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Into the Breach
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  No Ideas
No Idea:
"'While it is a Republican refrain that Democrats criticize Bush but have no positive vision, for now the governing party also has no national platform around which lawmakers are prepared to rally.'

For five years, Republicans trashed Democrats as bereft of ideas. Now that they see Democrats up by 10 points, Republicans are rushing to claim the mantle of no ideas for themselves. Caught by surprise, Democratic consultants quickly fired back: Hey, we had no ideas first."
  Abortion: saving babies or punishing women?
In jest, sort of, ampersand posts a table that calls the motives of the anti-abortion movement into question.
  The Gov pays a visit.

No nonsense, git-er-done, Washington Governor Christine Greqoire pays a visit to WSU-TriCities to sign a few bills. The star of the show was the bill to establish a four-year curriculum at WSU-TC. Also signed were bills that covered water rights, aquifer protection, bio-fuels, and horse-racing.

Welcome to the Tri-Cities, Gov.
  Barefoot for Peace
  And another.
  More Rally Pics

For some reason Blogger won't let me add multiple pics to the original post. But here's some more.
  Senate G.O.P.: No Discipline for Us
By blocking the imposition of pay-as-you-go rules GOP senators demonstrate that whatever fiscal responsibility rhetoric they offer is just so much hot air.
  Pew: 33%
At some point the Bush approval ratings are actually going to hit rock bottom I'm sure. But where could that bottom be? Two more years can seem like a long time.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
  Another Anniversary

I had the good fortune to attend a World Citizens for Peace rally this afternoon. The occasion was the anniversary of the beginning of the Bush War of Agression of course. We met in protest and pondered the current course of our country. what was nice about today's turnout was the number of people I saw whom I knew from other walks of life. There was a coworker from my place of employment. There was some fellow thespians, some friends who have been known to drink liberally, some Democracy for America colleagues, and even a few of the usual Democratic Party suspects. I guess what that really says is that I've become quite the joiner these days. There was one lady there who had sworn to go barefoot until the war in Iraq was over. She never expected to be without shoes for three long years with no end in sight.

I know some other folks attended similar rallies across the state and across the nation. Grab the comment line and tell us about your experience.

I even took a couple of pics I'll post as soon as I remember how to do it.

Update: Whew-hew. Blogger has made this picture business a lot easier than it used to be.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  Debriefing Liberally
A couple of choice links here. The first is to an absolutely priceless Doc Hastings billboard. The second is to the inaugural podcast of TriCities Drinking Liberally. Did I say two links? Here's one more to the Wright For Congress campaign which happened to be the subject of our podcast.
  Quote of the Day
I have to second David. It's a damn fine quote.

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
Monday, March 13, 2006
  Leslie Stahl piece
Leslie Stahl did a nice piece on 60 Minutes last Sunday on how the research is progressing on the root causes of homosexuality. There is a growing body of evidence that the homosexual brain is present quite early in the growing child.

[I must note here that the homosexual-brain-denial crowd finds it particularly difficult to even conceive of this kind of discussion. For them, homosexuality is about the sex act. So any discussion of sexual orientation independent of sex acts simply does not compute. Typically these are the same people who tend to exaggerate the differences between the sexes at even a quite young age. Little boys are supposed to behave like boys and little girls like girls. To me, having gender-based behavorial expectations without recognition of a human sexual nature long before awareness of the sex act does not compute. For the purposes of the following discussion I am going simply set the homosexual-brain-denial lunacy aside.]

[It should also be noted that homosexuals are no more all alike than are heteros so allowance needs to be made for the occasional non-typical individual.]

In one study people were able to predict with significant accuracy which children would grow up to be homosexual by simply observing old home movies of them. So clearly there is something different about them even when they are quite young.

There are fraternal twins cases that disprove the idea that parental style influences sexual orientation. There are identical twin cases that disprove the idea that orientation is strickly a genetic matter. It is clearly more complex and more subtle than that. For that matter we really don't understand that much how the heterosexual orientation develops.

There are some studies that indicate an "older brother" effect in males. The more older brothers a man has, the more likely that man will be homosexual. The hypothesis is that the mother's body becomes more and more intolerant of the
"alien" male protein. With each pregnancy she generates more antibodies to them until those antibodies suppress the male hormones enough to slightly influence brain development. It needn't be much to cause an alternate cascade of development. In fact typical male homosexuals have "masculine" style of preference for promiscuity. Some of the areas of the brain are unaffected by the sexual preference brain changes.

