Saturday, April 30, 2005

Another example of the wink-wink-and-then-apologize tactic that the GOP has been perfecting.
Oh yeah, this sounds REAL constitutional:
WASHINGTON — Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, also have been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause.

An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.

The discussion took place during a Washington conference last month that included addresses by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who discussed efforts to bring a more conservative cast to the courts.
More back-room, behind-the-scenes chicanery via the GOP and religious right. If they can't get what they want front and center, either due to moderate Republicans resisting or public polls weighing in against, then they do whatever it takes in the shadows to achieve their extreme agenda.

Wake up folks, these people don't play by the rules, much less the Constitution, and it's obvious hypocrisy, shame, etc., certainly doesn't affect them. They're scary and they're dangerous.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Kevin Drum on the federal budget just passed:
Attaboy! Reduce the deficit $10 billion by cutting back on healthcare for the poor, and then turn around and increase the deficit $106 billion by approving additional tax cuts for the rich. Moral values, baby, moral values.
Better yet, Tom DeLay says it best, "This is the budget the American people voted for when they returned a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president to the White House last November." He's right, the public gets what they deserve.

UPDATE: In addition, Drum does a good job of summing up the ground laid for the coming GOP implosion.
From The Left Coaster:
Remember this gem from tonight, when Bush seemingly tried to blame Clinton for this country not having an energy policy ten years ago? It's another case of GOP selective memory.
And why oh why Mr. Bush did we not have an energy strategy ten years ago, and what was the GOP doing about it in the 1990's?

Well, your own party spent the better part of the 1990's trying to eliminate the Department of Energy. Remember that Contract with America thingie that your buddy Newt came up with? It called for doing away with DOE.

Spencer (Mr. Nuclear Power Industry) Abraham, as a former Senator, voted against Clinton Administration proposals to raise CAFE standards, fund renewable energy technology, and raise fuel economy standards for SUVs. He also voted more than once during the 1990's to eliminate the DOE.

Did I mention that Abraham was your first Secretary of Energy?

And CATO and others wanted the DOE gone as well.

Mr. President, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. You've been sitting on your ass for four years, waiting for the ANWR wet dream and watching the Enron rape of California while doing nothing yourself to forward an energy policy.
Greenhouse effect confirmed by new NASA ocean study

but not to worry because

Doomsayers Say Benedict Fits World End Prophecy
Oh the irony. So, of the three nations that comprise the "Axis of Evil," we invade the one that never had WMD and meanwhile the other two (North Korea and Iran) that have had WMD for years are on the fast-track to advancing their threat against us.

Of course, my contention all along has been that, apart from the oil, the reason we invaded Iraq was because we knew they had no WMD (easy target).

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, Iraq now has uranium -- thanks to the U.S. invasion.
Where was this Journal editorial during the Clinton years, when Republicans were pulling the same shit, if not more sly and obstructive?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sure there's plenty of hypocrites in Congress, but does any of them beat DeLay? He's got to be one of the biggest in history, behaving as if he wants to clearly win that title. The latest: Mr. anti-Castro is spotted smoking a Cuban cigar. He's gone from being a scummy bully to now just a laughing-stock. Anyone who continues to defend this jerk with a straight face cannot be taken seriously, about anything.

Moving on, the Washington Post reported 2/3's in a poll are against the GOP's nuclear threat to end the filibuster. Ahh yes, another poll showing the public greatly opposed to a GOP siding -- can this be a blossoming trend? Has the public finally sniffed the smelling salts? Another piece to the eventual implosion.

CIA officials apparently had several run-ins with Bolton regarding Syria (among other countries), forcing him several times to re-word speeches concerning WMD allegations. It's THIS kind of stuff as to why he must be rejected, the fudging and chicanery when it comes to intel. My question is: at the UN, will there be safeguards to reign him in?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

WASHINGTON — All five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues should the panel investigate the GOP majority leader.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Dennis Hastert urged fellow Republicans on Wednesday to abandon new rules that led to a shutdown of the ethics committee and political grief for the GOP.
The Republican lawmakers had endured weeks of intense Democratic criticism — and hometown editorials — complaining that the GOP rule changes were an attempt to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay from further investigation.
Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., was dumped by Hastert as chairman of the evenly divided committee after the panel admonished DeLay. He has been one of the few Republicans who opposed the rule changes from the beginning.
Hmm, you think Hastert will also reinstate Hefley?

