We are the 99%

August 31, 2005

WTF? Rita Cosby (MSNBC) is still in Aruba?

I couldn't believe that she was there yesterday and they still haven't yanked her out of there?! Can one missing white woman trump an entire city? I'm sure there's some missing white women in New Orleans or Biloxi...

She is reporting on New Orleans right now, but still...

BREAKING NEWS: BUSH ON THE GROUND IN NEW ORLEANS!

Well at least that's what it looks like. Here's what you'll see if you go to the White House website and click on the "Hurricane Relief" link on the right:



Here's what you need to focus on:



Now doesn't that lovely graphic make it look like Bush is already ON THE GROUND with victims of Katrina?

However, at the time this was put on the official White House website, Bush was on Air Force One:



with an appropriate "God's eye view" of the disaster that he helped to create:

It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.
-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

___________________________________


"Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars."

2pj under attack!

Click here to see.

But we had our revenge here.

Katrina in Black & White
(As In Blacks "Loot" & Whites "Find")


(Screen capture -- and a better headline -- from The News Blog)

From Pandagon:
"Taken altogether, this is what I fear will happen: The victims of the flood will be portrayed via racist stereotypes as criminals and idiots. This will predispose the audience to disliking them. Then, after everything settles down, a few right wingers will start implying that the dead brought their own fate on themselves by being too stupid and/or criminal to evacuate. This focus will distract the pundits from discussing the real issue at hand, which is why the fuck we didn't have the resources on hand to evacuate a city that has Hurricane Target written all over it. Before you know it, it'll be a wingnut bonaza of people both gleefully indulging in the most racist tendencies while simultaneously claiming that the only reason one might end up dead in a hurricane is because one doesn't have "personal responsibility". But my guess is that the people who are dead mostly didn't have transportation out of the city. Watch the media bury the truth of what happened so fast it'll make your head spin."

Governor Rendell to Announce Initiative to Raise Minimum Wage

Following the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade on Monday, Governor Rendell will announce his initiative to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage. Please join him at the Steelworkers' Building at 12:45 pm.

WHAT:
Minimum Wage Rally

WHERE:
United Steelworkers Building
Gateway 5 Plaza (Corner of Stanwix St and Blvd of the Allies)
Pittsburgh

WHEN:
Monday, September 512:45 pm

August 30, 2005

Will there ever be a catastrophe to which Bush will respond to as a leader?

Just fucking wondering...

A major American city is put under martial law today and ordered to completely evacuate for who knows how long and this is what the Miserable Failure does:



(Not Photoshop'd)

Rove is supposed to be a freakin' genius -- so why can't he make his boy at least look like he cares?

Expose Exxon

From Randy at the Pittsburgh branch of the Sierra Club:


Pittsburgh Sierra Club members protesting at Exxon station.


A group of local Sierra Club activists have taken a campaign to expose the Exxon Corporation’s policies from cyber space (www.exxposeexxon.com) to the street corners of Pittsburgh.

The group is educating the public about Exxon’s bad practices and asking them to do three things:

1. Speed past Exxon and Mobil gas stations, and don’t buy ExxonMobil gas and products.

2. Don’t buy ExxonMobil stock, or if you own ExxonMobil stock, use your shares to change the company’s environmental policies.

3. Don’t work for ExxonMobil; instead find a more environmentally conscious employer.

ExxonMobil is moving America backward on energy policy when we desperately need to move forward. ExxonMobil is the only major oil company that is still a member of Arctic Power, the special interest group that lobbies the U.S. Congress to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

ExxonMobil denies the urgency of global warming, funds junk science to cloud the debate on the issue, and works to block efforts to cap global warming pollution.

Finally, despite the company’s record profits, it is doing next to nothing to invest in renewable energy and refuses to pay punitive damages awarded in 1994 to fishermen and others as a result to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. These positions are all at odds with most of ExxonMobil’s competitors.

Therefore these folks have four demands of the company:

• Publicly commit to not drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pull out of Arctic Power.

• Support mandatory caps on global warming pollution and stop funding junk science to obscure the facts about global warming.

• Save consumers money at the pump and ease our oil dependence by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency and supporting fuel economy.

• Pay all of the punitive damages awarded in 1994 to fishermen and others injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Want to help or join in? Contact Randy at randy.francisco@sierraclub.org or 412-802-6161.

The Reserve & National Guard: Fighting the weather over there so they don't have to fight it here

Katrina Devastates the Gulf...uh...the Other Gulf



(Thanks to campskunk for the idea.)

August 29, 2005

Santorum's Revisionist History

This has been floating around the blogosphere for a few days. I wanted to make sure the loyal readers of 2 Political Junkies got a chance to see it. Lil Ricky's made it onto this week's "Top Ten Conservative Idiots" (he's number 7).

Apparently, our Junior Senator has made public announcements questioning the Iraq war. And how do we know this?

Because he's made public statements that he's made public statements questioning the Iraq war.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In an interview last week, he said he had publicly and privately raised questions about efforts to contain the insurgency and to limit Baathist involvement in the new Iraqi government. He made his remarks in response to a charge by his leading Democratic challenger, Robert P. Casey Jr., that Santorum has failed to "ask the tough questions" about Iraq.
However (and this is the good part), no one has been able to find any of these public statements.

When challenged by the Inquirer:
Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's office acknowledged yesterday that it cannot locate public statements of the senator questioning the Iraq war, despite the senator's claim last week that he has publicly expressed his concerns.

But Santorum said that doesn't mean he hasn't made the comments.
Hmmm...

Anyone heading out to a public appearance for the good senator? Any chance of asking him where and when he questioned the President on the Iraq war?

UPDATE: Turns out the more intelligent of the 2 of us has already written about this. I missed it because it was 4 whole days ago.

This really only proves 2 things: 1 - She's smarter than me and 2 - but only by 4 days.

August 28, 2005

The Politics of Hurricane Katrina

"OH GEEEZ!" I can hear some of you thinking now, "Everything is not political -- hurricanes have no politics!"

And you're right, acts of nature aren't political and even Pat Robertson has no control over the path they may take despite what he has claimed in the past.

That said, the resources to combat the effects of hurricanes is ALL about politics. So consider the following:

1. The National Guard is typically used to assist during catastrophic events (their website states: "In times of emergency, whether it be flood or fire, our commitment to the residents of Louisiana remains a top priority." However, as KWTX notes:

The Louisiana National Guard is on alert, but thousands of guard troops from the state are now serving in Iraq.

Nagin (Mayor of New Orleans) said 1,500 troops are immediately available, however, and another 2,500 have been mobilized.

2. From WGNO from the August 1, 2005:


LA National Guard Wants Equipment to Come Back From Iraq

When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

"The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.

[snip]

"You've got combatant commanders over there who need it they say they need it, they don't want to lose what they have, and we certainly understand that it's a matter it's a matter of us educating that combatant commander, we need it back here as well," Col. Schneider said.
3. And to add insult to injury, from a June 2005 article in New Orleans CityBusiness:

New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces (cuts)

In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.

Money is so tight the New Orleans district, which employs 1,300 people, instituted a hiring freeze last month on all positions. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps' Programs Management Branch.

(Hat Tip to the following Daily Kos stories here and here.)

