Saturday, February 28, 2004

Making Snow Angels in Hell

Baylor student newspaper endorses marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

The Future of Modern Conservatism

You know, I didn't think a movement with Jonah Goldberg as its intellectual leader could sink much further, but apparently it's going to...

NYT Outrage

This is just fucking unbelievable.

Blotcher, who has been involved with gay and AIDS groups in the past, joined the newspaper as a stringer––a freelance reporter––in 2001 after he left New York City for the Hudson Valley. For much of his employment he contributed stories or reporting without ever getting a byline in the paper.
In late 2003, Blotcher published two stories and, under a new Times policy, his name appeared on those pieces. One story dealt with the trial of a woman who was accused of killing her three children. The second concerned some vandalism on a college campus.

“I never dealt with gay issues or AIDS issues,” Blotcher said.

Someone, an editor, another reporter, or a reader noted Blotcher’s name and recalled that he was once a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP.

“There was no complaint,” wrote Susan Edgerley, the Times metropolitan editor, in response to a Gay City News e-mail query. “We recognized the name from his work with ACT UP.”

That was it for Blotcher. On January 12, Lew Serviss, a Times editor, told him the paper would no longer use him in any section. When he appealed to Edgerley she responded, “I am setting the bar high to protect against any appearance of conflict of interest that might result through the hiring of stringers and leg-people. My motivation is expediency as well as ethics––we simply do not spend as much time checking into the backgrounds of independent contractors as we do of fulltime staff people.”

The Gay City News forgot to mention the many conflicts of star reporter Judith Miller, particularly her relationship to the Middle East Forum.

Call the New York Times and ask them why past membership in gay rights AIDS awareness organizations is grounds for termination.

(212) 556-1234

...and, congratulations are in order for Blotcher on his recent marriage! Though, I'm sure that in the NYT's eyes such "activism" is enough to disqualify one from employment.

Nuttiest SS Plan Yet

Digby leads us to this article by Ron Suskind which explains the Lindsey-Bush "Free Lunch" social security privatization plan.

Here's my short description of what the plan was - require younger workers to divert some of their FICA taxes into private investment accounts. In order to pay current and soon-to-be retired people their full promised benefits, Lindsey would tax any excess returns on those accounts. In other words, if your investments do poorly, you're out of luck. If your investments do well, the government would simply take the extra!

In other words, the plan would do nothing but benefit the Wall Street firms who would be more than happy to take their cut.

1 Hour

Uggabugga provides a handy chart examining how the president chooses to spend his time.


I haven't posted anything about Haiti because, well, what the hell do I know about Haiti. But, whatever the faults of Aristide, I do find this rather troubling:

WASHINGTON ? The Bush administration, concerned that armed groups in Haiti may seize power, says it thinks the best hope for democracy is for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to surrender power to his constitutional successor, a senior official said Friday.

So, when armed terrorists try and bring down a government the best thing to do is give in to their demands. I'm all for a practical solutions, and perhaps if I believed peace could be restored if Aristide stepped down I'd be supportive. But, when we take a look at the thugs involved:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 28 ? The armed men trying to seize power in Haiti are led by death-squad veterans and convicted murderers, according to American officials and human-rights groups.

They are "the new Haitian army," said one of their commanders, Remissainthe Ravix. They are also "thugs," said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

They are men like Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Jean-Pierre Baptiste ? two leaders of Fraph, the Haitian Front for Advancement and Progress. Fraph was an instrument of terror wielded by the military junta that overthrew Haiti's embattled president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 1991. It killed thousands over the next three years.

Mr. Chamblain, a former Haitian Army officer, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the 1993 murder of Antoine Izm?ry, an important Aristide supporter. Before the trial, he fled to the neighboring Dominican Republic, returning to Haiti in recent months to seek power.

It's hard to see how they'll be satisfied simply by the removal of Aristide.

And, yes, no matter how intemperate Corrine Brown's comments were, she was 100% correct that our policy towards Haitian refugees is absolutely racist, and that is the true outrage.

In the Dog House

Musgrave's gonna feel the heat for revealing that Bush is, yet again, a liar.

