I have no idea if the activities inside this vehicle comply with the law or not, but the color on the
outside of the limo ought to be illegal...
I have nothing against the Texadelphia Sandwich Shop (other than that a sprout-eater won't find much to eat
there), but if the Party Girls on the Go were feeling peckish, I hope they went to the restaurant on the left
with the subdued signage, Patu, one of the best Thai buffets in town.
Theodore Sorensen, adviser and speechwriter to John F. Kennedy, invited by Washington Monthly, writes the
Democratic candidate's acceptance speech
of his dreams. The only condition imposed on Sorensen by Washington Monthly was that his speech be suitable for
any Democratic candidate, not specific to one of the current front-runners.
Man, oh woman, can that fellow write a speech. Read it aloud. Listen to its cadences. Most importantly...
absorb its messages.
For obvious reasons, a Democrat of my generation cannot help mentally hearing the speech in the voice of JFK.
I don't see a JFK among our current group of candidates. But we don't need a JFK; we need a candidate as much
suited to our time and capable of responding to our crises as JFK was suited to his own time. In time, it will
become obvious who that candidate is. Perhaps it will be one of today's front-runners; perhaps not. But whoever
can persuasively deliver a speech like this one, whoever can deliver it convincingly, has not merely my vote
but my wholehearted support.
The Supreme Court ruled 53 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated education is inherently
unequal, and it ordered the nation’s schools to integrate. Yesterday, the court switched sides and told two
cities that they cannot take modest steps to bring public school students of different races together. It was a
sad day for the court and for the ideal of racial equality.
The nation is getting more diverse, but by many measures public schools are becoming more segregated. More than
one in six black children now attend schools that are 99 to 100 percent minority. This resegregation is likely
to get appreciably worse as a result of the court’s ruling.
There should be no mistaking just how radical this decision is. In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens
said it was his “firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with
today’s decision.” He also noted the “cruel irony” of the court relying on Brown v. Board of Education while
robbing that landmark ruling of much of its force and spirit. The citizens of Louisville and Seattle, and the
rest of the nation, can ponder the majority’s kind words about Brown as they get to work today making their
schools, and their cities, more segregated.
LET us now praise the Brown decision. Let us now bury the Brown decision.
With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling ending the use of voluntary schemes to create racial balance among
students, it is time to acknowledge that Brown’s time has passed. It is worthy of a send-off with fanfare for
setting off the civil rights movement and inspiring social progress for women, gays and the poor. But the
decision in Brown v. Board of Education that focused on outlawing segregated schools as unconstitutional is now
out of step with American political and social realities.
Oh, yes. "American political and social realities." That's what really matters, isn't it? Let's return to the
"realities" of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and "separate but equal" because that's what American politics
and American white society prefers? Oh yeah; that's a hell of an attitude toward civil rights... make them
subject to the whim of the moment. (Aside: Juan, just what part of yourself do you hate so much? And what is
that sound I hear? Thurgood Marshall turning in his grave?)
As the NYT editorialized, there is no way around it: this is a breathtakingly radical decision. It abrogates
utterly the notion that genuine social equality among our citizens requires full participation by all of
them in that most fundamental underpinning of any society: education. It denies the fundamental concept in
Brown v. Board, that separate is inherently unequal. The Court cannot change that fact. But it can, and
did, ignore it. What the Right calls agenda-based adjudication has never been more in evidence than it is in
Real people will suffer substantial economic harm... not to mention social harm... as a result of this decision.
How many more American people of color will now be forced to say, along with the great
"America never was America to me."
And so I echo Hughes: "Let America be America again." Do whatever it takes to reverse the effects of this
pernicious, malicious, racist, ill-conceived decision.
Samantha got to the sunny spot first. But Tabitha shows her who is top cat:
There are two kitty platforms, theoretically one for each cat. But one is in a west-northwest window and the
other (the one shown) is in an east-southeast window, which means that at most one gets good sunlight at a time.
That in turn means there's always a contest over who gets the sunny platform. This is one common resolution.
Amazingly, Samantha doesn't mind, at least not enough to forsake any sun she may be able to get despite
Tabitha's willful occlusion.
With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid
by finding grounds for mutual accommodation. We had hoped this matter could conclude with your Committees
receiving information in lieu of having to invoke Executive Privilege. Instead, we are at this conclusion.
The President's response to our subpoena shows an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what
is going on in their government.
Nixon, whose name has come up a lot recently, ultimately lost such a confrontation. These are different times,
and it's a different GOP deciding whether to back the preznit in literally anything he does, or give at least
some consideration to the well-being of country and party.
