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  • (1)

    Via Think Progress, we learn this horror:

    In 2005, the Kansas Board of Education received national ridicule when it rewrote public school standards to cast doubt on the mainstream evolution theories of Charles Darwin.

    One of the board members who voted to teach intelligent design was Kenneth Willard, a conservative who is now the only member running as president-elect for the National Association of State Boards of Education. NASBE is a nonprofit organization of state school boards that “works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking.”

    Willard was one of the Kansas board’s most vocal proponents of intelligent design....

    With education scores falling behind the rest of the world, this is just what we need: a champion of willful ignorance in charge of a national education organization.

  • (1)

    Via :

    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the plan will give poor Brazilians "the same right that the wealthy have to plan the number of children they want."

    Brazil already hands out free condoms and birth control pills at government-run pharmacies. But many poor people in Latin America's largest country don't go to those pharmacies, so Silva's administration decided to offer the pills at drastically reduced prices at private drug stores, said Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao.

    The price for a year's supply of birth control pills under the new program would be $2.40, and anyone — rich or poor — can buy the pills by simply showing a government-issued identification card that almost all Brazilians carry.

    Not America. Need you ask?

  • (1)

    There really is no hope for redemption by this president.

    In a written statement commuting the jail sentence, issued hours after Monday's ruling, Bush called the sentence "excessive," and suggested that Libby will pay a big enough price for his conviction.

    "The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting," he said.

    After all, we can't have a former Bush Administration official unable to cash in on K Street.

  • (1)

    Impeachment of the worst White House administration in history comes up every day in the blogosphere -- and not without its skeptics. I've been rather skeptical about it all myself. What with how the Republicans trivialized impeachment in the '90s, it's hard to take impeachment with any sort of Constitutional seriousness. (And do we really want to follow their lead, anyway?)

    However, it took a Republican to convince me that the question is not at all trivial. Especially not today.

    Bruce Fein was Ronald Reagan's Justice Department official, and general council to the FCC. Hardly a shill for MoveOn. And yet he made the most powerful argument for impeachment of Bush and Cheney a couple of weeks ago, on Bill Moyers Journal. And his words still haunt me.

    Well, this is an unusual affair of president/vice-president, where the vice-president is de facto president most of the time. And that's why most of people recognize that these decisions, especially when it comes to overreaching with executive power, are the product of Dick Cheney and his aide, David Addington, not George Bush and Alberto Gonzalez or Harriet Miers, who don't have the cerebral capacity to think of these devilish ideas. And for that reason, they equate the administration more with Dick Cheney than with George Bush....

    ...It means asserting powers and claiming that there are no other branches that have the authority to question it. Take, for instance, the assertion that he's made that when he is out to collect foreign intelligence, no other branch can tell him what to do. That means he can intercept your e-mails, your phone calls, open your regular mail, he can break and enter your home. He can even kidnap you, claiming I am seeking foreign intelligence and there's no other branch Congress can't say it's illegal--judges can't say this is illegal. I can do anything I want. That is overreaching. When he says that all of the world, all of the United States is a military battlefield because Osama bin Laden says he wants to kill us there, and I can then use the military to go into your homes and kill anyone there who I think is al-Qaeda or drop a rocket, that is overreaching. That is a claim even King George III didn't make--

    ....Opening your mail, your e-mails, your phone calls. Breaking and entering your homes. Creating a pall of fear and intimidation if you say anything against the president you may find retaliation very quickly. We're claiming he's setting precedents that will lie around like loaded weapons anytime there's another 9/11.

    Right now the victims are people whose names most Americans can't pronounce. And that's why they're not so concerned. They will start being Browns and Jones and Smiths. And that precedent is being set right now. And one of the dangers that I see is it's not just President Bush but the presidential candidates for 2008 aren't standing up and saying--

    --"If I'm president, I won't imitate George Bush." That shows me that this is a far deeper problem than Mr. Bush and Cheney.

    A deeper problem.

    [The Democrats in Congress] have basically renounced-- walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check. It's not an option. It's an obligation when they take that oath to faithfully uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I think the reason why this is. They do not have convictions about the importance of the Constitution. It's what in politics you would call the scientific method of discovering political truths and of preventing excesses because you require through the processes of review and vetting one individual's perception to be checked and-- counterbalanced by another's. And when you abandon that process, you abandon the ship of state basically and it's going to capsize....

