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5/31/2005

Where is the Right Wing Outrage?

I guess Republicans only hate gay politicians who offer government jobs to potential lovers if said politician is a Democrat. Remember last year when then New Jersey Governor James McGreevey was outed as a homosexual? Republicans where in full tizzy mode.

Now, one of their own is in the same boat, and I don't hear Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or FOX News wringing their hands about the evil gay politician on this one.

Spokane mayor James West seems to be in some
trouble.

"West admitted two weeks ago to leading a 'double life' as a gay man after a Spokane newspaper reported that West offered a city job and other perks to a teenage male he met on Gay.com.

The Spokesman-Review had hired a consultant posing as a gay high school student to arrange a meeting with the mayor."

Wow, and West is 55 years old, so I guess he is also into statutory rape. Of course we should have known that given that,

"In a deposition released last week, another felon, 36 year-old Robert Galliher also accused West, then a Sheriff's deputy, of sexual abuse 30 years ago"

And this,

"The Spokesman-Review has also said that West sexually abused two boys 25 years ago when they were members of his Boy Scout troop."

Oh, and the Feds are on the case as well,

"The city and the FBI are currently investigating whether West used city-owned equipment illegally."

West, in typical Republican fashion had this to say,

"I haven't done anything illegal,"

Really?

Stem Cell Research Marches On

President Bush's precious political capital continues to disappear at an alarming rate. First the House of Representatives passes legislation that would allow federal dollars to be used on embryonic stem cell research (which of course he says he will veto), and now individual states are racing to be the best in the field, throwing money at researches to conduct their research in their states. Massachusetts even overrode a veto from a Republican Governor to pass their bill.

The following is from Newsday,

"The state House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final approval to a 10-year, $100 million plan to fund stem cell research, seeking to position Connecticut to compete with other states in the emerging scientific field. The state Senate has already approved the measure, and it now goes to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who has said she would sign it into law.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Massachusetts, state lawmakers overturned Gov. Mitt Romney's veto and approved a bill designed to move their state to the forefront of stem cell research. The bill immediately became law."

Has anyone else noticed how irrelevant Bush and his "Moral Majority" are becoming? It's fun to watch. It's also fun to watch GOP Presidential hopefuls like Romney cling to that Religious Right line trying convince enough voters in the south that they will continue to put religion ahead of all else if elected president.

5/27/2005

Proud Liberal on CNN

Proud Liberal was mentioned today on CNN's Inside Politics during the Inside the Blogs Segment. Here is part of the transcript,

"ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Now, one Republican senator who has vowed to vote no on that vote when it comes down is South Dakota's John Thune. The Republican senator is going to do this protest vote. He says linked to the fact that the likely closure of Ellsworth Air Base in South Dakota, and issue of great importance to South Dakota. The blogging community out there is very strong, very vocal. They played a big part blogging in the election last year.

We have a look at what some of them are saying. Proud liberal, this is Trent (ph), a Democrat out there, saying that Thune is in a no win situation on this vote. That if he reverses course and actually does vote for Bolton, he'll be open to criticism that he's continuing to tow the party line, even with Ellsworth on the chopping block. If however, he votes against Bolton, then he'll be labeled an obstructionist, the most detested form of political life in South Dakota"

I guess they finally reached the bottom of the barrel and got around to reading my little blog. I guess this is my 10 seconds of fame. What a ride!

The Closed Mind (aka the Republican Mind)

Anna Quindlen has a terrific column in Newsweek this week entitled "Life of the Closed Mind." Either this column has flown under Conservative's radar, or I've missed the outrage at this piece. When I first read it and came to the passage below, I said to myself, "Quindlen just told the truth, and she will be racked over the coals for it." Here is the quote.

"Four years have passed, and it occurs to me, surveying the Columbia undergraduates, their blue gowns mimicking the blue sky, that the terrorists did win. Since September 11 we've become more like them. The essence of the way zealots think about the world is polar: good and evil, holy and profane, them and us."

This is, of course, true. Just witness the abuse heaped on the seven GOP senators who signed the Judicial Filibuster agreement earlier this week (THIS is amazing, really a must read). The outrage from the socially conservative base has been amazing. Either you are with them or your against them (seems like King George said those exact words right after 9/11.)

