Friday, February 06, 2004

The General or the return of the Admiral? 

I mentioned at times Clark can remind one of Perot, but perhaps I misspoke and selected the wrong running mate from 1992.

The General says he can't understand why they voted for Bush tax cuts. Well, they didn't.

Oops. It might have been better to use the Admiral's familiar refrain: "Who am I? Why am I here?"

(By the way, check out the last link, it really brings back memories...see how hapless Dan Quayle never answers the question that is still germane 12 years later...

You know, our country is in trouble. We simply cannot continue with this philosophy of giving huge tax cuts to the very wealthy, raising taxes on middle income families the way Bush and Quayle have done and then waiting for it to work. How much longer will it take, Dan, for trickle down economics to work, in your theory?)

Let's focus, "Anybody But Bush" folks. Even if Kerry and Edwards had voted for the tax cut--which they didn't--would the tax cut ever have been proposed by Dean, Kerry, Edwards or Clark? Not likely. Move On, move on! And while you're there, ask for Bush to be censured over the WMDs.


What the HELL!?!?! 

Oops, for the love of God, I could get expelled for the title...

A second-grade girl from Pittsburgh was suspended this week from her public elementary school for saying the word "hell" to a boy in her class.

But 7-year-old Brandy McKenith says she was only warning the boy about the eternal comeuppance he could face for saying: "I swear to God."

"I said, 'You're going to go to hell for swearing to God,'" Brandy was quoted as saying in an article that appeared on the Web site of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Wednesday.

School officials were unavailable for comment. A Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman told the newspaper that the student code prohibits profanity but does not provide a clear definition of what profanity is.

The girl's parents, who said they believed their daughter's version of the story, were flabbergasted by the suspension and complained to the school principal.

"Jesus F-ing Christ, I can't F-ing believe they'd expel her just for that Sh--!!!" said her parents.

Don't tell me ironic punishment wasn't involved. Here she is, trying to correct a boy and she gets tanked for using "Hell" in its truest context...the public school system.

If only she'd wait four more years, another predator male could rape and kill her.

Smith has been arrested at least 13 times in Florida since 1993.

Or if only she'd waited 11 more years to join the military.

Some 37 women have told the foundation they were assaulted by fellow military personnel while in Iraq or Kuwait during the last year, said Christine Hansen, the organization's executive director. Several said they did not receive thorough medical care, access to chaplains and lawyers or information on their rights, Hansen said in a telephone interview.

Only 11 of the women had reported the sexual attacks to military authorities, Hansen said. Many said they were afraid of retribution for reporting the incidents, she said, and some who did complain received unfavorable changes in their jobs or locations.

I don't know what you do to people like these, but I doubt they can be cured. Maybe they can go populate the moon to make "W" happy. I'm against capital punishment because of the obvious racial and social bias involved in the sentencing. Someone robs a 7-11, it goes sadly awry and two clerks end up dead, and the perp fries. But Kenneth Lay can rob tens of thousands of folks of their entire nest egg, and nothing happens.

We return full circle on this Kenneth and Martha article:

For a brief period in 2002, corporate America had a new odd couple: Kenneth Lay and Martha Stewart. The deposed king of the energy industry and the queen of all things house and home had never had much in common, but for a while, they stood together as emblems of everything that was wrong with the business world. They were using their positions to get richer at the expense of ordinary investors.

Today, Stewart is making headlines all by herself, her criminal trial a staple of the nightly news programs. Lay, meanwhile, remains safely ensconced in his multimillion-dollar Houston condominium. More than two years after Enron declared bankruptcy, he still hasn't been charged with wrongdoing.

Let's face it, if you're a rare woman guilty of embezzlement, child murder or any of the dozens of heinous crimes orders of magnitude more common for men (rape, vehicular homicide, child molestation, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum), you're going to feel it.

I mean, WHAT the HELL.


Sometimes the less said the better 

The President just established the "independent" commission to investigate the WMD intelligence failures. What does it do? Nothing. If you need some bad mental "cotton candy" read the report. What more can you say?
Cotton Candy, Cotton Candy, that's what the Bush Administration is all about.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Morality of ABB 

Often progressives sabotage their own causes by applying a greater moral purity to candidates than to other areas, I think, because of the way we personalize the process. The bleeding heart liberal becomes the self-righteous moral scold with candidates. One needs to look no farther than the comments to a recent post by Kos, Who is robo-calling against Dean? In the post Kos repeated the unsubstantiated allegations leveled by Trippi against Kerry. The comments, however, picked up the allegations and suddenly there was a flood of moral indignation coupled with vows of nonsupport for Kerry.

