March 31, 2005
"'I carry a pocket-sized edition of the Constitution with me every where I go, whether I'm back home in West Virginia or speaking out on the Senate floor. Now you can, too. You can download and print the DSCC's exclusive personal Constitution.' Byrd's appeal accuses Republicans of threatening to 'undermine the system of checks and balances described in the Constitution and the fundamental rights we hold dear' by changing the rules governing confirmation of judges.
'The best way to defend the Constitution is to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate.'"
(More after shameless personal plug picture...)
I got my pocket Constitution from Cato--a group that comes pretty close to being the antithesis of the DSCC. They obviously swing right, but had something to say when Congress overstepped its bounds last week:
"'Republicans today are as guilty, almost, as the Democrats were over their long reign in power,' said Roger Pilon, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, a group that advocates limited government and individual rights. 'Now that they find themselves in power they are not at all reluctant to use government for the ends they favor.'"
Good old Pilon, always managing to take a good natured shot at the dems even when he's condemning republicans. As he told us kids in DC, they're both wrong--evil bifurcators, they are. Little DC humor for you there.
"There remains much to process in the Schiavo matter. Why did so many Americans become emotionally bound to the case of this woman? Why did they care so much for this one life? Are they as concerned about the lives of civilians killed during military actions in Iraq? Or those who die in the United States because they lack access to quality health care? How far does the "culture of life" extend? (CNN broke from a noontime White House press conference on the release of a new report on WMD intelligence to return to its coverage of the Schiavo story.) George W. Bush and the Republican congressional leaders believed it was necessary for the federal government to intervene in this case, why did they not take further action after the federal courts turned down the Schindlers' appeals? DeLay, for one, argued that the federal court decisions were an arrogant usurpation of power because, in his view, these judges disregarded the law passed by Congress. If that was indeed the case, then shouldn't Congress have appealed those decisions to the Supreme Court or passed another law? But DeLay and the others choose to do nothing—after polls showed their intervention was tremendously unpopular with the American public. So how much did they care about Terri the person as opposed to Terri the issue?"
March 29, 2005
"'John Bolton's insistence that the UN is valuable only when it directly serves the United States, and that the most effective Security Council would be one where the US is the only permanent member, will not help him to negotiate with representatives of the remaining 96 percent of humanity,' read the letter from the former diplomats, who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations."
Hopefully the committee will take their advice...though if he's confirmed it wouldn't be the first time someone got the job in spite of great opposition.
March 25, 2005
It's not enough that in diagnosing Terri Schiavo, Faux News (Nancy Grace on Headline News, for that matter) is relying on sketchy doctors who have been on the end of more disciplinary action than Nobel peace prizes (non-existent ones at that). Now they've gotta bring in a psychic--John Edward.
DOOCY: So she may not be able to talk with her brain, but she can with her soul --
EDWARDS: But she's clear on what's going -- and I can tell you that she's definitely clear on what's happening now around her.
That's pure medical science talking. South Park can tell you all you need to know about this guy.
"I am not a douche!"
March 24, 2005
"'I look at it as a library. I look at it as our version of the radio,' Tweedy said. 'It's a place where basically we can encourage fans to be fans and not feel like they're being exploited, which is basically what the whole industry is geared to do.'
Tweedy encourages fans to tape Wilco shows and has distributed tracks over the Internet for free months before releasing them on CDs.
He agrees artists should be compensated, but 'you try to encourage people to feel more like a patron of the arts instead of a consumer.'"
File sharing creates a more level playing field for independent artists.
March 23, 2005
"'My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing,' said Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut"
"Tomas Borge, the former interior minister who is currently No. 2 in the Sandinista Party, said the United States is using a complaint about surface-to-air missiles left over from the war to try to derail a bid by Ortega to retake the presidency in elections next year.
"'The United States is trying once again to meddle in Nicaragua's internal affairs, because they are desperate and scared by a certain Sandinista victory in the upcoming elections,' Borge, the party's vice-secretary, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview."
March 22, 2005
I couldn't not post about this--I'm really out of touch with TV, since I don't have cable...but it looks like the networks might be attempting to crawl out of the programming cesspool that is reality TV by cranking out some new comedies. And by god, Steve Carrell is starring in one of them--The Office. I might just have to call my cable company.
I don't know what we're yelling about!!
Update: I was giving NBC too much credit--it's not an original series, it's an attempt to duplicate the success of the British series The Office.
March 16, 2005
ANWR oil output
Karen Wayland, legislative director at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), on today's Senate vote to authorize drilling in ANWR:
"Drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge won't make a dent in gas prices at the pump or break our dependence on Middle East oil.
"This was really a vote for Big Oil, not for the solid majority of Americans who oppose turning America's last great wilderness into a vast, polluted oil field.
"President Bush and his Senate allies resorted to a sneaky budget maneuver to get their way. Now, Congress is one step closer to trading away an irreplaceable national treasure for a few drops of oil that we wouldn't see for a decade or more.
