Monday, February 28, 2005

Another Right-Wing Scandal

Here's the link from Daily Kos, which links to Raw Story, which uncovered the scandal. It's really amazing how low right-wingers will go for power. Here's the lead:

A think tank which raised money by targeting elderly Americans with Social Security scare letters paid for more than $130,000 in travel expenses for the House Republican leader, his wife and his staff, RAW STORY has learned.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a highly controversial and little-known conservative think tank which has been sending Social Security “fright mail” for years, paid for two posh trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) in 1996 and 2000, each at the cost of at least $64,000.

Maureen Dowd: Bush's Democracy

Maureen Dowd nails it once again in her New York Times column. Some choice excerpts:

It was remarkable to see President Bush lecture Vladimir Putin on the importance of checks and balances in a democratic society.

Remarkably brazen, given that the only checks Mr. Bush seems to believe in are those written to the "journalists" Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Karen Ryan, the fake TV anchor, to help promote his policies. The administration has given a whole new meaning to checkbook journalism, paying a stupendous $97 million to an outside P.R. firm to buy columnists and produce propaganda, including faux video news releases.

The only balance W. likes is the slavering, Pravda-like "Fair and Balanced" coverage Fox News provides. Mr. Bush pledges to spread democracy while his officials strive to create a Potemkin press village at home. This White House seems to prefer softball questions from a self-advertised male escort with a fake name to hardball questions from journalists with real names; it prefers tossing journalists who protect their sources into the gulag to giving up the officials who broke the law by leaking the name of their own C.I.A. agent.


"I live in a transparent country," Mr. Bush protested to a Russian reporter who implicitly criticized the Patriot Act by noting that the private lives of American citizens "are now being monitored by the state."

Dick Cheney's secret meetings with energy lobbyists were certainly a model of transparency. As was the buildup to the Iraq war, when the Bush hawks did their best to cloak the real reasons they wanted to go to war and trumpet the trumped-up reasons.


The White House wants its Republican allies in the Senate to stamp out the filibuster, one of the few weapons the handcuffed Democrats have left. They want to invoke the so-called nuclear option and get rid of the 150-year-old tradition in order to ram through more right-wing judges.


The president loves democracy - as long as democracy means he's always right.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bishop Persell on the Anglican Brouhaha: "Sinful"

The Episcopal bishop of Chicago deplores all the time and energy spent on the gay issue in the Anglican church. Amen. Here's a news report. And here's an exerpt:

Chicago's Episcopal bishop said it is "sinful" for his church to be focusing on sex while people around the world suffer in war and live in poverty.

Bishop William Persell expressed his frustration Friday with a report by Anglican leaders that criticized American and Canadian faithful for accepting same-sex relationships and electing an openly gay bishop.

"It is sinful, and it is irresponsible, and someday we will look back on this period of our history and ask, 'Why were we so obsessed with this issue?' " Persell said. "We're using this to stir up people who have more to worry about, who are living with widespread AIDS and famine and poverty."


Persell supported Robinson's selection and said the resulting furor has not altered that support.

"I deeply regret the impact it's had in many parts of the world," he said. "However, I believe in the context of our faith, in which we try to be faithful to Jesus Christ, I believe the Episcopal church was right to offer leadership in this way."

He said local priests and congregants should be confident that the Anglican communion would weather this controversy and get back to the important business of the church.

"The church got through the period of slavery, which many said was justified by scripture," Persell said. "We are still as a communion in the process of dealing with women; in this country we have women bishops, but the Church of England does not. These things take time."

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Anglican Brouhaha

You've probably read or heard about the Anglican Primates meeting in Ireland, and their request to the representatives of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw from that particular body for a time to consider next steps. The AP initially reported erroneously last night and early today that, essentially, the two church bodies had withdrawn from the Anglican Communion. Admittedly the church structure is somewhat unfathomable, but nothing of the sort occurred, yet. The New York Times had the clearest summary of what really happened. But once again I turn to the Faithforward blog for a good summary of what it all means.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Frank Rich on the Oscars and the hypocrisy of the conservative culture

This week's Frank Rich column. As always, worth reading.

