Marriage is love.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Why Does CNN Hate America?

Mayhem hampering hospital evacuations

"If we don't have the federal presence in New Orleans tonight at dark, it will no longer be safe to be there, hospital or no hospital," Acadian Ambulance Services chief executive officer Richard Zuschlag told CNN.

At serious risk are the babies in the ICU...


Why Does Newsweek Hate America?

From AmericaBlog:

Newsweek blasts Bush's non-response to hurricane
by John in DC - 8/31/2005 07:15:00 PM

Uh oh, someone in the media is doing their job...
Beyond the poll numbers, the Bush administration faces some immediate, urgent challenges—and serious questions about its response to the disaster. For all the president's statements ahead of the hurricane, the region seemed woefully unprepared for the flooding of New Orleans—a catastrophe that has long been predicted by experts and politicians alike. There seems to have been no contingency planning for a total evacuation of the city, including the final refuges of the city's Superdome and its hospitals. There were no supplies of food and water ready offshore—on Navy ships for instance—in the event of such flooding, even though government officials knew there were thousands of people stranded inside the sweltering and powerless city.

Then there's the speed of the Bush administration's response to such disasters. Just one week ago the White House declared that a major disaster existed in Louisiana, specifically most of the areas (such as Jefferson Parish) that are now under water. Was the White House psychic about the disaster ahead? Not exactly. In fact the major disaster referred to Tropical Storm Cindy, which struck the state a full seven weeks earlier. That announcement triggered federal aid for the stricken areas, where the clean-up had been on hold for almost two months while the White House chewed things over.

Now, faced with a far bigger and deadlier disaster, the Bush administration faces at least two difficult questions: Was it ready to deal with the long-predicted flooding of New Orleans? And is it ready to deal with the long-predicted terrorist attack that might some day strike another of our big cities?"

(I would wager that the answer to those last two questions


Please don't forget the animals....

In addition to our Red Cross donation, Julien's List is also making a $100 contribution to Noah's Wish, a not-for-profit, animal welfare organization, which exists to keep animals alive during disasters.


Julien's List has donated to the Red Cross

On behalf of the contributors and readers of Julien's List, I have just sent a $250 donation to the Red Cross 2005 Hurricane Relief Fund.

This is the best way to get funds right where they are needed.

I encourage everyone to help in any way...the minimum donation is only $5.00...Imagine if everyone in the US just sent in that amount, how much would be raised for these people.

Thank you,

Ms. Julien


Get OUT!

Download flyer (PDF)!


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A question for those who voted for Bush

A beacon of reality in the Hoosier state, in a letter sent to the editor of the Indianapolis Star today:

A question for those who voted for Bush

In the aftermath of 9/11, two of my Republican friends asked me, "Aren't you glad George Bush is president now and not Al Gore?" My reply was, no, I voted for Gore and I still feel that way. In the face of $3 a gallon gas, a 65 percent hike in natural gas prices and a war we won't be able to get out of without an ever-rising cost, my question to them is, "Are you still glad you voted for George Bush?"

Gregory W. Prosser



Worst. President. Ever.

Worst. Person. Ever.
This about says it all...

My heart is breaking.

Ms. Julien


Farewell to the Big Easy...

From Americablog:

Bush took New Orleans disaster funds and used them for the Iraq war and for his tax cuts
by John in DC - 8/30/2005 09:57:00 PM

An amazing late-breaking article from Editor & Publisher. Bottom line: Experts knew this was coming, and all the preparations ground to a halt because Bush stole New Orleans' disaster preparation money so he could use it for his Iraq debacle:
New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

...after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming....Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don’t get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can’t stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn’t that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can’t raise them."...

About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount. But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said.”

The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late.


From the irrepressible Mario...

The Murder Monkey went golfing today.....the day that our nation was hit with one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit us. One of the world's great cities is underwater and The Monkey goes to play golf.

Let's not forget that The Giggling Murderer thought tax breaks to billionaires and oil companies was more important than properly funding FEMA and The Army Corps of Engineers. .....and now we see the results.

How many La. National Guardsmen are in Iraq (creating an Islamic Republic..... Thanks W!) wondering why they aren't back home helping out.


If you can read these links and still promote the president, then there is no hope for you...

(and read the comments of the citizens who posted there too...)


'Special counsel' contracts bring criticism of Ohio Attorney General Petro

Toledo Blade
Democratic officials brought pay-to-play charges to the state controlling board yesterday and aimed them squarely at Republican Attorney General Jim Petro. Two Democratic members of the board questioned awarding $19 million in outside legal work to firms that had contributed $803,000 to Mr. Petro since 1998...


Then, and now...

Great piece on AmericaBlog about the number of troops sent to Miami after Andrew versus the Katrina-affected areas now... after Andrew the looting and stealing at gunpoint was rampant (we lost our generator in this manner)... this situation sounds much worse for actual safety than Andrew (because of people being trapped in their houses). Did you all see the video footage of helicopter rescues yesterday? The governor said they could only get the most dire cases that day - if people were in their attics, they were considered "safe." They didn't have enough troops to get everyone out that day. Too many still on that scavenger hunt for those WMDs, I guess, and getting given flowers and chocolates from the Iraqi citizens so glad to have them there to look for those WMDs....

People are dying President Bush - have you sent enough troops?
by Rob in Baltimore - 8/30/2005 07:43:00 AM

Katrina is being called the worst disaster in US history, being compared to Hurricane Andrew, and it's not over yet. I've been listening to the reports this morning about hundreds of people trapped in attics, levees breaking in New Orleans and water rising. The reports indicate that people are stuck in their attics and have punched through in places and are trying to signal rescue workers.

The Red Cross has indicated that its response will be the largest in its history. So how many National Guard and military troops will Bush send to help save these people? Well, in 1992 his father sent over 30,000 troops to Florida after Andrew, in addition to over 6,000 National Guard activated by the state.
According to today's Chicago Tribune, Louisiana has activated 3,500 National Guardsmen.

As the waters rise and people are trapped in their homes, think about someone's grandmother trapped in an attic waiting for her government to help her. George Bush's response? He spent yesterday talking politics, and today he's supposed to go to California.

Unless we see tens of thousands of troops activated to support this disaster recovery, the people who die over the next few days because there aren't enough troops are all on George Bush.


Monday, August 29, 2005

WP Editorial: Politicizing the FDA

Washington Post, Tuesday, August 30, 2005; Page A16

OVER A YEAR ago, when the Food and Drug Administration first rejected Barr Laboratories Inc.'s proposal to sell the emergency contraceptive Plan B over the counter, we agreed that the agency had reason to be cautious. Although the drug -- which contains the same ingredients as contraception pills -- had been proved safe and effective, and although studies showed that its availability did not lead to an increase in sexual activity, there was little hard information measuring the drug's impact on young women. Because some drugs do cause different side effects in adolescents and adults, we argued that the agency was within its rights to ask Barr for a new proposal.

