohn McCain (R) ArizonaMitch McConnell (R) KentuckyLisa Murkowski (R) AlaskaPat Roberts (R) KansasRick Santorum (R) PennsylvaniaJeff Sessions (R) AlabamaRichard Shelby (R) AlabamaGordon Smith (R) OregonOlympia Snowe (R) MaineTed Stevens (R) AlaskaJohn Sununu (R) N.H.James Talent (R) MissouriCraig Thomas (R) WyomingJohn Thune (R) S.D.David Vitter (R) LouisianaGeorge Voinovich (R) OhioJohn Warner (R) Virginia.

A person earning Minimum Wage earns $10,712.00 if they work a 40 hour week for 1 full year.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hope....

This article is about people we know doing things that really matter.

Resist our country's ignorance of and disinterest in the world.

resistance is NOT futile

Optimism

Optimism....in the face of U.S. nationalism.

resistance is NOT futile

Monday, March 07, 2005

Welcome

Resistance is NOT futile