May 30, 2005

Why I'm Joining the GOP

I am not joining the Grand Old Party.

Jeff Gillenkirk, the speechwriter for former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, is leaving the Left for fun and profit.

After a lifetime voting for and working for Democratic candidates and independents, I'm finally going to make the switch and become a Republican.

The reasons are many, not the least of which is age. I turned 55 recently and, having lived more than half my life, I can't afford to worry anymore about the other guy. It's time for me. [...]

Let Democrats continue promising the "greatest good for the greatest number." Republicans clearly have my number -- No. 1.
As a Republican, Jeff only cares about here and now. No need to be concerned about global warming, ozone depletion, fished-out oceans and disappearing wetlands or roads, bridges, schools, police, fire protection, Medicare, Social Security, regulation of the airwaves and Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan.

As a Republican, I can now proudly -- indeed, defiantly -- pledge to never again
vote for anyone who raises taxes for any reason. To hell with roads, bridges,
schools, police and fire protection, Medicare, Social Security and regulation of
the airwaves.

President Bush has promised to give me more tax cuts even though our federal government owes trillions of dollars to its creditors. But that's someone else's problem, not mine. Republicans are about the here and now, and I'm here now.

As a Republican, I can favor exploiting the environment for everything she's got. No need to worry about quaint notions like posterity and natural legacy. There are plenty of resources left for everyone, and if we don't use them, someone else will.
As a Republican, it is essential for Jeff to preach GOP 'moral values'.

As a Republican, I can insist on strict moral values when it comes to sex and ignore the growing moral chasms in business, politics, sports, journalism and the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

A society that loses control of its sexual urges faces unwanted pregnancies, socially transmitted disease, broken families. Those overzealous about wealth, however, produce only a higher GDP, lifelong security for their family and more minimum wage jobs for the lower classes. What's wrong with that?

As a Republican, I can favor strict punishment of criminals, except for those who happen to be my friends or neighbors. Isn't that the very definition of community -- looking out for friends and family?

I will be pro-death penalty and anti-abortion, pro-child but anti-child care, for education but against funding of public schools. As a Republican, I'll have a better chance of getting to spout my opinions in the media, which for some reason seems convinced that since Bush was re-elected with the smallest electoral margin of any sitting president in history, liberals are passe.

As a Republican, I'll say goodbye to "old Jesus" and hello to "new Jesus. " Sure Christ started out as a liberal Jew, and look where that got him. Compassion, love and diatribes against the rich only encourage the weak and punish the most successful among us. The Jesus that Republicans worship is a muscular, decisive, pro-war crusader hard at work cleansing the world of evildoers, not, God forbid, turning the other cheek.
Go read the whole article at Common Dreams.

So, who else is joining the GOP with Mr. Gillenkirk?

May 29, 2005

Inside Hastert Inc.

The Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post profile how House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) political machine works.


Hastert's core advisers reflect the personality and style of a speaker
largely content to work outside the public eye. Though Hastert now has been
speaker nearly twice as long as Georgia's Newt Gingrich, he commands nothing
close to the same public recognition.

Likewise, Hastert's inner circle is filled with understated, unassuming men
who would rather listen than talk, stepping back toward the walls rather than
jostling for a seat at the head of the table. [...]

It is not difficult for a speaker of the House, of any party, to raise money,
and Hastert's main campaign funds have taken in about $17.9 million since his
elevation in 1999, slightly more than DeLay over the same period.

But because the speaker also is in a relatively safe seat, he gives much of
the money that he raises to other Republican candidates or the national party
campaign committees.

Hastert Directs Millions to Birthplace

Hastert has earmarked $24 million in grants for Aurora-based nonprofit groups
since becoming speaker in 1999, using an obscure section of the big federal
spending bills passed each year. [...]

Hastert's office is one of those that has taken full advantage of this
opportunity, an analysis of recent spending legislation shows. He has used
earmarks to get $3.2 million for a National Guard armory in Aurora and $7.5
million for a library at Judson College in Elgin.

The funds for Judson College, which describes itself as an evangelical
Christian school, were tucked into a section of the Department of Energy's
appropriation for "biological and energy research." A Hastert news release
explained that the library would be a "green" structure that would "cut down on
fossil fuel costs and make the most of alternative natural resources." [...]

The account has brought a steady stream of taxpayer dollars back to Aurora, a
rapidly growing community of 150,000. Beginning in 2000, it has contained 10
earmarks for Aurora nonprofits, including about $540,000 in last fall's spending
bill for the Visiting Nurses Association of Aurora.

Aurora's $24 million accounts for about 1.7 percent of the $1.4 billion
earmarked in the health resources account through 2004. An equal division of the
funds among all 435 House districts would have given each about $3.2 million.

In addition to the money for Aurora University and Rush-Copley Medical
Center, there was $3.4 million to purchase movable equipment for a surgical
expansion at Provena Mercy Medical Center, where Hastert aide Lulu Blacksmith
was manager of community outreach until three years ago [...]

Now Provena is seeking $1.5 million for a mental health initiative. But Meyer
said even when your representative is the most powerful member of the House,
there are no guarantees. "It's like Yogi Berra said, you don't have it until you
have it."

There is every sign that Hastert's door remains open to Aurora. On May 9, the
speaker sponsored a "grant writing workshop" in the city, aimed at "helping area
not-for-profit and other organizations [get] better access to federal

An equal division of 1.4 billion dollars of health recourses money for each of the 435 House districts will be about 3.2 million each. Dennis Hastert district cut of the 1.4 billion is 24 million, which leaves other House districts below their 3.2 million dollars of earmarks. The Republican Speaker knows how to bring the pork back home.

The two main people behind J. Dennis Hastert political machine is Dan Mattoon, the lobbyist, ....

In his first campaign for the Illinois legislature nearly a quarter-century
ago, Dennis Hastert had a problem. He had plenty of campaign posters, but no
wooden stakes to make yard signs.

His friend Dan Mattoon had the solution. Mattoon knew where former Rep. Tom
Corcoran kept hundreds of wooden stakes and, as lore has it, he took them for
Hastert without bothering to tell Corcoran.

Since that time, Mattoon, 52, now one of Washington's most powerful
lobbyists, and Hastert (R-Ill.), 63, speaker of the House of Representatives,
have been joined like a poster nailed to a stake.

Mattoon plays a vital role in the political corporation that is Hastert Inc.,
a powerful and flourishing enterprise run by a select few that has in its
charter everything from preserving a Republican majority in Congress to Social
Security changes to funding a bridge in the Fox River Valley.

He has served as an unofficial emissary of the speaker to other members or
business interests while at the same time balancing the needs of his clients,
which include telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies with aggressive
legislative ambitions.

His lobbying firm, PodestaMattoon, hired Hastert's son, Joshua, who had run a
DeKalb music store and recording label called Seven Dead Arson, to join the
high-powered practice barely a year after Joshua moved to Washington to make a
go at lobbying. Mattoon and his wife, Jane, also are listed as officers for two
of Hastert's political funds.

and Scott B. Palmer the chief of staff.

When Scott B. Palmer received an honorary degree in 2002 from his alma mater,
Aurora University in Illinois, he urged the graduating class to "give back to
our university, to our community and to our country."

As chief of staff to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Palmer runs a
congressional office that has been able to do just that for Aurora, the
birthplace of his boss and the largest city in his boss's home district. [..]

Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, is by all accounts the speaker's closest
adviser. He has served in his post since 1987, except for a stint from 1995 to
1999 as deputy chief of staff to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). He
shares a Southwest Washington townhouse with Hastert. In addition to receiving a
House salary of $144,000, two campaign funds associated with Hastert paid Palmer
$23,204 in consulting fees in 2003, according to his financial disclosure

At Aurora University, Palmer won praise as an undergraduate actor and history
scholar. He graduated in 1972 but stayed on to get a business degree and serve
as registrar and director of public information. Palmer left in 1984 to become
marketing director of a bank and a part-time political consultant.

Dennis Hastert is my Representative in Congress, I voted against him 2000, 2002 and 2004. I will vote against him in any future elections. He might be good pork money wises for the district, but this House leadership is bad for Whole USA.

May 20, 2005

President Bush: Ideology Motivates ...

President Bush ...

"These people are motivated by a vision of the world that is backward and barbaric," Bush told reporters in the Oval Office where he met with the prime minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
According to President Bush ideology of Frist, Rove, Cheney, Dobson, Owen, Brown, Santorum,Delay Iraq Insurgents is a vision of the world that is backwards and barbaric.

