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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

March 18, 2006
Astonished

The world is spinning backwards, right?

It must be

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) -- whose panel plays a major role in the surveillance matter -- pointed his thumb down yesterday when asked about the measure. He said he particularly objects to letting the government "do whatever the hell it wants" for 45 days without seeking judicial or congressional approval.

Arlen Specter, protector of democracy and the Constitution?

Just four short years ago, when I started blogging, I would never have believed the day would come when I'm be applauding his courage and his commitment to civil rights.




__________________

And that's enough for now. I'm going to go out and enjoy the sunny day. Do a little shopping. Eat something special.

And try to forget that I'm just getting hammered in the office NCAA pool. Kansas got kicked to the sidelines, and I had them picked to go all the way....

Posted by AnneZook at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)
Crazy

I have to stop reading the media too early in the morning. Sometimes it hurts my brain.

For instance, I usually link to ConsortiumNews when they publish a column that makes me think and that I believe has some good ideas in it.

So, the brain boggled today when I found myself reading Robert Parry suggesting three potential futures for the USofA.

#1 - Hand the White House over to Al Gore, today, and let him clean up the neo-con mess. (Why does Parry hate Al Gore?) *

#2 - Civil war inside the USofA. (Admit it. That's exactly what he's suggesting.)

#3 - Go along with the fiasco and watch the world degenerate into nuclear chaos for the next three years.

Read it anyhow, along with the previous articles he links to, if you haven't read those before. Because they will make you think.


_________________________

* Okay, that one might work, but only because this would drive the entire Rightwingnut population into collective apoplexy. With them all dead or on life support, it's not impossible that we might get the country back on track a lot faster.

The point, though, is that the Left is generally against killing people, and not the least for political reasons. Especially people who probably couldn't pass a competency hearing.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)
Semantic Pollution

So, the courts have said that the EPA cannot ignore the law, even if Bush is still in office? Good on them.

I know everyone has probably already covered this, but I was reading the story and found a quote that amused me.

"We are disappointed that the court did not find in favor of the United States," EPA spokesman John Millett said.

See that? The court didn't rule against the EPA. It didn't rule in favor of the law. It ruled against "the United States."

Heh.

And that's not all.

Friday's decision "is a step backward in the protection of air quality in the United States," said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a Washington-based group representing several power-generating companies. "What is it the environmental community thinks they've won? They've won the ability to place roadblocks in front of energy efficiency projects. This is terrible news."

Requiring companies to follow Clean Air standards, to install pollution controls*, and to clean up their companies' waste emissions, is going to be disastrous for us all.

It's...it's...why, it's eco-terrorism! The Clean Air terrorists are going to destroy us all!

__________________

* For those of you who weren't paying attention at the time, this is what the law was intended to do. To force companies to upgrade their plants as they modernized and renovated them. It was designed to give them some lead time, to allow them to plan and budget for the expenses. Now that their time is running out, many of these companies are whining about the expense, but they've all had long years to consider the process.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
Partisanship

In other news, in Tennessee you can choose life, but you can't choose choice, so I guess you can choose any life but your own.

Drivers will be able to pay an extra fee in Tennessee for the "Choose Life" plate, and some of the proceeds will go to New Life Resources, an anti-abortion group.

In Tennessee and 13 other states, the anti-abortion crowd is essentially getting government money to fund their cause.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)
Censorship

This is what it comes to, in the end.

After complaints by a "handful" (three) of church members over an edited version of the play "Grease" (and are you allowed to change the content of a play without permission?), one from someone who hadn't even seen it, a school system caves in.

Sujbsequently, Arthur Miller and Shakespeare are deemed too radical, too licentious, too dangerous (Christians behaving badly! for this frightened town and the unstained virtue of its children.

The race is on to find a decent play that doesn't deal with any issues that might offend anyone, anywhere.

I'm wondering if those "church members" were parents. Were any of them parents? If they were all parents, surely the article would have identified them as such and not as "church members", so I'm assuming that they were unrelated to and unconnected with any of the children involved and just playing Morality Cops.

