Prosecute the torture.

July 29, 2005

Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

When Scott McClellan is not busy lying about Karl Rove, he's lying about Bush flipping off the press:

Q Scott, last night on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, who apparently is subbing for Johnnie, displayed a video of the President at the Capitol yesterday. In that video, the President walking away from the press lifts his hand and raises a finger. Mr. Leno interpreted it as, shall we say, a finger of hostility. Each of our fingers has a special purpose and meaning in life. (Laughter.) Can you tell us what finger it was he held up?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I'm not even going to dignify that with much of a response. But if someone is misportraying something, that's unfortunate.

Q Well, it was not a finger of hostility?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I was there with him, and I'm just not going to -- I'm not going to dignify that with a response. I mean, I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but I know the way the President acts. And if someone is misportraying it, that's unfortunate.
Randi Rhodes has the video of both times the Frat Boy in Chief flipped the bird:

...And Ricky Santorum as "The Beaver"

Republican politicians often like to hearken back to some mythical American past that was only reality in the world of pre-Beatles sitcoms as to how we should all live our lives now. In their world view: Mom stays home and vacuums in her pearls, Dad heads out to his 9-5 job doing some unspecified well-paying work, and the little kiddy's biggest problem is losing the $1.75 he was given to get a haircut before the Christmas pageant.

And, yes, it is a Christmas pageant because the entire town all seems to go to the same church with the big white cross on the white steeple. The shows may have been black and white, but all the people were inevitably all white.


The reality of course is that even back in the period that a show like Leave It To Beaver originally aired -- 1957 - 1963 -- teens got pregnant, women had (back alley) abortions, people drove drunk after four martini lunches, priests (and other authority figures) sexually abused kids, spouses beat the hell out of each other, women with children worked (including Rick Santorum's own working Mom), and there were gay bars (where patrons could count on routine raids by the cops). The difference is that you just didn't mention any of this in polite company (including the media).

What changed in society was a refusal to continue to sweep everything under the rug. "Negroes" protested for their rights, and the damn was broken: Gays, women, students, the disabled, etc., all fought to be seen and heard and participate fully in society.

Whereas Sen. Santorum laments that priests sexually abused children because of the prevalence of liberal attitudes, the truth is it was liberal attitudes that allowed the situation to come to light. Back in the day, you couldn't even print the word "rape" in a family newspaper.

It was liberals like Phil Donahue and Oprah who made it all right to say out loud that you were abused as a child which let the viewer at home know that they were not alone which led to survivors groups which led to the kinds of class action suits that we're sure a guy like Lil Ricky must despise.


But shows like "Leave It To Beaver" weren't all bad. Unlike Santorum, Ward and June would agree that it takes a village to raise a child. And, the town of Mayfield was a "village" with schools and teachers and police and boy scout troops and neighbors who all figured prominently into the plot lines and who all had lessons to teach or learn.

You see, even for a Republican, Rick Santorum is completely out of the mainstream. In Ricky's ideal world, children must be home-schooled, only one parent may work, and bringing home a dead baby from the hospital to "bond" with your preschool age kids isn't the least but creepy. His is a scary little insular world that, while it views all outside influence as suspect, at the same time proclaims there is no right to privacy.


Ward, I'm worried about the Beaver, indeed!

1 Political Junkie on WPTT This AM!

Tony Norman columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is subbing for Lynn Cullen (9 - noon) on WPTT Radio - 1360AM this morning and he will have 1 of the 2 Political Junkies on as a guest.

You can stream WPTT live online at
1360wptt.com.

July 28, 2005

More Local Events!

***Campaign this weekend in OHIO for PAUL HACKETT***
This race is in the most Republican congressional district in Ohio, yest there's only 5 points between the two candidates and it can be won on the ground. If anyone is interested in going to help anytime between now and Tuesday (election day) the DNC will send you money for gas and give you housing.

For more info contact either lpatross@yahoo.com or Jon Unger, 813-789-1547.

Paul Hackett is an Iraq Vet and the Republicans are Swift-Boating him as you read this. He can use your help!

http://www.hackettforcongress.com


***PROGRESSIVE BEERS ***
FRIDAY JULY 296pm
Church Brew Works
3525 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa. 15201
LAWRENCEVILLE

Join Pat Clark and your Pittsburgh progressive friends at the favorite democratic watering hole -- the Church Brew Works. Just an informal gathering to have fun and share information about what is happening in in politics.


***INDYVOTER.ORG CONVENTION IN PITTSBURGH NEXT WEEKEND***
Once again Pittsburgh is in the spotlight. The League of independent voters is coming to Pittsburgh for their 2nd Annual convention.

There are a ton of activities that will be going on as part of this and it's also a great way to learn more organizing skills and meet with other activists from around the country.

Visit http://www.indyvoter.org/ for more information.

There will be daily workshops and evening events at the Shadow Lounge and the Firehouse Lounge.

Even if you can't attend all weekend - you can stop by for one of the evening events:

THUR. 8/4 7pm
Screening of "Streetfight" - a documentary about the 2002 Newark Mayoral race.

Fri. 8/5 9pm
Open Mic @ Shadow Lounge
5972 Baum Blvd. East Liberty
No Cover, donations accepted

Sat. 8/6 10pm
Afterparty at the Firehouse Lounge
2216 Penn Ave, Strip District

Tonight: Watch ABC World News Tonight and then go help SEIU Janitors

6:30 PM:
(WTAE) ABC World News Tonight will feature a piece on Santorum's new book and some local activists were interviewed.

_______________________________________________

8:30 PM:
USX Building on Grant Street starting at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 28.

Janitors at the First City Tower in downtown Houston went on strike last week for a better life for their families. In a show of unity not seen in years, SEIU janitors across the nation who work for the same company (ABM) are refusing to cross picket lines set up by Houston janitors in major American cities from coast to coast.

The Houston strike is in reaction to threats by the nation's largest cleaning company, ABM, against workers tying to secure better jobs and affordable health care. Houston janitors, who are paid an average of $5.25 an hour and receive no benefits, are uniting in an historic effort to win better jobs and affordable health care by forming a union with SEIU.

The Houston janitors need your help...

*** Tell ABM to stop threatening janitors and instead provide good jobs with health care.

GO TO: http://www.facts-online.org/campaign/abmunfair

*** Join Pittsburgh Janitors on the picket line Thursday night. Houston Janitors are setting up a picket line at the USX Building on Grant Street starting at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 28. Join Pittsburgh Janitors and community members in honoring that picket line.

*** Sign up for "Email Updates" from SEIU Local 3 to stay involved in this and other fights for working families: www.seiu3.org

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this:
http://seiuaction.org/join-forward.html?domain=testseiu&r=6dawBYM15ubu

You can sign up for SEIU Pennsylvania State Action Center at:
http://seiuaction.org/seiupa/join.html?r=6dawBYM15ubuE

Jessica Simpson is concerned about the war, so now I am too!

Hey! She obviously has like waaaay more influence than like me and if she's like all concerned and all with like the Iraq war and censorship and all that then I say like you go girl!