August 26, 2005

Happening This Weekend

ACTivate Pittsburgh 2005
Saturday, August 27th
Noon at the Brew House (2100 Mary St, South Side)

Background:
Since 1999, Pittsburgh’s GroundZero Action Network has hosted roughly annual Activate Pittsburgh (ACTPGH) sessions. The goals of ACTPGH are threefold: to serve as a forum through which attendees can voice frustration about urban issues and form plans to redress these issues, to give attendees a chance to get plugged into the GroundZero network of ideas-havers, people-knowers, and resource-getters in order to start up their own new projects, and to get people involved with extant GroundZero projects. ACTPGH believes that complaining is valid as long as you’re willing to take action to improve the situation, and exists solely to facilitate that action.

ACTPGH has been the catalyst for such projects as the Urban Hike Project, Busk Pittsburgh, and a neighborhood mural initiative that developed into the Sprout Public Art Community Mural Project. These events regularly draw hundreds of people.

ACTPGH 2005:
The fifth ACTPGH will take place on Saturday, August 27th, at noon at the Brew House (2100 Mary St, South Side).

This year’s event will focus on developing the ideas of the participants into projects. Anyone who attends the event should bring their thoughts on what they believe is missing in Pittsburgh and be prepared to tap into the network with the hope of making something happen.

Need Directions?
Map

Produced by GroundZero Action Network

_____________________________________________________

Kathryn Hens-Greco "Kick-Off Event"
Sunday 8/28/05
Wightman School in Squirrel Hill on Solway Street, off Wightman


Kathryn Hens-Greco, candidate for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, is having a "Kick-Off Event" for her judicial campaign, this Sunday 8/28/05 at 5:00 p.m. at the Wightman School in Squirrel Hill on Solway Street, off Wightman. The building is also called "Carriage House" for the children's center in the first floor.

Fundraiser: on a sliding scale 20.00-$1,000.00.

Homemade lasagne (made by Kathryn & campaign friends).

A fabulous opportunity to meet grass roots people, eat good food, enjoy a fun party, endure limited speeches, and support a great candidate!

Talking points. Simple! Catchy!

As said by Jon Stewart and transcribed at JABBS:

STEWART: (Bush) has developed a sophisticated exit strategy ... for getting out of questions about the war. It's a strategy known as repetition, or "repetition." It's one he'd used with great success many times before.

"But Jon," you ask, "how does it work?"

...

The first step is to let people know you're aware of their questions. Then the president can reduce these nuanced concerns into a simplistic misguided concern that he can easily refute.

BUSH MONTAGE: I also know there's a lot of folks here in the United States that are, you know, wondering about troop withdrawals ... I also have heard the voices of those saying: "pull out now" ... Immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake.

STEWART: See? He knows the concerns that make you look like a pussy. So staying the course in Iraq is the plan. But what about all the violence and chaos we see? Pah! It's not match for a simple eight-letter word. See if you can pick out the one he uses:

BUSH MONTAGE: I am pleased with the progress being made ... we're making progress ... a lot of progress ... I'm please with the progress ... progress ... progress ... Oh I know it's hard for some Americans to see that ...

STEWART: But?

BUSH: ... we are making progress.

STEWART: Yes!

So we're doing the right thing and we're making good progress. So, I guess that means, uh, if I hear you correctly -- we're doing the right thing and we're making good progress -- that soon we'll be able to talk about concrete troop withdrawal?

BUSH MONTAGE: Why would you say to the enemy, you know, here's the timetable ... it makes no sense ... it doesn't make any sense to have a timetable ... an artificial timetable ... there aren't any timetables ... I'm not giving timetables ...

STEWART: One little timetable? No timetables!

Now here's why staying on message with your talking points is difficult: Back when the war began, the talking points for the president centered on weapons of mass destruction. (Laughs) Really drilled that into our heads actually -- it was quite a lot of talk. That doesn't seem to come up so much anymore. But you just know some nasty reporter's always going to ask. So the key for your new war rationale talking point is: delivering them as though the person who asked is retarded:

BUSH MONTAGE: We're defeating them there so we do not have to face them here ... our immediate strategy is to eliminate terrorist threats abroad ... we're fighting the enemy in Iraq ... fighting them in Iraq ... to defeat the terrorists abroad ... so we don't have to face them here at home ... where we live ...

STEWART: (Sarcastically) Duh!

Of course, sometimes, no matter how good your talking points, no matter how many times you repeat them, there are still some dissenters and non-believers. If there only was some way you could shut these remaining people up with some kind of emotional bludgeon:

BUSH MONTAGE: The war arrived on our shores on September the 11th, 2001 ... September the 11th ... September the 11th I made a commitment to the American people ... from September the 11th ... the lesson of September the 11th, 2001 ...

STEWART: You know, if I had a nickel for every time Bush has mentioned 9/11, I could raise enough reward money to go after Bin Laden!

And there you go, talking points. Simple! Catchy!
...

Guide to Wingnut Logic

Very helpful!

blogenlust.typepad.com/law

August 25, 2005

Why Not Offer a Reward Like they Do for All Those Missing Pretty Young White Women?

In this case, Santorum can offer a reward for his "missing public statements of the senator questioning the Iraq war."

In an interview last week, he said he had publicly and privately raised questions about efforts to contain the insurgency and to limit Baathist involvement in the new Iraqi government. He made his remarks in response to a charge by his leading Democratic challenger, Robert P. Casey Jr., that Santorum has failed to "ask the tough questions" about Iraq.

Robert L. Traynham, Santorum's spokesman, said a search of Nexis, a news database, and the office's press clippings had not turned up any account of those comments. He noted, however, that the office's records are incomplete because the office is unable to record everything the senator says.

"I do a lot of interviews on TV, on radio, with print reporters who don't happen to write everything I say," Santorum said yesterday. "The fact that it hasn't turned up in print doesn't mean I haven't said it."

And while you're all looking for Lil Ricky's missing words, you may want an Easter Egg Hunt for Casey's missing position on this.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer article notes:

Casey faces his own challenges, among them finding a position that portrays him as neither an antiwar defeatist nor a passive war supporter.

On the major Iraq votes - authorizing force and funding the operation - Casey said he would have supported those measures, just as Santorum did. Another Democrat in the race, Bucks County professor Chuck Pennacchio, said he would have voted against the use of force.

In recent weeks, Casey has attempted to differentiate himself from Santorum by chastising the senator for failing to speak out as soldiers die. Casey's latest criticism of Santorum came in the same month that seven Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers were killed in Iraq.

But when asked to describe what he would do differently in Iraq, Casey says the Bush administration has not given the public enough information to make a decision on what to do next.
For someone not afraid to actually state a position on Iraq -- rather than just go negative on Santorum -- click here ("here" of course being Chuck Pennacchio's issues page).

August 24, 2005

Chimpy's Twisted Logic

For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.

"We owe them something," he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for."

What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself.

Read Dowd's entire piece here.

August 23, 2005

Don't wanna be an American idiot


Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector"
flap over his ear while President George W.
Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

I saw this at KOS, who got it from Atrios, who got it from The National Post -- a Canadian newspaper -- because if they published that kind of thing in US newspapers, the war might start going badly. (When will these goddamn hippies stop hating America?)