In the column Quindlen quotes Columbia University President Lee Bollinger regarding academic freedom and classroom discourse,

"To learn to ask: 'Is that true? Maybe there's something to what she just said. Let me think about it. That's interesting. Maybe I should change my mind. I changed my mind'."

Quindlen continues by asking a very good question,

"When is the last time you can honestly remember a public dialogue, or even a private conversation, that followed that useful course?"

This speaks to something that came up often in the campaign last year. Republican candidates, especially Bush, spent alot of time talking about their convictions. About how they know what they believe in and they will stand up for it. About how we where "staying the course in Iraq." It seems to be very important to Conservatives to pick a road and stay on that road, no matter the peril that crosses your path. Better to stay the course and drive over a cliff than to see the flaws in the current road and pick a better road that takes you around the cliff.

This is, I guess the fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. As Democrats we may be perfectly happy with the road we are on, but we don't presume our route to be the only road to happiness and we leave open the possibility that someone else may take a different road, and that's OK. Republicans on the other hand, are also perfectly happy with the road they are on, but that isn't enough for them. They are convinced that their road is the only road and that anyone who would choose a different road is headed for doom and must reform their ways, even if they are perfectly happy where they are. They feel it is their duty to tell everyone how great their road is and belittle those who choose a different road. They will call those on adjacent roads un-American, Godless, obstructionist and those are the nice names.

I know the Sean Hannity's of the world view the left's acceptance of alternate roads to happiness as moral relativism. I see their "my way or the highway" view of the world in the same way Quindlen does, as arrogant closed mindedness.

Great Letter to the Editor

Just thought I would pass on probably the best Letter to the Editor I have ever read. It appears in todays Argus Leader.

"During the 2004 campaign, Republican John Thune told voters that if elected to replace then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, his GOP ties would ensure that Ellsworth Air Force Base would remain open. Daschle said that as minority leader, he would have an appointment to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and be in a better position to help Ellsworth.The Associated Press headline in a recent paper read, "Thune fails to keep Ellsworth off list."
Let's see how other congressional leaders fared:


Tennessee, home of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.: 1,088 new jobs with no major closures.

Nevada, home of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: 1,059 new jobs with no major closures.

California, home of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: all major installations in the state remain open.

Texas, home of House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas: net gain of over 6,000 jobs.
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert: congressional district in Illinois unaffected."


Laurie A. Reiprich Sioux Falls

Sorta speaks for itself doesn't it?

5/26/2005

Thune In No Win Situation

In my humble opinion (and the words of my grandfather), Sen Thune is in a real pickle. This whole Ellsworth thing is a no win situation for him if he proceeds the way he says he will.

According to the
Argus Leader Thune, "threatened to vote against the nomination of John Bolton, Bush's embattled nominee to be U.N. ambassador. If he does vote against Bolton, he will be one of only a handful of Republicans to do so." Presumably this would be Thune's way of punishing the White House for Ellsworth's impending demise.

This seems to me to be a political miscalculation. Now, if he reverses course and actually does vote for Bolton, then he will open to criticism that he is continuing to tow the party line, even with Ellsworth on the chopping block.

If he does indeed follow through with his threat, it could be even worse for him. First, one would have to believe that voting against Bolton would damage his precious relationship with Bush. Possibly to the point that Bush would totally ignore South Dakota (I know he pretty much ignores us already, but now we could really be out in the wilderness.)

Even more interesting though, would be the fact that if Thune votes against Bolton for no other reason than to punish the White House, he will become the most detested form of political life in South Dakota...an OBSTRUCTIONIST...gasp.

The only thing that could possibly save him from looking like an incompetent political hack would be Bush granting Ellsworth a reprieve just minutes before the vote on Bolton, and we all know that ain't happening. Looks like Thune is in over his head to me.

Thanks Clean Cut Kid...I Think

Chad at Clean Cut Kid posted a "shout out" to me on his blog earlier this week. In his shout out he mentioned that his son and my daughter play on the same T-ball team. I'm sure this revelation will spark a whole new round conspiracy theories in the right-wing blogosphere.

