Marriage is love.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

America Gone Nuts

Another swing
of the pocketbook
Ford Motor Co., in a magazine advertisement, promises to donate $1,000 to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for each Jaguar sold.

Ad for Ford’s Jaguar


Monday, May 30, 2005

What's Wrong with Colorado Springs?

Until recently, Colorado Springs was best known as the home of the US Air Force Academy. The Academy is well-known for its beautiful chapel building. The Academy's Core Values are as follows: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. These are the Air Force Core Values. Study them . . . understand them . . . follow them . . . and encourage others to do the same. I contend that the Academy, with the encouragement of surrounding churches, routinely perverts these Core Values.

Here is a Fact Sheet on the Cadet Chapel which actually contains a synagogue as well as Protestant and Catholic chapels. However, Jewish students are not permitted to use their chapel on Saturdays for the Jewish Sabbath because the Air Force has better things for them to do, such as attending football games. Since the Torah is typically read on Saturday mornings, the Academy apparently believes in separating Jewish cadets from both the Hebrew Bible and God as they understand God. However, the Academy has been in the news in recent years for two different scandals: 1) Sexual harassment/rape of female cadets by male cadets and 2) Religious harassment of both non-Christian and non-Evangelical cadets perpetrated by Evangelical Christian cadets, faculty and staff.

Here's a Harper's Magazine article on what's wrong with Colorado Springs, now best known as the Home of Pastor Ted Haggard's New Life Church, Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and other evangelical Christian ministries.


ESPN on All-American Lacrosse Goalie Andrew Goldstein...

...who also happens to be openly gay!

Goldstein's Bio on Dartmouth College Website


US News: Make Way for Gay Penguins

Roy and Silo weren't like the other penguins at the Central Park Zoo. The two males paired off and raised a hatchling chick, becoming a same-sex penguin family and media darlings. Justin Richardson, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia and Cornell, collaborated with playwright Peter Parnell, his partner, and illustrator Henry Cole to put together a children's book about the animals' story, And Tango Makes Three ($15, ages 4–8)....


BBC: Brazil hosts huge Gay Pride march

Hundreds of thousands of people have converged for a huge Gay Pride parade in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

Crowds carrying rainbow flags danced through one of the main avenues, as floats blasted music from loudspeakers.

Organisers said nearly two million people were at the march. If the figure is confirmed, that makes the parade the biggest of its kind in the world.

The event's managers said the parade was not just a party, but also a demonstration for equal rights.

One of the parade organisers, Antonio Carlos da Silva, told the BBC Brazil had a long way to go in overcoming homophobia.

"This is a very macho country, especially some parts of the country," he said.

"We also rank first in violence against gays so from gay bashing to murder we have a lot of problems in this country."

Another organiser, Pedro Almeida, told AFP news agency: "A homosexual is murdered here every two days - just for being homosexual."



Sunday, May 29, 2005

You Go, Girl!

IRL rookie Danica Patrick, 23, becomes first woman to finish in top 5 at Indianapolis 500...


Saturday, May 28, 2005

BBC: Women Risk Their Health for Others

Many women risk their own health for the sake of their loved ones, according to research.

Two-thirds of women surveyed by the British Heart Foundation said they were more concerned about the health of family and friends than their own.

And a fifth of the 1,154 respondents said they were not concerned with their own health at all.

Psychologists said this behaviour was likely to be evolutionary to ensure the individual's genes are passed on...


The Right's Sugar Daddy Closes Down

WASHINGTON | May 29, 2005
Goals Reached, Donor on Right Closes Up Shop
By JASON DePARLE in the New York Times

The John M. Olin Foundation has spent three decades financing the intellectual rise of the right and exciting the envy of the left. Now the foundation is closing its doors....


We're off to NYC!!

Off to our own personal Utopia - the BIG APPLE

Talk to you Wednesday!'


Julien, Alix, and wonderdog Verdell


Friday, May 27, 2005

Indianapolis Star: Paganism ruling stirs outcry

May 27, 2005

Experts expect court to overturn order that bars divorced pair from exposing son to Wicca.
By Kevin Corcoran in the Indianapolis Star

A court order prohibiting a Marion County father and his ex-wife from exposing their son to "non-mainstream religious beliefs" is likely to be reversed, legal experts said Thursday.

However, publicity about the divorce case could help better educate people about Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion, said Andrew Koppelman, a Northwestern University law professor.



Heh heh

May 26


Spy vs. Spy

When will it end folks? Those in DC in charge of our lives have it in mind to turn our lives into their goldfish bowl. These are not, I repeat not, conservatives. These are fascists. They think, act and legislate as fascists. Wake up America before its too late:
"By Bill Piper, AlterNet
Posted on May 18, 2005, Printed on May 27, 2005

Neighbors spying on neighbors? Mothers forced to turn in their sons or daughters? These are images straight out of George Orwell's 1984, or a remote totalitarian state. We don't associate them with the land of the free and the home of the brave, but that doesn't mean they couldn't happen here. A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force.

Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. H.R. 1528, cynically named "Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act," would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, and even go undercover and wear a wire if needed. If a person resisted, he or she would face mandatory incarceration.

Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to police within 24 hours:

  • You find out that your brother, who has children, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife;
  • You discover that your son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint;
  • You learn that your daughter asked her boyfriend to find her some drugs, even though they're both in treatment.

In each of these cases you would have to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. Taking time to talk to your relative about treatment instead of calling the police immediately could land you in jail.

In addition to turning family member against family member, the legislation could also put many Americans in danger by forcing them to go undercover to gain evidence against strangers.

Even if the language that forces every American to become a de facto law enforcement agent is taken out, the bill would still impose draconian sentences on college students, mothers, people in drug treatment and others with substance abuse problems. If enacted, this bill will destroy lives, break up families, and waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

Despite growing opposition to mandatory minimum sentences from civil rights groups to U.S. Supreme Court Justices, the bill eliminates federal judges' ability to give sentences below the minimum recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. This creates a mandatory minimum sentence for all federal offenses, drug-related or not.

H.R. 1528 also establishes new draconian penalties for a variety of non-violent drug offenses, including:

  • Five years for anyone who passes a marijuana joint at a party to someone who, at some point in his or her life, has been in drug treatment;
  • Ten years for mothers with substance abuse problems who commit certain drug offenses at home (even if their children are not at home at the time);
  • Five years for any person with substance abuse problems who begs a friend in drug treatment to find them some drugs.

These sentences would put non-violent drug offenders behind bars for as long as rapists, and they include none of the drug treatment touted in the bill's name.

At a time when everyone from the conservative American Enterprise Institute to the liberal Sentencing Project is slamming the war on drugs as an abject failure, Sensenbrenner is trying to escalate it, and to force all Americans to become its foot soldiers. Instead of enacting new mandatory minimums, federal policymakers should look toward the states. A growing number have reformed their drug sentencing laws, including Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York and Texas, and they have proved it is possible to both save money and improve public safety.

Simply put, there is no way H.R. 1528 can be fixed. The only policy proposal in recent years that comes close to being as totalitarian as this bill is Operations TIPS, the Ashcroft initiative that would have encouraged -- but not required -- citizens to spy on one another. Congress rightfully rejected that initiative and they should do the same with H.R. 1528. Big Brother has no business here in America.

Bill Piper is director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance."


