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April 08, 2005
The Things To Read

The shame continues.

The most astonishing blog post I've read this year.

The non-bigoted part of the "States' Rights" foundation of the Republican Party goes down for the third time.

The gang violence story, from Professor Kim.

The good news from Colorado Luis seems to be that Salazar just might be remembering, at long last that he didn't actually run as a Republican Party candidate. (I was beginning to think I'd never cast a worst vote in my life.)

The consequences of rock-bottom taxes.

The Medicare Drug Benefit...Step 2 - Maximize the Cost to guarantee bankruptcy, unpopularity, and then repeal.

The "asking for it" defense returns to the courtroom. More at gay-bashing story itself and at Pandagon.

The death of the pope is a matter of indifference to me but Fablog has an entry well worth reading.

The honor! I didn't even know I was nominated for a Pulitzer. How did I miss that? Must remember to nominate Avedon Carol, a much worthier candidate, when next year's list opens.

(For me, the question remains about just who decided Powerline was the blog of the year? I mean, I'm assuming it was one of the many internal "awards" programs run by someone blogging, but the designation seems to rankle, based on how many Left-leaning blogs I've seen spitting out the phrase recently. If anyone asked me why men seem so much louder on-line than women, I'd say it's because it probably would have taken years and years longer for women to come up with the idea of awarding themselves medals for having a hobby, but I'm feeling cynical today.)

(Pursuant (my all-time favorite word) to a tangential topic, I'm revamping the old blogroll and making sure women's voices get a stronger presence but I'm running into difficulty on the cough matter of ethnicity. Because I can't tell what someone's ethnicity is online, you see. So I don't know how I'm going to get some cultural diversity in, but I'm working on it.)

Posted by AnneZook at 06:55 PM | Comments (3)
No Good News

I'm not in a good mood. Admittedly, I was in a better mood before I read the day's headlines, but that's frequently true.

Have you checked JobWatch.org's April 1 update? The current report is, "Real wages: two years of losses."

By the way, I linked to "Banned In Arkansas" so I figured I'd better link to the follow-up story. (Scroll down to "UPDATE, April 7, 2005" to see Horowitz coming to Corn's defense.) More on Corn's blog.

It appears that we do need a Constitutional amendment. One that makes voting a right.

Black, Dead and Insible is a bigger problem every year. In spite of mealy-mouthed platitudes about "doing something" about the problem, the Bush Administration has imposed severe funding cuts on programs designed to help inner city children. It's not just about money, though. What we lack is a real, long-term solution to the problem, and the determination to see it through.

Remember Dan Rather and Mary Mapes? Sacrificed on the altar of political expedience by a network desperate to get in good with a lying, secretive White House? Peabody Award winners for their Abu Ghraib coverage. So, that's a piece of good news, anyhow.

But, speaking of Bush Administration disasters, take a glimpse inside the probably illegal "hearings" at Guantanamo.

The officers went into a classified session during which they would hear secret evidence.

And the detainee would never know what secret evidence against him existed.

I am so ashamed of us.

Tangent alert!

Okay, so I'm listening to NPR yesterday, around noon, and Iím hearing a discussion about "rendition" and how it's just absolutely necessary that the government be allowed to secretly ship secret prisoners to secret prisons around the world, including in countries where they torture people. (audio file)

As I hoped, the question of exactly what the renderers (sounds like a Stephen King novel) hope to gain came up, based on evidence that torturing people for "intelligence" provides little but lies and cheap thrills for that type of torturer. Scheuer's response? It's unlikely the ghost prisoners will be tortured for intelligence because interrogation was never the point of arresting them.

They're criminals, you see, and it's better for all of us if they're off the streets. But they're not criminals in the sense that they can be charged with a crime under USofA law because we have all these fiddly requirements about evidence and proof and due process. So we send them to a place willing to hold them indefinitely without getting all of those inconvenient laws involved.

Also? It's also unlikely that the ghost prisoners will be tortured because we ask the host countries nicely not to torture and they promise they won't. No, not in writing. But we ask them and they say they won't. At least, that's how I understood it.

I haven't had a chance to go back myself and listen to the entire file, but I intend to do so this evening. I'm hoping to hear something to confirm that these people do, in fact, understand a couple of basic facts. First, that human rights have to apply to everyone or they don't really apply to anyone. Second, if you become your enemy, then he has won.

Tangent Over

The NYTimes gives Bolton's nomination a smackdown. The word "unqualified" appears prominently, along with a suggestion that our Ambassador to the U.N. should have, at a minimum, the belief that the U.N. is a good idea.

An example of the kind of "intelligence" torture produces.