Chicken of the Sea for Everybody!

July 27, 2005

Santorum's Amazon.com Wish List

What kind of gift do you get for the man who knows nothing? Well, if you're stumped for that special gift it certainly helps if the person has a wish list on amazon.com. And, it appears that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Va) has one there.

If you'd like to make a suggestion to the list you can login as follows:

email: santorum.rick@gmail.com
password: manondog

(You'd better hurry though before amazon takes it down and spoils all the fun.)

Santorum: No Jews Need Apply

Apparently Jon Stewart of the Daily Show wasn't kidding the other night when he said that Santorum's posse exclaimed "UNCLEAN!" when Stewart shook Santorum's hand.

OK, I'm sure he was kidding, but Lil Ricky did throw this Jew off of a press conference call because it was CATHOLIC ONLY.


Get 'em while they're hot.

July 26, 2005

Rewarding Good Behavior

Don't forget folks:

WPTT Radio - 1360AM has gone to a more progressive format (as we mentioned here back in June).

They've added Thom Hartman (noon to 3) and Alan Colmes (10 PM to 1 AM) in addition to liberal stalwart Lynn Cullen (9 - noon).

You can can also stream them live online at 1360wptt.com

Check them out!

Santorum steps in it again

I saw this over at Eschaton:
Did little Ricky just say on Aaron Brown what I thought he said? That Griswold was wrongly decided, and that therefore the state has the right to regulate the use of birth control by married couples?

If we had a decent press, the first question little Ricky would face at his next press availability would be - have you ever used any form of birth control of any kind?
Here's the transcript from CNN:
BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution?

SANTORUM: No -- well, not the right to privacy as created under Roe v. Wade and all...

BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution?

SANTORUM: I think there's a right to unreasonable -- to unreasonable search and seizure...

BROWN: For example, if you'd been a Supreme Court judge in Griswold versus Connecticut, the famous birth control case came up, which centered around whether there was a right to privacy. Do you believe that was correctly decided?

SANTORUM: No, I don't. I write about it in the book. I don't.

BROWN: The state of Connecticut had the right to ban birth control for a married couple.

SANTORUM: I think they were wrong. It was a bad law.

BROWN: But they had the right.

SANTORUM: They had the right. They had the right...

BROWN: Why would a conservative argue that government should interfere with that most personal decision?

SANTORUM: I didn't. I said it was a bad law. And...

BROWN: But they had the right to make.

SANTORUM: They had the right to make it. Look, legislatures have the right to make mistakes and do really stupid things...

BROWN: OK.

SANTORUM: ... but we don't have to create constitutional rights because we have a stupid legislature. And that's the problem here, is the court feels like they have a responsibility to right every wrong. When they do that, unlike a Congress, that if we make a really stupid mistake and we do something wrong, we go back next year or next month and change it, and we've done that. Courts don't do that. They only get cases that come before them and they have to make broad, sweeping decisions that have huge impact down the road.

That's what happened in Griswold. It was a bad law. The court felt, we can't let this bad law stand in place. It's wrong. It was. But they made a -- they created out of whole cloth a right that now has gone far, far from Griswold versus Connecticut.
There it is. For being such a polished politician, Rick is certainly less than crystal clear here. However there are a couple of things we can make out. It seems that Lil Ricky thinks there is a right to privacy in the Constitution - just not as it's described in Roe v Wade.
BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution?

SANTORUM: No -- well, not the right to privacy as created under Roe v. Wade and all...

BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution?

SANTORUM: I think there's a right to unreasonable -- to unreasonable search and seizure...
I'm guessing that last part's a stumble on Rick's part. Not even he would say that there's a right to an unreasonable search and seizure. So he believes in the Fourth Amendment (and that's a relief!) , but not in the right to privacy as outlined in Roe.

But then we get to Griswold v Connecticut. And here we get some more wisdom from Senator Man-on-Dog. First he says that Griswold was wrongly decided. Secondly that while the law that Griswold struck down was "a bad law," the State of Connecticut still had the right to ban contraception for married couples. According to Griswold, here's the Statute in question. It is section 53-32 of the General Statutes of Connect (1958 rev.):
Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned.
So while Rick thinks that's a bad law, he still thinks that the State of Connecticut had the right to make it. But it's the solution to the problem that Rick doesn't like.

Here's Santorum's contact info for his Pittsburgh Office:
100 West Station Square Drive
Landmarks Building, Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Main: 412-562-0533
Fax: 412-562-4313
And his e-mail form page. I will be checking in on the good Senator on this.

July 25, 2005

Holy Mother of God!

According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself. (Emphasis added.)


Is he kidding? Did the Big Jar of Mayonnaise get too clever by half in attempting to step around the issue?

What questions are left to rule upon? The Catholic Church doesn't just consider questions of birth control, abortion, homosexuality, the death penalty, unjust war, stem cell research, etc., but also issues of poverty, social justice, corporate responsibility as issues of morality.

And as a minor side thought:

Isn't he supposed to base decisions on the FREAKIN' CONSTITUION?!?

I may just need to go lay down with a cold rag on my head.

Don't forget kids: it's their reality -- we only have to live in it.

Ugh!

(Link to article here by way of here.)


Santorum is NOT a Presidential Candidate

At the tail end of today's on-line chat, something hugely quiet (quietly huge??) occurred. Take a look:
Harrisburg, Pa.: How come every politican acts coyly and says they are not going to run for President when everyone knows they'd like to? Why doesn't someone admit: yes, I aspire to the highest office of my profession, I have dedicated my career to preparing myself for the position, and I will be truthful, yes, I'd like to be President, and I'd like to be the best President I can be? I think the public would appreciate that honesty.

Senator Rick Santorum: Well, I will be honest with you. I have six children ages 4-14. And the idea of coming off a race of the intensity that I am engaged in at this point and turning around and running another two year campaign for president is not something that I believe is in the best interest of my family, which I say in the book, and I believe in my heart it's my principal responsibility. I can't speak for other politicians but I can speak for me, and my intention is not to run in 2008.
There it is, friends.

Senator Man-on-Dog does not intend to run in 2008. If he did and he won, would that make him President Man-on-Dog?

Senator Santorum evades a question

Over at the Washington Post today, our Junior Senator is taking part in an on-line chat. So far (it's 40 minutes or so into the thing) the questions have been more or less softballs. But Rick did get a toughie from Pasadena, CA.Pasadena, Calif.:
Senator Santorum, Given the rich religious diversity in the country, do you feel it appropriate for the federal government to legislate strictly Christian morality?

Senator Rick Santorum: I think it is important that we have a debate in this country about what's right and what's wrong, and that is reflected in our laws. To suggest that a Christian world view should not be brought to the public square and debated for its merits in addressing the problems that confront this country would be a restriction of religious freedom, just as saying a secular worldview should not be able to come to the public square with their answers for the problems that confront America. The founders believed in a vibrant debate in America where everyone's opinion would come into the halls of Congress through their elected representatives and they would decide what's in the best interests of America irrespective of whether they happened to agree with a particular faith. They were very insistent that people of faith should have the opportunity to express their worldview and influence the debate in this country. And I agree.
Take a careful look.