Pittsburgh Anti-Recruitment Protest Roundup

Pittsburgh Independent Media Center: Includes video, photos, and report by Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG).

Froth Slosh B'Gosh: Includes links to many sources and good discussion in the comments section.

Three Rivers Online: Includes criticism of the mainstream media's coverage of the event.

Santorum Cybergate: Includes pictures of the march not seen elsewhere.


UPDATE: From Progress Pittsburgh Blog
TONIGHT (Tuesday Aug 23) Free Speech Radio News will feature a report from Pittsburgh's own Rustbelt Radio reporters, Andalusia Knoll and Matt Toups. This is a national story about what happened in Oakland at the recruiting station over the weekend. For details about the Police Brutality, check out http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org If you don't know Free Speech Radio News, it is the nationally syndicated nightly news program on over 100 stations, many on the pacifica network - home of Democracy Now The show is on every weeknight at 5:30pm on WRCT in Pittsburgh, 88.3 FM. So tune in tonight at 5:30pm to 88.3 FM , or online at http://www.wrct.org

August 22, 2005

Bin Laden to Bush: "Thanks, Bro!"

Crossposted at Daily Kos


From the Guardian:

The United States has eased its opposition to an Islamic Iraqi state to help clinch a deal on a draft constitution before tonight's deadline.

American diplomats backed religious conservatives who threatened to torpedo talks over the shape of the new Iraq unless Islam was a primary source of law. Secular and liberal groups were dismayed at the move, branding it a betrayal of Washington's promise to advocate equal rights in a free and tolerant society.
From the Washington Post:

The draft also stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said. Opponents have charged that last provision would subject Iraqis to religious edicts by individual clerics.

The Shiite and Kurdish negotiators also said draft calls for the presence of Islamic clerics on the court that would interpret the constitution. Family matters such as divorce, marriage or inheritance would be decided either by religious law or civil law as an individual chooses -- a condition that opponents say would likely lead to women being forced into unfavorable rulings for them by opponents demanding judgments under Islamic law.







Really, he shouldn't have...

Payne Supporters Clean Up on the North Side

Members of Tonya Payne's campaign staff and members of Democracy for Pittsburgh (a group who endorsed Payne's primary run) participated in a Neighborhood Clean Up Day on the North Side recently.

The Central Northside Neighborhood Council and the Mexican War Streets Society partnered with PA CleanWays of Allegheny County for the clean up. In addition to picking up trash and cutting weeds, a survey was taken throughout the Central Northside to determine problem areas that needed attention.

Check out the full story (more pictures too) at Tonya Payne's website. There's also information there on how you can get involved in the next clean up.

Tonya Payne is also on Democracy for America's DFA-List Candidates for America.

This clean up took place on August 13th which was reportedly the hottest day in Pittsburgh in the last five years. Delicate flower that I am (Shut up -- don't say it!), I will fess up to being the least effective person participating and needing to be scraped off the sidewalk after only an hour. The next clean up day is in September and will not be the hottest day in five years.

If you live in Pittsburgh's 6th City Council District:
Don't forget to vote for Tonya in November!


Payne supporters take a break to talk with neighborhood residents.


Ricky's Redskins -- Does Santorum support his home team?



Story and pictures here.

Bush Approval Rating Below 40%

Lower Numbers than Nixon during Watergate
(Nixon had 39% approval)


According to the latest survey from the American Research Group:

Among all Americans:
36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president
58% disapprove
33% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy
62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote:
38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president
56% disapprove
36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy
60% disapprove

August 20, 2005

One More Thing

I keep hearing how Cindy Sheehan is a "tool" of the Left -- as if she could not speak for herself or come to her ideas on her own. Valerie Plame is called a "Soccer Mom" as if she did not do service for her country.

I have only one thing to say to that (Ladies, feel free to chime in):

FUCK YOU
AND
YOUR
SEXIST
BULLSHIT


Been meaning to say that for a while now. :-D

The Power of Cindy Sheehan's Story

As is often the case, there's an interesting thread over at The Conversation. This time, it's on Cindy Sheehan. I posted the following couple of comments there:

In one sense, no, nothing will satisfy Cindy Sheehan because no one can bring back her baby. And, yes, he is her baby -- even at 26 -- just the same as when my grandmother insists on watching me walk down the sidewalk from her home after dusk until she can't see me anymore even when I remind her that I lived in NYC for 15 years and for five of those years had a job where I routinely left work around 2 or 3 in the morning.

And, of course she does not speak for all members of all Gold Star Familles -- I'm not aware that she claimed that she did.

Does she have any more right to the President's time than any other Gold Star Family member? No, of course not.

So why so much focus on her in the press? Is it because MoveOn is now backing her? ...Because she's supposedly being fed lines by the "Lefty" groups?

I would suggest it's the exact opposite of that. MoveOn didn't send her down there...nor did Michael Moore. Her pain as a parent who lost her baby sent her there. The fact that she thought the war was wrong from the start, that she tried everything that she could do to prevent her baby from being killed in a war which she believed was so much bullshit from the start, does not lessen her grief. She knew it was wrong from the start, and yet, she still could not prevent her own child from being caught up in it -- she could not save him from it.

And saying that she is somehow cheapening her son's service is just repeating the lie of the Right that you cannot support the troops and be against this war.

She has done something which MoveOn could not do. She did not create a crafty meme or slogan -- she told a story. A story which captured the attention of the American public that all the bumper stickers and T-shirts could not:


I am a mother. I bore a son. He died in this war. This war which many now believe was a mistake from the start. I want an answer as to why he died in this war which was based on lies. A war which makes us less safe -- not more. I will take my little lawn chair and sit in the hot Texas sun until I get an answer. I will sit in my lawn chair and wait until the President (arguably the most important man in the world) tells my why my boy (the most important man in the world to me) had to die in this war.

It's a very simple story that rings true to many. It's the story that the Bush Administration has the most to fear from. It is not talking heads, it is not Downing Street Memos that few have read. It is the coffins coming home that the Bush Administration has shielded the press -- and by extension -- the American public from seeing.

It's a story that can survive and surpass any circus that has built up around it.

I need to add one more thought:

You're acting as though the "other side" has had no say in any of this. As though the President has not met with Gold Star family members who approve of the war. As if anchors on Fox do not wear American flag pins to signify their approval of this Administration and its actions; as if Support Our Troops yellow ribbon magnets and decals have not only become ubiquitous, but synonymous in the media with support for the war in Iraq; as if Bush didn't use the troops as so many props during the election; as if there have not been families featured on local and network news who approve of their children serving in Iraq; as if the mainstream media actually really asked hard questions before we entered this war. You're acting as if Bush didn't ask everyone to show their support for the troops (BUT REALLY HIS WAR) by flying their flag on the Fourth of July -- as if we needed his direction and approval to fly it.

Yet, one middle-aged woman sends so many into such a tizzy.

That's the power of Cindy Sheehan's story.

*****************************************
NOTE: Least I be misunderstood, what I wrote above is in no way meant to be any kind of slam at MoveOn or Michael Moore. I am on both of their mailing lists and am fans of both. MoveOn does a wonderful job of both educating people and giving them actionable items to work on and I'm glad that they're helping to spread awareness of Cindy's story. And, one thing that made Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 so compelling was the way he wove the story of another Gold Star mother throughout that movie. She was the opposite of Sheehan as she was a mother who approved of her son fighting in Iraq until his letters to home made her aware of the wrongness of this war.