Meanwhile, Congress refocuses its attention on what truly matters to the country....

And regarding the filibuster threat, who is the extremist here? Me thinks Frist.

Don't forget, "between 1995 and 2000, 35 percent of Clinton's appeals court nominees were not even allowed to come up for a vote; 45 percent went unconfirmed in the Congress in which they were nominated." Compare this to the 95 percent this Senate has confirmed of Bush's nominees.

Where is Pelosi or Reid to state this fact and clear the air?
Toyota and Honda are benefiting from high oil prices. The real (inflation-adjusted) price of oil, or gas at the pump, has been artificially too low for over two decades. Just look at what higher prices foster in the way of conservation technology. If we had prices keeping pace during this time, we would've never had the introduction of huge SUVs and Hummers, wasting millions (billions?) gallons of gas in the process, and we would've been much farther along in hybrid technology, making such vehicles less expensive and more plentiful.

Ah, what fools are we.

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum is right, look for the wingnuts to search high and low for something to grasp.

Oh, and this wonderful piece of news. But then I'm just an alarmist.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"hand in hand like lovers are supposed to" -- Dire Straits

Monday, April 25, 2005

About two weeks ago, David Brooks wrote one of his typically lame-brained columns, this time defending Bolton. He basically states there's a flawed UN and there's a fantasy UN, and Bolton is here -- like Superman in a cape -- to reform and save this troubled institution. What a joke! The fact is the UN will chew up this two-bit bully, with the diplomats there not standing for his oafish, a-hole behavior (in stark contrast to the many underlings who have been forced to eat his sh*t over the years).

Look, the UN is much like Churchill once described democracy: to paraphrase, democracy is flawed, but it's better than anything else we have available. If Bush truly hates and wishes to reject the UN, then he should've nominated no one. Let the post go unseated -- that would have driven home his point with impact. Barring that, you must then nominate someone who at least will work with the institution to which he or she will serve. You don't nominate someone who has made inflammatory comments that the institution itself would not be missed if it disappeared off the face of the planet.

Also, the true core of the controversy has nothing to do with his willingness and drive to reform the UN -- admittedly, something that does need to occur. No, instead it's about his bullying tendencies and inappropriate behavior to obfuscate and attempt to alter intelligence. The latter is FAR different from the former and on this specific point, he must be rejected. For the last 4+ years, we've seen too much of this bullying to get one's way -- from the GOP-led mob in FLA 2000, to the lead-up to Iraq, to the current threats directed at judges.

Enough already. As with juvenile thugs on a playground, it's time for the more mature and fair-minded adults to show-up on the scene and put an end to the bullshit.

By the way, make sure to read Frank Rich's column on Justice Sunday. An excerpt:
The "Justice Sunday" mob is also lying when it claims to despise activist judges as a matter of principle. Only weeks ago it was desperately seeking activist judges who might intervene in the Terri Schiavo case as boldly as Scalia & Co. had in Bush v. Gore. The real "Justice Sunday" agenda lies elsewhere. As Bill Maher summed it up for Jay Leno on the "Tonight" show last week: " 'Activist judges' is a code word for gay."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Interesting. Frist is now caught between the religious right and corporations. To please evangelicals, Frist has been threatening to use the nuclear option to end the filibuster in the Senate. However, business leaders have come out saying they oppose this move.

It once again shows what happens when the GOP goes too far to the extreme, believing they can appease one group of strident voters without alienating or adversely affecting the remaining majority of U.S. citizens. They do not even remotely attempt to represent the country at large but rather to strictly cater to those smaller divisions of highly-motivated and influential voters, namely corporations, the extremely religious, and the very wealthy.

