Monday, January 31, 2005

Bill Moyers - Religious Bigot?

After reading this Bill Moyers piece in Sunday's Strib, I have one question. What is Moyers' problem with Christians? Especially conservative or evangelical ones? Think I'm exaggerating? Here's the first two sentences:

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

And that's some of the milder stuff. I guess we can guess what his opinion of the GOP is. The gist of the article is that Moyers believes the government is in the hands of delusional Christian fanatics who are unfit to govern. Pure leftist, liberal, paranoid, bigoted hooey. He even praises George Monbiot, who is not just anyone's garden variety idiot. Of course, it's not the first time Moyers has spouted this silly stuff. If Moyers is really interested in delusional people, the closest one is the person he sees mornings in the mirror.

The piece does inspire one other question, come to think of it. What is the Star Tribune doing publishing this garbage?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Happy Birthday to Blog...

This blog's 1st anniversary was three days ago. It is proof positive that a fellow can have near-perfect privacy while completely in public view. It probably also shows that I have no talent or writing ability. If nothing else, it serves to keep expectations low....

Hillary Clinton and Abortion

As reported in this article from the New York Times(free registration required) Senator Hillary Clinton is making an attempt to convince pro-lifers that there is common ground between them and the pro-abortion crowd. (Note on the terminology: I'm being exactly as fair as media sources (like the Star Tribune) who routinely use the terms "anti-abortion" and "pro-choice" to describe the two groups - ed.) I'm not going to try to guage her sincerity (or lack of it) or her motives (genuine, or political, etc.). I just have two questions for the pro-abortion/pro-choice folk:

1. What legal restrictions on abortion will the pro-choice people be willing to accept?

2. Will pro-choicers accept Supreme Court justices that would allow legal restrictions on abortion to actually be enforced?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Strib on Condoleezza Rice

The Star Tribune has produced another "brilliant" editorial, this time on the confirmation hearings over the nomination of Dr. Condoleeza Rice to be the new Secretary of State. I'm not going to reprint the whole thing, but suffice it to say judging from the title " Condi Rice/Steady on, toward disaster" Strib's editors don't support her confirmation. There are a few things in it I would like to comment on, however. Starting with this:

The two-day dialogue between Condoleezza Rice and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at times resembled material from "Catch-22" and at other times seemed to reflect "Dr. Strangelove." Other than a few hard questions from Democrats Joe Biden and Barbara Boxer, at no time did it remotely resemble reality.

You'd have thought from the way committee members treated Rice that she'd just arrived in Washington and had no part to play in, and no real knowledge of, the foreign-policy disaster that was President Bush's first term.

Hard questions from Barbara Boxer? The Senator who protested Bush's election victory in the Senate because a 118.000+ vote margin in Ohio wasn't enough? The Senator who's basic line throughout her questions was to call Dr. Rice a liar? Apparently, the Strib has pretty low standards. See what Captain Ed has to say about Boxer's questioning. And again, the Strib uses the opportunity to mislabel Bush's foreign policy a disaster. The fact is until the outcomes in Afghanistan and Iraq are known, there is no way to judge Bush's foreign policy yet. But there's more:

And yet in a hearing on whether she has the stuff to be secretary of state, she had the temerity to lecture Boxer, asking her to "refrain from impugning my integrity." Well if not now, when?

The Star Tribune apparently hasn't noticed that Boxer showed by claiming the only reason stated by the US for going to war with Iraq was WMD that she either is a liar or doesn't read the legislation she votes on, as shown by the text of the resolution authorizing force in Iraq.

The Strib then praises Kerry and Boxer for voting agains the confirmation "on principle" - as if the folks who voted differently didn't have any. All in all, more drivel from the Star Tribune editorial board

From the Star Tribune Letters Page

This is a sampling of letters from readers the Star Tribune considers fit to print (authors not shown) :

A little defensive

If not for Roger Moe and Tim Penny splitting the votes of real Minnesotans, Tim Pawlenty might be making coffee and answering phones at the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.