I mean they are already convinced that former Daschle staffers like Chad are involved in some sort of cloak and dagger effort to smear John Thune, which is ridiculous, it's not a secret, it's right out in the open that we don't approve of Sen Thune's politics. It can't be a surprise to them.

Now, I am going to be linked to that group of Daschle supporters since Chad and I have children on the same T-Ball team. Thanks Chad.

In anticipation of what I'm sure will come to pass in the next few days, I will just save the right wing blogosphere the time. Here is the history of my financial transactions with Tom Daschle, DASHPAC, the DNC and any other Democrat organization you can think of.

I volunteered on Tom Daschle's campaign last year. I received one and one-half doughnuts on election morning and two barbeques with some chips and pop at lunch time on election day. I also received three "Vote For Daschle" stickers on election day. After the election I received an invitation to a thank you reception for Daschle supporters at which my wife and I received two glasses of wine and various appitizers each. That's all I can think of. I hope this answers Sibby's as yet unasked questions about my financial ties to the Daschle campaign, now that Chad has exposed the fact that our children share a T-Ball team. I mean two Daschle supporters that get their kids together two times a week for athletic competition must equal a conspiracy, but I have nothing to hide.

5/25/2005

Radical Republicans Show Their True Colors

The revolution has begun and the radical wing of the Republican party can feel their grip on power slipping away, and they can't stand it. As a result, we all get to watch a very public meltdown of these extreme right-wing groups and their leaders.

First the Senate actually finds a way to move forward on judicial nominees, while also staying open for business on other pressing matters, but the deal stops short of the Senate just rolling over to Bush's every whim so that has RadCon panties are in a bunch even though they are getting their precious up or down votes now.

Then, 24 hours later the House passes a bill clearing the way for more lines of stem cell research that could possibly lead to cures for diseases like "Lou Gehrig's Disease". They passed the bill even after the King George warned them that he would veto the bill if it hits his desk. Seems it's OK for fertility clinics to "dispose" of the embryos that would be used in this research, but it's not OK to use them to help find cures for people already on the planet.

All of this has the Bushies in full meltdown mode. Let's take a sample shall we?

First from the Sioux City Journal,

"Social and religious conservatives in Iowa warned that any potential presidential candidates linked to a U.S. Senate compromise on the use of the filibuster in judicial nominations will pay an enormous price in the state's leadoff caucuses.

"They won't get any help from us. None," said Norman Pawlewski, of the Iowa Christian Coalition. "We busted our hump to get a president who would appoint judges who would be more just. Republican senators betrayed us."

This next quote would be sort of funny if it wasn't so scary.

"It's very troubling," said Hurley. "This is the number one issue. Short of a nuclear war, it's the major issue. It's not an issue, it's the issue."

The issue? Really? Not Social Security. Not Iraq. Not the mounting deficit. Not the lack of health care for some and the rising cost of it for everyone else. No, it's packing the court with RadCon judges in a hopeless effort to outlaw abortion. Wow.

Then there is this gem from Iowa State Senator David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan.

"The goal was to eliminate the use of filibusters for judicial nominations," said Johnson. "If the 14 senators think they've resolved the issue, they haven't."

Really? Was I the only person to see Priscilla Owen get her up or down vote today? Then Johnson went on to vent his anger at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

"He let them do this," said Pawlewski. "He's the leader of the Senate. If he's so weak as a leader of the Senate that he can't control his own troops, then he's not much of a leader."

Here is the word from Gary Bauer, president of the self-righteously named American Values.

"It's a rebuff of both the president, Senator Frist and the socially conservative base of the party by a handful of senators. The heart of the Republican Party is as unhappy as I can recall."

The "heart of the Republican Party?" Wait until the CEO's of the drug companies and the oil companies hear about this.

Then there is this joker from the infamous Bob Jones University, who apparently feels Bob Jones University should directly benefit from every judicial nominee and that Lindsey Graham is not all that intelligent.