Acting on the FDA's suggestions, Barr then submitted a new application, offering to sell its drug over the counter to adults but to require prescriptions for girls younger than 17. Although not all such FDA suggestions result in approvals, there seemed no reason to doubt that this one would. As recently as last March, the FDA commissioner, Lester M. Crawford, implied as much at his confirmation hearing: "The science part is generally done," he said when asked about the approval process for Plan B. "We're just now down to what the label will look like." He also promised two senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that a decision would be made. According to some at the agency, drafts of the approval letter were under discussion.

Then, late last Friday afternoon, Mr. Crawford announced that the agency would delay approval once again. Citing "novel regulatory issues" and "profound" policy questions, he said that the new application required further study and public comment.

With this statement, Mr. Crawford not only broke his word to two senators, but he also put the agency at risk of losing its credibility.
In recent months critics have accused the FDA -- which is required by law to make decisions exclusively on scientific and legal grounds -- of falling victim to outside political agendas. They have claimed that the Plan B decisions have reflected not sound science and legitimate caution but rather the influence of "moral" and antiabortion lobbies claiming that Plan B, which mainly acts by preventing fertilization, might occasionally act by dislodging an hours-old fertilized egg and therefore "aborting" it. By abruptly rejecting an application that had been tailored to meet the FDA's requirements, Mr. Crawford appears to confirm the critics' worst fears.

We don't deny that there are legal and practical difficulties involved in selling the same drug in the same package to different age groups. But the agency has not only had past experience with restricted over-the-counter sales of nicotine and tobacco, it has also had plenty of time to communicate its concerns to Barr and to negotiate a workable system. Whatever the legal arguments taking place, this unexpected delay at this stage of the approval process makes the FDA -- long admired around the world for its neutrality and professionalism -- look like an easily manipulated political tool.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


Truly. Amazing. Piece.

Worth putting here in its entirety. This person just gets it...really, really, gets it.,0,4688615.story?coll=dp-opinion-editorials

Other Voices: Gay unions pose no threat to traditional marriage

By Benjamin Cuker

August 27 2005

Worried about same-sex marriage causing the end to your traditional union?

My wife and I will soon celebrate 27 years of "traditional marriage" to each other. We have two young adult children. Like all marriages, we faced various challenges, but never once was our union jeopardized by knowing that in our community lived gay couples, who like us were essentially married and raising children.

I say "essentially," since Virginia does not formally recognize the concept of gay marriage. I don't understand those folks trying to save "traditional marriage" by denying same-sex couples the same privileges afforded heterosexual couples.

Honestly, I never even thought about formal gay marriage until the run-up to the 2004 election. As states and some religious denominations began to recognize gay marriage, President George W. Bush called for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage by requiring that all unions exist only between one man and one woman. The constitutional amendment has so far gone nowhere, but many states have adopted similar codes via ballot measure or legislative action. All the clamor over the issue did help mobilize the Bush base that returned him to the White House.

So what is marriage anyway? In our nation, marriage exists at three levels. The first, and I contend the most important, is the covenant of love between the two partners. The second is the legal or state-recognized institution. This civil marriage provides protection and rights for the partners and their children. Laws related to civil marriage cover shared property, shared benefits from employers and the government, and what happens if the union fails. The third is marriage in the eyes of the church. Religious sanction of matrimony is up to the religious order. The constitutional principle of the separation between church and state suggests that the government must not meddle in the affairs of any church on this matter, and that religious groups must also not intrude on civil sanctioning of marriage.

Advocates for state-sanctioned, same-sex marriages seem to want the same sorts of legal protection offered to heterosexual married couples, and perhaps the stamp of community approval that comes with a marriage license. This sounds good to me.

My wife and I know same-sex couples in longstanding relationships doing fine jobs of raising children. I see no reason why these couples and their children cannot be afforded the same rights as other married citizens.

Bush and his supporters devoted much energy to trying to pass legislation that curtailed the rights of same-sex couples. Why? I suspect that Bush, Karl Rove and the gang don't really care if Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter can ever officially marry her partner. They saw same-sex marriage as a wedge issue useful to attracting voters turned off by the notion of homosexuality.

All thinking Americans should wake up and reject such hate-based politics.

Half of all marriages in the United States fail. Reasons include young age at the time of nuptials, drug and alcohol abuse, disagreements over money, partners growing apart, infidelity, etc., but I haven't heard of any couple saying they will divorce if gay folks start getting married. Same-sex marriage does not threaten traditional marriage.

A couple of reasons marriages don't fail are genuine love and acceptance. I love and accept my wife for who she is. Wouldn't it be nice if Bush would send a message of love and acceptance of the diverse people who make this nation great, rather than singling out a minority group to hate?

Think of it, an amendment to the Constitution that specified that no one shall be discriminated against for who they choose to marry; and another amendment that made it a crime to use hate and intolerance as a means of gaining political advantage. Let's leave disapproval of mate choice out of the public sector and back where it belongs, with mother-in-laws.

Cuker, who resides in Hampton, is a professor of marine and environmental science at Hampton University.

Copyright © 2005, Daily Press


Come out, come out, wherever you are...

Interesting from America Blog. The approval ratings are going south, and the 2006 elections are looming - they want to pretend they had nothing to do with it, and no support for it:

More Republicans Distance Themselves From Iraq
by Michael in New York - 8/29/2005 01:52:00 PM

Sen. John Warner of Virginia admits the obvious: voters are very unhappy with Iraq. Warner's going to demand Rumsfeld come testify to the Armed Services Committee.
"The level of concern is, I think, gradually rising," Mr. Warner said in an interview on Friday. "Our nation has given so much to the Iraqi people, and what are they giving us in return?"
He also made a vague promise to hold hearings in the next several weeks on whether the Pentagon has failed to hold senior officials responsible for the prison abuse scandals. (Warner, we can save you some time. The answer is "yes.") Maybe Dems could get us out of this mess if they weren't so mealy-mouthed. Steny Hoyer of Maryland -- the number two Dem in the House -- said this:
"I think the public is losing patience with the effort because they don't see it succeeding. In fact, from their perspective, they see the attacks increasing. We haven't done what we need to do for the infrastructure in Iraq. We haven't got the economy going."
They don't see it succeeding? Who does? From THEIR perspective the attacks are increasing? Is there a "perspective" where the attacks AREN'T increasing? The non-reality based perspective of Bush, perhaps? Attacks ARE increasing. Deaths are increasing. The insurgency is increasing. If the Dems are afraid of stating obvious facts, how are they going to earn the trust of voters?


Update on Hurricane Katrina

I have posted an update at The Moderate Voice


Where's the Louisiana National Guard???? to find the WMDs in Iraq - per AmericaBlog:

The Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq. Oops
by John in DC - 8/29/2005 10:46:00 AM

Gee, Bush's mistake deliberate lie in Iraq has consequences. Who knew?


A Very Nice Email in Response to My New Orleans Post

I awoke this morning to a wonderful letter in my inbox. This is the post she is referring to:

Thanks for your post about NO. It didn't really hit me about how deadly this might be until someone in my church last night said 300,000 people could die if it hits NO. Then, I saw your post later.
I guess the fact that NO is below sea level and could become a lake of toxic waste and destroyed property and bodies just didn't hit me until last night. Since then, I've been wondering if all the 'red state' people who voted for gwb are praying for the people of NO. I hope we all are, in our own way.
Thanks for making it very personal.