"President Bush said Friday that he did not think photos of imprisoned Saddam Hussein clad only in his underwear would incite further anti-American violence in Iraq. "I don't think a photo inspires murderers," Bush said. [...]

"I think the insurgency is inspired by their desire to stop the march of freedom," Bush said.
Photo does not incite anti-American violence, but a Newsweek article does?

The ideology of terrorism is backwards and barbaric. The ideology Frist, Rove, Cheney, Dobson, Owen, Brown, Santorum and Delay is also backwards and barbaric.

Drinking Stories pt.1

The Police charged the Ronald Pedigree with criminal trespass, public drunkenness and criminal mischief after he allegedly broke into a camper.

Drunken man calls police to help locate him.
Hilltown Police Chief Chris Englehart said Pedigree's sobriety troubles started early in the evening of April 7 with a DUI arrest after Pedigree's car hit another in the parking lot of a supermarket. Pedigree refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test and was taken to the police station. He was charged with driving under the influence and released around 10 p.m. into a friend's custody.

On the way home, Pedigree got into a dispute with the friend. He voluntarily left the car and began walking on foot.

"I don't believe he knew where he was going," Englehart said. "But he decided to stop at one of the homes and knocked on the door."

When the residents responded, Pedigree offered to fix their driveway. The couple refused and assumed that Pedigree would leave. They were unaware that he later broke into the camper parked in their driveway and settled in for the night.

Pedigree woke up the next morning and was unable to identify his surroundings. He used his cellphone to contact police for help.

Englehart said Pedigree could not tell officers at the scene how he ended up in the camper. After the homeowners identified him from the previous night, officers determined that Pedigree had broken into the vehicle.
Seriously, you might consider going to AA to get some help.

May 19, 2005

This Is The Way Democracy Ends

Sen. Max Baucus give us profound history of the Roman Senate and the current events of Senate controlled by the Republican Party.
Mr. President, last week, on Wednesday, we evacuated the Capitol. At the instruction of the Capitol Police, more than a few Senators and staff actually ran from this building and the surrounding offices in the very real fear that a plane was carrying a bomb to attack this building, the center of our democracy.
Sadly, Wednesday was not the first time. And Wednesday will likely not be the last time, that we guard against threats to our democracy by plane and bomb.

But there are other threats to our democracy and our freedoms, just as menacing, equally as dangerous.

Abraham Lincoln said: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin said: "It is not slogans or bullets, but only institutions, that can make, and keep, people free."

And Baron Montesquieu wrote in The Spirit of the Laws: "There is no liberty, if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and the executive." ...

Mr. President, in ancient Rome, when the Senate lost its power, and the emperor became a tyrant, it was not because the emperor abolished the Senate. In ancient Rome, when the Senate lost its power, it continued to exist, at least in name. But in ancient Rome, when the Senate lost its power, in the words of the Senate's historian, Senator Robert Byrd, the Senate became "little more than a name."

In ancient Rome, when the Senate lost its power, the Roman Senate was complicit in the transfer. The emperor did not have to seize all the honors and powers. The Roman Senate, one after another, conferred greater powers on Caesar.

It was not the abolition of the Senate that made the emperor powerful. It was the Senate's complete deference.

Like the Roman Senate before us, we risk bringing our diminution upon ourselves. We risk bringing upon ourselves a hollow Senate, a mere shadow of its past self. And we risk bringing upon ourselves a loss of the checks and balances that ensure our American democracy. ...

Mr. President:

This is the way democracy ends;
This is the way democracy ends;
This is the way democracy ends;
Not with a bomb, but a gavel.
This is the way democracy ends!

(Via Think Progress)

Porn Star to Dine with President Bush

Porn star and former gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey will be joining her boss, Kick Ass Pictures president Mark Kulkis, in attending a dinner with President Bush in Washington, D.C. on June 14.

Kulkis was invited to attend the event by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is organizing the event. Over a two-day course of NRCC events preceding the dinner, Carey and Kulkis will be attending a meeting with presidential advisor Karl Rove, giving their recommendations on important national issues.

“I’m hoping to run as Lieutenant Governor of California next year,” Carey said. “Since Arnold {Schwarzenegger} is a Republican, I thought this dinner would be a great networking opportunity for me.”

“I’m honored to be invited to this event,” Kulkis said. “Republicans bill themselves as the pro-business party. Well, you won’t find a group of people more pro-business than pornographers. We contributed over $10 billion to the national economy last year.”

“I’m especially looking forward to meeting Karl Rove,” Carey added. “Smart men like him are so sexy. I know that he’s against gay marriage, but I think I can convince him that a little girl-on-girl action now and then isn’t so bad!”
I wonder if she is going to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom?

Lefkow Blasts Anti-Judge Rhetoric

U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow ...
WASHINGTON -- U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow, whose husband and mother were shot by a man who probably wanted to kill her, too, came out of seclusion Wednesday to say that "harsh rhetoric'' about judges from evangelist Pat Robertson and lawmakers must be renounced.

Members of Congress need to "publicly and persistently repudiate gratuitous attacks on the judiciary,'' Lefkow told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"In this age of mass communication, harsh rhetoric is truly dangerous," Lefkow said. "It seems to me that even though we cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between rhetorical attacks on judges in general and violent acts of vengeance by a particular litigant, the fostering of disrespect for judges can only encourage those who are on the edge or on the fringe to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them.'' [...]

"I have come to know scores of judges during my 22 years as a magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge and district judge. Whether a liberal or conservative, I have never encountered a judge in the federal judiciary who can remotely be described as posing a threat, as Mr. Robertson said, probably 'more serious than a few bearded terrorist who fly into buildings.' ''

Referring to liberal judges in a May 1 interview on ABC's "This Week,'' Robertson, a conservative activist, said that "if you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.''
Who is more dangerous Judges or Terrorist?

Let me rewrite the question, Who is more dangerous to total ‘Christian’ Conservative control of American, Judges or Terrorist?

Answer: Democrats and independent judges on the courts. The true enemies of Pat Robertson and this ilk are anyone who get in their way of complete power.

Sen. Santorum Compares Democrats to Hitler

Senator Rick ‘Man on Dog’ Santorum continues this hate filled rhetoric on the Senate floor.
No, Senator. How dare you?

May 18, 2005

The Populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico

Go read an other profile of Andrés Manuel López Obrador the mayor of Mexico City and candidate for President of Mexico.
The son of a small-town storekeeper, López Obrador (often referred to by his initials: AMLO) is from the southern state of Tabasco. He began his political career championing causes of the poor, among whom he lived. He ran for governor twice as an independent in elections that many claim were stolen by the PRI. Later, he moved to Mexico City to chair the newly formed leftist Partido de la Revolución (PRD) and was elected mayor five years ago.

His immediately launched job-creation projects, put more money into health and education, and provided subsidies for the elderly. In one well-publicized move, he forced several millionaires to give up property they had illegally taken in the city’s largest public park. He lives modestly; he drives an old car; and he holds press conferences at 6:30 in the morning to dominate the day’s news. [...]

If elected, López Obrador would certainly be more like Brazil’s Lula – who has toned down his populism to accommodate the international financiers -- than like Chávez. As mayor, López Obrador has worked well with much of the city’s business community, brought in new investment, and even hired Rudy Giuliani to advise on how to curb street crime.

But the Washington establishment these days shoots anything that even mildly moves left. It is tone-deaf to the failure of corporate neoliberalism to fulfill its promises to relieve poverty and exploitation south of our border -- stubbornly insisting that the way to eliminate poverty is through “reforms” that make the rich richer. The recent unprecedented rejection of the U.S. candidate (the present foreign minister of Mexico) to head the Organization of American States reflects that the disappointment with U.S. leadership has reached into the governing classes as well.

With the Mexican presidential election more than one year away, the outcome is of course far from certain. López Obrador’s party is organizationally weak in many parts of the country; his opponents will have more money; and the Mexican oligarchs are skilled in manipulating election returns. But so far he has proved himself a formidable politician.

In any event, American progressives should watch this closely. Who knows? A victory for AMLO in 2006 might help inspire a more populist politics north of the border in 2008.
I am all for populist politics north and south of the border. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is my candidate for President of Mexico.

Hunchback of Notre Dame

British MP George Galloway, on Hardball
"To be accused of a lack of moral character by Senator Norm Coleman is a bit like being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Senator Norm Coleman is one of the most despicable, phony politicians in American.

May 17, 2005

Galloway vs. The US Senate

George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption.
I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
Go read the whole article.

God Is Not Partisan ...