"We're stunned. We feel somewhat betrayed," said Benj Buck, mentoring coordinator at Bob Jones University in Greenville and editor of SCHeadlines.com, a web site that focuses on South Carolina political issues. "Lindsey Graham has been considered a torchbearer for South Carolina conservatives. I respect the guy. I'm going to respect a guy who will stand up and go against the grain when he thinks it's in the people's best interest. But he hasn't told us where we're going to benefit. I haven't heard of anyone who's said, 'Hey Lindsey Graham's really smart. He really pulled a good one.' "

Well Mr. Buck. I think if you check your morning newspaper you'll see that you wackos have already benefited with the confirmation of Justice Owen. What exactly did you want? I'm sure that now that you have questioned Sen. Graham's intelligence you will have much more input into the judicial confirmation policy. I personally find that if you call someone dumb they tend to try to help you out even more. He has obviously studied at the Bush school of diplomacy.

Then there is this from Renew America's Chris Adamo.

"Three Senate Republicans who engaged in this week's treachery, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Mike Dewine of Ohio, are up for reelection next year. Conservative activists should immediately begin to organize efforts to see them defeated by any candidate who runs against them.

Conservatives had better come to grips with the fact that fifty-two real Republican Senators would constitute a better majority than fifty-five who think they can engage in such disloyalty with impunity. Otherwise, they must resign themselves to the grim prospect that such people do indeed run the country."

Bill Frist had four-and-a-half years to get Priscilla Owen an up or down vote and couldn't. These "traitors" got her a vote and now she on the bench. I agree. By all means lets get rid of the "traitors" so we can go back to keeping right-wing-activists like Owen off the bench. These people have lost any connection to reality they may have had previous to Monday evening.

While social conservatives fancy themselves the "heart" of the Republican party, the money of the Republican party, big business, has had enough.

"I'm inclined to support the Republican Party, but the question becomes, how much other stuff do I have to put up with to maintain that identification?" asked Andrew A. Samwick, a Dartmouth College economics professor who until recently was chief economist of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.

"I don't know a single business group involved in the judicial nominees," said R. Bruce Josten, an executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Nada, none, zip."

"The potential for high-minded policy reforms to fix entitlements and spur growth and prosperity has degenerated into a hopeless morass," Republican economist Lawrence Kudlow wrote yesterday on the National Review's Web site.

"It's an unbalanced domestic agenda," John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Corp said. "If you're going to go to the wall on one particular issue, you're telling me you're going to sacrifice other issues, and history is full of stories of battles won at the cost of missing issues that have lost the war."

An important point for RadCons to consider is the point that Lindsey Graham made on Sean Hannity's radio show on Tuesday.

"If you pull the nuclear trigger, and there's not bullet in the chamber, then it's terrible for the Republican party." Then Hannity asked if he thought the votes would have been there for the nuclear option (keep in mind it only takes 50 in that case) and Graham said no.

So all of you RadCons who are in full hate mode, imagine how you would feel if this deal never happened and Frist tried to re-write the Constitution and failed. Then you'd have no deal and no up or down vote on any of your nominees.

The bottom line is this, rank and file Republicans would rather have the Senate close it's doors, than to reach a compromise that accomplishes the very things your arrogant, unconstitutional method would have achieved.

Did Republicans get everything they wanted? No. Did Democrats get everything they wanted? No. That's why it's called a compromise.

Still, watching the GOP come apart at the seams makes it all worthwhile.

5/22/2005

Who is the MSM Anyway?

The folks on the Right want us to believe that the MSM are the root of all evil. But just whom do they consider to be the MSM? From what I can tell it's anyone who doesn't report solely from a right wing vantage point. I guess unless you are Rush or Hannity, you are MSM, aka liberal scum.

The reason I think that is that a
right-wing nut job would now have us believe that the NY Post is somehow a liberal rag that printed the Saddam pictures out of a hatred for Bush and his conservative cohorts.

The following is the headline on the post in question,

"MSM Causing More Trouble"

Then this follows (I added the emphasis)

"British and American newspapers published photos Friday showing an imprisoned Saddam Hussein clad only in his underwear and washing his laundry, prompting an angry U.S. military to launch an investigation and the Red Cross to say the photos may violate the Geneva Conventions.