As I've predicted since last November's election results, the GOP will fracture and implode, and I continue to see signs of this occurring. Just look at the Bolton affair: we've seen Republicans disagree and break free from their usual highly-partisan stance. Shays has come out against DeLay (as has the Wall Street Journal and even Santorum). DeLay has threatened to underfund those judges he doesn't like, crippling them, and yet many Republicans (Snow, Collins, Chafee, Specter, Hagel and even McConnell) are not on board. Hagel and Lindsey Graham have come out against Frist's "Justice Sunday" (today) appearance. Meanwhile, McCain continues to reach across the aisle, realizing 2008 is fast approaching and the better candidate by then will be the one most non-GW/Rove-like, meaning warm-blooded, above-board, and reasonable.

The implosion will happen -- and it's as if the Republicans can't save themselves from themselves. It happened with Newt and it's happening all over again. Once you tip the scales too far in their favor, they run with it, right over the cliff.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Arnold has taken a page from the GOP playbook by making a statement that would have high-impact for certain voters (in this case, close the borders), but then a few days later offering up a lame apology or retraction.

Republicans -- always playing the public, and more so their voters, for fools -- have realized they can gain big points with a specific targeted crowd by making such alarming statements, and yet can later wipe the slate clean for the larger public with a more widely covered and broadcasted apology. It's an insidious wink-wink ploy delivered to key voters while also providing cover in that the politician can always say he/she misspoke. Those who want to believe the initial statement do, and those who wish to concede or accept the subsequent apology do, and the GOP ultimately wins. See?

Meanwhile, I noticed Negroponte was confirmed by the Senate with the vote count 98-2. Yes, 98% of the Senate. This despite Negroponte having all of that Honduras/contra baggage.

Remember this the next time you read or hear some right-winger complaining the Dems are playing partisan politics regarding Bolton. If Negroponte can pass by an amazing 98-2 for intel czar, just how bad must Bolton be for the Senate to postpone his proceedings? And now Colin Powell has reportedly come out with less-then-flattering words concerning Bolton.

If the Dems cave and let this guy through, then they're not only spineless but they're also just dumb. Many Republicans now realize Bolton is not fit for the job, and yet if they see the Dems giving in, they'll realize they'll be able to push anything through, no matter how bad (that's if they don't already believe this).

Friday, April 22, 2005

In honor of Earth Day:
The Bush administration's program to study climate change lacks a major component required by law, according to Congressional investigators. The program fails to include periodic assessments of how rising temperatures may affect people and the environment.

The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, conclude in a report to be released today that none of the 21 studies of climate change that the administration plans to publish by September 2007 explicitly address the potential effects in eight areas specified by a 1990 law, the Global Change Research Act. The areas include agriculture, energy, water resources and biological diversity.

Without such an assessment, the accountability office said, "it may be difficult for the Congress and others to use this information effectively as the basis for making decisions on climate policy."

The investigators also said the program was behind schedule, with just one report on track out of nine that are to be published by next September. The 1990 law requires a report to Congress every four years on the consequences of climate change.
Meanwhile, two big utility companies, Duke and Cinergy, admit to global warming being a problem.

When does this insanity end?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Recently, speaking about Saudi Arabia's capacity to produce more oil, Scott McClellan said, "You have to look at the situation in Saudi Arabia....," and before I finish his sentence, I thought I would take him up on his offer and look at the situation in Saudi Arabia -- only about another matter. As has been reported in the past, SA lags behind the new Iraq when it comes to actively promoting liberty and democracy for all.

Why does GW and his administration continue to trot out his sound bites about spreading freedom globally when he/they continue to look the other way when it comes to SA's abysmal record on this subject? Example:

Dozens of Saudi men caught dancing and "behaving like women" at a party have been sentenced to a total of 14,200 lashes, after a trial held behind closed doors and without defence lawyers. The men were also given jail sentences of up to two years.