Thursday, May 26, 2005

More Residents Lack Health Care Coverage

Okay - maybe the readers of reality-based blogs can help me figure this one out...according to the Ohio News Network:

More and more people each year are without health insurance, and Ohio falls in line as more than twelve percent of the population was without coverage last year.

That number is up nearly 3.5 percent from 2003.

In Cleveland, MetroHealth Medical Center is the only place the uninsured can go for treatment. Twenty percent of the people who came through the door at MetroHealth last year were uninsured.

Dr. Reed Tuckson believes a lack of coverage affects, and costs, everyone. He says, "We know that when there are people who don't get the preventive services, the screening services they need, they have disease burdens that put all of us at risk for communicable disease, so we're all affected."

MetroHealth provided $108 million in charity care in 2003. That number jumped to $123 million last year.

So, Ohio can't insure its citizens against illness and disease (I consider Ohio the microcosm of the situation in many states...).

I would think that a state with the plethora of churches rich enough to build statues like this...

...would certainly have enough money to help with healthcare of the needy.

I would argue that it might be a little more "WWJD-esque" to have put some of the $$$$ it cost for what looks for all the world to me like a f*cking graven image into helping some of those who might just be losing their houses due to bankruptsy after being treated for cancer.

But no, unfortunately, Ohio churches (and most churches) are more focused on big-assed-jeezus statues than helping citizens in need.


Lunatics In Charge


For the entire post click here


Like It Is

TalkLeft states:
"Harry Reid: Americans Less Safe

Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid introduced the party's reform agenda today at the National Press Club. He made an interesting observation (received by e-mail):

As of this month, more time has passed since 9-11 than the time between Pearl Harbor and the defeat of Japan. During those three years and eight months – sixty years ago – we invaded North Africa and Normandy. We freed people from the Philippines to France. Hitler lay dead and Tojo was in chains. We had defeated fascism around the world and had begun to build the new United Nations.

But today Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, our homeland is still not secure, we’re still not energy independent, and – in many ways – Americans are less safe than we were before 9-11.

10:54 AM | Permalink"


Conservatives ANGRY at Filibuster Deal

Oh crap.

Here we go again.



Power Grab

Analysis: GOP Tilting Balance Of Power to the Right
By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 26, 2005; Page A01

As Democrats tell it, this week's compromise on judges was about much more than the federal courts. If President Bush and congressional allies had prevailed, they say, the balance of power would have been forever altered.

Yet, amid the partisan rhetoric, a little-noticed fact about modern politics has been lost: Republicans have already changed how the business of government gets done, in ways both profound and lasting....


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why playing nice is pointless: we need to be cut-throat and win


The Democrats managed a "compromise" with the Republicans.

And here is what the RethugliKKKan "base" is saying, per Shot in the Dark (reposted on John Aravosis's

To: Bill Frist, US Senate.
From: Mitch Berg, Schmuck Citizen and pissed-off former GOP contributor
Re: Your Infinite Cretinism

Senator Frist,

Mitch Berg here. You probably don't know who I am; I'm a typical schmuck. I write a blog, and I try to pitch in on GOP activities around Minnesota.

And on behalf of the entire GOP, I'm having a hard time walking right now - because you just boned your party up the a**.

No, not just the party; not just the assembly of suits and climbers and hangers-on that no doubt surrounds you at work every day. No, I'm talking about all of us who busted our asses overcoming a full-court media press (and continue to do so), and gave of our time and money until it hurt - hurt our wallets, our families, our relationships, our equilibrium. We gave them all with enthusiasm because we knew what was at stake; a whole generation of Supreme Court decisions.

So we gave. And you took.

And today, you looked us all in the face, and spat.

Reading Michelle and John and Ed, I'm about as depressed as I can be.

We won you a majority, pinhead. What the hell good is it? You think the Democrats are going to abide by your little gentleman's agreement? You got conned. You entered into an agreement with a Klansman, a drunk machine hack and a party bag man. You are the Neville Chamberlain of my generation.

I don't believe in Karma, but I believe what goes around comes around. And I guess you demonstrate it, Frist. The Democrats elect a pinhead doctor to lead their party - I guess it's only fair we did, too.

Thank God for Tom Delay. The least you could do is make it hard for the Dems to neutralize you, rather than walking off the cliff into the kool-aid vat on your own.

Captain Ed is right. Not one more dime. You have made me ashamed to be a Republican.

Oh, I'll bounce back. We all will - most of us, anyway. We'll have to. Because you showed us today - the grass roots have got to do it for themselves; we'll get no help from hamsters like you.

Sincerely - go back to medicine.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul.

What is the point? Liberals need to quit whining about fairness, understanding, and fostering harmony: the opposition, despite having everything, is clearly not on board with any sort of common ground.

The opposition is trying to break our jaws into tiny, wee bits: we need to wake up and do the same.



Why we should worry about Howard Dean

I have a feeling this Nuclear Option really has exposed Howard Dean's shortcomings.

After all, per a series of Articles this morning on, the Republicans pretty much got what they wanted, and liberals have, once again, been squashed (but, this time, not COMPLETELY squashed).

Just mostly squashed.

I guess Holly's worries were justified, but not, perhaps, for the reasons she historically cites.

I think the real worries are that, as head of the DNC, he's been too quiet and too polite of late - and we are still, vigorously, rigorously, and regularly, being trounced.

Even Dean and his "Radicalness" don't seem to be enough to slow these people down: just seven guilty minds with the owner's heads up an elephant's ass.

What the hell sort of Nation is this, Blanche?

Here is what conservative commentators have to say:

Right wing bloggers howl over Senate deal

-- Eric Boehlert

Speaking at the press conference yesterday that announced the compromise to avert a filibuster showdown, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conceded some conservatives would be angry at him for not helping to push the nuclear button. That's putting it mildly. If the right-wing bloggers are any indication, hardcore conservatives think the GOP gave away the store and delivered a key victory to Democrats.

[08:08 EDT, May 24, 2005]

And here's what a credible commentator has to say:

Done deal -- for now

The "Group of 14" moderates defuse the nuclear option, but who really wins and loses in the filibuster compromise? And how close are we to the next showdown?

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Tim Grieve

May 24, 2005 | Rejecting the plans of their leaders and the demands of the religious right, seven Republican senators joined seven Democrats Monday night in a last-minute agreement to avert the nuclear option and preserve, at least in theory, the Democrats' right to filibuster future judicial nominees. The war over judicial nominees isn't over; it may well explode again this summer, when George W. Bush will almost certainly have a chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice. But round one is done, and it goes to Senate tradition, the storied but seldom seen collegiality among senators -- and to the Democrats.

It's enough to make me want to puke in my shoes.

Read the full articles at; registration required (either the free "Day Pass" or a subscription) but well worth the read.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Russia’s Attitude Toward the U.S.: Ally or Adversary?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives at Ekho Moskvy radio station in April. (Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP-Getty Images)

Methinks that Condi is NOT so high on the gene pool for "smarts" as they would have you think....

After visiting Moscow for the first time as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice
told reporters she was bothered by the low regard many Russians have for the
United States. Most likely, Rice experienced this shock when being interviewed
by the Ekho Moskvy radio station. The host of this Moscow-based radio station
program asked listeners to call in and share their perceptions of the United
States. Out of 6,000 respondents, as reported by the radio station’s polling
center, 46 percent said they considered the United States to be Russia’s
adversary, while 54 percent said the United States was Russia’s ally.