    ...This is something that needs to set a precedent, whoever occupies the White House in 2009. You do not want to have that occupant, whether it's John McCain or Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani or John Edwards to have this authority to go outside the law and say, "I am the law. I do what I want. No one else's view matters."

    What about Bush's claim that these are extraordinary times?

    Cheney and Bush have shown that these measures are optical. Take, for instance, these military conditions that combine judge, jury, and prosecutors. What have they done? They tried the same offenses that are tried in civilian courts. American Taliban John Walker Lindh got 20 years in the civilian courts. And then we have the same offense, David Hicks, he gets nine months in military prison. Why are you creating these extraordinary measures? They aren't needed....

    ...They're trying to create the appearance that they're tougher than all of their opponents 'cause they're willing to violate the law, even though the violations have nothing to do with actually defeating the terrorism. And we have instances where the president now for years has flouted the Foreign Intelligence Act. He's never said why the act has ever inhibited anybody....

    ...Certainly in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we were in a fog. There could have been hundreds of thousands terrorist cells. You could understand the president, "I've got to take any action I need right now to uncover a possible second edition of 9/11." And, of course, as soon as I do that, I will go to Congress as soon as possible. I will seek ratification. That's an immediate aftermath of 9/11. We know a lot more in 2007, in July. We know this is not 100 or 1,000 terrorist cells.

    We know this is not the danger of the Soviet Union or Hirohito or the Third Reich. And yet the president continues to insist. That's why we need military commissions. We need to say you're an enemy combatant and stick you in prison forever without any judicial review and otherwise.That is a total distortion of what the genuine nature of the problem is and our ability to fight and defeat these terrorists with ordinary civil-- the criminal proceedings....

    ...But it's saying no, it's the Constitution that's more important than your aggrandizing of power. And not just for you because the precedent that would be set would bind every successor in the presidency as well, no matter Republican, Democrat, Independent, or otherwise.

    You should really watch the video, whether you're for or against impeachment. It's quite a conversation.

    This is bigger than merely enduring the last dozen-plus months of Bush/Cheney. It's about what we allow to happen to our Constitution.

    Impeach.

  • (1)

    When Genevieve played by Noémie Lenoir took off her wig, Detective James Carter played by Chris Tucker straight up called her a "man". It was as if the whole Brittani Spears bald head scandal some how crept it's way into this movie. The gender stereotype exposed in this film, was that in order for a woman to be a real woman, she cannot be bald. After all, if a woman is bald, there is something seriously wrong with her. Everyone knows that if a woman is bald her entire gender is questionable (insert satire).

    Noémie Lenoirrole's role in Rush Hour 3 was that of a martyr. From the time she was born until she became an adult her purpose in life was to serve a male dominated secret society. She was brainwashed into believing that her life is less valuable than exposing the names of certain high status men. Like in the movie 300, as in many other movies with fictional historical reenactments, there will typically be a woman (or women) who's sole purpose is to be sacrificed in order to preserve a patriarchal power structure.

  • (1)

    Credit where credit is due: Captain's Quarters rightly (heh) comes out against yet more government power eroding Constitutional rights:

    While some conservatives undoubtedly would argue that they see nothing wrong with giving law-enforcement agencies access to existing technology, others will rightly object on two grounds. First, the obvious application for the sneak-peek technology would be to avoid search warrants. If probable cause existed for a warrant, law enforcement wouldn't need the satellite technology; they'd simply enter. That's the way it's supposed to work, and has worked well for over 200 years. Civil liberty is based in part on judicial oversight of law enforcement encroachment on private property, which the sneak-peek technology would obliterate.

    Second and perhaps more importantly, American legal tradition has separated military and foreign-intel collection from domestic law enforcement, and for good reasons. The Posse Comitatus Act forbids the military (except the Coast Guard, for certain purposes) from acting in a law-enforcement role, except under emergencies specifically requiring martial law. This law keeps the federal government from usurping power from local and state authorities. Since these satellites were launched with strictly military and foreign-intel missions in mind, using them as tools for law enforcement may not entirely cross the PCA, but it gets too close for comfort.

    Unless the use of the satellites is strictly limited to national-security applications, such as a counterterrorist operation or immigration enforcement (both of which are legitimate national-security concerns under federal jurisdiction), satellites should not be used as law-enforcement tools. We did not put those military assets in orbit to be deployed against the people of the United States.

