Thursday, June 30, 2005


Hillarious attack on CNN and NBC's news coverage. "Where The White Women At?" or WWWA News.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

hooray for Canada

Canada has officially legalized same sex marriage. A major victory for the concept of equal protection of the laws. Oregon is currently considering a bill to legalize Civil Unions for same sex partners with the full outspoken support of Gov Kulongoski. The bill has passed through committee in the Senate and is awaiting action on the floor.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Our President, the Hypocrite

Another Bush flip-flop, from ThinkProgress
In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

And on the specific need for a timetable, here’s what Bush said then and what he says now:

George W. Bush, 6/5/99

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

[ed. note: article originally ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 6/5/99]

Best Satire I've Read in Quite Some Time

Brilliant satire and effective response to the Wall Street Journal over at DailyKos. Perhaps that's why the Mariners are losing too.

Monday, June 27, 2005

House Votes to Repeal First Amendment

----[UPDATE]-Falsely accused several on the list of being repeat offenders while leaving out many others. List is more accurate now. Based on Atrios' list of 31 Losers.----

Well, they might as well. On Wednesday the House voted 286-130 in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to allow Congress to ban desecration of the flag. This kind of "freedom when we find it acceptable" approach to the bill of rights is truly dangerous and the path towards the total anhilation of our First Amendment right to free speech.

So, I ask myself, who are these Democrats voting in favor of this crap? Who is so gutless that they can't stand up and vote in defense of disagreeable free speech? Looking at the Congressional Record there were 77 of them. Every one of these fools deserves opposition in the primaries. Those in bold have been notorious repeat offenders for voting the Republican Party line. Twenty-Two of these fools are Blue Dogs.
Robert Andrews (NJ-1)
Joe Baca (CA-43)
Brian Baird (WA-3)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Mellissa Bean (IL-8)
Shelley Berkeley (NV-1)
Marion Berry (AR-1)
Sanford Bishop (GA-2)
Timothy Bishop (NY-1)
Dan Boren (OK-2)
Leonard Boswell (IA-3)
Sherrod Brown (OH-13)
Corrine Brown (FL-3)
Lois Capps (CA-23)
Russ Carnahan (MO-3)
Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
Ben Chandler (KY-6)
James Clybern (SC-6)
Jim Costa (CA-20)
Jerry Costello (IL-12)
Bud Cramer (AL-5)
Joseph Crowley (NY-7)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Jim Davis (FL-11)
Lincoln Davis (TN-4)
William Delahunt (MA-10)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Chet Edwards (TX-17)
Bob Etheridge (NC-2)
Harold Ford (TN-9)
Bart Gordon (TN-6)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Jane Harman (CA-36)
Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Tim Holden (PA-17)
William Jefferson (LA-2)
Paul Kanjorski (PA-11)
Marci Kaptur (OH-9)
Dale Kildee (MI-5)
Jim Langevin (RI-2)
Tom Lantos (CA-12)
John Larson (CT-1)
Daniel Lipinski (IL-3)
Steven Lynch (MA-9)
Jim Marshall (GA-3)
Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4)
James McGovern (MA-3)
Mike Mcintyre (NC-7)
Michael McNulty (NY-21)
Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
Bob Menendez (NJ-13)
Michael Michaud (ME-2)
Allen Mollohan (WV-1)
John Murtha (PA-12)
Richard Neal (MA-2)
Soloman Ortiz (TX-27)
Frank Pollone (NJ-6)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-8)
Collin Peterson (MN-7)
Nick Rahall (WV-3)
Silvestre Reyes (TX-16)
Mike Ross (AR-4)
Steven Rothman (NJ-9)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2)
John Salazar (CO-3)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
David Scott (GA-13)
Brad Sherman (CA-27)
Ike Skelton (MO-4)
Adam Smith (WA-9)
John Spratt (SC-5)
Ted Strickland (OH-6)
Bart Stupak (MI-1)
Gene Taylor (MS-4)
Bennie Thomson (MS-2)
Edolphus Towns (NY-10)
Albert Wynn (MD-4)

By the way, has there been some increase in flag burnings lately? Why is this a problem we should care about solving?