...Despite some Republican efforts.
So what galls me about Rev. Chandler's behavior is not that he talked politics per se, but that he assumes belief in God and belief in George W. to be synonymous. As one who believes in a God who is above party, I find that assumption offensive. But you hear it a lot these days. The right wing has cornered the market on God, evidence of both its marketing savvy and the left wing's illiteracy in the language of faith.

If you grew up, as I did, in an era when Christian meant, among other things, long-haired kids with denim-covered Bibles, you have to marvel that it now becomes the exclusive property of those who believe in big business and tax cuts. You have to marvel, too, at the ruthlessness with which they seek to enforce that lockstep mentality. Beg pardon, but it's none of Chan Chandler's business how anyone votes.

Frankly, what he did makes no sense. I mean, assuming a vote for Kerry were incompatible with Christian faith, what better place for such errant people to be than in a church? As a wise person once said, a church is not a museum for saints; it is a hospital for sinners.

But too often these days, it seems to be neither, seems to be little more than a refuge for human meanness, pettiness, partisanship and smug self-satisfaction. One is embarrassed to have to remind such people of what ought to be patently obvious: God is not a Republican.
Conservatives want people to believe their agenda is synonymous with belief in God. A belief in God is above party politics, it is a shame the Republican Party want to drag the name of God down with their radical agenda. Again, God is not a partisan.

May 16, 2005

President Bush had no freaking clue!

The White House, Capitol, and the headquarters of both political parties were evacuated due to a possible terror threat on May 11 and know one told President Bush.

David Corn ...
When national security adviser Stephen Hadley appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday, he was asked about the decision not to clue in Bush. No surprise: he said everything went fine. What happened that day, Hadley maintained, is "how the system's supposed to work." Really? Is it national security protocol to clear out the White House and not inform the guy who lives there? Suppose that the threat had been real--the plane was spraying a biological agent or carrying a dirty (or, worse, a nuclear) bomb--or that this aircraft was part of a larger, coordinated attack involving other aircraft near Washington and elsewhere. (Anyone remember 9/11?) Would we want the president working on his heart rate instead of being briefed, assessing the situation, and preparing to make what could be a difficult decision? [...]

Still, Hadley insisted all had gone well. Moreover, he noted that Bush had not been the least bit upset that he had not been told about the episode until after the all-clear had been issued. "The president is satisfied that the proper procedures were followed,"" Hadley said, noting that Bush has not "directed any changes in the procedure." That means Bush--who likes to depict himself as Mr. Decisive--didn't tell his aides, Damnit, next time this happens, get me off of the bike. Or could it be that Hadley and other Bush aides--by putting out this spin--are making Bush look bad to cover up their mistake?

This was a significant screw-up. (Imagine what conservatives would say if a President Kerry had wind-surfed through a similar episode.) Even if Bush and his gang can't bring themselves to acknowledge this error in public, let's hope that they do realize mistakes were made and that they are making sure that next time such an incident occurs Bush does indeed take a break from breaking a sweat to do his job.
Unbelievable! They did not want to interrupt the President bike ride. President Bush of was not notified that his wife was evacuated from the White House due to a possible terror threat and he was not mad about it. The latest example of Republican family values.

Americans With Disabilities Act & Disabled Inmates

Americans With Disabilities Act, signed into law on July 26 1990, is wide-ranging legislation intended to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities.
The ADA recognizes and protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and is modeled after earlier landmark laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race and gender. The ADA covers a wide range of disability, from physical conditions affecting mobility, stamina, sight, hearing, and speech to conditions such as emotional illness and learning disorders. The ADA addresses access to the workplace (title I), State and local government services (title II), and places of public accommodation and commercial facilities (title III). It also requires phone companies to provide telecommunications relay services for people who have hearing or speech impairments (title IV) and miscellaneous instructions to Federal agencies that enforce the law (title V).
I am a paraplegic since 1999, the Americans With Disabilities Act has made daily life more accessible. I am able to go to school, stores, movies, restaurants and so on without worrying if I am able to access the places I have to go. Some locations are better than others with their accessibility, I only had a few problems with access to places.

One place I hope I never had to worry about access is to a jail.

Court to Review Rights of Disabled Inmates
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Monday that it will decide if states and counties can be sued for not accommodating disabled prisoners, setting up another legal showdown over the power of Congress to tell states what to do.

The high court ruled seven years ago that a landmark federal civil rights law protects people being held in state prisons.

Since then, however, lower court judges have disagreed over whether states can be sued for damages by prisoners under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a law meant to ensure equal treatment for the disabled in many areas of life.
The Bush administration filed an appeal on behalf of a paraplegic named Tony Goodman a Georgia prisoner, who claims he has been held for more than 23 hours a day in a cell so narrow he cannot turn his wheelchair.
Goodman, who suffered his injuries in a car accident, is serving time for aggravated assault and a cocaine conviction. He claims that because the prison in Reidsville, Ga., is not equipped for people in wheelchairs, he cannot go to the bathroom or bathe without help, and does not have access to counseling, classes and religious services. He has sometimes been forced to sit in his own waste, according to Goodman's lawsuit.

Paul Clement, the president's lead Supreme Court lawyer, told justices in a filing that ADA's protections address "the inhumane, degrading, and health-endangering conditions of daily living for inmates."
The case has vast implications for states because of the costs of retrofitting old prisons to accommodate people with disabilities.

I know the person in the story committed a crime and should be in prison for the appropriate amount of time, but the jail should be suitable for this basic needs. Being held in a cell so narrow that he can not turn his wheelchair, being forced to sit in his own waste, not able to go to bathroom or bath without help is inhumane and degrading.

Being able to shower, use the bathroom without help, attending counseling and religious services are basic needs for the prisoner. Americans With Disabilities Act should not stop at the door of a prison.

Radical Right vs. Truth

Bill Moyers...
"I should put my detractors on notice," declared the veteran journalist who stepped down in January as the host of PBS's NOW With Bill Moyers, who recently turned 70. "They might compel me out of the rocking chair and into the anchor chair." [...]

"I simply never imagined that any CPB chairman, Democrat or Republican, would cross the line from resisting White House pressure to carrying it out for the White House. And that's what (CPB chair) Kenneth Tomlinson has been doing."

Recalling former President Richard Nixon's failed attempt to cut the funding for public broadcasting in the early 1970s, Moyers said, "I always knew that Nixon would be back -- again and again. I just didn't know that this time he would ask to be the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."[...]

Speaking of the investigative reporting NOW did on everything from the war in Iraq to offshore tax havens and ownership of the media, Moyers said, "Our reporting was giving the radical right fits because it wasn't the party line."

"The more compelling our journalism, the angrier the radical right of the Republican Party gets," he explained. "That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth."

The broadcasting giant was greeted with cheers when he declaration that "the quality of our media and the quality of our democracy are intertwined. But the loudest applause of the day came in response to his invitation to the crowd to join him in the fight to "take public broadcasting back from threats, from interference."

"It is," Moyers said, "a worthy goal." [..]

"An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical," Moyers said. "And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too."
The radical right hates the truth, so they attack the truth tellers and the truth itself. They make up their own “truth” to push their radical agenda on the American people. They well lie, cheat, steal, attack and so to hold on to power to detriment of American people.

May 13, 2005

Bush Flip Flops on Social Security Disability Benefit

President Bush ....

Q And I'm disabled, and I just wondered if there's going to an intensified program into some of the disability benefits that they have now.


Q Okay. (Laughter.) Whatever program that you put out for Social Security I'm fully behind it. You have my support.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, ma'am. (Applause.) I appreciate that. Yes, ma'am. Her question was -- see, there is a Social Security benefit as a part of -- there is a disability benefit as a part of Social Security. It won't change. We're talking about the retirement aspect of Social Security.
Vs. President Bush ....

WASHINGTON - Future Social Security retirement benefits for disabled workers is a matter for negotiations with Congress as it drafts solvency legislation, the Bush administration said Thursday, declining to say whether they should be raised, lowered or left unchanged.

"Any plan that maintains current disability benefits will need to address the transition to retirement, and those details will be worked out through the legislative process," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy.

President Bush went from ‘it won’t change’ to ‘disability benefits will need to address’.

At the same time, he has spoken favorably of a solvency plan that would curtail the growth of retirement benefits for middle-income and higher-income workers of the future.

That leaves open the issue of future retirement benefits for disabled workers.

Duffy said the administration is not proposing to adjust future retirement benefits for the disabled in the same way as it wants them changed for the non-disabled. "Those two populations will be treated differently," he said.

At the same time, he declined to say there would be no change.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on the President's Social Security.

