This gem is from Minnesota Liberal's GLBT Lobby Day 2005 photos.
GOP Members of Ethics Committee on Delay payroll
Tom Delay will finally be investigated! Yay! Oh, wait a minute...half the people on the committee doing the investigating are on Delay's payroll.
Some Democrats and advocacy groups say the Republicans on the evenly divided committee should step aside, because they have all received money from Mr. DeLay's political organization or, in two cases, contributed to his defense fund.
What do you want to bet that after all they make a show of investigating Delay that they slap him on the knuckles and send him back to work? Note to the Mr. Hefley: You have more than a "perception" problem. You have a real, live conflict of interest. Wouldn't anybody with a smidgen of common sense recuse thmeselves?
Al Franken heads home
It remains to be seen how viable Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman would be. It is certainly an open question whether or not or Al would win DFL endorsement. Salon does a pretty good job of examining Franken's imminent move back to the Twin Cities to set up the run, though.
No end to Bush Power Grab
The president has a plan. Oh yes he does. He won't tell me about it - or you. But it's there, buried in a 2,000 page federal budget.
Alabama Rep. seeks to ban books by gay authors under the watchful eye of the Prez
An Alabama State Representative, Gerald Allen, has introduced legislation to ban books by gay authors from Public Schools. Mr. Allen, of course, has no concept of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press or really freedom itself as it relates to the foundation of good government. He's a true Nazi.
I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children.
This is very far afield indeed of what the American Experiment is all about. But let's be honest, there have been plenty of racist whack-jobs running around the US. And being homophopic is all the rage these days. It isn't surprising that some moral derelict will make political hay over it. I'm surprised that Michelle Bachman didn't think of it first, though. But even with all that, it's unlikely this monstrosity will get passed. But doesn't it give you just a little pause for thought that Mr. Allen is meeting with President Bush?
Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."
Fascism: If you build it they will come. Well, here they are.
Powerline receives yet another "honor"
John Hinderaker wins the award forBest Meltdown from City Pages' Best of the Twin Cities 2005. Congrats!
Hastert is scrapping the ethics rules Delay rammed through earlier this year. Hold your noses folks, the stench will get mighty strong as Republicans May Clear Way for DeLay Probe.
Secret Service Records Reveal Gannon Slept Over at the White House - Often
Secret Service records raise new questions about discredited conservative reporter
The Jihadis of Penzance
Powerline's antidote actually poison
Powerline's Scott Johnson deliberately avoids the issue of whether or not the GOP is inappropriately mixing religion and politics. He calls liberal concern over whether or not the US is veering towards a theocracy alarmist. He refers us to an article by By Michael Barone of Real Clear Politics as "an antidote to the sky-is-falling rhetoric of the left about the role of religion in our politics." Here's Barone from the article:
But whether the United States is on its way to becoming a theocracy is actually a silly question. No religion is going to impose laws on an unwilling Congress or the people of this country. And we have long lived comfortably with a few trappings of religion in the public space, such as "In God We Trust" or "God save this honorable court."
How nice of him to supply this antidote to my pain. Unfortunately, it only made it worse. Note to Mr. Barone and Mr. Johson: Saying an argument is "silly" isn't an effective counter argument. Second Note: Where in the name of Teri Schiavo were you for the last couple of months? Didn't you witness the same congress I did passing laws nobody wanted for expressly religious purposes? Third Note: Religions won't impose laws on Congress. A radically religious Congress will impose laws on us.
Now, is the real question whether or not religious belief is on the rise in America and the World? I guess it is if one is concerned more with the spread of a particular religion than you are with good government. But if you are concerned with staying within the bounds of the American Experiment, the real question, the one raised by the left, is whether or not our elected leaders are putting their religion ahead of the constitution. When the majority leader, Senator Bill Frist salutes the Christian Flag then he is out of bounds. How about addressing that?
And how about this gem:
Fifty years ago, secular liberals were confident that education, urbanization and science would lead people to renounce religion. That seems to have happened, if you confine your gaze to Europe, Canada and American university faculty clubs.