For more on the "The Neglected Political Power of Story" go here.

August 19, 2005

Jesus Wept: Pope Asks Bush for Immunity

From the Chicago Sun-Times:


Lawyers for Pope Benedict XVI have asked President Bush to declare the pontiff immune from liability in a lawsuit that accuses him of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys by a seminarian in Texas, court records show.

[snip]

Joseph Ratzinger is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. Now Benedict XVI, he's accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse during the mid-1990s.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Gerry Keener, said Tuesday that the pope is considered a head of state and automatically has diplomatic immunity.

Some may recall that 2PJ wrote back in April how RATzinger threatened excommunication for clergy who warned anyone about pedophile priests.

When RATzinger was still a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition) he wrote a confidential letter that was distributed to every Catholic bishop in May 2001. The letter confirmed that RATzinger believed that the Catholic Church had the right to conceal sexual abuse from the proper US legal authorities.

Moreover, it threatened those who would try to behave in a legally and MORALLY responsible way with the ultimate punishment for Catholics: excommunication. The letter came to light in the same Texas civil suit referenced in the Chicago Sun-Times article above.

To sum up:

A former Hitler Youth who actively participated in covering up the sexual abuse of children is asking a sociopathic lying warmonger for immunity for his sins.

Does it get any sicker than this?

Blog Roll Changes

We've added the Progress Pittsburgh Blog to the 2pj local blog roll. It joins the main Progress Pittsburgh website already listed. Check out the blog's pictures from Wednesday's Sheehan vigil in Squirrel Hill here and Froth's pictures from the vigil in Regent Square here.

Another local site added is Santorum Cybergate. Santorum Cybergate has been missing from the list only because I thought it was already there. That blog has not only been the driving force behind the cyber-school and Homestead Tax Exemption issues, it's also a great reference site on Lil Ricky where you can see pictures of his Virginia home and links to the county assessment pages for both the VA and PA properties.

PA for Democracy somewhat stretches the notion of a "local" blog -- it's the group blog for the Pennsylvania coalition of Democracy for America groups.

One blog was dropped. We were hoping that Scooter Blue might morph into something else, but it hasn't and as the blog stopped in April, it's been taken off the roll.

Added to the Links list are Media Matters for America, Liberal Oasis and Santorum Watch.

What is the criteria that I use to add a blog/website to the roll?

I could say something like, "I'm sharing the love and want you to visit these worthy sites," when in reality: the roll exists for my convenience. These are the sites I try to visit daily all listed in one easy place for ME -- but no saying you won't enjoy them too. ;-)

Oh, and the other Political Junkie has to have no objection to them being added. :-D

August 17, 2005

Psycho killer
Qu’est que c’est

‘‘And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.''
That statement was made by President George W. Bush on Saturday. He said it while defending why he would not meet with Cindy Sheehan -- the grieving Mom of a soldier killed in Iraq. As anyone who pays any attention to the news must know by now, Cindy Sheehan has been holding a vigil for her son, Casey, in Crawford Texas; the place where Bush is taking a five week vacation.

Bush continued:

‘‘I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy,'' he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. ‘‘And part of my being is to be outside exercising.''

‘‘So I'm mindful of what goes on around me,'' Bush added. ‘‘On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so.''

Bush's schedule that day included in addition to the two hour bike ride: a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing, some reading and an evening Little League Baseball playoff game.

Certainly no one can deny that our leaders need time off -- even in times of war. FDR, for example, took frequent trips to Warm Springs, GA.

But Bush's statement, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life..." reminded me immediately of something his mother, Barbara Bush said during the buildup to the war in Iraq:

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths," Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

It reminded me of some other responses Bush has had to events that usually call for at least a show of compassion and sensitivity:

- The way he mocked Carla Faye Tucker. She was convicted of a horrendous crime and had sought a pardon from then Governor Bush while she was on death row based on her conversion to being "Born Again." As reported by conservative Tucker Carlson in Talk magazine Bush mimicked Ms. Tucker: "Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me."

- The time that he continued on with his vacation plans even though his teenage daughter, Jenna, was rushed to the hospital for an emergency Christmas Night appendectomy, saying that if she cannot join the rest of the family for a Florida vacation, "she can clean out her room."

- The "cute" joke he made at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. As David Corn of The Nation reported: But at one point, Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." The audience laughed. I grimaced. But that wasn't the end of it. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. "Nope," he said. "No weapons over there." More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: "Maybe under here." Laughter again. Disapproval must have registered upon my face, for one of my tablemates said, "Come on, David, this is funny." I wanted to reply, Over 500 Americans and literally countless Iraqis are dead because of a war that was supposedly fought to find weapons of mass destruction, and Bush is joking about it.

Of course now we know that Bush knew prior to the war that there was no real danger of "the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Many used to mock Bill Clinton's use of the phrase "I feel your pain," but Clinton was a popular president -- even during his impeachment -- a majority of the public believed that Clinton was a compassionate man who understood them despite his own personal failings.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was able to bring out the best in the American people through the Great Depression and World War II. He inspired people to have both courage and to sacrifice of themselves to get our country through the most trying of times. Bush, on the other hand, continually raised the level of fear during the 2004 Election and has called on the nation to do nothing more than go shopping since 9/11.

Bush cannot call upon the people of this country to sacrifice of themselves because he does not posses that ability himself. He cannot sacrifice his bike riding time to meet with grieving mothers (there are more Gold Star Family Moms there than just Sheehan now). Neither can he sacrifice the time he spends at political fundraisers to meet with them.

Bush cannot sacrifice any time or political capital to be seen at the funerals of any soldiers who he sent to Iraq -- that would make the war too real for those not paying attention.

But the consequences of this war are making it into the public consciousness...the twenty National Guard members from the same unit in Ohio who died in one week...the doubling of the total number of Guard deaths from Pennsylvania the next. The war is getting too bloody to joke over...to "go on with my life" and ignore the pain of those left behind.

But Bush doesn't do pain well. He has no capacity to "feel our pain" and no capacity to summon our courage.

He appears more and more clearly to the public as the smirking frat boy and privileged son of a privileged son that many on the Left recognized him as from the start.

Moreover, to make a statement that, "I've got a life to live and will do so," in reference to why you will not meet with someone whose son no longer has a life to live because of war you started that was based on lies that you told goes beyond mere frat boy arrogance -- it reaches into the realm of sociopathic...of psychopathic.

You start a conversation you can’t even finish it.
You’re talkin’ a lot, but you’re not sayin’ anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?

Psycho killer,
Qu’est que c’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away
Psycho killer
Qu’est que c’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away


Go here and sign up.

August 16, 2005

Vigil for Cindy Sheehan

(From Moveon UPDATE: Democracy for America and True Majority are also participating in this.)
Please join us for a candlelight vigil in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan and the Gold Star Families for Peace.