WorldNetDaily on the Gannon/Guckert Fiasco

Americablog links to a WorldNetDaily column on the Gannon/Guckert situation. WorldNetDaily of course is one of the major right wing websites, so the fact that they would offer a very accurate summary of what's happened--and why it's such a serious breech--is laudable.

Oh, and check out this story on Talon News--they've pulled the plug to do a "top-to-bottom review of staff."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

If you like news bloopers, here are some real winners

From the Getitinwriting blog. Thanks for some good laughs!

What about those "forged" documents?

Joe Hagan in the New York Observer provides an update about the CBS News investigation of the supposedly forged National Guard documents. Interestingly the investigator they hired didn't try much to find out the source of the documents, or even whether they were fake. And if they were fake, somebody broke federal law. Can't somebody do some in-depth tracking? Or is there a fear of where it would lead?

Of course, the Bush Administration has been known to do "ridiculous" things

From the New York Times:

Later in the day, Mr. Bush met with European leaders at the headquarters of the European Union, and at a news conference afterward reiterated that the United States was not on the verge of war with Iran. But he did not rule out, as he has not in the past, military action.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," he said, then added, to some laughter in the room, "and having said that, all options are on the table."

I think that was the "laughing at" kind of laughter, not the "laughing with."

You can see the tape for yourself here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Disney's Challenge: "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe"

The New York Times Sunday had a feature on the upcoming mega-movie Disney is doing based on C.S. Lewis's classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is due in December. They're wrestling with how to make a mainstream film of the level of the Lord of the Rings (which was also written by a Christian apologist) that is a blatant Christian allegory. And it's good to know they intend to keep it that way. Some excerpts:

But this time, the pros at Disney are wrestling with a special challenge: how to sell a screen hero who was conceived as a forthright symbol of Jesus Christ, a redeemer who is tortured and killed in place of a young human sinner and who returns in a glorious resurrection that transforms the snowy landscape of Narnia into a verdant paradise.

That spirituality sets Aslan apart from most of the Disney pantheon and presents the company with a significant dilemma: whether to acknowledge the Christian symbolism and risk alienating a large part of the potential audience, or to play it down and possibly offend the many Christians who count among the books' fan base.

Disney executives say their aim is to capture the largest possible audience by remaining true to Lewis's work. "We're lucky that there are millions of devoted fans, who probably cross four generations," said Dennis Rice, the studio's senior vice president of publicity. "We want to reach all of those devoted fans."

To do that, Mr. Rice said, the studio plans to reach out to middle schools, boys' clubs, girls' clubs, fantasy fans and, where appropriate, religious groups. Mr. Rice said the company's message would be: "We are trying to make this movie to be as faithful to the book as possible. And if you connect to the book, we think you will connect to the movie."

I love this story, and have a special fondness for the 1976 animated version produced by Bill Melendez for Children's Television Workshop and Episcopal Media Center. I am looking forward to this new version, which looks spectacular in every way.

The truth behind "USA Next"

Maybe you've seen the outrageous anti-AARP web-ad running on various rightwing websites, indicating that AARP is anti-troops and pro-gay marriage. As a newbie in the AARP (I just joined in January!) I am offended. Then I read that the people behind this vicious campaign are the same consultants who helped out those slimes, the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth." The organization behind the ads gets a fascinating review by Josh in his Talking Points Memo, quoting a Washington Monthly article. Do check it out.

And here's a link to Josh's earlier note on the anti-AARP slimers, and here's another. It's really just more of the same dirty tricks.

UPDATE: Josh reports USA Next has pulled their anti-AARP webads, for now anyway.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The terrifying ChoicePoint scandal

I'm not sure how much coverage the ChoicePoint story is getting out there in the MSM, but it's big news in Atlanta where the credit reporting company is headquartered--and it affects at least 145,000 people and possibly up to a half million or more.

Here's the AJC's latest report--on how they're (finally) going to deal with this astonishing breach. Some highlights:

ChoicePoint said it is almost done notifying by mail the 144,778 people that may have been affected. California authorities say as many as 500,000 people may have been affected, but ChoicePoint disputes that number.


