Monday, October 25, 2004
Sunday, October 24, 2004
q: what's the difference between iraq and viet nam?
a: george bush had a plan to get out of viet nam.
Without a re-election facing him, the president can move to do those things he said he would do in his first presidential campaign.
According to White House and Washington Beltway insiders, the Bush administration, worried that it could lose the presidential election to Senator John F. Kerry, has initiated plans to launch a military strike on Iran's top Islamic leadership, its nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, and key nuclear targets throughout the country, including the main underground research site at Natanz in central Iran and another in Isfahan. ...Read it HERE. (Found at The Political Puzzle.)
According to White House sources, the USS John F. Kennedy was deployed to the Arabian Sea to coordinate the attack on Iran. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld discussed the Kennedy's role in the planned attack on Iran when he visited the ship in the Arabian Sea on October 9. ...
America's primary ally in Iraq, the United Kingdom, did not attend the planning session because it reportedly disagrees with a military strike on Iran. London also suspects the U.S. wants to move British troops from Basra in southern Iraq to the Baghdad area to help put down an expected surge in Sh'ia violence in Sadr City and other Sh'ia areas in central Iraq when the U.S. attacks Iran as well as clear the way for a U.S. military strike across the Iraqi-Iranian border aimed at securing the huge Iranian oil installations in Abadan. ...
The White House leak about the planned attack on Iran was hastened by concerns that Russian technicians present at Bushehr could be killed in an attack, thus resulting in a wider nuclear confrontation between Washington and Moscow. ... White House sources also claimed they are "terrified" that Bush wants to start a dangerous war with Iran prior to the election and fear that such a move will trigger dire consequences for the entire world.
A Washington state school district is canceling its annual Halloween celebration.... The district said Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches. "Witches with pointy noses and things like that are not respective symbols of the Wiccan religion and so we want to be respectful of that," Hansen said.Read it HERE. (Thanks to Pagan Prattle.) How far will they go? Aren't Easter Eggs disrespectful too?
The word "Easter" is named after Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A festival was held in her honor every year at the vernal equinox.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Finally some Bush opponents seem to have found an equally explosive ad to run now. It is also brilliant at articulating feelings that are already out there.
Pollsters Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner tested the ad and found that after viewing it just once, there was an almost unprecedented 8 point gross shift away from Bush in voting intentions among the 750-person test sample. It also badly eroded support for Bush across a wide range of measures including confidence in his Iraq policy and key measures of character including honesty and sharing the concerns of ordinary people.We won't see it in Texas, of course, since it's only going up in swing states. But you can watch it on your computer, with either Quicktime or Windows Media. DO NOT watch this at work. See the ad, called "He Just Doesn't Get it", in all its power at Win Back Respect. (Thanks to The American Street.)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
The Census counts prisoners as residents of the towns where they're incarcerated. One crusading lawyer from Northampton thinks this little clerical matter is a big problem for American democracy. ...
The weight of the prison population strengthens the very districts and legislators with the most stake in tough-on-crime policies that create and fill more prisons -- figures like Dale Volker (a favorite target of Wagner's), the Republican state senator from New York's 59th district who has helped stymie popular efforts to reform New York's stringent Rockefeller drug laws.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Most states give the winner of the state all of its electoral votes. A couple break it down by which Congressional districts each candidate carries. Colorado is voting on an amendment which will split its votes the same way. What if it passes, and those few votes make the difference? Won't whichever side loses because of it, file suit claiming the amendment couldn't take effect at the same election it was voted on? If this goes to Scalia and his minions on the Supreme Court, won't they rule whichever way helps Bush?
There is an even more troublesome possibility. What if a large state goes for Kerry, but with Bush carrying several districts, and it has a Republican Governor and legislature. Couldn't the Governor ask the legislature to pass a bill splitting their votes by districts, thus helping Bush? That would apply to Texas, but there is virtually no chance Bush will lose this state. Frighteningly, it does apply to Ohio. If it would make a difference and they pull that, what happens? Of course the Democrats would sue, but Scalia et al are sure to rule for Bush.
If you are always going to lose because the other side changes the rules whenever you would have won, what incentive is there to go on playing the game? And what if it is not a game, but a matter of life and death, as government policy can be. Think of starving old folks, poisoned consumers, illegal abortions, a miltary draft, rising oceans from global warming, and a 1918-sized pandemic caused by cuts in health care, just to mention a few.