Britain's The Sun and the New York Post said the photos were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify. The photos not only angered the U.S. military, which issued a condemnation rare for its immediacy, but also were expected to further fuel anti-American sentiment in a country edging toward open sectarian conflict."

Now the New York Post is part of some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy with the US military to bring down Bush I guess. You will also notice that they didn't identify their source. I'll be waiting on pins and needles for Scott McClellan to ask Ruppert Murdoch to retract the story and suggest they print some nice pictures of the US military.

If your on the right you just have to get your news from "W" himself, everybody else is out to get you, just like the boogy man.

5/21/2005

The One Senator Filibuster

With all the talk about changing Senate filibuster rules, the fact that Orrin Hatch has already changed Senate rules has been pretty much ignored, even by that crazy "liberal media".

During the presidency of Bill Clinton, the Republicans executed nearly 60 one Senator filibusters by using what used to be called the "blue slip policy." The policy allowed a senator from the nominees home state to block a nominee by simply failing to turn in the blue-colored approval papers required in the nomination process.

The reason it used to be called the blue slip policy is that Orrin Hatch, the chair of Judiciary committee, has stopped enforcing the rule since Bush was elected in an effort to force through his nominees.

As in the case of Carolyn Kuhl's nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hatch held a committee vote on Kuhl's nomination even though Senator Barbara Boxer tried to use the blue slip policy to block the vote.

Hatch also showed utter disregard for the concerns of Michigan's Democrat Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow by holding hearings on four nominees to the US 6th Court of Appeals, and two nominees to the US District Court of Eastern Michigan, despite their attempted use of the blue slip policy. The same blue slip policy that former Michigan Senator, Spencer Abraham (a Republican) used to block votes on two Clinton nominees from Michigan, including one that hung in limbo with no up or down vote for over four years. Of course Hatch allowed that use of the blue slip policy in that case.

All this nonsense about Democrat obstuctionism is just that...nonsense. Republicans where able to use one Senator filibusters for eight years during the Clinton administration, and Democrats never once threatened to change senate rules. All of this is just further proof that Republicans have no interest in anything but eliminating all Democrats from Washington. Instead of using their incredible majorities in congress and the fact that they own the White House to actually govern, they instead continue to wage war on any remaining Democrats. If there where a Republican President, 100 Republican Senators and all but one Republican Representative, they would spend all of their time attacking that lone Democrat and blaming him for their inability to know how to govern. It is ridiculous and must stop

Judicial Nominees

While I've been away the fight over Judicial Nominees has been raging. Just keep in mind the people the Republicans are willing to change Senate rules for are extreme right wing crazies that even Bush right wing crazies think are crazy.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales served with Priscilla Owen on the Texas Supreme Court for less than two years, but he disagreed with her crazy right wing opinions on several occassions. At one point Gonzales accused Owen of essentially trying making up law (something the right is fond of accussing liberal judges of doing), in a case regarding the Texas judicial bypass law. The law requires minors who seek an abortion to notify their parents unless a court grants a "judicial bypass" based on its finding that: the applicant is "mature and sufficiently well informed" to make the decision herself; notification would not be in the applicant’s "best interest;" or "notification may lead to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse" of the applicant.

In this case the Texas high court ruled 6-3 that the young woman had "conclusively established the statutory requirements to obtain a judicial bypass." Owen, of course, dissented, accusing the majority of acting "irresponsibly." Notice she doesn't say they are wrong about their interpretation of the law, just that they are irresponsible. Gonzales then called Owen on her extreme views when he said that no matter your views on abortion, judges "cannot ignore the statute or the record."

The fact that Alberto Gonzales is the voice reason between the two of them ought to tell you all you need to know about Priscilla Owen. Yet, the GOP is ready to shut down the Senate and change long standing Senate rules in order to put this crazy person on the bench.

I'm Back

I've been away for about a month, I just needed some time off and I've also been busy with a special project at work and coaching my daughter's t-ball team, but I'm ready to get back at it now, so check back for regular updates starting today.

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