I notice that (most) readers feel the same way, and I thank those readers who have sent their thoughts, wishes, and prayers for the people in NOLA and the surrounding areas. There are some wonderful, evolved people in this cyber-network.

Ms. Julien


WP: Access to Abortion Pared at State Level

Ceci Connolly, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 29, 2005; Page A01

This year's state legislative season draws to a close having produced a near-record number of laws imposing new restrictions on a woman's access to abortion or contraception.

Since January, governors have signed several dozen antiabortion measures ranging from parental consent requirements to an outright ban looming in South Dakota. Not since 1999, when a wave of laws banning late-term abortions swept the legislatures, have states imposed so many and so varied a menu of regulations on reproductive health care....


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Julien's List Readers - Please send your energies and wishes for the safety of those in New Orleans

I went through hurricane Andrew and lost everything I owned. I just recently went through Katrina (which was only a category I, but a very mean one at that). I am very, very scared about the situation in New Orleans area. There is not enough room for all the people who need shelter, and the safety of those crowding in the Super Dome is nebulous at best, as the stadium sits right near the river. Too bad that our dear leader has sent all of the National Guard to die in the sand of a war he lied to get us into, because there are only 150 national guard troops to control the thousands in the crowds - both prior to and in the aftermath of this horrific storm.

Ms. Julien


Unwelcome Guests

Fred Phelps's gang makes itself welcome at GI funerals:
His family was "met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars' down a highway, waving flags and screaming "God bless America."


TMV on Wes Clark, Iraq and Bull Moose

Joe at The Moderate Voice considers Wes Clark, Iraq and Bull Moose


Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Pleasant Discovery: "Waiting for God"

Waiting for God is a BBC comedy frequently broadcast on Saturday evenings by PBS channels. I discovered it accidentally and enjoy it greatly!

This link has a nice photo of Stephanie Cole as retired photo-journalist & foreign correspondent Diana Trent and Graham Crowden as her sidekick Tom:
The British Comedy Club: Feeling old? You will after a visit to the Bayview Retirement Village. The food's appalling, the staff treats you like incontinent children, and any show of independence is strictly frowned upon. But wait until you meet two elderly eccentrics who aren't prepared to give in or grow old gracefully. Graham Crowden and Stephanie Cole star as the rebel inmates in this wry and very funny look at how people treat the elderly....

Two More Photos!

More from the British Comedy Club

Episode Synopses

Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice


BBC: British Army Joins Gay Pride Parade

The Army have joined a gay pride parade for the first time, as soldiers marched with lesbians and gay men at Manchester's Pride Festival.

About 10 uniformed soldiers paraded and manned a recruitment stall.

Some 20 RAF colleagues manned a float featuring a plane cockpit - the RAF was the first armed service to join a gay pride festival at last year's event.

Festival Director Claire Turner said it was "great the Army is coming" and "showing that they welcome gay people".

She said: "They're showing that they welcome gay people and the Army is something gay people can be interested in."

The ban on homosexuals in the armed forces was lifted in January 2000....


Real. Funny. Blog.

Real funny...


Karen Zipdrive: Never Mind What I Said About Bush's Boy John Roberts

Pulp Friction
Thursday, August 25, 2005

A few posts ago, I said Bush's SCOTUS nominee John Roberts didn't seem like that much of a dick.

Now that I've read more about him, I made a mistake.
He sounds like a total dick, and a racist to boot.

Check out some of his legal antics....


Great Cindy Sheehan video

I saw this yesterday and loved it, and when Mario sent it with his great comments, it reminded me to post it here:

And Mario has a great point:

This woman raised an A student, altar boy, Eagle Scout, Marine.

Bush has raised 2 drunken sluts........who is the better parent?


“I don't care about international law. I don't want to hear the words, 'international law' again. We are not concerned with international law.”

President of U.S. military tribunal to Guantanamo detainee who asked to speak in his own defense.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Paul Krugman: Summer of Our Discontent

The New York Times

For the last few months there has been a running debate about the U.S. economy, more or less like this:

American families: "We're not doing very well."

Washington officials: "You're wrong - you're doing great. Here, look at these statistics!"

The administration and some political commentators seem genuinely puzzled by polls showing that Americans are unhappy about the economy. After all, they point out, numbers like the growth rate of G.D.P. look pretty good. So why aren't people cheering?


AP: Military Academies Faulted on Harassment

Hmm. Harassing women, harassing religious minorities - wonder how they treat students suspected to be gay or lesbian?

Hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women persist at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, a Pentagon task force reported yesterday...


AP: Cindy Sheehan Planning Anti-War Bus Tour

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- A fallen soldier's mother said Thursday that the anti-war vigil she started nearly three weeks ago near President Bush's ranch won't end when she and other protesters pack up their camp next week.

Cindy Sheehan said the day after she leaves Aug. 31, she will embark on a bus tour ending up in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Then the group will start a 24-hour vigil in the nation's capital...



'Patriot pastors' recruited: Churchgoers to be urged to vote

Bad news may be good news! Why? If previously non-voting Christians plan to vote they will need to study the issues, hence they will become INFORMED voters. Becoming more informed on the issues will broaden their horizons and cause them to become more responsible citizens and voters. Many will discover points of disagreement with their "Patriot Pastors." Some may not vote as their pastors intended. It is well known that some conservative Republicans appointed to SCOTUS have become, over time, less extreme in their views. May it be God's will that our new citizen-voters learn the same lesson!

The Cincinnati Enquirer
August 26, 2005

KINGS MILLS - The luncheon Thursday at the Kings Island Conference Center could easily have been mistaken for a political party affair, with politicians, speaking over the clank of forks and knives, exhorting the guests to go out and register new voters and make sure they get to the polls.

But the hundreds of people dining at the ballroom tables Thursday were not ward-heelers and precinct captains.

They were, for the most part, men and women of the clergy - evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists and a smattering of Catholic clerics and laymen.

They were being recruited for the Ohio Restoration Project, the brainchild of the Rev. Russell Johnson, pastor of a 2,500-member evangelical church in the southeastern Ohio town of Lancaster. He wants to build a force of Christian conservatives - the "values voters'' who oppose abortion, want to protect traditional marriage and oppose higher taxes - to dominate Ohio politics, starting with the 2006 gubernatorial election....



A President for the People...

...low on the gene pool.


Soaking Wet in Miami

I just spoke with our friend Ms. Julien in Miami. She and Wonderdog Verdell are fine and have power but no Internet access. Thanks to Hurricane Katrina, the high-rise they live in has sustained damage - she was describing a ceiling leak and mentioned something about windows blowing out and possible structural problems.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rep. Hostettler says Divorce is as Dangerous to Society as Gay Marriage

Hat Tip to Oddjob!

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana Congressman John Hostettler says divorce is as dangerous to society as gay marriage.

The Republican Congressman also told a gathering of clergy at Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville yesterday that churches are essential to strengthening families.

He calls marriage "the picture of Christian salvation."