We Rushed to War - Who Pays the Price?
"Blue Slide" Frick Park, Squirrel Hill
Beechwood Blvd. and Nicholson
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Wednesday, 17 Aug 2005, 7:30 PM

To sign up for this event, click here:
http://www.moveonpac.org/event/cindyvigils/3501

If this location is inconvenient, please consider vigils in:

Bellevue: http://www.moveonpac.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=3932
Aliquippa: http://www.moveonpac.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=3967
Butler: http://www.moveonpac.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=3730

If none of these are in your neck of the woods, please consider hosting a simultaneous vigil. Sign up at:
http://www.moveonpac.org/event/events/create.html?action_id=24

If you still don't know who Cindy Sheehan is read here and here.

August 15, 2005

NO PRIMARY FOR YOU!

Mike from Comments from Left Field via Mark Crispin Miller's New From Underground has am audio clip of a speech given by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a private party.

The gist of it is:

The Democratic leadership no longer trust the people to pick a candidate in what they consider to be important primary elections. Chuck Schumer and his buddies know what's best for us.

The part that's relevant to the people of Pennsylvania:

"So I called up Governor...our number one target is Rick Santorum...let him go back to wherever he lives, Maryland, you know you heard about it, he is Pennsylvania but he tried to get exempt from the school tax there cause he lives in Maryland even though he is a registered citizen of Pennsylvania. In any case I called up the Governor of Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell, I said who is the best candidate to beat Santorum. He there is only one person who could beat him but A he won't run and B you wouldn't want him to run. I said why wouldn't we want him to run, he said he's pro-life. He's a deeply religious Catholic man. Bob Casey."

"I said, those days are over Ed. Yes I'm pro-choice, but we need the best candidate. We can't insist that every democrat check off 18 different issues before they get (unintelligible) we could do that, we can't anymore. And so, we persuaded, Harry using his very...Harry has amazing insights into people...and we together persuaded Bob Casey to run. A poll yesterday...national...all the polls they did...Casey 51 Santorum 40. You should see Santorum nervous and walkin on the floor."

(unintelligible)

"And we're doing this in the other states."

As Comments from Left Field notes:


A couple of things worth noting here. First, Governor Rendell gave two points according to Schumer "A - he won't run and B you wouldn't want him to run." Let me repeat that, Governor Rendell said point blank to Chuck Schumer that Casey would not run and that we would not want him to run.

Well, Rendell got that right -- we don't want Casey to run!

Listen to the audio yourself at Comments from Left Field



More Evidence that Intelligent Design is Right!

Take a look at this article. Here's the first two paragraphs:
In July, NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its latest flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus, revealing an unexpected hot spot on the moon's south pole.

The finding flipped everything scientists knew about Enceladus on its head, because what should have been a dead moon appeared to be geologically active and what was supposed to be the moon's coldest region turned out to be its warmest.
So if everything these "scientists" already "knew" about this moon is now wrong, then how can we possibly have any faith in what they say they "know" about anything else? The so-called "scientific method" lead them to have theory about this moon that turned out to be incorrect. Now they expect us to believe that this method has any validity what-so-ever?

Isn't it obvious? The Universe is just too complicated to have just "happened." And so there's only one possible explanation that covers all of the things that "scientists" don't have an answer for: Intelligent Design.

It's such a simple explanation - and obvious to everyone. And I believe in my heart that that's why the Ivy League elites don't want us to believe it. It puts them out of a job.

Think about it all these mysteries are now solved by Intelligent Design:
With Intelligent Design, we can finally get some answers!

August 13, 2005

Robert Novak on Rick Santorum

Robert Novak's comments on Lil Ricky are as follows:
SANTORUM IN TROUBLE

Republican insiders in Washington fear that Sen. Rick Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, is in serious danger of losing his seat next year to his Democratic challenger, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, because of a poorly planned and ill-conceived campaign.

Grievances by Pennsylvania Republicans are piling up. One banking industry CEO in Pennsylvania offered Santorum a chance to visit his more than 3,000 employees. But the senator's campaign staff declined to immediately accept the invitation, explaining this group was not a "priority." Santorum is accused of not making sure to minimize the negative political fallout from his new book ("It Takes a Family"). A current Republican poll shows Casey 9 percentage points ahead of Santorum.

A footnote: Democratic consultant Paul Begala, who worked on the successful campaign for governor of Pennsylvania by the late Robert Casey Sr., may join the younger Casey's campaign for the Senate.
When the Prince of Darkness himself sez you're in trouble, you're in trouble.

August 12, 2005

A Conservative view of the Smearing of Cindy Sheehan

From our Friends at the Daily Kos.

The CunningRealist is an anonymous blogger who describes him/herself as:
A lifelong conservative with a strong independent streak, I am a late-30's resident of New York City and an executive in the financial industry. I have a B.A., and an M.B.A. in International Business from Columbia University.
Take a look at this. I'll hit the highlights.
The essence of the right-wing smear machine's "outing" of Cindy Sheehan is her supposed flip-flop from supporting President Bush in 2004 to disapproving of him in 2005. As details of this have become clearer, it's obvious the flip-flop is nothing more than a canard. But setting aside the Sheehan story for a moment, have any of the shameless smearsters seen the public opinion polls recently? Here's some breaking news for them: a whole lot of Americans who supported Bush a year ago---including an increasingly large part of his "base"---have turned against him. And that includes many millions of people who haven't lost a parent, child, or sibling in Iraq.
And:
Something else about this story that infuriates me is the vision of feckless, smarmy smearsters and cowards hiding behind keyboards in cities like Washington and New York (and yes, Miami), punching out electronic missives in a pathetic and desperate attempt to impugn the integrity of a woman sitting in the dust and August heat of Texas---a woman who, along with her dead son, embodies everything that's right about this country. The growing division between the professional class of spinning punditry and the vast expanse of Middle America that actually does the working, the fighting and the dying so the pundits can spend their time chattering has never been more clear than with this story.
It's a pretty good read. Go check it out.

Let's hope all the little girls and boys request this on TRL

Watch this video:

Why Santorum Can Win

In an answer to my "No Choice" post the following comment was written:


"If we want to truly make a difference in the lives of women, young, old and in-between, we should pick Democratic candidates who can go head-to-head with Santorum and Hart and who can win in November 2006."
Agreed -- the problem is that that candidate is not Bob Casey.

Apparently I'm not alone in that thought. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:


Playing and winning, however, are not synonymous. Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said she believed that "this race will be tougher than Democrats think. Does Casey excite the Democratic base? He's against abortion, and the base is pro-choice. He has the wrong profile for the party's big liberal donors."

By contrast, she argued, "Santorum is a great campaigner who excites his base" - and it's the diehards who tend to be the most motivated voters in midterm elections. "Their take on Santorum is, 'Agree or disagree with him, you still know where he stands,' which is the same asset Bush had in 2004."

[snip]

But, above all, a Santorum victory would be the silver bullet that destroys the Democrats. Privately, some of them believe that Casey's double-digit poll lead is a mirage and that Santorum has been smart to spend the summer touting his defense of the family. It's a theme that rouses his base and potentially connects with parents who, while wary of his most outspoken views, nevertheless share his concerns about the entertainment culture's influence on children.

"The point is, Santorum is saying something, consistently - while Casey isn't saying much," a top Washington Democratic strategist said privately. "And that gets back to the problem we still have as a party. The Republicans have a broad cultural message, and they know how to communicate it. We still don't know how to communicate what we believe in. We've lost our self-confidence."