There's a lot of good material in the ol' bible, you know. Why don't they do a bibilical play? Something about a man offering to murder his son at the request of a disembodied voice or the one about a father selling his daughters into prostitution or the one about a selling out your friends for money, or the one about a man sleeping with the maid because he's bored of his wife and she's not popping out any offspring to reward him for the chore of having sex with her.

Lots of good material, perfectly suitable for a high school audience.

But let's don't, at all costs, suggest that some girls might sit around in their bedrooms wearing a pajama top. Because we know where that kind of thing leads.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)
March 17, 2006
When you read.... Nothing.

I'm sure we've all been reading that the USofA is in the middle of a humongous arial assault in Iraq. We're boming the heck out of stuff.

Or, you know, not.

In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.

It's not just Bush posing with a plastic turkey any more, huh? Now we're using the entire military to produce the illusion of machismo?




_________________________

Later note - By the way. I'm not objecting to our failure to conduct a Fallujah-style slaughter of thousands of people. Just wondering at how quickly "American might" became a Hollywood stage set.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)
You know what you never thought you'd read?

Targeting people who are 'obviously' going to act up seems to be getting very trendy. And it's not just for Presidents any more. (Or government agencies.)

"The reports provide a rare glimpse of internal police evaluations and strategies on security and free speech issues"

Like this one:

Among the most effective strategies, one police captain wrote, was the seizure of demonstrators on Fifth Avenue who were described as “obviously potential rioters.”


Obviously potential rioters? That's a brand-new profiling category, isn't it?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)
You know what you don't want to read?

I don't even have to read the story to feel tired and discouraged. Just the headline does that for me.

U.S. War Spending to Rise 44% to $9.8 Bn a Month

44%. To $9,800,000,000 a month?

It sure is a good thing this Administration isn't interested in education or healthcare or retirement security or the environment or child welfare or anything, because we can't afford thos any more.

Let's hope the next Administration (and the one after that and the one after that and the one after that and the one after that) are equally uninterested in investing in America. They won't be able to afford it, either.

So, I turn to One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?

And get no relief.

The US is the strongest military power in the world; we spend more on defense than all of our competitors combined. Nonetheless, the Iraqi venture has pointed out glaring weaknesses in our defense posture. The entire world has seen the Bush Administration override sound military advice-the number of troops necessary for an effective occupation-for political purposes. They have seen America make a series of bad decisions indicating that while we may be strong, we are not very smart.

Some of us are smart. We just don't have any power.

The second negative side-affect has been to weaken our commitment to domestic security. After 9/11, there were a number of reports-most notably that of the 9/11 commission-that suggested common-sense steps that needed to be taken to reduce the probability of another major terrorist attack. Most of these steps have not been taken-scanning all incoming cargo containers being a prime example. Part of this failure can be attributed to the incompetence of the Bush Administration, but a major portion is due to the fact that money that should be allocated to nuts-and-bolts homeland security is being spent in Iraq.

$9.8 billion a month doesn't buy as much security as it used to.

In the meantime, Predictions of a better Middle East have evaporated three years after invasion

And while those of you with holes in your socks are going to be exposed by TSA if you try to get on a plane, toting bomb-making materials through security isn't that big of a risk.

Nope. $9.8 billion a month doesn't buy much security.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:55 PM | Comments (2)
You know what else you don't read?

You read stories about women who die from a rare infection after taking a controversial birth control medication, but you never read stories about the number of women who die in childbirth.

Death from childbirth complications is a lot rarer than it used to be, but it does happen.

And women carry to term, or to near-term, only to find out that the foetus isn't viable. These women require abortions except that in some states, they won't be allowed to have them. But you never read about that, do you?

What I found odd about this story was this bit:

The organization that provided the drugs to the two women said it would start following the approved instructions for their use.

What organization was providing drugs and not following the instructions?

And this bit:

The drug combination, also called Mifeprex or mifepristone, has not been proved to be the cause in any of those cases.

If there's no evidence that the drug caused the infections, why use the headline, "Two more women die after taking abortion pill"? Did you check the entire country to see if anyone died of this infection who hadn't taken the medication?