The company acknowledged last week that thieves apparently used previously stolen identities to create what appeared to be legitimate businesses seeking ChoicePoint accounts. The bandits then opened up 50 accounts and received volumes of data on consumers, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and credit reports.

The ring, which operated for more than a year before it was detected, used the information to defraud at least 750 people, according to investigators in California.

Daily Kos: Scott Ritter returns with some bad news

You may recall Scott Ritter got into a lot of trouble talking about the lack of WMDs in Iraq before last fall's election. He's a former weapons inspector for the UN. Turns out, wow, he was right. And now he's got some more bad news. How he knows it I don't have a clue. And I sure hope he's wrong.

But check out this diary on Daily Kos. And here's a couple of grafs to whet your appetite:

The principal theme of Scott Ritter's talk was Americans' duty to protect the U.S. Constitution by taking action to bring an end to the illegal war in Iraq. But in passing, the former UNSCOM weapons inspector stunned his listeners with two pronouncements. Ritter said plans for a June attack on Iran have been submitted to President George W. Bush, and that the president has approved them. He also asserted that knowledgeable sources say U.S. officials "cooked" the results of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran's alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million -- a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.

As for the Iraq elections:

Ritter said that U.S. authorities in Iraq had manipulated the results in order to reduce the percentage of the vote received by the United Iraqi Alliance from 56% to 48%.

You know, when they held up the results announcement, I wondered what was going on. The excuse was lame, and the results interesting, putting the winners just under 50% so they would have to share power. This doesn't surprise me at all. I really wonder if something similar didn't happen here in the U.S.

Pastor Dan's Religious News Roundup

Go check it out at Daily Kos. (And thanks, pastordan, for the link!)

New Yorker: "Gannongate" will be "Nothinggate"

Talk of the Town summarizes the Gannon/Guckert case and makes a disquieting point:

One might imagine that all of this had the makings of an old-fashioned, months-long, television-friendly Washington scandal—not as important, obviously, as, say, the Iran-contra affair of the nineteen-eighties, but more so than, say, the flap about the dismissal of several employees of the White House travel office in 1993. One would probably be wrong. The non-Fox cable news outlets began to pick up on it last week; msnbc even assayed a special logo, “Gannongate.” A better name for it, though, would be “Nothinggate,” because nothing is what is likely to come of it. What all the memorable scandals of the past thirty years—real and fake alike, from Watergate to the Clinton impeachment—have had in common is that the opposition party controlled at least one house of Congress, which gave it the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. If Bush ends up having an easier time of it in his second term than any of his two-term predecessors since F.D.R., it won’t be because the scandals aren’t there. It’ll be because the tools to excavate them are under lock and key.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Pastor Dan's Word for the Week

From Daily Kos.

Inside the mind of George W. Bush

The New York Times today reveals the existence of taped conservations between George W. Bush and his evangelical counselor, Doug Wead, made prior to his election. And those tapes reveal a very canny politician who knows how to use people.

Here are some excerpts:

As George W. Bush was first moving onto the national political stage, he often turned for advice to an old friend who secretly taped some of their private conversations, creating a rare record of the future president as a politician and a personality.

In the last several weeks, that friend, Doug Wead, an author and former aide to Mr. Bush's father, disclosed the tapes' existence to a reporter and played about a dozen of them.

Variously earnest, confident or prickly in those conversations, Mr. Bush weighs the political risks and benefits of his religious faith, discusses campaign strategy and comments on rivals. John McCain "will wear thin," he predicted. John Ashcroft, he confided, would be a "very good Supreme Court pick" or a "fabulous" vice president. And in exchanges about his handling of questions from the news media about his past, Mr. Bush appears to have acknowledged trying marijuana [...]

Preparing to meet Christian leaders in September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, "As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways." He added, "I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement."

But Mr. Bush also repeatedly worried that prominent evangelical Christians would not like his refusal "to kick gays." At the same time, he was wary of unnerving secular voters by meeting publicly with evangelical leaders. When he thought his aides had agreed to such a meeting, Mr. Bush complained to Karl Rove, his political strategist, "What the hell is this about?"