"Just two weeks ago, President Bush assured Americans that disability benefits would not be cut under his privatization plan. Yesterday, a White House spokesman said disability cuts are still on the table. Either disability benefits will be cut or they won't be. Which is it, Mr. President?

"The White House also confirmed this week that benefits would be cut for the middle class and for survivors.

"Social Security has given millions of Americans the opportunity to live with dignity and independence, and Democrats will not walk away from our commitment to ensuring that families receive the benefits they have earned.

"In order to push through his risky privatization plan, the President has proposed slashing benefits for middle-class families, cutting benefits for widows and children, and trillions of dollars in additional debt. Despite the high cost of privatization, the President's misleading plan makes the challenge facing Social Security worse, not better.

"Democrats stand ready to strengthen Social Security on a bipartisan basis as we did in 1983 when Speaker Tip O'Neill joined with President Reagan for the common good. In that spirit, we urge the President to begin considering proposals that strengthen Social Security in a way that does not gut benefits for middle-class families and does not jeopardize the economic security of those struggling to make ends meet when faced with disability or death."
Again, Which is it, Mr. President?

As a person who receives Social Security disability benefits, I want to know. Are you a man of you word or a flip flopper?

The Vladimir Putin of Mexico?

Is Roberto Madrozo the Vladimir Putin of Mexico?
Should I become president," George W. Bush told an audience in Miami in August 2000, "I will look south, not as an afterthought, but as a fundamental commitment of my presidency." As it turns out, of course, the Middle East and Russia have largely consumed Washington's foreign policy energy over the last five years--understandably so. But should Bush ever decide to look south again, he might find that his considerable efforts at quelling Vladimir Putin's undemocratic tendencies will provide him with valuable experience for dealing with Mexico. That's because the man who could very well succeed Vicente Fox as the country's president bears more than a passing resemblance to Russia's illiberal leader.

I refer not to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left-leaning mayor of Mexico City who has dominated recent headlines and is widely considered the favorite to replace Fox, but rather to Roberto Madrazo, a hard-charging 52-year-old stalwart of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In 2000, Fox, a member of the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN) ended more than 70 years of autocratic, one-party rule by the PRI. Now the once-dominant party has its best chance in years to make a comeback, with Madrazo leading the way.
Roberto Madrazo of PRI will be a step back from true liberal democracy in Mexico, if he win the election for President.

Go read the whole article.

Limbaugh vs. Evanston Township High School

Rush Limbaugh claims Evanston Township High School students, “don't know anything about World War II"

Teens seek debate vs. Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh said on his nationally syndicated radio show that Evanston Township High School students "don't know anything about World War II" and "they've probably never heard the name Adolf Hitler" because they're so focused on a multicultural curriculum.
Rush Limbaugh is all mad because the High School dares to teach their students one semester of “global perspectives" courses covering the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Russia during their sophomores year.

Evanston Township High School global perspective courses was the focus of Christian Science Monitor article.

Ever since the school instituted a global studies requirement in 1988, international history, culture, and foreign policy have infused the curriculum to an unusual degree. Even the after-school program - with Model United Nations, Islamic Awareness, and Japanese Tea Ceremony - has a global flair.

But that global flair makes the Evanston school somewhat of an anomaly in the United States. The scope of most of the nation's schools remains largely limited to the US - or at least Western civilization. [...]

Evanston makes learning about the world a requirement, not an elective. Sophomores take a full year of "global perspectives" courses, with offerings that include semester-long classes on Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America, and the Middle East - or a year-long humanities course taught by history and English teachers that covers multiple continents
Rush Limbaugh attacks the Christian Science Monitor article.

Limbaugh's comments came after he read a Christian Science Monitor article Tuesday that profiled global studies courses required at ETHS. Limbaugh railed against multicultural education generally and singled out the North Shore school.

"What multiculturalists is, is balkanizing this country," Limbaugh said Tuesday. "People are coming here from various parts of the world and they're bringing their cultures with them and the multiculturalists are saying 'your culture is better than the American culture. The American culture is discriminatory, it's racist, sexist, bigot, homophobic.' "
Evanston Township High School students want to debate Rush Limbaugh on American history.

"I think [a debate] would be great because then we'd prove him wrong and open up his opinion a little bit," Sarah Loeb, an ETHS sophomore, said Thursday. [...]

"It's funny to me that someone would say we don't know about World War II -- we live in a large Jewish community," said Jane Biliter, a senior. Each year, the school hosts activities for Holocaust Remembrance Week. "Until 10th grade, all we did was U.S. and European history. It's just so false that what he says is funny." [...]

"It struck me as incomprehensible that somebody would think multiculturalism antithetical to American values," Supt. Allan Alson said. "I was stunned that he had such certainty that our kids were not knowledgeable about basic American history when in fact our student do extremely well" on standardized tests in that area. "It's a shame he lets his conclusions determine his evidence."

Aaron Becker, who teaches the Middle East class, said his students also are considering sending Limbaugh essays they've written on American history.

"This is a perfect teachable moment," Becker said. "Kids are angry and want to respond by showing they know a lot, that it's not a zero-sum game, that you can learn about more than one history."
Rush Limbaugh's producer did not return a call on whether Limbaugh would agree to a debate. Rush Limbaugh does not debate with facts, the rather attack this subject on the radio and have this ditto heads repeat ditto Rush, over and over. One Evanston Township High School student is right, "It's not even worth responding to," said Aaron Hamilton, a senior. "He has nothing to say about my education and my future. He's just a guy talking on the radio."

May 12, 2005

Zell Miller, Ralph Reed & Clueless “Democrats”

Ralph Reed is running for Lt. Governor of Georgia. Sean Hannity and Senator Zell Miller are the
featured speakers for Ralph Reed Family and Freedom Rally.

"Sean Hannity and Senator Zell Miller are patriots and good friends. Senator Miller stood by President George W. Bush's side at a critical moment in the history of our nation. Sean Hannity is one of the most effective and articulate spokesmen for freedom and conservative principles in America today. I am deeply honored to have the support of these two great Americans and I invite Georgians and their families to join us for an unforgettable evening," said Ralph Reed.
The Family and Freedom rally take place on Friday, June 17, 2005. $15 per person / $30 per family children attend free, VIP Reception: $1,000 includes photo with Sean Hannity and Senator Zell Miller.

The New Donkey is stunned that Zell Miller this former boss is raising money for Lt. Governor candidate Ralph Reed.

With the retirement of my old boss Zell Miller, I thought perhaps his outrageous political behavior of the last couple of years would come to an end. I mean, what's the point of insulting your party when nobody really cares any more? Ah, but it now appears the fires of Zell's odd rage still burn: along with Sean Hannity, he will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for none other than Ralph Reed, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, and the past master of hypocritical political sleaze.

There is, of course, a peculiar historical echo here: Ralph's very first campaign, before he got religion, and before his notorious stint as deputy to Jack Abramoff in the College Republicans, was with Zell Miller's unsuccessful 1980 race for the U.S. Senate. Miller lost the Democratic runoff to incumbent Herman Talmadge, who basically beat Miller by calling him too liberal for Georgia. Ironic, huh
Ed Kilgore called it the “The Final Descent Into Zell”.

The final descent? The final descent of Zell Miller happen a lot time ago. I can not pin point the exact moment of descent, but this was the pinnacle of Zell Miller the DLC Democrat to the right wing nut.

Today, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.

What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in? I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny. It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter.

But not today.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.
DLC Marshall Wittman wonders whether Zell Miller has no shame for raising money for Ralph Reed.

The Moose wonders whether a certain Democrat has no shame.

Given his background, the Moose is the last to cast judgment on someone who has a political change of heart. While it is one thing for former Senator Zell Miller to have endorsed President Bush, it is entirely another matter for him to lend his support to Reverend Ralph Reed's campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. The Moose's colleague, the New Donkey who knows Zell well, shares this view. [..]

To borrow from another era, the Moose asks, Senator, have you no shame?

Speaking of "Deficit of Decency", Senator Miller, you are now promoting a candidate who was an architect of a vicious attack on your fellow Georgia Democrat and war hero, Max Cleland in 2002. You are now flacking for a fellow who undertook the vile campaign in the South Carolina primary against John McCain in 2000. You are a backing a fella who was a collaborator with Casino Jack Abramoff in the Indian Gaming Scandal. Or do you buy Ralph's line that he was only the piano player at the Republican bordello? Senator, you were born, but not yesterday.

Senator, you did much good for the people of Georgia as their Governor. There are many fine, upstanding Republicans for you to support, if you must. But, be a little discerning... or is there really a "deficit of decency."
Ed Kilgore and Marshall Wittman are clueless.