Pre-judging in any event was a mistake, but even if the allegations were true would they have been relevant in any case? From a personal perspective yes, but from a much broader communitarian perspective no. Why not? The process is not only about the individual and the litmus tests for the candidate. It is about what's best for the community given the circumstances. I remember the late Senator Wellstone debating Jim Hightower about supporting Nader. Hightower arguments stemmed from lofty ideals about purity. Senator Wellstone reminded Hightower that many people at the bottom needed relief, not bromides. Wellstone's message was simple, the people at the bottom would be the ones who would suffer the most for a Bush victory, not the "Creative Class" who had the luxury of their ideals.

The bottom line is not the purity of the candidates, but the best way to make progress, even if it means a quarter of a cup versus an idealized full cup. It's not about us, but about everybody. Tony Kushner understands this as Wellstone did:

Listen, here's the thing about politics: It's not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.

It elects fucked-up people who for reasons of ego want to run the world. Then the citizenry makes them become great.

Exactly, The progressives' charge is to make the candidates and office holders listen and act by pressuring them through correspondences, financial threats or voting threats(in the primaries). Yes, idealism still has a place and the place is the primaries. After the primaries, idealism takes a backseat to making the best out of the situation. Progress may not be as fast as some would like it, but at least progress happens.


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Scary Kerry or the first full-court Press? 

I have to admit, this sounds pretty bad. Pretty bad as in hypocritical, as in kettle calling the pot black, as in up to his elbows in the Machine.

A Senate colleague was trying to close a
loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal
dollars from the nation's most expensive construction project. John
Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation.

Over the next two years, the insurer, American International
Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least
$30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential
campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and
presidential campaigns.

Were the two connected? Kerry says not.

But to some government watchdogs, the tale of the Massachusetts
senator's 2000 intervention, detailed in documents obtained by The
Associated Press, is a textbook case of the special interest
politicking that Kerry rails against on the presidential trail.

Nevertheless, I'm willing to give Kerry the benefit of the doubt here...after all, this amounts to chicken feed...$50,000 at most to line his campaign but not his pockets. Hell, Cheny Dick charges more just to show you his piercings...from the quadruple bypasses, that is.

Does this mean Kerry is just another cog in the political machine? Absolutely, he's a senator from Massachusetts, after all. Does it mean he should have turned down the campaign contributions of these folks? Probably not--the $150 million he saved his constituents is the real issue. Was it ethical to pass this buck onto the other states? Who can say? The Big Dig has been such a Mega-Catastrophe from any financial perspective that it can know no hyperbole.

Stay tuned, though, now that Kerry is the front-runner and polls are showing him leading our least favorite Chimp in the polls, you're going to see a lot more of these. And they will be nastier than the ones against Dean, eventually, because as a senator from Massachusetts there is a lot more money and power to throw around than for the governor of a state with less people than several Massachusetts counties. Try to remember the law of scale...compare $50,000 or even $150 Million to the $150 BILLION that "W" has "W"asted "W"orthlessly on his little "W"ar. Even the Big Dig is small change compare to the BIG FRAUD.


From the Anschluss 

Been in Austria for a little ski vacation. Last week Lupus asked me to comment on the fact that bush in the de facto head of the religious right. For now I will be brief - since the inet cafe charges 8 eur an hour (seems like a lot to me anyway).

I dont know what the Poles think about this really. They are always a bit surprised when I tell them that Bush is an arrogant, ignorant fanatic. Still, I think Bush could learn from Poles religiousity. Not saying that the Poles are the best behaved bunch but in general they are quite religious (an interesting aside - a strongly Catholic country has an atheist President. Yet for the atheist the Pope is a moral authority. Bush - the big Christian - didnt listen to the Pope). Also the religious right in Poland is something quite scary - but it is pretty fringe and has so far had little political impact (though it does try).

Anyway my point is: lots of Poles pray and feel the impact of the Almighty in their daily lives. Yet this prayer is vertical - that is directed to the heavens where the Boss is. Bush seems to direct his prayer to the congregation - invoking the Lord at every turn to demonstrate the fact that he was anointed by the Lord to lead the righteous against the evildoers. The difference? Poles don't pray and then look around to see who is watching and then scold those who don't appear as holy as themselves. Spiritual development is quite personal and while it can and even should be talked about with others, it should not be foisted on them or used to demonstrate perceived superiority.

I guess really that is what I think and not what Poles think. Still, Bush could learn something from them.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The tide is turning... 

Faux Dems no longer invited....

As good buddy and pol pundit J noted, not since LBJ have we had a Dem talk about "two Americas". The tide is turning, and something big is about to happen.


Monday, February 02, 2004

And safer still!... 

Two years ago, it was anthrax (perpetrators still unfound). Now it's ricin in the US Senate. Or just another scare tactic?

Oh, and I feel safer about my life than my pocketbook. Next year's deficit unless "W" cuts every social program in the country? $1 TRILLION. $4000/person! Almost what we're spending per Iraqi citizen on the "W"ar.


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