The evidence supporting the contention that homosexuality is a choice or is curable is pretty much non-existant. It really looks like it is no more curable than left-handedness.

And it is certainly no justification for any limits on full and equal rights for homosexuals in our society.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
  Lost from the beginning
The war against gay marriage and gay parenting was lost from the beginning. Why? Because of a key judicial principle in action. When it comes to "the best interest of the child" the need for caring parents trumps all politics and ideologies.
"But where Nardo and social conservatives are dead wrong is just here: If in fact judges around this country are increasingly inclined to recognize the validity of same-sex parenting arrangements, it's not because they are activists, or because they're mangling a long-established tradition of family law to do so. Courts that adopt broader visions of 'parent' and 'family' aren't reading radical new rights into their state constitutions. They are doing precisely what family courts are asked to do: Make a determination about what's in the 'best interest of the child.' That standard remains the polestar for judicial decision-making in both the adoption and custody contexts. And, as it turns out, most children usually have larger and more urgent concerns than what their parents do in bed."
Friday, March 10, 2006
  Brer Libby and the Greymail Briar Patch
The Libby defense takes a big hit. The judge does the smart thing and that isn't good for Scooter.
Friday, March 03, 2006
  Exporting Democracy
Michael Kinsley is back at Slate and is poking holes in the downside of exporting democracy. Especially by the Bush (hswib) method.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
  A Lost War
Walter Cronkite tells it like is, once again. The war on drugs is lost and has just become another political ploy.

Drug Policy Alliance
  Fulfilled Prophecy
Thomas Carothers from February 2003. When people accurately predict the future they may have something on the ball. Oh, if they had only listened then!
  Skewed Tax Cut
Who benefits from the extended Bush (hswib) tax cut? Let Me Tell You, Sister, it ain't you and me!
  Pattern Recognition
I've really begun to notice a pattern with this administration. LinkThe operating model of this administration has proven to be
1)knowledgeable staffers warn
2)administration ignores warnings because they don't match their preconceived notions
3)disaster occurs
4)administration pleads ignorance
5)evidence of the warnings is made public.

Rinse and Repeat

The folks over at LO see the pattern too.
  Email Hell
Some things are just too hard to delete.
Your Honor, may recall that in earlier filings it was represented or alluded to that certain e-mails had not been preserved in the White House. That turns out not to be true. There were some e-mails that weren't archived in the normal process but the office of the vice president or the office of administration I guess it is has been able to recover those e-mails. Gave those to special counsel I think only on February 6 and those again are going to be produced to us. We don't know what's in there. We've been led to believe it's probably not anything startling in those e-mails.
  What they don't say
Gonzales is choosing his words very carefully. And the upshot is that there is domestic eavesdropping going on in ways that are as yet unrevealed.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
  Rep. Katherine Harris. Yes, that Katherine Harris.
Tom Lyons of the Florida Herald-Tribune:
"Let's not make this fuzzy: U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris lied.

Harris repeatedly misled journalists and the public about her conversations with defense contractor Mitchell Wade. I see no other way to look at this.

Wade, one target in a long federal investigation that is still under way, has now pleaded guilty to bribing one member of Congress and making illegal campaign contributions to two others, all to seek the kind of defense contracts that made MZM Inc. so profitable.

I wrote two columns in the past about the $34,000 in illegal campaign contributions Harris accepted -- without knowing they were illegal, it seems -- from MZM, its employees and some of their spouses.

But for months, there was a mystery: What the heck had Wade, MZM's CEO, wanted from Harris in return for that money?"
  Katrina Katrina
Not only are they such liars, they lie to cover their sad, sad utter incompetence.
"'In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage' obtained by the AP.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: 'We are fully prepared.'"
Monday, February 27, 2006
  William F. Buckley Betrays Country!
I'm looking for this headline. When Howard Dean made similar remarks two months ago, he was pilloried by a number of conservative pundits as a traitor. Somehow I don't think Buckley in the National Review is going to get equal treatment even though Buckley's remarks were a notch stronger than Dean's.
Friday, February 24, 2006
  Gender Practices Inhibit Men From Being Better Dads
Male-supremacists, take that! Allowing men to be more involved with their children makes them better dads.
  Stealth Jet Engines?
The same type of sound-cancelling technology that makes a luxury car quiet is getting scaled up. Are truly silent black helicopters very far away?
  Natural Selection Proven
Another vindication of Darwin. Natural selection has always been suspected as the driving force in speciation. Now it's been vindicated.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  Gitmo Occupants
Are the prisoners in Guantanamo really the "worst of the worst" as the administration (hswib) contends? Perhaps, and perhaps not. Given what statistics can be derived from the governments own documents there is reason to question that contention. There is anecdotal evidence that many prisoners are there just because a single informant turned them in to the Pakistanis. Later that informant himself was fingered. His original victims remain nonetheless.