WASHINGTON - President Bush pledged to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support her proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage three months before he made Tuesday's public pronouncement, according to Musgrave's top aide.

The White House has said Bush made the decision only after officials in San Francisco and New Mexico presided over same-sex marriages.

Guy Short, Musgrave's chief of staff, said Musgrave discussed her Federal Marriage Amendment with the president during a Nov. 24 trip aboard Air Force One to Fort Carson, where Bush visited troops and met with survivors of military personnel killed in Iraq.

"She flew back to Colorado with him, and he indicated he would be supportive of the amendment and her language," Short said. A week earlier, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had ordered the state legislature to either permit gay couples to wed or adopt a constitutional amendment prohibiting the practice. The legislature, unable to reach an agreement, has yet to respond.

On Jan. 31, speaking to GOP House and Senate members attending a retreat in Philadelphia, Bush endorsed the amendment and, according to Short, expressed "support for Marilyn's language."

Those confidential assurances by the president encouraged Musgrave and her staff to proceed. "We wanted to respect his timing, but we knew it was coming," Short said.

In a related note, are conservative all idiots or liars? Sometimes I can't tell. Armstrong Williams, who really shouldn't be talking about this stuff:

After all, why do gay couples want the church's blessing? They could go about their business just fine without having been "wed" in a church, right?

Armstrong, Dear, gay couples can and regularly do get married in churches all the time.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose

Rick Santorum, on the 700 Club:

[T]he consequence is very clear. Marriage loses its significance. People will stop getting married. Homosexuals will not get married; heterosexuals will stop getting married. And that to me is the real threat to the American family and to the culture generally.

Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia, on introducing an anti-miscegenation amendment to the Constitution in 1911.

Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant. It is subversive to social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery to black beasts will bring this nation to a fatal conflict.

Breaking the Law

Last week a writer in the NY Daily news argued that there's nothing in New York State's domestic relations laws which requires (or even implies) that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. As near as I can figure out, that 's true.

However, the state Health Department has decreed, without any supporting law, that this is not the case. This article here suggests that New York courts have only recognized male/female marriage, but without any context I have no idea what that means.

So, as near as I can figure out the Mayor of New Paltz is following the law, and the state's Health Department has decided it gets to make up the law.

And, besides, if same-sex marriage is already illegal, why is the New York State Legislature considering passing apparently redundant laws to make it illegal for a second time?

...CA Supreme Court refuses to take immediate action.

Nerd Pickles

When Nedra Pickler quoted John Kerry, she neglected to inform us that she was putting the quote in the wrong context in order to mislead her readers.

Scalia vs. Scalia

Geekable catches Scalia invoking the rulings of foreign courts.

Unprecedented Cooperation

Josh Marshall has a few comments on the latest 9/11 commission shenanigans. At issue is the White House arguing that the separation of powers means that Bush doesn't have to cooperate at all, and therefore we should all be amazed that he's cooperating at all.

But, this is just an attempt to reframe the issue from "what Bush SHOULD DO" to "what Bush CAN DO." Even if we swallow the separation of powers argument whole, it has nothing to do with the fact that the person who was at the helm of the ship on 9/11, particularly one who has turned it into his raison d'etre, should want to do anything and everything he can do help us figure out what went wrong on that day and what we could do about it the next time. The unwillingness of him and his people to do this is disgraceful.

If any of them are concerned about criminal culpability, I'll be more than happy to let them exercise their right against self-incrimination under the 5th amendment to the Constitution. But, aside from that, this has absolutely nothing to do with what they can do, and everything to do with what they should do.

Do the right thing.


Clear Channel is still running Michael Savage.

Howard Stern and others on his show quite regularly say things which cross the line into racism and homophobia, but it's usually done in the spirit of fun. I think reasonable people can disagree on just how offensive some of the things on his show are, but he's got nothing on Savage, or even Imus, where the racism is just mean.

Go John and Joe


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 5,000 Transportation Department workers face a furlough on Monday, a possible result of two senators using an expiring highway bill to force House Republicans to accept a two month extension of an independent investigation of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

``We all have a choice here to make,'' said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., was using the highway bill as leverage to win an extension for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which is scheduled to finish its work on May 27.

