Filtered news 10/5/06

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. ~~Aristotle

"Everyone knows that Congress people are assigned to committees based on their great weakness. Why would Senator Ted Stevens---a man more comfortable in the horse and buggy era---be in charge of regulating the Internet, which he believes is a series of tubes? A series of tubes though which other congressmen can reach through and fondle 16-year-olds."
---John Oliver on The Daily Show

"I have the latest on the Mark Foley sex scandal. Apparently, new evidence that just came out shows that former Congressman Mark Foley once engaged in Internet sex with a former page while a vote was being taken in the House. Apparently, instead of voting 'Aye,' Foley voted 'Oh God yes!'" ---Conan O'Brien

 

"But in fairness to the Republicans, let me just throw this out: who invented the Internet? That's right, Al Gore, a Democrat. If it wasn't for him, none of this would have happened. Run with it, Fox News!" ---Jimmy Kimmel

 

"[Foley's] in rehab, which means it only happened because he was drinking. We've all done it folks---'drunk dialing.' It's just that in Foley's case, it was 'drunk texting erotic messages to underage pages about masturbation.' ... It's simple. You drink, you forget things---especially things that could endanger minors. And I know people are wondering why Condoleezza Rice can't remember a July 2001 meeting with George Tenet where he warned her an al Qaeda attack was likely, even though White House records prove the meeting happened. She probably just blacked out. She was playing a drinking game. Every time you hear George Tenet say 'imminent,' you take a shot." ---Stephen Colbert

 

This is what real Christianity looks like While most of us are blowing aortas over the recent killings of five girls in rural Pennsylvania, their Amish survivors have partially restored my hope that America's moral compass :

 

A grieving grandfather told young relatives not to hate the gunman who killed five girls in an Amish schoolhouse massacre, a pastor said on Wednesday. "As we were standing next to the body of this 13-year-old girl, the grandfather was tutoring the young boys, he was making a point, just saying to the family, 'We must not think evil of this man,'" the Rev. Robert Schenck told CNN. "It was one of the most touching things I have seen in 25 years of Christian ministry."

These guys are way underrepresented in Congress. Somebody send me the URL for their PAC.

 

Sacrificing for the common good. On October 5, 1947, Harry Truman became the first president to use TV to address the nation. He requested that Americans not eat meat on Tuesdays---or poultry on Thursdays---to save on feed grains to help folks who were starving in Europe. Today we'd just give Halliburton a no-bid contract for "grain-related program activities" and then tell Americans to keep shopping. Ah, progress.

 

Had enough yet? While Republicans scramble to over the Foley cover-up scandal, Iraq is coming apart at the seams:

 

--[A] US military spokesperson told reporters that attacks by car bombs and roadside booby traps are running at an all-time high, three-and-a-half years after US-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein. US casualties are also mounting. Four more soldiers were killed on Wednesday in south-west Baghdad when their unit was attacked by gunfire and mortars.

Had enough? and while you're at it, talk someone into registering and voting with you. See for and more information.

 

How's the Operation Iraqi Freedom going? Death Squads In Iraq Hospitals

[T]he morgue itself is believed to be controlled by the same Shiite militia blamed for many of the killings: the Mahdi Army, founded and led by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The takeover began after the last election in December when Sadr's political faction was given control of the Ministry of Health. The U.S. military has documented how Sadr's Mahdi Army has turned morgues and hospitals into places where death squads operate freely. The chilling details are spelled out in an intelligence report seen by CBS News. Among some of the details of the report are:

# Hospitals have become command and control centers for the Mahdi Army militia.
# Sunni patients are being murdered; some are dragged from their beds.
# The militia is keeping hostages inside some hospitals, where they are tortured and executed.
# They're using ambulances to transport hostages and illegal weapons, and even to help their fighters escape from U.S. forces. [...]

More than 80 percent of the original doctors and staff where she works are gone, replaced by Shia supporters of the Mahdi Army.

Another example today of the :

AN ENTIRE police brigade in Baghdad has been suspended and its commander placed under arrest on charges of aiding sectarian death squads that have carried out mass kidnappings. The Eighth Brigade of the 2nd National Police Battalion, which has more than 800 uniformed officers in western Baghdad, was stepped down a day after armed men in official uniforms herded off 14 shopkeepers from central Baghdad, and two days after 24 workers were abducted from a meat processing plant in the capital. “The brigade’s past performance does not demonstrate the level of professionalism sought by the Ministry of the Interior,” Major General William Caldwell said. “It was realised that removing them would, in fact, enhance security. [...] “The forces in the unit have not put their full allegiance to the Government of Iraq and gave their allegiance to others.”