This is the way the United States is perceived in Russia — Russian society is split on
its attitude toward the United States, and extremely negative viewpoints live
alongside very positive perceptions. Obviously, the United States is a hot topic
for debating among Russian people, and most Russians have something to say about
the United States and Americans.

The rest of the article is HERE.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Too Good NOT to Share in its Entirety...

I saw this posted by Karen Zipdrive, and thought it was worth posting here...

Bush: Worst President Ever?

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted May 20, 2005.

Herbert Hoover may have triggered the Great Depression, but he didn't invade another nation on false pretenses, authorize torture of prisoners, or try to stack the courts.

For the record, I don't like George Bush. And I don't like most of the people who work for George Bush. So, diehard Republicans can just brush aside my remarks as so much partisan blather.

But by now I suppose very few diehard Republicans ever read what I write. So do me a favor -- e-mail this to the diehards in your family and circle of friends. Ask them to tell me why I am wrong about this:

George Bush is the worst president of the United States of America, ever. Hands down.

And here are just a few reasons why I believe that statement is true.

America the Disgraced

President Bush's actions and policies have destroyed America's image as a nation that adheres to a set of core values, such as the rule of law, humane treatment of prisoners, presumed innocence, trial by jury and respect for international laws.

How do I know this? Because the world is telling us so, whenever we care enough to ask.

Positive views of the U.S. in Russia have risen 11 points in the past year. But U.S. favorability ratings in France and Germany are somewhat lower than last year and there has been a larger decline in Great Britain (58 percent now, 70 percent last year). Young people in Great Britain, France, and Germany have more negative views of America than do people in other age groups. An important factor in world opinion about America is the perception that the U.S. acts internationally without taking account of the interests of other nations. Large majorities in every nation surveyed believe that America pays little or no attention to their country's interests in making its foreign policy decisions. This opinion is most prevalent in France (84 percent), Turkey (79 percent) and Jordan (77 percent), but even in Great Britain 61 percent say the U.S. pays little or no attention to British interests.

Nice going George. Even Richard Nixon couldn't tarnish America's image that much.

George's Vietnam

Then there's the war that is largely responsible for that drop in our international image. President Bush really screwed this one up. First, everyone not drinking the neocon Kool-Aid tried to warn George not to pull that trigger. Then Army chief of staff, Gen. Shinseki, warned Bush that a war in Iraq would not be the "cake walk" his neocon Rasputin, Paul Wolfowitz, promised. Instead, he warned, we would need a lot of troops in Iraq for long time. For that piece of advice he was first publicly embarrassed by his boss then shown the door, according to The New York Times:

At a Pentagon news conference neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned Gen. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, by name. But both men were clearly irritated at the general's suggestion that a post-war Iraq might require many more forces than the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort. "The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

That was 2003. Here's a story from today's paper.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 19 - American military commanders in Baghdad and Washington gave a sobering new assessment on Wednesday of the war in Iraq. ... In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major draw-down in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last "many years."

Gee. Who saw that coming?

So, thanks to George W. Bush and the handful of Neocon nuts you listen to. Now we are stuck in another Vietnam-type war thousands of miles from home. All the Vietnam trappings are here for anyone who cares to notice -- indigenous insurgents, driven by a fanatical ideology, supported and supplied by "spoiler" nation-states with their own anti-U.S. agendas, thousands of dead civilians, American soldiers dying by the gross week in and week out, with no end in sight.

Nice going, George. Maybe because you skipped out on the Vietnam War you didn't know this could happen. Or maybe you really are as dumb as common road gravel.

Sovietization of America

One of the Republican party's proudest boasts is that Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Evil Empire. The irony is they are now recreating pieces of that police state here at home now.

Hyperbole? You judge -- while you still can. From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, May 18 - The Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders are pushing a plan that would significantly expand the F.B.I.'s power to demand business records in terror investigations without obtaining approval from a judge, officials said on Wednesday. "This is a dramatic expansion of the federal government's power," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. "It's really a power grab by the administration for the F.B.I. to secretly demand medical records, tax records, gun purchase records and all sorts of other material if they deem it relevant to an intelligence investigation."

Now, the Patriot Act -- you know, the law that among other things allows federal agents to demand your local library tell them what books you are reading -- is about to be expanded.

Little by little this administration has chipped away at state powers by transferring them to Washington. And nowhere has this process been more pronounced than in the area of law enforcement and the courts. The FBI, which once had to defer to local and state law enforcers when on their turf, can now barge right in and take charge. All they have to do is an investigation a "national security" or "homeland security" matter.

Federal courts, which have acted as a brake on law enforcement abuses, are being systemically stacked with rightwing judges less likely to side with victims of overzealous cops or invasions of personal privacy.

That's why this is going on right now:

WASHINGTON, May 18 - The Senate plunged into an intense partisan struggle on Wednesday over the fate of stalled federal court nominees and the governance of the institution itself as the two parties locked in a debate over the right of the minority to prevent votes on a president's judicial candidates. "If Republicans roll back our rights in this chamber, there will be no check on their power," said Senator Reid. "The radical, right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees, the president's nominees in general and legislation like Social Security privatization.

The Bushites are on a neocon roll and the federal judiciary is their final obstacle. If they can stack the appellate courts and appoint two rightwing Supreme Court justices before the end of Bush's final term, it will be "game over" for civil libertarians -- and America as we knew her.

Peasantization of Workers

Over the past five years we have seen the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of money. The already wealthy have become mind-numbingly rich under George Bush. Where did the money come from? It came right out of the pockets of working Americans and the poor.

I heard that groan from the right. Same old liberal, bleeding-heart bullshit, right?

So, you judge.

What the right has accomplished in just five years is the creation of a low-wage economy -- a management wet dream -- a country filled with high-skilled workers so desperate for jobs they will work for peanuts. Once powerful labor unions have been powerless to stop the flow of once high-paying blue and gray-collar jobs to cheap overseas venues. The jobs that replaced those lost to outsourcing pay an average of ten grand a year less. (As I said above, the money came straight out of workers' pockets.)

Deflating Inflation

The administration likes to boast that it has kept inflation in check. Yes they have, at least somewhat. But the reasons inflation remains low are all bad reasons that will result in very bad news down the road.

First, consumers have less money to spend, as noted above. Since consumer spending power is a prime driver of price inflation, prices on many core consumer products have remained low. And many of those now low-price products keeping inflation low are no longer made here but in cheap-labor countries like China.

But inflation has many causes, not just consumer spending. Raw materials, shipping costs, currency fluctuations. And deep inside the bowels of the economic gut, rumbling can be heard.

WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices jumped again last month, primarily reflecting sharp increases in food and energy costs, the government reported today. But prices for items other than food and energy were flat in April, while oil and gas prices have fallen since then, the Labor Department said, boosting hopes in financial markets that the recent inflation flare-up may be fading. Food prices climbed 0.7 percent last month, largely because of the rising costs of fruits and vegetables. But the so-called core-CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, was unchanged in April and is up 2.6 percent from April of last year.

Inflation is not as benign as the government figures pretend. This is because of how they calculate inflation on individual items in the CPI and can fiddle with the facts. For example, if HP replaces a printer with a new model that might include a few modest enhancements over it's predecessor which sold for $100, but prices the new model $125, government economists can claim the price really did not go up because the new model is better than the old model.

Trouble is you can't buy the old model any longer, but never mind that. Even though you have to pay more for basically the same printer, the price did not go up -- because "they" say so.

