Thursday, May 26, 2005
Debate Deception: Thune (left) Overstated Influence With Bush
In his venomous race to unseat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, John Thune made a lot of promises he has failed to deliver. Foremost among them, was his vow to use his supposedly close relationship with President George W. Bush to prevent the closing of Ellsworth Air Force Base, which is crucial to the state's economy. During the campaign, he said that he would be effective at keeping the base open because he had the president's ear.
Despite this promise, the recent announcement of the Pentagon's suggested base closings include Ellsworth. This has led to a round of well deserved heckles and jeers from indignant South Dakota Democrats.
"John Thune said he had the ear of the president," Steve Hildebrand, Daschle's campaign manager told The New York Times. "People are saying that, obviously, it was a deaf ear."
Voters in South Dakota have no one to blame but themselves. They unseated a powerful politician with seniority, in favor of an ineffectual Bush parrot that spouts conservative pabulum. Daschle, if still in office, would have had a seat on the base closing commission and likely could have used his clout to help South Dakotans.
Hildebrand justifiably sent an e-mail mocking Thune, who clearly overstated his influence with Bush. Under the headline, "What Power in Washington really Means", he pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's home state of Tennessee will gain 1,088 new jobs under the military base realignment. And the new Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's home state of Nevada would add 1,059 new military jobs. "
"South Dakota, home of presidential ear-whisperer John Thune, loses 3,797 jobs and has a major closure in Ellsworth Air Force Base," Hildebrand bitterly wrote in the e-mail.
Hildebrand is correct. Conservatives tricked South Dakotans into believing periphery issues with little consequence to the rural state, like homosexuality and abortion, were more important than jobs. Voters chose to be part of the Republican base, and now they rightfully lose their military base. Although I am liberal, I somehow have trouble feeling the pain of these bamboozled buffoons. Now, they can fight their churlish "culture war", but preparing for real wars will be at bases in other states - not South Dakota.
I want to add that that there is a small possibility that this is a set-up. Perhaps, the strategy of Karl Rove is to pretend that the Pentagon wants to close down Ellsworth. Democrats, like myself, will criticize the failed Senator. Then, there will cynically be a round of meetings between Thune and the Bush administration. In the end, Ellsworth will be "saved" by Thune who gets to play the superhero - much like Bush in his "post-war" flight suit. This administration has a flare for the dramatic, so anything is possible.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
(Mike Haley: Same Tired Queen, Same Old Shirt)
Ex-Gay group Exodus International is launching a billboard campaign attempting to show that homosexuals can pray away the gay. The first billboard will be in Orlando, presumably to annoy the well-adjusted attending Gay Day at Disney.
What is most noticeable in the ad, is that the ex-gays used are the same tired queens that are in all of their ads. If there are tens of thousands of ex-gays, as Exodus claims, why do they and Focus on the Family keep recycling the same five people?
I have provided billboards from two separate ex-gay campaigns. Mike Haley is used in both - and he's even wearing the same tired plaid shirt. What I find disturbing is that at least
three (Mike Haley, Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas) of the people featured on the new billboard make their living off of their ex-gay testimony. In other words, they are getting paid to say they have "changed".
Exodus and other ex-gay groups would have more credibility if they didn't continuously highlight the stories of anti-gay lobbyists on the dole. One has to wonder if they keep using these right wing employees because they can't find anyone to say they've gone straight unless James Dobson is writing them fat checks to lie.
For the past few months, Republicans have vowed to launch the "nuclear option", which would abolish the judicial filibuster. Their main argument is that each nominee should have an "up or down vote." These days, the unqualified power of the majority is a major theme for the GOP.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 238-194, including 50 Republicans, to increase federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The measure is also expected to sail through the Senate - if a vote were held.
The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, may not schedule a vote. Under extreme pressure from groups like The Family Research Council, Frist may table the item and never let it see the light of day. Even if a bill passed the Senate, President George W. Bush has hinted that it would meet his veto.
According to the professed principles of Frist and Bush, this is a matter for Congress to decide in a "up or down vote". Anything less, according to their philosophy, would be "tyranny of the minority".
The GOP leadership can't have it both ways. If they want a system where the majority rules, than the will of the majority can't be thwarted just because they don't like the outcome of a particular vote. Anything less than a full Senate vote, followed by a signed bill by the president to expand embryonic stem cell research, is hypocrisy of the worst order.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
(Extremist James Dobson Has Coronary Over Filibuster Compromise)
For the good of the country, it was wise for Senators to strike a compromise on the filibuster of judicial nominees. They temporarily averted a catastrophe and avoided setting a dangerous precedent. However, it is clear by the statements of many leading right wing Senators that this may be more of a transitory deferral than a true deal. The real test will come when Bush eventually nominates an extremist to the Supreme Court.
Here is a snapshot of how the GLBT Community and major players fared in the compromise:
TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
(Rick Satorum Has A Dangerous Vision For America)
Rick Santorum, R-Pa., likes to portray himself as the Senate's premier advocate for family values and a staunch defender of orthodox Catholic doctrine. However, a cover story on the sanctimonious senator in this weekend's New York Times magazine revealed that he is a mere cafeteria Catholic with a conscience of convenience.
TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
(Laura is the latest Bush to coddle dictator)
The radical Muslims, particularly the Wahhabi sect, hate us because they adhere to a violent version of Islam that has held back progressive ideas in the Mid East for centuries. But they also hate America because we have wildly incoherent and inconsistent Mid East policies.
For example, George W. Bush talks a good game when it comes to freedom. But he only seems to backup his words when oil is involved or a U.S vital interest is at stake. Thus, we invade Iraq and Afghan under the guise of "liberty" and "democracy".
