Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bumper sticker trouble

Choose your bumper stickers carefully people. If you put one on your car that the Christian Taliban doesn't like, you will be removed from publicly funded taxpayer events.

Lon Garner, the Secret Service agent in charge of the Denver office, told them the service investigated the matter and found it was a "Republican staffer" who removed them because they had a "No More Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on their car.

Full story at the Washington Post.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'd love to know...

How come we don't have Presidents like this anymore ?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people ... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. " - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

Thanks to John Nichols' excellent article for the quote.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What Terri Wants

We all know now who Terri Schiavo is, but what very few people know is that her cardiac arrest was the result of a chemical imbalance induced by bulemia. Logically then, one can argue that the removal of the feeding tube is exactly what she would want.

Yeah, I'm going to hell, I know.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Temper, temper

Temper tantrums are nothing new. What is very, very new however, is the way that temper tantrums are handled at the Fairmont Park Elementary School, in St. Petersberg, Florida.

A 5 year old (yes, five years old) got upset when her jelly beans were taken away from her. She was so upset that among other things she kicked a teacher in the shins, and hit an assistant principal in the stomach.

Minutes later, the 40-pound girl was in the back of a police cruiser, under arrest for battery. Her hands were bound with plastic ties, her ankles in handcuffs.

Full story.

Thanks Atrios.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Fuck the Red States.

Thanks to them, we got stuck with W for four more years. When picking your travel destinations and shopping, avoid buying products made in them and and do not spend your tourist dollars there.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesse, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.

Fuck them the way they fucked us.

Friday, March 11, 2005

When all else fails, cheat. Until you get caught, that is.


Poor Chuck McGee. As executive director of the state Republican Party, he was so desperate to have John E. Sununu win the Senate seat, that he broke the law and got busted.

McGee admitted paying $15,600 in Republican State Committee funds to GOP Marketplace of Virginia, whose former president, Raymond, hired an Idaho telemarketing firm to make computerized "hang-up" calls to the Democratic and firefighters phone banks to disrupt their get-out-the-vote efforts. Tobin allegedly put McGee in touch with Raymond.

The best part is that the GOP is supposedly the "tough on crime" party - unless of course its one of their own breaking the law. You would think this guy would accept the full consequences of his illegal actions, but instead he made his lawyer beg for him. Apparently because he's a good Christian soldier, he's should get off easy.

Yesterday, Donovan argued that McGee led a "productive, fulfilling and law-abiding life" before this "abhorrent" and "stupid" decision. He asked the judge to reject a federal probation report and federal guidelines recommending a six- to 12-month sentence. He said McGee is a former Boy Scout, U.S. Marine corporal and helicopter crew chief, a former city clerk and a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging.

Thankfully, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico disagreed.

DiClerico said that despite McGee's remorse and the support of Sullivan and many others, "any scheme or plan" to disrupt the voting process "is hideous and strikes at the very heart of American democracy."

See you in seven months buddy. Hopefully, you'll have some company soon.

DiClerico said McGee deserved a 10-month sentence, but reduced it by three months because of his "background and characteristics" and because he has cooperated with federal prosecutors in the continuing investigation. The probe has so far resulted in a five-month jail sentence for former GOP marketing specialist Allen Raymond and the indictment of James Tobin, a former high-ranking national GOP operative, who is slated to stand trial in June.

Original story here

Monday, March 07, 2005

License plates in Florida

When I moved from California to Florida I had to get new license plates for my car. I went to the tag office, and discovered that there are lots of custom license plates you can get. If you get one, you pay a little extra, and that money you pay goes to support the cause that is associated with the plates. A convenient mini contribution to a cause, and you get a special plate so other people can see what you supported. Great isn't it?

Florida has lots and lots of causes - "Indian River Lagoon", "Protect Florida Whales", "State Wildflower", "Manatee". There's even a plate for the "Large Mouth Bass". Sports teams? We got 'em - "Florida Marlins", "Florida Panthers", "Jacksonville Jaguars", and the "Miami Dolphins". Kids get plates too - you can get a plate to support the "Boy Scouts", "Keep Kids Drug Free" and "Invest in Children". Military, of course - "U.S. Air Force", "U.S. Army", "U.S. Coast Guard". Sports "U.S. Olympics". Colleges and Universities - "Florida Institute of Technology", "Florida A & M". There are even plates for women - "Stop Breast Cancer" and "Choose Life".

Funny though, I didn't see a "Protect a Woman's Right to Choose" plate on the list.

Very funny indeed.