He said the choice was between ``minor'' disruptions in highway projects and ``telling the families of those who died on 9/11 that the commission will not be able to complete its work.''

....Hastert caves.

Alternate Universe

Jim Henley has a post about contemporaenous opposition to the Kosovo intervention. I don't bring it up to debate that issue specifically, but to discuss the alternate universe the conservatarian crowd seems to have lived in from 1993-2000. In that universe, the lefty press, the "liberal media," and everyone to the left of Richard Nixon, were united in lockstep behind every single action taken by Bill Clinton.

The truth is, of course, the "liberal media" was brutal in their treatment of Clinton. And, the genuine lefty press, such as the Nation, Democracy Now, etc..., were even harsher. Aside from the merits of any particularly Clinton criticism, I'm just tired of idiots pretending that the media is tough on Bush but was soft on Clinton. It's just ridiculous.


According to Josh Chafetz, only 1 (guess which) Dem senator has come out in favor of FMA. A few more have punted, but still. Now might be a good time to make a donation to the DSCC.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I've been Profiled!

It seems so silly.

Torture Lou!



I don't know what the hell to make of the claims by Tony Blair that intelligence officers always act within the bounds of national and international law.

I mean, even this liberal sure as hell hopes that isn't true. And any person with an IQ above 50 knows it isn't.

Nothing So Strange

I just watched the DVD of Brian Flemming's movie Nothing So Strange. It's an interesting movie. It's about the aftermath of the Bill Gates assassination, during which some "conspiracy theorists," unhappy with the official investigation into the murder, try and goad authorities into reopening the investigation and try and come up with their own alternative explanations.

The movie was quite good and quite relevant to the current situation. It really struck what I thought was the right balance. The investigators have only a couple solid reasons to question official reports, but mostly they resort to speculation and plausible "alternative explanations," though the solid reasons they have are more than enough to raise an eyebrow. The fact that the authorities quickly wrap up the investigation and seal the records is another reason to be suspicious. On the other hand, since they are left with little but speculation - sometimes reasonable, sometimes quite silly - it's easy to dismiss them.

The truth is, we don't know a lot about what happened on 9/11. There was little media or public interest in finding out the truth. There's plenty that is "known" which seems to be contradicted by fact, and plenty of things which are left unexplained. This frightening Gail Sheehy article lays out some things.

In the early days of this weblog I defended some of the tinfoil hat-types because at least they were asking the questions the nobody else was. And, it's hard to really know how to react when the Washington Post considers efforts to thwart the 9/11 commission to be essentially minor news. I have no idea what the Bush administration wants to hide, but I do know that the self-appointed guardians of our national discourse have been letting them get away with it for far too long.

It was the Day That Changed Everything, and for some reason no one seems to give a shit.

Moonie Thursday

John Gorenfeld looks into the fact that the CDC is enlisting the aid of members of the pro-gay-genocide cult.

Rosie Gets Married

The recent legal troubles of Rosie O'Donnell gave her, and should give us, a deeper understanding of why marriage rights are so important.

Would the media giant Gruner & Jahr have decided to sue Rosie O’Donnell over the downfall of Rosie magazine if same-sex marriage were legal? Bizarre as it might sound, Rosie believes the answer is no, and her explanation is both fascinating and plausible.

“If you are a heterosexual talk show host and you’re sued by a major corporation, anything you have said to your husband is privileged information,” she said in an interview on my radio program on Sirius OutQ. She was referring to two rights of marriage that few of us ever think about—until we’re sued for $100 million, or brought to court for something far more minor. One is the spousal immunity privilege, which, if you watch enough Law & Order or The Practice, you know means that, in general, a husband cannot be compelled to testify against his wife and vice versa. The other is known as the privilege for marital communications, which protects confidential correspondence between spouses. These are just two of hundreds of rights granted by marriage—rights that gay couples don’t have.

“If you are a homosexual talk show host,” O’Donnell continued, “and you’re sued by a corporation, anything you have ever said and/or written to your spouse/partner/wife is allowed to be entered into the record. It is totally unfair.”