Marshall Wittman has to wonder if Zell Miller is shameless. Please, Zell Miller is beyond shameless and he did not start to become shameless just recently.

Bob Brigham of Swing State Project is right, again.

In reality, it was not, "outrageous political behavior" that Zell Miller has displayed, rather it was just the DLC's Third Way (triangulation) strategy.

The Triangulation tactic is a simple one: tear down others in your party to try to make yourself look important to those in the other party. It is a self defeating strategy unless you are rooting for the other team. Ralph Reed must be delighted.

GOP Family Values

Who is Dr. W. David Hager?
Late last October Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to the pulpit as the featured speaker at a morning service. He stood in the campus chapel at Asbury College, a small evangelical Christian school nestled among picturesque horse farms in the small town of Wilmore in Kentucky's bluegrass region. Hager is an Asburian nabob; his elderly father is a past president of the college, and Hager himself currently sits on his alma mater's board of trustees. Even the school's administrative building, Hager Hall, bears the family name.
He is also an sodomite and a rapist.
According to Davis, Hager's public moralizing on sexual matters clashed with his deplorable treatment of her during their marriage. Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."
Dr. W. David Hager is truly disgusting.
But life with David Hager had grown unbearable. As his public profile increased, so did the tension in their home, which she says periodically triggered episodes of abuse. "I would be asleep," she recalls, "and since [the sodomy] was painful and threatening, I woke up. Sometimes I acquiesced once he had started, just to make it go faster, and sometimes I tried to push him off.... I would [confront] David later, and he would say, 'You asked me to do that,' and I would say, 'No, I never asked for it.'"
Dr. W. David Hager ex-wife has narcolepsy which lead her to be unconscious. The Doctor calls himself a “Christian”, again this person is truly disgusting.

May 11, 2005

Speaker Dennis Hastert: "thumbs up or thumbs down"

No, Speaker Hastert is not asking for a vote on President Bush nominees for the courts.

Speaker Dennis Hastert wants a Republican controlled House ethics committee give a written approval for lawmakers trips financed by companies or special interests.
WASHINGTON - Speaker Dennis Hastert proposed Wednesday that the House ethics committee give a written "thumbs up or thumbs down" in advance to lawmakers who want to take a trip financed by companies or special interests.
He said advanced approval would clear up confusion over travel rules at a time that Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trips are under scrutiny. Other lawmakers have been rushing to belatedly disclose past travel or amend previous reports to clear up any discrepancies on the trip's financing. [...]

Hastert, speaking on the Tony Snow show on Fox News radio, said lawmakers "need to get a clearance up or down." He said the ethics committee should devise a "simple way to get a thumbs up or thumbs down."
Speaker Dennis Hastert continues to defend this boss second-in-command in the House leadership.
"Everybody's piling on Tom DeLay," he said.... "It's a lightening rod. He thought he was cleared on these trips. He thought they were funded by a legitimate organization."
DeLay has asked to appear before the ethics committee to explain his travel, and the speaker said this was the right thing to do.

"Tom needs to lay out his information ... and get cleared," he said.
Hastert want the Republican controlled House ethics committee to give out permission slips so Congressmen can go on field trips.

If the Republican controlled House ethics committee gave Tom Delay a permission slips to go on a field trip who is big money donors, the trips are still sleazy. No matter how many permission slips Tom Delay buys.

VP Cheney raise $ for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave

Cheney Fundraising for Colo. Congresswoman
DENVER - Vice President Dick Cheney helped raise an estimated $200,000 Monday for the campaign of Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (news, bio, voting record), who is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress.

Musgrave, one of the original sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, has proved "to be exactly the right person for the job," Cheney told a crowd about 200 people who paid $500 to $4,000 to attend the luncheon in downtown Denver.
No big news, A big time Republican raising money for an other Republican.

But, Marilyn Musgrave want to treat Dick Cheney gay daughter like a second class citizen.
Marriage is a sacred institution in America, with a strong foundation in religious, legal, economic, and cultural traditions. Although the institution has seen various evolutions in each of these realms, it remains basically the same today as during this nation's founding.

Marriage is a unique union between one woman and one man. [...]

Given this turmoil, however, marriage is enduring. On a micro level, this union is built to withstand personal conflicts between a committed couple, and on a broader scale marriage has withstood various social and political testing.

Furthermore, the sanctity of this institution, with the presence of one man and one woman committed to each other, is by far the best environment for raising children. [...]

As it is known today, marriage is facing a particular danger -- the threat of radical redefinition. The essential role this institution plays in American society is on the verge of being undone by a handful of judges.

The general public may not be aware that gay activists are on the cusp of using the courts to dismantle the longstanding definition of marriage.

The gay and lesbian lobby is shopping around various state courts looking to find a group of judges to legitimize their lifestyle as an equivalent to traditional marriage. This lobby is astonishingly close to achieving its goal - same sex marriage.[..]

Accepting gay marriage as an equivalent to traditional marriage will create a crisis far more severe than any current danger marriage is facing. In particular, the vital role of marriage in raising children will be uprooted.

Furthermore, the boundaries that define marriage will be forever blurred. Any imaginable relationship will be freed from justification. American society will be forced to accept any relationship, no matter what form it takes.

One man and one woman would no longer be the vanguard.

The attempt to deconstruct marriage and make same sex unions equivalent to traditional marriage must not be overlooked nor underestimated. This is a real and present danger that will undermine the foundation that makes the union between a woman and a man uniquely necessary.
Dick Cheney raised money for a person who hate his daughter life style, but he does not care. President Bush and VP Cheney actively sought the support of anti-homosexual bigots in order to hold on to power.

May 10, 2005

GOP & Political Opposition

A GOP Plan to 'Fix' the Democrats
DeLay himself drew the line sharply the day after the 2004 elections. "The Republican Party is a permanent majority for the future of this country," DeLay declared. "We're going to be able to lead this country in the direction we've been dreaming of for years."

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading figure in both the DeLay and Bush political operations, chose more colorful post-election language to describe the future. "Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans," he told Richard Leiby of The Post. "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant. But when they've been 'fixed,' then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful."

If you wonder in the coming weeks why Democrats are so reluctant to give ground, remember Norquist's jocular reference to neutering the opposition party. Democrats are neither contented nor cheerful over the prospect of being "fixed." Should that surprise anyone?
The GOP want to “fix” the Democratic party to make them happy, sedate, contented and cheerful. They want the Democratic party to lay down and let the Republican Party remake America with their moral-less economic and extremist “religious” agenda.

George Mitchell on the Filibusters

The Not-So-Secret History of Filibusters
EVERYONE recalls "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but too few remember the real-life Mrs. Smith. So, as the Senate nears a vote on a proposal to unilaterally change Senate rules for confirming federal judges, I am reminded of the words spoken 55 years ago by Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine in her famous "Declaration of Conscience" against the tactics of Senator Joe McCarthy, a member of her own party.

"I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest," the senator said. "Surely we Republicans aren't that desperate for victory. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one-party system."

The circumstances are obviously different; there is no McCarthyism in the current dispute. But the principles of exercising independent judgment and preserving our system of checks and balances are at the heart of the Senate rules debate. [...]

Since 1789, the Senate has rejected nearly 20 percent of all nominees to the Supreme Court, many without an up-or-down vote.

In 1968 Republican senators used a filibuster to block voting on President Lyndon B. Johnson's nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court. During the debate, a Republican senator, Robert Griffin, said: "It is important to realize that it has not been unusual for the Senate to indicate its lack of approval for a nomination by just making sure that it never came to a vote on the merits. As I said, 21 nominations to the court have failed to win Senate approval. But only nine of that number were rejected on a direct, up-and-down vote."

Between 1968 and 2001, both parties used filibusters to oppose judicial nominees. In 2000, the last year of Bill Clinton's presidency, Republican senators filibustered two of his nominees to be circuit judges. They also prevented Senate votes on more than 60 of Mr. Clinton's judicial nominees by other means.

So much for the assertion that filibustering to prevent votes on judicial nominees is a new tactic invented by Senate Democrats.
The Senate Republican are using outright lies to debate their nuclear option on filibuster. Republicans use shameless tactics to deny Bill Clinton nominees during the 90’s now they have complete power they want to change the rules to pass President Bush nominees. The GOP is the party of hypocrisy.

IL-Gov: Vallas urged to run again

Dean Vallas the brother of Paul Vallas is urging his brother to challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the 2006 Democratic primary for Illinois Governor.
The political comeback drive for Paul Vallas is under way. All it needs is Paul Vallas.

