Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cheney, manly? Bush, girlie?

I've emerged from my cave.

This is from last week's Time with my bold added:
Bushland is by instinct more reformist, more political, more female and, in places, deeply devout. Cheneyland is more Establishment, more male, more button-down, more secretive.

Huh? Maybe my antenna is a little more tuned to this because we've been discussing gender construction in my grad class, but this just struck me as odd.

If being "more male" means lying to people, keeping secrets from the people who need the information, not being held accountable for your actions, and shooting a friend in the face and then ducking the 5-0 for 16 hours, give me a skirt and call me a girlie man. Whatever is Dick Cheney's definition of masculinity, I will run as far away from it as possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I've been slacking the last week or so due to some work I've got going, but there are some thoughts rolling around in my head that I hope to post here soon. I was in Philly yesterday and had a few of those "whoa" moments, one when I walked by Independence Hall and the other after I spent time with a man who spent time on death row and was later exonerated. Hopefully, there will be time to post today or tomorrow.

Also, I've got some things to say about the administration that ran on protecting America selling our ports to the United Arab Emirates. Why do people still buy that line of Bush-as-protector?

your slacker-in-chief

Thursday, February 16, 2006

E-oppressors lashed in Congress

ITworld.com: U.S. lawmakers scold tech companies for China censorship

Representative Tom Lantos and other members of the House International Relations Committee criticized Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. for making profits a higher priority than free expression in China.

"Instead of using their power and creativity to bring openness and free speech to China, they have caved into Beijing's outrageous, but predictable, demands simply for the sake of profits," said Lantos, a California Democrat. "These captains of industry should have been developing new technologies to bypass the sickening censorship of government and repugnant barriers to the Internet. Instead, they enthusiastically volunteered for the Chinese censorship brigade."

I'm very torn on this. Of course, I find the company's actions, especially Yahoo and Google, abhorrent, but I'm intertwined with these companies in a way that is difficult to simply break from. My blogs are on Blogger (owned by Google) for free, and a non-profit group that I work with has a website hosted by Yahoo, which is very user-friendly. Damn these people.

Herbert: Darth Cheney should resign

A vice president who insists on writing his own rules, who shudders at the very idea of transparency in government, whose judgment on crucial policy issues has been as wildly off the mark (and infinitely more tragic) as his actions in Texas over the weekend, and who has now become an object of relentless ridicule, cannot by any reasonable measure be thought of as an asset to the nation or to the president he serves.

Bob Herbert, NY Times: Mr. Vice President, it's time to go (you need a subscription for what used to be free, grrr)

Granted, Herbert is as liberal as the Pope is Catholic, but these are still strong words.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Harrisburg Hero Award

It's easy to be negative and mean and snarky with all of the tomfoolery in Harrisburg. And, frankly, many of those connected to state politics deserve it.

But my conscious got the better of me, and I realized that, if we're going to have a Harrisburg Hoser Award, we have to have a Harrisburg Hero Award, too. And the first winner of the Harrisburg Hero Award is easy.

It's Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery).

On January 23, flanked by Thomas Doswell, an innocent man who spent 19 years in jail for a rape someone else committed, Senator Greenleaf introduced Senate Bill 1069, the Innocence Commission Act, to create the Innocence Commission of Pennsylvania to study why innocent people are convicted of crimes.

On January 30, the PA Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill that included testimony from three exonerees, a lawyer from the Innocence Project, a law professor from Duquesne School of Law, and two advocates. No one testified against it.

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee passed SB 1069 to the Senate floor without debate and without opposition.

A few years ago, many considered Senator Greenleaf to be in the backpocket of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. Now he is interested in reform. We appreciate his boldness, his honesty, and his leadership.

The prize for the Harrisburg Hero Award is simple. We ask anyone who comes across this post to send Senator Greenleaf a letter of thanks:
Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012

You can read more commentary on the Innocence Commission at The Central Pennsylvania Abolitionist.

Harrisburg Hoser Award

I can't call this daily or weekly or monthly or annual because I just do it whenever I feel like it.

Several worthy recipients have come forward to show they are deserving of the second Harrisburg Hoser Award, but the committee (me) has decided:
If marriage isn't defined as only a union between one man and one woman, state Rep. Arthur D. Hershey believes people will want to marry animals.

Hershey, of Cochranville, who represents the 13th District, was one of about 90 legislators, including four others from Chester County, to cosponsor the Marriage Protection Act, a bill introduced Tuesday to constitutionally define marriage in Pennsylvania.

Hershey said this week that without the bill, "down the road, people will want to marry their dogs and horses to get benefits."