Indeed, Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg warned in a July memo that their party was "at risk of making only modest gains in 2006" because they "are firing on only half their cylinders." As a result, voters are still "uncertain about [our] convictions."
To sum up:

1. Casey is a lousy campaigner. Casey had a near 20 point lead against Ed Rendell early on and then lost by about 10 -- he managed to go down nearly 30 points over the course of the race! This is the "mirage" factor mentioned in the article. Santorum IS a strong campaigner and a strong debater and he can trounce Casey in any kind of one-on-one interview/debate.


A Millersville University poll; conducted 10/25-28/01; surveyed 504 registered voters margin of error +/- 4.3%. (Hotline)
Democratic primary matchup--Likely Voters:
Casey: 44%
Rendell: 27%
Undecided: 30%

Final Results:
Rendell: 56%
Casey: 44%
2. Rendell had help from pro choice REPUBLICAN women. They contributed to his campaign. Some even registered as Democrats to help him in the primary.

3. Four months after Casey has put up his website he still doesn't have an issues page because he knows that the majority of Pennsylvanians are pro choice and are pro embryo stem cell research. No one even knows how casey feels about the war in Iraq. He can't run as a stealth candidate forever.

4. Republicans will always be able to outspend Democrats and Casey will not get the kind of money that a strong pro choice Democrat would get in this race -- especially money from contributors outside the state who would give cash to prgressive/pro choice PACs.

5. I have heard much rumblings that the Democratic Powers That Be are trying to get Casey to "soften" his position on abortion. They finally realized that maybe they screwed up by shoving an anti choice candidate down our throats.

6. By running Santorum Lite, you are giving Santorum voters no reason to switch over their vote. Despite any of the batshit crazy stuff Santorum is saying now he will, as always, start running towards the middle the closer it gets to the election. He's already backed down on teaching Intelligent Design in schools. Santorum will run as a family friendly populist and Casey will run as a void.

If the Democratic party had some cojones -- if they wanted to demonstrate that they stand for SOMETHING -- then Chuck Schumer, Ed Rendell, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the boys would have gotten behind someone who could present the voters with a real alternative to Rick Santorum. Someone like Chuck Pennacchio.

They could have embraced the differences between Democrats and Republicans instead of fleeing from them. They could have learned something from the 2004 election and realized that the way to win is to have a strong candidate with strong positions who offers the voters a real CHOICE (pun intended).

August 11, 2005

Santorum on Ann Devlin

Sorry, folks.

I posted here that I heard Ann Devlin announce that Senator Rick Santorum would be on her show tonight (Aug 11, 2005). I must've misheard her.

This evening's show was an interview with Marvin Hamlish.

Apologies all around.

Sorry, again folks.

Q. Can't we all just get along?
A. No.

The Conversation features what it calls a "money quote" from Eric Alterman on the topic of abortion:

Abortion is probably necessary in a society that (purposely) does such a bad job of educating its youth about sex and does not give a s**t about poor kids once they've been born. But for most people it's a personal tragedy. To celebrate it as a “right” is a big mistake, given what an unhappy experience it is for all concerned. What's more, a lot of people think it's murder and their religion tells them this is true. Why can’t we respectfully disagree? How does that diminish anyone? Grow up, everybody.
I commented on it as follows:

Oh man, what a child some of us have been. I've seen the light.

I now promise never to force Eric Alterman (or anyone else) to have an abortion. Furthermore, I promise never to support a politician who would force Eric Alterman (or anyone else) to have an abortion. I hope Eric will do likewise and never deny me (or anyone else) the choice to have an abortion and never support a politician who would deny me (or anyone else) the choice to have an abortion.

There. I guess that settles that. :-D
We can't "all just get along" when some want to take away the RIGHT for women to have control over their own bodies.

We can't "all just get along" when some don't think it's a big deal that there are people trying to take away the RIGHT for women to have control over their own bodies.

Sorry! Just too big a RIGHT to let go...to give away...to let slip away.

There is nothing "respectful" about trying to take away a RIGHT. "Respectfully disagreeing" with someone who wants to take away your RIGHTS will get you no RIGHTS.

I won't give an inch when you're trying to take a mile.

Rick Santorum on KDKA

I just heard Senator Rick Santorum interviewed on Fred Honsberger's radio show on KDKA. He did the ususal song and dance around his book. What was the name of his book again? I forget.

There were a few choice nuggets in the rather short (20 minutes or so) interview.

When a caller named Brian stated that he would not be voting for Senator Santorum because of the Senator's "negative attitude" to the gay community, the Senator answered with "I don't have a negative attitude to the gay community. I stand for traditional values."

He went on to say that he feels that the best situation for a child is to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father. He was careful to add, however, that he was not saying that a "single parent" or a non-traditional family is necessarily bad - many of them are good.

He said that society should be favoring what is best, not what's "just OK." And what's best is a two parent family with a mother and a father.

On the Patriot Act, he said he was generally for the extension of the act, but would be concerned if he learned that there were abuses. So far he's heard of no abuses of the USAPatriot Act.

Is is in favor of "sunsetting" it - that it should probably not be extended permanently.

Finally, the interview touched on the Penn Hills School District.

Senator Santorum stated on the air that the Penn Hills School District voted to change its policy this week and he mentioned two different aspects. 1) He said they'd declared him a resident of Penn Hills and 2) He said that the new policy stated that an elected official didn't have to be a resident of Penn Hills in order for his children to be in the school district.

Here's how the Tribune Review puts it:
Although still trying to recoup cyber school tuition for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's children, the Penn Hills school board has changed its rules to allow payment for the online schooling of other families who sometimes live outside of the district.

Federal elected officials, military personnel and humanitarian and emergency workers called to work temporarily out of the state will be exempted from residency requirements.

The resolution, passed 6-2 Tuesday night, will allow the district to pay the cyber charter tuition bills for the children of workers in "unique circumstances" called to "service to country or those in need," even if it means they must live out of state.
And here's how the Post-Gazette describes it:

Saying the guidelines will help administrators decide who is eligible for district-funded cyber-charter education, the board this week set three instances when a family living temporarily outside the district can expect the district to pick up the cost.

The policy says that assignment outside Pennsylvania due to service in the Armed Forces, service due to election or appointment to a federal government position or involuntary assignment to humanitarian or emergency relief efforts would make children eligible. The family must intend to return to Penn Hills when the service concludes.
Board Members Erin Vecchio and Jennifer Lundy voted against the policy change. The P-G continues:
Lundy said she didn't believe the guidelines were comprehensive. Vecchio objected to no time limits being set for service.
I haven't been able to find the exact policy to post here (sorry- if anyone can point me in the right direction, that would be grand!).

AND I haven't been able to validate whether the board did declare Santorum a resident of Penn Hills as he said on the air.

As soon as I hear something I'll post it here.

August 10, 2005

Iraqapalooza!

(Because we just can't stop trying to link 9/11 and Iraq. Nope! We really can't stop. The American people are pissed -- they don't support the war anymore. Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! MUST RE-LINK IRAQ AND 9/11 AGAIN IN THE PUBLIC'S MIND!!!)

From The Age
The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today.

[snip]

Rumsfeld's march had some relatives of September 11 victims fuming.

"How about telling Mr Rumsfeld to leave the memories of September 11 victims to the families?" said Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband in the attacks.

