After all, he's on record as having contributed a large amount to the McCain campaign. Indeed, in the true
Republican spirit, Rick Hilton attempted to give the McCain campaign twice as much as the law allows.
Miraculously, the excess was returned by the campaign. Didn't the worker who returned it understand that
I understand this is part of McLame's attempt to go negative. But showing one's opponent appearing on the world
stage, before hundreds of thousands of cheering people, does not seem the wisest way to tag him as incapable of
leadership. If I were running against a handsome, well-spoken man in the prime of middle age, I don't think I'd
use my own advertising dollars to show him at his world-dazzling best.
Then again, what do I know... apparently, the polls are close in some battleground states. And we know from
previous (s)elections that McShame need only come close; he doesn't actually have to win to take the office.
Maybe Contemptuous Karl has it figured just right: maybe Americans really don't give a damn enough to respond
with outrage to outrageous campaigning.
Set aside the fraught question of when human life begins. The new debate: When does pregnancy begin?
The Bush Administration has ignited a furor with a proposed definition of pregnancy that has the effect of
classifying some of the most widely used methods of contraception as abortion.
A draft regulation, still being revised and debated, treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as
abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation
considers that destroying "the life of a human being."
Many medical groups disagree. They hold that pregnancy isn't established until several days after conception,
when the fertilized egg has grown to a cluster of several dozen cells and burrowed into the uterine wall.
Anything that disrupts that process, in their view, is contraception.
The draft regulation, circulating within the Department of Health and Human Services, would have no immediate
effect on the legality of the pill or the IUD if implemented because abortion is legal. But opponents fear it
would undercut dozens of state laws designed to promote easy access to these methods of birth control, used by
more than 12 million women a year.
Dozens of Congressional Democrats -- including presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama -- have signed letters
of protest blistering the proposal. His Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, declined to comment.
Set aside the exasperating question of when a news organization injects opinion directly into a news article.
Surprisingly few news sites covered this, and the WSJ was the most prominent of them.
This is, of course, an election year ploy. If Obama is elected president... admittedly a big "if" in these days
of baldfaced GOP election theft... such a regulation would be almost immediately reversed next year. And we
won't even waste virtual ink here on the subject of how many Republicans themselves depend on contraception...
or abortion. (Yes, I spoke of the Republicans' dirty little secret hypocrisy. Deal with it, GOPers.)
What is significant is the attitude Bush and McCain and their right-wing radical fundamentalist base display
toward women. It's not enough for them to prevent abortion: they have to punish women for being women. If it
requires them to eviscerate scientific truths to do so, they are more than willing. To McCain and Bush, truth...
and women's health... are small prices to pay for power.
Any woman who votes for McCain is voting to compromise her own health... and that of her daughters and
And For Veep - He's Kidding, Right? - UPDATED AGAIN
If Obama's vice presidential search team does indeed prevail upon him to pick
I'm outta there. I mean it. And I'm sure I'm not the only Democrat who feels that way.
Think about this for a moment: a Democratic president with a Republican vice president, in an era in which the
worst Republicans have shown themselves willing to do literally anything to grasp and hold power. Where does
that lead? Right. Are you scared yet? You should be.
offers a broader perspective of Obama's veep considerations, which apparently include Kaine, Bayh and Biden.
None of those names make me dance in the streets, but most Democrats or even DINOs are preferable to Veneman.
Regarding a couple of sites on the blogroll... where are you,
Blanton's and Ashton's?
The former domain seems to have lapsed, and the latter seems to have become a member-only site. Please check in
here, and I'll restore you to the blogroll.
Most of the sign photos on this site are my own, but this one, (ahem) "borrowed" from Susan DuQuesnay Bankston's
Kiss My Big Blue Butt (scroll down from
the link), was just too good to pass up. According to Susan, one of her regulars found the store with this
sign somewhere in Schulenberg.
... where, depending on your browser, "Tab" is "Tabitha" or "tabbed." This pic of Tabitha is a couple of months
old now, but these days, she has recovered to the point at which she looks just about healthy enough to match
the glow of her earlier days:
Her vision is considerably restored in one eye, and she responds with enthusiasm to people and food. We should
all be so healthy when we reach 173 human years... (Actually, I have no idea of the correspondence, but Tabitha
will be 20 on Election Day.)
AG Mukasey seems to have gone stark, raving crazy. Not happy with the ruling in Boumediene v. Bush
granting detainees habeas corpus, he is asking Congress to pre-empt the courts... and of
course the Constitution... in spelling out the rules under which "enemy combatant" detainees will be tried.
Here is the
list of Mukasey's requests:
Among the rules Mukasey is seeking:
Barring federal courts from allowing the detainees to be brought or released into the United States. He said
detainees could participate in the court hearings by video link from Guantanamo if necessary. "Many of them pose
an extraordinary threat to Americans," he said.
Protecting counterterror intelligence gathered and used to detain the suspects from being turned over to
Prohibiting detainees charged with war crimes from challenging their capture until after they stand trial.
Additionally, detainees should not be allowed to appeal their imprisonment under more than one legal standard.