"If the oil industry can drill in the Arctic Refuge, then no place, no matter how pristine, will be safe."
March 14, 2005
March 13, 2005
Slow beats seething
Through the screens in
The open windows
After we stayed lying
So long in bed
Both of us reading
And looking up occasionally
Looking up occasionally
You're doing your thing
And I am doing mine
More a formality
Cuz we can feel we
Are of one mind
Sheets still warm
Around our feet
Life comes easy
Your sweet company
Making it so complete
Of all the Monday through Fridays
We joined the crusade
Of all the Saturday nights
In which we were made
Of all the exorcisms
I've done with your ghosts
Still it's Sunday morning
I miss you the most
"Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production."
Ironic, especially considering this is the message being sent:
"'There needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press,' Mr. Bush told reporters in January, explaining why his administration would no longer pay pundits to support his policies."
March 11, 2005
The Sunshine in Government Initiative seeks to combat what the groups see as increased government secrecy since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The coalition will lobby for legislation and seek to educate the public about First Amendment issues."
OMG! ur j/k, right? LMAO, b4 I used AIM, I sooo wuz a bad writer, LOL!
...I won't hesitate to block you if you type like that.
I can actually vouch for this--e-mailing, IMing, texting, ehem...blogging--all good practice, especially when one is trying to hone one's rapier wit.
March 10, 2005
I've gotta get on this...when I have enough harddrive space to download iPodder (I've only got enough room for music now, which brings up another point--why can't you access music on your iPod when you connect it to your computer?).
Not everyone believes the rapture will be a cure-all for environmental degradation. These Evangelical leaders are diverging from Reaganite Cornucopians, taking stock in data on the very real impact of global warming, and urging environmental action. Imagine, tree-huggers banning together with an otherwise right-wing group of 30 million+ Christians, bearing slogans like "What Would Jesus Drive?" Interesting prospects for bridging the cultural gap.
After a memo between Bush and Gonzales allowed the Hague to have jurisdiction in calling for new hearings for 51 prisoners on death row (wha?! White House and international law??), the State Department announced the U.S. would reject the protocol that allows opponents of the death penalty to fight sentencing of foreigners. Ah yes, that's more like it.
"'It's a sore-loser kind of move,' Professor Spiro said. 'If we can't win, we're not going to play.'"
WaPo columnist sounds like a tool trying to explain the subtle nuances of Snoop Dogg’s brand of “nuevo pig latin”
“Throughout the years, other hip-hop artists would add -izzle suffixes or 'iz' infixes to their lyrics. Retired-yet-still-recording rapper Jay-Z spouted in Snoop Dogg's 'Drop It Like It's Hot (Remix)': 'Got haters on my jizzock / plus the frickin cizzops / all of whom want to hit me with shizzots til I drizzop.' Then Snoop D-O-Double Gizzle, as he sometimes calls himself, added fuelizzle to the fizire with 'Doggy Fizzle Televizzle,' which began airing in 2003 with characters such as schoolteacher Mr. Dizzle.'"
Mainstream media trying to decipher the world of hip-hop...hi-larious.
On a related note--a self-deprecating Jon Stewart pointed out that no one could be more awkward than himself, "Whitey McWhitington," in discussing "pizzeace in the Mizzeast."
March 09, 2005
Lionel Lewis debunks the myth that pinko professors are defiling the youth. (Turns out Washington's "Vulcans" are a product of the very same institutions that are accused of having a liberal faculty that's inhospitable to conservatives).
Also, shockingly enough, college students are mostly intelligent people who can ::gasp:: think for themselves, so they mostly aren't blindly led by their professors (even if they are all commies to begin with...which they're not...thought I'd clarify, in case you weren't following my oh so subtle sarcasm):
"Indeed, it has long been known that it hardly matters what professors teach students. What matters is what they come away with—and that is pretty much what they bring with them when they first set foot on campus. The broadest range of ideas can be found on all but the most doctrinal campuses, and students can readily find a niche without having to change their beliefs. Research spanning six decades has shown that the effect of college on the attitudes, values, religiosity, and political views of students, on elite campuses and elsewhere, is almost nil. In light of this research, it hardly makes a difference if the professoriate is mostly liberal or conservative, teaching Leo Tolstoy or Leon Trotsky."
March 08, 2005
In recognition of progressive change enacted by women, Amy Goodman interviewed Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of Kenya's Green Belt movement on Democracy Now.
March 07, 2005
I had the opportunity (for which I am grateful, despite the fact that I have some serious qualms with his politics) to sit at a conference table with Bolton at the State Department and ask him a question last year. I brought up a report from the daily Ha'aretz from February 2003, when he told Israeli officials that "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea after Gulf War Redux." I asked him to reevaluate this in light of the situation in Iraq, and he gave me the brush off, scoffing, "well, you weren't there, so..." So it's personal--the man is on my shit list. If there is any way to oppose his nomination, I am there.
