Saturday, March 13, 2004

Let's Send a Real Democrat and the First Native American Woman to Congress! 

SoonerThought asks for help in electing a real Democrat to Congress. She is up against the son of a former "Democrat" Congressman and Senator who would make Joe Lieberman look like Ralph Nader. Fellow Liberals, your help is requested in spreading the word.

Friends, Kalyn Free is the real deal. She is not the daughter of privilege; nor is she coasting on a famous name--and to my knowledge she has never worked on a REPUBLICAN political campaign in her life (can't say the same for her Primary opponent, I'm afraid).

President Aznar of the Republic of Spain 

Speaking in Spanish, [Jeb] Bush said: "I want to thank the president of the Republic of Spain for his friendship with the United States."

Spain has not been a republic since the late 1930s, when General Francisco Franco crushed Republican troops in the Civil War.

Franco's nationalist dictatorship lasted until his death in 1975, when Spain became a constitutional monarchy. King Juan Carlos I is now the head of state.

His older brother President Bush once referred to Aznar as "Anzar" ahead of his first visit to Spain as U.S. president in 2001.

President Bush, accused by opponents of having a shaky grasp on geography, has also famously referred to Greeks as Grecians.

And he once sent a shiver through jittery stock markets when he was speaking about the "deflation" in the Japanese yen and accidentally said "devaluation," which led to a brief rush to sell the yen on international currency markets.

I was looking for this article above about Jeb Bush's reference to Spanish Prime Minister Aznar as "president" when I chanced upon something even better.
This is just embarrassing:

From the White House: Joint Press Conference with President George W. Bush and President Jose Maria Aznar

From the Department of State:Bush Press Conference with President Aznar in Madrid


Thursday, March 11, 2004

Madrid attacks 

Spain suffered its bloodiest day of terrorism on Thursday when at least 192 people were killed and 1,430 injured by bomb explosions on packed early morning commuter trains in Madrid.

Thousands of Spaniards protested against the attacks in cities throughout Spain and millions more were expected to take to the streets on Friday in response to a call by José María Aznar, prime minister, and opposition party leaders for a massive show of support for the victims...

Subsequently, a London-based Arabic newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi, said it had received a letter purporting to come from Osama bin-Laden's al-Qaeda network. The letter was signed in the name of the "Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades". Similar letters were faxed to the paper following last November's attacks on two synagogues in Turkey, and after last year's bombing of the UN headquarters in Bagdhad.

(From the Financial Times)

Pretty bad stuff. What's the appropriate response? Is there an appropriate response? What's so hard to understand about valuing human life -- whether it's Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Theist, Buddhist, Hindu, or you name it? And worse -- the blame game starts again. Rainbow coloured warnings, politicians riding on security, mass hysteria and more media lunacy feeding fears and irrationality. Sometimes it's hard to follow it all and still keep a smile on your face.

Full story at the New World Blogger

I've been having fun with PhotoShopTM 

Check out a few of my suggested slogans for the BushCoTM campaign.

John Kerry Protects Taxpayers From Fraud. He Probably Wants the Terrorists to Win. 

Various conservatives have been making a lot of hay recently over the bill John Kerry introduced in 1995 to cut $1.5 billion from the intelligence budget. Two days ago, in a speech in Dallas, Bush told his audience:

"Yet, in 1995, two years after the attack on the World Trade Center, my opponent introduced a bill to cut the overall intelligence budget by one-and-a-half billion dollars. . . . He's for good intelligence, yet he was willing to gut the intelligence services. And that is no way to lead a nation in a time of war."

(More at edwardpig)

Bush gets bitch-slapped 

I could wish it had been in a larger-market paper that would give it some national coverage, but Pierre Tristam (damn, with a name like that he must be French: no wonder he hates the preznit!) gave Skippy a swift kick in the 'nads yesterday in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. It starts very well indeed:

It was never a question of whether, but of how President Bush would use the graveyards of Sept. 11 to season his re-election campaign. The question was just answered: By eroticizing the dead of that fateful day and using the flag as their g-string.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Let's run against DeLay 

I like the sound of this:
House Democratic leaders are honing an election strategy to taint the entire Republican caucus by demonizing Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

By running against DeLay, much as they ran against Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in 1996 and 1998, the Democrats believe they can damage centrist GOP members in potential swing districts that could determine who controls the House.