Sorry wingnuts: the .

Fighting the Corporate Dems Jean Hay Bright: She's a common-sense Mainer running against Olympia Snowe up here, yet DSCC chair Chuck Schumer (D-Idiot) won't even , let alone send a few shekels her way...

 

Mainers are...realizing that Snowe is no longer a moderate. In fact, according to Congressional Quarterly, she voted with the Bush agenda 82 percent of the time in his first term. Snowe drafted a bill to pardon Bush's warrant-less wiretapping of Americans. She voted to deny habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees. She voted to confirm Judge Samuel Alito. She voted for the Bankruptcy Bill, for Medicare Part D with its "donut-hole" and no-price-negotiations clause, for "No Child Left Behind." The list goes on. ... At the end of my stump speech, I tell people to vote for the America they want to live in. I'd tell that to Chuck Schumer too---if he'd take my calls.

She's workin' her progressive tuckus off, folks. If you have a few bucks to spare, here's . And as a free gift for your generosity, go ahead and help yourself to your neighbor's car.

 

Stewart had a hilarious look last night at the new detainee bill and exactly what it means. - WMV - QT

 

His Majesty watch A Congressional Research Service report states that Bush’s frequent use of signing statements is “an integral part” of his “” and is meant to “inure Congress, as well as others, to the belief that the president in fact possesses expansive and exclusive powers upon which the other branches may not intrude.”

Another congressional kink revealed? said he was “proud” of how he handled the Foley situation and said he has no intention of stepping down from his position: “What else do you want me to do? ? Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.” Would you be wearing leather chaps...?

— I think he’s a great speaker,” Cheney tells the Washington Examiner. “And it makes no sense at all for him to think about stepping down.”

Keith nails Fox for the fake "D" on Foley Keith is the first reporter I have seen cover this story today on cable news. A 24 hour news cycle shouldn't mean it takes 24 hours to report. Of course when we have to wait for Keith to come on, it does mean that. - WMV - QT Keith mentions that O'Reilly's show is not live, but rather taped hours in advance, which makes this "oops" even more unacceptable. There has been a convenient silence from FOX on this "mistake".

Steamed Greens. In Pennsylvania, the Green Party's Republican-funded bid to stay on the ballot and siphon votes from Bob Casey's campaign is officially . Reason: they're idiots. Let's move on...

Quayle hunting. On this date in 1988, Democrat Lloyd Bentsen opened a can of whupass on Dan "Doogie Howser Minus the Intellect" Quayle during their vice-presidential debate. (). We haven't heard much from Danny in a long time...so there must be a God.

It's terrifying that these people can vote and breed

:

An award-winning Texas art teacher who was reprimanded after one of her fifth-grade students saw a nude sculpture during a trip to a museum has lost her job.

The school board in Frisco has voted not to renew Sydney McGee's contract after 28 years. She has been on administrative leave.

The teacher took her students on an approved field trip to a Dallas museum, and now some parents are upset.

:

A suburban county that sparked a public outcry when its libraries temporarily eliminated funding for Spanish-language fiction is now being asked to ban Harry Potter books from its schools.

Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction books are an "evil" attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.

Board of Education attorney Victoria Sweeny said that if schools were to remove all books containing reference to witches, they would have to ban "Macbeth" and "Cinderella."

Two weeks ago at Caney Creek High School, a tenth grade English class was given "Fahrenheit 451" as a reading assignment. But Diana Verm stopped after a few pages. She said she was offended by "the cussing in it and the burning of the Bible."

Diana complained to her father. She was given an alternate reading assignment, but her dad is pushing the issue. It is ironic in the truest sense that a fictional book on book banning is now the target of a request to remove it from school curriculum.

"With God's name in vain being in there, that's the number one reason," said Diana's father Alton Verm. "There's no reason for it being read."

I really find hard to fathom the frightened little world in which parents like these live.

What liberal media?

earlier discovered the AP labeling Foley a Democrat. posted the graphic later on, but missed another problem. Dennis Hastert is now a Democrat too. Yes ladies and gentleman–our liberal media working for you!

, a political advocacy group founded and funded by veterans, released the first-ever poll today of Iraq and Afghanistan vets. Respondents, most of whom were conservatives, delivered of the and other hardships facing soldiers on the battlefield. Here are some key findings:

– 63 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe the Army and Marine Corps are overextended at this time. 67 percent of Army and Marine veterans believe their forces are overextended.

– 53 percent of respondents said they “did not always know who the enemy was” when they were engaged in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

– 42 percent of the veterans said their equipment was below the military standard of being 90 percent operational. 35 percent said their Humvees and trucks were not up-armored when they arrived in-country.