This is so nonsensical it barely computes. Secular liberals (at least most of them) don't want to lead people to renounce religion any more than secular conservatives. We want to protect it. The only way to protect religion is to keep it out of the government. That's why we have - repeat after me - Freedom of Religion. Oh, I forgot. That's what you don't like.
Bolton will decrease America's Stature and Power
Move America Forward is supporting the nomination of John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN with a couple of ad campaigns. The most recent targets Senator Voinavich for raising issues with the nominee. The first, at right shown at right, highlights what these folks believe they will achieve via a Bolton confirmation:
We are pleased to launch our national television ad campaign urging Americans to join our efforts to get the U.N. out of the U.S. and halt American funding of this corrupt and anti-American institution.
This assessment of the UN is consistent with Bolton's comments regarding the institution:
"There is no such thing as the United Nations ... There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interests and we can get others to go along. And I think it would be a real mistake to count on the U.N. as if it is some disembodied entity out there that can function on its own." -Global Structures Convocation, Feb. 3 1994
The White House's insistence that Bolton is the right choice is particularly cockeyed at the most critical juncture to date in the war in Iraq. We want to hand over sovereignity, eventually, don't we? We will need allies to do that. Why is it a good idea to walk into the UN, hitch up our britches and say, "look, this is the way it's gonna be, or else." This approach will not increase US power and stature in the world. We cannot force people to cooperate via monetary or military might, not really. We cannot increase our power by holding other countries in contempt. The power of attraction is much greater than the power of promotion and coercion. Bolton's approach will result in our allies giving us a death of a thousand cuts. At every turn they will resist us, subtely, diplomatically, bureaucratically. US influence will decrease. US stature will decrease. Cooperation will decrease. The burden on all Americans, in lives and money will increase.
Bolton, by some reckoning, is a "Get-it-done" kind of guy, or a "blunt but effective" kind of guy. I like "get-it-done" kind of guys. I like them in charge of my tax dollars. Republicans consistently lay the the blame for the stalled nomination process at the feet of Democrats. That's a lie, of course. If they could convince Republicans that Bolton isn't a disaster, his confirmation would click along nicely.
But an Ambassador shouldn't be habitually undiplomatic. Republicans that haven't completely lost touch with reality know this. It creates diplomatic crisis'. Real power occurs as the result of a willing contract between leaders and those they lead. Bolton can't possibly hope to negotiate that contract on behalf of the US.
Stick a fork in Bolton, please
So now colin Powell is quietly nixing Bush's spit-in-the-eye-of-the-UN nominee John Bolton.
Condi the fact fudger
In a move that is utterly consistent with the Bush administration's habit of simply eliminating the evidence of facts they don't like, Condi Rice has cancelled a 19-year-old terrorism report. The reason? It documents that more terrorist attacks occured in 2004 than in any year preceding it, including the previous record-holder, 2003.
I (heart) my LJ
One of the girls at the center of the Winona vagina controversy has a Live Journal. In her LJ, Carrie Rethlefsen describes how she got in trouble for wearing the "I (heart) my vagina" pin and her ongoing protest against the school.
Welcome to the fold
A friend of mine helped create what may be Minnesota's first political podcast, at least from the Democratic side of the aisle.
Wingnuts shift uncomfortably
Cute high school girls who are proud of their sexuality, and not afraid to show it? And the ACLU is involved? Watch out for howls of protest from the right. Meanwhile, notice how the wingnuts shift uncomfortably in their seats.
Two Winona High School students have found themselves in hot water with school officials.
Credit Card Congress
Jonathan Alter on the bankruptcy "reform" bill, which Bush signed yesterday:
[T]his bill, like so many others moving through Congress, comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. Worse, it provides for no distinction between those who get unlucky in Las Vegas and those who get cancer. The law was literally written by the credit-card industry, the same folks whose siren-song targeting of high-risk borrowers caused much of the bankruptcy problem in the first place. First Congress puts a half trillion in budget deficits a year on the plastic for our grandchildren to pay off. Then it sells out the average American to predatory lenders, who have the run of the place. History should remember the 109th as the Credit Card Congress.