How much of that is going on in calculating the CPI? Plenty. And if you shop you know it. They keep saying inflation is in check, but the checks I have to write for everything from my utilities to the food keep getting larger.

The point -- figures don't lie but liars can figure -- and they are.

Keeping Up Keeping Up

If things are so bad, why hasn't the economy slipped back into recession? Because it's been running on credit. During Bush's first term the economy perked up because Bush pumped $1.6 trillion in tax rebates into it. That was like giving a dying patient an injection of meth and then claiming he was cured because he was up and jerking around in bed.

Once consumers consumed their paltry tax rebates and the wealthy had deposited their hefty rebates into family trust accounts, the economy would have slowed again -- had it not been for low interest rates and easy credit. Consumers turned into home-equity vampires and credit card addicts in order to maintain the middle-class lifestyle their new low-paying jobs could no longer finance.

And, the government as well went on a borrowing binge running up a national credit card debt of just over $7 trillion.

All that damage in just five years! It's almost unimaginable, but true. And the negative long-term implications stagger those who understand that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, that deficits do matter, be they government deficits or consumer's.

Christian Jihadists

I will not belabor this point, except to say that, at the very time Bush berates religious fundamentalists abroad, he has breached the wall between religion and state here at home. He has jimmied open this Pandora's Box and there will be hell to pay for it eventually -- as there has been everywhere on earth where this was done.

All the above, and more, is why I contend that George W. Bush is the worst president EVER. Hands down, no one else even comes close.

Herbert Hoover may have triggered the Great Depression, but he didn't invade another nation on false pretenses, authorize torture of prisoners, or try to stack the courts. Franklin Roosevelt did try to stack the courts but Congress said "no" and he said "OK," and went on the save the world from fascism and secure the lives of America's elderly by creating Social Security -- which Bush now wants to subvert.

Johnson and Nixon did fight an illegal and immoral war but Johnson lifted millions out of poverty and got the Civil Rights Act passed, much to his own party's determent. Nixon tried to subvert the Constitution but was caught and thrown out of office before he could succeed.

But I fear it's too late to stop George W. Bush and his band of right-wing revolutionaries. We have let them get too far along now to stop them. We have let them neutralize too many constitutional checks and balances. And once they deep-six the filibuster it truly will be game over.

Yes, the Democrats have begun to fight, but too little and now too late. The only recourse soon will be public demonstrations of the kind and size not seen here since the 1970s.

The only question is, are there still enough of us out here who give a damn.

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans," which was nominated for a Pulitzer.


Saturday, May 21, 2005


Via :

"Stem Sell
"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is - I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it.''
Just in case you are confused, using taxpayers' money to destroy this life in order to save lives is evil:

But using taxpayers' money to destroy this life in order to save lives is good:

It looks to me as if the best way to convince Bush and his followers to support stem cell research is to propose that we only use Arab embryos."


Julien's List Has a New Look!

Ms. Julien would like to take a moment on this beautiful Saturday afternoon to thank profusely Mr. Dark Wraith, author of - among other things - The Dark Wraith Forums, as well as a co-contributor on Big Brass Blog, along with a bunch of us reality-based folks.

Mr. Dark Wraith has spent a considerable amount of time helping the "collective" of new/emerging bloggers (his "HTML for Bloggers" article on his website is invaluable to us neophyte coders, for example...).

He has also been instrumental in the "new look" of Julien's List - and I (and my co-contributors) certainly appreciate the fact that the site no longer has the look of a Blogger template!

I especially appreciate the watermark (scroll all the way down to the end of the posts to see it!)...

It is a friendly place, this Blogosphere!


More Lying Liars!

They are RE-WRITING your history, folks - Remember Galloway's speech? And how it was somehow scrubbed from the senate investigations committee website?

Take a look at the website of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs...I added the bolding on the text:

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Title: Oil For Influence: How Saddam Used Oil to Reward Politicians Under the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program
Date: 5/17/05

Witnesses Testimony

Panel 1
Mark L. Greenblatt [View PDF], Counsel , U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Steven A. Groves [View PDF], Counsel , U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Dan M. Berkovitz [View PDF], Counsel to the Minority , U. S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Panel 2
George Galloway, Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow, Great Britain

Mr Galloway did not submit a statement

Panel 3

Thomas A. Schweich [View PDF], Chief of Staff, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, U. S. Department of State

Robert W. Werner [View PDF], Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U. S. Department of the Treasury

Peter Reddaway [View PDF], Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University


Asia Heads List of Exploited Labor Says U.N. Report

Ya know, I guess this is why Walmart sells its stuff so cheaply - I guess I find it hard to see how the "Murkans" in the midwest feel so patriotic yet spend their paltry pay at the Walmart every week, where their savings come from the sweat and abuse of forced laborers in Asia...

From World Press Review:

Workers unload sacks of rice from a truck in the outskirts of Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar. (Photo: Law Eh Soe / AFP-Getty Images)

Over three-quarters of the 12 million people worldwide who are exploited in
forced labor conditions are in Asia, according to a comprehensive global report
released last week by United Nations social justice and work rights agency the
International Labour Organization (I.L.O.).

Defining forced labor as “work extracted under threat and against a
person’s will,” the report has assessed the Asia and Pacific region as heading
the worldwide list with 9.5 million people. Latin America follows with 1.3
million, Sub-Saharan Africa with 660,000 and Europe and the United States with

Total global profits earned from the exploitation of men, women and
children have been calculated as being $32 billion, the first time such an
estimate of the illicit industry has been made.

The rest of the article is HERE...

Interesting that in Europe and the US there are 360,000 considered to be in "forced labor" situations...must be the Main Stream Media being "forced" to spew the propaganda of BushCo...


Friday, May 20, 2005

Galloway's Senate Testimony Scrubbed from Official Subcommittee Website!

From BradBlog:
Galloway's Senate Testimony Scrubbed from Official Subcommittee
Chairman Coleman's Office Passes Buck for Explanation!

The stunning testimony given by British MP George Galloway before the
U.S. Senate subcommittee on Investigations is apparently so hot that it seems to
have "gone AWOL" from the subcommittee's website according to the British
newsite VNU Network.The BRAD BLOG can confirm that all witness testimony --
except that of Galloway's -- from last Tuesday's extraordinary hearings is
available in PDF format on the subcommittee's webpage on the hearings.

Details, Screenshot, Comments from Coleman's Office:

Looks like Galloway hit too close to home!!!!

We need to be SCARED that we are living in a place that can arbitrarily 'scrub' public record testimony from its websites.

I paid my taxes for that website, damn it - I want NOTHING left out!


Bias at NPR

There is much uproar now about biased reporting at NPR (National Public Radio) and PBS. Perhaps it is difficult to differentiate the true from the false in the numerous reports. Since I moved to Cincinnati, I have been blessed with access to 4 different NPR stations. I listen to all of them and belong to one of them.

Whereas I disagree with the Bush administration's attempt to control NPR by molding it in their own image, this does not mean that ALL complaints concerning NPR's coverage are illegitimate.

