Filtered news 2/23

Liberal Protestantism: a somewhat loose designation for a wide range of religious thought unified less by specific doctrines than by a temper of mind and certain common motifs. It originated in the 19th century and achieved its zenith in this country in the decades preceding the Second World War. [Liberal Protestantism] was characterized by (1) an eagerness to discard old orthodox forms if they were judged to be irrational in light of modern knowledge or irrelevant to to what was regarded as the central core of religious experience; (2) a confidence in the power of man's reason when guided by experience; (3) a belief in freedom; (4) a belief in the social nature of human existence; (5) a faith in the benevolence of God and the goodness of Creation.


A Handbook of Theological Terms, (c)1964 by Van A. Harvey

I'm just saying...

And what's our national priority? An analysis of 2005 census figures found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty — a 32-year high. “A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - - was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.”

Bigots in the schools Parents have complained after ninth graders at a North Carolina school were given anti-Muslim literature in class. The handouts described Mohammed as a “criminal” and “demon possessed,” and included pamphlets with titles such as “Jesus not Muhammad” and “

The Department of Education Inspector General has released another report criticizing the Bush administration’s Reading First program, part of the No Child Left Behind Act. The IG found the program “violated the prohibition against controlling individual school curricula by promoting specific reading materials and instructions to the financial benefit of companies — such as McGraw Hill and Voyager — .”

McClatchy: “‘I still believe, at the end of the day, that he will bomb the Iranian (nuclear) facilities,’ said Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank with close ties to the Bush administration. Muravchik, who favors military action, .” Rush Limbaugh: “If we launched attacks on Iran and Syria today and went heavy metal, pedal-to-the-wall, . The Democrats and the media would be in panic, but the people in this country would be cheering.”

Neo-Peyton Place Over at TPMmuckraker, they that has all the hallmarks of a love affair during the Bush administration: big oil, lobbyists working government from the inside to suit their corporate clients, ethical violations, misleading Congress... Who's got the movie rights?

Who can give an answer to this question that they're proud of? The Bush administration has “demanded that Israel desist from even exploratory contacts with Syria, of the sort that would test whether Damascus is serious in its declared intentions to hold peace talks with Israel.” In meetings with Israeli officials, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “was forceful in expressing Washington’s view on the matter”: “” This is the critical question, when you consider the aftershocks of what President Bush has wrought over the last 6 years: On the evidence of the last six years, is the US an aggressive, destablizing force on the global stage or a benign, ordering force?

Why would anyone believe anything this man says? How many times did Sen. Lieberman say he wouldn't switch parties? Let us count the ways. .

FOX attacks Obama A new Robert Greenwald website with a video and a message to

"It doesn't matter how bad Iraq gets, it's not
going to get better by us staying there.
-- Gen. William Odom,

Ahhh, this is fun. Whackjob member of Congress , it turns out, has that there's already a plan in place to divide Iraq. Iran will get half the country. And they'll set that part up as a "terrorist safe haven zone." Says Bachmann: "And half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called…. the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I’m sorry, I don’t have the official name, but it’s meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There’s already an agreement made." I can't wait to hear Juan Cole's reaction to Bachmann's scoop. Shi'a Iran is going to run Sunni western Iraq as a terrorist safe haven. And the new terror country's official name will be the Iraq State of Islam. Aren't the Shi'a Arabs in southern Iraq going to be a little bummed?

This is fun, too! In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded it was “very likely” — — that human activities led by burning fossil fuels explained most of the warming in the past 50 years. Continuing the Bush administration’s to the science of global warming, Vice President Dick Cheney said today a consensus is lacking on whether global warming is caused by human activity. From an :

JONATHAN KARL: Where is the science on this? Is global warming a fact? And is it human activity that is causing global warming?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Those are the two key questions. I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.

Cheney added later in the interview, “I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.” But he appears comfortable enough in his knowledge to suggest that the scientists are all wrong.

Corruption watch World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz may appoint a new resident director for Iraq. “This is exactly what he shouldn’t be doing and what the [Bank] board was initially afraid that he would do, which is to use the financial resources of the World Bank to ,” said Bea Edwards of the Government Accountability Project.

