Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm a Conservative

Well, perhaps I should be specific here. I'm an environmental conservative. We've got just one earth, so knowing the repercussions are pretty stiff if we screw this one up, I'm pretty conservative on ruining it. Let's don't.

And truth be known, I'm also a fiscal conservative. By that I mean that I believe as a country we should try really hard to spend no more than we take in. I think there ought to be rare exceptions to that, but generally, that's how I run the family (although my wife likely maintains that she runs it), and it's worked pretty well for us. Other than the house and 2 cars, we have little debt.

Being a fiscal conservative, I was pretty amazed to run across this item. It's a simple snapshot of the last 4 Presidents' budgets. As you know, 3 of the last 4 were Republicans. Given that Republicans claim they're all about spending wisely, and that tax-and-spend Democrats can't be trusted to look after your money, imagine my surprise when the only President that seemed to care a lick about being prudent with your tax dollar...was a Democrat. Sure, there are extenuiating circumstances that shade the facts slightly. But bottom line is the Democratic budget is a more fiscally conservative one than a Republican one.

Please, give that site a look-see. Save it. And when your redneck Republican-to-the-core uncle goes into his big rant that you can't trust Democrats with your money--and you know that'll happen--forward him this article. It'll put a pin in his idiot ballon.

Is McCain Losing His Charm?

Yes, according to Sridhar Pappu of The Washington Independent. It sounds like he can no longer call the press 'his base'. Of course, the Independent is on-line and is not the only web-only news carrier to honestly cover McCain. I wonder when we'll begin to read articles like this in the mainstream press.
At least the truth of one his ads is finally being questioned by a noted tv journalist.
Of particular interest are the comments following the column. One, posted yesterday by 'charleyjames' I found especially interesting and full of information. I had known that McCain was near the bottom of his Naval Academy class, but not that other prisoners at the Hanoi Hilton had given him the derisive self-explanitory nickname "Songbird".
And just think, in 2000 he was considered one of the few honest guys in the Republican Party.

Monday, July 28, 2008

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, July 28 -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi -- Speaker of the House & author

Tuesday, July 29 -- Bill Bishop -- Author, "The Big Sort"

Wednesday, July 30 -- Ben Wattenberg -- Author, "Fighting Words"

Thursday, July 31 -- Brian Williams -- Anchor, NBC Nightly News

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pie and Platform

Today, in Kendallia we had pie while we worked on our "planks" for the Obama platform. After 3 hours of discussion, we had our platform worked out and ready to submit to the Obama campaign. The discussion was lively, and sometimes contentious, but it was a great time. Thanks to Judy McM for hosting.

Here are 4 (out of 16) of our "planks."

1. Science should not be politicized.

2. Every American shall have access to the same high quality health care as needed and de-linked from employment.

3. We will get out of Iraq as quickly as possible while minimizing the danger to remaining American and coalition forces and supporting Iraqi forces.

4. We endorse the decision of U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller that found that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.

5. We call for the repeal or substantial amendment of the FISA act, restoring fundamental rights and holding all parties who violate these rights accountable.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, July 21 -- Richard Bitner -- Author, "Greed, Fraud & Ignorance"

Tuesday, July 22 -- Will Ferrell -- Actor, "Step Brothers"

Wednesday, July 23 -- T.J. English -- Author, "Havana Nocturne"

Thursday, July 24 -- George Michael -- Singer

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Republicans have gone STARK. RAVING. MAD.

In a stupifying move that defies logic:
"Republican Senator Dole introduced an amendment to name an HIV/AIDS relief bill after the recently deceased Jesse Helms. Helms, of course, was a strident foe of HIV/AIDS prevention, research and treatment."

What part of that makes sense on any level, in any county in the country, on any planet in the solar system?

Is Ms. Dole going to follow this up by re-naming Washington DC's museum about the horrors of Jewish history the Hitler Holocaust Museum?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Week on the Daily Show

Tuesday, July 15 -- Pierce Brosnan -- Actor, "Mama Mia"

Wednesday, July 16 -- Kenneth Pollack -- Author, "A Path Out of the Desert"

Thursday, July 17 -- Maggie Gllyenhaal -- Actor, "The Dark Knight"

Monday, July 07, 2008

This Week on the Daily Show

Monday, July 7 -- Coldplay -- Musical guests "Vida la Vida"

Tuesday, July 8 -- Ted Koppel -- Journalist

Wednesday, July 9 -- James McAvoy -- Actor, "Wanted"

Thursday, July 10 -- James Harding -- Author, "Alpha Dogs"

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What you don't see on the news

Protesters at Monticello during Bush's speech.

Juan Cole, Your Fourth of July and My Fourth of July

Posted with great thanks to Juan Cole.

Friday, July 04, 2008
Your Fourth of July and My Fourth of July

Your Fourth of July is blood for oil.