Assigning one federal court, and one judge, to oversee the detainee release cases to make sure they are heard
in a coordinated effort.
Underscoring that the United States has the authority to detain suspects it has identified as enemy combatants.
"The United States has every right to capture and detain enemy combatants in this conflict, and need not simply
release them to return to the battlefield __ as indeed some of them have," Mukasey said.
It is almost as if he never read the recent court rulings on behalf of detainees. (I haven't either; I've read
only summaries. But I'm not the AG.) Worse, in this day and age, I cannot rest assured that Congress will not at
least attempt to give him what he wants. Of course, that would yield the mother of all legal battles, as the
ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights attempt to protect some minimal shred of constitutional due
process rights. But one cannot even assume, as one could have a few decades ago, that such a challenge would be
An aside: why is the AG of the United States making a policy announcement at a right-wing think-tank? And why
did the full text appear to be available only through a paid service?
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Republican John McCain today credited the recent $10-a-barrel drop in the price of oil to
President Bush's lifting of a presidential ban on offshore drilling, an action he has been advocating in his
Oooo...kay, where does that lead us? Look at this graph from a
BBC article today:
As the Beeb puts it, "The oil price has risen more than five-fold since 2000."
Notice that the increase cannot be even primarily blamed on 9/11/2001. Notice also that this is a zero-based
graph... no funny stuff. And finally, notice that McCain's much-ballyhooed $10 drop is a blip on a blip, over
the shortest possible time frame...
there is no substantial decrease resulting from the environmentally dangerous reintroduction of offshore
drilling or from anything else.
Yep. I'm happy to "credit" Mr. Bush and his cronies, including McCain, with that price "drop."
Was McCain born an idiot, or did he have to work hard at becoming one?
The thing that strikes me most is this: while the government is (at least in some
places) doing the "right thing" by announcing they will not ask possible hurricane evacuees on buses about
their immigration status, the very fact that there are rumors... true or not... of ICE agents on the buses
could lead some people who are here illegally to decide not to evacuate.
Maria has more information about the
situation, some of it by phone from friends on South Padre Island, as Dolly approaches landfall; please follow
Are you Mexican American? Were your parents Mexican, but you were born on this side of the border? But of
course you have a birth certificate showing you were born here, right? And that assures your recognition as an
American citizen, right? The Fourteenth Amendment says so, right?
The Brownsville Herald article, which came to me by way of CEWDEM's excellent Democratic mailing list, begins as
‘Stuck in a free country'
Federal government places the burden of proof of
citizenship on passport applicants
July 20, 2008 - 10:59PM
By Kevin Sieff/The Brownsville Herald
When Lupita Sanchez applied for a passport, she didn't expect that her U.S. citizenship would be called into
But three months after completing her passport application - 38 years after she was born in downtown Brownsville
- Sanchez received a shocking letter from the U.S. Department of State.
After explaining that her application had been closed, the letter states, "Once you obtain U.S. citizenship, you
may execute another application for a U.S. passport."
Sanchez was incredulous. She has been voting and paying taxes in the United States for 20 years.
But along with hundreds of other South Texans delivered by midwives, the validity of Sanchez's birth
certificate, and her U.S. citizenship, is being called into question.
"I'm being discriminated against because my parents were unable to pay for a doctor," Sanchez said.
The government suspects that as many as 15,000 midwife-granted birth certificates were issued fraudulently in
South Texas. Between 1960 to 2008, more than 75 South Texas midwives were convicted of signing birth
certificates for children they did not deliver.
In its attempt to cull American-born applicants from those applying with fraudulent documents, the State
Department has put the burden of proof on passport applicants. Many of them have not been able to come up with
the necessary and often obscure documentation. Without their passports, they will be unable to visit relatives
in Mexico, starting in June 2009.
Aside from their delivery by midwives, the victims of the government's crackdown have little in common. Some are
U.S. Border Patrol agents and Army veterans. Some are third- and fourth-generation Americans.
Questioning the citizenship of third- and fourth-generation Americans? That is obscene. Anti-immigrant zealots
have become so fanatical that they are willing to deny Americans who are legitimately born here their
citizenship... by forcing them to prove something using documents the bigots know often simply don't exist.
As long as the Executive branch controls the process, and as long as the bigots control the Executive branch,
this can be stopped only on a case-by-case basis, and often not even that way.
Please note: this is what the GOP is really all about these days. Their road to power runs over the rights of
people they consider Scary Brown People... even if those people are American citizens.
Racial and ethnic bigotry have been around for centuries, but never in post-civil-rights-era America to a
greater degree or in a more egregious manner than they are practiced by today's GOP... by deliberate intent.
This is not your mother's GOP, or even your father's. That party must be stopped from perpetrating their worst
intentions against people who do not look just like themselves.
Enough is enough. It's time to boot the bigots out of office.
Court Throws Out Super Bowl Fine
By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Published: July 22, 2008
In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet
Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal
Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious.