Dean Vallas, a driving force in his brother's 2002 Democratic primary campaign for governor, says he's conducting a one-man campaign to clear away any legal obstacles so Paul Vallas, now the head of the Philadelphia Public Schools, could have the option of challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the 2006 primary.

"It's basically just me," Dean Vallas says of the effort, "but it's got to be a coup to win the war."
Paul Vallas is the head of the Philadelphia school system and said he has "no plans to return to Illinois before the expiration" of his contract
"There are a number of people who supported me in 2002, including my brother, Dean, and they are still actively supporting my returning to Illinois," Paul Vallas said. He said that, "while I am appreciative of their support, my attention is focused here. I am under contract, and it is a five-year contract."

Paul Vallas said he has "no plans to return to Illinois before the expiration" of his contract. Yet, he isn't bound to serve five years. Instead, after his third year on the job ends on June 30, he is eligible to collect a substantial amount of deferred compensation.

"Am I actively involved in this? No. Am I actively encouraging it? No," said Paul Vallas, whose contract prohibits him from taking part in partisan political activity. Still, when asked about efforts to determine if he can meet Illinois residency, he said, "I have neither encouraged them nor discouraged them."
In the 2002 Democratic primary for Governor I voted for Paul Vallas. Rod Blagojevich won the primary and I supported him during the general election. If Paul Vallas want to challenging the Governor in 2006 I would support him again. Governor Blagojevich has been a disappointment in this first term, Paul Vallas was the better choice then and now. Even if Paul Vallas does not make a political comeback to Illinois, I wish him well.

May 9, 2005

Can A Zip Code Be Racist?

One study says yes.
Some forms of racism are easy to detect.
A "whites only" sign on a water fountain, for example, or a racial slur shouted in someone's face.

But what about a ZIP code?

In a study released today, a Chicago-based fair housing group argues the obstacles that prevent minorities and low-income people from moving next door to more affluent - and largely white - residents is an equally damaging, if more subtle, form of racial segregation.

Throughout the suburbs, they say, communities are limiting or simply not approving affordable housing. Realtors - subconsciously or not - are steering poor people and minorities to particular towns or neighborhoods, the group says.

That the Northwest and West suburbs are largely white and middle- to upper-class isn't much of a news flash, said John Lukehart, senior associate with the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.
The Chicago-based fair housing group,Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities was formed as a result of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1966 campaign for fair housing in Chicago.
The mission of the Leadership Council is to promote inclusive, diverse and equitable communities in the Chicago region. Over its 39-year history, the Leadership Council has worked diligently throughout the Chicago region to: enforce fair housing laws; assist minority families, including low income families, locate better housing and economic opportunities; press for public and private housing market polices and practices that better ensure equal access to affordable housing opportunities, especially in areas of economic opportunity; support sustainable community development; and promote diverse communities. The Council has focused its energies on institutional, structural change and recognized housing, where one lives, as a crucial point of access to other economic and life opportunities.
The Leadership Council study confirm the Chicago suburbs with ample affordable house are home to some of the poorest schools, and lowest-paying jobs and highest poverty rates.
There's a widening gap between those towns with the most affordable housing and those that have better employment and educational opportunities -- a gap largely caused by racial discrimination, restrictive zoning and Illinois' school funding system, according to a report released today by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.
The report highlights how few housing options are available to households earning $25,000 a year or less. The study defined affordable housing as single-family homes with a market value of $75,434 or less and apartments with a monthly rent up to $638. [...]

Blacks and Hispanics in the Chicago area live almost entirely in low-opportunity areas -- as measured by factors such as transportation, education, crime, pollution and municipal services, using figures from the 2000 U.S. census, according to the report.

Another indicator, job creation, revealed that the highest-opportunity areas created 34 times as many jobs between 1995 and 2000 as did the poorest areas. Frankfort was the only Southland town in the highest-opportunity category, one shared by such suburbs as Downers Grove, Winnetka and Barrington Hills.
The study also shows ....
Included in the research was data such as average ACT scores, amount of money spent per pupil on education, combined property tax wealth per household, the median year that housing units were built, number of jobs, mean travel time to work and park land per capita.
Each town received an overall score and was ranked from "highest opportunity" - meaning the communities where residents have the best chance of living a healthy and successful life - to "lowest opportunity," or those towns where schools are poorly funded, asthma rates are highest and jobs are scarce.

The study's authors then looked at where the highest concentrations of blacks, Hispanics and residents living in poverty are.

The result: Those minority groups live almost exclusively in the communities deemed least desirable, or with the lowest opportunities.
Leadership Council proposes requiring a minimum amount of affordable housing in any new development, sharing wealthy suburbs' sales and property tax revenue with poorer communities, and making school funding less dependent on property taxes to bridged gap between affordable housing and quality of life.

Lukehart said one way to shrink the divide is for municipalities to promote better regional planning instead of competing with each other for business growth. The mad scramble for tax revenue has led to an emphasis on commercial development rather than housing growth, which has resulted in less affordable housing, Lukehart said.
Illinois' system for financing local schools relies heavily on property tax. Because of that, local officials and residents view affordable housing as leading to higher tax bills, and they tend to resist allowing it into the community, Lukehart said. More housing units mean more schoolchildren and a greater need for schools to increase their property tax levies, he said.

If and when the state ever restructures its school-funding formula, another barrier to affordable housing in high-opportunity communities will be removed, Lukehart said.
Naperville City Manager Peter Burchard maintain sharing funds doesn't solve problems.

Right now, communities contribute money to regional transportation such as the Chicago Transit Authority. Yet the CTA is in financial turmoil, Burchard noted.
"Money isn't the answer," he said.

In the Leadership Council study, Naperville was ranked in the second-highest category of places to live, getting particularly high scores for its schools and "quality of life" issues.

According to the 2000 census, the city's population is about 3 percent black and 3percent Hispanic. About 10percent of residents are Asian.

Burchard said Naperville has an affordable housing stock of almost 20 percent if "affordable" is determined using typical DuPage County housing prices rather than those of the entire Chicago region.

He also took issue with parts of the study that indicated Naperville and similar communities don't exactly roll out the welcome mat for poor people or minorities.

"People need to get out here and visit these communities before they judge these communities," he said. "We're a great place to live for anyone who wants to be a part of this community.

"You don't become a great community without being an open community."
You can read the whole report at this link -- Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.

do not live in Naperville, Illinois but I do have few family members who live there. I live in similar town Oswego. Both Oswego and Naperville are mostly middle to upper class white communities. On the street I live in, there is only two Hispanic house holds counting my family.

My parents went to a Hispanic realtor to sale our old house in Aurora, which is a diverse town with Hispanics, whites, African-Americans and other ethnic group, and to find a new home to fit the needs of a person who is in a wheelchair. The realtor did not show my parents houses in Oswego or Naperville, most of the houses were in Aurora. My parents went on there own to those communities and found a affordable lot to build a new house to fix my needs in Oswego. I do not think the reason was racism why the realtor did not show us houses in Oswego, it was more out of economic class.

I seen the housing boom first hand, corn fields are turning into housing starting at $175,000 and up without no affordable housing/apartments being built for lower classes people in this community. I do see the housing segregation when I drive from my house to Aurora, and back.

My father does not agree with the proposes of Leadership Council to bridged the gap between affordable housing and quality of life. The mostly out of personal economic reason, he like the community my family live in, does not want his taxes to be raise or shared with other communities.

I agree with the finding of Leadership Council but finding solution to the problems is the difficult part.

May 6, 2005

Minister ex-communicates members for not backing Bush

A Minister kick out members of the Church for not supporting Bush, then claim this actions were not politically motivated.

The minister of a Haywood County Baptist church is telling members of his congregation that if they're Democrats, they either need to find another place of worship or support President Bush.

Already, the Reverend Chan Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.

During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.

Chandler could not be reached for comment today, but says his actions weren't politically motivated.
Go read more about this at georgia10 dairy at Daily Kos.

Reverend Chan Chandler said they had to repent and agree to vote Republican. 40 other members resigned in protest.

This is scary, the extremist religious right want to purge liberals from all parts of American society. They want to impose a theocracy upon this great nation and the Republican party is willing to act as their political puppets in Washington D.C.

Rep. Slaughter Calls for Creation of "Truman" Commission for Iraq


I posted previous dairies that Democrats must call for a Modern Truman Committee to ensure accountability in the post-war reconstruction effort.

