Sunday, April 30, 2006

Know what's going on?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gave a speech to the Sierra Club in which he said,

"Eighty percent of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Profits and Subsidies.

In a piece regarding the Wright Amendment in Texas and it's attempt to stifle competition by Southwest Airlines, George Will quotes President Reagan who said:

"Washington's approach to intervening in industries is: If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.
A Bloomberg News piece picked up by the Washington Post notes that:
Exxon Mobil and other oil companies may benefit from $2.6 billion in subsidies in the energy bill that is nearing passage in Congress. The subsidies, designed to encourage domestic oil and gas production, were part of an oil industry "wish list," according to David Hamilton, the Sierra Club's energy programs director.
Fox News reports on the same Exxon Mobil and their profits:

Exxon Mobil Corp [...] reported [...] the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history, posting gains from higher oil prices that were likely to stoke the furor over outsized oil company earnings.

Despite the 7 percent gain in earnings to more than $8 billion in the first quarter, Exxon Mobil said its earnings came in below its record fourth-quarter because all three of its business -- exploration and production; refining; chemicals -- didn't perform as well.
To recap: Exxon Mobil reported $8.5 billion (with a 'b') in profit for just the first quarter. As a reminder, a quarter is the first three months of the year, and profit is what they brought to their shareholders after expenses (for those that failed Accounting 101 the first time around). Net income minus losses is profit.

On top of that profit, they are expected to get an addition $2 billion (with a 'b') from the government as a subsidy.

The burning question: If Exxon Mobil had only profited $6.5 billion would it have made a difference at the pump?

These subsidies wouldn't even make sense to Reagan.

NFL Draft.

Jeffri Chadiha of writes:

"The first round is about proving that a player is worth millions, while the other rounds are about deciding which players can really help your team."
It's a sad truth that those are two separate and distinct goals.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WH Press Secretary...Voice of the President.

Via Media Matters, what new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has said about George W. Bush and his Administration.

-Bush has “lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc. [3/17/06]

-George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” [3/17/06]

-President Bush distilled the essence of his presidency in this year'’s State of the Union Address: brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy.” [2/3/06]

-“George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [11/11/05]

-Bush “has a habit of singing from the Political Correctness hymnal.” [10/7/05]

-No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives.” [9/30/05]

-Bush has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor — now!” [9/30/05]

-When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can'’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn'’t seem to mean what he says.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03]

-The president doesn't seem to give a rip about spending restraint.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03]

-Bush, for all his personal appeal, ultimately bolstered his detractors’ claims that he didn't have the drive and work ethic to succeed.” [11/16/00]

-Little in the character of demeanor of Al Gore or George Bush makes us say to ourselves: Now, this man is truly special! Little in our present peace and prosperity impels us to say: Give us a great man!” [8/25/00]

-George W. Bush, meanwhile, talks of a pillowy America, full of niceness and goodwill. Bush has inherited his mother'’s attractive feistiness, but he also got his father'’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette'’s.” [8/25/00]

-He recently tried to dazzle reporters by discussing the vagaries of Congressional Budget Office economic forecasts, but his recitation of numbers proved so bewildering that not even his aides could produce a comprehensible translation. The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby. [8/25/00]

-On the policy side, he has become a classical dime-store Democrat. He gladly will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start. He seems to consider it mean-spirited to shut down programs that rip-off taxpayers and mislead supposed beneficiaries. [8/25/00]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Calls for Impeachment

Only liberals would dare lash out at President and call for impeachment based misconduct, violation of public trust and abuse of presidential power. Such acts undermine the country, and are purely partisan.