My Fourth of July is the pure sunbeam of peace.

Yours is the imperial presidency and "so what?" to public opinion.

Mine is "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"

Yours is profiling and discrimination.

Mine is "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."

Yours is "My country right or wrong."

Mine is avoiding "Offences against the Law of Nations"

Yours is the veto of child health care and rejection of Kyoto,

Mine is an America that cares about the wellbeing of our children.

Yours is a monarchical presidency above the law.

Mine is, with Tom Paine, "in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other."

Yours is aggressive invasions of countries that did not attack us first.

Mine is "and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."

Yours is water-boarding and electrocution.

Mine is the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Yours is the stench of a million moldering corpses, military rule over 27 million, and the creation of oceans of misery.

Mine is "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Yours is off-shore drilling, coddling polluters, 'heckuva job Brownie.'

Mine is a stewardship of America the beautiful for succeeding generations.

Yours is the privatization of war and the deployment of whole divisions of "contractors. . ."

Mine is an America where privates do not risk their lives for a tenth of what a mercenary is paid by the Pentagon.

Yours is the erection of protest zones as zoos for citizens.

Mine is, "or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Yours is the swagger of the flight jacket and the bombs raining down.

Mine is the schooling of the next global generation.

Mine is America, the pure sunbeam of peace.

With apologies to Kahlil Gibran.

Labels: Iraq

posted by Juan Cole @ 7/04/2008 12:55:00 AM

Friday, July 04, 2008

How dare they, indeed! My sentiments exactly on this 4th of July.

Commentary: How dare they rip the Fourth Amendment?
By Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers
Early next week the U.S. Senate will vote on an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a few small amendments intended to immunize telecommunications corporations that assisted our government in the warrantless and illegal wiretapping it has grown to love.

That such a gutting of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution even made it out of committee is yet another stain on the gutless and seemingly powerless Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

That a majority on both sides of the aisle — not least of them the presumptive nominees for president of both political parties — intend to vote for such a violation of Americans' right to privacy and of the sanctity of their personal communications is a stunning surrender to those who want us to live in fear forever.

We are living in a time when the right of habeas corpus — which simply put is your right to be brought before a proper court of law where the government is made to prove that there is good and legal reason to detain you — recently survived by a margin of only one vote at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now these bad actors are prepared to set aside your right to privacy — written into the Constitution as a key part of our Bill of Rights — with hardly a nod in the direction of the true patriots who rebelled against an English king and his army to guarantee those rights.

That they will do this while the last empty phrases of the political windbags at the Fourth of July celebrations are still echoing across a thousand city parks and the bright red, white and blue bunting and blizzard of American flags still flap in the breeze is little short of breath-taking.

How dare they?

Those denizens of the White House and Capitol Hill and all those gray granite buildings that line avenues with names like Constitution and Independence in the nation's capitol would have us believe that we must trade our rights, all of our rights, for some measure of security from the terrorists.

They would have us believe that a nation of 300 million people must surrender what a million other Americans gave their lives in war to protect in order to protect us from a couple of hundred fanatics hiding in caves in Waziristan.

Benjamin Franklin himself wrote of such a debate:

"Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The fact that British troops, operating on flimsy general warrants handed out by local magistrates, were kicking in the doors of ordinary Americans and rifling through their pantries and papers in search of smuggled, untaxed goods was a prime reason why our ancestors rebelled against their king and went to war.

This is WHY we celebrate the Fourth of July. This is why the vote on renewing the expanded version of FISA and whitewashing the egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment for seven long years by our government is important.

If neither John McCain, the Republican, or Barrack Obama, the Democrat, can find the courage to oppose such a violation of so basic a right, then what are we to do for a president, a successor to George W. Bush, The Decider, who has since 9/11 decided what rights you are entitled to keep, what laws he will or will not obey, and whether you will be protected by these words of the Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That's it. That's the Fourth Amendment. That is what these folks in Washington, D.C., have violated continuously and in secret for seven long years.

Somewhere across an ocean and a desert, hiding in his cave, a man of hate named Osama bin Laden is laughing up the sleeve of his dirty robe at the thought that he and a small handful of fellow fanatics could tie a great nation in knots — knots of fear stoked by our own leaders.

We have done incalculably more and greater damage to ourselves since September 11, 2001, than a thousand bin Ladens and ten thousand al Qaida recruits could ever have done to us.

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." Now it would seem that we have no one to fear but ourselves and our leaders.

The questions I pose are these:

How can even one senator on either side of the aisle in good conscience vote in favor of this law that does nothing to enhance our security and everything to diminish our rights as a free people?

How can both men who seek to become our next president cast such a vote when both should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder declaring that they would govern by our consent and with our approval, not by wielding the coercive and corrosive and corrupt powers that King George III and his latter-day namesake from Texas thought are theirs by divine right?