Administration supporters insisted Rumsfeld was right to link Iraq and September 11, and hold the rally.

"We are at war," said Representative Pete King, (Republican, New York).
You can sign up to attend the march -- which begins at the at the Pentagon South parking lot, crosses Arlington National Cemetery, and ends adjacent to the National Mall and Reflecting Pool -- at this website:

asyfreedomwalk.com
(Though you might want to reconsider signing up there if you are male of draft age.)


Supporters of the march include -- I kid you not -- Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin:

2004 Sales:
$35.5 Billion

Sales by customer in 2004:
U.S. Department of Defense/Intelligence - 58%
Civil Government/Homeland Security - 22%
International - 17%
Commercial Domestic - 3%

What? Was Haliburton unavailable?

Turning the Corner...or...Last Throes?

Oh dear, oh dear, which of those phrases do we file this under?

From the New York Times:

Baghdad Mayor Is Ousted by a Shiite Group and Replaced

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia

This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal."

The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri.

The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law.

August 8, 2005

Rick Santorum on Night Talk THIS THURSDAY

I caught the tail end of Ann Devlin's Night Talk this evening. The discussion I caught was about our Junior Senator and the whole "cyber school" thing.

And then at the end Ann announced that Senator Santorum will be on the show this Thursday at 8:00pm - I believe I even caught her saying, "We'll see what he says about all this."

The phone number to call to talk to Lil Ricky (if he's got the intestinal fortitude to take questions, that is) is:

(412) 333-PCNC

I'll try to watch/tape it and post something about it here by the weekend.

Cindy Sheehan - A Threat to National Security (with Update)

UPDATE: From DailyKos:
CODEPINK was just able to get through to Cindy and Diane Wilson in Crawford, and there was a miscommunication---the notion that Cindy and others would be arrested was only conjecture by a state representative, not any law enforcement official. Bush's motorcade will be driving down the road where Cindy is camped out en route to a fundraiser Thursday, and the representative told protesters that he "imagined" they would be arrested as a national security threat.
=====
From a diary at the dailykos:
Cindy Sheehan phoned me from Texas a few minutes ago to say that she's been informed that beginning Thursday, she and her companions will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested. Coincidentally, Thursday is the day that Rice and Rumsfeld visit the ranch, and Friday is a fundraiser event for the haves and the have mores. Cindy said that she and others plan to be arrested.
And for those who don't know who Cindy Sheehan is, here's some info. Ms Sheehan is a member of the "Goldstar Families for Peace." Her son Casey was killed in action in Iraq on 4/4/2004. According to DOD records, there were 12 casualties that day.

She explained her reasoning at her diary at dailykos. Here's what she wrote:
George Bush said speaking about the dreadful loss of life in Iraq in August: (08/03/05): "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission." "The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause."

In reaction to these two assinine and hurtful statements, members of Gold Star Families for Peace (GSFP) are going to George's vacation home in Crawford, Tx this Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 am to confront him on these two statements.
  1. We want our loved ones sacrifices to be honored by bringing our nation's sons and daughters home from the travesty that is Iraq IMMEDIATELY, since this war is based on horrendous lies and deceptions. Just because our children are dead, why would we want any more families to suffer the same pain and devastation that we are.
  2. We would like for him to explain this "noble cause" to us and ask him why Jenna and Barbara are not in harm's way, if the cause is so noble.
  3. If George is not ready to send the twins, then he should bring our troops home immediately. We will demand a speedy withdrawal.
And for this, I guess the Bush administration considers her a threat to national security.

Here's more from her diary:.

By the way, the wingnuts have been doing their best to smear this woman. Here's what Drudge has to say:
The mother of a fallen U.S. soldier who is holding a roadside peace vigil near President Bush's ranch -- has dramatically changed her account about what happened when she met the commander-in-chief last summer!

Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., who last year praised Bush for bringing her family the "gift of happiness," took to the nation's TV outlets this weekend to declare how Bush "killed an indispensable part of our family and humanity."

CINDY 2004

THE REPORTER of Vacaville, CA published an account of Cindy Sheehan's visit with the president at Fort Lewis near Seattle on June 24, 2004:"'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'

"The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

"The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.

"For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again."

'That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,' Cindy said."

CINDY 2005

Sheehan's current comments are a striking departure.She vowed on Sunday to continue her protest until she can personally ask Bush: "Why did you kill my son?"

In an interview on CNN, she claimed Bush "acted like it was party" when she met him last year."

It was -- you know, there was a lot of things said. We wanted to use the time for him to know that he killed an indispensable part of our family and humanity. And we wanted him to look at the pictures of Casey.

"He wouldn't look at the pictures of Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.'

Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party.

BLITZER: Like a party? I mean...SHEEHAN: Yes, he came in very jovial, and like we should be happy that he, our son, died for his misguided policies. He didn't even pretend like somebody...
Ah, well.

But it seems that (surprise, surprise) Matt Drudge is taking things out of context. Here's the story from RawStory.com. Here's the first three paragraphs from the Raw Story article:
An article by Matt Drudge quoting anti-war mother Cindy Sheehan whose son was killed in Iraq grossly took Sheehan out of context, RAW STORY has learned.

The Vacaville, California Reporter told of how Sheehan was invited to meet with Bush and given "VIP treatment" from the military. But even when the article was published, it's clear that Sheehan and her husband had serious questions about Bush -- and were not adulatory as the article by Drudge suggests.

The article by David Henson is not online and was acquired by RAW STORY.
Matt Drudge, what a guy!

August 7, 2005

Politics PA Blog Local Branch of the Republican Noise Machine?

Chris Bowers presents a convincing case that it is at MyDD and suggests that progressive/Democratic blogs and elected Democratic officials and candidates immediately end all contact with Politics PA.

ABC News Announces That Peter Jennings Has Passed Away

They just broke in to regular progranmming with a special report to announce it.

I must say that when I was able to catch the network news I preferred Jennings to Brokow or Rather.

August 5, 2005

NO CHOICE

On Wednesday evening I attended the monthly meetup for Democracy for Pittsburgh. The meetups often feature political candidates and this night was no exception. The candidate was a Democrat who plans to run against a sitting Republican member of Congress. I'm not going to name the person on the off chance that someone reading this will decide to donate money to the guy after reading what I write.

More importantly, his name is not important because he represents something bigger than his candidacy.

He expressed many opinions with which I agree and seemed particularly interested in health care -- with one glaring exception. The exception was that, when asked, he stated that he was "pro life."

Democracy for Pittsburgh is a progressive organization. it is the Pittsburgh coalition for Democracy for America. Democracy for America favors candidates who are fiscally conservative and socially progressive.

Now he did say that he knew what he was walking into. He stated that no pro choice candidate could win in his district. He stated that he hoped to mostly avoid the topic of abortion during his run for office.

When asked outright if he would sign a bill outlawing abortion, he hedged. Later, when a member of the group said that she had been raped and it was her father who had raped her, he said he would support an exception for rape and incest. (Need it be said that if you support an "exception" for rape and incest, that you obviously must support some curtailment of abortion rights?) He also said that he supported the morning after pill and embryo stem cell research.

Perhaps some of you now are thinking, "Hmm, he's sounding a bit more reasonable. He's certainly no religious zealot on the subject."