For majority rule to work, the majority must agree to let the minority survive, and not try to destroy it, as the Delay machine is doing. For elections to work, the participants must feel they have a fair chance, however slim, to prevail if they convince enough voters. What if two elections in a row look rigged, and they give up that hope? The streets of our own cities might begin to look like Beirut, Belfast, Belgrade -- or Baghdad. Pleasant dreams.
Monday, October 11, 2004
If Bush uses this "You can run but you can't hide" nonsense again, Kerry should jump all over Bush with this simple response:
"What a pity the president hasn't used that same rigorous standard on Osama bin Laden, who in fact has not only successfully run, but is still hiding."
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Dick Cheney, in a strange move, began the debate by demanding fifteen minutes of silence for the late Rodney Dangerfield. This delayed things, especially when John Edwards argued it was a bad move. Cheney called Edwards disrespectful and went ahead with his fifteen minutes of silence alone. ...Laught at it all at Something Awful. (Thanks to Crooked Timber via Appalachia Alumni Association.)
...it's true that the US has lost about a million jobs under the Bush Adminstration. But if you include jobs in China, then we've actually gained about two million!(At Fanatical Apathy.)
Since in Spain the voters rejected the government which sent troops into Iraq, why did the Australians vote (barely) to reelect the government which sent their troops into the morass? Now we know the answer. It was voter intimidation at the polls:
Australian Electoral Commission Queensland officer Anne Bright said apart from reports of a brown snake slithering up to a polling booth at Eumundi, inland from Noosa, no other problems were reported. "I had a report that brown snakes wanted to vote at Eumundi," Ms Bright said.Read it HERE. Let's hope this doesn't give Karl Rove any ideas. (Thanks to Dave Barry.)
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Why, oh why, is our local reactionary "newspaper" now endorsing yet a third local Democratic candidate against a Republican incumbent? Maybe it's just their usual policy of trying to establish credibility, or relevance, or suspense, so that people will pay attention to which candidate they support for President. [Actually, we should take note if they endorse Kerry, because that is listed in Revelation as one of the final signs of the apocalypse....] More likely, this just indicates a split between the snobby "country club Republicans", and what they see as the tail-wagging theocrats loosed on their party as a vital part of their hate-mongering coalition. Perhaps this is their way of saying "We may need your lousy votes, but don't ever think you Bible-thumping hicks are as good as your betters." I pose this theory because of their revealing comparison of the the educational backgrounds of the two candidates. But congratulations to Katy Hubener for snagging their begrudging acknowledgement that she would be a much better state representative.
[As always, thanks to Tom Blackwell for this, and "This contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law."]
Texas House District 106: Hubener would bring energy, focus
12:03 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Rep. Ray Allen has done good things during his 12 years in the Texas Legislature. He's championed sentencing reforms that funneled first-time, low-level drug offenders into treatment instead of prison, saving millions of dollars, for example. And he helped pass legislation to give the Board of Medical Examiners more teeth.
But we are troubled that since the last election, Mr. Allen has demonstrated several examples of poor judgment:
Mr. Allen blurs the line between personal and public interests. He lobbies in Washington and other states for an association that champions prison industries, both state- and privately run, and at the same time chairs his chamber's corrections committee. Mr. Allen insists this doesn't pose a conflict of interest. But we worry that his position of authority over legislation that affects the association he works for undermines the public's confidence in the integrity of the legislative process.
Mr. Allen was the target of criticism this summer in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for inappropriately running his personal businesses and his campaign out of his state office. Mr. Allen confirmed to us the story was "accurate, fair and painful."
Some of Mr. Allen's legislative colleagues have expressed concern about his lapses in judgment.
These issues, together with our concerns about Mr. Allen's positions on key issues, prompt us to recommend Democrat Katy Hubener in the Texas House District 106 race.
Ms. Hubener favors an expanded business tax as key to reforming the state's school finance system. That's a remedy we applaud as central to the state beefing up its support for quality education. Mr. Allen also favors a broadly based business tax, but wants to allow businesses to choose from a menu of tax options – an administrative nightmare for the state if there ever was one.
Ms. Hubener says she'd vote to restore funding cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program. Mr. Allen says he would, too, but voted last year in favor of those very cuts.
By way of background, Ms. Hubener, 34, has education degrees from Texas Tech and Claremont Graduate University in California. Mr. Allen, 53, is a graduate of American Christian College in Oklahoma.
Ms. Hubener served until recently as executive director of the Blue Skies Alliance, pressing to clean Dallas-Fort Worth's air so that asthmatic children can breathe and businesses can invest without fear that Washington would restrict economic development. She resigned the post to run for the Legislature, but not before she'd developed a reputation as somebody who could work across party lines. No less a Republican than Collin County Judge Ron Harris lauds Ms. Hubener as "wanting to find solutions" and "being reasonable to work with."