He says any diminishing of marriage must be fought in public policy and that religious faith needs to have a greater presence in public policy decisions.

Hostettler has won a string of generally close elections in southwestern Indiana's Eighth District since he first won his seat in 1994 with strong support from religious conservatives.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


War Mom vs. Peace Mom

Dan Froomkin
Special to
Thursday, August 25, 2005; 12:51 PM

Stung by the ability of one grieving mother to inspire a growing antiwar movement, the White House has found a mom to call its own....


USA Today: 'The other jihad'

Ralph Peters, Posted 8/23/2005 9:42 PM

The mosque stood empty beside the road in a Christian town in Kenya. Funded by Saudis, it wasn't meant for worshippers. It was meant to stake a claim.

The mosque annoyed the locals. Windows were broken. A goat grazed in the garbage-speckled yard. Yet that shabby mosque was part of an extremist campaign that threatens widespread strife in the years ahead.

On a trip to Kenya and Tanzania last month, I saw recently built mosques wherever I went. Even along the predominantly Muslim coast, there were far more mosques and madrassahs than the worshippers needed. I counted seven mosques along one street in a Mombasa slum — most of them new but neglected.

The construction boom is part of what my personal observation convinces me is "the other jihad," the slow-roll attempt by fundamentalists from the Arabian Peninsula to reclaim East Africa for the faith of the Prophet. We dismiss Osama bin Laden's dream of re-establishing the caliphate, Islam's bygone empire, as madness. But Saudis, Yemenis, Omanis and oil-rich Gulf Arabs are every bit as determined as bin Laden to reassert Muslim domination of the lands Islam once ruled.

No region is as vulnerable as Africa. The differences between the Saudi ruling family and bin Laden aren't so much about goals as about methods. The Saudis were furious over the 1998 embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam not because of the viciousness of the acts, but because the attacks threatened to call the West's attention to quiet subversion by fundamentalist Wahhabis in the region....


Gov. Taft visits Toledo area, declares scandal won't force him to quit

Toledo Blade

Gov. Bob Taft visited Pearson Metropark yesterday to discuss eradicating the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle whose larvae have devastated parts of Michigan and northwest Ohio by feeding on the inner bark of ash trees. Instead, the governor answered questions about the state’s $50 million rare-coin fiasco....


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

South Florida is Now Under a Hurricane Warning...

So blogging (at least by Ms. Julien and Marty) will be a little lighter.

Hopefully Holly is out of any sort of tornado warning and can keep us informed!

Wish us luck - see you on the other side!

Ms. Julien


Gary Hart: Who Will Say 'No More'?

Gary Hart, former Democratic senator from Colorado
Washington Post, Wednesday, August 24, 2005; Page A15

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.

Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.


The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.

Who now has the courage to say this?


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Specter Has Plans for Roberts

Specter Hints at What Roberts Can Expect - Judiciary Panel Will Probe Nominee's Views on High Court's 'Judicial Activism'
By Charles Babington, Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 24, 2005; Page A16

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman warned Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. yesterday to expect tough questions about the court's "judicial activism" and lack of respect for Congress.

The comments mark the second time this month that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has signaled plans to use Roberts's confirmation hearing as a forum for sharply criticizing what Specter describes as the high court's tendency to denigrate Congress's thoroughness and wisdom in passing various laws. Specter's questions could present Roberts with the difficult choice of disagreeing with the committee chairman or rebuking justices he hopes will soon be his colleagues. The committee's hearing begins Sept. 6...


Another reason why I will not go to Indiana anymore...

Vandals Target Gays, Lesbians

Butler University officials condemned vandalism found on a dorm Tuesday morning. The vandalism was found inside two rooms of Ross Hall. Officials said the vandals defaced name tags, message boards and walls with offensive remarks about gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people. The vandalism was cleaned up shortly after it was discovered. Butler University officials said they consider this a serious matter and will aggressively pursue an investigation. Ross Hall is the same dorm that had an NAACP poster vandalized this spring.

And to think I used to want to go to B.U. I was so ignorant when I was young...


Court grants equal rights to same-sex parents

The California Supreme Court broke new legal ground for same-sex parents Monday by ruling that lesbian and gay partners who plan a family and raise a child together should be considered legal parents after a breakup, with the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual parents.

Here is the story.


Fetuses Feel No Pain During 1st & 2nd Trimesters

Most abortions take place during the first two trimesters:

Report Finds Fetuses Feel Pain Later Than Thought

By DENISE GRADY in the New York Times 4:07 PM ET

A team of doctors has concluded that fetuses probably cannot feel pain in the first six months of gestation and therefore do not need anesthesia during abortions. Their report, being published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is based on a review of several hundred scientific papers, and it says that nerve connections in the brain are unlikely to have developed enough for the fetus to feel pain before 29 weeks....


Fareed Zakaria: Mile by Mile, Into the Oil Trap

Washington Post
Tuesday, August 23, 2005; Page A15

If I could change one thing about American foreign policy, what would it be? The answer is easy, but it's not something most of us think of as foreign policy. I would adopt a serious national program geared toward energy efficiency and independence. Reducing our dependence on oil would be the single greatest multiplier of American power in the world. I leave it to economists to sort out what expensive oil does to America's growth and inflation prospects. What is less often noticed is how crippling this situation is for American foreign policy. "Everything we're trying to do in the world is made much more difficult in the current environment of rising oil prices," says Michael Mandelbaum, author of "The Ideas That Conquered the World." Consider...


Faith-Based Nonsense Doesn't Work

Federal Funds For Abstinence Group Withheld
By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 23, 2005; Page A05

The Bush administration yesterday suspended a federal grant to the Silver Ring Thing abstinence program, saying it appears to use tax money for religious activities.

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services ordered the group to submit a "corrective action plan" if it hopes to receive an expected $75,000 grant this year....


Monday, August 22, 2005

A Saturday Drive to Crawford TX

I received this email (shared by permission) on Sunday from a friend now living in Texas:

"Yesterday X and I drove up to Crawford with a couple of my colleagues from work to spend the day at the war protest started by Cindy Sheehan just outside Bush's summer vacation getaway. (Bush, at the time, was mountain biking around his property with Lance Armstrong, who's from Austin and a big hero here in Texas.) We were curious to see how things were going up there with Cindy now away with her ailing mother. The people there were in the process of moving the original camp to a friendlier location, and a huge tent had been erected, with a stage on one end and a full kitchen on the other. Quite a few people had pitched smaller tents and were camping there. I met people from South Carolina, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles. Some were mothers or relatives of soldiers. There was a little, not much, speechifying; it was mostly the kind of situation where people sit around talking to each other and helping out wherever needed around the camp. My colleagues helped prepare food, and I helped a little with some unloading. It was a good vibe. A rumor was going around that Joan Baez was going to perform there tonight. What a trip that would be if true! I hope the war resistance gathers momentum from this protest. Earlier in the week, we took part in one of several candlelight vigils around the city protesting the war. So many of us are just so sick of being lied to by this administration."


Sunday, August 21, 2005

It is here ... the signatures are collected... is the Florida LGBT community ready to fight?