Mr. Bush, who has acknowledged a drinking problem years ago, told Mr. Wead on the tapes that he could withstand scrutiny of his past. He said it involved nothing more than "just, you know, wild behavior." He worried, though, that allegations of cocaine use would surface in the campaign, and he blamed his opponents for stirring rumors. "If nobody shows up, there's no story," he told Mr. Wead, "and if somebody shows up, it is going to be made up." But when Mr. Wead said that Mr. Bush had in the past publicly denied using cocaine, Mr. Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything."

He refused to answer reporters' questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

He mocked Vice President Al Gore for acknowledging marijuana use. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them," he said.

Wait a minute, Doug Wead is a friend of W's? And he's going public with this stuff?

The debates within conservatism

The Washington Post offers an interesting overview of the Hudson Institute's symposium with various conservative leaders. Here's a quote:

In written essays and in discussions, participants explored the continuing fissures within conservatism. They fell into two factions, one arguing that the state has an interest in managing the behavior and moral conduct of individuals, the other contending that individuals should be free to manage their own lives as long as they do not harm others.

The truth is, the vary narrow religious conservative viewpoint that is assumed to have taken hold in the country is actually not all that well-represented. They're just loud, and they're in the media. It heartens me to learn that even within the conservative wing there are vast disagreements over church and state, the Iraq war and the Bush doctrine of intervention, and care for the poor.

For instance,

The symposium also addressed the moral dimensions of poverty. Robert Woodson Sr., founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, challenged the gathering:

"Let's suppose that the nation totally embraced the conservative vision. How would it affect, in practical ways, the plight of the least of God's children?"

Amazingly, the issue is on at least some of their radar screens-- although Pete DuPont's answer to this question seems shockingly underwhelming:

Pierre "Pete" du Pont, a member of the board of the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, said school choice and vouchers are conservative policies that address Woodson's question. "If you gave them the opportunity to go to a school of their choice and opened the market up to creating those schools, there's a practical thing that you could do that would help the lower-income and the disadvantaged people in the country, and it would be individualism as opposed to the collectivism of the education system."

Ah, that's what it comes down to: Individualism vs. Collectivism. The Loner American looking out for himself vs. the diverse community working together, getting along, helping those with needs.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

faithforward: Progressive faith, progressive politics

Just found another blog I like, one that focuses on both faith and politics from a progressive point of view. Check it out.


Is there a Rove-Guckert Connection?

CBS News' Dottie Lynch::

"Rove's dominance of White House and Republican politics, Gannon's aggressively partisan work and the ease with which he got day passes for the White House press room the past two years make it hard to believe that he wasn't at least implicitly sanctioned by the 'boy genius.' Rove, who rarely gave on-the-record interviews to the MSM (mainstream media), had time to talk to GOPUSA, which owns Talon."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

MSM is weighing in on Guckertgate

Daily Kos pulls together some links to Dowd, Rich, Christian Science Monitor, et al.

CIA's Goss admits the Iraq war is helping recruit terrorists

The Washington Post reports on the Congressional hearing yesterday regarding the war. Note this near the lead:

"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Wait a minute, this is Bush's man Porter Goss admitting this!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Conason: "Liberal Media" is silent about Guckert saga

Here's the link to Joe Conason's piece from the New York Observer on the Gannon/Guckert story.

Howard Kurtz on the Gannon Affair

I've been reading some of the blogs about the Jeff Gannon controversy, which keeps getting uglier and wilder. Here's a guy using a fake name getting White House press credentials and setting up softballs for McClellan and Bush in press conferences, and writing conservative antigay stuff for the "Talon News" service, and he is very clearly involved in prostituting himself in more ways than one. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post summarizes the sordid mess. It really raises all sorts of questions about connections to all sorts of ethical and moral problems. And could involve the president himself.

Chalabi continues to pull some strings in Iraq

The New York Times reports on the race for Prime Minister in Iraq, and one of the two in the running is the U.S.'s old "friend" Ahmad Chalabi, who helped get us into the war with bogus information in order to satisfy his thirst for power there. Interesting.