Posted by AnneZook at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)
You know what you don't read?

You don't read stories about a man disguising himself as a woman to see how the other half lives.

This is the third story I've read/seen in the last three years about a woman dressing as a man to find out what life as a man is like.

You never hear about a man who cares enough about women's lives that he disguises himself as a woman and then writes about his experience.

Aside from that, the review of this book makes it sound like the author went in to get the dirt on, well, on what dirt men were and wound having to admit that trailer-trash, smokin', drinkin' and bowlin' guys are just people. And not bad people. (Certainly less narrow-minded and bigoted than the Ivy League bunch in the White House these days.)

The reviewer may be right about Vincent's prejudices getting in the way of the story that's there to be told. It could be careful quoting out of context, but the examples shown do sound more like a catalog of the problems caused by class differences than by gender and, until I read the book I can't tell if the reviewer's position (that Vincent is determined to ignore class in favor of seeing gender oppression everywhere) is correct or not.

It sounds as though Vincent's written a book worth reading almost in spite of herself. Maybe a book that reveals more about her determination to find men squalid and brutal than to find the truth, but a book that might give the attentive reader some food for thought.

But then she starts staring at the guys in the [massage?] parlor "taking in these women like a drug."

From what the reviewer says, Vincent treats this as an example of female oppresion, but me, I just think it's sad. I don't see any angle about it that isn't just.... Sad.

I don't know. I'm going to think about it. I never wanted to be a man and male-bashing is boring, but I might pick this one up.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)
I almost forgot!

Sunday is our anniversary!

Just three short years ago we invaded a nonagressive country and started destroying their infrastruction and slaughtering their citizens.

$248,063,872581.00 so far.*
2,313 USofA soldiers dead.
17,004 "officially" wounded, although unofficial estimates go as high as 48,000
100,000 civilians dead, directly from violence or from the chaos we've created.**

Gosh, where does the time go?

(The third anniversary is traditionally, leather, isn't it? Maybe we should send everyone in Guantanamo their own hood?)

Oh, no, I have a better idea. Let's send the White House a real present.

______________________

* And we ain't done yet!


** Civilian toll estimates at 10/04
Iraq Body Count: 14-16,000
Brookings Inst: 10-27,000
UK foreign secretary: >10,000
People's Kifah >37,000
Lancet: >100,000

Posted by AnneZook at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
Early Morning Blogging

Isn't that just the way? I got to work an hour early this morning and sit down to to a little blogging before starting my work day...and I can't find that much to blog about.

Oh, the news is full of, well, news, but I haven't seen anything that really struck me.

Except maybe this.

Reprogramming the Infinite Loop: The NSA Spying Debate argues that the Bush Administration is conducting secret and illegal spying on USofA citizens because they claim that the FISA process is too slow/too limited/too whatever, but when Congress offers to rewrite the FISA law, the Bush Administration says they don't see any need for that.

They're spying on people, it isn't legal, and they don't care.

And don't miss the bit of proof on page 2 that demonstrates how the White House started concocting their 'defense' of their actions well after the crime.

The statutory argument is that the FISA law allows an exception to its procedures if the surveillance in question is otherwise "authorized by statute." The administration argues that the September 18, 2001 congressional Authorization to Use Military Force ("AUMF") against those responsible for the September 11 attacks is, in fact, a statute that satisfies this provision. However, not even the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee consider this to be a reasonable argument. As Arlen Specter said during the February 6 NSA wiretap hearings, "[the AUMF argument] just defies logic and plain English." In the same hearing, South Carolina's Senator Lindsay Graham told Gonzales that the administration's statutory argument was "very dangerous."

One other small problem: The administration's statutory argument appears to have been devised after the NSA program began. As it happens, it is premised in large part on the analysis of a Supreme Court detainee case (Hamdi v. United States) that was not even decided until 2004. Also, though the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel has released an unsigned 42-page paper, dated January 20, 2006, which purports to set out the administration's legal analysis, Attorney General Gonzales has refused to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with any memos setting forth a legal analysis of the NSA surveillance program written before it began in October 2001. As Senator Patrick Leahy noted, Gonzales has even refused to say when the statutory argument was first devised.