Heads up, folks... there's something in the air, and it isn't just a sense of excitement.
Q: Hey, Seamus, I understand you talk! Speak, Seamus! A: Arf!
Q: When Mitt goes on road trips with the family, where in the car do you ride? A: Roof!
Q: And what do you do when Mitt forgets you're up there? A: Barf!
Q: Really? A: Actually, sometimes I crap all over myself. And for the record, I do not find it amusing in the
least. Romney is a cruel abuser of animals. We should be placed in someone else's care, and Romney should face
charges for his cruelty.
Quorum Report Buzz
(sorry, no links to individual posts on the free version) and a brief google of news sites, we learn that the
dismissal of one indictment against DeLay by a lower court has been
by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals... that's our highest criminal court in the state... in a 5-4 decision:
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to reinstate a charge thrown out by a lower court that DeLay and two
associates conspired to violate Texas election law by funneling corporate money to Republican state legislature
candidates in 2002.
Corporate political donations are forbidden under Texas law, but the charge was dismissed on a legal
This is no surprise; the charge was dismissed by the lower court long ago. And DeLay is far from out of the
DeLay, the former U.S. House of Representative majority leader, still is charged with money laundering and
conspiracy to launder money, but has appealed the indictments on grounds they were politically motivated.
DeLay and former associates Jim Ellis and John Colyandro are accused of using corporate money illegally as part
of a campaign to win a Republican majority in the Texas Legislature in the 2002 election.
DeLay and his lawyer are still whining that it's all a partisan witch hunt on the part of prosecutor Ronnie
Earle. Yeah, yeah, Tom... tell it to the judge. The trial judge for those cases says he will start the trials
once DeLay's appeals to have the other pending charges dismissed are complete.
My advice, free and worth the price: keep popcorn on hand... but don't pop it yet.
White House, Cheney's office, subpoenaed
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office
Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's warrant-free eavesdropping program.
Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the
National Security Council.
The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal squabbles within the administration over the
legality of the program, said a congressional official speaking on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas
had not been made public.
Leahy's committee authorized the subpoenas previously as part of its sweeping investigation into how much
influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
As they said decades ago in "Bored of the Rings," the fewmets are about to hit the windmill...
A warning to commenters who navigate the HaloScan comment form using the Tab key: a new checkbox labeled
Notify me of followup comments via email
has been inserted between the comment textarea and the Publish/Preview buttons. This forces users to hit Tab
one more time than they have done for years to get to the Publish or Preview button.
I have no complaint with the concept of the service; indeed, I may actually use it occasionally. But if there's
a worse thing than needlessly breaking an interface familiar from years of use, I don't know what it is. I have
submitted a complaint on the HaloScan commenting forum, urging them to move the checkbox below the
All you fledgling programmers out there: think before you break an existing interface!
Josh Marshall, in a TPM Media video on Veracifier1, points out that Cheney won't let White House
security officials into the West Wing for routine spot checks... and, possibly in consequence, an actual
spy, since convicted, was caught taking documents in the OVP, and no, it wasn't Scooter Libby.
Apparently the preznit's office imposes similar restrictions on White House security staff, and apparently
administration officials are known to have failed to secure classified documents on quite a few occasions.
Go watch the video. The "good" stuff begins about halfway through. For the sake of our national security...
these people belong in prison.
1 Don't you love the baby-face? The Veracifier logo with the pacifier is pretty charming, too.
(Just kidding. I'd love to look as young as Josh does.)
Set your coffee cup down and have your favorite antacid handy. Much of this material is not news to those of us
who have followed this administration, but some of it is... and seeing it all assembled in four lengthy
articles, even if Becker and Gellman soft-pedal some aspects, is guaranteed to make your stomach turn.
Unlike the preznit, Cheney is detail-oriented, hands-on and relentless... no, ruthless... in pursuit of what he
wants. Laws, regulations and the Constitution be damned, Cheney has gotten what he wants at almost every turn
since he took office. His concept of the powers of the vice presidency essentially admits no limits whatsoever.
And what he wants can often only be reasonably described as unmitigated evil.
Read the four articles; see how truly dangerous this man is.
All four articles are essential reading for anyone who cares whether every American legitimately eligible to
vote in fact gets to vote. All three recent articles come to essentially the same conclusion: GOP voter caging
has in fact been racially discriminatory, and therefore a violation of federal law and the GOP's 1982 consent
Be sure to read the comment thread on drational's diary; there is much food for thought there. drational
points out that Palast's original article may have had the effect of discouraging actual GOP voter challenges
at the polls in 2004, noting that such challenges were rare. But his analysis of Duval County, FL makes it
clear that while no one appears to have been removed from the rolls (or challenged at the polls) based on caging
letters, the selection of addresses for the letters is overwhelmingly racially biased, and therefore illegal.
