Join Barbara Boxer in Holding Condie Rice Accountable

Petition here. Thanks to the mighty Skippy for posting the link.

Happy Birthday and Thank You, Martin Luther King

You don't have to be African-American to appreciate who King was, what he did, or feel sorrow that we lost him so soon. I remember so keenly the forgiveness that his son extended to the man charged with killing him (although I'm still not fully convinced Ray acted alone).

We need men like King today. Men and women who rise up and change the world despite the much tossed at them. We need dreams and we need to find ways to fulfill those dreams.

When I was growing up, you saw these awful pictures of race riots in Newark and Watts and other places. The problems that helped fuel those riots did not magically get resolved. Unfortunately, however, through the introduction of crack and other drugs, we've seen large populations of the males in such neighborhoods end up in prisons rather than being activists in the streets. It makes me wonder how much our government indeed sanctions some of this to make it harder for voices of color - operating outside of the traditional system - to rise up.


First Picture from Huygens Probe

You know, it almost dims in comparison to the rest of the shit going on, but seeing that first picture of Saturn's Titan from the probe today was exhilarating.

Sharon Couldn't Postpone This Hissy Fit

Abbas isn't even sworn in as president and Sharon has cut all diplomatic ties to the PA. One thing you can always count on with Sharon: make a bad situation worse.


Brad and Jen Have Split, But There's Always Mel and Michael

I keep meaning to talk about the Freeper meltdown over Mel Gibson saying nice things about Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 911, but Karlo at SwerveLeft beat me to it - and eloquently (did you know, for example, that you can be opposed to the Iraq war and a Christian?).

Being a Democrat is Enough to Get Your Insurance Killed?

Apparently so. This is unreal.

From the AP printed in the Times Argus:

Helen Johnston is an 80-year-old retired pediatrician who hardly considers herself much of a risk for being sued.

That's not how her insurance company sees it, however.

Johnston is losing extra coverage she bought years ago while she still practiced medicine — not because she's a retired doctor, but because she is active in Francestown politics.

The Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Co. sent her a letter last month notifying her it is not renewing her $1 million umbrella policy next month due to "the political positions the insured holds."

"If she was just a retired doctor, it wouldn't be an issue," said Dale Groves, vice president for underwriting for the Providence, R.I., company.

Johnston is vice chairwoman of her town's Democratic committee and a member of the Hillsborough County Democratic Committee. She helps campaigns by distributing posters and making calls, and she held a get-out-the-vote session for Howard Dean at her house.

Groves said that's enough.

Not Even an "Oops, My Bad!"

What the hell is it with the response to the news that the hunt for WMD in Iraq is officially over and that nothing was found?

That's what we went to war on, before we changed it to "liberating Iraq" (only now today we're hearing that it shouldn't matter if only 5% of Iraq will be able to vote and then only for the candidates that our government has put forth). But Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are getting far more headlines.

This unfuckingbelievable.

Why the Arts Aren't Welcome in Our Schools

While I realize the masses seem far more concerned with the break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Mick Arran offers a thought-provoking, good read about the above-referenced topic at NetPolitik.

Evolution and a Reality-Based Judge


ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia, has ruled that a suburban county school district's textbook stickers referring to evolution as "a theory not a fact" are unconstitutional.

In ruling that the stickers violate the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that labeling evolution a "theory" played on the popular definition of the word as a "hunch" and could confuse students.

According to The Associated Press, the stickers read, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."


Refuse to Surrender Your Freedom

This is one pledge I'll happily take. You should consider doing so as well. Thanks to the good folks at Corrente for pointing me toward it.

Krugman on Social Security

Good column. Please take the time to read.

An excerpt:

Last week someone leaked a memo written by Peter Wehner, an aide to Karl Rove, about how to sell Social Security privatization. The public, says Mr. Wehner, must be convinced that "the current system is heading for an iceberg."

It's the standard Bush administration tactic: invent a fake crisis to bully people into doing what you want. "For the first time in six decades," the memo says, "the Social Security battle is one we can win." One thing I haven't seen pointed out, however, is the extent to which the White House expects the public and the media to believe two contradictory things.