More than four years ago I started hearing complaints that NPR's coverage of Israel and the Palestinians was biased. I hadn't noticed. At the time, Linda Gradstein was giving a speech in Cincinnati and I was covering the event for the local Jewish newspaper. So I visited a couple of media watchdog sites, CAMERA and Honest Reporting, and started listening more carefully to NPR's coverage of the Middle East. Over time I realized that NPR's coverage of this issue was indeed biased in a most unpleasant way. Hearing Julie McCarthy, in particular, makes me want to throw up and I immediately switch to a non-NPR radio station. I find CAMERA to have a rightward slant but am positively impressed with Honest Reporting. I have written several emails to NPR's WVXU-FM concerning its additional incitement by its truly odious Sunday evening local programming which cloaks anti-Semitism in social justice language and even broadcasts the often-biased BBC News from Midnight - 5 AM. Many people no longer financially support WVXU or patronize its advertisers due to its lack of responsiveness on this issue. Possibly as a consequence, WVXU lost "All Things Considered" and has since been sold to another NPR station. For a year after I went back to work full-time, I wanted to support Public Radio but my conscience would not permit me to do so. Finally I picked the least-offensive NPR station in the Tristate and became a member.

Here is an article describing problems caused by the Bush administration's attempts to censor NPR:

NPR Radio Wars Putting Jewish Groups In A Bind
Perceived Mideast bias dragged into wider fight over censorship.
James D. Besser - Washington Correspondent
The (NY) Jewish Week

Longstanding complaints by pro-Israel groups about unbalanced Mideast coverage by National Public Radio could be ammunition in a raging battle over what the Bush administration sees as the network’s liberal bias.

That pleases pro-Israel media watchdog groups that have been pressing NPR to end what it calls the station’s journalistic bias against Israel. But it worries some Jewish leaders because of the possibility the pro-Israel agenda could become ensnared in a political spat involving charges of censorship and partisan bias.

“It’s a very complicated situation for the Jewish community,” said University of Richmond political scientist Akiba Covitz. “This controversy is part of a broader trend of trying to limit criticism of the president. He wants no government money going to anyone who does not support him, and that means NPR.”

At the same time, Covitz said, the Jewish community has legitimate grievances against the network for unbalanced, unfair reporting on Mideast matters that has improved only slightly, despite intensive efforts by Jewish leaders and media watchdog groups.

“NPR is a major opinion maker,” Covitz said, “and you have to be wary of a news organization that has such a hard time coming down the middle on such an important issue.”


Some Jewish leaders worry that two separate issues — the fight over NPR’s skewed Mideast coverage and the administration’s anger over what it sees as left-wing bias in coverage of its policies — are being mixed together.

“Jews, of all people, have perhaps the most to lose when the media becomes biased in one direction or another,” Covitz said, citing a pattern of unbalanced reporting by several top NPR reporters who cover the Mideast. “At the same time, Jews have an interest in making sure the government stays out of the spin business.”

The current controversy, he said, smacks of an administration that wants to quash dissent from the liberal NPR network.

Alan Sagner, a former CPB chairman, agrees.

“It’s part of the change that this administration wants to make in every aspect of American life: in the separation of church and state, in the environment, in women’s rights, in the representation of the truth,” said Sagner, who served in the top CPB post in the late 1990s. “It’s about censoring views this administration doesn’t like.”

The current controversy, he said, is mostly about administration anger at PBS — the television arm of public broadcasting — over its coverage of the Bush administration’s domestic policies.

“They’re using [charges about NPR’s Mideast coverage] as leverage to support their irresponsible positions,” he said. The Israel issue “is getting caught up in something that’s basically a partisan battle.”


Other Jewish leaders agree NPR’s coverage has been a problem but give it more credit for improving.

“NPR has been responsive,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Our dialogue with them has produced some improvement.

“Has it satisfied all our expectations? Of course not. But they are more open, more available to us and in certain respects better. They can no longer be called ‘National Palestinian Radio.’ ”

Foxman said Jewish concerns about fair coverage on NPR should be distinguished from administration concerns that its policies are not being fairly represented on the public network — and that the two issues shouldn’t get confused.

Other Jewish leaders warned that the Jewish community could get caught in an ugly crossfire.

“There are real risks here,” said an official with a major Jewish group. “This is going to be seen as an attempt at censoring the press. Do we want Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to be associated with that?

“The administration isn’t cracking down on NPR because it’s unfair to Israel; it’s cracking down because it doesn’t like the coverage of its policies. Our concerns could get lost in the backlash to that.”

© 2000 - 2002 The Jewish Week, Inc. All rights reserved.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

My Emails to My Senators This AM

Senators Voinovich and DeWine,

I am writing to you today in support of the Senate minority's right to filibuster when necessary, even in the case of judicial nominees. At this point the federal judiciary is the only thing preventing extremists from eliminating my right to freedom of religion or criminalizing my consensual sexual behavior.

I urge you to protect the citizens of the State of Ohio by opposing Sen. Frist's plan to eliminate the filibustering of judicial nominees.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Real Filibuster Story

In my opinion the true reason behind the Republican desire to extinguish the filibuster rule has as much, if not more, to do with the Vice Presidency, rather than with judges. Although we have recently heard and read about Cheney thinking about running for President in 2008, I do not believe it. It's a red herring. Rather, I believe that soon after the filibuster is done away with, Cheney will step down, and that office will be vacant. What happens then? The 25th Amendment, Section 2, to the United States Constitution kicks in. It provides:

"Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress."

Thus, with the filibuster out of the way, Republicans can walk their pick right into office. If the filibuster remaines intact, the Democrats have a say. It's that simple.


CityBeat Editorial: Any Moderates Left?

Holly says: CityBeat is a Cincinnati-based alternative weekly newspaper.

Any Moderates Left?
By John Fox

Moderate Republicans, we're all counting on you. I know you're out there living your daily life, working your job, paying your taxes, loving your family. You're conservative on social issues and money issues. You like to live your life without government assistance or intervention, and you're happy to let others live their own lives as well.

But while you're living your life, you've let your political party get hijacked by religious zealots. They started out innocently enough promoting "family values" and fighting child pornography, but as they picked up power their true agenda has begun to crystallize.

They dominate the Republican Party and now, with your assistance, the country. Where have you been? Why aren't you more concerned?



DC's Whitman-Walker Clinic in Trouble

AIDS Clinic Caught in Cash Crisis
Whitman-Walker Delays Paychecks, Plans Cuts
By Susan Levine
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 18, 2005; Page B01

The Whitman-Walker Clinic, the region's leading source of services for people with HIV/AIDS, is struggling with a financial crisis that has depleted much of its reserves and forced its board to begin considering program cutbacks. On Friday, for the first time in its three decades, the clinic was unable to meet payroll.

A string of escalating budget and funding problems is responsible, according to interim Executive Director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti.


"It's a very serious situation," Geidner-Antoniotti acknowledged yesterday. "I do not believe we will close, but I cannot give anyone a 100 percent guarantee."

In a city with one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the country, the nonprofit organization's crisis could have major repercussions. Its effect would spread beyond the District's borders. Whitman-Walker, which opened in 1974 as a gay health clinic and built a national reputation, serves 7,000 clients throughout the Washington region. It has programs in the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. Last year, it administered 8,000 HIV tests.

"The breadth and depth of what is done at Whitman-Walker is not to be found elsewhere in the U.S. under one roof," said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), the clinic's executive director for 15 years. "This type of organization, if we didn't have it, we'd have to invent it."




from USNEWS.COM Washington Whispers Weekly:

WHISPER: 2008 buzz turns to Ohio, Wal-Mart

"The hot 2008 GOP presidential ticket links either Virginia Sen. George Allen or Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour with Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a 2006 gubernatorial candidate. Barbour and Allen we knew about, but Blackwell? He's the guy the Republicans love for certifying Ohio's 2004 vote for President Bush. And he's African-American and conservative. "With him as No. 2, it creates a dream ticket," said a GOP strategist."