Saturday, June 25, 2005


In the latest ARG poll Bush has a 42% approval rating and a 53% disapprove, but the numbers look especially bad for Bush when broken down into Party Identification


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Democrats Call for Tomlinson's Resignation

As the right seeks to destroy PBS, Sixteen Democratic Senators have called for Kenneth Tomlinson's resignation. It appears to me that the plan by Republicans is to accuse PBS and NPR of being too left wing, and get Congress to cut some funding for it. Then PBS and NPR will move their coverage to the right, so that they represent nothing different than any cable news channel. At that point the generally liberal supporters will stop contributing the NPR and public broadcasting will cease to exist.
Wonkette's take on Congressman Markey's call for Tomlinson's resignation.
Blue State Congressman, Big Red Dog

Congressman Markey consorts with constituents. Tragedy ensued later that afternoon when Clifford mistakenly entered Senator Frist's office, where he was quickly euthanized and dissected. — WONKETTE

Lol, clever comment.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Krugman on Health Care

Paul Krugman's argument for single payer health care.
The great advantage of universal, government-provided health insurance is lower costs. Canada's government-run insurance system has much less bureaucracy and much lower administrative costs than our largely private system. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured.

This is the argument that gets lost in the discussion too often. Because private health insurance spends so much money and resources finding ways to avoid coverage, a single payer system would be cheaper. Last month Krugman listed several western European Countries and Canada that have universal health care and spend less on it than the United States government does to cover a few people right now. That's because we're guaranteeing government coverage to a few people within a broader private system that forces health care costs up. Therefore the costs of delivering health care is high, and the Government is forced to pay the same rate to the providers as the private insurers.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

An Attack on the Spokesman Review

The Spokesman Review is two things:

1. A Shitty Paper and;
2. Lousy Internet Citizens

The first point is difficult to document because of point number 2. Michael Kinsley is an idiot for writing the article I discussed yesterday, but the Spokesman Review is even worse for picking it up. Kinsley has no point, and the argument presented in his article is non-sensical. Which seems to be the standard for what makes the editorial page of the Spokesman Review. The most liberal face ever to appear on the Spokesman's editorial page is that of moderate (at best) or conservative (at worst) David Broder. Whatever Broder is, he aint no liberal, and yet he is what passes for a liberal voice on the editorial page of the Spokesman. After running this nonsensical article yesterday, and convicting Sami Al-Hussayen of terrorism charges before his trial, the Spokesman decided to lay an attack on those advocating gay marriage by running an artical by two Spokane clergymen about how gay marriage would infringe on the rights of others. Their case seemed to be that churches would have no first amendment rights to oppose gay marriage if gay marriage were made legal. The only support they provided for this was the undocumented claim that this has happened in other Countries (like Canada) where gay marriage has been legalized. Let's use the example of Canada, and assume that what they said is true (which is highly suspect). Canada has a very different legal set up than we do in the United States. Canada's government is set up by a series of "Constitution Acts" that establish the form of government but does not serve as the supreme law of the land. Therefore all rights are granted to individuals by laws that are all equal to each other. Therefore say freedom of speech does not reign superior over possibly hate crimes legislation. In the United States however, the Constitution serves as the supreme law of the land and any law that contradicts it will be invalidated by the Supreme Court. Therefore there is no risk of individuals losing their free speech rights because of hate crimes legislation unless it clearly incites and calls for violence. They claimed that this is a great risk because the Courts are increasingly using international standards in the interpretation of our own Constitution, but the Courts have never and will never use international standards if there is no basis in American law or in the Constitution for those standards. The Court used international standards a little bit in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating anti-sodomy laws, but the right to privacy that Lawrence used to make that case has been present in American law since the 1950s in Griswald. They used international standards recently to ban the execution of minors, but again it was used within the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. So this pitiful attempt at a 'legal argument against gay marriage' failed miserably, and only showed the Spokesman Review to be out to promote bigotry and oppression. The artical essentially consisted of wild off the wall claims to insist that we should all be afraid of gay marriage.