I've heard all sorts of frightening rumors and speculation about this bill (for example, an alleged provision that debtors will be required to pay off credit card companies before they can pay new child care bills), but I really haven't had time to scour all 501 pages to confirm them. On the whole, it seem like a mistake, a new legal way to screw the poor in the name of "growth". But as the Christian Science Monitor points out, poor people ain't stupid:
"The thing that makes people file for bankruptcy is not the statute. It's lack of money, and that happens whether the bankruptcy code says X or Y," he says. "If you can't buy food, you don't worry about the niceties of the statute."
Even so, I see this bill as encouraging predatory lending and irresponsible credit extensions, since now it seems creditors have more ways to squeeze blood out of a stone.
Comments on the new pope
The best comment I have heard so far is that Pope Benedict XVI is John Paul II without the charisma. I do not think his doctrinaire positions are going to stem the losses of Catholics in the West to areligion or more progressive denominations. Meanwhile, "more of the same" is not going to keep Catholics in the Global South from converting to Pentecostalism. In other words, I think the Church is in trouble. But we'll see what policies he undertakes.
The attraction of the True Faith for wingnuts amuses those of us born into it, though I imagine it is a deadly serious matter for the world's Hewitts, who find the mission of the Church identical to that of American conservatism -- that is, not just a containment of but an end to homosexuality, adultery, and indeed every sin but covetousness, which modern Catholicism has enshrined as a positive virtue.
It's Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.
No new union at the University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota grad students have rejected a union, again. This may have largely been due to efforts of the anti-union kids at Truth About Unionization [sic], which is dominated entirely by relatively well-paid chemistry and chemical engineering grad students. It's a frustrating day, but props to the had-working folks at GradTRAC for all their thankless efforts to get an enormous group of U. workers organized.
Minneapolis Ward 10 DFL Convention Report
I spent a rainy Saturday as a delegate for the Minneapolis 10th Ward DFL Convention. The purpose of the convention was to endorse a candidate for the open Ward 10 City Council seat and to select committee members for the City Convention. The convention ended with no endorsement, but there were some interesting maneuvers and I got a glimpse inside the mayoral campaign.
Senator Frist Salutes the Christian Flag
The attack on our national identity from the Christian Right continues. Bill Frist the senate majority leader and one of the most prominent Republicans in the country is joining forces with a virulent dominionist attack on one of the pillars of american heritage and the foundation of good government - a free and independent judiciary.
As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group's Web site. "For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.
For those of you who have been snoozing, Bush has an 88% confirmation rate for his judicial ticket. Naturally, the GOP does not accept a democratic outcome (and by that I mean an outcome that is true to the spirit of Democracy). Nothing less than 100% confirmation is acceptable to them. And now they are revealing their true colors. This isn't about this or that social issue. This is about something far more basic. It's about the role of government in our lives.
Dump Bachmann on the radio
I'm not sure what this "radio" thing is (apparently, it is some sort of podcast that doesn't require an iPod), but Eva Young of the Dump Bachmann blog is going to be on the radio today -- with Michele Bachmann. The broadcast is 1:00 - 2:00 PM today (i.e., about 15 minutes from now) on KKMS 980 AM, so tune in if you can.
Serving the have-mores
Attention all you competition-squashing profit-hoarding titans in the Fortune 500 companies: if you truly want to receive some flash handouts, or maybe just quietly suckle at the teat of public funding, try Wisconsin.
Per Lorika's request below, here is a public list of Minnesota's delinquent taxpayers. [via Paul Demko]
Slime-mold tribute to three courageous men
Three new species of fungus-eating beetle named after Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. This is apparently a very serious tribute by conservative entomologists. Here is the citation in case anyone wants to look this stuff up at the library.
There have been a number of articles over the last couple of years that have begun to detail the rise of the Dominionists - people who believe that Christians have been called to take over the US Government. These people do not belive in Separation of Church and State, rather the believe the first amendment exists to clear the way for Christians to lead. They believe that Gay Sex and abortion should be a felony,that public schools should be abolished. They view themselves as a persecuted minority pitted against an aggressive, oppressive secular movement. They want to purify America and prepare it for the return of Jesus.
Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.
Then I get to something new. I am reading along and there it is: The really scary bit:
In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.