Powell must be asking "What liberal media?" Yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at Purdue University. Articles on the event by the and the report that Powell “said he supported President Bush’s decision to send more U.S. troops to Iraq”:

These reports are wrong. This morning, ThinkProgress spoke with Powell’s office, who told them that he never indicated his support for the escalation. According to his office, Powell simply said that the escalation is proceeding whether we like it or not:

The surge is on, and will soon be finished while Congress debates it. And we’ll have to see whether it works, and we’ll have to pass off to the Iraqis sooner or later.

Jeanne Norberg, a spokeswoman for Purdue who attended the speech, confirmed with us that Powell did not say he supported Bush’s escalation.

Powell has previously stated his opposition to Bush’s escalation strategy. On Dec. 17, he said on CBS’s Face the Nation that “ that [Iraqi security] would be better” with more forces.

: the Democrats' new strategy for combatting the president's handling of the war in Iraq.

Things could be worse Egyptian blogger is sentenced to four years in jail for "insulting" .

Sometimes a really big story is sitting there, right in plain sight. That's the case with the firing of San Diego US Attorney Carol Lam and the on-going Duke Cunningham investigation.

As per Washington conventional wisdom we're now supposed to accept that the firing of seven US attorneys around the country was, yes, perhaps unprecedented, but more an example of Bush cronyism than an effort to short-circuit one or more investigations. But the firing of Lam just doesn't bear out that reading.

Earlier this month, Lam indicted , and John T. Michael.

By almost any measure this is a public corruption indictment of historic proportions. Wilkes corrupted the sitting US congressman who got the longest sentence ever given to a member of Congress. Foggo was the executive director of the CIA, the number three guy, the one who actually ran the agency on a daily basis. Michael helped bribing Duke and he also appears to have lied to investigators. He's also the nephew of , a key player in the scandal who is listed as an indicted briber-and-coconspirator in Duke Cunningham's plea agreement. One of the big mysteries in this case is why Kontogiannis still hasn't been indicted, especially now that his nephew -- whose role in the case was secondary to that of his uncle -- has. On Kontogiannis, it's probably worth considering the widespread reports of his role on the fringe of the intelligence and criminal underworlds to see why he might, as yet, have drawn a pass.

In any case, a pretty weighty indictment. And the prosecutor gets forced out so that she only barely has time to bring the main indictments? That sounds very fishy.

And what's the reason for her firing?

We were originally told that she was let go on the basis of poor performance and management. But McClatchy later reported that, like other fired US attorneys, Lam's performance reviews were strong.

So why was she fired?

We're now asked to believe that she was canned because a few conservative congressmen were complaining that she wasn't doing enough on the illegal immigration front.


A look at the cases against the men in question leave little doubt that this investigation wasn't over. But the job of the person who's led the prosecution from beginning is.

Who's foolish enough to believe this is all a coincidence?

"I think that Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."
-- John McCain, telling the truth,

"Rumsfeld deserves Americans' respect and gratitude for his many years of public service."
-- John McCain, lying ass,

And justice for all...conservative Christians Alberto Gonzales has committed himself, and the full weight of the Department of Justice, to protecting religious freedom . . . well, some religious freedom. The "" will be training lawyers and beefing up programs to address religious discrimination claims. Among the program's charges:

  • A commitment to continued expansion of enforcement of civil rights statutes protecting religious liberty.
  • Creation of a Department-wide Task Force on Religious Liberty, chaired by the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, to review DOJ policies impacting religious liberty, coordinate religious liberty cases, and improve outreach to stakeholder communities.
  • Initiation of a series of regional seminars to be held around the country to educate religious, civil rights, and community leaders, attorneys, government officials, and other interested citizens about the laws protecting religious freedom enforced by the Department of Justice and how to file complaints.
  • Increased outreach to religious organizations, civil rights organizations, and other groups and individuals concerned with religious liberty issues through meetings, speaking engagements, and distribution of informational literature.

It all sounds wonderfully anti-discriminatory, doesn't it? So what's the problem?

As reported at , Gonzales chose to announce this new project to the Southern Baptist Convention leadership, assuring them that they would lead the effort:

[M]ake no mistake, I am here to ask the Southern Baptist Convention, and all of you in this room, for your help. The Department of Justice has many tools to protect religious freedoms in this country, and we are using them. But even with all of our passion and our dedication to this cause, we cannot do it alone.