Also, Abu Ghraib offices claim they were scapegoated. Well, duh, but my sympathy only goes so far. For instance, I have no, no patience with someone whose defense is that no one handed them the Geneva Conventions personally. I do agree that those higher-up should not have escaped unscathed, but those whose job it was to "supervise" the prisons...well, I'm at a loss. If they weren't supervising the treatment of detainees, what exactly were they supervising?

Four Children Killed in Baghdad Explosion

Four children collecting trash were killed Friday by a homemade bomb in Baghdad, and masked gunmen killed an Iraqi Army officer in a restaurant in the southern city of Basra, police said.

In case anyone has forgotten, Baghdad is the part of the country we claim to have under control. Just imagine what things must be like in the other areas, the ones we're not hearing news reports from.

At The Nation, Legislative Bomb.

Seventy-four percent of Americans surveyed by CBS News said Congress intervened in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case to advance a political agenda, not because they cared what happened to the Florida woman whose last days took center ring in a grotesque national media circus.

It's not really about Schiavo, though. If it was, I wouldn't link to it. It's about why a filibuster is a tool of democracy and well worth preserving.

For further reading, Creating An Uncivil Society from Engelhardt, with Faking Civil Society from Jonathan Schell.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:42 AM | Comments (1)
April 06, 2005

I'm glad that story about the lack of minority students at a GOP "student" event is getting wider coverage. (Included here in case you didn't read it when I first linked to it.)


Some undergrads who wanted to do just that, however, found their reception less than welcoming. When Erick Watson, a 25-year-old part-time student, declined to submit a written question at the door before hearing the speech, he says he and his friend Jason Ravin, a 23-year-old senior, were refused entry by RNC Outreach Communications Director Tara Wall and RNC African-American Coalition Director Deana Bass. "They had the security escort me out of the building," Watson said. "They said I might raise my hand."

Two paragraphs later:

After making his remarks, Mehlman answered pre-submitted questions read by Hunter and a few questions from older Republicans in the audience who raised their hands.

Speaking of "educational" blunders, looks like the No Child Left Behind mess is being quietly dismantled.

And, also in the "I told you so" category, I'm happy to see the 'news' that judicial "activism" is okay as long as it swings Right continues to get coverage. I'm not happy to hear a so-called leader making a public statement that tacitly implies it's okay to kill people who disagree with you, but I don't expect much else from the Right these days.

Speaking of Republican excesses, how about "Physician of the Year"? It sounds impressive until you realize you can buy it from the Republican Party.

"It's like the old diploma mills," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a government watchdog group. "It's the kind of scam that we've seen congressional investigations look at when they take place in the private sector. But here, since members of Congress are doing it, we're not going to see any investigation."

Those "frontier style militia" (as if) types on our Southern border aren't popular with everyone. It's a pity they're finding any local support and I don't agree with a group of "protestors" who see fit to go armed. I guarantee that if a group of environmentalists surrounded a redwood forest and some of them were armed, we'd see federal troops call out on them.

I swear, I absolutely do believe Curveball's code name is significant. I mean, would you trust information from someone it was considered appropriate to give that code name to?

Posted by AnneZook at 12:21 PM | Comments (2)
April 04, 2005

Okay, the DLC says we're delusional if we think getting our voters to the polls will win elections. I guess we know who's feeling threatened these days, don't we?

"To win back the White House in 2008, our party must change. We must be willing to discard political strategies that may make us feel good but that keep falling short. We must finally reject the false choice between exciting our base and expanding our appeal, because unless we both motivate and persuade, we'll lose every time," said DLC founder Al From and President Bruce Reed in a new manifesto for their party.

For the record? The reading I've ready says most non-voters are actually a lot more Left than Centrist or Right. So the DLC should lead us where we want to go or, you know, shut up. Advising us to become watered-down Republicans is a sure-fire losing strategy.

I've discussed Blackwater in unfriendly terms even before I knew they advised employees that it's fun to shoot some people. I do not approve of private armies, even when our government is using them to shore up the seeping violence in an untenable war.

Zimbabwe. The "election" is over but the regime change might still occur. (Kristof's column.)

If you read to the bottom of this article, you'll see it's already started. The legalizing of bigotry in the USofA.

You should be aware of the pressure on universities to conform to the neoconservative agenda. The "Liberal Arts" are under attack. (Anyhow, Jacoby wrote, "patina of plausibility," a phrase that tickled my alliterative funny bone, so he gets a link.)

Ethically and morally, I can't eat foie gras and haven't for years. But back when I did, before I knew how it was created, it was gorgeous stuff. Fortunately, garlic is still okay.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)