We Democrats have the American people on our side at the moment. But if we don't deal with the very real
possibility of widespread voter suppression in 2008, we are toast.
"... except for drugs." Thus spake an elderly woman on a jury panel during voir dire; I was present, and
that is a quote as nearly as I can remember... I think it's exact. The question was about an anonymous
informant's deposition that the prosecutor wanted to introduce; the defense attorney had asked about the Bill of
Rights, and that was the elderly woman's reply. When they came to me, I mentioned the confrontation clause in
the Sixth Amendment, adding that without seeing a witness and hearing him or her testify, I could not reasonably
evaluate the credibility of the testimony. The elderly woman was chosen for the jury. I was not. No real
Today, before the Supreme Court of the United States, that woman
got her wish.
The case was very different: a student unfurled a silly banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" in an attempt to
attract TV cameras as the Olympic torch went past in Juneau, Alaska in 2002. The banner was displayed near the
school, not on the grounds or in the building. The school's head teacher destroyed the banner and suspended
the student for 10 days. The principal backed the teacher. The ACLU and... get this... the ACLJ joined forces to
sue in behalf of the student, alleging (correctly... c'mon, how clear could a case be?) that the student's First
Amendment rights had been violated. Today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the student. Here's the core of
Chief Justice Roberts's majority opinion:
Chief Justice Roberts wrote: "The message on Frederick's banner is cryptic. But Principal Morse thought the
banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is
plainly a reasonable one."
The court found that schools "may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can
reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use".
This meant Mr Frederick's constitutional free speech rights were not violated by the confiscation of his banner
and his suspension, Chief Justice Roberts concluded.
Note that the student was not at school, and was clearly not seriously advocating the use of drugs. None of
that mattered to Chief Justice Roberts, who did not merely rule that the head teacher had the authority to
restrict student speech under some set of circumstances (proximity to the school, for instance), but went out of
his way to carve out a "drug-related speech" exception to the First Amendment.
Many high school seniors, particularly those born early in a calendar year, are old enough to vote, thanks to
the 26th Amendment. The student in question was 18 years old at the time of the incident, and thus a
full-fledged adult citizen for voting purposes.
So Chief Justice Roberts established in his majority opinion that an adult citizen who is a student may have his
or her First Amendment right of free speech restricted, off campus as well as on, by a teacher, if the subject
of the speech is illegal drugs.
Chief Justice Roberts believes in the Bill of Rights... except for drugs. I hope that old woman is happy
Here's something to think about: how did the drug laws come into being? Were they handed down from the heavens
on stone tablets? I presume rather that they were debated and voted on like any other law. So... how can people
debate the wisdom or even the efficacy of the drug laws, if they can't advocate changing them without hitting a
Standard disclaimer: I do not use illegal drugs. I have never used illegal drugs. In general, I do not
recommend using illegal drugs, though it seems to me that there are differing degrees of harm among drugs...
and occasional medical benefits to some people using some drugs... that render our current drug laws needlessly
draconian. (We won't even talk about effectiveness or nonuniform enforcement here; that's for another post.)
But this case was never about illegal drug use at all, or even really about advocacy of drug use. This
was about control of a young adult whose only offense was to speak out in a way that the head teacher didn't
like. There was no call, no real-world basis, for Chief Justice Roberts to create new law infringing previously
protected free speech. Roberts is behaving just as many of us predicted when he was nominated, just as Bush
surely intended, chipping away at our rights like a good Bush/Cheney lackey.
Cheney claims that he is in both the Executive and Legislative branches, and thus not subject to checks and
balances by any branch of government. Sing the song below to any leisurely tune that reminds you of the American
Old West. Pronounce "Judiciary" as five syllables. Pick your banjo if you like...
In the Congress they are strapping on their Legislative gun;
The Judiciary knows that it will have to join the fun;
Yes, and even the Executive can see what's coming soon...
It's a showdown with Dick Cheney at the Wrong Branch Saloon,
Dick Cheney's at the Wrong Branch Saloon, oh yeah,
Dick Cheney's at the Wrong Branch Saloon.