And this:

Abshir Hassan, a 29-year-old London bus driver, has accused Saudi Arabia of executing his brother Abdel-Fatteh and five other Somalis last week without ever telling them that they had been condemned to death. Only when they were about to be beheaded did they learn their fate, he told The Independent on Sunday.

Where's the harsh condemnation from GW? Rather, the Saudi prince receives an invite to the ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Back to McClellan's quote, he said, "You have to look the situation in Saudi Arabia as well, and I think most people recognize they are producing at near capacity already." However, Saudi officials imply that they have room to spare when it comes to extra pumping capacity, and GW himself has echoed these same sentiments. Who is telling the truth, McClellan or GW and the Saudis? For how long must this key question remain a mystery?

Instead, we're treated to this odd game of poker, where it appears winks, nods, and bluffs are occurring regularly. The fact remains the price of oil doesn't lie and despite the Saudis paying lip service when they periodically state they will do what it takes to get prices down, oil prices continue to rise, as if laughing at these assertions, revealing them to be empty statements. My bet is they're at near full-capacity right now so get used to the high prices at the pump.

By the way, guess which country ranks right behind Iraq as a top supplier of oil to the U.S.? Coming in at #7 behind Iraq is Ecuador. Huh, you say? Yes, Ecuador (which by the way provides us with nearly twice the amount of crude as better-known Kuwait). Go here to read what's going on there as the country is filled with political turmoil right now. I just wonder if we'll invade there next; after all, our oil imports are vulnerable.

Oh, but that's right, unlike Iraq, Ecuador doesn't have WMD nor were they tied to 9-11....
Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial defending Bolton and casting harsh criticism on nearly all involved in the hearings. What's glaringly missing, of course, is any substantive answer to not just the several abuse allegations, but more so that Bolton intimidated those who presented intel he didn't agree with (haven't we seen enough of this type of behavior in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion? Does this administration really need one more bully?). More revealingly, the Journal complains that the Republicans are screwing up the confirmation process by not insuring enough arms are twisted to expedite the cause:
We should add that Mr. Bolton would nonetheless be sailing toward confirmation if Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee were doing their job. Senators Dodd and Biden are running rings around Chairman Dick Lugar, who should know on the day of a vote whether he has enough support to prevail. His defense of Mr. Bolton has been so weak that we almost wonder if he doesn't privately wish for the nominee's defeat.
Well, perhaps Lugar does wish for his defeat, with he too realizing Bolton is a poor choice. However, it's been reported that Lugar had been pushing for a vote until it became evident that Bolton would've faced certain defeat. In fact, the Dems would've likely loved for a vote to have taken place.

Never mind that Sen. Chaffee (R-RI) rightly stated, "I don't know if I've ever seen, in a setting like this, a senator changing his mind as a result of what other senators said. The process worked. It's kind of refreshing."

Tisk tisk. Truth is the Journal would prefer the GOP to use their power to ram-rod nominations, basically tagging Lugar and Hagel as wimps -- what high-minded thinking! It's all about the fight, never mind whether or not the person in question is in fact best for the position.

With GW's numbers in the tank and the tide turning against the GOP, I can only hope they continue to listen to the wise words found on this editorial page.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bravo to the Senate for doing the right thing and delaying the Bolton proceedings. For the most succinct reasons to reject this guy, read here and here. Kevin Drum correctly points out that Bolton's abusive, a-hole side is secondary to the more important reason to nix him: "he doesn't believe in the UN's mission, he doesn't believe in international law, he has a history of deliberately misrepresenting intelligence information that doesn't fit his agenda, and he would have no credibility with his peers. That's why he's egregiously unqualified for the job." And finally this from Colin Powell's former chief of staff, "Do I think John Bolton would make a good ambassador to the United Nations? Absolutely not. He is incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views. He would be an abysmal ambassador." Just another incredibly poor choice by GW for a high-profile position, nothing new here.