The second point is that the Spokesman Review are shitty internet citizens. This is supported by the fact that I was unable to cite the artical that I referenced previously. They require people to be subscribers to the Spokesman or pay in order to get any access to any of their articles. All respectable papers, the New York Times, the Washington Post. They all allow for free access within a few days of an article's printing, but not the Spokesman, they want to hoard information and keep it from the public in order to maintain their own profit. Although then again, I'm beginning to believe they don't print any information.

Michael Kinsley is an Idiot

So, let me get this straight, the Downing Street Memo is nothing but a left wing conspiracy theory because many people already suspected that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." I thought conspiracy theories were supposed to be off the wall not defined as something that many people already suspected. What the hell Michael Kinsley? Maybe Michael Kinsley doesn't understand the definition of a conspiracy theory.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Met Jerry Brady

I met Jerry Brady today. He ran in 2002 for Governor against Dirk Kempthorne, and will be running in '06 again. Brady took 42% of the vote in 2002 against an incumbant Governor. In 2006 in an open race it could turn brutal. If Brady is capable of taking 42% from an incumbant, an open race for Governor in Idaho could become a very tight race between him and Rep. Butch Otter (R-1st) who has anounced his candidacy.

I had a chance to talk to Brady about Lakoff, he is much more well read in the man's works than I am right now, he believes the argument mostly right. His preferred frame seemed to be "The Three American Stories:"
1. Everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed regardless of where they were born
2. We're all in this together
3. The people at the top are all scumbags

It's an older model of discussion that has always been present in American politics, but it has succeeded in the past and I think can work here. It hits on one of the basic core Democratic values of equity, everyone deserves a chance. It acknowledges that many problems have no black and white solution, and while we have differences the best policy for all of us must be found through a pluralistic discussion of ideas. On the second point he can talk of environmental issues the way former Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon did when he came to the University of Idaho a couple of years ago that so impressed me. We all have an interest in a healthy environment and we cannot exclude environmental groups for the benefit of business, or business groups for the benefit of the environmental lobby for that matter, we can come up with good policy by including everyone's voice. Then finally the third part of his frame allows him to hit on the corruption that is widespread in the Republican Party today as well as the corruption that comes with one party rule as exists in the State of Idaho. Me, I'll keep working on establishing a moral values language, something that I think we'll see a bit of from Brady, but if he can make the basic framework he explained to me work then more power to him. Ultimately this is about coherency of message, something that Democrats are very bad at, and if he can establish any coherent message arround a basic simple frame we may finally see a blue Governor in the reddest of the red States. Please visit the campaign webpage and make a donation, as I start my list of important candidates to support in 2006 with Jerry Brady for Governor of Idaho.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Leonard Pitts on Spokane Mayor Jim West

Pitts wonders out loud about the hypocrisy that goes into being a gay bashing right wing Republican who is gay.
There's more. West, who as a state legislator once backed a law that would have banned gays from working in schools or daycare centers, was asked how he could have taken such positions. As a representative for a district where people oppose gay rights, he said he had no choice. As if someone had held a gun to his head, forcing him to run for office.

West, who in the privacy of the gay chat room referred to social conservatives as "sex Nazis," seemed at pains to burnish his conservative bona fides. "I'm not a closet liberal," he insisted, "pretending to be a conservative. I'm a conservative. And what's wrong with somebody who has what's called an alternative lifestyle or an alternative sexual orientation being a conservative?"

Well, I've always thought being a gay social conservative was not unlike being a black Klansman. Even if you could get away with it, why in the world would you want to?

It eludes me how anyone can support a political philosophy that is defined in large part by its open hostility toward people like oneself.

I suspect West belongs to that school of conservative thought that holds that being gay isn't the problem, "flaunting" it is. The reasoning always breaks down when you try to get them to define "flaunting." Does it mean the flamboyant character Jack from Will and Grace, whose gayness is evident at 50 paces? Or does it mean, well Will from Will and Grace, whose sexuality you don't know until or unless you first get to know him?

Trick question. Social conservatives draw no such distinction. For them, even a modest indication of gayness is a nuclear attack upon so-called "family values." When they say "flaunting," what they really mean is "existing."

I'm especially fond of the "black klansman" line.