Florida Ant-Gay Amendment Moves Forward
by Fidel Ortega Miami Bureau

Posted: August 21, 2005 8:00 pm ET

(Miami, Florida) An umbrella organization of conservative Christian political groups is expected to submit 61,000 signatures to the Florida Supreme Court this week - the first step in getting a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions on the 2006 ballot.

Under Florida law the signatures are required before the wording on the initiative can be approved. If the signatures are proven valid and the court agrees to the wording, the organization - Florida4Marriage - can begin collecting the 611,000 eligible signatures to put the question to voters.

Florida4Marriage is working with the Christian Coalition of Florida and Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian law firm that is involved in fighting gay marriage and domestic partner benefits in a number of states.

On the weekend, Florida4Marriage said it needed only a few hundred more signatures to submit the issue to the court.

The proposal would amend the state Constitution in 2006 to define marriage as a union between "only one man and one woman" and that no other kind of marriage or legal union is equivalent to marriage.

State law already prevents same-sex couples from marrying but makes no mention of civil unions or partner benefits.

The proposed amendment does not have the backing of Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush has said he considers the amendment unnecessary.

LGBT civil rights group Equality Florida calls the amendment a divisive attempt to keep same-sex couples second class citizens.

A poll taken for the organization shows that the state is split on amending the constitution with 54 percent in favor of barring gay marriage and 55 percent in favor of some sort of legal protection for gay couples.

© 2005


So, after all the lives lost in Iraq, the US just threw women's rights down the toilet

UPDATE: Pam has a great addition to this on Big Brass Blog!

After talking for years about the evil of Saddam Hussein (and yes he was evil), and saying that the very REASON we were going to war, and then staying at war (even when the WMD lie was exposed) was to give the Iraqis a "Democracy" --- something that BushCo has resoundingly insisted the people of Iraq wanted (um, Georgie, where were those flowers you said they would greet us with again?? Oh---you're probably too busy riding around on Tour de Crawford to remember that promise).

So, today, in order to rush through the constitution of Iraq, so that back here they can tell the sheeple sitting so very far away from Iraq (most of whom do not even possess a US passport) that "IRAQ HAS A CONSTITUTION" - the US has just agreed to allow the clause in the constitution of Iraq that "Islam will be THE main source of law" in the country.

Of course, they won't mention this to the sheeple, most of whom get their news through their church's filtered reading material. They won't mention that Islamic law will not only NOT be democratic at all, it will strip all of the rights of women- rights that at least they did have prior to being "freed" by Georgie's gang. Women will:

1. Not be allowed an education (even writing or reading in most cases)
2. Not be allowed to drive
3. Not be allowed to be seen anywhere outside their homes without the shroud of a burka
4. If a woman is raped, she will be the criminal, not the man who raped her
5. Under Islamic law, if a women is even accused of adultery, she is killed - usually by a father or brother or uncle, and this is okay - women are not allowed into a court to defend themselves

All of these rules are very familiar in Saudi Arabia - the country where the majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from (that is in the news, but the sheeple still refuse to believe that they didn't come from Iraq)...the county whose leaders get to hold hands with Georgie and visit the ranch and get flown out to safety after 9/11 before anyone else was allowed to fly. (Yes, Georgie will hold hands with the leaders of the country that produced most of the 9/11 terrorists, but he won't hug Cindy Sheehan...)

I am angry. I am a person betrayed by my country. And the people who sit day after day, complacent in their little lives (never having traveled or want to outside the US), who will see the filtered news saying that "Iraq has a constitution" and will say, see, what a wonderful thing Georgie did...these are the people for whom I hold the greatest contempt.

Ms. Julien

(Entire link to story is HERE).


When Money Talks, Everybody Listens

Bush commenced the Iraq war for a number of reason and motives unrelated to the reasons given, i.e., WMD, etc.

Among the reasons: To establish himself as a war president designed to keep him in power for two terms.

Once in power, the war was meant to afford Bush a ticket to do just about anything he had in mind when he ran in 2000.

What he had in mind to do, and what only a war president can get away with when the three branches of government are under his control, is to wrest control from all the 'people,' and place that control under the influence of the wealthiest corporations and individuals and their lobbyists.

Why do that? Because these multibillion dollar interests understand that when they receive billions in tax cuts and rebates and refunds, and have most regulations upon them gutted, that they never want to see these gifts end, and they have and will continue to spend freely on their little politicians.

And so, Republicans, who now receive huge amounts of money from these interests, understand that the more they give back to those interests in the form of legislation and access, the more they receive in return in the form of campaign contributions, future employment for them, their friends and relatives, and perks beyond imagination. A purely perfect symbiotic corrupt relationship.

The Iraq war, was and is merely a tool - a cover of sorts - for much bigger ideas, goals, and policies.

Iraq was Bush's ticket to unbridled power which he planned to use and has used to buy the wealthiest, and the less fortunate 'others' that follow such "ideas," to assure complete domination of America.

It worked. Whether it is the multibillion dollar media giants - which love the money that has come to them - who now give Bush a pass (it is hilarious to read and watch Bob Woodward fall all over himself to protect Bush and Rove who gave Woodward such unprecedented access to the White House and Bush), or the so-called 'real' conservatives who no longer believe what they once preached about budget deficits, national debt, trade deficits, and the like. All beliefs can be bought with billions and millions. It worked.

Bush made money talk in every language.


Frank Rich: The Swiftboating of Cindy Sheehan

Thanks Frank!

CINDY SHEEHAN couldn't have picked a more apt date to begin the vigil that ambushed a president: Aug. 6 was the fourth anniversary of that fateful 2001 Crawford vacation day when George W. Bush responded to an intelligence briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" by going fishing. On this Aug. 6 the president was no less determined to shrug off bad news. Though 14 marine reservists had been killed days earlier by a roadside bomb in Haditha, his national radio address that morning made no mention of Iraq. Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001.

When these setbacks happen in Iraq itself, the administration punts. But when they happen at home, there's a game plan. Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had "other priorities" during Vietnam....


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wishing Doesn't Make It So

They can argue forever, scream, chastise, belittle, humiliate, embarrass, and otherwise terrorize their opponents (that be us) on any issue, but in the end, those damn facts are just that.

When the argument over Iraq goes on for more than two years, and the uncontradicted evidence comes in daily (and there's much more than we see, but the MSM is still issuing passes to the WH), and the evidence is contrary to everything you, Bush, et al., says, after a while the audience gets it.

The American audience, for a myriad of reasons, now gets it. Except for a small minority of Americans (who are caught up in their own mindless Bush related religious, bigoted, and monied issues), who seem to care little about the dead, and about to be dead Americans fighting for us in Iraq, a majority of Americans get it.

It's a bit late, but they may be excused. One cannot blame Americans for not believing that their President was lying to their faces. It's hard to believe without being an eyewitness. Today, Americans witness the truth and they are not so easily amused anymore by Bush's cute antics. Remember him looking over under a table for WMD's at a huge dinner gala while cracking jokes, while Americans were looking for them in Iraq and dying? Heh, heh. Funny?