Rep. Slaughter Calls for Creation of "Truman" Commission for Iraq
Calls Out Republicans over Refusal to Ensure Accountability in the Post-War Reconstruction Effort

Washington, DC - Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, spoke strongly today of American reconstruction efforts in Iraq and against the waste and corruption which is undermining them and endangering the lives and safety of U.S. troops.

"I think we can all agree that supporting our young men and women in uniform is a priority for each and every member in this House," Rep. Slaughter said. "It is incumbent upon us here in the people's House to honor those sacrifices in the only real way we can, by providing leadership for this nation that is as principled and courageous as each of our fallen soldiers."

"It is for this reason," she continued, "that I am so disappointed by the refusal of the majority in this House to aggressively pursue the mismanagement and fraud which is sapping the resources from the very soldiers we are charged to support and protect."

In early 2005, a report issued by the Special Inspector General for the Iraqi Reconstruction found that $9 billion spent on the Iraqi reconstruction was unaccounted for. For months before this, accusations of price gouging by Halliburton had been gaining momentum, as the public has gradually become aware that the White House-connected corporation had been overcharging the U.S. Army for gasoline in order to inflate their profits by millions of dollars. Nor has the situation improved, with recent reports showing that yet another $100 million earmarked between 2003 and 2004 for small building projects throughout Iraq is still completely unaccounted for, much of it likely lost to fraud.

"We have heard reports of payroll checks being cut for employees who didn't exist and firms being compensated for providing security for flights that never took off," Ms. Slaughter said. "We have even heard a report that a Pentagon contract for the development of bullet proof armor was given to a former Army researcher who never delivered a single piece of armor. We need to stop this destructive self-interest now."

"During World War II, the efforts of our forces were helped greatly by the work of the Truman Commission," Congresswoman Slaughter continued, "which made sure that the money being spent on the War was winding up where it was supposed to and was being used in responsible ways. And yet, we in this Congress don't have the courage to insist on the same level of accountability today that our forefathers saw fit to employ over 60 years ago."

Democratic members of the House have on numerous occasions attempted to promote accountability in the reconstruction effort, seeking to reconstitute a committee like the Truman Commission to better manage and monitor U.S. funds and contracts associated with Iraq. Republican members of Congress, however, have repeatedly refused to agree to the creation of such a group, and have actively worked to oppose it.

"The same lack of respect for ethical conduct and responsible governance which the Majority has brought to the floor of the House regarding domestic issues has now infected its conduct of American foreign policy," Ms. Slaughter said. "Its arrogance has already jeopardized the well-being of the American people. Now it is jeopardizing the safety of those young men and women fighting half a world away on our behalf."

"We should be ashamed that we have yet to eliminate the corruption that is forcing our troops to fight with one hand tied behind their back," Ms. Slaughter added. "Let us immediately bring back a modern incarnation of the Truman Commission so that we can give our troops the best chance for success that they can have."
Thank you Rep. Slaughter!

May 5, 2005

Rep. Bill Thomas vs. E.J. Dionne, Jr.

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas ...

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas cautioned Democrats to drop preconditions on their willingness to negotiate a bill that shores up Social Security.

Democrats in the House and Senate have said they won't discuss any plan that includes President George W. Bush's proposal for private investment accounts using the Social Security payroll tax.

"You can't rule out anything or you're never going to be able to make law," Thomas said in an interview. "The minute you start ruling out stuff at the beginning of the process it means you've already narrowed your options and it's hard enough to make law in this environment."
E.J. Dionne, Jr. ...

The game is also fixed because the president has narrowed the range of Social Security options to protect his most questionable policy choices. Some press reports have suggested that Bush's willingness to cut Social Security benefits for the wealthy turned him into some latter-day Karl Marx, or at least Ted Kennedy.

This is nonsense. Bush has refused to put his own tax cuts on the table as part of a Social Security fix. Repealing Bush's tax cuts for those earning over $350,000 a year could cover all or most of the 75-year Social Security shortfall. Keeping part of the estate tax in place could cover a quarter to half of the shortfall. Some of the hole could be filled in by a modest surtax on dividends or capital gains.

But Bush is resolute about protecting the interests of the truly rich by making sure that any taxes on wealth are ruled out of the game from the beginning. The Social Security cuts he is proposing for the wealthy are a pittance compared with the benefits they get from his tax cuts. The president is keeping his eye on what really matters to him.
Rep. Bill Thomas who are you trying to fool, it is the Republican party who has preconditions to negotiate a bill that shores up Social Security. Your tax cuts for the most wealthiest Americans are off the table, which narrows our options. It is hypocritical to tell Democrats to not to have any preconditions on Social Security when it is your refusal to repeal the Bush tax cuts which would lead to a shore up Social Security.

E.J Dionne, Jr is right, the game is FIX!

Terence Samuel of the American Prospect wrote an article about Bill Thomas.
What he’s looking for is one more vote than the other side, and on that front he has some history. As Ways and Means Committee chair, Thomas has successfully crafted some of the most contentious legislation to pass the Congress -- and by some of the narrowest margins -- in recent years. Four years ago, he led the fight for a trade-promotion bill giving President Bush negotiating authority not reviewable by the Congress. It passed by one vote, 215 to 214. In 2003, it was Thomas again leading the fight to reform Medicare and add a prescription-drug benefit. That led to the now-famous 2-hour-and-51-minute vote than began at 3 a.m. It was supposed to be a 15-minute vote, and for more than an hour, the plan appeared dead, with the scoreboard reading 218 to 216 against. But the GOP leadership kept the vote open, twisting arms and getting the president to make early-morning phone calls to flip a few GOP members from no to yes. In the end the GOP prevailed, 220 to 215. Sixteen Democrats defected and voted for that bill.

That won’t happen again, Democrats say. They insist that the disarray that has characterized the GOP effort on Social Security so far will continue even when there is an actual bill, and they say that they are eager to have Republicans go on record with a proposal that reduces benefits. Still, they know they have to watch out for Bill Thomas.

“We don’t have anybody like him on our side,” said one Democratic House aide, and he wasn’t saying it proudly.
Bill Thomas know how to get things done, not matter what. He is going to try to ram President Bush so called so called retirement bill thru the House.

This time Bill Thomas and the Republican party might over play their hand, and the retirement bill might become a congressional retirement bill for the GOP.

Laura Bush for Senator of New York!

The New York Republicans are looking for a candidate to run versus Hillary Clinton.

How about a battle of the first ladies? Laura Bush against Hillary Clinton.

Thatcher Endorses Bolton for U.N. Envoy

Margaret Thatcher the former Prime Minister of Britain endorses John R. Bolton for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Margaret Thatcher, who gained a reputation for outspokenness as Britain's prime minister, endorsed John R. Bolton for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations largely for his "capacity for straight talking rather than peddling half-truths."
In a letter made available Thursday by Bolton's office, Thatcher said she wrote to tell her longtime friend "how strongly I support your nomination."

"To combine, as you do, clarity of thought, courtesy of expression and an unshakable commitment to justice is rare in any walk of life. But it is particularly so in international affairs," Thatcher wrote in her letter dated Wednesday.

"A capacity for straight talking rather than peddling half-truths is a strength and not a disadvantage in diplomacy. Particularly in the case of a great power like America, it is essential that people know where you stand and assume that you mean what you say."
(Emphasis mine)

Straight talking, strength, power, mean what you say .... Did President Bush speech writers write the letter personally for Margaret Thatcher to endorse Mr. Bolton?

May 4, 2005

My name is Eloy and I'm a Liberal

Do ‘dispirited’ Liberals need a 12-step program?
There is no shortage of support groups in our society. There are groups for people with various addictions. There are anger management groups. Some groups are very specific, such as the support group for Gay and Lesbian Former Jehovah's Witnesses or the one for people who had controlling parents. Some are more general like the men's and women's support groups. I guess I'll have to wait for a "Why Are Gasoline Prices So High" group as well as an "I Hate Artificial Turf and Indoor Stadiums" support group. But there is one segment of society that won't have to wait any longer. A support group for certain people who have worked hard, been frustrated and discouraged, and are often belittled began this past February. It's a support group for dispirited liberals.

Not surprisingly, this support group is located in Southern California. The Activists' Support Circle is the brainchild of Santa Monica's Jerry Rubin. Its purpose is to give liberals "emotional rejuvenation."

Nobody gets up at these meetings and says haltingly, "My name is John Smith and I'm a liberal." It's not a 12-step program. In fact, it's really the opposite of programs that help people control their addictions. This support group tries to give its members encouragement so they'll remain addicted to political activism despite all of their recent discouragements.
I do not want to control my addiction to Liberalism, I do not need a 12-step program. What I really need is a support group.
Championing a particular cause or course of action often can be a lonely crusade, but these are particularly tough times for liberal activists.