Now I'm wondering just exactly when they started spying on us? They use 9/11 as the pretext for everything, although most of us have read by now that they were determined to find a pretext for invading Iraq long before 9/11.

It's a good article. You should read it.

I mean, it's nice to say that Congress should do its Constitutional duty but I think we can all see that's not happening and it probably won't happen until a million or two of us become better-informed and start creating a ruckus down the phone lines of our elected representatives.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)
March 16, 2006
Musing

Apropos of nothing in particular except that I was reading through my Bloglines subscriptions yesterday evening, it does occur to me that I should do more "feminist" blogging.

After all, I'm unquestionably female (you don't know me, but you can take my word for it) and I am a feminist. Why don't I blog about it?

I've thought about that question many times and never really come up with a good answer. Sometimes when I'm reading one of the really excellent feminist-themed blogs online, it bothers me that I don't post on this topic more.

Maybe it's because there are already so many excellent feminist blogs available? (Of course, there are many excellent blogs for all political issues and perspectives, and that's never shut me up on any other topic.)

Also, that whole "single-issue blog" question. All the studies (i.e., I read it a couple of times somewhere) say that people like single-issue blogs. They like to know they can go to a specific place for specific news on a specific topic or issue.

(For those who are wondering, I'm not going anywhere with this. Feel free to leave.)

I need to pick an issue.

Failing that, I need a gimmick or a theme or something. I don't have a pet and even if I had a digital camera, I can't imagine that a Friday Feature of my unidentified-species-ivy plant in various stages of dehydration would really brighten up the blog. (That's the only gimmick that's come to mind so far.)

I've always been a bit timid about asking this, but maybe the time has come.

What on earth are you doing here? Why do you read this blog?

If I institute a daily Bad Joke gimmick, or start linking to Hubble photographs, would that enhance or detract from your reading experience? If I confine future posts to creative ways to call the Bush Administration a conglomeration of ineffective and inefficient idiots, without actually cursing, would you continue to surf by? If I ignore the existence of the radical rightwingnuts and invest my limited brainpower in ranting about how the Left should be ashamed of its lack of courage and inability to formulate a Party platform from any of the dozens of critical issues that face us today, would be you be a happier camper?

I wonder about these things sometimes.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:20 AM | Comments (5)
Drop Out

I don't agree.

The Electoral College continues today to do what it was designed to do. To make sure that the wishes of states with smaller populations carry some weight in Presidential elections.

Eliminating the College and going to a strictly popular-vote system could leave the voters of less-populated (or comparatively less-populated) states out in the cold. The names of "battleground" states would change, but that's about all.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:54 AM | Comments (2)
March 15, 2006
For What It's Worth

I've been busy. I've said that a few times already, right?

So while I'm puzzled and not a bit pleased by the Sound of Silence that met Feingold's motion to censure Bush, I'm not posting a strong opinion on it.

It's simply beyond me to believe that there aren't any Democrats in Congress (or just one) with the courage to go along with this. There has to be more to the story. Don't you think?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:14 PM | Comments (2)
Get A (New) Job
Why does your religion give you any special exemptions from doing your job? Muslims don't get to be bartenders who don't serve alcohol. Quakers don't get to be cops who don't shoot people. Vegans don't get to be waitresses at Hooters who won't serve chicken wings. Jews don't get to be waiters at the rib shack who won't serve pork. Mormons don't get to be baristas at Starbucks who won't serve caffeinated coffee.

Many others have said it as well. If being a pharmacist interferes with your religion, you shouldn't be a pharmacist.

At Pam's House Blend.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:05 PM | Comments (2)
Tricks With Bucks

As long as we're funding the invasion and bombing of Iraq with "supplemental" spending, the Republicans can keep pretending the annual Federal budget isn't as out of control as it is.

Also?

Rather than comprising relatively small amounts of money for exceptional events no one was able to foresee, these supplementals now come in huge packages for costs that are all too easily foreseen. A major concern is that many complicated and important issues – such as the wisdom of the Army’s “modularization” plan and the quality of FEMA hurricane recovery efforts – are embedded in these money requests. However, because these requests are submitted in the context of the ongoing wars and they are seen as “urgent,” there is very little opportunity for any oversight of the controversial issues.