If you're lookin' for Doc Holliday, or maybe Wyatt Earp,
Or Bat Masterson, or Ed or James, all gunnin' for a perp,
Or the fictional Miss Kitty or the fabled Marshal Matt,
You won't find 'em facin' Cheney 'cause that isn't where he's at,
Dick Cheney's at the Wrong Branch Saloon, oh yeah,
Dick Cheney's at the Wrong Branch Saloon.
Deadeye Dick is claimin' now he's in the Legislative branch,
But he's also the Executive... you think he's lost the ranch?
And it's clear he thinks he'll face 'em down and beat 'em to the
Never mind that when he aims at quail he peppers friends-in-law...
Dick's aimin' at the Wrong Branch Saloon, oh yeah,
Dick's aimin' at the Wrong Branch Saloon.
When the Framers built our nation, they were sure someday, one man
Would attempt to take control and watch the horse-shit hit the fan,
So they made each branch a Sheriff facin' down the other two,
And the Congress and the Courts, they know exactly what to do,
Dick Cheney at the Wrong Branch Saloon, oh yeah,
Dick Cheney at the Wrong Branch Saloon.
Everyone knows I don't spread memes. But for
I'll at least participate in one, up to but not including tagging other bloggers. Here are the rules
as ellroon provided them:
All right, here are the rules.
We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about
their eight things and post these rules.
At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get
tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your
OK. Here goes...
I carry a small but heavy digital camera in my pocket almost every time I leave home, and I am shameless about taking pictures in public places... but NOT pictures of people.
When I write, I am obsessive about spelling and grammar, but not about punctuation.
I was once almost dumped from a moving VW microbus by its other occupants after I unleashed a truly terrible pun. I don't remember the pun.
My apartment contains over a dozen bookshelves, all approximately full. Still more books clutter every other horizontal surface, except for the computer table, but often including the dining table. Yet I continue to acquire books... and read most of them.
I love furry animals, and respect the rights of most non-furry ones as well. Mosquitos and cockroaches are exceptions: anything that sucks my blood or contaminates my space forfeits all benefits under my typical live-and-let-live approach.
I am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and have been so for over 25 years. No, it isn't difficult. No, I never judge what other people eat; it's a personal decision.
It is a rare moment that my sense of fairness does not override my occasional bad instincts.
I do not have great solo skills on the harpsichord, but I have a real knack for making up accompaniments from (i.e., "realizing") a figured bass. Now if only those skills transferred to reading jazz charts at the piano...
There. I suppose that wasn't too painful. As always, I tag... no one.
A couple of days ago I spent a pleasant evening finding various renditions of Tom Lehrer's works on YouTube.
Most of the songs, and even some of the animations, were familiar to me, but there was a pair of videos of a
live classroom performance (apparently) of songs I'd never run across before. The two videos are of a single
performance too long for YouTube; here are
All the songs are are about mathematics in one way or another. Enjoy!
(WARNING: the sociologists among you are guaranteed to be offended by at least one
song. You have been warned!)
In case? In case what? In case you want to buy them? (Silly, I know.)
I had hoped I would be ready to blog on Cheney's latest absurdity today, but fatigue, laziness, boredom and an
opportunity to spend some extended time with Stella got in the way. Perhaps I'll be ready tonight or tomorrow
to deal with America's one-man axis of evil. And I may even have one more silly post before the weekend is
You just washed your hard drive, and can't do a thing with it? Someone left the case out in the rain? Did all
that money-laundering leave your processor a bit damp? Try our...
You know our slogan... "There's Nothing Sinister About Us!"*
* Satisfaction not guaranteed. Not responsible for damage to hardware, software or data. Your drying time may
vary by processor speed. In certain cases, drying very wet computers has been known to cause framij widget bebop
shebam. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. Ad nauseam.
June 26 is the day. Four organizations, of which I belong to two (ACLU and Amnesty International), are rallying
outside the Capitol, urging Congress to "restore habeas corpus, fix the Military Commissions Act, and restore
all our constitutional rights."
Among other things (e.g., lobbying), the ACLU will be delivering a petition to Congress. Here is the content
of the petition:
RESTORE OUR RIGHTS
Delivery date: June 26, 2007
To My Members of Congress:
The Constitution and due process are in danger in America, as the Bush administration continues to run roughshod
over our most fundamental constitutional rights.
We can no longer stand on the sidelines while the president extinguishes the light of American values, our civil
liberties, and respect for law.
The America we know is disappearing, and the time to reverse this trend is now. I urge you to act immediately
Restore habeas corpus and due process.
Pass the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007.
End torture and abuse in secret prisons.
Stop extraordinary rendition: secretly kidnapping people and sending them to countries that torture.
Close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay and give those held there access to justice.