If "no new taxes" is a core value and part of "mainstream" Minnesota, why does the governor sound so defensive about it every time he mentions it in public?

I wonder where the governor keeps all those fake Minnesotans between elections? The letter writer apparently thinks that voting against the GOP is the sole critera for being a Minnesotan. It's crap like this that almost persuades me to join the Republican party.

On our National Day of Embarrassment, each of the president's three constituencies celebrated in its own way.

The Rich were much in evidence. Though they had to pay to party, they could be sure of a good return on the investment.

The Ideologues (apart from the vice president) stayed behind the scenes. With wars to plan and peoples to free, the whole globe is their inaugural ball.

The Gullible, whom the Rich and the Ideologues manipulated yet again, watched the festivities on TV -- admiring the rhetoric, coveting the gorgeous gowns and praying to God their children will not be sent to Iraq.

Note the contempt for people who voted for Bush. In the eyes of people like the letter writer one has to be evil or stupid to vote for Bush. This by the way, is the kind of letter that is more likely to appear on the letters page than the next one, which does a nice job of trashing a key part of the Stib's 1/20 editorial about Condoleezza Rice:

Beyond Boxer and WMD

I was embarrassed to watch Sen. Barbara Boxer in the hearings for Condoleezza Rice. Not only did she appear as a petulant, bloviating, spiteful partisan, but her command of the facts was extremely lacking. This was evident when she stated that the congressional vote for war was based solely on evidence of WMD.

She did this in order to portray Rice as a liar. Either Boxer doesn't understand exactly what she voted on or she is, in fact, the liar. The resolution actually cited at least seven reasons, separate and distinct from weapons of mass destruction:

• Iraq's harboring of Al-Qaida terrorists.

• Iraq's support for international terrorism.

• Iraq's "brutal repression" of its citizens.

• Iraq's failure to repatriate or give information on non-Iraqi citizens detained and captured during Gulf War I, including an American serviceman.

• Failing to properly return property wrongfully seized during the Kuwait invasion.

• The attempted assassination of former President Bush in 1993.

• America's national security interests in restoring peace and stability to the Persian Gulf.

The last was included in the interest of fairness. I don't want to create the impression that the Strib completely ignores those who write in disagreement with the Star Tribune's positions. One is just more likely to see letters like the first two.

Today's Whine Tasting

This post is a about a couple of stories about protests of today's inauguration of George W. Bush for his second term as president First is an AP story from the Kansas City Star. In this story there are a few items I want to mention in passing:

In Seattle, more than 1,000 people participated in walk-outs at the University of Washington and Seattle Central Community College, where students marched through buildings, pounding on doors and encouraging others to leave.

The demonstrators marched from the community college to a rally downtown, calling for "no work, no school, no business as usual."

Isn't this rather self-defeating? I mean, deny yourself a day of your education to make a useless, petulant protest about the outcome of an election that your side lost, fair and square? How constructive!

Then we have this:

At a mock inauguration in Baltimore, a woman wearing a Bush mask gave a pretend speech, stumbling over her words, and a guitarist played Bob Dylan's "Gates of Eden," which opens, "Of war and peace the truth just twists." Passing cars, buses and taxis honked horns in support, and a pedestrian raised a fist.

Here we have a pair who can't come up with any thing useful to say, so they try to demonstrate that the personal is the political by making a personal attack on the President. Another fine example of those oft-stated, self-proclaimed liberal Democratic values of tolerance and fairness in action.

Now these two groups have something in common:

About 1,500 protesters joined the "Jazz Funeral for Democracy" in New Orleans. A mock coffin bearing copies of the Patriot Act and the Constitution was borne through the French Quarter's narrow streets on a horse-drawn hearse to the wail of trumpets and trombones.

In Las Vegas, about 30 peace activists talked on the steps of the federal courthouse about issues they said need to be emphasized - love, the environment and the Bill of Rights. On the capitol steps in Little Rock, Ark., about 30 people held placards and took turns reading a list of names of U.S. soldiers from all 50 states who were killed in Iraq.