The decision was handed down Monday by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit, which found that the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from
its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment. The commission also
erred, the judges ruled, by holding CBS responsible for the actions of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, who
were characterized by the judges as “independent contractors hired for the limited purposed of the Halftime
“Like any agency, the F.C.C. may change its policies without judicial second-guessing,” the court said. “But it
cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its
Rumor has it that several networks wanted to interview Michael Powell live, but were afraid of being cited for
showing a boob... <rim_shot />
I haven't been around much this weekend because Monday is Stella's birthday, and when it comes to her birthday,
Stella believes in the two- or three- or four-party system. I'm kind of busy right now; I'll show up when I'm
UPDATE: Stella appears to have enjoyed her birthday. I may write more about the
day's events later, but I still need to bid her good night, so that can wait. For what it's worth, our dinner
did not involve
from our fair state, and neither should yours, at least not right away. Texas GOPers please take note: this is
what happens when you drastically reduce food inspections, a reduction that began with radical cuts in the
Reagan era, paused briefly during Clinton's years, and has
resumed with a vengeance under Bush,
a phenomenon known as "E. coli conservatism." Remember, folks, you are what you eat!
The worst boss I ever had was, not surprisingly, on the worst contract I ever had. The small firm had initials
for a name, something-and-something, but contractors quickly came to refer to it as "S&M Enterprises,"
and I made no attempt to extend my time there at the end of my initial two-month contract. (I believe that's the
only time I've ever deliberately not sought additional work from a company I contracted for.) At one point, my
supervisor spent a day literally standing behind me as I worked, requiring me to explain what I was doing as I
tapped code. I found out later that he was doing this at the behest of his boss, a paranoid fellow who
had secretly decided that I was somehow ripping off the company. Never mind that neither of them had the skills
to determine whether I was or was not stealing from the company, but by requiring me to talk the supervisor
through my each and every move as I crafted code, they effectively slowed my productivity to very nearly zero. I
took their paycheck that week anyway, so I suppose on that day I was indeed taking nonzero money for zero work.
I'll be honest with you: I wrote this post mainly so I could use the above post subject. So sue me!
American inequality highlighted by 30-year gap in life expectancy
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Thursday, 17 July 2008
The United States of America is becoming less united by the day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life
expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England. Huge disparities
have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US, according to a
report published yesterday.
The American Human Development Index has applied to the US an aid agency approach to measuring well-being – more
familiar to observers of the Third World – with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life
expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and
although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world's
Despite an almost cult-like devotion to the belief that unfettered free enterprise is the best way to lift
Americans out of poverty, the report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen inequalities.
"The report shows that although America is one of the richest nations in the world, it is woefully behind when
it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life," the authors said.
Some of its more shocking findings reveal that, in parts of Texas, the percentage of adults who pass through
high school has not improved since the 1970s.
Asian-American males have the best quality of life and black Americans the lowest, with a staggering 50-year
life expectancy gap between the two groups.
Some of this is familiar to me from reading I did back in 1999 on the Shrub's "Texas miracle." It is sad but
hardly surprising that things have not improved since Bush occupied the White House in 2001. The U.S. has
become, for all practical purposes, a third-world nation. Welcome to America, where you are free to starve, get
sick, remain uneducated, and die, all on your own merits... where your merits are measured in dollars.
Information about the study itself is available
A paperbound edition costs $24.95; supposedly it will be available as a .pdf download, but I could not find it.
That could describe my day... waiting around for hours, never being called. A range of numbers surrounding my
juror number was skipped in the sequence of jury panels called; I think it is possible that a court requested
a panel of jurors, the case was settled without a jury, and that panel... including me... was never called.
The Fourth Circuit's 5-4 ruling yesterday upheld the President's authority to detain al-Marri in a military
prison as an "enemy combatant." What makes the ruling so striking is that -- unlike Hamdi and Padilla -- not
even the Bush administration claims that al-Marri fought alongside the Taliban, fought against U.S. forces, or
had even been to Afghanistan. He's simply a civilian accused by the President of being involved in a terrorist
Please read the excerpts Greenwald quotes from the Fourth Circuit's decision. Its reinforcement of the
president's power to declare someone as an "enemy combatant," capture and imprison them in a military prison
with no outside personal contact, even in the absence of any actual combat against the United States by the
person so designated, is breathtakingly close to the establishment of a kind of absolute power held by kings
prior to the institution of habeas corpus. Can the Fourth Circuit simply designate Mr. Bush a
dictator regarding an individual's personal liberty?
Here's the scary part, from Greenwald:
Most critically of all -- as two of the opinions separately recognized, including the one from the swing Judge
(Traxler) whose opinion was the only one to attract five votes and is therefore the court's opinion -- this
decision applies every bit as much, and to exactly the same extent, to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil as it does
to non-citizens (such as al-Marri) who are in the U.S. legally....
This must end. Arbitrary presidential power over the liberties of individuals is not part of our founders'
vision. If it is permitted, we are no longer the America most of us learned about and admired in our youth.
Neither Mr. Bush nor any other president, legitimate or otherwise, must have that kind of power. Greenwald
quite properly quotes a sitting Supreme Court Justice on the matter:
The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite
imprisonment at the will of the Executive.
The Justice quoted? Antonin Scalia. Even by Tony's standards, Bush is outside the pale.
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