When it comes to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, however, the Bush administration does not care if dictators enslave the people, as long as the oil keeps flowing and the peace is kept under the false banner of "stability". This incongruity of word and deed festers and eventually breeds resentment against U.S. interests. To be fair, the record of the Democrats isn't much better. Nonetheless, the Bush family's strong and emotional link to the brutal and barbaric Saudi royal family is unsettling.
The latest example of dictator coddling comes from Laura Bush. She visited Egypt this week as part of her not-so-successful Middle East tour. While there, she praised Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak for making electoral reforms meant to break his decades long hold on power.
Except, when you look at the supposed reform, it is a sham. Sure, Parliament approved a constitutional amendment to open presidential elections to other candidates. But there are many rigorous conditions that ultimately make it possible for only members of Mubarak's party to run.
Laura Bush defended the dictator and certainly took the steam out of opposition parties by serving as Mubarak's chief apologist. According to Bush, "you have to be slow" in putting political freedoms into effect. This certainly sounds like a different tune than the one we heard by the administration before Iraq was invaded. In Baghdad, it was so urgent to install freedom that we sent in tanks.
Finally, it is important we get Laura out of the Middle East. We don't want Karl Rove learning any new ideas on how to kill Democracy and rig elections.
Monday, May 23, 2005
The parents of NFL football star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman told The Washington Post
that the military and the government created a phony heroic tale about how their son died and lied about the fact he really died from friendly fire to gin up support for Bush's controversial war.
"Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did," Mary Tillman told the Post. "The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."
It is time America realizes that the Bush and DeLay crowd will do and say anything, including the cynical manipulation of patriotism, if it serves their purposes. Tillman was a real American hero. It is a shame he had to serve for self-serving cowards who lack even a shred of basic morality and a shard of public decency.
Tillman, played for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, but left the league after the Sept. 11, 2001 to join the Army along with his brother.
(Bill Frist Poised to Cripple Senate and Bring Down America)
To fuel his delusional presidential aspirations and appease extremist leaders on the far right, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is willing to sully the Senate and bring down America. According to polls, the public is already fed up, and Frist's unwanted showdown to force a government shutdown won't even begin until Tuesday.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll out this week found that 51-percent disapproved of Congress's performance. This was the highest level of dissatisfaction since 1994 - the year Republican's trounced Democrats in midterm elections and took over the House. We can only hope the reverse occurs in 2006.
"The Congress is in a mud fight," Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, told The New York Times
Isn't it amazing how the current batch of Republicans always drag this country down into the mud? Whether it is interfering in the Terri Schiavo affair, misleading the nation into war, or inserting phony reporters/male hustlers like Jeff Gannon into the White House press corps, this new breed of Banana Republicanism consistetnly hurts this nation.
What is ironic, is that the dirtiest, nastiest, below the belt politicians in memory are all moral values crusaders. But, the only thing these hypocrites truly value is money and power. Even if Frist were to win the White House in 2008, the stately home would be so covered in sludge, one would hardly recognize it. Is America still America if you win by dismantling institutions such as the Senate?
Democrats - it is time to rally and stay strong in the face of a radical attempt to change this nation by ending the judicial filibuster. This may be a long, hard fight. But I think preserving America as a free and fair nation is worth the battle.
Of course, a compromise would be nice. But we know religious fanatics, such as Frist, are incapable of playing well with others. For people who talk so much about Jesus - it is strange that they almost always choose "nuclear" over nice.
(Dwayne Wade: The New Michael Jordan)
Tonight, the defending NBA champion Detroit Pistons will take on the Miami Heat. I predict that Miami will win in six games - even if Shaq is not at full-speed. The human eraser, Alonzo Mourning, is an adequate substitution, at least defensively. And Dwayne Wade is just too athletic for the Pistons.
For years, we have heard various players described as "the next Michael Jordan". But Dwayne Wade is really the closest I have seen to a player able to fill in MJ's legendary shoes. He has the athleticism, awe-inspiring moves, out-of-the-gym leaping ability, and killer instinct to be one of the best players ever. He also has the charisma and charm to be an international star. The only noticeable difference between Wade and Jordan, is that the 6'6" Jordan is two inches taller, which makes a big difference when playing in the post.
Wade is an unusually unselfish ballplayer and has phenomenal court vision. When he finds open men, such as Eddie Jones or Damon Jones, they have the ability to finish -usually from behind the 3-point line.
People might say I'm crazy to pick the Heat without a healthy Shaq. He may only show up for 2-3 games as his dominant self. However, the same can be said about the Piston's Rasheed Wallace. Although he is not injured, he is a head case who usually takes a night or two off during any given series. The Piston's need Wallace to come through even more than the Heat need Shaq. However, Wallace just is too unstable to be there and bring his A-game the whole series. His disappearing act - combined with Miami's home court advantage - will be enough to put the Heat over the top IN SIX.
Representatives of American Psychiatric Association approved a bold and wise statement urging legal recognition of same-sex unions. If approved by the association's directors in July, the statement would make the group the first major medical Association to publicly support the freedom to marry.
According to a report in the Associated Press
, the statement was approved by voice vote and supports same-sex marriage and benefits "in the interest of maintaining and promoting mental health."
Not only is opposition to marriage equality morally reprehensible, but it is now rightfully viewed as a threat to the mental health of gay people. The American Psychiatric Association should be applauded for doing what is right in the name of science. It would have been easier for the group to sell out for political expediency. However, this group takes their duty seriously and it is clear that these shrinks don't shrink from doing what is correct for the mental health, well-being and stability of all Americans. It is a rare and glorious day when doing what is right for people is placed ahead of ahead of the whims of right wing politicians.