These folks apparently are unable to detect, much less appreciate the irony that they were freely exercising the rights that they claimed don't exist in George Bush's America.

Another AP story describes some of the boorish behavior along the inaugural parade route:

Three blocks from the White House, protesters tried to rush a security gate and a flag was burned. Police briefly locked down the area, trapping some 400 to 500 spectators.

Annie Katz, 52, of New York, was at the rear of a group of protesters, but she said the experience was worth it despite the bad view. Katz said she was upset by the 2000 election, but "I'm angrier this time, since I'm angry about the war."

U.S. soldiers in dress uniforms and blue coats were greeted with chants of "no more wars."

Try to start a riot, insult our soldiers. How classy...

Police said at least 10 people were arrested during the inaugural ceremonies. Sgt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police said four women who were protesting the wearing of furs were arrested after they disrobed in the near-freezing temperatures.

I hope the crowd was at least entertained. Next up, we have some vandals...

Witnesses said the protesters started pulling down flags and inaugural banners from lampposts, and said police used pepper spray on some protesters.

Stuff like this is intended to change peoples minds? I wonder what these same people will say in four years if a Democrat is elected and Republicans put on a similar display of childish, whiny, sore-loserism?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Inauguration Whining

If these people were actually serious about politics and governance and their vision (whatever it is) of the commonweal, shouldn't they be be working to fix their party for the next election? Instead, we get this little exhibition of whining and poor sportsmanship (via LGF).

It seems to me that petty, petulant actions like this are not likely to bring people around to the Democrats' way of thinking.Rather than acting like a toddler denied a sucker, perhaps creating a well thought-out set of ideas, coupled with nominating candidates who do not view their fellow Americans in the so-called "red states" with contempt would work better.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Braving the 'Red Sea'

I wonder how the folks in the so-called blue states would react if a conservative writer published a story about the blue states with the same tone as David von Drehle's piece about his travels through Bush country? It has a touch of the patronizing tone of a " travel to a strange place with the quaint natives " travelogue that were around over a century ago, or the the tone of a badly-written National Geographic article about a newly-discovered lost tribe. Do you think the writer would use the same tone for a piece about the part of the country that produced the people who in turn produced this stupid web site?

Somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Little Religion and Politics...

I wonder if liberals and DFLers will citicize the Church for this political activism. (In pdf format) They certainly are quick to criticize when the Church objects to their stand on abortion... .

Note to the bishops: The state will actually take in more money in taxes this year than last year(source pdf is here). Given that revenue has increased, perhaps the problem is that spending is rising much faster, and unless this facet of government is brought under control, their proposed tax increase will be just one in a series of many. Remember, taxes are paid by people who worked for that money, and every dollar taken from them is a dollar that they cannot use to cover their own needs. Raising taxes is not something to be done lightly.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Armstrong Williams Affair

Isn't it amazing how blind (and stupid) people can be? The notion of paying a pundit (as reported in USA Today) to push the government's education policy should not have received, much less passed, a laugh test but pass it did. It makes you wonder what kind of ethically myopic, politically tone-deaf people are working in the Education Department and at the PR firm that contracted with Armstrong Williams to shill for the No Child Left Behind law. Setting aside for the moment that astroturfing the NCLB is sleazy and dishonest even if Williams supported it anyway, didn't these people understand that the existence of the contract would become known? Amateur hour at the White House.

My First (and Last) Amber Post

What is it with Fox News and Amber Frey? She's been on Hannity and Colmes, Greta von Susteran's show, and is going to be on at least one of Fox's daytime programs. They're definitely giving her plenty of time to hawk her new book, and Hannity practically turns her into a hero. I don't get it. Call me a curmudgeon but I don't understand why she is getting all this media attention for doing what basically is living up to her responsibility as a citizen - telling the cops and courts what she knew about a crime. I just don't see why being snookered by a slimebag murderer should be a route to celebrity.