The administration expects us to believe that drastic change is needed, and needed right away, because of the looming cost of paying for the baby boomers' retirement.

The administration expects us not to notice, however, that the supposed solution would do nothing to reduce that cost. Even with the most favorable assumptions, the benefits of privatization wouldn't kick in until most of the baby boomers were long gone. For the next 45 years, privatization would cost much more money than it saved.

Ah, Those Rose-Tinted Bushies

From James Wolcott:

Last week an inside peep courtesy of the Washington tipsheet The Nelson Report made the blog rounds concerning Bush's see-no hear-no policy regarding the war in Iraq. According to The Nelson Report, Bush literally didn't want to hear any bad news about how thing going there, EVEN FROM SENIOR MILITARY COMMANDERS, only "progress reports" that played up the good things GE brings to life: new schools, etc. The Report went on to say that the sunshine policy wasn't the product of aides trying to filter news from Bush, that Bush himself insisted on accentuating the positive.
Iraq HAD schools that were open and functioning before the war. Only OUR war-mongering closed and incapacitated them.

Happy horseshit is great for a garden but really bad as a government tenet.

Allawi Says Parts of Iraq Not Secure Enough to Vote

Story here (NY Times, subscription required).

Yet Bush was on the other day, smirking (again) saying, "All you people thought I was crazy when I said we could have fair elections in Iraq. Now I'm bringing democracy there."

He is. his brand of democracy which involves candidates not of the people, rigged voting machines, and no concern whatsoever of the will of the majority or what's best for Iraq.

We're Rather Missing the Point, Aren't We?

Notice how the news of Armstrong Williams appeared on Friday and by Monday, it was replaced by the CBS so-called Document Gate scandal? Through 12 hours of discussion about Rather and CBS yesterday, I heard NO ONE in the mainstream media utter the question of Williams and the WH buying the press.

Lost in all of this talk about CBS are little pieces of information such as the secretary of Bush's superior confirming that the man considered Bush a real screw-up; she just didn't happen to think she typed the document in question. Nobody has EVER discredited what those documents said. In fact, there's no proof positive those documents were faked. But the corporate press is determined to follow the talking points set forth by the Bushies, let everything else - including facts - be damned.

I also noticed one scary thing: yesterday they were raising as problematic the issue of Rather's history of asking Richard Nixon tough questions while never happening to mention that Nixon was forced to resign for his massive lying and deceit. I guess we're revising Nixon now, too, along with Ann Coulter telling us Joe McCarthy is the greatest American patriot who has ever lived.

When I studied journalism in the late 70s and early 80s, we were supposed to ask tough questions and find the answers. The folks who did not were called public relations people.


Frank Rich and Fox's "24"

Frank Rich draws some interesting parallels to Bush's War on Terror and Everything Else and the Fox series, "24".

The Palestinian Election

With Mahmoud Abbas announcing he's the victor in elections there today, one can only hope that this will spell a new era in the Middle East, one that will ultimately lead to the establishment of a true, independent Palestinian state that can co-exist with Israel.

However, this is anything but assured. Even if everything there were not both so violent and volatile, we have to understand that we've got a rather crazed contingent here in this country that wants the Palestinians to all drop dead so their version of the "end times" can play out, where all Israelis convert to Christianity and the Rapture can happen.

What's truly unfortunate is that these nutjobs also happen to have unreasonable control over our country right now. Not good. I'm not sure that seeing Israel as only a means to their version of the end is any better than these same people hating Jews as "the people what killed our lord" (anyone remember Loretta - the incredible Mary Kay Place - in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"?).

So Abbas has one hell of a job ahead of him, and probably extraordinarily bad chances of staying alive for long if he tries to bring peace.

So How Many Armstrongs Are Out There?

How many journalists and commentators are - like Armstrong Williams - on the Bush payroll (paid for with our tax dollars) to promote programs that basically will lead to the dissolution of public schools, public libraries, public/citizen access to the courts, public health and more?

I don't believe for a moment that Williams is alone. Though that a black man would take money to make it ultimately harder for children - especially children of color - to receive a proper education is so far beyond reprehensible that I cannot frame it adequately with mere words.