She believes that Gruner & Jahr’s lawyers were well aware of that inequity and exploited it to their advantage.

“Any and every thing I wrote to [my partner] Kelli, you know, which they were using against me, some of my essays—you know, when you get into a deep, dark place and you say, ‘You know what honey, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ Well, if the honey is the same sex as you, that is evidence in a trial, and that’s hard to believe in America ... . And if they didn’t have access to some of those letters I wrote to Kelli, I don’t think they would have sued me. Because, innately, what they were thinking was that I would rather give them money than show the truth of my darkest part to America ... .”

The Question

The members of our sacred press corps are a wee bit slow, but eventually they start figuring things out. And, they've finally figured out the question which will be asked of just about every Democrat between now and November - "What's the difference between a civil union and a marriage?"

Edwards got a version of it yesterday.

Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon, Edwards explained that he personally opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions, and believes each state should set its own marriage policy.

When asked why civil unions could not simply be called marriages, Edwards said, "My answer is the same."

Asked why states, not the federal government, should decide policy, he replied, "Because it's something I think should be decided by the states."

And when asked to explain his personal opposition to gay marriage, he snapped, "I'm done with that question."

I knew this would happen. This distinction was always a sham, because it's a distinction without a difference. Unless the candidates can articulate what the difference is, it's a losing strategy. Until they can articulate the difference, the press will keep asking.

California Supermarket Strike About to End

Calpundit informs us about the details.

It's hard not to believe that this is really just short-sighted on the part of management. To the extent we take the "fear of Wal-Mart" argument seriously, this is just going to bite them in the ass. The source of Wal-Mart's strength isn't their low labor costs, though they have that too, it's their market power which allows them to squeeze every penny out of wholesalers. There's not much the supermarkets will be able to do to fight that.

When it comes to labor - you get what you pay for. Shopping in California supermarkets is different than in many places. Frankly, the workers are just of a better quality. You get good friendly service. The jobs are careers, and people treat them that way.

There are two fundamental ways to compete - price and quality. Wal-Mart will win the price competition game every time, even if Safeway cuts salaries and benefits. But, if they cut salaries and benefits then people may as well go buy their groceries at a Wal-Mart superstore. What will be the difference?

The Dems and Hate Amendment

I'm quite disappointed in the response of many of the Democrats on the issue of marriage rights and the Hate Amendment. I recognize that politics is always to some degree local, and at the end of the day of people can't get elected there isn't too much point in fighting courageous but self-defeating fights. On the other hand, people respond to leaders, and leaders are people who can get people to follow them despite disagreements. We need a few more leaders.

As I've said many times, I'm not a fan of the "I'm personally against same-sex marriage but we should leave it up to the states and I'm for this civil union thing which is just like marriage under a different name" position. I'm against it in principle and perhaps more importantly I'm against it in practice -- I don't for the most part think it's sensible practical politics either. But, I recognize that it is the default position of the Democratic party and it's sadly the best we're going to do.

However, I'm quite disappointed in the respone by the Herseth campaign to this issue. It's both offensive and legal gibberish. Herseth first came out strongly in support of the preznit on this issue:

Herseth backs the president on both counts.

'I agree with the president on this issue. Marriage is between a man and a woman,' she said."

which sounds like an endorsement of the FMA.

The campaign then released a statement to Kos which sort of backed off, but really makes no sense at all:

Stephanie and her campaign team understand the reaction to yesterday's news. Stephanie's position on the amendment is consistent with her position of the Defense of Marriage Act -- she believes the issue ultimately should be left to the states, whether they decide it individually under federal legislation or collectively within the ratification process. In this election year, we truly hope this issue doesn't distract from important discussions on issues like lowering the cost of health care, creating jobs, and getting our economy moving in the right direction.

the "federal legislation" part means in the context of being subject to DOMA. But, as for the amendment she's taking a non-position. I support the right of the states to participate in the amendment ratification process too, but it doesn't mean I support or reject any particular amendment.

The Herseth campaign should sit down with Daschle's people and come out with a position which is consistent with the principles of the Democratic party.

