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Into the Breach
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
  EPA gelded
We can thank the Bush (hswib) administration for bringing the work of the EPA to a halt. We can no longer depend on a Federal agency to protect our citizens from environmental risks. You better hope that your state can pick up the slack. But I'd really be worried if I lived in a red state.
  Saudi nukes
After Iran we may have to deal with the Saudis.
  Just Stupid
When you are trying to make a contrarian point you should make sure that you tell the truth. "Just returned" doesn't mean 7 months ago. Istanbul is not Baghdad. And you can't take a photo in a place you didn't visit. Unless you are just stupid.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Tom, YOU just don't get it. True Christianity is a noble and compassionate inspiration. But the "Christianity" practiced by right-wing fundamentalists actually is second-rate superstition.
  The Problem of Party ID
This brief post makes two points. One, no matter how you count it the number of people who identify as Republicans is dropping. Two, how people report party identification is greatly dependent on how the question is asked.
Monday, March 27, 2006
  Immigration and Illegal Aliens
Recently this has bubbled to the surface and the issue de jour. Illegal immigration has become an intractable problem. It has created a powerless underclass similar to the Jim Crow days. This is not acceptable. And further oppression of this class is not acceptable in terms of creating a solution.

The key reason illegal immigrants are here is because there are jobs here. And I don't think that American employers will be happy if this labor force were to disappear. On ABC This Week, even George Will agreed with that. These folks are here and with it becoming harder to cross the border lately, many have stayed here who would have otherwise traveled back. Their children are here and their children are US citizens.

The ultimate solution, of course, is sufficient economic development in their home country such that there are good jobs there as well as here. That development has to come from the ground up as well as the top down. Our best strategy is to let American dollars flow into Mexico, for example, in the hands of Mexican immigrant workers. That money will be the real fuel of better development there. Of course this means borders that are easier to cross in both directions.

But what kind of stick can we use to exercise some control over the potential flood? I think a reasonable control is to ask our immigrant population to some privacy and their anonymity in order to be fully protected under our laws. I think it is reasonable to have an immigrant identification and tracking system complete with fingerprints-on-file and ID cards. Protected immigrants should be required to report their whereabouts and other details about their situation on a regular basis. Employers who use illegals should be severely sanctioned. The idea is to make it so easy for an illegal immigrant to become a protected immigrant that it wouldn't be worth it to an employer to hire illegals. Indeed, employers should be encouraged to bring their existing illegal employees into the legal umbrella. Workers and families currently in the country would be fully graced into legal status.

Future immigrants would have to have an employer sponsor. In order to keep employers from exploiting the immigrants with threats of dropping sponsorship, the period of sponsorship would only be a limited time, say six months. After that time the immigrant would become a free agent: tracked but free to work with anyone they chose.

Any immigrant who was unemployed for some reasonable amount of time would be subject to temporary deportation. After a given period of time they would be welcome to come back in if they had an employer sponsor. Immigrants who fell afoul of the law would find themselves prosecuted and deported for a time oommensurate with the offence. The ultimate carrot is either permanent resident status or citizenship. An immigrant with a good record would have the option to become a citizen at which time the immigrant tracking data would be sealed with noone having access except as authorized by the individual.

This will put the coyotes out of the business of exploiting innocent people. And it will reduce the incentive to pushes otherwise law-abiding people into breaking the law.
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.'"
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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