In his huge, wordy answer, Rick Santorum simply ignored the question. Remember the question was about whether it's appropriate for the government to impose a particular religious morality. And Rick answered with "the market place of ideas means that all ideas should be welcomed."

Nice try, Rick. But you avoided the question.

Pennsylvania Young Democrats Need Your Help



510 North
Third Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
412.983.7663

We Need YOUR HELP To Represent Pennsylvania!

From August 3-7, 2005, 1000 Young Democrats will convene in San Francisco for the Young Democrats of America 2005 National Convention. This convention provides an incredible opportunity for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At the convention, young activists will participate in campaign trainings and network with Young Democrats from across the country. While several Pennsylvania Young Democrats can afford to pay their own way to San Francisco, some of Pennsylvania's most politically engaged and
energetic young people need your help to attend.

In 2004, Pennsylvania was targeted by the Young Democrats of America. This status brought hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars into the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Pennsylvania through campaign invasions and the Young Voter Alliance. On election night, the impact was clear. While other age groups split between Bush and Kerry, young democrats carried the state for John Kerry by a whopping 32-percent margin!

A strong Pennsylvania delegation at the national convention is an important step in mustering even greater
resources for Pennsylvania in 2006. We must send a diverse delegation to the National Convention to help shape the 2006 agenda and ensure that Pennsylvania is again a target for campaign invasions and national contributions. The Convention is also a week-long opportunity to meet and learn from some of the top political organizers in the country. This training of our dedicated young Democratic leaders will also pay dividends in Pennsylvania for years to come.

Already, several of Pennsylvania's elected officials, county Democratic committees and private citizens have
pledged their support. We hope that you will join them. The Pennsylvania Young Democrats are the Party's foot soldiers, its up-and-coming leaders and its future. Please make an investment in the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania by making a check payable to:

Pennsylvania Young Democrats
225 Main
Street
McSherrystown, PA 17344

Thank you in advance
for your support.
Very truly yours,

The Pennsylvania Young Democrats Executive Committee


Not authorized by any candidate or their committee.
Paid for by the Pennsylvania Young Democrats, Labor Donated/In House.
____________________________________

You can also donate online with a credit card or PayPal here.

Or become a sustaining supporter
here.

The heads up on this came via Freedom's Gate.

Blog Whoring

Read us and have a blog of your own? Put a link to your blog in this comments section and let everyone see what YOU have to say!

It's not the crime, it's the cover up

Well actually, we here at 2 Political Junkies think that outing a covert CIA operative *is* a pretty big crime, say, in comparison to uncovering the actions of a Presidential Penis (where it looked like Clinton had not learned any lessons from how Nixon handled his scandals).

It has now come out that in the Plame investigation, this White House had an entire weekend to, um, tidy things up if they so desired.

Here's another old Watergate chestnut to keep in mind as TreasonGate rages on:

What did the President know and and when did he know it?

"rape and murder"

"I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.” They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.

"...scenes of 'rape and murder.'"

No, we're not talking about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

These are quotes by Rumsfeld and a Republican Senator who viewed 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend.

A federal judge had ordered the release of the material by Saturday in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union

Seymour Hersh has commented the following on the tapes:

In the same period, reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention: “Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok? Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men….The women were passing messages saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what's happened.’

“Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.”
Sodomizing children.

But don't forget the wingnuts favorite line about Abu Ghraib:
There was no torture -- it was nothing more than the kind of hijinks, shenanigans, and tom-foolery that you'd find at a frat initiation.

And besides, how can our Congress get too excited at the real violence and toruture when there's fake violence to be had in video games?

My Interview with Jon Delano

Next in a series of interviews with members of the Pittsburgh political scene.

At Starbucks, the decaf will run you about a buck and a half. At the Pittsburgh Hilton, it goes for a whopping $3.75. At the Starbucks when I interviewed him, John McIntire dressed as we used to say back east “cazh” (it’s short for “casual”). At the Hilton, Jon Delano arrived in a smart suit and tie, briefcase in hand, his hair neatly (though not obessively) combed. McIntire and Delano certainly project quite differently. Heck, they don’t even spell their first names the same way.

One more thing - it was sunny when I interviewed McIntire and cloudy when I interviewed Delano.

Recently Jon Delano and I sat in a corner table at the restaurant at the Pittsburgh Hilton discussing the blogosphere, politics, and political journalism. I had a barely toasted bagel and the aforementioned way-too-expensive decaf. Delano had an English muffin.

Delano’s bio’s quite impressive. Work in DC for more than a dozen years, political analysis first at WTAE and then at KDKA where he covered both parties’ political conventions going back to ’96. He writes a column for the Pittsburgh Business Times and an on-line newsletter called “PSF” (for his “Politically Savvy Friends”) You can probably guess the rest - Phi Beta Kappa, a law degree, active in the community, blah-blah-blah. The man’s quite a success. In spite of all that, I still enjoyed talking to him.

Given his far more traditional political career (certainly far more than mine) and given that the blogosphere is a strange strange creature, I asked Delano what he thought of it. He’s been working in politics longer than most of you have been alive, so he had to have some sort of opinion on it.

This was the word he used: developing. The blogosphere is still developing, he said. It’s not got a lot of influence on how the news is collected or presented – and not much yet at the local level (We’re working on it, Jon. Give us some time.) Though he added the blogosphere does have a great deal of influence in the echo chamber that is talk radio and the world of political punditry (We’re working on that, too.)

The main problem inherent in the system is due to the fact that bloggers are free to write whatever they want – that there’s no test for truth. In mainstream journalism, however, assertions need to be checked and double checked for accuracy. A journalist, he said, would say, “I want to know it to be true.”

It’s much easier for a false rumor to spread through the blogosphere than in non-pundit areas of discourse in the mainstream news media. He tends to picture bloggers as people sharing/exchanging information.

He describes himself as a political moderate. When I pointed out how rare a species that is nowadays, he with slight chuckle and broad smile agreed. With all the pressure to be extreme (or to run to the extreme), moderation while probably far more representative of the greater chunk of the American public is an increasingly difficult political position to maintain. Delano asserted that there really is a middle ground and that “public policy is better as a compromise.”

He added that most people aren’t interested in politics, unfortunately. The non-political drains on their time (family, work, for two examples) leave little room for most people to debate the issues of the day. Add to that a general sense that most people feel that they can’t make much of a difference – they feel that the process is controlled by so few that an individual can’t have much of an impact and you’ve got a citizenry that’s far removed from the day-to-day political machinery of its society.

Although he did point out some recent growths in the grass roots – in the Christian Evangelical movement on the right and the emergence of the supporters of Howard Dean on the left.

We turned to some recent news.

John Roberts is probably about to undergo the most extreme scrutiny of any Supreme Court nominee, he said. It’s way too early to make any sort of assessment on how it would go or what the court will look like once the whole process is over. Although the spin from the White House has already begun: Roberts is the wisest of judges next to Moses – so much so that he should be subject to no criticism of any kind in the appointment process. Everyone is digging into this guy - the media, the interest groups and, of course, the bloggers.