Red-state dominance in the last election, the war in Iraq, changes in environmental policy and the possibility of a more conservative Supreme Court have left many local activists feeling as blue as the state they live in.

What they need, one longtime activist recently decided, is some therapy — a good old-fashioned support group tailored for the liberal activist in need of emotional rejuvenation.
A support group sound very ‘touchy-feely’ are Conservatives going to make fun of me?
But don't expect conservative Republicans to have meetings like this. Matthew Knee, a conservative activist and chairman of Bruin Republicans says, "A support group seems very touchy-feely and un-Republican ..." So, I doubt that in a few years you'll be able to overhear discouraged Republicans shouting, "Why did we mess with Social Security?" Conservatives generally have very little sympathy for those who wallow in their problems.

Knee adds that Republicans didn't fall into emotionally-needy doldrums during the Clinton years because they controlled Congress. And then those impeachment hearings bolstered conservative spirits. Conservatives often see liberals as "cry babies."
Cry Babies? Wait a minute, all Conservative do is cry and whine about liberal media, liberal judges, Democrats and so on.

Fox news, talk radio and the rest of the right wing media and organizations are conservative support groups. It is just one big support group of conservatives preaching to conservatives and crying and whining about the evils of worlds, anything not supporting the conservative cause or opposing the causes is evil.

So, it probably won't surprise them that some liberals who just won't let go of their causes need a support group. But before conservatives get too condescending about this, I think I should remind you of something. Conservatives also have a support group they run to when things aren't going their way. It's called the Supreme Court.
The Republican Party really need the support of Supreme Court in order to select Bush as President.

I am already part of one support group, Dailykos. It is more than a support group, it community of all type of Democrats, liberals, independents and even some republicans too. A place to debate, to gather, to preach, to advocate, to from new ideas or to reinforce old beliefs. A place of political information.

Cinco de Mayo!

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Yes, you in front. It is Mexico Independence Day. Nope, Mexico Independence day is on September 16.

Yes, you in the back drinking the beer. It is a day of fun Mexican fiestas with sombreros, maracas, pinatas, lights as decorations and drinking.
Here's an annual plea for Cinco de Mayo: Save it from going the way of St. Patrick's Day — a commercially driven binge drinking by people claiming to be "Irish for a day."

This time of year calls for bracing against an onslaught of liquor-industry promotions. The ads usually push slamming tequila shots and gulping beer. Cinco (five) beers for cinco ($5) misses the point. High grades of tequila make a fine drink — deserving more respect than normally received in America.

I suspect some of the "Mexican-for-a-day" drinkers envision themselves downing tequila shots, thinking they are being one with their brethren in Mexico.

Sorry, but no.
Ok, we give up. What is Cinco de Mayo?

The History of Cinco de Mayo

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some recognition in other parts of the Mexico, and especially in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population.

The battle at Puebla in 1862 happened at a violent and chaotic time in Mexico's history. Mexico had finally gained independence from Spain in 1821 after a difficult and bloody struggle, and a number of internal political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had mostly wiped out the national economy.

During this period of struggle Mexico had accumulated heavy debts to several nations, including Spain, England and France, who were demanding payment. Similar debt to the U.S. was previously settled after the Mexican-American War. France was eager to add to its empire at that time, and used the debt issue to move forward with goals of establishing its own leadership in Mexico. Realizing France's intent of empire expansion, Spain and England withdrew their support. When Mexico finally stopped making any loan payments, France took action on it's own to install Napoleon's relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico

France invaded at the gulf coast of Mexico along the state of Veracruz (see map) and began to march toward Mexico City, a distance today of less than 600 miles. Although American President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic to Mexico's cause, and for which he is honored in Mexico, the U.S. was involved in its own Civil War at the time and was unable to provide any direct assistance.

Marching on toward Mexico City, the French army encountered strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. Lead by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a small, poorly armed militia estimated at 4,500 men were able to stop and defeat a well outfitted French army of 6,500 soldiers, which stopped the invasion of the country. The victory was a glorious moment for Mexican patriots, which at the time helped to develop a needed sense of national unity, and is the cause for the historical date's celebration.
The underdog Mexicans defeated highly trained French troops. Did the Mexicans defeat of French troops have any consequence in American? Some say, Yes.
When he's asked to retell the Cinco de Mayo story, as he often does for area groups this time of year, Pontiac 50th District Judge Michael Martinez doesn't hesitate. [...]

"The French supported the Confederates in the war between States and gave them money and arms. France's plan was to go to Mexico City and just keep going north, hoping to meet up with the Confederates and join forces."

Martinez praises the French army at the time.

"They were considered the greatest army in the world in early 1860s," he said.

The troops headed toward Mexico City, "but they didn't expect anything to happen. It was like Sherman's march to the sea." [...]

"If the French had not been stopped, they would have marched north and helped the Confederates against the Union. Who knows, if that had happened, we might be speaking French today."
We can debate Mr. Martinez words, but Cinco De Mayo is more than a day to promote drinking. It is a day to celebrate a Mexican military victory over the France, a day to celebrate Mexican heritage.
So, here's to Cinco de Mayo, the memory of a long ago battle won by a ragtag army. Sip a glass of tequila or two and discover its true qualities in their honor.
Here, Here!

If you are going to celebrate with Tequila and other drinks on Cinco De Mayo be safe and have designated drivers.

May 3, 2005

Immigration: U.S. Politics of “08” & Britain Election of “05”

Charlie Cook list the possible Republican candidates for President in 2008.

On the Republican side, virtually every national poll shows former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani leading the pack, with 25 to 30 percent of the vote. Sen. John McCain of Arizona tends to run second, with 20 to 25 percent, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee score in the mid-to-high single digits.

After that, the GOP has a long cast of potential candidates who are drawing support in, at most, the low single digits: Sen. George Allen of Virginia, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Gov. George Pataki of New York, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
Charlie you miss one probable candidate, congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo. The congressman will be an one issue candidate, the issue Mr. Tancredo cares about the most is immigration.

Already, anti-immigration crusader, a congressman from Colorado, has made forays to New Hampshire and formed a political action committee called Team America, which is chaired by the legendary right-wing organizer Bay Buchanan. If Tancredo gets into the race, Tom Tancredo could pull the entire field to the right on immigration--and the political dynamic that has taken shape in Britain could be repeated here, but with the added element of a large, angry Latino constituency.

Which lead to the following question.

Does issue of immigration creates a bigger threat to the Republicans or the Democrats? Democratic strategist Ken Baer advocates it is a bigger threat to the Republican party.

True, Bush and Rove have dramatically improved their party's standing among Latinos, orchestrating a doubling of the Latino vote for the Republican presidential nominee between 1996 and 2004. But if the GOP gets in touch with its nativist id in 2008, those gains may quickly evaporate. And Democrats could begin dreaming of the day when they pick up the paper and read, "Will the last Latino to leave the Republican Party please turn out the lights."
Ken Baer see parallels between the Britain Conservative Party lead by Michael Howard and the Republican Party on the issue of Immigration.


Yet while this year's election may be a sleeper, it still contains a valuable lesson for those in Washington who are already looking to 2008--because contributing mightily to Howard's inability to oust Blair is his mishandling of one issue that will be unavoidable for those running for president four years from now: immigration. With self-styled "minutemen" patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border, the House of Representatives passing a prohibition on states granting illegal immigrants drivers' licenses, and anti-immigration ballot initiatives ready to go for 2006, immigration is rapidly bubbling to the surface of political debate. Many of these developments are being driven by conservatives. But if the lessons coming from Britain this week mean anything for American politics, the rise of immigration as a hot-button issue is potentially bad news for Republicans.
Go read the article. Subscription required

The article goes in-depth about how Conservative Party in Britain tried to used the issue of immigration as a wedge to break up Labor Party hold on power. Michael Howard and the Tories used "dog-whistle" tactics to talk about immigration and other controversial issues, they spoke in code to certain voters while not alerting the attention of others voters . It worked for President Bush with this evangelicals base, but it did not work with the Tories. The “dog-whistle” tactics of the Tories hit a loud and discordant note for everyone to hear, it repels middle-class swing voters.

The same thing might happen here, Tom Tancredo is not going to use “dog-whistle” tactics. It is not his style, he is going to be upfront about the issue of immigration . The anti-immigrate rhetoric coming form conservatives, un-ethical congress lead by Tom Delay, over reaching of Christian right, and President Bush failed economic and foreign policy might lead to a big swing to the Democratic Party in 2006 & 2008.