Click to see a summary of the poll’s findings.

Bush world "Javaid Iqbal's lawyers say the Pakistani cable repairman was snatched in the post-September 11 dragnet and held for over a year at a Brooklyn detention center, where guards beat him mercilessly. "Iqbal, like hundreds of Muslims or Arabs detained in the days after the attacks but never charged, sued the U.S. government, saying that he was held and abused for no legitimate reason." (Reuters)

al-Qaeda wants a prolonged war A from al-Qaeda’s leadership to their Iraq organization shows the Bush administration’s “” Iraq strategy is exactly what al Qaeda wants:

The most important thing is that you continue in your jihad in Iraq, and that you be patient and forbearing, even in weakness, and even with fewer operations; even if each day had half of the number of current daily operations, that is not a problem, or even less than that. So, do not be hasty. The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness and firm rooting, and that it grows in terms of supporters, strength, clarity of justification, and visible proof each day. Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God’s permission.

This summer, Bush administration officials repeatedly justified their Iraq policy by pointing to al Qaeda propaganda. One example of :

DAN BARTLETT: So, it doesn’t matter what we say. We should be taking the - the words of the enemy seriously. They think [Iraq is] the fight of the war on terror, so, we must as well. []

Will the White House change its tune now that al Qaeda has endorsed “stay the course”?

 

Stupid Corporate Dems "[Senator Russ] Feingold [D-WI], the champion of campaign finance reform who railed against 527s, is trying to get his hands on the golden egg of Democratic political fundraising: the donor list for the now-defunct but extraordinarily influential 527 group America Coming Together. "ACT has had numerous requests from various Democratic and left-leaning entities seeking access to its vast database of wealthy liberal donors. And naturally, since the soft-money group is still paying off bills and cleaning house as it continues the process of officially closing shop, it happily rents the coveted list. "But not to Feingold. Uh-uh. No way." (Roll Call)

 

Keith on Foley David Shuster just reported that sources on Capital Hill are telling him Hastert is done as Speaker. They are saying he will not hold the position in the next week. Following that, Keith gives a rundown on the timeline in the Foley scandal. - WMV - QT One key point really caught my attention in Keith's timeline tonight. There are now reports that Republican members of Congress knew . That would put this in 1995. Now what other "sex scandal" has happened in Washington since then? Oh yeah - Monica Lewinsky. So the Lewinsky incident was so severe to merit a multi-million dollar investigation and the attention of both halls of Congress, yet a Republican congressman having possible illicit contact with pages under the age of 18 doesn't get any attention by the GOP? There you have it - the perfect definition of hypocrisy.-10780">(Read the rest of this story…)

 

Maher on Foley Bill Maher joined Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room today to talk about Foleygate and hits the nail on the head when he points out that Republican/conservative repression and self-righteousness always seems to manifest itself in supreme hypocrisy. He gives the examples of Foley with internet predator legislation, Rush Limbaugh with drug abuse demonization and compulsive gambler Bill Bennett who wrote a book on virtues and morality. - WMV - QT

 

Know your enemy Greenwald has a great post about the of the Republican party that this scandal is exposing to all of America.

 

Once again: Keith for president! He hits another one out of the park. - WMV - QT Olbermann: And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover… The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats. -10808">(Read the rest of this story…)

Song and dance man Today Helen Thomas asked Tony Snow about Bush dismissing the bloodshed in Iraq . His song and dance around the question is really telling and yet very typical. - WMV - QT -10807">(Read the rest of this story…)

 

Who knew CNN had a real reporter? Michael Ware just gave a stunning report to Wolf Blitzer on the situation in Baghdad and said Condi Rice was "so far from the reality that she couldn't possibly hope to understand it". - WMV - QT

 

Conservative bloggers prey on abused kids

I wish my headline was just hyperbole, : it's the truth. A minor blog outed one of the victims of Mark Foley's sexual predations. This violation of an abused kid's privacy was immediately linked and given heavy Internet traffic by leading right-wing bloggers Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit and Roger L. Simon of Pajamas Media. Pajamas is so disgraced by this act that they should immediately close their doors. Since they won't, its few remaining liberal members should quit immediately. As for the right-wing, what can I say? This act is vile beyond description. It's stunning, isn't it? There is literally no act of evil that the Right isn't willing to perpetrate to keep itself in power. There's more on the GOP as the Party of the Devil

 

I won't insult the backend of horses with a comparison Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) two ideas for : a) Cut farm subsidies and b) DHS funding for security measures at buildings which house Jewish organizations.

Bush approval drops President Bush’s approval rating is at in a new AP-Ipsos poll, and in a new Pew poll.