"The CBS Three" are fighting back

Joe Hagen in the New York Observer says the three employees of CBS News who were asked to resign over Rathergate have not done so and are fighting for their reputations. Good for them!

Here's the story by Hagen.

And here's an interesting quote:

"In a recent article in The New York Law Journal, James C. Goodale, the former vice chairman of The New York Times, called the CBS investigation 'a flawed report. It should not be swallowed hook, line and sinker.'

"He added: 'Surprisingly, the report is unable to conclude whether the documents are forgeries or not. If the documents are not forgeries, why is the panel writing the report?'"

Why indeed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pat Buchanan on the War in Iraq

From the Imus in the Morning Newsletter:

MSNBC political analyst & former presidential
candidate Pat Buchanan discusses with Imus his
opinions regarding the deeper intervention in
the Middle East.

Pat Buchanan: "My view is this, the President is
profoundly mistaken. He believes we were attacked
because we are free, he said in his inaugural,
'When freedom came under attack on that day of
fire'. It is not our principles that are being
attacked, it is America's policies. It is really
not our beliefs about Democracy, it is our
behavior. I think the President has got to
understand that the rationale that is driving
this war against the United States of America
is that we are perceived rightly or wrongly as
another imperial power that is dominating their
part of the world. Just as the terrorist drove
the British out of Palestine, the French out of
Algeria and the Russians out of Afghanistan, the
present objective is to drive us out of the Middle
East and therefore in my judgment, massive
American intervention augments and ignites
terrorists rather than cures the causes of
terrorism. This is why we are in such trouble
in Iraq. You know, Teddy Kennedy was half right,
it is the American presence there and American
military operations that is causing the terrorism
and the insurgency. At the same time, the American
military is the only thing that prevents it now
from taking power. So it is a paradox but I think
that the President is mistaken if he believes that
deeper and deeper intervention in there is going
to cure this problem. It is just going to metastasize
the cancer."

Monday, February 14, 2005

And another sorry surprise... from the Iraq elections

Courtesy of the Washington Post:

When the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq two years ago, it envisioned a quick handover to handpicked allies in a secular government that would be the antithesis of Iran's theocracy -- potentially even a foil to Tehran's regional ambitions.

But, in one of the greatest ironies of the U.S. intervention, Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base -- and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door. It is the last thing the administration expected from its costly Iraq policy -- $300 billion and counting, U.S. and regional analysts say.

Bush's Budget Surprise

The Washington Post gives away Bush's big surprise.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Robin Meyers on Progressive Faith

A friend sent me the following text from a speech by the Reverend Robin Meyers, a UCC pastor who I had heard of before. It is too good not to share with you here:


Dr. Robin Meyers' Speech to students at Oklahoma University on November 14, 2004:

As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor.

Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.

We've heard a lot lately about so-called "moral values" as having swung the election to President Bush. Well, I'm a great believer in moral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country about exactly what constitutes a moral value -- I mean what are we talking about? Because we don't get to make them up as we go along, especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inherited tradition of what is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does.

Let me give you just a few of the reasons why I take issue with those in power who claim moral values are on their side:

1. When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God's will, and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral.

2. When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.

3. When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.

4. When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.

5. When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you are doing something immoral.

6. When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.

7. When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called "enemy combatants" of the rules of the Geneva convention, which your own country helped to establish and insists that other countries follow, you are doing something immoral.

8. When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, or with the terrorists -- and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.

9. When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing something immoral.

10. When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn't matter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something immoral.

11. When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out record numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of discrimination, you are doing something immoral.

12. When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the
kingdom, you are doing something immoral.

13. When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the earth which is God's gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.

14. When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

15. When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a "compassionate conservative," using the word which is the essence of all religious faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing something immoral.

16. When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if s/he doesn't have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.

17. When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral.

I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith. I'm tired of people saying that I can't support the troops but oppose the war.

The only question is how many people are going to die before these make-believe Christians are removed from power?