Copyright (c) 2005 U.S.News & World Report L.P. All rights reserved.


Senator, have you no shame? ...

As written by Steve Clemons:
"George Galloway: Watch This a Third Time Even If You've Watched it Twice

There are too few great moments in our democracy lately.

We are collectively jaded, too prone to spin, and too willing to forgive our Senators and House Members' sacrifice of principle to curry favor with loyalty-obsessed White House.

George Voinovich startled the nation and the world with his eloquent rebuke of John Bolton. And today, George Galloway just tore the smug triumphalism and conceit of Senator Norm Coleman away in one of the great orations of the year.

Watch it again."


Words to Remember

UK MP George Galloway to Senator Coleman (and the world):
"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.

"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.

"You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.

"Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me whether the allegation from the source is true, that I am 'the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil'.

"Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not own a company that's been trading in Iraqi oil. And you have no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.

"Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they would have been up there in your slideshow for the members of your committee today.

"You have my name on lists provided to you by the Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many people to their credit in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

"There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.

"You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I've never met Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he's your prisoner, I believe he's in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens being held in those places.

"I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances. But you quote 13 words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.

"And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today because I agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal counsel on the committee].

"Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper, what counts is where's the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them today.

"Now you refer at length to a company names in these documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today: I have never heard of this company, I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me and I'll tell you something else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not a thin dime. I don't know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.

"Whilst I'm on that subject, who is this senior former regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don't you think I have a right to know? Don't you think the Committee and the public have a right to know who this senior former regime official you were quoting against me interviewed yesterday actually is?

"Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

"You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.

"And yet you've allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

"But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

"Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.

"In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.

"The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It's a proven fact that these forged documents existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable"

...the quote in the heading of this post is from George Lucas, the mastermind behind the Star Wars movie phenomenon.

Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 by the Associated Press
'Star Wars' Raises Questions on US Policy
by David Germain

Without Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11" at the Cannes Film Festival this time, it was left to George Lucas and "Star Wars" to pique European ire over the state of world relations and the United States' role in it.

Lucas' themes of democracy on the skids and a ruler preaching war to preserve the peace predate "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" by almost 30 years. Yet viewers Sunday — and Lucas himself — noted similarities between the final chapter of his sci-fi saga and our own troubled times.

Cannes audiences made blunt comparisons between "Revenge of the Sith" — the story of Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side and the rise of an emperor through warmongering — to President Bush's war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.

Two lines from the movie especially resonated:

"This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause," bemoans Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) as the galactic Senate cheers dictator-in-waiting Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) while he announces a crusade against the Jedi.

"If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," Hayden Christensen's Anakin — soon to become villain Darth Vader — tells former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor).

The line echoes Bush's international ultimatum after the Sept. 11 attacks, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"That quote is almost a perfect citation of Bush," said Liam Engle, a 23-year-old French-American aspiring filmmaker. "Plus, you've got a politician trying to increase his power to wage a phony war." Though the plot was written years ago, "the anti-Bush diatribe is clearly there," Engle said.

The rest of the article is HERE.

Alix and I are seeing the new Star Wars early Thursday evening - I look forward to seeing it, from this perspective...I also look forward to your thoughts, both before and after you see it!
Ms. Julien


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Yet ANOTHER Glimpse at those Conservative Values...

Holly in Cincinnati sent this over...question to start your week:


City councilman arrested on domestic violence charge By Dan Horn Cincinnati Enquirer staff writer

Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone was arrested early today after police accused him of beating his 14-year-old son with a belt.

Malone pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor domestic violence charge and was released after spending about eight hours in jail. He described the incident as "parental intervention" brought about by a disciplinary problem at his son's school on Friday.

"Our children cannot be expected to act in a disrespectful way to teachers and other individuals in positions of authority," Malone said today in a prepared statement. "Proper discipline is an important and necessary component of good parenting."

A police report said Malone hit his son with a belt, causing injuries that included swelling to the chest, arms, back and buttocks.

A spokeswoman for children's services in Hamilton County said doctors at a Cincinnati hospital contacted the agency Friday night after they found welts and belt marks on the boy's body.

"Parents are allowed to physically discipline their children," said Laurie Petrie, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Job and Family Services, which includes children's services.

"But this," she said, "would be beyond what we would consider normal discipline."

Malone's son is in the custody of a relative today because a judge granted a temporary protective order that bars Malone from having contact with the boy.

Malone is due in court again on May 31 for a pre-trial hearing, at which time he could ask the judge to lift the protective order.


Copyright 1995-2005. The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.

Councilman Sam Malone happens to be a Conservative Christian African-American Republican and "an accomplished boxer, wrestler, and powerlifter."
See Sam Malone's Bio with Photo:

How to Contact Councilman Sam Malone: 801 Plum Street, Room 346A City Hall, Cincinnati, OH 45202, phone: 513-352-1525 or fax: 513-352-1588, Email through

The following councilmen supported the (succesful) repeal of Cincinnati City Charter Article XII which discriminated against gay and lesbian Cincinnatians.

* Mayor Charlie Luken
* Vice Mayor Alicia Reece
* City Councilmember Laketa Cole
* City Councilmember John Cranley
* City Councilmember David Crowley
* City Councilmember David Pepper
* City Councilmember Christopher Smitherman
* City Councilmember Jim Tarbell

City Councilmember Malone opposed the repeal.


STEM CELLS: Scientist says Ohio endangers research

Article published Sunday, May 15, 2005
Bill bars the use of 3rd Frontier grants

COLUMBUS - An Ohio State University researcher who expects delivery within weeks of human embryonic stem cells is battling legislation he fears could endanger his hopes for a research center at the school.

"If this passes, it would be virtually impossible for Ohio to recruit the best and brightest scientists," said Douglas Kaniss, OSU professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and medical engineering. "This is sort of the Holy Grail of biology."

The Republican-controlled Ohio House inserted language into a proposed two-year state budget that would prohibit use of Third Frontier research and development grants for activities involving human embryonic stem cells or embryonic tissue.



Saturday, May 14, 2005

I Love Frank Rich!

May 15, 2005
Just How Gay Is the Right?
By FRANK RICH in the New York Times

"THE screen's first official gay bar," as it was labeled by the film historian Vito Russo, appeared in the 1962 political potboiler "Advise and Consent." Its most prominent visitor was a conservative United States senator.

As sheer coincidence would have it, Otto Preminger's adaptation of Allen Drury's best seller about a brutal confirmation fight was released on a sparkling new DVD last week just as the John Bolton nomination was coming to its committee vote. Like Hollywood's other riveting political movie of 1962, "The Manchurian Candidate," "Advise and Consent" is fallout from the McCarthy era: the controversial nominee for secretary of state (Henry Fonda, who else?) is a stand-in for Alger Hiss. But it may be in even less need of a remake: the intervening four decades have cast this film in a highly contemporary light....


Meanwhile, the High Priestess of Israeli Song Celebrates Independence Day at a Gay Nightclub

Yaffa Yarkoni - Israel's new gay icon
By Omer Barak in Haaretz

At 9:30 P.M. Wednesday, Israeli diva Yaffa Yarkoni, going on 80, sat back stage wearing a shiny white dress and tapping her fingers nervously. A few minutes later, she would begin a night of performances marking Israel's 57th birthday, first on the central stage at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, and ending among hundreds of shirtless gay fans at the Vox club in the same city.