Meanwhile, as North Korea edges closer to building nuclear bombs, we get this:
"U.S. policy is essentially nowhere," says Joel Wit, a North Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "The U.S. won't negotiate," he says, "so there's no chance of a diplomatic settlement. And there's no chance of punishing [North Korea] either because the other countries won't support the U.S."
Wonderful. Supposedly, things are going swimmingly in a country we invaded that was to have WMD, and never did, and yet a country we've known for years has WMD and is indeed a growing and grave threat, we have no answer, no proposed solution.

At this point, is it a mystery why GW's poll numbers are so low? In fact, his approval rating has now reached a low not attained by any president since WW II at this point in his 2nd term. Yet, what's so different now vs. last November? How does a man with such scant positive ratings manage to win reelection not too long ago? It clearly shows the power of Rove's manipulations, lies, and distortions around campaign time -- anything to win. If the majority of the public convey dissatisfaction now, they have only themselves to blame.
For those who wish to witness how difficult it must be to defend this administration and the GOP these days, try to catch a repeat showing of Bill Maher's weekly show on HBO. David Frum is a featured guest and for most of the program you get to watch him trip over his words, stammer, stutter and backpedal as he tries to come up with coherent, much less convincing, verbiage to explain (away) past and present GW and GOP actions. To a point, you eventually pity him as he sits there, with bits of sweat building on his brow, eyes focused down, looking at no one as he fuddles around, desperately trying to sound profound. Mind you, he's not getting attacked from all sides (his other guests: a Dixie Chick, who spends most of her time wiping her hair from her eyes, and an overly-polite Wes Clark). In fact, Maher often looks to help him out with answers, undoubtedly realizing Frum is struggling, much.

Frum is a painful train wreck to observe. What becomes obvious is these guys hold beliefs that most often are not challenged -- and when they are, exposed for the nonsense and hypocritical BS that they are, we see a truly pathetic display of verbal gymnastics. Honestly, I don't know why these guys show up -- they should stick to the softballs thrown to them on FOX.

That said, Maher himself is disconcertingly heading down the road Dennis Miller took, i.e. seeming to switch sides and defend Bush for reasons that Maher does not make clear. I say this because with most of Maher's positions, he typically offers up very convincing bullet points as to how he arrived at his opinions. However, when it comes to some of these latest concessions to GW, much of this sound logic is missing and it begins to look like he's simply throwing curveballs to spice up the show and irk his audience. It's OK to switch sides, but please stay consistent with how you got there.

As for Dennis Miller, he went from a very good show on HBO, to a rightwing-ish nobody on CNBC, last seen huckstering for NetZero in a 100%-without-humor commercial. Maher take note.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

As if I needed anymore evidence, here's another item of proof that the so-called "liberal media bias" doesn't exist and never did exist:

I will answer any future such accusations with a reminder of this ludicrous cover. Oh, for a thorough dressing-down of the spotty reporting behind the article, go here. Apparently, the content is fit for the NY Post. (And to think that Bruce Springsteen got his big launch by landing on the front cover of this magazine in the '70s -- how far Time has fallen).
As I've commented here before, the Wall Street Journal's regular feature, "A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq," is disturbing. Do you think the WSJ would've conducted this same service if Clinton were president and he invaded Iraq? And can you imagine the right-wing if the New York Times did this same thing regarding a sitting Democratic president?? Also, why just every two weeks for this column? Isn't there ample good news to publish each week or even twice a week? Could it be the editor of this column needs the extended time to first search high and low for good news in Iraq, and then shape or massage them into a flowing litany of heart-warming anecdotes???

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm back!

Just returned from a week's vacation at DisneyWorld. Fun time, esp. for the kids. I typically despise making trips to FLA, a state lacking much (particularly interesting terrain -- no hills, etc. -- but also anything non-consumer (it's strip mall and credit card heaven down there)), yet the weather was beautiful and our resort stay lovely. Needless to say, I've been out of the loop regarding any news (or at least I tried my hardest to ignore it), but I'll quickly get updated on everything.