Investigate wrongdoing and ensure those who broke the law are held accountable.
Restore American values and the rule of law.
Our commitment to freedom and fairness has made America the great country that it is today.
That is why we’ve come together to demand that you act immediately to preserve the hard-won rights that define
us as a nation.
I stand with the ACLU and my fellow Americans, in person or in spirit, as we gather in Washington to restore our
America this June 26, 2007.
Sign the petition
In addition to the usual form, there's a field in which one may personally address the issues; here is what I
wrote in that field:
I am in my sixth decade on this earth. I have been an ACLU member for over half that time, but I never expected
to live to see the depth and breadth of constitutional violations and violations of fundamental principles such
as habeas corpus, not to mention flagrant disregard for the rule of law and the civil liberties of American
citizens and people of other nationalities, that the current presidential administration has perpetrated against
us in a short six years. Enough is enough. It is time to implement the seven principles listed on this
petition... right now.
I can't add much to that. Sign the petition. Attend if you can. As I said... enough is enough.
Military sources told The Examiner that U.S. Northern Command, established at Peterson Air Force Base in
Colorado in 2002, requested its own special operations command similar to ones assigned to overseas
war-fighting commands, such as U.S. Central Command.
The request was approved six months ago by the then-commander of NorthCom, Adm. Timothy Keating, who has
since moved to U.S. Pacific Command.
Keating’s decision, which “raised some eyebrows because of the sensitivity of deploying commandos domestically,”
is now being reviewed by the new NorthCom commander, Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart.
According to the linked Examiner article, a spokesman for NorthCom said that the new commander is reviewing the
matter, and has not made a decision to act on his predecessor's request. Good. He should not act on it. Using
military forces as domestic law enforcement, absent explicit authorization by Congress, has been
for over a century.
But why would anyone even think of requesting special ops forces for domestic use? What is in the works that
would require special ops at home? In the current domestic climate, considering the ongoing lawless behavior of
our civilian federal leadership, are we really to believe that this is counterterrorism?
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility
and move its terror suspects to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.
Senior administration officials said Thursday a consensus is building for a proposal to shut the center and
transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum-security military prison
at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where they could face trial.
President Bush's national security and legal advisers had been scheduled to discuss the move at a meeting
Friday, the officials said, but after news of it broke, the White House said the meeting would not take place
that day and no decision on Guantanamo Bay's status is imminent.
I am far from confident the White House will follow through in the manner one may imagine when reading the
article. For example, they may simply move detainees to locations where the administration is less liable to
be held accountable for their whereabouts, well-being, and due process rights. But any move that leads to
timely trials... or releases, when appropriate... for these illegally held detainees has to be a good move.
Until the U.S. begins complying with those "quaint" Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war... and Gitmo
detainees are in reality either prisoners of war or nothing legal at all... we are international scofflaws.
I'm not holding my breath for this to work out well. But the White House has certainly gotten my attention.
What's next? For those prisoners released without charge, and there are bound to be more than a few, will they
be compensated for the time they were held in violation of international law, not to mention any physical abuse
they suffered? If so, will pigs fly at the same time?
AT&T quietly offers $10 DSL plan
By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer
Mon Jun 18, 4:46 PM ET
NEW YORK - Without any sort of fanfare, AT&T Inc. has started offering a broadband Internet service for $10 a
month, cheaper than any advertised plan.
The DSL, or digital subscriber line, plan introduced Saturday is part of the concessions made by AT&T to the
Federal Communications Commission to get its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth Corp. approved last December.
The $10 offer is available to customers in the 22-state AT&T service region, which includes former BellSouth
areas, who have never had AT&T or BellSouth broadband, spokesman Michael Coe confirmed Monday. Local phone
service and a one-year contract are required. The modem is free.
The plan was not mentioned in a Friday news release about AT&T's DSL plans, and is slightly hidden on the AT&T
Web site. A page describing DSL options doesn't mention it, but clicking a link for "Term contract plans"
reveals it. It's also presented to customers who go into the application process, Coe said.