In the post, Don Byrd points up one of the many problems with the initiative:

I guess I'm not surprised that the Attorney General chose to speak to a group so full of free exercise fervor, and with such a dubious relationship to the Establishment Clause in recent years. After all, in his 3400-word speech Gonzales didn't once mention a commitment to protecting those of no faith from religious discrimination, and despite having sworn to defend all of the Constitution, did not use the occasion to make any substantive mention of one half of our precious first freedom: the one assuring that the Government will not enact an establishment of religion.

Good point. Could it be because in Alberto Gonzales's selective interpretations of the Constitution, the Establishment Clause doesn't really count, just like the Great Writ of habeas corpus? That would be par for the course with Gonzales, and with this administration. This program deserves scrutiny by Congress.

In the meantime, look out all you warriors against Christmas. Gonzo is going after you next.

A source of amusement and rage .

Supporting our troops? : This 19-year veteran isn't getting full benefits, despite losing her leg when a tank crashed into her tent in Baghdad

Hillary vs Obama Camp Hillary Obama of being behind big David Geffen attack on Hillary yesterday. Hillary Bill Clinton's legacy. The gloves are off: Hillary campaign Obama and demands he cut loose fundraiser David Geffen over his anti-Clinton in today's Times. Obama . Huh -- David Geffen isn't Obama's "fianance chair". Geffen doesn't even have a position in the Obama campaign. So the Clinton campaign apparently just . and Gen. Clark have started a new site, .

Irony: The GOP discovers due process? You know that this guy Alishtari -- who gave more than $15,000 to GOP congressional committees -- was indicted in federal court in New York on Friday for allegedly attempting to send over $150,000 to Pakistan to be used to fund terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Now, the NRCC finally had to give some response yesterday. But it turns out that they're not going to assume there's a problem with Mr. Alishtari until this alleged terror financier has had his day in court. "We need to be careful," said the , "not to rush to judgment as the judicial process moves forward." If only those guys down in Guantanamo Bay knew about this little known perk of ponying up cash to the GOP.

Cooking the books of justice Gonzales has been so busy , pandering to the , replacing , and generally mucking things up that he apparently just didn't have time to oversee Federal prosecutors working on terror cases. It

Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.

Overall, nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics on investigations, referrals and cases examined by department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine were either diminished or inflated. Only two of 26 sets of department data reported between 2001 and 2005 were accurate, the audit found.

Of course, the auditors stress, those numbers were the result of "decentralized and haphazard" methods of collection, certainly not a intentional over-inflation of numbers in an attempt to mislead Congress and the public on the effectiveness of the Bush administration's war on terror. Senator Schumer, for one, is not buying it:

"If the Department of Justice can't even get their own books in order, how are we supposed to have any confidence they are doing the job they should be?" said Schumer, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the department. "Whether this is just an accounting error or an attempt to pad terror prosecution statistics for some other reason, the Department of Justice of all places should be classifying cases for what they are, not what they want us to think them to be."

Add this to the list of Congressional investigations needed of Gonzales's Justice Department.

Flypaper watch So how's the Iraq war doing at keeping terrorists tied down so they can't make trouble elsewhere?

Our study yields one resounding finding: The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of people killed in those attacks, increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq....Even excluding Iraq and Afghanistan...there has been a 35 percent rise in the number of attacks, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities.

Contrary to Bush's assertion, jihadists have not let the Iraq War distract them from targeting the United States and its allies. The rate of attacks on Western interests and citizens has risen by almost 25 percent, while the yearly fatality rate has increased by 4 percent.

Of course, there are terrorists in Iraq too, and if you add in jihadist attacks there the numbers look even worse. What's more, those terrorists are getting an excellent education:

The globalization of jihad and martyrdom has disquieting implications for American security in the future. Jihadists are already leaving Iraq to operate elsewhere, a "blowback" trend that will greatly increase when the war eventually winds down. Terrorist groups in Iraq, which have learned to raise millions through kidnapping and oil theft, may be in a position to help fund their jihadist brethren elsewhere. Finally, Iraq has increased the popularity of a hardcore takfiri ideology so intolerant that, unlikely as it seems, it makes Osama bin Laden appear relatively moderate.

Wonderful. I can hardly wait. MoJo also has a nice feature this month. Check it out if you're still not quite sure about the difference between Sunni and Shiite.

Small uptick for Bush, due to consolidating support among Republicans. 39% approve, according to .

Repugnicans eating their own McCain on Cheney's assertion that the Senator privately apologized after criticizing him over Iraq.