"I'm a dad. Somebody sends an email like that to my kid, they are going to deal
with the law firm of Smith & Wesson, OK? It ain't going to go to no Page Board."
-- Texan Paul Begala, on Foley trying to sex up kids,

 

How stupid is Hastert? One of the many funny things about Denny Hastert's silly lies about Democrats being responsible for his scandal is this: is this really their position? If the Democrats would have just focused on the real issues instead of blowing the whistle on our caucus pedophilia, we could have gone back to the real business of passing laws and molesting teenagers! Let's focus on the people's business! Oh, and also our funny business. If it weren't for George Soros I could be cranking out a few good IMs right now!

 

But Denny, please stay! From (of all places ...)

House Republican candidates will suffer massive losses if House Speaker Dennis Hastert remains speaker until Election Day, according to internal polling data from a prominent GOP pollster, FOX News has learned. "The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker," a Republican source briefed on the polling data told FOX News. "And the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss."

I think that's about right.

What liberal media? Part II : The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS's flagship news program, its "signature style-low-key, evenhanded, inclusive of all perspectives"; Corporation for Public Broadcasting ombud Ken Bode "the mother ship of balance." But a new FAIR study finds that the NewsHour fails to provide either balance or diversity of perspectives-or a true public-minded alternative to its corporate competition.

  • Public interest groups accounted for just 4 percent of total sources. General public-"person in the street," workers, students- accounted for only 14 percent, while current and former government and military officials totaled 50 percent of all sources.
  • Male sources outnumbered women by more than 4-to-1 (82 percent to 18 percent). Moreover, 72 percent of U.S. guests were white males, while just 6 percent were women of color.
  • People of color made up only 15 percent of U.S. sources. African-Americans made up 9 percent, Latinos 2 percent, and Asian- Americans and people of Mideastern descent made up one percent each. Alberto Gonzales accounted for more than 30 percent of Latino sources, while Condoleeza Rice accounted for nearly 13 percent of African-American sources.
  • Among partisan sources, Republicans outnumbered Democrats on the NewsHour by 2-to-1 (66 percent vs. 33 percent). Only one representative of a third party appeared during the study period.
  • At a time when a large proportion of the U.S. public already favored withdrawal from Iraq, "stay the course" sources outnumbered pro-withdrawal sources more than 5-to-1. In the entire six months studied, not a single peace activist was heard on the NewsHour on the subject of Iraq.
  • Segments on Hurricane Katrina accounted for less than 10 percent of all sources, but provided nearly half (46 percent) of all African-American sources during the study period. Those African-Americans were largely presented as victims rather than leaders or experts: In segments on the human impact of the storm, African-Americans made up 51 percent of sources, but in reconstruction segments, whites dominated with 72 percent of sources; 59 percent of all African-American sources across Katrina segments were general public sources.

What liberal media? Part III Or as we like to call it: Journamalism Is it really so hard? The question is, of course, did Ambinder scribble down what some Republican flunky told him, or did he even try to research this issue?

 

What liberal media? Part IV Heckuva Job, Katie

 

Watch the Religious Reich twist Chuck Currie had a nice takedown of the stupid theory that teh gay was to blame for Mark Foley's troubles. has apparently been a busy bee, because now he's expanded the field to include a cabal of homosexual Republicans who covered up Foley's misdeeds. Perkins wonders if Republican leaders were "afraid to stand up to that network out of fear of being labeled homophobic or gay bashing," which is ridiculous on its face. This, after all, is the same party that's been pushing "Defense of Marriage Acts" and absurd gay-bashing rhetoric for years. Now they've got a problem, as :

I didn't hang with religious conservatives when I was in Washington, and I certainly don't today, but it was definitely my impression that the poobahs of the fundamentalist movement were just as aware as us reporters that the Lavender Bund existed, but tacitly, if uncomfortably, accepted it as one of the unfortunate realities of coalition politics -- or, as it's now called,

But here's the thing: Their Biblically literate (and literal) followers don't know it, and probably aren't too happy to learn that GOP actually stands for Gays Obscured but Protected. I think that's one reason why another post-Foley conservative talking point -- that the House leadership didn't crack down on him because it was afraid of appearing homophobic -- was quickly recalled. Sensitivity on that score isn't exactly a Christian fundamentalist selling point.

Which is also why claiming there is some kind of secret gay cabal within the Republican Party that successfully protected Foley and sabotaged any effort to "clean up" the House is about the worst GOP defense I can possibly imagine. The fact that Perkins is trying to peddle the theory himself is more likely a sign that the fundamentalist high command realizes it's own credibility is in mortal danger. Like everybody else involved, they need a scapegoat.