Two side observations regarding my trip:

1) I had to laugh at a theme park called The Holy Land Experience, conveniently nestled in between the Disney and Universal parks. I didn't have the time but would've loved to attend for just one day -- if not for anything else than to witness the three "musical-dramas" Via Dolorosa Passion Drama, Praise Through the Ages, and Centurion. I'm sure they rank with Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, and Tarzan Rocks! shows. I also assume they have a "Hall of Disciples" (similar to Disney's "Hall of U.S. Presidents") and a "Tower of Babel" (similar to Disney's "Tower of Terror"). Oh, and rather than pay a parking fee, I guessed the attendants (in robes) finger wave and judge you for a few minutes and then command you to proceed.

On the subject of religion, I was right concerning NBC's Revelations (see prior post below) as it apparently garnered the best ratings for NBC in years. Look for this mini-series to become a full-fledged series (with merchandising tie-ins) and also look for even more religious-oriented product from -- of all places -- Hollywood.

2) If there was any doubt the U.S. had an obesity problem, just go to one of Disney's parks and it will become quite evident to you. Now before I get angry emails note that 1) I myself, while not obese, am certainly not buff (for what that's worth), and 2) I'm strictly making an objective observation. The sheer number of very large people is astounding. In fact, a good number of them don't even bother walking but instead rent out those motorized scooters (which I believe were originally designed for the elderly!). You will even spot entire "large" families scootering around. Many park rides have warnings that they're not built for individuals with certain "body shapes or structures."

Again, it's not as if I went out of my way to notice this trend -- my heavily Christian and church-going father-in-law concurred with the sightings. It's quite sad and will no doubt become as huge a problem for the country as these people are big. And it won't just be the obvious health issues (where by the way, those staying in fairly good shape are subsidizing the health cost for the problems associated with obesity), but also the USA Today recently cited that collectively all that extra weight means added airline fuel use, which translates into more carbon dioxide released, etc., i.e. a domino effect that exponentially balloons to enormous numbers.

I hate to say it but I wouldn't be surprised if a backlash eventually erupts, with many of the thinner folks in this country deciding they're not going to literally pay for the excess of others. If there's already significant taxes applied to the purchase of cigarettes, is it too far-fetched to imagine taxes applied to fast food and the like?

Yes, move over class warfare, make room for weight warfare.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

This week, NBC will debut a mini-series, Revelations, that no doubt hopes to tap into the enormous popularity of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

Although the sheer amount of money that movie earned may have been a bit unexpected, it should not have come as a complete surprise. Needless to say, the religious movement is real and packs a wallop nearly everywhere you turn -- at the box office, during election time, etc. Is it any wonder the Left Behind book series has sold over 45 million copies?!

In fact, my understanding is that the end-of-the-world aspects of the Bible have become more popular than ever, which is why I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Revelations become a very big hit for NBC. However, what has always struck me as odd about this growing popularity in Apocalypse/Armageddon belief is that it goes against what Jesus taught. Jesus said:
Take care that no one misleads you. Many will come assuming my name and saying, "I am He;" and they will mislead many. But when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed: come they must, but the End is not yet.
But as to that day or the exact time no one knows--not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take care, be on the alert, and pray; for you do not know when it will happen. (Mark 13)
Jesus strongly discouraged against such speculation -- and yet, is there evidence today of his words being heeded?

As Harvey Cox, PhD, Professor at Harvard Divinity School, writes in his book When Jesus Came to Harvard, we should be taking this movement much more seriously as it has tremendous influence that effects us all:
It may seem like trivial pulp to sophisticated readers, but the sheer enormity of its sales and influence demands serious attention.
It is a mistake to assume end-time thinking represents only a marginal cult in America.
Cox does not endorse this end-of-the-world thinking -- not at all. He agrees that it directly contradicts what Jesus strongly stated, asserting that Jesus was all about hope and good news for humanity, whereas the end-of-the-world folks are all about doom and gloom for nearly everyone. That is all except them. And if you are not one of them, you need to become one, quickly.

Cox points out that this movement has actually been around for many, many years and that there's been more than one chosen Antichrist during this time. Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin have all played the role at one point only to be switched for a new candidate. Even Henry Kissinger was selected at one point. More recently, the role is being filled by Islam (no one person chosen just yet).