    If real conservatism -- not the faux conservatism practiced by neocons and holy rollers -- makes a return, there might be hope for our political system. So far, Democrats seem to be rather unwilling to challenge the neo-fascistic growth of executive power and corporate collaboration defiantly embraced by the Bush Administration.

    I ask conservatives: Do you relish the thought of a President Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama or President John Edwards having the same kind of extra-Constitutional powers Bush is exercising?

    Really, folks.

    (Personally I am much less worried about the Democrats with that kind of power, but this is still power that is unprecedented and not sanctioned by the Constitution that has helped America flourish for over 200 years. Where's the "strict constructionism" when it comes to presidential authority?)

    More on this theme soon.

  • (1)

    The Senate has passed a bill that contains language to repeal the global gag rule.

    So what's next for the global gag rule? It's now headed to a House-Senate "conference committee," where a few members from each chamber will work out differences between each chamber’s version of the bill. Then the Senate and House must approve the final compromise version, which will be sent to the president.

    Even though we won this key vote on the global gag rule, President Bush has already threatened to veto any bill that includes a pro-choice provision, including this one.

    Now you can help rally support for that language to survive to the final bill.

    Of course, the problem of governments' claiming they own women's wombs is well represented within US borders, too.

  • (1)

    Via TechCrunch, we see that:

    Al Jazeera signed a commercial agreement with Google last week to share advertising revenue on their YouTube channel....

    Since many of the wingutteria consider Al Jazeera the voice of the enemy, one just might have to laugh at the irony. After all, You Tube is very much an American phenomenon that has captured the world's imagination and interest. And yet the Republican candidates for president were afraid to go to You Tube.

    Afraid, or simply just too clueless.

    Now we can anticipate seeing wise thought leaders like Bill O'Reilly call You Tube an Al Jazeera front, or use rhetoric of that ilk. Nothing like the tail wagging the dog. The way Republicans keep cowering from the realities of this world, is it any wonder they're excusing themselves from any realistic consideration for leading this world?

  • (1)

    Via O'Reilly Radar:

    "After nearly a full day spent on the Senate floor, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) defeated an attempt to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform legislation that would grant immunity to telecommunications companies who cooperated with the Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program. Dodd objected to the motion to proceed to the bill early this morning and remained on the floor for almost ten hours, taking a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution with his statements throughout the day. At approximately 7:30 P.M. Majority Leader Reid announced the FISA reform bill would be pulled from the Senate calendar and reconsidered in January."

    Compare that with Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who seem to want to make America in the image of Stalinist Russia.

    No wonder Ron Paul is turning heads in wingnut-oz. And elsewheres. (Analysis.)

  • (1)

    Tech blogger Dave Winer writes, "What woke me up about the Clintons":

    I didn't think it was an issue until Bill started throwing the mud so aggressively. Then I noticed that Hillary was talking about the first two terms as a plural accomplishment, as if she were in office then. The more he attacks and the more she takes credit for the first two terms, the more I think they're fucking with the Constitution.

    Further, there are good reasons why the first lady (or first spouse) isn't actively involved in running the government, so we don't have to understand how good their marriage is, and they get a tiny bit of privacy. Then we remember how their marriage was in the middle of everything when they were in charge, and god damn we don't need that mess now. We've got so many other things to deal with.

    I'm so opposed to them that depending on who the Republicans nominate I could actually see myself voting for a Republican if Hillary is nominated. I can't believe that after listening to her on Meet The Press a couple of weeks ago I was almost ready to vote for her. What a mistake that would have been.

    There is no way I could vote for any Republican running. What woke me up about the Republicans? Let's see....

    Flagrant spending.

    The war on Iraq.

    The Terri Schiavo spectacle.

    The big collective "huh?" when Katrina hit.

    Bankruptcy "reform" (but only for the poor).

    Torture. And not just any torture, either! Better torture! And let's double Guantanamo, while we're at it!

    Government establishment of religion.

    Invasion of privacy.

    Forced pregnancy.

    Restriction of the internet.

    Privateer profiteering.

    The bridge to nowhere.

    Impeaching a president over a blowjob. (Yeah, "and god damn we don't need that mess now.")

    The list goes on.

    So let me restate in my own words what Dave says:

    I'm so opposed to the Clintons but no matter who the Republicans nominate I could never see myself voting for a Republican even if Hillary is nominated.