This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people who can turn things around are people like you -- young people who are just beginning to wake up to what is happening to them. It's your country to take back. It's your faith to take back. It's your future to take back.

Don't be afraid to speak out. Don't back down when your friends begin to tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut.

Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real Hindus, and real Buddhists--so do all the faith traditions of the world at their heart believe one thing: life is precious.

Every human being is precious. Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity. And believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man, not a man of faith.

And war -- war is the greatest failure of the human race -- and thus the greatest failure of faith. There's an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

And what is the dream of the prophets? That we should study war no more, that we should beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Who would Jesus bomb, indeed? How many wars does it take to know that too manypeople have died?

What if they gave a war and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out.

Posted by

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Jeff Jarvis Considers the "Secret" 9/11 Report -- Election Fraud?

Jeff Jarvis considers the cover-up of critical parts of the 9/11 report to amount to election fraud. It certainly could have changed the outcome. Now what?

This Is What Happens When You "Liberate" Countries

North Korea Admits to Nuclear Weapons, Suspends Talks (

"We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's ever more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North)," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The President Explains His Social Security Plan

From Atrios, who took it from the website:

"THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. Okay, better? I'll keep working on it."

The Veep on Social Security Privatization

Daily Kos has a review of the VP's appearance on "Fox News Sunday" yesterday during which he admitted that the President's plans for Social Security don't solve the insolvency problem and will put the whole program in debt by the trillions of dollars. And this is supposed to save Social Security? Josh makes the same points.

NY Times Killed Bush "Hump" Story Just Before Election

Via Romenesko, here is the story about the New York Times' apparent interest in the Bush Bulge story (which was all the rage among the X-Files wing of the Democratic bloggers prior to the election)--and subsequent spiking of it. Having just seen the documentary "Bush's Brain," I have no doubt what that mysterious hump on his back was during the debates. How about you?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

More Powerful Than . . . Ever (

The Washington Post runs an interesting piece on the proliferation of super hero movies. Are they taking over... or is the glut indicative of the end of yet another trend? As a closet comics geek for many years, I am glad that there seems to be a bit more cultural acceptance of the genre.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

More on the Purging of the House Ethics Committee

From Josh Marshall. It's not pretty.

Tom Shales on the SOTU Address

Winning The War Of Perception (

I frankly couldn't watch it. I'll read about it this morning. Shales tells me all that I expected though. I particular was chagrined to read this paragraph:

Bush soon divided the hall again when he said he supported a constitutional amendment "to protect the institution of marriage," which was a euphemism for banning same-sex marriages, though Bush didn't mention them. The man who likes to speak, as he did in this speech, of America's great "compassion" and who has been holding forth loudly of late on the sanctity of freedom apparently believes both compassion and freedom should have their limits.

I Thought Jon Stewart Took Him Out?

Tucker Carlson Gets New Show (

House Ethics Go Further Down the Toilet

House GOP Leaders Name Loyalist to Replace Ethics Chief (

The Republical leadership replaces a fair-minded Republican with a political hack and packs the so-called Ethics Committee with DeLay loyalists. This is ethical?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Reliable Source on Brad Meltzer

The Reliable Source (

Scroll down to the second item on blockbuster author Brad Meltzer, whose excellent book The Zero Game comes out in paperback this week. Brad is one of the nicest guys you could meet (which I did at a signing here last year) and a terrific writer of legal thrillers. The fact that he also dabbles in writing comics only further endears him to me. If you've never read one of his books, what's stopping you?

The Spinners Cast Their Versions of the Vote in Iraq (

Good overview of the media coverage on the Iraqi vote by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post. The administration is masterful at spin and were out in full force. I actually flipped back and forth from Al Franken, who was nearly choked up with joy on behalf of the troops (who he had just visited last month with the USO) getting to this pivotal point, to Rush Limbaugh, raving about the liberal media being angry at this incredible success, saying the liberals had been hoping for a huge debacle there because they hate Bush so much, saying that liberals were pro Bin Laden and pro Insurgents just because they want Bush to fail. It was frightening what he was saying, if he really truly believes it. Because it means he really is stark raving mad.