It is time for the center in this country to become passionate about holding on to everything the center stands for - The fundamental understanding of freedom that says - "I might not agree with you but I will fight to the death for your right to believe as you do." It will be a long fight and the center should give no quarter. None. Otherwise, one day a Government Preacher will stroll into your School/House/Business/Bedroom/Restaurant/Movie Theatre/Capitol/Library and demand that you pledge allegiance to the Christian flag. You will wonder how he got there.
Reminder: Drinking Liberally TONIGHT in Minneapolis
Don't forget Drinking Liberally tonight in Minneapolis, hosted by the Minnesota blogosphere's very own Robin from Power Liberal.
Britney Spears is pregnant. Let the new national obsession begin.
Oh please let it be Newt
Eye on '08, Newt hits Iowa, N.H.
As if we need more evidence of the utter hypocrisy of the GOP, all but one republican voted against this bill, while all Democrats voted for it. Read this story in the Army Times:
The amendment was blocked by a parliamentary motion from Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, who said the funding is not really an emergency need. The Senate voted in support of Cochran’s position, and then voted again when Murray tried to get the amendment approved even if the funding was not characterized as an emergency. The outcome was the same, with 54 senators voting to block funding and 46 voting to provide it.
Excuse me? The administration has not asked for these funds? Can these people not think for themselves? No, they cannot. Republicans clearly cares less about the health of our veterans than they do about preventing the Democrats from notching a victory.
Dark times for workers
Here's something I noticed simply from the fact that I'm unable to buy half as much food as I did a year ago: Wages are lagging behind prices for the first time in 14 years, while corporate profits explode.
The effective 0.2-percentage-point erosion in workers' living standards occurred while the economy expanded at a healthy 4%, better than the 3% historical average.
Hell, I'm confident that the situation will improve, what with President Bush's crack economic team on the case!
Dobson compares Judges to KKK
On his radio broadcast today, James Dobson compared the federal judiciary to the KKK:
DOBSON: I heard a minister the other day talking about the great injustice and evil of the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan, that roamed the country in the South, and they did great wrong to civil rights and to morality. And now we have black-robed men, and that's what you're talking about.
Now I ask you, is this really mainstream? Is this what Bush voters support? Because this is what we are getting. America has flourished, infact depends, on an independent judiciary. And here we have absolute cretins with no concept of freedom or diginty or balance advocating the destruction of one of the pillars of American government.
Bachman is ...Curious?
Michelle Bachman hides in bushes at last Thursday's rally in support of GLBT rights. Let's see, Flout Senate Rules, Lurk at Gay Rally...It's all in a day's work for our local gopgirlgonemad.
Bottom Line: They'd get off on a murder charge because they're bonkers
More evidence that the assumptions we once shared about the beauty of the American Way, our noble systems of checks and balances, are being strangled to death by the Christian Right was revealed on Saturday. Phyllis Schlafly and crew called for the Impeachment of Justice Kennedy during a conference called Confronting The Judicial War On Faith. Kennedy evidently practices law on for the dark side, as in he "...upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law." Oh Sweet Jesus, not foreign law.
Crooks and Liars has some priceless footage of Jeff Gannon's appearance at the National Press Club. For all you Gannon apologists out there, tune in for a visual definition of "lying clown."
Scientific American: Scientists doing the evidence dance
I don't know if anybody caught Scientific American's April editorial, but it's as good of an endictment of the Intelligent Design, Bush, Fair and Balanced Journalism as any.
There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.
In praise of celebrity economists
If "celebrity economists" have any value to the world, it's when they eject the constraints of their dismal science, clear their throats, and start influencing public opinion in ways that contribute to the common good. This is why I now love Paul Krugman, though his pro-globalism positions really used to burn me up back in the Clinton years. I've also come to love Jeffrey Sachs, whose new book The End of Poverty seems worth reading, especially now that people are paying attention to the UN Millennium Project again. In this CounterPunch interview, Sachs not only drops a handful of practical suggestions on how to start eliminating world poverty, but exorts us lazy-ass Americans to start making a difference ourselves:
Politicians in Washington think Americans don't care. I don't believe that. The Americans I know do care, but they need to tell their members of Congress that it is not a dangerous vote to support increased U.S. efforts to help the poorest of the poor in the world.