I guess, from the Congressional Democrats who were afraid to support Feingold, we shouldn't be surprised that they're not making more of a fuss about this kind of thing.

That whole "booming economy" thing, you know? Are we sure that what we're feeling isn't a sort of teetering?

(Interested in the budget impact on your state?)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)
A History Of Pain

The more I learn about us, the more I think....

Well, I don't know. But we need to be who I thought we were, you hear me?

I demand that we become who I thought we were.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)
Self-Injurious Manipulative Behavior

Don't let anyone tell you that "NewSpeak" hasn't arrived.

In the first suicide note to be declassified by the U.S. government, Jumah Al Dossari explains why he saw no other choice but to try to take his own life. Written back in October of 2005, it was one of a number of his thwarted suicide attempts. Jumah's lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan discovered him hanging in his cell (read his account) with a deep gash in his arm. Jumah survived.

The U.S. military has concealed the true number of suicide attempts by reclassifying many attempts as "self-injurious manipulative behavior." True numbers are, therefore, impossible to come by. Former military linguist, Erik Saar, noted that when he was in Guantanamo back in 2003, suicide attempts were a weekly phenomenon.

Suicide as a trick? As "manipulative" behavior? Well, in one semantic fan-dancing sense, yeah. A suicide attempt is always an attempt to manipulate your own reality, whether it's a cry for help or the last, desperate choice of someone for whom living is no longer a bearable option.

From Dying for you to listen. A Guantanamo suicide speaks to the world about "a human being who suffered too much."

Posted by AnneZook at 02:02 PM | Comments (1)
March 14, 2006
Bulk Blogging

Another long, hard day. Another grab bag o'links I'm too lazy to comment on intelligently.

Angry scientists confront NASA officials

Funding cuts, lack of communication cited as researchers air complaints

It was billed as an official NASA Headquarters briefing to space scientists — but turned into a powder-keg of emotion.

Frustrated researchers are demanding explanation as to projected NASA budget cuts, mission deferrals, and space agency decision-making that could derail solar system exploration plans.

New Medicare Drug Plan Vexes Pharmacists

Small, independent pharmacists _ those who don't work for big chain drugstores, such as Wal-Mart or Walgreens _ say the Medicare program has been a huge financial problem.

The trouble, they say, is cash flow. States used to reimburse them at regular, often weekly intervals for serving elderly Medicaid patients. But, now, those patients have been moved into Medicare. Payment comes at a time selected by the dozens of insurers offering coverage.

>State Attorney General Seizes Newspaper Hard Drives--CEO Says Shield Law Failed

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has seized four computer hard drives from a Lancaster newspaper, the Intelligencer Journal, as part of a grand-jury investigation into leaks to reporters. The state Supreme Court declined last week to take the case, which allows agents to begin analyzing the data.

The decision has alarmed free-press advocates as word of the seizure spreads. "This is horrifying, an editor's worst nightmare," Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "For the government to actually physically have those hard drives from a newsroom is amazing. I'm just flabbergasted to hear of this."

Alabama’s case of mad cow brings worry closer to home

Government to Scale Back Mad Cow Testing

You know the sad thing? I'm not even surprised. By this, or by the accompanying reports saying that newspapers and television are moving "mad cow" stories off the front page because they don't think anyone cares.

The government hasn't gotten any more intelligent since I got too busy to read the news in the morning, has it?

Medical Evidence Points To A Cover-Up In Boot Camp Beating

A second autopsy shows a boy beaten at a Florida Juvenile camp died from his beatings, and not from a blood disorder as the first medical examiner initially ruled.

In the case involving 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson’s death, a noted pathologist believes the boy died from injuries sustained during videotaped severe beating- fueling fears of an initial cover-up.

Canadian website lets people track brands in films

A Montreal media studies professor has created a website that makes it easy to monitor products placed in movies.