Loving v. Virginia


The State does not contend in its argument before this Court that its powers to regulate marriage are unlimited notwithstanding the commands of the Fourteenth Amendment. Nor could it do so. Instead, the State argues that the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause, as illuminated by the statements of the Framers, is only that state penal laws containing an interracial element as part of the definition of the offense must apply equally to whites and Negroes in the sense that members of each race are punished to the same degree. Thus, the State contends that, because its miscegenation statutes punish equally both the white and the Negro participants in an interracial marriage, these statutes, despite their reliance on racial classifications, do not constitute an invidious discrimination based upon race. The second argument advanced by the State assumes the validity of its equal application theory. The argument is that, if the Equal Protection Clause does not outlaw miscegenation statutes because of their reliance on racial classifications, the question of constitutionality would thus become whether there was any rational basis for a State to treat interracial marriages differently from other marriages. On this question, the State argues, the scientific evidence is substantially in doubt and, consequently, this Court should defer to the wisdom of the state legislature in adopting its policy of discouraging interracial marriages.

Because we reject the notion that the mere "equal application" of a statute containing racial classifications is enough to remove the classifications from the Fourteenth Amendment's proscription of all invidious racial discriminations, we do not accept the State's contention that these statutes should be upheld if there is any possible basis for concluding that they serve a rational purpose. The mere fact of equal application does not mean that our analysis of these statutes should follow the approach we have taken in cases involving no racial discrimination where the Equal Protection Clause has been arrayed against a statute discriminating between the kinds of advertising which may be displayed on trucks in New York City or an exemption in Ohio's ad valorem tax for merchandise owned by a nonresident in a storage warehouse. In these cases, involving distinctions not drawn according to race, the Court has merely asked whether there is any rational foundation for the discriminations, and has deferred to the wisdom of the state legislatures. In the case at bar, however, we deal with statutes containing racial classifications, and the fact of equal application does not immunize the statute from the very heavy burden of justification which the Fourteenth Amendment has traditionally required of state statutes drawn according to race.

The State argues that statements in the Thirty-ninth Congress about the time of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment indicate that the Framers did not intend the Amendment to make unconstitutional state miscegenation laws. Many of the statements alluded to by the State concern the debates over the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which President Johnson vetoed, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, enacted over his veto. While these statements have some relevance to the intention of Congress in submitting the Fourteenth Amendment, it must be understood that they pertained to the passage of specific statutes and not to the broader, organic purpose of a constitutional amendment. As for the various statements directly concerning the Fourteenth Amendment, we have said in connection with a related problem, that although these historical sources "cast some light" they are not sufficient to resolve the problem; "[at] best, they are inconclusive. The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments undoubtedly intended them to remove all legal distinctions among 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States.' Their opponents, just as certainly, were antagonistic to both the letter and the spirit of the Amendments and wished them to have the most limited effect." We have rejected the proposition that the debates in the Thirty-ninth Congress or in the state legislatures which ratified the Fourteenth Amendment supported the theory advanced by the State, that the requirement of equal protection of the laws is satisfied by penal laws defining offenses based on racial classifications so long as white and Negro participants in the offense were similarly punished....

The Equal Protection Clause requires the consideration of whether the classifications drawn by any statute constitute an arbitrary and invidious discrimination. The clear and central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious racial discrimination in the States.

There can be no question but that Virginia's miscegenation statutes rest solely upon distinctions drawn according to race. The statutes proscribe generally accepted conduct if engaged in by members of different races. Over the years, this Court has consistently repudiated "distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry" as being "odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality." At the very least, the Equal Protection Clause demands that racial classifications, especially suspect in criminal statutes, be subjected to the "most rigid scrutiny," Korematsu v. United States (1944), and, if they are ever to be upheld, they must be shown to be necessary to the accomplishment of some permissible state objective, independent of the racial discrimination which it was the object of the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate. Indeed, two members of this Court have already stated that they "cannot conceive of a valid legislative purpose . . . which makes the color of a person's skin the test of whether his conduct is a criminal offense."

There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.


These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

These convictions must be reversed.