What a deal... they have to offer it, but they don't have to advertise it. There are more details in the
article. This doesn't affect me; even if the offer extends to areas once covered by SBC, it supplies only the
lowest DSL speed, and I've grown addicted accustomed to something a little faster. But if the offer
applies to you, and you're still on dialup, or you're on DSL but paying a fortune, here's your chance. (Thanks,
Broadband is widespread in virtually every industrialized nation other than the U.S. Is it possible that we are
missing a fundamental point about our economic infrastructure? I can't help feeling our domestic internet
facilities would be much better today if President Gore, the one we elected in 2000, had actually taken the
office he legitimately won. In any case, the relative scarcity of such infrastructure among the American public
is bound to be costing Republan-owned as surely as Democratic-owned businesses. But our federal government, for
the most part, declines to invest in facilitating inexpensive public access to such infrastructure. In fairness,
many local governments are doing somewhat better. But as for any federal government plan to see to it that
everyone can afford broadband, the famous "bridge to the 21st century" seems to have been blown out
by the "budgetary IED of Bush's perpetual wars." As the GOP sees it, there's plenty of money for blowing things
up, but damned little for building things up. Remember that in November 2008.
Mustang Bobby's post
regarding the scientific and moral absurdity of Bush's veto of legislation allowing stem cell research hits
particularly close to home.
In 1990, my mother died of Alzheimer's disease, and if death can ever be a blessing, her death was very much so:
a release for her, and a relief for all of us who knew and loved her, who cried time and again as her mind
slipped away, frustrated in our knowledge that medical science could do nothing for her.
With a stroke of the pen, Mr. Bush quite likely enabled many more such illnesses, many more such deaths, and a
continuation of very probably avoidable grief for millions of families.
The most significant joke I heard in my childhood, one we've all heard many times and one that should influence
everyone's thinking, runs something like this: "Q: How many legs has an elephant, if you call the trunk a leg?
A: Four: calling the trunk a leg doesn't make it a leg." Neither does calling a few cells otherwise destined for
the disposal a human being make those cells a human being.
Using such cells for medical purposes is far from abortion: on the contrary, discarding those cells is a
criminal waste of a potentially lifesaving byproduct of a process by which people who otherwise couldn't have
children are sometimes able to have those children.
And Mr. Bush's assertion that there are other sources of stem cells that could be used in research toward
treating truly devastating diseases is, like so much that comes out of his mouth, a deliberate twisting of the
truth: it is possible that such sources may be available someday, but how many people must suffer and die for
Mr. Bush's fantasies in the meantime?
Remember, we're talking about real people, both children and adults. People who no one disputes are human.
People in agony. People whose families suffer greatly. People who die, possibly needlessly. People, vastly more
people at any given moment than have been killed on both all sides of the Iraq war.
Bush's "moral" decision... I'm sorry, but I think his calculation is at best political, not moral, no matter
what he says... has the potential to kill people on a scale vastly exceeding his present capacity to do so.
But the real outrage is that Bush's decision may be rooted neither in morals nor in politics. I have observed
the man for six years longer than most Americans, and if there's one characteristic of Bush that exceeds both
his arrogance and his whose-is-longer mentality, it's his meanness. I cannot help thinking Bush likes
making people suffer and die... and this is one more opportunity.
And that was for one occurrence of the word "torture." Doesn't "CONDOM" count for anything? How about "VIAGRA"?
I thought I deserved at least an NC-17...
As I noted on
Bryan's comment thread,
word counts are an absurd way to rate anything. How many times will a serious medical site about BREAST cancer
mention the word "BREASTS"? How often will a keep-kids-off-DRUGS site mention "COCAINE" or "MARIJUANA"?
And I think my blog is very much suited to children... bright, older children from Democratic households,
children in the formative years of their political outlook. I mean, it's not as if I'm showing your TEEN
SEX-related stuff, right? After all, there are no EROTIC or PORNOGRAPHIC PICTURES on the site, and none of my
regular readers are BABES in the woods!
(There. I hope that BUMPS up my rating a couple of POINTS. I need the hits; the whole purpose of this
site is to PRICK people's consciences, and I can't do that if they don't COME here!)
Technical note: you can't rate the YDD based on its index.html page, which just redirects. If you use that, or
don't use any something.html page name at all after the domain, I get a "G" rating. Now that would be
we have Jerid's
on Buckeye State Blog of how he was denied access to an Obama event that was open to the public...
because Jerid is a blogger, and therefore, in the opinion of one Obama staffer, a member of the press. Never
mind that Jerid is also a phone-banking, block-walking, door-hanger-hanging Democratic activist; he is also a
blogger, and thus not to be admitted to Obama's "Faith, Action, Change" forum in New Hampshire:
"Oooooooh, I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave," she shot back. "These events are closed to the press."
