Wednesday, April 27, 2005

 

Mystery of the Democrats' New Spine

Across the nation’s capital, perplexed political pundits have been rubbing their chins wondering what has happened to the Democrats, who were supposed to quiver in fear of the victorious George W. Bush and his Republican congressional majority. Instead, the minority party has been picking – and even winning – some fights.

The Washington Post put the mystery on Page One with the headline, “Unexpectedly, Capitol Hill Democrats Stand Firm.” [April 25, 2005]

The Post story said, “Democrats were supposed to enter the 109th Congress meek and cowed, demoralized by November’s election losses and ready to cut deals with Republicans who threatened further campaigns against ‘obstructionists.’ But House and Senate Democrats have turned that conventional wisdom on its head.”

The mystery is, how did this happen? How did the Democrats find their voice and gain the upper hand over Bush on a number of issues: Social Security, his right-wing judicial appointments, the Terri Schiavo case, Tom DeLay’s ethics mess and the John Bolton nomination? What has caused the Democrats to grow a new spine?

For the rest of this article, please click here

Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

Progressive Christians

Believe it or not, you're not alone! Here's an excellent link to a Blog run by Progressive Christians!

http://progressivechristian.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

 

Let Them Eat Bombs

The doubling of child malnutrition in Iraq is baffling

Terry Jones
Tuesday April 12, 2005
The Guardian

A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.

This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations.

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

 

Conyers: GOP Heading Over Political Cliff

Great guest editorial by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) from our friends at Buzzflash

GOP Heading Over Political Cliff

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by John Conyers, Jr. and his blog readers

The country first recognized the excesses of the Reagan Administration when his budget director proposed classifying ketchup as a vegetable to help justify budget cuts for school lunch programs. The Gingrich Revolution began to unwind in 1995, when Newt complained that part of his intransigence on the budget was the result of being forced to exit the rear of Air Force One upon returning from Yitzhak Rabin's funeral.

When the history is written concerning fall from political grace of the Bush presidency, I believe we will point to the emergency passage of the Schiavo legislation as constituting the turning point. Clearly there is short term political fall-out from the unprecedented legislative intervention into a private family matter. The most recent CBS poll shows the president's popularity is at an all time low - 43%, while the Congressional approval rating is down to 34%.

The political significance of improper intervention in the tragic Schiavo case is likely to be long term in nature, and goes beyond the narrow facts of the case and concerns about federalism and separation of powers (as important as they are). With Schiavo, the entire nation was exposed to the win at all costs mentality of the Republican Party, and the fact that their deeds do not match their rhetoric.

To begin with, Americans now understand that Republicans can no longer claim the mantle of being "pro-life," when they are decimating Medicaid, when they are preventing life-saving stem cell research, when they allow guns to flow freely to terrorists, when they ignore the tragic school shooting in Minnesota, and when more than 1,500 American soldiers and more than 100,000 innocent civilians have died in Iraq as a result of a misguided war.

They certainly can't claim to be "pro-family," when their bankruptcy bill would put credit card companies ahead of families, when they tolerate families living on a minimum wage below the poverty level, and when the president signed legislation in Texas authorizing the removal of life support systems for financial reasons.

With the Schiavo case operating as a catalyst, most Americans are becoming increasingly aware that GOP inconsistencies go well beyond the misappropriation of the terms "pro-life" and "pro-family." The president can't claim to be "pro-democracy" when he ignores repressive regimes abroad, when his Administration tolerates and encourages torture, and ignores the need for voting reform in our own nation. He surely cannot claim to lead the party of "fiscal solvency" when we began the Bush presidency with a more than $200 billion/year surplus, and our deficit is now more than $420 billion per year and counting.

He also cannot assert to be "pro-military," when the Pentagon is engaged in a back-door draft and when he is cutting veterans benefits. He cannot claim to be a "uniter not a divider" when he has consistently sought out wedge issues that divide our nation.

Congressional Republicans cannot continue to utilize Orwellian legislative names like "Clear Skies," "Healthy Forests," "No Child Left Behind," and the "Patriot Act" when the policies reflected in these bills result in greater pollution, fewer trees, less education funding, and a weakening of the Bill of Rights. They also cannot claim to be pro-immigrant when their proposals would gut asylum protections and take away their habeas corpus rights; or argue they are "anti-crime" while the crime rate is rising and funding for local law enforcement is falling.