NYT - Jews Control Hollywood

You know, I really can't believe this NYT article. You don't have to be Jewish to think Gibson's slasher porn flick, which rehabilitates Pilate to slam the Jews, is goddamn offensive. You don't have to be Jewish to think, after reading and watching Mel Gibson's interviews, that he's a total lunatic that no one in their right mind would want to work with.

Meticulously detailing everyone being interviewed's ethnic and religion background is really quite bizarre.

Terry MacAuliffe Out in January

Served one term, as do most. I liked him better than most. Let's see if his legacy - improved technological infrastructure - has an effect.

The General Writes to Mel Karmazin

As always, thought provoking.

... anyway, it's glad to hear Stern's on our side. For years the only liberal voices on the radio were the "shock jocks." Sure, they weren't exactly Nancy Pelosi liberals, but they were basically socially liberal with a bit of a "fight the power" attitude. The last few years they've all been suckups to power. Look where that's gotten them.

...I'm listening to Stern for the first time in years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Amendment Appears to be DOA

The people at DU tracked down all the responses and their aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass it.

...Oxblog has another tally.

...Signorile has a good column in TAP:

So here we are. And actually, it feels better in a weird way -- more honest. Gay Republicans have suddenly stopped spinning in their dervishes of denial, at least momentarily. Groups like the Log Cabin Republicans deluded themselves for more than three years, backing Bush even as he promoted abstinence-only programs at the expense of AIDS-education ones that work, supported Senator Rick Santorum after the Pennsylvania Republican's vile statements about gays, and pushed hard for discriminatory faith-based programs. They stood by him -- making an occasional tepid criticism, but still backing him -- as Bush nominated individuals like Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, who compared homosexuality to "necrophilia" and fought against repealing sodomy laws. (Last weekend, in another slap, Bush brazenly installed Pryor in a recess appointment after the guy had been filibustered by the Democrats because of his extremism.)

After three years of calling Bush's critics members of a traitorous "fifth column," you have to admit that it's rather delicious seeing Andrew Sullivan deciding that Bush has declared "war" on him, and admitting, "I guess I really was naive."

In this way, I feel bizarrely thankful to Bush for finally drawing the battle lines more clearly so that apologists like Sullivan can't deny any longer the sham of "compassionate conservatism."

Risking the loss of the apologists -- and perhaps many independents, moderate Republicans, and some Democrats -- couldn't have been an easy decision for the Bush camp. Karl Rove is hoping that the Christian right's devotion and turnout will now outweigh anything that counteracts it. But he shouldn't be so sure. For gays and lesbians, this amendment is equivalent to the Stonewall Rebellion, to Anita Bryant's crusade, and to the government's negligence at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, at least in terms of enraging people and moving them to action.

Already there have been rallies in the streets of Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and more are on the way. And the alliances that have been built among gays and the larger progressive movement today can't be underestimated. It was gays and young progressives of every stripe, after all, who catapulted Howard Dean and now need a place to funnel their energy. And for many progressives the marriage amendment is less about same-sex marriage than about government control and the reshaping of the laws of our country-- a further extension of the USA PATRIOT Act and projects like Total Information Awareness.

Perle Out


W A S H I N G T O N, Feb. 25? A controversial associate of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has resigned from his seat on a key Pentagon advisory panel, ABCNEWS has learned.

Richard Perle, a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration's national security policies, informed Rumsfeld more than two weeks ago he was quitting the Defense Policy Board. He confirmed the decision in a letter to the defense chief last Wednesday.

MB Williams for Maine!

Mary Beth of Wampum is running for Maine state legislature. Here's the campaign weblog. And, here's a Portland Phoenix article with a bunch of dumb quotes from me.

Death to Homosexuals

Lovely little editorial in a Jasper, Alabama newspaper.

You know, I'd be okay with these people advocating a bit of Biblical justice now and again for nasty sins of the flesh if they were a bit more concerned with some of the stuff that Jesus talked about.

Blogger in Print

Jim C. of the Rittenhouse review has an essay in the Philadelphia Daily News.

He writes more about it here.