The strategy, which is based on the belief that DeLay is regarded as an extremist in many GOP-leaning districts, was previewed to lawmakers last week at a leadership luncheon by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

She galvanized colleagues with a promise that Democrats would not let Republicans claim to be moderates at home while taking marching orders from DeLay in Washington, said several sources at the luncheon.

This is good news, but Kos asks the pertinent question: what took them so long? DeLay may not be as nationally well known as Newt was, but he is a blackhearted SOB, hip-deep in slime. Texans know him and the Democratic faithful know him. There are plenty of places where DeLay will make a great poster boy to rally the faithful. DeLay might be safe in his own district, but that doesn't mean Texan Democrats in other districts can't run against him. I would think reminding Texans of the time and cost of the re-redistricting fight with the tagline "Tom DeLay doesn't want you to have a choice" should be worth a few votes. Maybe not. I've never been to Texas, but such a blatant effort to fix the elections wouldn't play well in the places I have lived and visited.

Tom DeLay need his butt drop-kicked into the deepest part of the Gulf of Mexico. Come to think of, that would make a good Democratic fund raising stunt. I doubt as if Tom would loan his butt to the Texas Democratic Party, but maybe a suitable surrogate could be found. A pork butt with a bad hairpiece, maybe?

Cross-posted at archy.

"I Voted Today!" 

Observations on going to vote in Florida's primary election from Mustang Bobby:
I was supposed to leave work early to go vote - under the labor contract I'm on, we're allowed to leave an hour early on Election Day. But things got crazy so I didn't get out until about ten minutes before my usual time. But the traffic was light, it was a nice sunny afternoon, and so I drove with the top down and the radio blasting. I pulled into the polling station - a local firehouse - and parked behind another Mustang convertible. There were no campaign workers to be seen; I guess they figured there was no need.

I asked the lady who checked my voter registration card if they'd been busy, and she said no. I looked around. There were more poll inspectors than voters, and a table over on the side behind one of the waiting fire trucks was laden with boxes from Dunkin' Donuts and KFC. At least they were comfortable.

The polling attendant showed me to one of the new touch-screen machines and asked if I'd used one before. I replied yes - in the 2002 election. He booted it up with his little ID box and asked if I wanted to vote in English, Spanish, or Kreyol (Haitian Creole). For a second I wondered what difference it would make, but then I remembered there was a charter amendment to be voted on as well, so I defaulted to English. He said, "Thanks for voting!" and left me to it.
Read the rest here.

CIA chief George Tenet says he's corrected VP Dick Cheney privately. Let's correct him publically while we're at it.  

Iddybud talks about VP Dick Cheney's consistently misleading statements about the Iraq-911 connection and the November 24, 2003 Weekly Standard article titled "Case Closed" and how it has contributed to grande public misperceptions about foreign policy.

Our jobless "recovery" 

SoonerThought gives the facts and figures behind Bush's jobless recovery.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

That Which We Call A Rose 

My Faithful Correspondent sent me a link to a good commentary in the Christian Science Monitor on who defines the word "marriage."
The concern among many who are opposed to same-sex marriages is that the traditional cultural resonances of marriage are dissipating. They see the Massachusetts Senate's effort to keep the word marriage just for heterosexual couples - even while conceding away its benefits - as a last-ditch effort to save the institution.

"Some see the word as politically trivial, but if they do they're missing the point," says Douglas Kmiec, a professor at Pepperdine School of Law in Malibu, Calif. "It was quite insightful to say to the court, 'If you want all the benefits, you can have them. What you can't have is the cultural definition of marriage itself.'"