“Bush has gotten himself into a jam,” Delano pointed out. “There’s no doubt that Rove talked to reporters. The question is how much he was doing on his own and how much he was doing with Bush as an accomplice.” He added that the public perception is clear that Bush did change his stance on his firing criteria.

Inspite of the Pittsburgh grey weather and the overpriced coffee, it was a good conversation.

My previous interviews:

John McIntire
Tony Norman

July 22, 2005

Deep Doodoo

Looks like the Miserable Failure's White House is neck deep in it. Guess nominating that Big Jar of Mayonnaise for SCOTUS isn't taking the heat off Traitorgate like they thought it would:

1. Rove and Libby Lie to Special Prosecutor?

Bloomberg News:

Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to people familiar with the case.

Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.

These discrepancies may be important because Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a covert intelligence agent.
2. Possible Conspiracy Between Libby and Rove (and who knows who else)?

New York Times:

At the same time in July 2003 that a C.I.A. operative's identity was exposed, two key White House officials who talked to journalists about the officer were also working closely together on a related underlying issue: whether President Bush was correct in suggesting earlier that year that Iraq had been trying to acquire nuclear materials from Africa.

[snip]

They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.

At the same time, they were grappling with the fallout from an Op-Ed article on July 6, 2003, in The New York Times by Mr. Wilson, a former diplomat, in which he criticized the way the administration had used intelligence to support the claim in Mr. Bush's speech.

[snip}

The effort was particularly striking because to an unusual degree, the circle of administration officials involved included those from the White House's political and national security operations, which are often separately run. Both arms were drawn into the effort to defend the administration during the period.

In another indication of how wide a net investigators have cast in the case, Karen Hughes, a former top communications aide to Mr. Bush, and Robert Joseph, who was then the National Security Council's weapons proliferation expert, have both told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that they were interviewed by the special prosecutor.
3. Ari Fliescher Lies to Grand Jury?

New York Times:

Among those asked if he had seen the memo was Ari Fleischer, then the White House press secretary, who was on Air Force One with Mr. Bush and Mr. Powell during the Africa trip right after Mr. Wilson's article appeared. Mr. Fleischer told the grand jury that he never saw the memo, a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury.

But according to Bloomberg:

On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.
4. Memo Taken to Africa Trip by Bush Naming Wilson's Wife Was Marked "Top Secret."

Daily Kos (and I heard this myself on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night):

Olberman reporting that there will be a piece in WSJ tommorow stating that the Memo was marked "Top Secret", and that it was not to be shared with other nation's intellegence agencies, no matter how how friendly.
5. Waxman to Co-Chair Hearings Today with Ex CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency Officials on How Leak Negatively Impacted Our Intelligence Network.

Rep. Waxman at Daily Kos:

First, I want to iterate a point that I hope we can all keep in mind: the leak of Ms. Wilson's identity is a serious national security breach. There is no reason that the President should wait until someone on his staff is criminally convicted before he clamps down, isolates the leaks, and works to remediate the damage that has been caused. The President's first priority should be to protect the security of this country, not to engage in political damage control. That is his responsibility as President and Commander-in-Chief.

[snip]

As I mentioned, I will be co-chairing a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 10 am tomorrow that will hear testimony from four former CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency officials. (More details available here [.pdf]. The hearing may be shown on C-SPAN and video will be available after it is concluded.) Joining seven of their colleagues, these former intelligence officials issued an open statement (.pdf) to Congress this week concluding that the coordinated strategy to discredit Ms. Wilson "reveals an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover." Those are extremely strong words. I urge you to read their full statement, if you haven't yet already.

Among the questions I will have for these witnesses is how a breach like this impacts an agent's network of contacts in real terms. I also want to know their thoughts as intelligence officials on the White House actions to date.

Must Watch TV! Santorum to Appear on Daily Show!

Lil Ricky Santorum is scheduled to appear on the Daily Show on Monday.

We can only hope that Stewart really reams Santorum out. :-)

How Philadelphia Sees Senator Santorum

You have to check out this column by Ronnie Polaneczky (registration required). Polaneczky has some serious problems with Senator Santorum's hypocrisy.

For example, he writes:

Here's what Santorum wrote about giving financial aid to poor single moms:

"The classic example of the failure of liberal social and economic policy is the Great Society welfare programs... . Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC), as welfare was known until 1996, put government in the role of family breadwinner."

Clearly, Rick has a problem with paying moms to have babies, and frankly, I do too.

But here's what he wrote regarding his demand that government increase the child credit and tax deduction for parents with kids: "The government actually provides less help the more children you have. The opposite should be true, and I am working on some amendments to fix this inequity for large families. (OK, I admit that with six kids of my own at home, I'm biased; but the tax code really has it in for big families.)"

What I suspect he's really saying: An out-of-work mom with more kids than she can afford doesn't deserve the government's help. But a middle-class senator with more kids than he can afford sure does!

Where he sometimes gets help instead: Santorum told the New York Times that his parents help him out financially. "They're by no means wealthy - they're two retired VA [Veterans Administration] employees - but they'll send a check every now and then. They realize things are a little tighter for us."

Except that he makes $162,000 a year. I'll bet a welfare mom of six kids could live very well on that, so why is a 47-year-old man hitting up his elderly parents for cash? Or asking for tax breaks?

But at least his folks have the money to lend him. That's because both his parents receive pensions. Why? Santorum grew up in a two-career family - a kind of family he deplores in his book as being obsessed with giving their kids "things" instead of time!

"Children of two parents who are working don't need more things. They need more us!" he writes in his book.

It's a good read. Go get the whole thing.

July 21, 2005

A Letter to the Editor in today's P-G

While we normally don't reprint letters to the editor here at 2PJ, we decided to bend that rule today to reprint one. It can be found here.
=====
Not moral messages
As a teacher for the Diocese of Pittsburgh for 14 years, one important lesson I learned was that no matter what I said to the child, whatever the parents said superseded my message. What parents say and how they live sends a message stronger than any teacher's voice no matter what the issue.

Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife have taught their children a powerful lesson on civic responsibility by refusing to pay any tuition money to the Penn Hills School District for their children who attended the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School ("Penn
Hills Loses Bid to Charge Santorum,"
July 12). Released from that payment on a technicality shows that even an upstanding, moral gentleman like Sen. Santorum teaches his children the following lessons:

1) Take advantage of the system whenever you can.

2) The little guy pays while the rich and powerful guy gets away with it.

3) As a Catholic, you have no obligation to pay your share to the common good in spite of Catholic social doctrine.

Finally, I am shocked that our religious leaders who see Sen. Santorum as some sort of faith-and-morals hero have not spoken up on this issue at all.

SISTER LIGUORI ROSSNER
Sisters for Christian Community
Bloomfield
=====
'Nuff said.

Why?