Mr. Speaker,
I am saddened that there is clear and convincing evidence
that the President lied. I look to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. According to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65, impeachment concerns `offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse of
violation of some public trust.' In this Nation, all men are created equal.
Simply put, the President in our representative democracy is not a sovereign who is above the law. The President's inability to abide by the law, the Constitution and my conscience have all led me to the solemn conclusion that impeachment articles must be passed.
-Congressman DENNIS HASTERT (IL)

Mr. Speaker,
Since we are a nation of laws, we must see to it that the laws are upheld and applied equally to all citizens. That principal is what this nation was built on; it is for what our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
And it is in this great legislative body that we are charged with making the laws that govern our nation. To permit the chief executive enforcing those laws to cast them aside as he pleases would, in effect, sanction such actions. To do nothing would be to place a stamp of approval on illicit conduct and transfer power to the executive branch, thus upsetting the system of checks and balances devised by the Framers. It would cheapen the law, which, in turn, would cheapen the work by this House.
A Republic is so difficult to maintain because it demands greater sacrifice and restraint on the part of the ruler and than the ruled. Part of this sacrifice is that our leaders are held to a higher standard of conduct as they set the example for the rest of the citizenry and are placed in a position of trust."
-Congressman HENRY HYDE (IL)

Mr. Speaker,
Under the Constitution that we swore to defend, these are serious crimes, crimes that our constituents would go to prison for, and do we hold the President, the top-ranking law enforcement official in our country, to a lower standard? John Locke once wrote, `Where the law ends, tyranny begins.'
Mr. Speaker, if we believe in our Constitution, then the law does not stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In our constitutional democracy, no one, not even the President, is above the law. None of us sought the burden of impeachment when we ran for this office, but every one of us raised our right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Who are we to ignore that obligation by turning a blind eye to crimes by the leader of our government?
-Congressman JOHN BOEHNER (OH)

Mr. Speaker,
Our entire justice system rests on the rule of law. Without it,
we would not enjoy a civilized and democratic society. To carve out exceptions for anyone, particularly the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, would be to undermine this rule of law.

For the benefit of our country, to set an example for our children, our grandchildren and future generations, we must maintain our high ideals.
That the President has failed to meet the standard does not mean we should lower it.

It involves the most public of relationships, that between a citizen and the justice system, and that between the President and the American people. It is about honor and telling the truth. It is about respect for the law, respect for the office of the presidency, respect for the American people, respect for the officers of the court, respect for women, and ultimately, our own self respect.

- Congressman LAMAR SMITH (TX)

Mr. Speaker,
We have heard the argument that our military forces are fighting. Do my colleagues know what they are fighting for? They are fighting to uphold the Constitution and the oath that we took and they took.
As my colleagues know, when the President stands before God, puts his hand on the Bible and takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and lawfully carry out the duties of his office, he is promising to put the people and the Nation before his own interests. I believe the President violated the laws and beliefs he swore to uphold instead of following the law, respecting American people's values and honoring his office.

He chose to lie, cover up and evade the truth. His actions have made a mockery of the people who fought for this country and are fighting for this Nation today, the Constitution and the laws we live under, and because of the President's actions Congress must act as dictated by the Constitution.

-Congressman SAM JOHNSON (TX)

Mr. Speaker,
Our courts of law and our legal system are the bedrock of our
democracy and of our system of individual rights...If we trivialize the role of truth in our judicial system by simply assuming that everyone will lie, then we trivialize the courts themselves, we trivialize the rule of law.
The greatest challenge of free peoples is to restrain abuses of governmental power. The power of the American presidency is awesome. When uncontrolled and abused, presidential power is a grave threat to our way of life, to our fundamental freedoms.
Clearly improper use of executive power by the President to cover-up and obstruct investigations of his public lying in our courts cannot be tolerated. If not checked, such abuses of power serve to legitimize the use of public power for private purposes.
In reviewing this grave matter of impeachment we must seek guidance in first principles. These principles are all based on the recognition of the social compact under which we as citizens join together in the American Republic.
The central promise or commitment of our compact is that our laws will be enforced equally with respect to all, that our civil rights and civil grievances will be fairly adjudicated in our courts, and that the powers we give up to government will be used only for governmental purposes related to the common good.
When these elements of the social compact are violated, the legitimacy of the exercise of governmental powers is brought into question and the underlying compact itself is threatened.
Each members of the compact--each citizen--received the guarantee, received the promise from his or her fellow citizens, that the compact would be honored and that the laws would not be sacrificed on a piecemeal basis for temporary harmony
or immediate gain of some (even in a majority) over others (even a minority).
None of us are free, for any reason of convenience or immediately avoidance of difficult issues, to ignore our promises to our fellow citizens. Our social compact does not permit the breaches of these commitments to our fellow
citizens, and to do so would directly deprive those citizens (whatever their voting strength or numbers) of our solemn promise of the rule of law.