Aren't we all feeling better now? Over at Tapped,

More and more Muslims now hate us all across the world, and it really has not a lot to do with anything other than our morals.

The things that they were saying about us were true. Our morals are just out the window. We're a society on the verge of moral collapse. And our promiscuity is off the charts.

Now, obviously, as Janna points out, this argument is appealing to conservatives because it's a way of condemning social liberalism. It's an unusually loathsome way of condemning social liberalism, but hey. Strange bedfellows and all that.

However, there's another reason that this argument has generated a certain amount of conservative appeal lately: it perpetuates the trope that "they hate us for our freedoms." And if they hate us for our freedoms, guess what? It means they don't hate us for our actions. And that means there's no need for us to change anything we're actually doing in the Middle East.

And that's a pretty comforting thought for conservatives, isn't it?

Keith mocks the (ahem) "competition" In a new 'Oddball' segment, Keith adds the of to the equally funny (and arguably funnier) primetime FOX programming. Here's a compilation of the first two from Monday and Tuesday. Expect many, many more of these. | |

Wanker of the day: :

CARLSON: Welcome to the show, and Happy Presidents Day. Speaking of presidents, over the next hour, we'll bring you the latest on the candidates, including [Sen.] John McCain's [R-AZ] new fervor on abortion, Barack Obama's suddenly conspicuous faith, the possibility of a [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich [R-GA] presidency, and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton's [D-NY] latest position on the war.[...]

CARLSON: Here's a word association game: Which party comes to mind, Republican or Democrat, when you think about the intersection of religion and politics? Well, the Democrats are keenly aware of your likely answer. Hillary Clinton has hired an adviser whose sole job is outreach to religious voters. Barack Obama, meanwhile, speaks often and at length about the importance of his faith. Can Democrats reclaim religion as a winning political issue?

Joining us now for answers, a charter member of the religious left, the founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, the author of . We are honored to have Jim Wallis. Thanks a lot, Jim.

WALLIS: Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON: I want to put up a quote on the screen -- this is from Barack Obama -- that really struck me. This is from last June, during a political speech he gave, and he said, quote, "Kneeling beneath the cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth." Now, coming in the context of a political speech, the implication is that God is on Barack Obama's side. That's the implication you often hear -- sometimes hear among religious conservatives, and they are attacked for it. Does this make you uncomfortable?

WALLIS: Well, it was a speech at our conference, so I introduced him for that speech.


WALLIS: It was to church leaders and faith-based activists, and it was, I think, Tucker, it was the most intelligent speech on faith and politics since the Houston speech -- since Kennedy, a long time ago, gave a speech on the same topic. I think it was how faith can be engaged with respecting pluralism, democracy, and diversity. It was a great speech.

CARLSON: But it's also part of a -- as you're well aware, you wrote a book on it -- part of a political strategy devised by very smart people who looked at the numbers and noticed that religious voters tended to vote Republican and if you want a national party, you've got to win some of them over -- and this is a very calculated plan on the part of the Democratic Party to win those voters.

WALLIS: Well, I've known Barack for 10 years.


WALLIS: So, back when he was a lowly state senator, he and I talked about faith and politics.


WALLIS: He was progressive in his faith and politics, like I was, and we thought that to have faith at issues forth and talk about economic justice and poverty was more logical than the religious right. So, he's not new to this. He's been doing it for a long time. He's very active in his South Side black church. So this is, for him, very common. He's talked more comfortably about faith and policy than any Democrat has in a long time.

(Emphases in the original.) Cookies to for giving the right response on this. has video.

Oprah goofed Looks like O'Reilly and the show is because of his appearance. Here's some .

US terror data is wrong Inconsistent, incompetent and exaggerated reporting of terrorist threats? Whodathunk it? Keith Olbermann covers it on Countdown:

(Thanks to Silent Patriot for videos/screen cap)

| |


Nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics reported by the US Justice Department and the FBI from the September 11 attacks until early 2005 had some inaccuracies, the department's inspector general has said.

The findings drew immediate criticism from US senators, who said it raised serious doubts over how effectively the administration was fighting the terrorism threat.

[..]The report found that only two out of 26 statistics were accurate after reviewing the number of terrorism convictions in the 2003 and 2004 financial years, the number of convictions or guilty pleas from September 11, 2001, through February 3, 2005, and the number of terrorist threats tracked by the FBI in 2003 and 2004.