Matthew Soar, who teaches communications at Concordia University, said he recently set up Brand Hype (www.brandhype.org ) to highlight the most flagrant examples of brand placement in films.

It's a game in my house. We watch movies (and televisions shows) and shout, "gratuitous product placement!" Which is, you know, fun, but it's still annoying.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)
Remember?

That oil spill in Alaska that the "officials" said wasn't so bad? (Here)

Revised "official" estimate is between 202,000 and 267,000 gallons.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)
March 13, 2006
Nightblogging

It's probably come to your attention that I don't spend as much time on "hold" in this new job as I did in the previous one. Used to be I was sitting, waiting for someone to pick up the phone for an hour or two a day. This job is much less phone work, so no time for blogging.

If I'd been online today, what might I have blogged?

Well, this story caught my eye.

If the person is already doing a life term and is having problems in prison, that in some ways shows a failure of the criminal justice system," Radelet said.

Ya think?

They're digging for victory in Kenya. At least, they will be when they get some help digging wells.

Is genocide about to accelerate in Darfur.

If a passenger train and 200 people were missing in the Western world, I assume that it would be Big News. I guess India doesn't rate the same coverage.

Speaking of India, is Congress going to put conditions on the new nuclear deal?

I might have blogged those and other things.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)
March 12, 2006
Fax It

Enough of the D.C. Dems

I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

When I grow up, I want to be Molly Ivins.

Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it.

Start putting your pennies aside, folks. Swap that daily venti latte for a grande and put the difference in a jar. Give up one soft drink a week and put the cash in a bucket.

When the liberal/progressive coalition finds their '08 candidate, we'll be fighting not only the rightwing machines and the media's disinclination to cover political candidates honestly and thoroughly, but the "establishment" Democratic Party.

That's going to take letters to the editors protesting inaccurate stories and plenty of cash.

______________

Side thought:

But this is '06, not '08. And I think the wise thing those those campaigning for Congress this fall would be to run one one or two national issues and one or two local issues.

I'd pick Molly's 2) issue. Full public financing of campaigns so as to drive the moneylenders from the halls of Washington. This is an issue with both national and local resonance and candidates could campaign on it both ways.

Me being me, I'd like to get some voting reform in there. I really do think Left-leaning candidates should have clearly defined positions on the dangerous and unreliable electronic voting machines. I'm not willing to wait until '08 for this one. Once those machines have their tentacles firmly embedded in local voting booths around the country, no one will have the money to replace them.

Other than that, the economy. Any of half a dozen strong issues are there for the taking.

Corporate corruption. Corporate pollution. Corporate tax breaks.

Job availabilty. Job security.

Retirement security is a good one for the aging Boomer population. The older part is already disenchanted with the Bush Administration's stance on Social Security and Medicare. They're ripe. Younger voters, even those who think they'll be kids forever, can be made to understand that Mom and Dad's retirement issues might become theirs.

Education. When will someone have the courage to stand up to the USofA population and tell them flat out that if they want good schools, they're going to have to pay for good schools? And something needs to be done about the way schools are funded. I've never been quite comfortable with local funding of school initiatives coming largely from property taxes and in this day and age with more and more people living in apartments long after they have children, this places an unfair burden on property owners.

As far as that goes, with more and more people living in apartments for years and maybe never buying a home, funding your local government and services through property taxes is even more unfair. And think about the tax difference between a condo and a house.

(I don't know how all of this can be adjusted but my brain persists in fixating on the hundreds of billions of dollars we're spending in Iraq. We have a federal government right now that's willing to go into hock for twenty years to kill people overseas but not to serve the people of this country.)

I'm ranting again, aren't I? Sorry.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:01 PM | Comments (4)
Down the tubes

A historic, and successful, compromise between environmental activists and the oil and gas industry has been trashed.

What I want you to consider in this article is not the need for energy supplies for the country. (I could go off on a renewable energy tangent, but I won't.)

No, instead I want you to contemplate just how much energy it takes to heat a home.

How much does it take to heat an average family's home? Two, maybe three bedrooms. A bathroom. Kitchen, living room, maybe even a family room.

Now contemplate how much it costs to heat (or cool) billionaire's home.