But, I would posit that his stand is not "reasonable." His stand is the height of hypocrisy.

While I strongly disagree with those who would ban all abortions, the morning after pill and embryo stem cell research; at least their postion is based on a philosophical/religious argument that life begins at conception and life must not be destroyed. Your demands follow reasonably from your views. You do believe in something. Some of those same people would accept an exception for the life of the mother, and this still makes sense in the context of their beliefs as you would now have two "equal" lives at stake and they feel that they cannot ask someone to give up their own life for another.

But, I have to argue that a person who would ban abortions but have an exception for rape and incest is not "pro life" but solidly anti choice.

Is the fetus somehow less "fetus" and more "baby" because the conception occured by an act of rape/incest?

Of course not!

I will put forward that people who believe in this type of exception just find the idea of rape and incest even more "icky" than they find abortion to be "icky." Or perhaps they are able to empathize more with the idea of one of their own (wife, sister, daughter, friend) being forced to carry to term a child conceived of rape. Perhaps they themselves would not want such a child around.

But I do not care to know what psychology is behind their reasoning.

What they are in fact doing is judging how "moral" a woman is who wants/needs to have an abortion. Has she jumped through enough hoops? Has she satisfied my desire to feel comfortable that she is not just some careless, unthinking slut? Has she suffered enough already?

They are deciding that: yes, you have a choice if you have been raped, but you do not have a choice if, say, you already have six children and you do not have the finances or emotional and physical resources to have a seventh. They are judging that, well rape is one thing, but the fact that you are 16, or 14, or 10 just doesn't cut it with them -- it's not ugly enough for their comfort zone.

They truly do not believe that you have a choice in deciding what you will do with your own body, your own person, more than they believe that you are taking the life of a "baby." After all, it is not the fault of the "baby" in question that you were raped or incested, is it?

So then it must be about their comfort level in why you want/need an abortion more than their belief that you are killing a person.

Can anyone please explain to me how this is not hypocritical?

The current Democratic meme that we must welcome pro-lifers and make them feel more "comfortable" in our party says that we believe in nothing as a party. Either we are pro choice or we are not.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no room in the party for candidates who are personally opposed to abortion but who would not impose that belief on others. I fully support your right to believe in whatever you like. I support your right to say you think abortions are wrong. However, I do not support your "right" to prevent women from having the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

Another woman at the meetup was a veteran. She had served in both wars in Iraq. She spoke eloquently about the horrors of the current war -- about the unbelievably gruesome injuries she saw visited upon our troops.

She wanted the candidate to explain to her earlier in the evening (before she talked bout serving in Iraq) why she should have anyone deny her a medical procedure. Yes, that is what she called abortion. And, apparently that is what the candidate was more comfortable thinking about abortions that were from rapes than what he thought of abortions in general.

Now, here's the part where I scold my so-called "progressive" brothers. It was the women at the meetup who asked question after question about abortion. I am not saying that there weren't any strong pro choice men there, but am saying that it is my experience (certainly on this blog and others) that, in general, "pro choice" progressive men are far more willing to "forgive" a candidate for being anti choice. They are far more willing to label pro choice women as being un-pragmatic and lament their insistence on focusing on a "single issue." They are uncomfortable with being accused of being the "Abortion Party." You know, hey, can't we just let this slide (for this candidate...for this election...)?

It is also my experience that the women who are most "strident" on this issue are the ones who were around pre Roe v. Wade. Even if you were in jr. high, like me, when that case was decided, you can remember a time when women did not have the right to fully control their bodies. You remember the laughter, derision and outright hostility towards "libbers." You remember when it wasn't even illegal to pay a woman less than a man for doing the exact same job. You remember a lot.

Those that are a bit older than me remember the consequences of back alley abortions. The hospital wings filled with women suffering from infections or botched operations. The deaths.

I see a lot of outrage in the progressive corner of the blogosphere. There is much to be outraged about. Many of you write outraged posts.

You are outraged by the deaths and injuries of our troops in Iraq...



You are outraged by the deaths of innocent civilians...



You are outraged by the torture at Abu Ghraib...



You are outraged by less life and death matters such as Republican fiscal policies...



But, I see precious few "pro choice progressive" men outraged by the efforts to make back alley abortions the only CHOICE that many women will have...even when those efforts are by candidates that we are encouraged to be "pragmatic about" and support...



Perhaps it's out of your comfort zone.

Out a Covert CIA Agent: Keep Your Job
Curse On Air: Get Suspended

Robert Novak has finally been suspended from CNN. No, not for outing undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame, but for saying "bullshit" live on air on Inside Politics and walking off the set.

Talking Points Memo points out that Novak may have been freaking out because James Carville had brought a copy of Who's Who in America on the set. Novak suggested in his column on August 1st that anyone could have figured out Wilson's wife's name by looking Wilson up in Who's Who. Anne Kornblut asks why Novak used the name "Plame" instead of "Wilson" in a New York Times article on August 2nd in which Who's Who is also mentioned.

Did Novak freak out because of the presence of this book? Certainly there was no reason for the melt down in the context of what was being said right before Novak blew it -- this program always features shouting.

The host of Inside Politics stated that Novak knew that the Plame case would be discussed on the program.

Crooks and Liars has the video.

August 4, 2005

Santorum is Super!

The third senator from Virginia will be gracing these parts for a book signing tomorrow. Why not come out and greet him?

When: 9;45 AM Friday, August 5th
Where: Borders Books, Bethel Park 1775 North Highland Avenue.
What: To celebrate all that is Rick Santorum!!! Super!!

(Burqas optional)

You can even SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR SANTORUM by downloading posters and Lil Ricky masks from this website.

And, while you're at Borders, why not pick up a copy of his SUPER book that contains such fabulous pearls of wisdom as:

"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)

"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 you're lucky, you might even be able to get Santorum's autograph! Could anything be more SUPER? Actually, if you're a woman, what would be really, really SUPER is if you wore an apron to show that you know your proper place! C'mon ladies!

Go To Church Brew Works Tonight!

From Comments from Left Field:

Ok folks, if you have been waiting for a good reason to attend Drinking Liberally here it is. On Thursday August 4 at 7:00 PM U.S. Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, Chuck Pennacchio, will be joining us at The Church Brew Works to talk about his campaign, answer your questions, and hopefully hoist a couple of pints in the name of liberals everywhere. I don't want to hear any excuses, if you want to see Rick Santorum gone in 2006 then this is your chance to meet one of his challengers.
Church Brew Works
Thursday, August 4 7-9 PM
3525 Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville

Local Rush Wannabe Fred Honsberger to Run for PA Senate?

From the Honsberger Is A Liar Blog:

Fred stated this morning that he's formed an exploratory committee to investigate a campaign against State Senator Sean Logan.

The platform is at Honzman.com
Anyone who can stand to listen to Fred's little local cable TV show on PCNC will know that I have been a frequent caller to that program over the years -- so much so that I have my own theme music on the show. Having listened to and challenged Fred on any number of issues, I can say without a doubt that I agree with the above blog:

Honsberger is a LIAR.

Fred lies as naturally as most folks breath.

If this isn't just some bullshit publicity stunt and he does run, he deserves to lose on the character issue alone.