Question:

Why should I get my panties all in a twist because Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is likely an anti-choicer who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade when the Democratic party leaders are all telling me to support a known anti-choicer for senator of Pennsylvania (Bob Casey) who says he would sign a law to outlaw abortion if it one ever came across his deak?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Something else we women shouldn't worry our pretty little heads over:

(From Population Connection)

Is the U.S. House of Representatives Opposed to Contraception?

Evidence of a right wing attack on birth control continues to mount. Yesterday, the House, by a narrow margin, voted to eliminate contraception as a component of programs to prevent the occurrence of obstetric fistula - a devastating injury that has lifelong consequences for women.

Fistula is most common among younger women whose bodies have not fully developed and also threatens women who have too many pregnancies or pregnancies spaced too closely together. Providing birth control is one of the best ways to help women delay or prevent these high-risk pregnancies.

The bill the House considered yesterday, H.R. 2601, the Foreign Relations Authorization bill, created a new program dedicated to fistula prevention and treatment and contained a provision authored by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) to ensure the programs funded made birth control available. But, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), one of the most outspoken foes of contraceptives in Congress, offered an amendment, that was adopted 223-205, to strip contraceptives from the list of prevention measures included in new legislation. A change of only nine votes would have changed the outcome of the vote.

109th Congress: Contraception Access

On Agreeing to the Smith Amendment to State Department Reauthorization Bill
07/19/2005
House Roll Call No. 389
109th Congress, 1st Session

Agreed to: 223-205


How the U.S. House from Pennsylvania voted:

• Rep. Robert Brady (D-1) N

• Rep. Charles Dent (R-15) N

• Rep. Mike Doyle (D-14) N

• Rep. Philip English (R-3) Y

• Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-2) N

• Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8) Y

• Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6) N

• Rep. Melissa Hart (R-4) Y

• Rep. Tim Holden (D-17) Y

• Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-11) N

• Rep. Timothy Murphy (R-18) Y

• Rep. John Murtha (D-12) Y

• Rep. John Peterson (R-5) Y

• Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-16) Y

• Rep. Todd Platts (R-19) Y

• Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13) N

• Rep. Don Sherwood (R-10) Y

• Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9) Y

• Rep. Curt Weldon (R-7) Y

July 19, 2005

If this is true...

Murray Waas over at The American Prospect is saying:
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
Read the rest.

If it's true, then the Republicans will finally have a real perjurer on their hands.

Remember, it's not about the leaking, it's about the lying.

Who is Edith Clement?

Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit will announce his pick for Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement tonight at 9 PM. Rumor has it that it's Edith Clement. Some info on her here.

Sen. NAMBLA (R-VA)

Just when you think Lil Ricky Santorum can't top the last outrageous thing he's said, he says something even more batshit crazy (or craven). Actually, the brain fart from Ricky of which I speak is not that recent. It's only recently come to my attention via the Santorum Exposed site (by way of Atrios).

Last Wednesday, 2 Political Junkies blogged about Sen. Man-On-Dog's 2002 statements that blamed the actions of pedophile priests on Boston's "liberal" atmosphere.

Now we find out that when an AP reporter asked Santorum in 2003 to clarify those remarks he had the following to say:

"In this case, what we're talking about, basically, is priests who were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We're not talking about priests with 3-year-olds, or 5-year-olds. We're talking about a basic homosexual relationship. Which, again, according to the world view sense is a perfectly fine relationship as long as it's consensual between people. If you view the world that way, and you say that's fine, you would assume that you would see more of it."
That's right, Sen. NAMBLA is saying that if you're a boy, say, age 13 or older and you were sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the Boston area, it was likely consensual sex because as long as these children were post-pubescent; they were "men." Anyone out there with a 13 year old that would like to dispute that? Massachusetts law certainly has something to say about the age of consent. I will provide the Senator with the information:

Chapter 265: Section 23 Rape and abuse of child Section 23. Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding.
But does a good Catholic family man even need to go to the law? Does not a good Catholic family man know that a priest -- someone who according to Catholic Catechism acts "in persona Christi Capitis" -- is more than just a trusted authority figure? That a priest is during transubstantiation (the act of turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) the "image of Christ" apparently does not confer any special responsibility or culpability when regarding a child as a sexual object. According to Dear Ricky, the child has equal responsibility as long as it's "consensual" which, again, Sen. NAMBLA seems to believe is a possibility between a child and an adult (priest).

Moreover, he cavalierly dismisses the fact that there were male children molested in the United States since 1950 who were between the ages of 1 and 7 (2.4%); that 11.8% were boys between the ages of 8 and 10; and that a whopping 51.2% of the boys who were molested were on the cusp of post-pubescence (ages 11 - 14). And, of course to prove his point that these were consensual gay "relationships," Santorum must blind himself to the fact that 19% of all the children molested were girls.

Ricky must also blind himself to the fact that since girls are highly discouraged -- and for most of the time under consideration outright banned -- from serving at the altar, priests have far more access to little boys than to little girls.

But why go into all this detail? Don't most good Catholic family men naturally recoil in horror at the thought of a priest sexually molesting a child without any need to go into stats and verse and chapter of the law?

What is wrong with Sen. Santorum that when faced with his own bizarre statements that Liberals caused priests to be pedophiles he has to go into full Blame The Victim Mode?

Just how sick and twisted is this man? Does he really believe the views he spouts or is just willing to cause further pain to the survivors in an attempt to cast aspersions on liberals?

Does it matter?

July 18, 2005

My Interview with Tony Norman

Second in a series of interviews with local progressive Pittsburghers.

Tony Norman

A day after chatting with the tanned and sun-glassed John McIntire of KDKA Radio, I found myself sitting in the same Starbucks (though at a different table) sipping on another mug of decaf and interviewing another voice on Pittsburgh’s political left – Tony Norman. Tony had the orange juice, I think.

For the two or three people who don’t already know it, Tony’s on the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He also writes a couple of columns per week there as well.

We started our conversation with the Post-Gazette in particular and the news media in general. With so many conservatives railing almost constantly about the media’s “liberal bias” I felt compelled to ask about it. I figured that since he’s a liberal and in the media, if there’s a secret handshake, he’s sure to know about it. I know I’m just a blogger, but I was hoping if there were a secret handshake, he’d show me.

I have to report, he didn’t offer to show me any secret handshake - which either means that there’s isn’t one or if there is, it’s way above my pay level. Bummer.

Tony waxed psychological on the bias of the media. The whole thing, he said, revolves around the Right’s instinct for acting out of a siege mentality – it’s an effort to galvanize one’s own troops against an opponent by portraying that opponent as seemingly more powerful. The Gingrich revolution a decade ago did roughly the same thing - roughly.

When one considers that two of the three branches of government are in the hands of the conservatives (with the judiciary not far behind) and that the owners of major media are themselves conservative, the whole notion that the Left is more powerful than the Right is simply specious. It’s “more of a pose than an existential dread,” he said. They’re fulfilling an emotional need to identify with an insurgent movement.

Locally, he says that the P-G was “doing its damnest” to be perceived as moderate, Indeed the editorial board is liberal on social issues but moderate to conservative on economic ones. While the ideal of straight objectivity may be impossible to achieve, the paper’s working to actively strain any reporter’s opinions out of the news. Tony even told me how David Shribman, the editor in chief over there doesn’t even read the editorial page – there’s a “firewall” of sorts between the news and opinion sections.