There were times over the last two years when you thought that it was inconceivable that Bush's lies would catch up with him and his lock stepped Republican co-conspirators, but that time has come.

It is here. It is now. The court is wide open. Democrats, Independents, Real Republicans, Greens and the rest of America's good people must take control or forever lose this opportunity.

Wishing for it won't make it so.


TMV on Iraqi Fireworks Display

I'm being facetious by calling it a "fireworks display."

Iraqi Insurgents May Be Planning Massive Attack
by Joe Gandelman

"MSNBC reports that intelligence officials are predicting a huge attack by insurgent/terrorists next week involving suicide bombings, coordinated attacks, rockets and mortars — all timed to coincide with the expected drafting of an Iraqi constitution..."


W stands for...

...wishful thinking if he believes that everyone falls for his "bush-it."

Karen Zipdrive of Pulp Friction has his number, big time...

She has posted a MUST READ today: GO HERE AND READ!


WP: In 1980s, Roberts Criticized The Court He Hopes to Join

Jo Becker, R. Jeffrey Smith and Sonya Geis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 20, 2005; Page A04

When John G. Roberts Jr. accepted President Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court last month, he spoke with awe about the high court. He had argued 39 cases before the justices, but he said he "always got a lump in my throat whenever I walked up those marble steps."

Two decades earlier though, as a young lawyer in the Reagan administration, Roberts expressed less reverential comments, repeatedly arguing that the high court was interfering in issues best left to Congress. He even wrote approvingly of an effort to term-limit federal judges instead of giving them lifetime appointments, so they "would not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence.

"The federal judiciary today benefits from an insulation from political pressure even as it usurps the role of the political branches," he wrote his boss, White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, on Oct. 3, 1983....


Friday, August 19, 2005

Gay People's Chronicle: Ohio Central to Dems' 2006 Plans

Columbus--Ohio’s 2006 election will be a national organizing priority for gay Democrats, according to a plan outlined August 10 in Columbus.

National Stonewall Democrats executive director Eric Stern announced the plan at the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio’s annual wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser at Axis nightclub...


Explosion in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A fiery explosion from an underground utility chamber rocked a section of downtown Friday, burning a woman and shattering store windows, authorities said....


A crew from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was not immediately able to determine the cause of the blast in its electrical vault because a bomb squad was investigating, company spokesman Paul Moreno said. He said there was no indication of a gas leak.



JTA: Leo Frank lynching marked

Jews in Atlanta marked the 90th anniversary of the lynching of a Jewish man.

Commemorations Wednesday marked the date when Leo Frank was lynched by a mob after being wrongly convicted of killing a teenage girl in a pencil factory.

Frank was posthumously pardoned in 1986 on the grounds that the state failed to adequately protect him while he was in custody. The lynching led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League.


According to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann...

A decorated Marine doesn't qualify as a Texas resident any more because of the time
he spent serving in Iraq. That's what Carl Basham says officials told him when
he tried to enroll in Austin Community College.


And while, we're f*ing around in Iraq...

...Russia and China kick off military exercises.

Posted by Holly for Ms. Julien


While Georgie is playing on his bike, US kids are waaaaay "left behind" in math:

CLICK HERE FOR THE RESULTS of the Mathematics Assessment in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment, which compares educational performance of 25-year-olds in reading, math, and science industry.)

An important excerpt:
How Did U.S. 15-Year-Olds Do?

· In 2003, U.S. performance in mathematics literacy and problem solving was lower than the average performance for OECD countries.

· In both mathematics literacy and problem solving, the United States had fewer students at the highest proficiency levels than the other OECD countries.

That result was in stark contrast with the 2000 reading literacy results, in which the United States had a greater percentage of students at the highest proficiency level than other OECD countries.
So, thanks Georgie! - your "No Child Left Behind" (which of course was created to make brother Neil a millionaire with his exclusive testing software contract....) has not only NOT helped students to achieve, it has moved their capabilities from the HIGHEST to the LOWEST in the ENTIRE WORLD.

Ms. Julien


Cincinnati Enquirer: Taft Insists He Won't Resign

Minutes after apologizing and pleading no contest to charges that he failed to report gifts, Gov. Bob Taft pledged to finish his term - and denied that his administration sells access or contracts to big donors....


Paul Krugman in NY Times: What They Did Last Fall

By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse...


Why Roberts's Views Matter

Op-Ed by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
Friday, August 19, 2005; Page A21, Washington Post

Before entrusting Judge John G. Roberts with a lifetime position on the Supreme Court, the Senate must be able to determine whether he will uphold the fundamental principles of our Constitution and laws to continue our nation's march of progress or whether he will adopt a cramped and contorted view of our Constitution that will turn back the clock.


No one has an automatic right to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. A nominee to the high court must first demonstrate that he has a core commitment to constitutional rights and liberties. He must show that he is in the mainstream of modern judicial thought and that he would not use an ideologically motivated interpretation of our Constitution or laws to reverse the hard-fought gains we have made to make this nation more just. Judge Roberts's early record raises serious questions about his commitment to core constitutional values, and the Senate must have the requested information to fully and faithfully execute its constitutional obligation.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Here is all I need to know...

...about Roberts:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court nominee John Roberts disparaged state efforts to combat discrimination against women in Reagan-era documents made public Thursday - and wondered whether "encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."
But actually, I am most disgusted with the Democrats who are indicating that they will not fight him. To me, whether they are man or woman, they will be the ones responsible for putting women's rights back in the Dark Ages.

Ms. Julien


Guess Who Could Lead a Boy Scout Troop and His Church and Even be an Adoptive Parent If He Wished?

The BTK Killer, that's who! More testimony from this evil creep:

Aug 18, 1:57 PM EDT

BTK testimony focuses on sexual fantasies
By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer

"WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- BTK serial killer Dennis Rader kept hundreds of pictures of women and girls, clipped from magazines and circulars, with details of the warped sexual fantasies he dreamed of carrying out, a detective testified Thursday in the second day of the strangler's sentencing hearing."


"According to testimony, Rader at times used his connections to scouting and local churches to facilitate his crimes and provide him an alibi."

For the killing of Davis on Jan. 13, 1991, Rader left a Scout camp under the guise of going home for something he forgot, Houston said. Instead, Rader went to his parents' home to change out of his scouting uniform and into his dark "hit clothes."

He took the body of another of his victims, Marine Hedge, to the church he attended in Wichita, where he put black plastic over the windows to give him privacy while he took bondage pictures for his sexual satisfaction."



A Flash of Sanity from Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS STAR: Parents can share Wicca with son

An Indianapolis father can share his Wiccan beliefs and rituals with his 10-year-old son, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday in a unanimous decision upholding parents' rights to share their religion with their children.

The court declared that a Marion County judge erred in approving a divorce decree last year that also directed the man and his ex-wife to shelter their son from "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."



Ohio Gov.Taft Pleaded No Contest, Was Found Guilty and Fined

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Gov. Bob Taft pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that he broke state ethics law by failing to report golf outings and other gifts. A judge found him guilty and fined him $4,000....