We're disappointed in Ms. Hubener's willingness to share criticisms of her opponent from unnamed sources and urge her to keep her campaign conduct in check. But in the final analysis, we figure Mr. Allen's had his turn in Austin.
It's time to give Ms. Hubener a chance.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Once more the only major local daily "newspaper" we have has endorsed a Democrat against a Republican incumbent, picking Harriet Miller for State Representative, in a mostly suburban district in north Dallas County. There are three possible explanations. The one which we'd all like to believe is that the "News" just recognized the truth, that she really is a much better person for the job than the guy who's there now. That has never been sufficient before for the editorial staff at the Belo Corp., so let's consider two other possbilities.
That paper notoriously endorses some token Democrats each year, ones so certain to win that the editorial writers figure opposing them is hopeless -- and jumping on the winners' bandwagons will prove how "bipartisan" they are. This can't be one of those races, because the district is very strongly Republican. So what is this about? I suspect the clue is in their comments about his being "ambivalent" about supporting an increase in local sales taxes to support a regional mass transit system. The Dallas establishment, largely droolers over "development" opportunities in real estate, conned the people of the city and a few suburbs to backing DART, but now want to extend its taxing grasp -- and the related profits in property speculation -- to the whole area.
In other words, the incumbent is not being a good "team player" in sticking it to the little guys for the sake of the fat cats. Miller, whom they praise as being "practical", may reasonably buy into their argument that more mass transit is needed to get more cars off the street, reducing the pollution levels here so that DFW won't lose the federal transportation funding now threatened by the emissions from various industries. Those smokestacks, of course, are too sacred to put filters on. Let the "little people" bear the burden of disrupting their lives. It's a defensible position, but it won't work. Texas drivers are not going to hang up their pickup and SUV keys to clear the air, no matter how convenient regressive taxes make it. I'd still vote for her, and I hope she wins, because she's much better on other issues, but this endorsement is all about fighting over the spoils.
Once again, I pass on a copy of their editorial, which Tom Blackwell emailed me from that periodical which I do not choose to register to read on line. [Note to their shysters: "This contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law."]
Texas House District 102: Newcomer Miller outshines incumbent
12:06 AM CDT on Monday, October 4, 2004
Legislators are sometimes like a fine wine - they get better with time. But that doesn't seem to be the case with GOP state Rep. Tony Goolsby.
With regard to school finance, Mr. Goolsby told us he was "shocked" by the court ruling last month that the funding system was unconstitutional, even though such a ruling was the topic of weeks of speculation. When we pressed him about reform ideas, the 16-year legislative veteran was reluctant to disclose which options he favored. When we pressed harder, he told us he'd support an expansion of the business tax - an idea we applaud, but something Mr. Goolsby voted against earlier this year.
A graduate of the University of North Texas, Mr. Goolsby told us he would vote next year to restore cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program, another position we support. But Mr. Goolsby voted in favor of those cuts earlier this year.
Mr. Goolsby, 70, was ambivalent about whether he supported a North Texas local-option election to raise the sales tax by a half-cent for a seamless regional transit system - something hundreds of North Texas leaders have worked hard to develop a consensus around for the past year.
We're troubled by these inconsistencies and by Mr. Goolsby's sometimes-dismissive attitude to ideas and people he disagrees with. According to his own count, Mr. Goolsby's held just four district town hall meetings in 16 years.
Democrat Harriet Miller, on the other hand, struck us as smart, responsive and practical. A lawyer who graduated from Rutgers University, Ms. Miller has practiced law for 30 years and cut her teeth at the federal agency once known as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She helped draft the federal regulations implementing Title IX, which led to increased funding for girls' sports in public schools. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a professional mediator. We hope that she can put those consensus-building skills to work in Austin.
Ms. Miller, 55, supports an expanded business tax to pay for education, restoring funding for children's health insurance, the local-option transit election and pledges to be more in touch with district interests than the incumbent. She has an uphill climb in this GOP-heavy district, but as a former PTA president in the Richardson school district, she knows something about community meetings.
We thank Rep. Goolsby for his service.
We recommend Harriet Miller.
Once again, it's time for a weekly check on Texas Democratic candidates. Texas Tuesdays looks again at the latest from Congressman Chet Edwards, trying to fight off Delay's Perrymandering. Go read about the campaign at THE USUAL PLACE.