I understand that this was a mistake by one staffer of a state campaign. I cannot hold it against Obama
personally. But neither can I overlook it altogether: rejecting the netroots is a serious mistake by any
Democratic campaign. Obama's campaign had better get a clue if their candidate is to merit continued serious
I've chosen my candidate: Digby for President! I guarantee you a speech like you've never seen before in
your life: no one could have represented the liberal blogosphere better than Digby at the Take Back America
There may be a surprise in store for you. I can't guarantee you a surprise, but I certainly experienced one. You
may be as surprised as I was. Or not. But I know you won't be disappointed!
provides a long summary... long because it has to be, and no longer than it has to be... of trouble spots in
Asia and the Middle East which the U.S. (among others) must cope with. It's a sobering read.
Cue the Kingston Trio in Sheldon Harnick's miniature
concludes: "... What Nature doesn't do to us / Will be done by our fellow man."
(This has been your Cheery Morning Thought™, a public service provided intermittently by the YDD.)
According to the
New York Times,
Fox and CBS have rejected a recent commercial for Trojans condoms. According to descriptions, the commercial
depicts a pig at a bar, hitting on a woman who is unreceptive. The pig goes to the men's room, buys a condom,
and returns to the bar transformed into a handsome young man. The tag line is something like "Evolve. Use a
condom every time."
Fox refused comment, but Trojans published the rejection they received from Fox:
Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy.
Huh? Contraceptive advertising must not stress contraception? WTF (so to speak)?
CBS was a little more coherent, but no more sensible:
... while we understand and appreciate the humor of this creative, we do not find it appropriate for our network
even with late-night-only restrictions.
The FCC is always talking about something "obscene" ... these rejections are obscene. In TV commercials, you can
sell anything with sex... except condoms, one of the few things that would actually do some social good. And
it's not just a matter of selling sex-related items: you can sell Viagra in a TV commercial full of visual
innuendoes. But apparently you can't sell condoms that way.
At this point, I'd say that Fox and CBS are the pigs... but that would be a gross injustice to actual pigs.
Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld,
the song was originally written for (pardon me... I'm having to control my laughter just to write this...) an
Air Canada ad. Could anything make Hillary look more ridiculous?
(My original post follows...)
It's rare enough that I quote an entire
post from TPM,
but it's a short one, and I couldn't have said it better myself:
Okay, I think we may have both the necessary and sufficient reason why Hillary Clinton shouldn't be allowed to
her campaign song is by Celine Dion.
Truly too horrifying to comtemplate.
I don't know the song, but I do know the singer. Sigh...
UPDATE: you can view the video
on YouTube, at least if it isn't pulled down by the time you get there. The song is... well... painful, and the
wobble in Dion's voice is particularly in evidence in this video. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Despite all the emerging evidence, Bush, Cheney and their henchmen just keep committing crimes
and constitutional violations. Apparently, they think they are men of (ahem) unimpeachable character.
Here's my answer to Bush and Cheney about their arrogant assumption. Sing it to the obvious old Nat "King" Cole
tune (here's a "borrowed"
you'll have to skip the intro)...
That's what you ain't,
No, you're no saint.
Like a clod of crap that clings to us,
Your malfeasance does such things to us.
A prez such a whore...
Like hell, no way!
In forever more?
No, you'll not stay!
That's why this conclusion's reachable,
That someone who's so impeachable,
Thinks that he is
UPDATE:Spencer Ackerman writing for TPMMuckraker
has more to say about the limits originally placed on Taguba's investigation, and on what may possibly have
emerged had Taguba truly been allowed a free hand, not placed in a "box":
Separate Interrogation Rules For Special Forces?
By Spencer Ackerman - June 18, 2007, 3:58 PM
Sy Hersh's piece on the stifling of General Antonio Taguba's inquiry into Abu Ghraib begs a big question: What
would Taguba have uncovered if he had been free to investigate?
Buried within three of the Pentagon's official investigations into torture, there's plenty of circumstantial
evidence to suggest that the answer is a separate, harsher set of rules for detainee and interrogation
operations led by Special Operations Forces -- the elite units specializing in unconventional warfare -- than
those that apply for the rest of the U.S. military. Yet none of the inquiries follows through on how highly
trained SOF units, increasingly important in the war on terrorism, could have created detention facilities so
brutal as to give them the motto "No Blood, No Foul" absent official guidance.
Do the policies that led to Abu Ghraib continue today, driven by a separate and largely secret set of
interrogation rules for Special Operations Forces? Ackerman's post treats the matter in considerable depth,
citing documents, investigations and possible deliberate obstruction of Army CID inquiries. It's troubling
reading... troubling but required in my opinion.
(My original post follows...)
Pure and simple: Gen. Antonio Taguba was punished... his career was destroyed by Rumsfeld et al... because he
did his job, investigated Abu Ghraib for real, and informed his superiors, who clearly didn't want to know.