But what about his column? Because of the web, he says he’s constantly bombarded with e-mail from all over the world – so much that if he tried to answer each one, he’d never get any other work done. He gets lots of responses from people churned up by his pieces on the Bush administration. And when he writes about race, he’s sure to hear from Pittsburghers (both pro and con – though mostly con). He figures he gets a handful of “snail mail” letters and a couple hundred e-mails per week. The curious thing is that the snail mail letters tend to be in the “get sick and die” category. While the e-mail is mostly positive.

On our current political situation, Tony’s less than enthusiastic. Whatever the next Supreme Court will bring, it’s sure to be bad for America. A court farther to the right than the previous one, nominated by partisans intent on dissolving decades of civil liberties can’t be good news. And what does it say about all the prospective appointees when the man who signed off on those by now infamous “torture memos” is the moderate of the bunch?

It’s a government, he said, run by right wing extremists who are clamping down on a free media, and which denies responsibility for anything that goes wrong. I can’t say I disagree with the Tone-man.

But I had to pin him down on the real important issue. What does Tony Norman, Columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette think about blogs and the blogosphere? Fortunately, he likes us. He likes the nimble and quick responsiveness of the blogosphere. By being hardnosed about digging up the facts, bloggers are in a way closer to what journalism was originally all about.

BREAKING NEWS: Penn Hills School District will appeal Santorum cyber-school recommendation

We hear that the Penn Hills School District will appeal the Hearing Officer's recommendation to dismiss the Santorum cyber-school tuition dispute. Tune into your local station's noon news to hear them "break" this story.

Good Reading

If you missed Jonathan Potts' piece on downtown development in the Trib last week run over there and read it now. What he has to say couldn't make more sense, but sadly runs counter to the misguided direction that the city continues to take. His blog "The Conversation" is also a good reliable read.

House Party for Pennacchio

Tanya Bennitt House Party

Sunday, July 24, 2005:
Tanya Bennitt would like to invite supporters of Chuck and those who wish to learn more about PA's best choice for U.S. Senate to a house party. Alcohol and snacks will be there, so just bring yourselves and your checkbooks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Event Schedule & Details:
Sunday, July 24th - 5 PM - 7 PM
Location: 1 Pius St. A2 Pittsburgh, PA (South Side)

RSVP: tanya_bennitt@hotmail.com

http://www.chuck2006.com/eventsDetail.asp?id=108

July 15, 2005

Do Not Let This Man Have Sex!!!

We certainly hope that Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-VA) Communications Director does not have sex as that would be wrong. It seems that he is an out gay man, but his boss believes that gays and lesbians do not have any legal right to have gay and lesbian sex:

In an interview with the Associated Press, the Senator suggested that the government has the right to prohibit gay and lesbian individuals from expressing love for each other physically. "The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that," said the Senator, "I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society."

Full Story Here.
We highly recommend that Sen. Santorum immediately start an undercover investigation on his Communications Director to catch him in the act. That way, he could have evidence of gay sexual acts being performed in case the Senator's fondest wish comes true and those acts someday become illegal again.

This is an important job and Sen. Santorum should not leave it to a subordinate or third party. We respectfully request that he conduct a sting operation himself.

2 Political Junkies will be happy to aid the Senator by publishing any video of the sting that he captures here on our blog.

We consider it our sacred duty to do anything possible to help our courageous Senator in his efforts to stop the terrible menace of gay and lesbian sex!

___________________________________________
PHOTO SIMULATION OF UNDERCOVER STING OPERATION:


July 13, 2005

Rick Santorum, Sexologist

He can't stop. Rick Santorum just can't stop making an utter fool out of himself.

A few years ago he had this to say about the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. (Rick is himself a practicing Catholic.):
It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.
And in the Boston Globe a few days ago, there's this. He's defending his characterization of Boston as the "center of the storm" of sexual abuse.:
Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston's ''liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's ''sexual license" and ''sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.

''The basic liberal attitude in that area . . . has an impact on people's behavior," Santorum said in an interview yesterday at the Capitol.

''If you have a world view that I'm describing [about Boston]. . . that affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way," Santorum said.
And so what Senator Man-on-dog is saying is that the perpetrators of the sexual abuse are not completely to blame for their crimes. It's Boston's "liberal" social attitudes!

There's moer take a look at this:
A 2003 investigation by Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly found that at least 1,000 children were abused by more than 235 priests and church workers between 1940 and 2000. The archdiocese has paid out more than $120 million to settle abuse claims since 1950.

Reilly, a Democrat, also criticized Santorum. "For him to equate liberalism with child abuse is disgraceful. It's embarrassing for him and embarrassing to his party and his party should disown him," he said.
No wonder he's still lagging in the polls.

Embarrassment all around.

July 12, 2005

Howard Dean: Come see him and judge for yourself

Mean, scary, CRAZY man...savior of the Democratic Party...or just someone who speaks the unvarnished truth? He speaks, you decide:

Please join

Governor Howard Dean
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Tuesday, July 19th
5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Church Brew Works
3525 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15201


Only $25


Click below to RSVP:

http://www.democrats.org/events/pittsburgh

For more information, please contact Melanie Wong at (202) 863-8000 or wongm@dnc.org.


________________________________________________________

NOTE: If you missed Howard at Church Brew Works in the Fall, you missed a positively electric evening. Don't miss this one!

Why Bush Cannot Fire Karl Rove (Illustrated!)

Background:

During a White House Press Briefing on September 30, 2003 President Bush said the following in response to a question regarding the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, "... if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of." When asked at a post G-8 Summit News Conference on June 10, 2004 if he stood by his statement that he would fire whoever was responsible for the leak, Bush said, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."

At the Dedication Ceremony for the George Bush Center for Intelligence on April 26, 1999, former President George Herbert Walker Bush stated, "Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."
A Newsweek article has now disclosed the first documentary evidence showing that Rove revealed that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper.

Once this fact emerged, President Bush knew what he had to do:

FIRE KARL ROVE!


(The path from the Oval Office to Karl Rove's office)


President Bush heads down the halls of the West Wing with
Barney (for moral support) to go to Karl Rove's office and fire
him as promised.


But along the way, he accidentally drops Barney in front of a
group of ballplayers who happen to be passing by for a photo
op with Mrs. Bush. The girls are horrified and Bush must
retreat to have Barney checked over by the official White
House vet.


Bush decides for his second attempt to fire Rove that speed's
the answer and he sets off on his bike.


But this time it's Bush who falls down and goes boom.
Covered in boo-boos, he must retreat again to be treated
by the official White House vet...errr...doctor.


Still determined to keep his word and fire the leaker,
Bush decides maybe a high tech approach is best.
He heads out on his Segway.


Yet again, gravity thwarts our President from his mission
to keep his sacred honor.


Having tried three times unsuccessfully to fire Rove,
Bush takes his failure as a sign that Karl Rove must stay.
"Fuck it. This is hard work. Turd Blossom can stay,"
declares President Bush.