What's the point? Why do so many who supposedly love and follow Jesus end up going against his wishes by buying into this stuff? Beside that, Cox brings up the truly key point that such thinking divorces one from making tough moral choices since their belief is so far-gone fatalistic. Why care about the environment when we're all going to be gone soon? Why be responsible when the future has already been decreed, and all evidence (according to them) points to the end coming sooner rather than later?

It's this kind of unique insanity that will lead this country down the road to ruin. All in the name of doing opposite what Jesus desired of us. Many religious leaders simply have it ass-backwards -- makes you wonder to what extent their thinking is cockeyed regarding most other matters....
How DeLay, Santorum and the Christian right throng would have it in the USA:

Australian jailed in Fiji for breaking gay laws

Friday, April 08, 2005

Eating Crow

With this news, any apologies or retractions forthcoming from these clowns?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

They'll do this in the name of saving oil, but they won't actively urge and forcefully encourage conservation (it's just "a sign of personal virtue") -- asinine!
Larry Kudlow is an empty-headed moron.

As if you needed more proof.

Note: "As for Reagan, he cut taxes once and then raised them every year after that," and "taxes that have gone up during this time: state and local taxes and the payroll tax, the most regressive taxes we have."

Federal income tax cuts => higher federal deficits => less federal funds allocated to states / localities => states/local need to make up budget shortfalls (unlike federal government, most states have balanced budget requirements) => state/local tax rates go up (duh) => your total tax bill either stays the same or increases.

There is no free lunch, dominos will fall, etc.
More evidence of the "liberal" media:

Can someone drop me a line when something, anything on the new DeLay revelations shows up on the CNN website? Thanks ... -- Josh Marshall, 4/6/05

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

If the election for Congress were held today and the candidates were Republican Tom Delay and someone else, for whom would you vote?

Tom DeLay (R)

For someone else

Not sure

Source: Zogby International / Houston Chronicle
Methodology: Interviews to 501 voters in Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, conducted from Mar. 30 to Apr. 1, 2005.

If he's taking a hit in his own district, how can GOP members possibly rationalize backing this guy? Assuming his hometown supporters are already a bit on the fringe to vote for DeLay (safe statement), what does it say when even they wake up and smell the burning coffee?

Not a stretch to point out some parallels with Newt's rule of the House: achieved power than repeatedly overstepped until self-destructing. The big differences are 1) the GOP is in a MUCH more powerful position this time around (duh), and 2) Pelosi and Reid do not make a Clinton (as a foil), not even close. Therefore, DeLay's half-life is longer. However, that said, DeLay is in much deeper than was Newt, both in number of transgressions and the extent to which he crossed he line.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Chris Mooney has been writing some terrific columns helping to shed light on the purposeful mess the GOP has made of environmental affairs. Regarding the latest scandalous acts concerning mercury, he writes:
In a previous column, I showed how right-wingers in Congress have mercilessly distorted science in order to downplay mercury risks. In the process, they have even ignored findings by the National Academy of Sciences. And as now seems clear, conservatives do no better on the economics of mercury regulation than there they do on the science.

Stop and think about it for a second. Mercury is a toxic substance, emitted from power plants (among other sources), which contaminates fish and poses the strongest dangers to pregnant mothers and their unborn children. Clearly, there are going to be non-negligible economic benefits to be reaped from protecting children from the kinds of neurological and developmental problems that can result from being exposed to mercury in utero. In deciding how to regulate mercury, you probably wouldn't want to downplay such considerations, much less leave them out of your regulatory calculus.
I ask, where is the Christian right's fist-raised outrage when it comes to harming the unborn via mercury poisoning? He continues,
And maybe most stunningly, the GAO added that the EPA had failed to "quantify the human health benefits of decreased exposure to mercury, such as reduced incidence of developmental delays, learning disabilities, and neurological disorders." In short, perhaps the most obvious source of benefit from regulatory action -- and an area where the tougher technology-based approach clearly bests cap and trade -- got short shrift. And despite this, the technology-based approach still had a net economic benefit of $ 13 billion annually!
In addition, he points out how the EPA can't be trusted as they attempted "multiple model runs just to find a technology-based scenario that was bad enough that it would match the cap-and-trade approach. In short, once again the EPA rigged its analyses to make the Bush administration's politically favored approach seem like it could match the competition."