Of course, that doesn't mean some individual GOP politicos aren't also spreading the story to try to save their own worthless hides. But I can't believe the party propaganda machine itself would run with it. They're not that stupid.

On the other hand, if I were the ruthless, Machiavellian leader I wish the Democrats had, I'd be doing my best to subtly spread the meme far and wide. Because while the conspiracy angle is pure bunkum (unless trying to survive in a officially homophobic party qualifies as a conspiracy, in which case Anne Frank was also a conspirator) the Lavender Bund's existence is obviously real. And the longer this story goes on, and the more that comes to light about the delicate compromise that has allowed the bund and the American Taliban to coexist on Capitol Hill for going on three decades now, the more likely it is that the Republican Party, or the Christian fundamentalist movement, or both, will be turned into pillars of salt come November.

To which I can only add: bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!!

Forgiveness I'm not typically one to romanticize the Amish. Their communities can be harsh places. As a member of my first congregation put it, "They don't treat their horses or their women right." That being said, people are rightly impressed with the :

 

[I]t is not unusual for the Amish to reach out to those who hurt them. When an Amish dies in a car accident, for example, the motorist is often invited to the funeral. Mr. Zook said he had shaken hands with Mr. Roberts's father-in-law, whom he encountered at the home of the Fisher family, who had three daughters in the school. One escaped, another was wounded and the third was killed. Mr. Zook said such encounters helped the survivors victims heal.

"I think it's helping him to meet people too, and see that there's no grudge," he said of the father-in-law. "How could you hold a grudge against the wife, the family?"

As satellite trucks and reporters descended on the area, many residents said they felt protective of the Amish, who shun publicity. And many Amish said they did not blame the English, as they call their non-Amish neighbors, for what happened.

Forgiveness is what they call a "core value" of the Amish, dating back to the early years when prayed for their oppressors, even their executioners. The lets them speak for themselves:

"This really hurts," said one of the women, Katie Weaver, 54. "But, see, at a very young age our parents teach us to forgive like Christ did, not man-made forgiveness. . . . Jesus still takes care of us, even if bad things happen. These children are in Heaven. We still weep and cry just like everybody else, but then we go to Christ.

"My mom and dad taught me, and now we teach our children the same, to forgive people if they hurt us or wrong us," she said. "Things are going to happen in life. We're going to get hurt. But . . . we have to forgive. . . . If we give it to God, he'll take it and make something good out of it."

It's not easy, of course. From the :

[T]he shootings still meant a loss of trust between the Amish and the modern world, especially for the young. One 34-year-old Amish man, who said he would not give his name because he did not want to attract attention, said that the day after the shooting he had to ask a reporter parked near an Amish schoolhouse to move along because her presence was scaring the children.

"She was just sitting there doing bookwork, but the kids were all hiding behind the school peeping around the side," he said.

After all, they had just learned that the recent carnage occurred after an "Englishman" had parked his pickup truck in front of a school.

"It's going to be a scar on them for some time," the man said.

Not easy. Fortunately, we can lighten the load a bit. You can send letters of condolence (or encouragement) here:

    The Amish Community
    c/o St. Michael Lutheran Church
    40 E. Main Street
    Strasburg, PA 17579-1426

You noticed that, too, huh?

If Hastert stays the GOP could lose 50 seats, according to an And if he quits? Maybe they didn't ask that question. One aspect of this is worth further noting. The base of the GOP has been fed homophobia and gay-baiting for years now. It was partly how Rove won Ohio and the presidency. Gay-hating is integral to their machine. Now, the very homophobia these people stoked and used is suddenly turning back on them.

Part of me is distressed that the GOP could lose not because of spending recklessness, corruption, torture, big government, pork, and a hideously botched war ... but because of a sex scandal which doesn't even have (so far as we know) any actual sex. But part of me also sees the karmic payback here. They rode this tiger; now it's turning on them. And it's dinner time.

Yep.

Bombs away!

It was brought to my attention recently that Reps. De Fazio and and Hinchey offered an amendment to the 2007 Pentagon appropriations bill that would have specifically barred the administration from launching a military attack on Iran without congressional authorization. 158 members of the House voted for it, but 262 voted against and it failed. In other words, a majority of the House seems to have gone on record in favor of letting the president start wars illegally, a fairly discouraging development.

Actually, it's probably worse than that. I have little doubt that the legal wizards in the Vice President's office will argue that, in fact, this vote is actually a specific authorization for a military strike against Iran. After all, if Congress weren't in favor, they would have explicitly said so. Right?

Published

October 5, 2006 - 10:19pm

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