Marriage, however, is changing - just as it always has been. From antiquity to relatively recent times, marriage was about property and child-rearing. The notion of marriage for romance or happiness has emerged only in the past two centuries.
It's a word that is fraught with meaning, conjuring up images of home, hearth, kids, dogs, station wagons, and picket fences. There's been a lot of discussion inside the gay community - or at least the one I'm in touch with - about whether or not the term "marriage" is a word that gays should readily adopt. After all, it's been kind of tattered and dog-earred over the last half-century, and examples such as Britney Spears, Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, and Robert Blake make you wonder if you really want to drive that one around the block. Some of the more militant gays don't want to have anything to do with a word that screams "straight." But so far no one has come up with a term that says the same thing without sounding like it was put together by a law firm: "domestic partnership" or "civil union" just doesn't cut it. Can you imagine what that old standard "Love and Marriage" would sound like if it was "Love and Civil Union"? Doesn't exactly flow. (For those of you under forty, it's the song that was used as the intro for Married With Children.)

Just to be sure, I went and checked out what the Quakers have to say about "marriage." I pulled out my copy of Faith and Practice 1972, published by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). I received this copy when I joined the Miami Friends Meeting in 1974. The Quakers are both liberal and traditional in their history, and this owner's manual, as it were, lends insight to the feelings of how they saw marriage then and how it might be practiced today.
Marriage is a commitment made in the presence of God and of witnessing friends, with no official pronouncements needed to complete it. Marriage depends on the inner experiences of the man and woman who marry and not on any external service or words. Before the actual wedding takes place, the Meeting has made careful investigation and preparation; it gives its approval and its loving oversight.

The marriage is a public commitment because it is a relationship in which the entire community is involved. A new home is being established, probably with children to be born, and the Meeting is deeply concerned for its success. The persons who marry have the support and guidance of their religious community since all are members one of another. The couple is entering into a contract, but more than that -- a life commitment.
There is no mention in this book about gay weddings. In fact, the entire book leaves out any discussion on homosexuality (not surprising in 1972). But it is clear that the Friends have always seen marriage as not being bound by the strictures of Man but of God - the couple is brought together through His leading and the Meeting is only there to be a witness and support. That has been carried through from the time of George Fox in the 17th century to today, and the sense of many meetings is that joining gay and lesbian couples in marriage would not be outside the realm of possibility. In fact, as long ago as 1996 the Albuquerque Friends Meeting spoke out forcefully against the anti-gay marriage movement in New Mexico, going so far as to publish several Minutes in oppostion to proposed legislation that would have made performing a same-sex marriage a crime. (Anyone who knows Friends meetings knows that getting a Minute out of a Meeting for Worship for Business is a very big deal.)

As staunch defenders of equal rights for all, the Friends have been powerful allies in supporting rights of oppressed minorities for centuries, including the abolishonist movement in the 19th century and the anti-apartheid movement in the 20th. And in spite of their silence (no pun intended) in 1972, they have been in the forefront of defending the rights of gays and lesbians as well as welcoming them into their meetings. So if there is a better example of the kind of meaning that come with the word "marriage" than the one supplied by the Friends, I haven't heard it. And I think that in those terms, it is a word that can be used by all.

(For more information on comptemporary Quaker weddings, check out this site.)

From Bark Bark Woof Woof

A Plea From Professor Cole 

Juan Cole, to whom most of us owe most of what we know in detail about Iraq, Iran, and other points Middle East, has an assignment for all of us - to stop advisory boards, with investigative powers yet, being added to funding for Middle East studies, a bright idea that comes from such fair-minded non-ideological supporters of diversity of opinion as Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz.

We have a post up about it at Corrente; maybe if the rest of the Liberal Coalition would do a post, we could have ourselves an actual "event," of sorts, and by virtue of some faxes, phone calls and emails, stop a very bad pre-born idea before it gets itself embodied in actual legislation.

Here's our Corrente link, and here's the link to Dr. Cole's original post, which explains precisely what's at stake, and has all the contact information anyone could need.

Monday, March 08, 2004

the iraqi interim constitution 

it was signed today and it's got some surprises.