Chester Daily Local News: 5 county lawmakers co-sponsor marriage bill

The committee awards Rep. Hershey with a 3-day, 2-night trip to West Virginia and a ticket to Senator Rick Santorum's next fundraising dinner.

In all seriousness, where do these guys come up with this stuff? What alternate reality are they living in where they think about someone marrying a horse?

A response over at Speaking Freely said it best:
Could it be that Arthur is just getting a little tired of listening to his wife say that she's married a horse's ass??

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

VP Firearms Mishap Analyst

If you haven't seen the Daily Show take on Darth Cheney's hunting accident, check them out. Rob Corddry using the Iraq war arguments is an instant classic.

VP Firearms Mishap Analyst
#2 with a bullet

In which party do you wish to register? No affiliation

I cringed when Bob Casey, Jr. supported the Alito nomination.

I grumbled when the national Democrats failed to adequately educate the public about why the Alito nomination should be opposed.

I blew a gasket when Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Diane Feinstein caved on the Patriot Act.

Now I'm leaving the Democratic Party after national party leaders threw populist candidate Paul Hackett under the bus in his Senate bid in Ohio.

In an eerie twist, literally 10 minutes before I heard the news I was at the post office for the purpose of picking up a voter registration card to change to "no affiliation". This wasn't for emotional reasons. It was simply to get back to my roots since I was an independent for most of the 1990s and only switched to Dem in 2001 when we lived in Harrisburg city, where the Dem primary is, essentially, the general election for mayor.

Now the party has given me a greater reason for saying adios.

In sum, the word is that national and Ohio party leaders pressured Hackett to withdraw in order to avoid a primary fight. Making matters worse, reportedly Rep. Harry Waxman, who is usually a champion on progressive issues, was telling donors not to donate to Hackett's campaign because Rep. Sherrod Brown was the chosen candidate of the party elite. And the topper was the report that members of the Brown campaign were telling county chairs that Hackett committed war crimes while in Iraq. In other words, Hackett got swift-boated.

Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche once told misbehaving Bengals fans, "You're not in Cleveland. You're in Cincinnati." I'll paraphrase that message to the Democrats: You're not Republicans. You're Democrats. So stop acting like Republicans.

By all accounts, Brown is a damn good candidate for Senate and has a great shot at knocking out Mike DeWine. Plus, Hackett was nowhere near a perfect candidate. He didn't have a full grasp of the issues, which became clear in a January 22 column by Joe Klein of Time magazine:
Hackett had only a vague familiarity with most of the other issues. He was stumped by illegal immigration and came up with a crude prescription: "Send 'em back if we can afford it."

But if Hackett is really clueless, that would have played itself out over the course of the primary.

Besides, Hackett gave the Dems two things they are lacking- cover on national security and a guy who knows how to talk to people who go to barbeques, not cocktail parties.

The Klein column should have been a clue that something was amiss. Klein is a pal of the Democratic Leadership Council and the author of Primary Colors, the book about Bill Clinton's campaign. Just two weeks before the Hackett column, Klein waxed poetic on the wonderful NSA 3-way calling program. In that column, Klein cited faulty poll information about the "absolutely necessary" Patriot Act and predicted public support for the domestic spying, even though AP released a poll the previous day showing otherwise. He's a columnist only the mainstream media could love.

I was a volunteer for the Democrats in 2004, and after the election, I told them that I would be back in 2006. Like a good politician, I'm going back on my word. I'll still vote Democrat but only because the Republicans suck.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Follow up: So much for Google the e-freedom fighter

Check out Students for a Free Tibet for more info on this disgrace. Granted, they still don't top Yahoo aiding in the prosecution of a Chinese dissident.

And, yes, Blogger is owned by Google.

Follow up: NASA lackey steps down

You probably heard by now, but the NASA politico who didn't want scientists talking about science stepped down. His crime? He lied about his graduation from Texas A&M. Not very ethical, but isn't that the kind of skill that the Bush administration is looking for?

NY Times: A young Bush appointee resigns his post at NASA

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Darth Cheney shoots a man

Just when you think it can't get any weirder...

NY Times: Cheney accidentally shoots a fellow hunter

He has failed to shoot straight with the American people for five years, so this is no surprise.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Stop the Christianists and the Islamists

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks radio show has a must read on A Secular Revolution. Here's a taste:
If you thought Muslims worldwide were pissed about a cartoon, wait till you see them after we invade another Muslim country.