And once again Karl Rove is safe to roam the halls of the
West Wing and thumb his nose at the American people.

July 11, 2005

My Interview with John McIntire

First in a series of interview with local progressive Pittsburghers.

Looking rested and relaxed and arriving 5 minutes early in Bermuda shorts, flip-flops and a busy (though oddly quiet) summer shirt, John McIntire ordered an overpriced frothy coffee drink and joined me at a table in the corner of Market Square at the Starbucks. I had decaf.

First the good news.

John McInitire’s back on the air in Pittsburgh. This time he’s on KDKA on Saturday nights. He said the show, called “Life Lounge,” would create an atmosphere of a “high class groovy lounge” with interesting music where people could sit around and discuss life, culture and politics. It’s still “talk radio” but with some extra music to set the mood.

One added feature of the program are the music parodies. I heard some Michael Jackson parodies a few weeks ago. I’d wondered aloud where the music came from. Infinity Broadcasting (the station's owners) subscribe to a service where McIntire can pick and choose which song parodies (if any) to use.

For the summer the show goes on after the Pirate games and once the baseball season has ended (and we’re all hoping the Pirates can make it to at least a few games above .500 ball this season) the show will be 5 hours every Saturday. That’s five full hours of groovy lounge music on a Saturday night and five full hours of John McIntire every week. The republican red parts of this mostly blue-state city must be really really annoyed.

McIntire himself joked that it was somewhat of a “full circle” sort of thing. He began in radio in 1978 playing Sinatra and other “groovy” lounge music.

How can one categorize McIntire’s liberalism? It’s pretty straight-forward. He reads Krugman and Dowd and E. J. Dionne. Then there’s The Nation and Katrina van den Heuvel.

Pretty straight forward, but for Pittsburgh, of course, it’s radical - borderline treasonous. Online he sifts through the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos and Mediamatters.org. He did confess to peeking in on Matt Drudge every now and then. Me too. But I never respect myself afterwards.

On current events:

McIntire posed an interesting question when discussing the current administration. Now that polls show that most everyone “gets” that Bush is incompetent, “where were all these geniuses in November?” It’s too late to do anything about it now.

On the coming Supreme Court fights, he’s hoping that Arlen Specter will be able to screen out some of the more nuttier Bush appointees. On Alberto Gonzales, he figures that maybe Bush thinks that if he’s “pissing off both sides, then he’s gotta be doing something right.”

On the Commonwealth’s junior Senator, he’s betting everyone he knows that Santorum’s gonna loose. That he’s done too much damage to his reputation – the Hitler quote, the Homestead Tax Exemption, the Cyberschool thing, and now the book. The only downside is Santorum's prospective opponent, Bob Casey. Of whom John McIntire said, "Casey is so boring that watching paint dry is orgasmic in comparision."

In any event McIntire anticipates the second Bush administration scandal that's surely to arrive soon. Whether it's Rove or Iraq or something completely different, it's sure to be great fun!

There was something I DIDN'T know about McIntire. Here's the news coverage of the story. recently Al Franken was given a "Freedom of Speech" award at a talkers convention in NYC. There was a miscommunication as to how long Franken was supposed to speak and he went over the time alloted. So the mostly right-wing audience started to grumble and there were calls for Franken to end his speech.

Then someone in the crowd yelled out, "What is this, the Freedom of Speech Award or the Shut-the-Fuck-Up Award?”

That person was none other than Pixburgh's own John McIntire. Read his take on it here. I interrupted the interview to shake his hand for that.

All in all a good 45 minutes for me.

BREAKING NEWS: Hearing officer recommends dismissal of Santorum tuition dispute

From PennLive.com:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A hearing officer has sided with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in a dispute over whether a Pennsylvania school district can get back tax money it paid for Santorum's children to attend an Internet-based charter school while living in Virginia.

In an opinion released Monday, the officer recommended that the state education secretary dismiss the Penn Hills School District's request for a refund, because the district did not file its objections in a timely manner, (emphasis mine) Education Department spokesman Brian Christopher said.

[snip]

The state education secretary will make a final ruling on the hearing officer's recommendation by mid-August at the earliest, Christopher said.

The school district has 30 days to file an appeal.

As the article demonstrates, this case does not seem to have been decided on the merits of the charge but on the timeliness of the charge.

Santorum's reaction? As to be expected, he's claiming victory based on the merits:

Santorum on Monday called the allegations "baseless and politically motivated."

"Coincidentally, it wasn't until it was time for my re-election campaign did these questions about our children's education arise, and it was even less of a coincidence that these allegations originated from the Democrat chair of Penn Hills," he said.
He declined to answer any questions following his statement.

July 8, 2005

FOX NEWS: Fair and Balanced and Compassionate:

I intended to blog yesterday on the attack on London but didn't have time to say everything that I wanted to say. Hopefully, I'll have more time later today. In the meantime, I had gathered a few completely over-the-top, batshit crazy statements made on the FOX News channel, but I see that MyDD has compiled a more complete list that bears repeating:

I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." - Brit Hume

And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened. - Brian Kilmeade

So it would have been a treat, actually, to watch the French dealing with the problem of their own homegrown Islamist terrorists living in France already. - John Gibson (the day before the attack)

This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics -- let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while. - John Gibson (the day of the attack)

That these people are, If necessary, prepared to spill Arab blood in addition to the blood of regular -- of nonarab people living in London. - ? voiceover

July 6, 2005

Senator Santorum, Author

Well it seems that our very own jr. Senator, Rick Santorum, is getting some press for his recent addition to the Nation's collective bookshelf - a 400 pager entitled "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good."

Maeve Reston, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this piece on it.

However (as of July 6 at 1:22pm), there's nothing on the Tribune Review website about it. Too bad, I would love to see what they think of Rick's moralizing tome.

Reston wrote:
Many early conversations about the book yesterday on the Internet centered on a section in which Santorum advocates parents spending more time at home with their children -- part of the book's central theme that fostering the traditional family headed by a married man and woman can solve many of society's ills.

"In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don't both need to," Santorum writes.

Many women, he adds, have told him that it is more "socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children."
That ideology, he says, has been shaped by feminists who demean the work of women who stay at home as primary caregivers.

"What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else -- or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon -- find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism," Santorum writes.

"Sadly the propaganda campaign launched in the 1960s has taken root," said Santorum. "The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness."
I haven't seen the book, but Santorum (a father of 6 who pulls down about $145,000 a year) is pointing out that he feels that families with young children might need to be more honest with themselves if they think that they need to have both parents working.

There are usual slams at "radical feminism" and the "propaganda campaign of the 1960s" to round out the quotations. I do like Rick's assessment that "radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family."

Let's remember what the "traditional family" was like before the "propaganda" of the 1960s. There was little question as to the limited set roles of allocated (by "tradition") for women in this society. With few exceptions, a woman was to stay at home and cook and clean and raise the children - and futhermore, she was to like the fact that she was doing it.