- Congresswoman ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (FL)

Mr. Speaker,
I am going to speak to a couple of key points. First, I would
like to create the context by sharing with my colleagues two statements, one by Founding Father John Jay and the other by President Kennedy.
John Jay said, `When oaths cease to be sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights become insecure.'
Four days before his death, President Kennedy visited Florida. There he made the following statement: `In this country I,' referring to the presidency, `carry out and execute the laws of the United States. I also have the obligation of implementing the orders of the courts of the United States.
I can assure you that whoever is president of the United States will do the same, because if he did not,' that is, he, the President, `He would begin to unwind this most extraordinary constitutional system of ours.'
The President's ability to unwind the constitutional system is significant. The President is the only individual charged with ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. He is one of the few Americans who always are an example for good or ill.

-Congressman CHRIS CANNON (UT)

Mr. Speaker,
Perhaps we would all best be guided by the words of Edmund Burke who, in a speech to the Electors of Bristol on November 3, 1774 said,
`Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.'
Certainly, the President has the same right as everyone else to the equal and unfettered protection of our judicial system. This process we undergo today is about whether we will ever
again be able to honestly say to ourselves and to our children that we live in a country where no one is above the law.
I still believe in that country. It's not a perfect country. Unfortunately, there is hypocrisy, there is dishonesty, there is evasion of laws. These things surely exist in that country I believe in.
But if by our actions today we sanction hypocrisy, if by our vote we ratify dishonesty, if by our vote we permit evasion of laws at the very highest level of our Government, then we will have forevermore surrendered the thing that makes us uniquely American--a free, yet legal, society.
- Congresswoman SUE KELLY (NY)

Mr. Speaker,
Impeachment does not determine the guilt or innocence of the President. We do not need to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt in order to move forward. Our duty in the House is to decide if the available evidence indicates that the Senate should consider removing the President from office.
-Congressman CLIFF STEARNS (FL)

Circa Dec. 1998 regarding Pres. Clinton.

$$$ Wants Change

Fr0m The Huffington Post:

"...a Bloomberg piece... gives more evidence of the problem: “Democrats outdid Republicans last year in attracting political donations from investment banks, brokerages and fund managers for the first time since 1994.” Said one industry wag: “When the party with no power can raise more money than the party with all the power, it means people are pretty disturbed about the country's condition.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gay Rights as a Civil Rights Issue

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson gave this speech on the floor of the Texas House on April 29, 2005. She spoke against the Legislature's attempt to put a superfluous anti-gay marriage measure into the state constitution.

"I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about, this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says, "though shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness -- not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years -- and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights -- you turn your hatred to homosexuals -- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag. . . brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what? Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State -- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing -- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way -- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator -- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights -- but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury.

I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence.

But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners --- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet, you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people.

I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes. I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids --sweet little vulnerable kids -- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child, they too are second class citizens. I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.

Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this amendment are blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry. You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Contrasting motivations...

From the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights' website:

Monday, April 10, 2006

Petition to Overturn Abortion Ban in South Dakota

From the Los Angeles Times via National Journal's Hotline, an article about a semi-grassroots effort to sign petitions to put the ban on the November ballot where it could have the chance of being overturned.

One opponent of abortion, and supposed supporter of the ban (which bans abortion, even in cases of incest and rape) said the following:

"I don't believe in abortion. It's just an excuse to get wild," said Daniel Perea, 28. "Guys think, 'Oh well, if you end up pregnant, all we have to do is come up with $300 and we can go across the state and get an abortion.' It's very dangerous to let people choose that."