"Let's honor the first lady, the pioneer, the high priestess of Israeli song," boomed the MC. The young crowd was a bit disoriented, but the images of tanks rolling across a screen and the sounds of, "The sun will stand still between Gaza and Rafah," helped provide some context. [snip]

"Hey, Hey, let's have our fill of joy," Yarkoni served up old favorites, followed by a sequence of childrens songs. Parents helped their younger kids along with the tunes. Later, "It's all because of love," which anyone 28 and up can hum along to. In one corner, a group of youngsters broke into a hora dance. "Like, duh..." Of course everyone knows Yaffa Yarkoni. She's thirty years older than anyone who knows her songs by heart, but still, she seems to belong on stage, as natural and immortal as the blue and white flags and the reams of string foam.

And yet, the singer misses her old audiences, perspiring men in fatigues huddling at the base of a hill, resting, their weapons cocked for when the fight resumes. Perhaps this is why she didn't think twice when she was invited to perform at Vox, a gay mega-dance club in southern Tel Aviv. But perhaps it was because Yarkoni is a "stage animal" who believes, "There is no bad audience, only bad artists." ETC...


Musings from Rochester, New York - or, "how I avoided studying this morning."

Dear Reader:

You know, all this lunacy about Republicans and the Christian Right is driving me to distraction: The Noo-Q-Lar option. Darwin in the courts in Kansas with the goal being Creationism in the Classroom. Creationism already implemented in Ohio. Non-Christian, Non-Traditional folk relegated to official second-class status with the blessing of various agencies and officials . . . while the officials themselves are either guilty of buggery ( John Aravosis catches Republican Mayor cruising for sex with men ; New York Times reports Spokane Republican Mayor crusing for sex on, giving jobs for hush-hush ) or pay their own wives to allow sodomy in the Christian Marital Bedroom ( Jesus-based FDA/Health & Human Services MD-Type Doctor pays own good Christian Wife for hot Anal and Blowjobs ). Meanwhile, all poor Congressman Sherwood (R - Pervert) wants is a back-rub and he wants it so badly he is willing to wring your neck to get it . . . while his friends at the Family Research Council claim that religious bias DOES make a good Federal Judge. Oh - if you don't know those two references? You damn well better start reading a bit more.

Speaking for myself, I cannot fathom where the Christian or Republican Citizenry in this nation get their ideas and their blind adherence to these incompetent leaders (and there are many, many more than I have mentioned - I have limited space and time: I have a life). From where I stand today, I see the Republican supporters among us engaging in a willful closing of eyes, ears, and mind with the sole guiding principle being "believing hard enough will make things better." And that belief can be anything. For example, "Jesus." Or perhaps, "the Republican economic model works." Or even "Republicans are the party of strength." Or, "Democrats will take my guns and beer."

As a liberal, an observant Jew (who, sadly, has to study on Saturday), a gay man, and a person in recovery (which means trying to practice both openness and objectivity in all things), I just plain don't "get it." Not one damn bit. On a most basic level, words and actions need to match - and the Good Republican Folk noted above are not exactly in-sync with their mouths. Forget "principles" for a moment because, for the duration of this paragraph, I'm willing to ignore the idea that a government of the people, by the people, for the people needs to serve the people. ALL the people. Just focus on the word "hypocrisy" because it applies.

Paragraph over and "We the people" again applies. Principles do mean something, after all. Any three-year-old betrayed by a parent's false promise can tell you that.

Speaking from my experience, for a long, long time (both as a teens-and-twenties Republican - for which I am still atoning; now as a Liberal), I have watched Fundamentalist Christians and Republicans push my former home, The State of Ohio, a bit further and further right with the average Ohio citizen just cheering these bastards on.

Because of this experience (spanning 36 years), I have reached the conclusion "choke them with what they want." Somehow, the bottom line for many in Ohio seems to be "my decisions are based on my wants and my wallet, and all the rest be damned." To illustrate, my own gay-supportive, loving, kind, and generous Jewish Step-Father voted for Bush. Shortly thereafter, he called me in disgust about the Schiavo case, saying, "This is disgusting! Why can't they just let the poor woman die with peace, dignity, and respect?"

He was equally disgusted a few months prior, when Ohio enacted the most Draconian "Family Values" constitutional change - a change that made gay and lesbian folk official, second-class citizens in Ohio.

He keeps saying, "I can't believe people still think this way! I thought we had progressed!" Never mind that he, himself, voted for Bush; for the Republican Governor of Ohio, Bob Taft; that he has voted down progressive education reforms; or, instead of pumping money into his community by supporting tax-based investment, he chose instead to take his tax-cut to the Jaguar dealer. . . twice. Never mind these same people my Step-Father voted for have flat-out proclaimed their Christian stance and guiding principles . . . stances and guiding principles that are overtly at odds with my Step-Father's own. He yet votes Republican because "Republican is good for business; growth in business under Republicans will level the playing field for all people."

After 25 years, I'm still waiting for that great leveling - or is that leveling possibly the poor economic times that are collectively hitting our wallets?

When the anti-gay change was voted into the Ohio Constitution, as when the Social Security "reforms" threatened, my Step-Dad exclaimed over the phone, "This is terrible! We should call the College Republicans!" I frankly hope he has called the College Republicans: he, like most people in Ohio, desperately need a wake-up-call.

Like the alcoholic, addict, or compulsive gambler, he will only open his eyes and really see when it hurts - and what amazes me is while he expresses his disappointment, it's not hurting yet.

Let us be honest with each other here on Julien's List: does ANYONE here think the College Republicans give a damn about my Step-Dad and his outrage? Especially when those College Republicans see a guy who owns a mid-sized business, two Jaguars, and has enough gray hair to announce his impending retirement (which means he starts dipping into the Social Security pot)? Do the College Republicans really care what my Step-Dad thinks, outside wanting to insure they get his donation dollar?

Given what has happened in the nation, can anyone here offer a rational reason for why my Step-Dad is still voting Republican (which I am now encouraging, as I want him to "hit bottom" faster: I can't take more of this craziness)?

As far as I can tell, the only person who does not see the picture clearly is my Step-Dad; the man with his ideals in his heart but both hands on the his wallet.

Despite listening to the news almost all day, my Step-Dad really has no idea what is going on - which is no surprise as, like most of his peers, his "news" is either FOX or CNN on the television, droning on into the background. FOX? CNN? McInformation for the McBrain - and supersizing does not add any information or insight, just more jingoistic propaganda.

Holly, a poster here, a dear friend of mine in the 3-D world, and an Ohio resident, keeps saying to these Ohio and Ohio-like folk, "educate yourself, educate yourself, educate yourself!" She's right: these people need political education. But just saying "educate yourself" without presenting the evidence and then being willing to fight - and fight both vigorously and mercilessly - is an exercise in futility. What Ohio starkly illustrates is what Republicanism is about: it's about not thinking too much (FOX, CNN) and simple greed. Besides, people like my Step-Father think themselves already educated. For people like my Step-Father, despite having decent, humanitarian views, it's not really the Republicans who are the real problem. It's us - the liberals: if we were doing "our part" (whatever the hell that is), we would not be in the boat we are today.

Amazing how some Jews still live near De-Nial in the post-Egyptian period, huh? Amazing, too, that De-Nial is not just a river in Egypt anymore: it's a veritable flood covering the nation.