And yet not a single one has had a fair and transparent hearing that demonstrates there is just cause for detaining them. All we have is the administration's (hswib) word for it. And its credibility has trended downward from the beginning.
Elected in a squeaker, this governor is proving to genuinely effective.
  Campaign Financing That Works
Kevin Drum highlights a campaign reform plan that seems to fix many of the problems with McCain-Feingold. Unfortunately it looks like both candidates in the Maine gubernatorial race are going to do it the old-fashioned way, fat-cat financing.
  The Grand Experiment Begins
And it begins in South Dakota of all places. If the SD law passes and eventually gets blessed by the new and improved Supreme Court, we will get to see once again the type of tragedies
that existed prior to Roe. Those who don't know the history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps we will return to our senses when the current generation of women begin to pay the price.
  Death Sentence
When Dilation and Extraction becomes illegal in all circumstances it will be a death sentence for the thousand or so women who have the misfortune of being pregnant with a fetus with hydrocephalus. The babies will die anyway and will take their mothers with them. Who gets to be the target of the wrongful death suits? The Supreme Court? The legislators that pass such stupid laws? Or the people that advocate them?
  Hens Have Teeth!
Another arrow in the evolution quiver. Chickens have the genes to produce crocodilian teeth. Hens teeth not so rare after all.
  Black Smokers as Mining Claims
A potentially rich new source of munerals could be the area around hot undersea vents.
  Coral Dies
Another consequence of global warming is increasing acidification of the ocean as more and more CO2 get dissolved in the seawater. This isn't good news for coral that is already stressed by rising temperatures.
  Rad Waste Technology
This is of interest to the local economy. A lower temperature alternative to the vitrification plant currently under construction may not be a bad thing.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
  Get out of Australia, 'radical' Muslims told
A friend of mine pointed me to this. Last year Australian Treasurer Peter Costello made an interesting public statement.
Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false."

"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts,democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practises it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.
Do you think this is good way to go?
  The Lessons of Counterinsurgency
Buried in all the disappointing news from Iraq, there are a few things being done right. Some of our forces have the smarts and the opportunity to make a genuine difference in this troubled nation. Unfortunately it is too few for too short a time.
A new experiment has now demonstrated “quantum telecloning” – transporting a whole laser beam to two separate

You read right. With quantum entanglement a laser beam has been teleported instantaneously producing two copies some distance apart.
Monday, February 20, 2006
  Tortured Memo
Dissension among administration lawyers:
One of the Pentagon's top civilian lawyers repeatedly challenged the Bush administration's policy on the coercive interrogation of terror suspects, arguing that such practices violated the law, verged on torture and could ultimately expose senior officials to prosecution, a newly disclosed document shows. The lawyer, Alberto J. Mora, a political appointee who retired Dec. 31 after more than four years as general counsel of the Navy, was one of many dissenters inside the Pentagon. Senior uniformed lawyers in all the military services also objected sharply to the interrogation policy, according to internal documents declassified last year.But Mr. Mora's campaign against what he viewed as an official policy of cruel treatment, detailed in a memorandum he wrote in July 2004 and recounted in an article in the Feb. 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, made public yesterday, underscored again how contrary views were often brushed aside in administration debates on the subject.
  Warming Faster than ever
These my indeed be the provebial "interesting times" of the Chinese curse. We may have compressed 10,000 years of warming into 300 years. Brace yourselves. It looks like the long-foretold apocalyptic disaster is upon us.
Friday, February 17, 2006
  Faith-based Conservatism


draws together several aspects of the phenomenum quite nicely.
Politics, Science, and Religion. And sometimes intersections among them

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. --Benjamin Franklin

*hswib-(hands stained with innocent blood)

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