Perea said he spoke from experience: He helped three former girlfriends obtain abortions. He believes God punished him with a childless marriage and his recent divorce; he wants to make sure other couples don't make the same mistake. "We have to put our foot down," he said.
This is a guy who's opinion is important and valuable. I mean, right? He's against abortion, after he helped not one, not two, but three women get one. And God has punished him for that. I think he's probably a loser who women didn't want to have a kid with, let alone be married to. Those three abortions and former marriage with no kids are evidence that women saw something in him that wasn't right. That, or he convinced them he was allergic to latex.

I don't think people view abortion as an "excuse to get wild." I think Mr. Perea views it as an excuse to get wild. He thinks it was a pain in the ass to scrap together $300 each time and trek across the state each time.

His own motivations are not everyone's.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

James Boyce posts on Huffington Post:

..."Being tough on national security requires a lot more than election-year political posturing," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Saxby Chambliss. The same chickenhawk who, in what some might call " true election-year political posturing". . . won his Senate seat by attacking Max Cleland as weak on national security.


You know what the difference between my America and the America that Republicans ... live in? In my America, Max Cleland gets to roll up in his wheelchair and sit any where he damn well wants.

[For Republicans], veterans ... [are] just people you knife in the back.

I'd like to change that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shades of "Braveheart"

From the Sojourners' email-zine:

Should Christian Peacemaker Teams stay in Iraq?

"I would feel bad if something happened to you, but I would be angry if you disappear. If you care for us just in the good times, I will forget you. If you take care of us in the bad times, I will remember you. You die when you do nothing, but live when you do something. Everyone dies, but not everyone lives."

- An Iraqi Christian leader responding to CPT's question as to whether members should leave because their presence might make it unsafe for other Christians.

Say what?

Don't people get in trouble for saying this in public?

"This country was founded on the principle that individuals have certain personal liberties, and I will not support laws that tell women what to do with their bodies or tell people what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their bedroom."
- Connecticut State Senator Chris Murphy

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Screw Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)

She got busted for being arrogant, and now she's proving how "ghetto" she is. I'm ashamed for her.

The most awkwardly worded sentence:

"Something that perhaps the average American just doesn't understand is that there is a heightened sense of a lack of appropriateness being there for members who are elected who happen to be of color," McKinney said, "and until this issue is addressed by the American public in a very substantive way, it won't be the last time."
What the heck does THAT mean?

Should Capitol Police be able to recognize all members of Congress?
6203 votes
28437 votes
Total: 34640 votes

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"REPULSIVE REPUBLICANS": written by a conservative!

Ramesh Ponnuru posted on the National Review Online:

1) Republicans are preparing to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to a vote. So I guess the plan from now on is to do this in all even-numbered years, and then throw the idea aside in odd-numbered ones? I know a lot of people support the FMA for principled reasons, but a decisive number of Republicans are clearly just picking on gays for political profit.

2) Republicans are leading a charge to subject "527 groups" to onerous regulations. A minority of them, again, have sincere and above-board reasons for doing this. Most of them just want to shut down groups that are trying to beat them in elections. For a majority to restrict the freedom of others to try to boot them out is pretty much a textbook definition of the abuse of power, isn't it?

Lib'ruhl Pride.

Quote from The West Wing:

"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.

What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things – every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Dusty Baker Grins and Bears It.

In the Cubs' clubhouse today before throwing the first pitch in Cincinnati, Bush walked in and announced, "This is the year."
He went to manager Dusty Baker, grabbed his hand, and turned him to the cameras.
"Smile," Bush said, shaking Baker's hand with a broad grin. Baker did as instructed, saying, "I'll do what I got to do."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

NL MLB "Burning Questions"

John Donovan of asks "Burning Questions" of both the National and American League teams. My team's questions are:

Colorado: Can you ever have too much pitching in Coors Field? Is shortstop Clint Barmes closer to last April (.410) or post-injury last September (.209)? Nothing personal, but can anyone really trust Byung-Hyun Kim in a big spot? You realize this team has never won more than 83 games, don't you? Do you know they've never made the playoffs in a regulation season? Do you think they ever will?
Very depressing.

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