The "success" of feminism (radical or otherwise) in the US 50 years ago was, it seems to me, to undermine the "predetermined-ness of "traditional" gender roles . If, after all is said and done a woman wants embrace those roles, then no one can question that decision, of course. But to limit half the population to a small set of life choices, all in the name of "tradition" seems, well, rather demeaning all around.

And that's probably what scares the bejesus out of our lil Ricky. It's not about the "professional accomplishments don't equal happiness" line, for if that were the case, then where is our jr Senator during any discussions of American entreprenurship? If he's warning us that "professional accomplishments don't lead to happiness" then why encourage anyone with that particular carrot?

Unless, of course, there's a difference set of rules for men.

Elsewhere in the book, Rick's compares abortion to slavery:
But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave.
And questioned the value of a college education:
The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GED's move up the economic ladder is just wrong.
But he has given us a wonderful gift:
"You see, all politicians know that when you engage in any traditional values issue, especially abortion, the news media immediately labels you ... Adjectives like intolerant, rigid, far-right, mean-spirited, extreme, hard-line and zealous will routinely be used to describe you," Santorum said.
Fine by me. Rick Santorum - an intolerant, rigid, far-right, mean-spirited, extreme, hard-line zealot.

Hey it fits, doesn't it?

Saving Private Ryan (Second Try)

I posted this over the weekend, but it got lost in the aether somehow. Here it is again, with some minor tweaking.

I'm watching Saving Private Ryan right now.

First off, I had no idea Vin Diesel was in it. Good for him.

Secondly, I feel the need to weigh in on the main question of the movie. Private Rieben (Ed Burns) raises it when he asks:
You want to explain the math of this to me? I mean, where's the sense in risking the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?
And later in the movie Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) says this of Private Ryan (Matt Damon):
He better be worth it. He better go home and cure a disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb.
And finally, late in the movie, Miller says to Private Ryan:
Earn this... earn it.
I can't speak for anyone else, but to me if we view the movie not only as a historical recreation but as a metaphor - a metaphor of duty and sacrifice - we have to see that in a sense we are Private Ryan.

Let me be more specific on it. The servicemen who died in that war sacrificed themselves not just for Private Ryan, but in a larger sense for us as well. They died for their country and they died for their country's future. They died so that we can (maybe) cure a disease or invent a longer lasting light bulb or something.

It is our duty and reponsibility to earn that sacrifice - to make America a place worthy of that sacrifice.

This country was built on the ideal that it was instituted to secure for its citizens those unalienable and self-evident rights Jefferson wrote so eloquently about. The Preamble to the Constitution says that a "more perfect Union" was set-up to (among other things) "establish justice" and "secure the Blessings of Liberty" for all Americans. Lincoln elegantly referred to it as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Again, I can't speak for anyone else but it seems to me that an American Patriot will work hard to make sure the United States Government lives up to those ideals.

Sad to say but this current administration hasn't even begun to live up to those ideals.

I hope everyone had a good Independence Day.

July 5, 2005

THE BEST BOOK EVER!***

***Whose title is "It Takes a Family : Conservatism and the Common Good" and was written by Sen. Man on Dog.

Run! Do not walk to your local bookstore and purchase a copy of "It Takes a Family : Conservatism and the Common Good" by Rick Santorum. If your local bookstore does not carry it: ask them why they are atheist commie bastards -- ask them why they hate America.

With gems like these (courtesy of CapitolBuzz) it will undoubtedly become a classic of its kind:

"In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them really don’t need to, or at least may not need to work as much as they do… And for some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home." (It Takes a Family, 94)

"Many women have told me, and surveys have shown, that they find it easier, more “professionally” gratifying, and certainly more socially affirming, to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children. Think about that for a moment…Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism, one of the core philosophies of the village elders." (It Takes a Family, 95)

"The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong." (It Takes a Family, 138)

"By asking the right question, we can see that when it comes to socialization, mass education is really the aberration, not homeschooling. Never before in human history have a majority of children spent at least half their waking hours in the presence of 25 to 35 unrelated children of exactly the same age (and usually the same socio-economic status), with only one adult to keep order and provide basic mentoring. Never before and never again after their years of mass education will any person live and work in such a radically narrow, age-segregated environment. It’s amazing that so many kids turn out to be fairly normal, considering the weird socialization they get in public schools." (It Takes a Family, 386)

If those quotes aren't enough to make you beg, borrow or steal to purchase it, how about these glowing reviews?

“I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Senator Rick Santorum personally over the past several years, and he has impressed me time and again with his integrity, vision and unwavering commitment to the principles and beliefs upon which the United States was founded. Senator Santorum is one of the stalwart defenders of human life and the pro-family cause, and his leadership within the halls of government has been invaluable to our nation and its people."
—James C. Dobson, Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family, Advocator of beating on the brats! Review found here.

“In this era of adult self-centered behavior, minimally concerned with the well-being of children, this book is a welcome response. I am amazed at the depth and breadth of information, wisdom, and sensitivity. This is the book that will soften people’s hearts to the blessing of commitment to family values.”
—Dr. Laura C. Schlessinger, Internationally Syndicated Radio Talk Host, Author of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Her long feud with her own mother helped led to the woman being dead in her apartment for three months before she was discovered! Review found here.

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
Thank you from a grateful constituent!, July 5, 2005
Reviewer:
"Maria in Pgh" (Pittsburgh, PA)
Being from Pennsylvania. I've always been proud to have Rick Santorum as my senator. :-) After reading his book, I am even prouder and more well informed. I now know that as a single woman, if I should ever have a child, a college education will not help me move up the economic ladder (pg. 138) and that if I ever become married (to a good HETEROSEXUAL) and have children, that most likely I would be selfishly trying to gratify myself (under the influence of RADICAL FEMINISM) if I continued to work outside the home (pg. 94-95). This all makes so much sense that I will advise my future daughters to skip higher education as once they start popping out the kids, they will not need a college degree, and I and my future heterosexual spouse will not have to save any money for their education.

Thank you, Sen. Santorum! X X O O :-) :-) :-) Review found here.

Democracy for Pittsburgh July Meetup

The Democracy for Pittsburgh July Meetup (pghdfa.org) is tomorrow evening. As of now, at least one candidate for office will be speaking in person.

Come check out the group who let the world know that Santorum doesn't live here any more!

When:
Wednesday, July 6, 2005 at 7:00 PM


Where:
Mario's South Side Saloon (go to the back and up the stairs)
1514 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

412-381-5610


R.S.V.P.:
dfa.meetup.com

July 1, 2005

Santorum Gored



The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a very funny bit on their home page that skewers Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Conrad Burns, and our very own Lil Ricky Santorum.

View HERE.

Good-bye Blog -- Hello Online Virtual Magazine!

2 Political Junkies is now an ONLINE VIRTUAL MAGAZINE and not, I repeat, not a BLOG.

While we may look exactly the same, we're simply not a blog.

Nope, no way.

I welcome you (FEC) to the latest online virtual magazine: 2 Political Junkies.

Have fun reading our informative blog posts articles and please feel free to respond with a comment letter to the editor.

Confused?

Read here and here and here and here.