"We found many cases involving offenses such as immigration violations, marriage fraud, or drug trafficking where department officials provided no evidence to link the subject of the case to terrorist activity," the report said.

[..]Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and a judiciary committee member, said of the report: "The question I have now is whether the inaccuracies are an accident or if there was some other motive behind it."

What liberal media? :

Every theater-style seat in the White House briefing room, now closed for renovation, had a brass plaque inscribed with the name of a news organization. Only one, in the middle of the front row, had a name: "HELEN THOMAS," it said. The unique assigned seat between the chairs for CBS News and ABC News was reserved for the legendary United Press International correspondent who is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.

The press corps is scheduled to move from temporary facilities back into the spiffed-up, rewired briefing room in May or June. Thomas, who has been questioning presidents and press secretaries for 46 years, plans to be there. But her front-row seat won't be. Plans call for her to be moved to the second row to make room for a cable news channel - a sign of Washington's changing pecking order, and of the new ways that Americans get their news.

"I didn't think I had a monopoly on that seat," Thomas, 86, said in a telephone interview. "Since my peers have decided that I don't belong there, I'll bow to their - I'll drink the - What did Socrates drink?"


"I'll drink it," she said. "You have to submit to the will of the people, and apparently this is the will of my peers. It's OK with me. I've had a good run in the front seat."

I'm sorry, but this is truly ridiculous. Give Helen the respect she deserves. At least she asks the right questions. If all CNN and Fox are going to do is play stenographer for the White House, they can do that from the second row.

Savage on Sawyer :

On the February 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, asserted that ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer was "aiding and abetting" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a February 13 in which, Savage claimed, Sawyer had refused to challenge Ahmadinejad's statements denying the existence of the Holocaust. Savage said: "Here Diane Sawyer goes to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and does not once say to him, 'How could you deny the Holocaust? Here are the pictures of the 6 or 7 million Jews that Hitler killed. How dare you do this to the world?' " Savage added: "So Diane Sawyer, in essence, is agreeing that the Holocaust didn't occur."

There's a logic leap worthy of a C-level right-wing pundit. Only problem, Mr. Weiner Savage, is that it's a complete and total lie. Sawyer DID ask about Ahmadinejad's statements and even offered to show him take him and show him records from Auschwitz. But why truth and facts get in the way of a nice little hate on?

While discussing this interview, Savage said Sawyer was "disgusting" and "full of crap" and repeatedly called her a "lying whore," a "prostitute," and a "witch." He added, "I stand by those words, and if you don't like it, sue me. Take me to a court of law for calling you a whore, because you are an intellectual prostitute for what you have done for ratings."

Um, yeah. That glass house looks a little shaky there, Mr. Weiner Savage.

Create your own reality Because reality has that nasty progressive bias, conservatives have again created their own, more comforting version, led by none other than Andrew, House of Schlafly. In response to that bastion of overly tolerant, anti-Americanism called the , we present the , dedicated to insuring that wingnuts young and old maintain their grip on ignorance. Let's look at a few of the evolving definitions, how about, say, ?

The theory is widely accepted within the scientific community despite a lack of any conclusive evidence. ...It should be noted that these scientists are largely motivated by a need for grant money in their fields. Therefore, their work can not be considered unbiased. Also, these scientists are mostly liberal athiests, untroubled by the hubris that man can destroy the Earth which God gave him.

A wiki is a sort of encyclopedia/dictionary which can be edited by users at will. This makes for some rather dizzying changes and deletions on the conservative incarnation. Here for example was the entire entry on Stalin, at least until it was removed out of either shame or embarrassment:

Josef Stalin was an atheist communist Russian dictator during World War II. He was defeated by Adolph Hitler, despite Hitler also being an atheist

Hitler, the ever-clever Nazi atheist, not only fooled everyone by couching his perverse ideology in the context of religion and , he defeated Stalin in World War II by ingeniously committing suicide while Soviet troops mopped up the last crumbling remnants of the Third Reich in 1945 Berlin.

It's a laugh a minute on the Conservapedia as the base of the GOP discovers how ungainly a resource can be, when the goal is to mislead readers with lies and deception on a venue which can be updated with actual facts and references by anyone who reads it. So go on over, check it out, help make it a success, and enjoy.


February 23, 2007 - 3:26pm