"Who vants a mustache ride!!"
March 06, 2005
"Dean won't be alone. The progressive infrastructure that helped keep Kerry alive and began crafting a sharper Democratic message--America Votes, Progressive Majority, Camp Wellstone, Democracy for America, Center for American Progress, Air America Radio, Media Matters, the blogosphere--now exerts a greater degree of influence, bankrolled by new, wealthy outsiders and small donors who share similar goals. George Soros and Peter Lewis have pledged $100 million over the next fifteen years to support a permanent idea factory rivaling right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the mushy centrism of the DLC's Progressive Policy Institute. 'We've come to represent a way of doing politics that is dangerous to people in DC who have a nice little niche,' says MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser. 'Bringing in the grassroots will mean a loss of influence for some of the establishment folks.'"
March 05, 2005
I was sitting next to him November 17th when he asked this question:
MOKHIBER: Kofi Annan, in September, he said that the war in Iraq is an illegal war. If it's an illegal war, then the 100,000 who have died there, according to the Johns Hopkins School, are victims of war crimes. Now, the President is going to Canada later this year, and the largest circulation newspaper in Canada yesterday wrote a column, printed a column titled "Should Canada Indict Bush?" -- raising question of a war crimes prosecution. They have a war crimes law in Canada. And I'm wondering, has the general counsel --
MR. McCLELLAN: Do you have a question, or is this just a statement of opinion?
MOKHIBER: It's a question. Has the White House Counsel looked at the President's legal exposure to a war crimes prosecution?
MR. McCLELLAN: Russ, I think that it's a ridiculous question that you bring up. You were out on the Nader campaign, I think, at the time when this issue came up, and we addressed it at that time. And I'm not going to go back through it again.
It was impossible transcribing the gaggle for Talk Radio News because McClellan was so effective at making his responses free of any useful information.
Yes, they let me in the press room. And I'm not even a prostitute for the military.
I'm in the Press Room, derp!
Why do I look like I'm 14?
March 04, 2005
"Web logs have become a popular forum for dissent. And the Iranian government has responded by arresting dozens of bloggers."
Hilal states that the government of Sudan directed all military activities of the militia forces he had recruited. 'All of the people in the field are led by top army commanders,' he told Human Rights Watch on videotape. '…These people get their orders from the Western command center, and from Khartoum.'
'Musa Hilal squarely contradicts the government's claim that it has 'no relationship' with local militias,' said Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division.'"
What you can do about Darfur.
...but apparently delegates stopped pushing for an amendment because they thought they'd reached an understanding with UN leaders. Reminds me of something Jeb Bush said in Florida after the gay marriage initiatives, that an amendment would be redundant when coupled with the DOMA, which already sufficiently "defended" marriage.
March 03, 2005
Stern calls for progressive change:
"The economic policy of the Democratic Party, he says, ''is basically being opposed to Republicans and protecting the New Deal. It makes me realize how vibrant the Republicans are in creating 21st-century ideas, and how sad it is that we're defending 60-year-old ideas.'' Like big labor, Stern says, the party needs to challenge its orthodoxy -- and its interest groups -- if it wants to put forward a program that makes sense for new-economy workers."
He proposed to divert half the AFL-CIO's funds into organizing a revolutionary union movement, but the idea was voted down . Stern had threatened to leave the AFL-CIO, but he hasn't said yet if he will stick to that plan.
Join the Purple Ocean.
March 02, 2005
I think that life would suddenly seem wonderful to us if we were threatened to die as you say. Just think of how many projects, travels, love affairs, studies, it--our life--hides from us, made invisible by our laziness which, certain of a future, delays them incessantly.
But let all this threaten to become impossible for ever how beautiful it would become again! Ah! if only the cataclysm doesn't happen this time, we won't miss visiting the new galleries of the Louvre, throwing ourselves at the feet of Miss X, making a trip to India.
The cataclysm doesn't happen, we don't do any of it, because we find ourselves back in the heart of normal life, where negligence deadens desire. And yet we shouldn't have needed the cataclysm to love life today. It would have been enough to think that we are humans, and that death may come this evening.
Seeing him live the other night reaffirmed my commitment to journalism. He described the ideal journalist as being someone who is disciplined, insatiable curious, and a good student--one that takes a test and quickly forgets the information, moving onto the next thing. He said "journalists get paid to write things they know nothing about" and that he thinks of himself as an "amateur--a lover of all things."
He contrasted journalism with poetry--something else I love. He described poetry as a medium that allows much more freedom and unabashed truth than journalism. Journalists are bound by caution, lest they become pundits.
The audience was riveted, you could hear the collective "hmphs" of thoughtful assent, the warmth of admiration palpable in the packed auditorium. He spoke with such clarity and honesty, with insight and profundity but without pretense. We really need more like him.
jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.