Power Line Rant
The Power Line boys get it from both barrels in this awesome rant by athenae.
Freedom isn't free, you miserable chickenshits. You cheer the war, you love the war, you love the troops, you support the troops. But to recognize their sacrifices would diminish your pleasure so you send the images away. You jackholes are the ones who are always bitching that the left "blames America first." You're the first to blame "the media," to blame "bias" when things don't look the way you saw them on the outside of the box. Why do you now blame the photographers who bring you images of the dead and wounded, of protest, conflict? Why don't you blame the terrorists? Why don't you go wave a little flag in the face all this carnage because certainly it's exactly the item you put your finger next to on the menu. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED. LOOK AT IT. Print out every single one of those photos and paper mama's basement with them, chickenhawks. Here's your war, in all its glory. Max your credit card out, because freedom isn't free.
I'm tired of their constant yapping about the media, especially these war reporters out in the trenches in Iraq. Do you know how many of these guys have died? They are out there every day risking their lives to bring us news about the war you started. But you only want to listen when the news is good. Tough. Here in the real world, we take the good and the bad at the same time. If you've got real information showing the media got something wrong -- and they do, we all do sometimes -- by all means, blog it. But if you are making insinuations because you don't like the stories that are getting reported, shove it.
Delay paid his wife out of his PAC
Tom Delay put his wife and daughter on the payroll of his PAC.
WASHINGTON, April 5 - The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.
Aeneas at Washington
I myself saw furious with blood
As if more evidence of incompetence were needed, there's this:
According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.
Pope John Paul II
There are many unkind things I could say about the late Pope John Paul II, particularly regarding his ass-backward views on sexuality, reproductive rights, and women. Yet I'll always admire his stern warnings about globalism and unbridled capitalism, which (along with his media-savvy papal tactics) will hopefully be his most lasting contributions to the Catholic Church. His most thorough theological examination of capitalism and development came in his 1987 encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, which has this to say, even before the Berlin Wall fell:
There is no justification then for despair or pessimism or inertia. Though it be with sorrow, it must be said that just as one may sin through selfishness and the desire for excessive profit and power, one may also be found wanting with regard to the urgent needs of multitudes of human beings submerged in conditions of underdevelopment, through fear, indecision and, basically, through cowardice. We are all called, indeed obliged, to face the tremendous challenge of the last decade of the second Millennium, also because the present dangers threaten everyone: a world economic crisis, a war without frontiers, without winners or losers. In the face of such a threat, the distinction between rich individuals and countries and poor individuals and countries will have little value, except that a greater responsibility rests on those who have more and can do more.
Lakhoff a great guru, lousy framer?
George Lakoff is all the rage in the Democratic Party these days. Perhaps his thinking deserves it. But Ezra Klein has given voice to some of my discomfort with Lakhoff. Mostly, I don't think his frames are convincing.
In presenting his case for why Howard Dean's determination to make George Lakoff the Democratic Frank Luntz is the wrong strategy, Brad Plumer forgets to mention why it's completely insane.
It's food for thought, anyway.
Delay abuses the flag
Tom Delay is using the image of a flag at half mast to illustrate his statement about Terry Schiavo on his website. Really, this guy is just incredible. Doesn't he know what the flag at half mast means? There are laws that govern how and when the flag is to be flown at half mast. It is done by the order of Presidents and Governors.
Sex ed, Bush Style - Just say no to the truth
So the government has launched an abstinence only website that is raising hackles among the reality-based crowd.
An array of advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to take down one of its new Web sites, saying it presents biased and inaccurate advice to parents on how to talk to their children about sex.
Those hackles are raised for good reason. Abstinence only education raises the incidence of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. That's generally considered a bad thing. Minnesota's experiment with it failed miserably. It should also be common knowledge that in Bush's sex fantasy "Values trumps data."
Now they notice?
Where have these guys been? I mean, it's not like the republicans haven't been kicking people with different points of view out of their events for the last five years or anything...
Members of Congress from both parties on Thursday raised sharp questions about the exclusion of political opponents from two taxpayer-funded appearances by President Bush.