Every Reality Based Blog Should Run This in Its Entirety

Biking Toward Nowhere
Published: August 17, 2005

How could President Bush be cavorting around on a long vacation with American troops struggling with a spiraling crisis in Iraq?
Wasn't he worried that his vacation activities might send a frivolous signal at a time when he had put so many young Americans in harm's way?
"I'm determined that life goes on," Mr. Bush said stubbornly.
That wasn't the son, believe it or not. It was the father - 15 years ago. I was in Kennebunkport then to cover the first President Bush's frenetic attempts to relax while reporters were pressing him about how he could be taking a month to play around when he had started sending American troops to the Persian Gulf only three days before.
On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life," W. said, "to keep a balanced life."
Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."
Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing.
The first President Bush told us that he kept a telephone in his golf cart and his cigarette boat so he could easily stay on top of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. But at least he seemed worried that he was sending the wrong signal, as his boating and golfing was juxtaposed on the news with footage of the frightened families of troops leaving for the Middle East.
"I just don't like taking questions on serious matters on my vacation," the usually good-natured Bush senior barked at reporters on the golf course. "So I hope you'll understand if I, when I'm recreating, will recreate." His hot-tempered oldest son, who was golfing with his father that day, was even more irritated. "Hey! Hey!" W. snapped at reporters asking questions on the first tee. "Can't you wait until we finish hitting, at least?"
Junior always had his priorities straight.
As W.'s neighbors get in scraps with the antiwar forces coalescing around the ranch; as the Pentagon tries to rustle up updated armor for our soldiers, who are still sitting ducks in the third year of the war; as the Iraqi police we train keep getting blown up by terrorists, who come right back every time U.S. troops beat them up; as Shiites working on the Iraqi constitution conspire with Iran about turning Iraq into an Islamic state that represses women; and as Iraq hurtles toward a possible civil war, W. seems far more oblivious than his father was with his Persian Gulf crisis.
This president is in a truly scary place in Iraq. Americans can't get out, or they risk turning the country into a terrorist haven that will make the old Afghanistan look like Cipriani's. Yet his war, which has not accomplished any of its purposes, swallows ever more American lives and inflames ever more Muslim hearts as W. reads a book about the history of salt and looks forward to his biking date with Lance Armstrong on Saturday.
The son wanted to go into Iraq to best his daddy in the history books, by finishing what Bush senior started. He swept aside the warnings of Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell and didn't bother to ask his father's advice. Now he is caught in the very trap his father said he feared: that America would get bogged down as "an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land," facing a possibly "barren" outcome.
It turns out that the people of Iraq have ethnic and religious identities, not a national identity. Shiites and Kurds want to suppress the Sunnis who once repressed them and break off into their own states, smashing the Bush model kitchen of democracy.
At long last, a senior Bush official admits that administration officials can no longer cling to their own version of reality. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning," the official told The Washington Post.
They had better start absorbing and shedding a lot faster, before many more American kids die to create a pawn of Iran. And they had better tell the Boy in the Bubble, who continues to dwell in delusion, hailing the fights and delays on the Iraqi constitution as "a tribute to democracy."
The president's pedaling as fast as he can, but he's going nowhere.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ohio Gov. Taft charged with four misdemeanors today

Gov. Taft charged with four misdemeanors
By Jon Craig, Cincinnati Enquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS – Gov. Bob Taft, under investigation for not reporting as many as 60 golf outings as required by state law, was charged Wednesday with four criminal misdemeanors, a city prosecutor said.

Stephen McIntosh, chief prosecutor in Columbus, said he hopes to have the case against Taft finalized this week. That would mean Taft or his attorney, William Meeks, will appear in Franklin County Municipal Court on the charges Thursday or Friday.

Taft is the first Ohio governor ever charged with a crime. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 or six months in jail. Prosecutors said it is unlikely Taft would go to jail.

Taft, 63, a Cincinnati Republican, is a descendant of President William Howard Taft and two U.S. senators....



From AmericaBlog:

OH GOP Governor to be indicted this afternoon
by Joe in DC - 8/17/2005 02:55:00 PM

Ohio News Network says expect four misdemeanor indictments this afternoon against Republican Governor Bob Taft.


Remember all of those letters from "cool" Hoosiers in the Indy Star?

Well, yours truly reclaimed her home of Noblesville, and added to the ranks of those not drinking the kool-aid!

In today's Indianapolis Star:

Blame for terrorism belied by 12-year gap

In response to James F. Siener's Aug. 15 letter to the editor, he seems to forget (while blaming Presidents Clinton and Carter for the state of the world as far as terrorism) that there were 12 years in between the two. What party was in power then?

Julien S****



62 Years Ago Today...

62 years ago today, one of the men for whom I am named, Lt. Kenneth R., died when his plane was shot down in the Schweinfurth raid (8/17/1943) on Nazi Germany. Kenny was a bombardier on a B-17 in the days when the bombardiers were sitting ducks. Although most of his flight crew survived, Kenny did not. Evidence seems to suggest that he was dead before his plane hit the ground. As a Jew, I hope so. Whatever was left of him is buried somewhere in Belgium.

My family was lucky - nearly all of them had come to the USA by the end of the first decade of the 20th Century.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Velvet Revolution!

Thank you...


Here is the the sheeple keep their heads in the sand

From Mario, guest contributor on Julien's List:

Like we didn’t know this already...........

Election Fraud Continues in the US

New Data Shows Widespread Vote Manipulations in 2004

By Peter Phillips

In the fall of 2001, after an eight-month review of 175,000 Florida ballots never counted in the 2000 election, an analysis by the National Opinion Research Center confirmed that Al Gore actually won Florida and should have been President. However, coverage of this report was only a small blip in the corporate media as a much bigger story dominated the news after September 11, 2001.

New research compiled by Dr. Dennis Loo with the University of Cal Poly Pomona now shows that extensive manipulation of non-paper-trail voting machines occurred in several states during the 2004 election.

The facts are as follows:

In 2004 Bush far exceeded the 85% of registered Florida Republican votes that he got in 2000, receiving more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67 Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties. Bush managed these remarkable outcomes despite the fact that his share of the crossover votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000, and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points. We also know that Bush "won" Ohio by 51-48%, but statewide results were not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio the number of recorded votes was more than 93,000 greater than the number of registered voters.

More importantly national exit polls showed Kerry winning in 2004. However, It was only in precincts where there were no paper trails on the voting machines that the exit polls ended up being different from the final count. According to Dr. Steve Freeman, a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania, the odds are 250 million to one that the exit polls were wrong by chance. In fact, where the exit polls disagreed with the computerized outcomes the results always favored Bush - another statistical impossibility.