Sy Hersh tells Wolf Blitzer
the broad outlines.
Hersh's New Yorker article
gives the details.
Rumsfeld not only did this, he lied to Congress about who knew what, when. No matter who ordered the actions at
Abu Ghraib, no matter how closely Rumsfeld did or did not supervise those actions, he deserves to be in jail at
least for lying to Congress. The video gives you the basics of why I say that, but you really need to read
Hersh's article to comprehend the breadth and depth of the crimes committed.
The article will also give you a good picture of Gen. Taguba... his dedication, his character, and his ultimate
and in my opinion legitimate sense that he had been betrayed by Rumsfeld for doing what he (Taguba) was
assigned to do, and doing it well.
This is a pattern in the Bush administration: good people, people who have served our country their entire lives
and served it well, are sacrificed, their careers and reputations utterly destroyed, to protect bad actors in
the highest ranks of government. The most outrageous aspect is how often the bad actors succeed in their mission
of protecting those higher up. E.g., Scooter Libby succeeded in his mission beyond Cheney's wildest dreams.
You know, a good impeachment of the purported president and vice president would clean up a lot of this. And as
cracks appear in the wall of silence, it may not be all that difficult to accomplish.
UPDATE 3:It's 10:57pm, and it's Councilmember Melissa Noriega! Unofficial
returns from the county web site, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, show Noriega won 13,704-11,012, which
is 55.45%-44.55%. Welcome, Councilmember Noriega!
UPDATE 2: It's 10:43pm, and it's been well over an hour since any new results have
been posted on the county web site. Where TF are they? This isn't rocket science! Look... I my own self
(that's a Molly-ism) am calling this one for Melissa Noriega. If someone else does so, I'll report it. It's
time to break out the good stuff and celebrate.
UPDATE 1: It's been 40 minutes since any new data has been posted to the county
web site. We're holding at 80 percent reporting, 56-44 percent for Noriega.
As I write this, 80 percent of precincts are reporting, and it's about 56%-44% for Ms. Noriega. Of course,
anything can happen, but I anticipate that Melissa will take her seat on City Council. Others can analyze where
those votes came from; that's not my kind of politics, but I'm very grateful there are people who like to do
I will make a couple of observations...
From the first election run with eSlate systems to the one tonight, reporting of vote totals has been
consistently slow. What's with that? If they're still hand-carrying the machines to the County Clerk, that's
no bad thing; it beats risking vote totals over internet or dialup channels (yes, the machines are capable
of that, but how vulnerable to modification would that be). But the polls closed at 7:00pm, and there
is only one race on the ballot in Houston; it just seems to me that electronic voting, with all its risks,
should at least compensate by making matters quicker.
I also noticed that Ms. Noriega's opponent received very slightly more of the absentee vote, while Ms.
Noriega received overwhelmingly more of the early vote. I can't say anything is wrong, but isn't that a bit
odd? Any explanations?
Anyway, thanks to each and every one of you in the roughly 2.5% of eligible voters in the City of Houston who
came out and actually voted for Ms. Noriega, especially those of you who came out on this day of thunderstorms.
From what we've all seen of her performance in the Lege, I expect great things from her on City Council.
Ignore the signs; concentrate on the little guy on the unicycle on the wire. Do you ever feel as if your life
is his life?
The poor fellow entertains patrons of Another Time, an historically restored ice cream parlor in Rosenburg,
TX. We highly recommend Another Time, not for the service (which is variable and sometimes abysmal),
but for their authentic shakes, sundaes and old-fashioned sodas. I wonder if they feed the unicyclist
something sugary if he slows down and is in danger of falling off...
Today is the day that Houstonians will place Melissa Noriega on City Council, in At-Large Position 3. If you
live here, I ask YOU to vote for Ms. Noriega in today's runoff. The choice is clear: Ms. Noriega's 27
years of experience in leadership on the job, in the community and in the State Legislature, vs. an opponent
whose campaign was largely against Scary Brown People, an opponent who was sued for not paying his bills from
the last campaign he ran, an opponent... well, you get the idea. Ms. Noriega is the real deal, and has
from business associations and labor unions, from police and firefighters, from many city and state
officeholders, from the
from many individual Democrats and Republicans, across the social
and political spectrum of our fair city. Now it's up to you Houstonians to see that she takes the office
for which she is so outstandingly well-qualified. Please go vote today (Saturday).
is how to find your polling place, which may be different from your usual location. Thank you for your vote.
(This post will float to the top throughout Saturday.)
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