Krugman offers a blistering attack on the far right who's idea of good public policy is to give as much as possible back to their contributors.
Meanwhile, economic security is a thing of the past: year-to-year fluctuations in the incomes of working families are far larger than they were a generation ago. All it takes is a bit of bad luck in employment or health to plunge a family that seems solidly middle-class into poverty.

But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled...

The partisans also rely in part on scare tactics, insisting that any attempt to limit inequality would undermine economic incentives and reduce all of us to shared misery. That claim ignores the fact of U.S. economic success after World War II. It also ignores the lesson we should have learned from recent corporate scandals: sometimes the prospect of great wealth for those who succeed provides an incentive not for high performance, but for fraud.

In recent years it does seem like there has been a progressive unravelling of the New Deal and the Great Society. Clinton destroyed welfare, Bush's top domestic policy priority since 2000 has been to give tax cuts to the rich, and now we've seen the elimination of the estate tax, and "bankruptcy reform" that punishes middle class families for having a medical emergency without even doing anything to curb the real problem that is huge businesses that harm the public using bankruptcy to then shield themselves from paying off debt. We've even seen the attempted destruction of social security, which fortunately appears to be dead in the water politically. It goes beyond Bush to a larger political culture that seeks to increase income inequality.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Crazy Dog

Ok, I write about politics, not incidents in my life, but this is too wierd to ignore. My dog locked herself in my bedroom not once, not twice, but three times today. My parents or myself would come home from wherever we had been, and could not find Sunny until we looked in my room.

The non-story

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges upheld the election of Democrat Christine Gregoire to the Governorship.
Bridges said there was evidence that 1,678 illegal votes were cast in the 2004 election, including 1,391 votes by felons. However Bridges said there was no evidence that Gregoire benefitted from the illegal votes.

Bridges said there was also no evidence of misconduct by election workers or that the probems with the election were the result of "partisan bias."

The judge said the Republican lawsuit failed to meet the high standard necessary for the courts to intervene in an election.

"When the people have spoken, their verdict should not be disturbed by the courts," Bridges said.

Before he issued his ruling, Bridges said he had been asked to send a message with his decision. However, he said "this court is not in the position to fix the deficiences in the election process."

Rather, Bridges said it was up to voters to pressure lawmakers to take such steps. "It is the voters who should send the message."

The Republicans are expected to appeal to the State Supreme Court, where either the Court will refuse to hear it or the Republicans will lose again in yet another attempt to appoint Republicans to office via the Courts. These nuts seem to think that the Courts are the ruin of Democracy whenever they rule for expanded rights, but then want those same Courts to overturn election results to put their people in power. Hypocrites.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Scary Poll

Gallup polled people's confidence in American institutions, some surprising things, some not so surprising things. A few things however, are very scary. Of all institutions listed Americans have the most confidence in the military. Of the three branches of Government, the Presidency was at the top. Looks like a setup for a very different America to me. A populace that trusts the military more than schools or the criminal justice system, and trusts the executive branch more than the judiciary or the legislature. Sounds like a perfect formula for an autocratic state. That is the kind of public that will sit idly bye and happilly watch the abandonment of Democratic Principles and the hand over of power from the people to the military and the executive branch. Polls such as this make me fear for Americas future.

Republicans take a stand against terrorism

Well, let's use the FBI charge against Sami Al Hussayen (requires subscription), Sami gave money to and was a webmaster for an islamic group that allegedly gave money to Hamas. According the the FBI that made him a terrorist. So let's backtrack from that logic. Yasith Chhun works with a group of Cambodian Freedom Fighters who have been declared by the State Department a "Terrorist Organization." Chhun is a major Republican contributor and has deep ties to the RNC. Therefore using the FBI's logic in the Al Hussayen case all Republicans must be terrorists. Nice deep party ties to terrorism there certainly, good to know who has influence in the RNC these days.

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Virginia Law

The 4th circuit court of appeals struck down a Virginia law banning late term abortions. A victory in the battle for responsible government that does not interfere in people's most private personal medical decisions. Writing for the majority Judge M. Blane Michael says:
But even if 'abortion [is] offensive to our most basic principles of morality . . . that cannot control our decision,' for our obligation is to apply the Supreme Court's definition of personal liberty, "not to mandate our own moral code."