One of the readers on my campaign's blog expressed the frustration of so many Americans when he wrote to me: "The rules that bound this country have become irrelevant, and rules are changed, with no regard to ethics, in order to gain extra advantage.... Some people feel it's important to change the rules during the game, no matter who gets hurt, or whether the playing field remains level." He has become so depressed by the direction of our nation that he plans to turn his flag upside down in protest.

More than just Democrats are pointing to the growing disconnect between the political imperatives of the GOP base and the views of the public at large. One Republican strategist acknowledged "a mini-revolt" and noted "They [GOP Members] walked the plank on Social Security reform under much duress, and now they were walking the plank on Schiavo, you're going to see the beginning of Bush's difficulties with Congress for a second term because the congressman deal in self-preservation and these are just two strikes for 2005, and we're just getting through the first quarter."

The Schiavo case has taught the entire country that the Republican leadership is willing to systematically cast aside the norms of politics and comity in the Congress, the courts, the state legislatures, and even our most intimate family decisions. In days gone by, congressional redistricting was known to be so politically contentious and coarsening of relationships, that state legislatures felt bound by precedent and decency to only engage in such efforts every ten years, as specified by the Constitution. In Texas and now, in Georgia, those norms have been cast aside. The legacy of the GOP majority will be ceaseless partisan manipulation for maximum political benefit, with diminishing returns to the American people. The sooner their tenure comes to an end, the better for all of us.

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION

Friday, April 08, 2005

 

A New Living Will...

I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, unequivocally declare that in the event of a catastrophic injury, I do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances -- and I can't state this too strongly -- should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

...if a reasonable amount of time passes -- say, ____ (fill in the blank) months -- and I fail to sit sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better.

For the full text of this document, click here.

Monday, April 04, 2005

 

Maher: Abstinence Pledges Suck -- Literally

Abstinence pledges suck -- literally
As news spreads that teens who pledge chastity have lots more kinky sex, millions of aging boomers ask: Where was Bush when I was in high school?

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Bill Maher
Courtesy of Salon

April 1, 2005 | New Rule: Abstinence pledges make you horny. A new eight-year study just released reveals that American teenagers who take "virginity" pledges of the sort so favored by the Bush administration wind up with just as many STDs as the other kids.

But that's not all -- taking the pledges also makes a teenage girl six times more likely to perform oral sex, and a boy four times more likely to get anal. Which leads me to an important question: where were these pledges when I was in high school?

Seriously, when I was a teenager, the only kids having anal intercourse were the ones who missed. My idea of lubrication was oiling my bike chain. If I had known I could have been getting porn star sex the same year I took Algebra II, simply by joining up with the Christian right, I'd have been so down with Jesus they would have had to pry me out of the pew.

For a bunch of teens raised on creationism, these red state kids today are pretty evolved -- sexually, anyway, and for that they can thank all who joined forces to try and legislate away human nature, specifically the ineluctable urge of teenagers to hump.

Yes, the "What do we tell the children?" crowd apparently decided not to tell them anything. Because people who talk about pee-pees are potty-mouths. And so armed with limited knowledge, and believing regular, vaginal intercourse to be either immaculate or filthy dirty, these kids did with their pledge what everybody does with contracts: they found loopholes. Two of them to be exact.

Is there any greater irony than the fact that the Christian Right actually got their precious little adolescent daughters to say to their freshly scrubbed boyfriends: "Please, I want to remain pure for my wedding night, so only in the ass. Then I'll blow you." Well, at least these kids are really thinking outside the box.

There's a lot worse things than teenagers having sex, namely, teenagers NOT having sex. Here's something you'll never hear: "That suicide bomber blew himself up because he was having too much sex. Sex, sex, sex, non-stop. All that crazy Arab ever had was sex, and look what happened."

Well, that's our story -- of how faith and the party of smaller government combined to turn your kids into a generation of super-freaks. Which shouldn't be surprising: Prohibition didn't work, "Just say no" didn't work, and I understand there's a host of Americans who illegally obtain and smoke marijuana. They're the ones who've been giggling every time I say anal sex.

Friday, April 01, 2005

 

A Living Will Is The Best Revenge

This was originally published in the St. Petersburg Times.

Living will is the best revenge
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.

Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at friedman@sptimes.com
 

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