How many poor people's homes could be heated by the energy it takes to heat this mansion? How big is that thing? That's not a home. It's a small city.

Or this place? That's not a home, it's a hotel.

I don't even know what to call this one. It looks like a sports complex. Or a giant conference center.

And these people own multiple residences.

I'm just saying. When the government bitches at you for driving to the grocery store too often and using up more than your fair share of our oil supplies? Or for turning up the thermostat instead of putting on a thicker third sweater? Or for not moving to a more up-scale neighborhood with newer, more energy-efficient houses?

Don't be bitter.

Remember that those rich folks need to insure that supplies remain available to heat their 20,000+square foot homes, not to mention the vacation houses in the mountains and on the beaches and maybe those penthouse suites in New York.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)
And, oh, by the way

It's Sunshine Week, when:

Newspapers around the country today carried editorials and news articles relating to official secrecy and the efforts by journalists to fight for open records--on the opening day of the annual "Sunshine Week" campaign.

So, the media that complacently ate the Bush Campaign's snacks and drank their kool-aid through two elections and the first three or four years of their disrule is now celebrating themselves because they spend a week out of the year really pushing to comment on excessive government secrecy. (Or maybe it's the threat of prosecution that's scaring them?)

Well, color me just amazingly thrilled with their outstanding courage and honesty. Not to mention the way they're honoring the role of the Fourth Estate.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)
Lie Down With Evil

If there's anyone in my reading audience (which I doubt), who thinks the Bush Administration should be praised for their hardline stance on imposing their 'moral' code on everyone in the country, please take note that they're also willing to try and impose it on the world.

Even if it means partnering with human rights' abusers our own government pretends to condemn.

It's just like the "pro-life" laws that endanger and devalue women. More proof that these are people who are "pro" only the "life" they approve of.

How did the United States of America become this thing?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Today In History

On March 12, 1868, the Senate began Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

(Article 2)

Impeachment Impeachment, in the U.S. and Great Britain, proceeding by a legislature for the removal from office of a public official charged with misconduct in office. Impeachment comprises both the act of formulating the accusation and the resulting trial of the charges; it is frequently but erroneously taken to mean only the removal from office of an accused public official. An impeachment trial may result in either an acquittal or in a verdict of guilty. In the latter case the impeached official is removed from office; if the charges warrant such action, the official is also remanded to the proper authorities for trial before a court.

(link)

Meyerson makes his case that the Bush Administration may be a "malevolent presidency" but it's not impeachable.

Not quite yet because while deliberately breaking the law by spying on USofA citizens without a warrant is a crime, the current make-up of the Judiciary Committee pretty much guarantees this Administration isn't going to find their feet held to the fire until all the facts come out. (Note: While I was pleasantly surprised by the outrage of Republicans initially, it seems to me that much of their outrage is dying down. As with the Patriot Act reauthorization.) (On the other hand, it could just be that the national media is getting bored of the story since meetings in committee and exchanges of memos don't make for dramatic news coverage.)

Republicans set the bar pretty low during the Clinton Administration, essentially impeaching the guy for being a popular Democrat who had sex (and as revenge for Nixon).

This is the only reason I haven't been beating the impeachment drum more loudly. I really don't want to get into a tit-for-tat exchange of impeachments for every presidential administration from now until the end of time.

Is the Bush Administration guilty of "gross misconduct" or just idiotic tunnel-vision, refusing to see that reality cannot be bent to fit their visions? (As history has so often shown the neo-cons are.) We don't know yet.

But the one thing I'm really annoyed about this morning is the idea that we can't punish the Executive Branch for actual crimes because we know Republicans will act like spoilt six year-olds in retaliation.

We don't have a single political party in this country that doesn't need dismantling and rebuilding from the ground up.

I'm going to go ponder this column that suggests our real enemy is "Market Fundamentalism" and offers the idea of a "moral economy."

________________

* I am willing to believe there were those who believed there was actually wrongdoing in the Clinton Administration. After all, there are those who don't see anything wrong with how the Bush Administration is running this country and it's wars. (I'm inclined to think they're the same group of people.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)