Sounds similar to what happened to Richard Clarke regarding Iraq: they kept telling him to go back and do more "research" (i.e. bring back the answer they desired all along). This is their version of real science, that is fudged policy.
As if we didn't realize they were already radical, both Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum comment on the "theocons" and their ever-increasing threat to our freedoms. Sullivan states, "The very foundation of modern freedom -- autonomy over one's own physical body -- is now under attack. And if a theocon government won't allow you control over your own body, what else do you have left?" And Drum writes,
It doesn't matter if you've made your wishes clear. You should not be allowed to control your own destiny. Period. After you cut through the often subtle language, that's what's left. Once again, the reductive view of life this crowd clings to — life as mere respiration at one end and as mere genetic sequence at the other — takes my breath away. If they won't even let me control my own destiny, why should I let them control anyone else's?
If this trend continues, soon Iraq will have more democratic liberty and freedom than the U.S. We aim to rid some countries of repressive theocracies, yet that's exactly what we're becoming. Don't expect the wingnuts to see the irony -- they're used to missing the forest for the trees.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Composition of the GOP

In today's NY Times magazine, Richard Cizik, leader of the National Association of Evangelicals (30+ mil. members), is interviewed. This telling reply from him to a good question:
Why would President Bush give evangelicals more say than he gives the business community?

Look, the big corporate interests have an undue say in party policy. And into this reality come the evangelical Christians. And when confronted with making a choice, this administration will compromise. Because about 40 percent of the Republican Party is represented by evangelicals. They wouldn't want the two major constituencies of the Republican Party at war with each other.
There you go, the GOP is the party of big business and evangelicals -- what a big tent!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

James Wolcott writes that Fox News apparently pronounced the Pope dead -- before he was, uh, dead. (And this from the network which sides with the "culture of life" political party.). In fact, as I write this, the Pope is still alive.

Wolcott offers us what will indeed happen over the next week, and beyond:
Fox News did all of us a service by providing a sneak preview of how the Pope's death will be politically spun to further a Culture of Life campaign intended to peel off more Democrats to the Republican side. Liberals shouldn't be lulled into letting down their guard after the poll numbers disapproving of Bush's and the Congress's barging into the Schiavo case. They're going to capitalize on the Pope's death and plug it into the Culture of Life crusade intended to save Tom DeLay's tainted bacon.

So don't be surprised if President Bush breaks recent precedent and personally attends the Pope's funeral to pay his respects, of course, and shore up his poll numbers.
In other words, get ready for more sheer political posturing masquerading as fist-pounding conviction for the sanctity of life (!).

UPDATE: Bush likely to attend Pope's funeral. He would be the first U.S. president to do so.

Friday, April 01, 2005

"We need still more scientists...."
A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.
With the death of Terri Schiavo, President Bush said, "The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak."

How about his tax cuts for the rich coupled with slashing non-defense budget programs for those in need? How about his "reforming" environmental laws to better "protect" the general public? How about his mocking a woman before putting her to death?

GW's entire "essence" is about further stacking the deck in favor of the rich & powerful (i.e. the strong) at the expense of the "weak." The hypocrisy is, as usual, breathtakingly astonishing.

Thomas Frank (What's the Matter with Kansas? author) is right when he surmises that the GOP (Karl Rove) uses morality and culture issues to manipulate and incite working-class Christian voters, motivating them to head to the polls, all the while allowing the GOP to take care of those they truly care about: the wealthy. It can't get anymore transparent and I've given up trying to figure out what's wrong with these people who side with politicians who in reality are not looking out for them.