And the right wing war on the Judiciary continues...
"We've got a major problem and it's not with the legislature, it's with the courts," Cuccinelli said. "Because of these sorts of rulings . . . we get a bunch of judges that want to write their own policy into the Constitution."

The 4th Circuit is considered the most conservative appeallate Court in the Country, and these lunatics think it's too liberal. There is no respect for the rule of law in this bunch, and they seem oftentimes to advocate overturning 200 years of Court precedent stretching back to Marbury. They certainly want to throw out the expansion of due process and privacy rights that were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Following precedent seems to be their very definition of a "activist judge."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The New Republic Does What it Does Best

Attack Democrats. For a supposedly "liberal" publication they sure spend a lot of time attacking liberals these days. But of course they aren't a liberal publication anymore, it is frustrating to see a magazine that claims to be partison Democrat spend all its time bashing Democrats though. This time it's Howard Dean who they would prefer to attack than Republicans.

Health Care in the United States: The Most Screwed Up System in the World

It appears that workers for the Tillamook Cheese Company have gone on strike over rising health care costs.
Production and other workers at Tillamook County Creamery Association went on strike Wednesday, marching picket signs around a coastal tourist stop and chafing against one of Oregon's cherished brands.

The issue: increasing health costs. Tillamook, a dairy cooperative formed in 1909, has proposed requiring employees to cover at least 5 percent of their health insurance premiums.

This should be simple, universal health care is in everyone's best interest. The cost of delivering in a single payer system would be greatly reduced, businesses wouldn't need to worry about covering their employees, and most importantly, we wouldn't have 45 million citizens with no health insurance.

This is a service that the rest of the world regards as a human right, and yet, in the United States we have developed a system that fails to cover everyone while actually increasing the price doing it. The United States government spends more on health care than Countries that actually do cover everybody, that's how bad the private secter has handled this responsibility. But we can't get universal coverage because of the argument that "the private secter is more efficient" that's just not true when talking about health care, the entire system is built on passing the buck to someone else. I hope Tillamook and its employees can reach a reasonable agreement to this problem, but what is really needed is an end to the way health care business is done in the United States. President Bush talks of blasting out of the water what is a vibrant healthy social program to fight poverty amongst the elderly and insists on the necessity of it's "reform" but ignores the real crisis that is health care.

President Bush Endorses Religious Discrimination

Via America Blog, President Bush has used families who adopted embryos for in vitro fertilization through the "snowflakes program" which requires for adoption that
the adopting family must be conservative Christians and, ideally, include a stay-at-home mother.
This is the model for the Country in the view of Bush since they were invited to the White House. The official Presidential endorsement of bigotry.
That alliance was on prominent display last week when, to protest a bill supporting the use of embryos for stem cell research, President Bush appeared with the McClures and 20 other Snowflakes families, kissing the babies, some of whom wore T-shirts that said "former embryo," or "this embryo was not discarded." Federal and state lawmakers have held similar appearances.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Clueless President

Of course, I forgot, everyone who says the Bush Administration did anything wrong 'hates America.' Instead of doing an actual investigation into the prisoner abuse that we all know has happened Bush would prefer to deny its existence and call anyone who opposes him an America hater.
The United States, he said, "promotes freedom around the world" and fully investigates allegations of improper behavior toward prisoners in a transparent way. The Amnesty International accusations struck him as being based in part on "allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America," he said. The Pentagon said last week that it had found five instances in which guards or interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay facility had mishandled the Koran, but no "credible evidence" to substantiate reports that the Muslim holy book was ever flushed down a toilet.

Deep Throat Revealed

From the New York Times

Deep Throat, the mystery man who reigned as Washington's best-kept secret source for more than 30 years, was not just any shadowy, cigarette-smoking tipster in a raincoat. He was the No. 2 official of the F.B.I., W. Mark Felt, who helped The Washington Post unravel the Watergate scandal and the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, a feat that he lived to see disclosed on Tuesday, frail but smiling at 91.

It appears that one of the great mysteries of the world is over. Mark Felt deserves the gratitude of our nation for his heroic leaks.