Tin Soldiers and Dubya’s Coming.......
Bay Village - 13,710 registered voters / 18,663 ballots cast
Beachwood - 9,943 registered voters / 13,939 ballots cast
Bedford - 9,942 registered voters / 14,465 ballots cast
Bedford Heights - 8,142 registered voters / 13,512 ballots cast
Brooklyn - 8,016 registered voters / 12,303 ballots cast
Brooklyn Heights - 1,144 registered voters / 1,869 ballots cast
Chagrin Falls Village - 3,557 registered voters / 4,860 ballots cast
Cuyahoga Heights - 570 registered voters / 1,382 ballots cast
Fairview Park - 13,342 registered voters / 18,472 ballots cast
Highland Hills Village - 760 registered voters / 8,822 ballots cast
Independence - 5,735 registered voters / 6,226 ballots cast
Mayfield Village - 2,764 registered voters / 3,145 ballots cast
Middleburg Heights - 12,173 registered voters / 14,854 ballots cast
Moreland Hills Village - 2,990 registered voters / 4,616 ballots cast
North Olmstead - 25,794 registered voters / 25,887 ballots cast
Olmstead Falls - 6,538 registered voters / 7,328 ballots cast
Pepper Pike - 5,131 registered voters / 6,479 ballots cast
Rocky River - 16,600 registered voters / 20,070 ballots cast
Solon (WD6) - 2,292 registered voters / 4,300 ballots cast
South Euclid - 16,902 registered voters / 16,917 ballots cast
Strongsville (WD3) - 7,806 registered voters / 12,108 ballots cast
University Heights - 10,072 registered voters / 11,982 ballots cast
Valley View Village - 1,787 registered voters / 3,409 ballots cast
Warrensville Heights - 10,562 registered voters / 15,039 ballots cast
Woodmere Village - 558 registered voters / 8,854 ballots cast
Bedford (CSD) - 22,777 registered voters / 27,856 ballots cast
Independence (LSD) - 5,735 registered voters / 6,226 ballots cast
Orange (CSD) - 11,640 registered voters / 22,931 ballots cast
Warrensville (CSD) - 12,218 registered voters / 15,822 ballots cast


E. J. Dionne Jr. - More Than Minority Blues

E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post
Tuesday, August 16, 2005; Page A13

Recently I ran across a small book, a collection of essays called "A House of Ill Repute," that should strike fear in the heart of today's Republican majority in Congress. Its critique of the status quo is devastating.

Are you amazed at how little power the minority has, especially in the authoritarian House of Representatives? One shrewd contributor thundered against "the tyranny of the majority." He declared that "millions of Americans" were deprived of "their fair representation in the formulation of public policy" and that "the majority in the House has many ways to pass its pet legislation or stall other bills without due regard for proper debate and deliberation."

Are you astonished at the eagerness of this supposedly small-government Congress to lavish huge sums on a transportation bill and a slew of tax breaks for oil and gas interests? "In their effort to spend more money, spendaholics will use three basic defenses for their votes," says another writer. "First, it's the wrong time and the wrong place. Second, however bad this waste is, there is other waste that is worse. Third, whatever cuts you want to make are clearly extremism."

Another representative lamented: "I sense arrogance on the part of many of my colleagues. It is easy to see how much arrogance can take hold when members of Congress seem to be unaccountable for their actions."

The author of the introductory essay summed up the case by referring to the homeowner who realizes one day that his "entire house is shabby and needs major attention."

Perhaps you have already guessed that these attacks are not the work of frustrated, bloody-minded Democrats weary of their current minority status in Congress. They come from a book published in 1987 by a group of Republican House members. The authors of the above quotations are, in order, former representatives Vin Weber, Newt Gingrich, Barbara Vucanovich and Joseph J. DioGuardi....


Love my country, hate what it is becoming, part III


Doug Thompson reports on Capitol Hill Blue:

"Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks and they tell a sordid tale of an administration under siege, beset by bitter staff infighting and led by a man whose mood swings suggest paranoia bordering on schizophrenia.

"They describe a President whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with 'get out of here!'

"In fact, George W. Bush's mood swings have become so drastic that White House emails often contain 'weather reports' to warn of the President‚s demeanor. 'Calm seas' means Bush is calm while 'tornado alert' is a warning that he is pissed at the world.

"Decreasing job approval ratings and increased criticism within his own party drives the President's paranoia even higher. Bush, in a meeting with senior advisors, called Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist a 'god-damned traitor' for opposing him on stem-cell research.

"'There's real concern in the West Wing that the President is losing it,' a high-level aide told me recently."

Entire article is HERE.


Love my country, hate what it is becoming, part II

In this case, hate the fact that the MAJORITY of U.S. citizens will consider this irrelevant at best, or "psycho-babble" at worst:

Psychological trauma widespread in Iraq

BAGHDAD — One of Iraq’s top psychiatrists says that more than two years of war, occupation and insurgency have turned the country into possibly the most psychologically damaged place in the world. "Psychologically, it may be the worst affected country in the world,” Dr. Harith Hassan, the former head of Baghdad's Psychological Research Center, told Reuters news agency last week. “What's going on is really a catastrophe from a psychological and a societal point of view.”

More than 70 percent of the private clients Hassan sees each week are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a severe anxiety condition, he said. Since the "shock and awe" of the 2003 U.S. bombing, Iraqis have had to deal with occupation by foreign forces, random and widespread death brought about by insurgents, and the growing effects of sectarian tensions.

Sectarian division is one of Hassan’s biggest concerns. Iraqis increasingly define themselves by classifications that were not common before, he explained. "You may have a Shiite father and a Sunni mother, and the children don't really know how they are defined, but they are being forced to define themselves as one or the other," he said. "Iraq hasn't experienced these sorts of divisions before and it is creating terrible psychological trauma."

With the help of a research center in the United Arab Emirates, Hassan has begun a preliminary study into the extent of PTSD. He is particularly concerned about its prevalence among women and children. If he can secure assistance from the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and other groups, he hopes to conduct a nationwide study of the problem over the next 18 months.

"Things are getting worse and worse," he said. "We need to understand what is happening to our national psyche and try to resolve it."

posted August 16, 2005


Love my country, hate what it is becoming, part I

Wisconsin imposes campus birth-control ban

MADISON — In a move that turns the University of Wisconsin into another front in the battle over reproductive rights, the state’s Legislature has passed a law that prohibits university campuses from prescribing, dispensing and advertising all forms of birth control and emergency contraceptives. The decision makes Wisconsin the first U.S. state to limit college students’ access to birth-control options.

Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, who spearheaded the move, argued that dispensing birth control and emergency contraceptives leads to promiscuity, The Minnesota Daily reports. The National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and other groups are actively opposing birth-control bans on college campuses.

“With this bill, rape victims will no longer be able to turn to campus health services to obtain emergency contraceptives to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, or receive post-rape counseling and education, adding even more stress to a traumatic event,” argued Kristina Shaw, vice president of Minnesota’s NOW chapter. The bill not only affects the 13,000 Minnesotans who attend college in Wisconsin, she noted, but also sets a precedent that could lead to similar bills on college campuses in other states.

Minnesota’s NOW chapter has launched a “Birth-Control NOW!” campaign, focusing on stopping the gradual rollback of reproductive rights. A recent victory for the group came when Walgreens amended its Pharmacist Refusal Clause. Under this policy, if a pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for birth control or emergency contraceptives on the basis of his or her moral beliefs, the customer was sent to another store to get the prescription filled. The new policy says that Walgreens must deliver the prescription from the other store to the customer’s local outlet, or the customer’s house, in a timely manner.