I think that riff about my Step-Father illustrates "Typical Republicanism" vividly because I think his ideas are rather typical for his demographic: this is rugged individualism gone beyond the point of "working for self" evolving to "screw you - because I am entitled." Or, in a word, "mine." If I "think Republican" and I "act Republican," then the Republican philosophy means I get more of mine - and I get to keep mine, too. That is why, as a gay man with a complicated life, I was once a Republican as well.

Never mind that I (and all others like my Step-Dad or me) helped make Ohio the potential new home for "The Creation Science Museum." Or a place of rampant unemployment. Or a place with crappy public schools. Or a place where people are leaving because it is a place that is, frankly, a lousy place to live.

Why did I change my own views? I guess I somehow evolved beyond the point where "mine" mattered so much and "ours" and "us" mattered more . . . but I still can't see what Blue Folk in Red Ohio will gain by fighting in street protests: in Ohio (and places like Ohio), willful, prideful ignorance leads the Republican majority - and that majority is smug, arrogant, and winning every election. Those with enough power, money, and influence to actually make a difference in Ohio, assuming they even give a damn, either cower in fear of reprisal or, if they see us in the streets, just close the windows, dismiss us as "damn hippies," light a cigarette, and consider what else they can buy with their state-subsidized comfort, all the while muttering about what is wrong with the nation.

What about those who fight?

Consistently, I see those who fight are swept up in the Rightward winds. The locals successfully label them as "obstructionists liberals embracing the cult of death" (like any of us "LIE-bruls" really give a shit what names they call us); the State's Republican Party successfully portrays themselves as the party of prosperity, decency, honesty, courage, and strength; the "decent people" like my Step-Dad vote Republican yet again; and more insanity ensues.

I really don't know what other option exists for us left-of-center folk outside "get behind and push, push, push 'till the train derails." We may be fighting, but we left-of-center folk are doing such a poor job that, outside embarrassing Microsoft, we are no longer a blip on the political radar.

Other than pushing to help derail the train, what other choices are there?

If you have any insight as to options, please tell me: Outside this lovely Blue Zone where I live in New York State, I see little hope. Most of the nation seems like Ohio today and that worries me.

I have grown to suspect we may be in the earliest stage of a Second American Revolution - the gap is *REALLY* that big (trust me: having lived first Red State and then having moved Blue State, the enormous cultural differences are notable).

I think, to some degree, I will always carry some regret about my former Republican affiliation. There was a time, when this Republican movement was in its infancy in the early 1980s, that I embraced it - was in love with the whole Reagan thing. And, like all delusional moderate-right types, I said days like today would never come, despite people (like my former Rabbi in Cincinnati) telling me otherwise. . . and telling me nearly two decades ago.

Well, I was clearly wrong in my prediction (not to mention in my politics).

One thing that gives me hope is I am seeing that, in the Blue States, there are many other people like me (i.e. "liberal, progressive"). Perhaps with some savvy planning and action, we can at least keep our home a great place to live, even if the rest of the nation does go down the shitter.

As an interesting, relevant aside inspired by "the shitter" comment: Once I turned liberal, I remember driving the Ohio highways and seeing these small towns of 200 to 500 people out in the middle of nowhere.

These towns were just amazingly economically depressed. In one particular case, a closed rail-yard stood near the town. That rail-yard, once a point for carrying local agricultural products into the nation, was abandoned and rusting into a blotchy orange haze. In another town, a huge, decrepit factory loomed in the background. The factory clearly had been closed for decades. So many windows had been knocked out of the factory that I could see sunlight and sky through the dark, immense hulk of the building.

My heart really bled for people in such towns: the poverty in these places is just amazing - bordering on third-world.

One day, about five or six years ago, in passing through just such an Ohio town, I encountered a huge anti-abortion rally. The people were clearly poor as hell - it showed in their clothes and faces. The protestors were also clearly in a furious rage about abortion, yet they also seemed to have little appreciation for the fact that the now-closed factory, where many of the town's residents once worked, was the source of their misery. Abortion was not the real source of their misery - that few had jobs with a living wage somehow seemed more pressing. Despite the bad times, though, the frothing protestors just did not seem to "get it," as I don't "get it" with how Republicans think.

It was in that moment, watching the protestors rave while I waited at a light, that I realized these very people, whose suffering weighed on me, hated me (gay, Jewish, liberal) to the very marrow of my bones. Despite my deepest desire to make our society something that supports these very people with dignity and respect, I was "THE LIBERAL" and was, therefore, the enemy.

It was a spine-tingling moment for me.

Strangely, I still give a damn about those people in that little town (and all similar people and similar little towns, too). I still give a damn despite the fact their votes show they despise me even more than they did five or six years ago.

Today, however, I am also unwilling to let my friends, family, compatriots, or my political affiliations get dragged down into a slug-fest with these folks. For some reason, they just plain do not want what we have. I am not about to try and force it on them, either: I am done with trying to change hearts and minds.

While we need to work on making a better message (think "Lakoff"), I have learned one just cannot successfully fight mindless belief or sentiment in a rational way (which has been the way we liberals like to fight).

One has to fight blind belief with the same sort of smoke-and-mirrors flim-flam that has these folks so riled up of abortion or guns or gays in the first place . . . despite that plenty of them may not have dinner tonight or heat in the house tomorrow morning.

Reagan was truly a bastard: His administration laid the ground-work to create "today" and now . . . well, now we live with the logical outcome of the seeds sown 25 years ago.

To end on a positive note, though, there is hope. From what I see in the North East, there is hope because there are still enough forward-looking, progressive people to make a difference. God knows, when I moved to New York State, I was relying on it.

I just hope that those Blue Folks in Red States quickly come to understand we will need them here, very, very soon, in our Blue Bastions.

It's not just that their own Red States that are the problem: the problem is growing. The Reds have already fallen to Republican Rule and have now turned their eyes towards us. I've seen some Christian Coalition types holding protests in Western New York - a trend that, according to my neighbors, simply did not exist in years before. Those hosting the protests and rallies reveal who they are in their Southern Twangs and Midwestern Drawls - their very own mouths mark these invaders as "different" from local New Yorkers.

The Red States have fallen. Make no mistake about it: those small Ohio towns portend more of the same for a number of years to come - both in Ohio and in other places like Ohio. I tirelessly urge Blue Folks in Red States to look into moving to a Blue State because this Culture War is not over - and now our own Blue Holdouts are under assault, by the same people, too.

I can assure you Blue Folks in Red States of one thing, without doubt: it is exhilarating to live in a place where nobody gives a damn about who is doing what to whom in a bedroom; where one's value is judged by how one contributes to one's community - not by one's face or color or ethnicity or faith or orientation; where one really is an equal in a community of fellows. The Christian Judicial Enforcers, the Darwin Thought Police, the Jesus Brigade, the Secret Buggering Sodomists (both online on and willing-to-pay out of a Doctor's salary) . . . and even lonely Good Christian Republican politicans who would strangle for a back-rub don't quite realize the good Blue States stand for.

I suspect that lack of understanding is why they want to crush us.

But I can only suspect - as I still don't understand despite trying. And it's driving me to distraction.

And, as I stated before, If you have any insight as to options, please tell me: Outside this lovely Blue Zone where I live in New York State, I see little hope. Most of the nation seems like Ohio today - and that worries me.