This will only strengthen the hand of the Shiite fundamentalists running Iran now. They will rally all Iranians around their flag and wipe out the nascent democratic movement in that country. The conservatives in this country will do likewise. They will claim the President must be supported during wartime, more liberties must be suppressed and dissent must not be tolerated.

This is how we get sucked into wars.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Deaniac turns to the dark side

A former head of Howard Dean's presidential campaign is going to work for Republican Richard Tarrant, the GOP candidate for Senate in Vermont.
"It's not the party that draws me to someone. It's the person and what they believe in and their philosophy," she said Wednesday.

Ah, isn't that cute? That's nice and quaint, but the fact is these days you are not just voting for the person. You're also voting for the party. Helping a Republican win helps the Republicans hold onto power, and the party has made it clear that they are not fit to govern.

Plus, Tarrant's opponent is a true torchbearer for progressives, and all Americans, everywhere: Congressman Bernie Sanders. Bernie knows the issues and is a true champion for the middle class, the working class, and the poor. Go, Bernie, go!

3 more years of winter in America

LA Mayor: Attack? What attack?


KESQ: Mayor says blindsided by President's details on LA terror plot
Villaraigosa says, "I don't expect a call from the president, but somebody."

He calls communication with the White House "non-existent."

I want to believe!

So today the Prez is telling us about a plot to fly a plane into Los Angeles that was foiled in 2002. Here's where the lies about Iraq, the Jessica Lynch story, the cost of the Medicare prescription drug plan, the strange timing of the now-obsolete terrorist alert system, etc. hurt the administration. I want to believe, but I don't know what to believe. I can't think of a motivation for lying about this, but the admin's habit of exaggerating, withholding information, and straight-up lying leaves me wondering what's what.

Confounding cartoons

Here I take my departure from my fellow lefties: This cartoon business in the Middle East is absurd. Not exactly a Zen thing to say and my community psychology professors might get upset with me for saying it, but facts are facts. There are all kinds of noteworthy observations here.

1. This whole affair is more processed and manufactured than a McNugget. Andrew Sullivan reports today that the cartoons were published many months ago in Egypt.
No one rioted. No editor at Al Fager was threatened. So it's official: the Egyptian state media is less deferential to Islamists than the New York Times. So where were the riots in Cairo?

2. We have our own brand of zealots here in the USA. The fundies, aka the Christianists, are a dangerous bunch, but when NBC ran The Book of Daniel, the Christianists didn't burn down NBC's affiliates. They wrote letters.

3. The violence could not do a greater disservice to Islam. It furthers the worst stereotypes and adds fuel to the western fools who insist that Islam is a dangerous religion.

Our government and media should not be kowtowing to this nonsense.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What? Gonzales' wife wasn't there to cry?

Lots of juicy stuff from today's hearing with Abu Gonzales on the NSA's 3-way calling program, and it's too late to blog it all down. Check out these sites for some good stuff:
Think Progress
America Blog

Some quick highlights and lowlights.

The hearing got off to a rocky start when the Repugnantcans refused to have Gonzo sworn in. Thus, he was not under oath, and thus, he was free to lie without penalty. Granted, Gonzo has no problem lying under oath either.

When Abu told Feingold that he would get back to him with some information he requested, Feingold said, (not an exact quote) "Good, I prefer that over a hypothetical." Nice.

Kudos to both Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham for not letting Gonzo off the hook. As annoyed as I was with both of them, especially Graham, at the Alito fiasco, they both deserve props for being serious about this.

DOJ official: Prez can order a suspect killed in America

Newsweek: Can the President order a killing on U.S. soil?
In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States.

They didn't bother with that pesky FISA law. Why bother with that tangled, newfangled due process?

As my two-year-old often says, "Run, peoples, run!"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Allegheny County considers Diebold

Allegheny County is in a tough spot. They are considering purchasing new voting machinery from Diebold, a company with a less than impeccable reputation, or risk losing a $12 million grant from the federal government for upgrading their election systems. Only Diebold has promised that it can deliver the new machines by the May primary.

Diebold's chief brought disdain on the company by his role as a Bush cheerleader:
In 2003, then-chief executive officer Wally O'Dell -- a top fund-raiser for President Bush's re-election campaign -- sent out a letter to Ohio Republicans promising that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year."

Voters reported no problems with using Diebold's machines, but watchdogs are skeptical.
But, until this new generation of voting machines holds up in several elections, doubts will linger. There have been no reported instances of fraud. That doesn't comfort some people, like Verified Voting's Dr. Dill.

"It would be very, very hard to prove," he said of potential attempts to tamper with elections. "Every computer scientist I talk to reports a queasy feeling when voting on these machines."