Friday, March 04, 2005

LLoyd Axworthy <3 Condi Rice

Background: The Ballistic Missile Defence system was conceived during the Cold War to protect the United States and Canada from a possible missile attack from the Soviet Union. After years of work, billions and billions of dollars down the drain, the BMD has yet to stop a single missle in extremely rigged tests. Canada has decided that it will no longer participate in the failed BMD system. As a result, Canada isn't very popular with the lunatic wingnuts intent on destroying our democracy Bush White House, Condoleeza Rice has decided to postpone her trip to Canada that was scheduled for April, and the syncophants have been saying all sorts of nasty things about Canada.

Enter Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian foreign minister, who has written the following open letter to Condoleeza Rice.

Enjoy, I know I did.

Dear Condi,

I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.

Sure, that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children.

Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny.
Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such a missile defence can be made openly.

You might also notice that it's a system in which the governing party's caucus members are not afraid to tell their leader that their constituents don't want to follow the ideological, perhaps teleological, fantasies of Canada's continental co-inhabitant. And that this leader actually listens to such representations.

Your boss did not avail himself of a similar opportunity to visit our House of Commons during his visit, fearing, it seems, that there might be some signs of dissent. He preferred to issue his diktat on missile defence in front of a highly controlled, pre-selected audience.

Such control-freak antics may work in the virtual one-party state that now prevails in Washington. But in Canada we have a residual belief that politicians should be subject to a few checks and balances, an idea that your country once espoused before the days of empire.

If you want to have us consider your proposals and positions, present them in a proper way, through serious discussion across the table in our cabinet room, as your previous president did when he visited Ottawa. And don't embarrass our prime minister by lobbing a verbal missile at him while he sits on a public stage, with no chance to respond.

Now, I understand that there may have been some miscalculations in Washington based on faulty advice from your resident governor of the "northern territories," Ambassador Cellucci. But you should know by now that he hasn't really won the hearts and minds of most Canadians through his attempts to browbeat and command our allegiance to U.S. policies.
Sadly, Mr. Cellucci has been far too closeted with exclusive groups of 'experts' from Calgary think-tanks and neo-con lobbyists at cross-border conferences to remotely grasp a cross-section of Canadian attitudes (nor American ones, for that matter).

I invite you to expand the narrow perspective that seems to inform your opinions of Canada by ranging far wider in your reach of contacts and discussions. You would find that what is rising in Canada is not so much anti-Americanism, as claimed by your and our right-wing commentators, but fundamental disagreements with certain policies of your government. You would see that rather than just reacting to events by drawing on old conventional wisdoms, many Canadians are trying to think our way through to some ideas that can be helpful in building a more secure world.

These Canadians believe that security can be achieved through well-modulated efforts to protect the rights of people, not just nation-states.

To encourage and advance international co-operation on managing the risk of climate change, they believe that we need agreements like Kyoto.

To protect people against international crimes like genocide and ethnic cleansing, they support new institutions like the International Criminal Court -- which, by the way, you might strongly consider using to hold accountable those committing atrocities today in Darfur, Sudan.

And these Canadians believe that the United Nations should indeed be reformed -- beginning with an agreement to get rid of the veto held by the major powers over humanitarian interventions to stop violence and predatory practices.

On this score, you might want to explore the concept of the 'Responsibility to Protect' while you're in Ottawa. It's a Canadian idea born out of the recent experience of Kosovo and informed by the many horrific examples of inhumanity over the last half-century. Many Canadians feel it has a lot more relevance to providing real human security in the world than missile defence ever will.

This is not just some quirky notion concocted in our long winter nights, by the way. It seems to have appeal for many in your own country, if not the editorialists at the Wall Street Journal or Rush Limbaugh. As I discovered recently while giving a series of lectures in southern California, there is keen interest in how the U.S. can offer real leadership in managing global challenges of disease, natural calamities and conflict, other than by military means.

There is also a very strong awareness on both sides of the border of how vital Canada is to the U.S. as a partner in North America. We supply copious amounts of oil and natural gas to your country, our respective trade is the world's largest in volume, and we are increasingly bound together by common concerns over depletion of resources, especially very scarce fresh water.
Why not discuss these issues with Canadians who understand them, and seek out ways to better cooperate in areas where we agree -- and agree to respect each other's views when we disagree.

Above all, ignore the Cassandras who deride the state of our relations because of one missile-defence decision. Accept that, as a friend on your border, we will offer a different, independent point of view. And that there are times when truth must speak to power.

In friendship,

Lloyd Axworthy

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Meet Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla has supposedly been scouting and collaberating with the al-Queda. Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International airport while returning from Pakistan. Jose Padilla has been designated by Bush as an "enemy combatant". Jose Padilla was arrested in 2002, and has been incarcerated despite not being charged with any crime. Jose Padilla is a Citizen of the United States.

"The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant," - U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd.

Maybe there is stil hope.

Full story.