Greenspan and SS

Greenspan's comments on Social Security are totally inappropriate given his job. But, if you want all those taxes that you paid for a mandatory pension/insurance program over your entire life to just disappear in a puff of smoke, vote Republican.

On the other hand, I worry less about this issue than some. People always tend to miss the political economy of this issue. Yes, yes, the boomers are retiring. Yes, yes, the mythical SS trust fund will be out of money in about 35 years unless we make tiny tiny tiny changes to the system now. Yes, yes, Medicare is getting more and more expense.

But, look, the real issue is that fact that those retiring boomers are going to be voting as well. Forget drug coverage - that's small potatoes. By about 2025, assuming we're still here, we'll be building thousands of free-of-charge luxury nursing homes.

Benefits for the elderly are in the long run going to increase, not decrease - the changing demographics of voters guarantees that. The only question is whether we start making them pay for it now while they're still working, or if we put the entire burden on younger workers.

...just one more comment. When I say I don't worry about this issue, the issue I mean was Benefits for Old People. What I do worry about, as does Greenspan, is the long run fiscal outlook of the country. Greenspan believes, apparently, that the way to solve the problem is to simply cut promised future SS benefits. Though, to have much of an impact those cuts would have to be pretty drastic.

So, that brings us to the preznit. The preznit keeps repeating his mantra from the 2000 election. Specifically:

As you know, in the 2000 campaign, I articulated a point of view that we ought to have personal savings accounts for younger workers that would make sure those younger workers receive benefits equal to or greater than that which is expected. I still maintain the same position, but I haven't seen his comments completely.

As I know, and as I assume Alan Greespan knows, but which I doubt Preznit Bush knows, is that this kind of transition-to-mandatory-private-plans in which you pay relatively old workers their full expected retirement benefits then over time phase out a bit of SS taxes for younger workers and funnel the money into private accounts has a price tag. A rather large price tag. Specifically, it'll cost, give or take, 1 trillion dollars out of general funds. Aside from the merits of such a plan, back in the good old Lockbox days, this was a feasible plan. The money was there.

Now, however, there isn't 1 trillion dollars sitting there to be used to partially-sorta-privatize social security even a little bit.

What Greenspan is advocating, literally, is robbing Al Gore's Lock Box.

A Memo to the Media

From Brad DeLong:

It was funny over the past week and a half to watch Treasury Secretary John Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Press Secretary Scott McClellan, and George W. Bush decline to endorse their own macroeconomic forecast--they ran from it as if it were a highly poisonous reptile, in a spectacle that the National Journal's Stan Collender described as an "extremely rapid (indeed, almost unprecedented) backing off from an important projection in an official report... only the latest in what has become a steady series of embarrassing gaffes from the White House's budget and economic team."

But one thing disappointed me. No reporter asked the natural follow-up question:

Mr. Secretary, the macroeconomic forecast you have just declined to endorse underlies all of Treasury's and OMB's budget estimates. Are you also saying that you decline to endorse the numbers in the administration's budget, and that those numbers are now inoperative as well? If not, then how can you endorse the budget number without endorsing the forecast it is built on?

Even if you can't get to Snow, I'm sure they can bother our dear Scottie about this one.

Runners Unite!

Run against Bush.

... on a completely unrelated note, tell Broward County what you think.

Supremos Rule States Can Deny Ministry Scholarship

This is kind of interesting. I'm actually a bit surprised. I tend to think of myself more on the absolutist sides of these issues, but even I thought this one was in a bit of a grey area. Of course, it's states *may* deny not that they have to.

Campaign Slogans

Tbogg has some suggestions for Bush/Cheney '04 slogans.

The official slogan (really horrible I think) is "Steady Leadership in Times of Change." I forget where I saw this, but someone around the 'net suggested the following alternative:

Don't Switch Horsemen Mid-Apocalypse

The Jobs!

I think we've found Postrel's missing uncounted jobs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


You know, after all these years I just can't believe these people. And, I can't believe the media for just printing their bullshit practically unchallenged. Here is the Musgrave FMA amendment:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

About which Robert Bork says:

Robert H. Bork, the conservative former judge and former Supreme Court nominee and a leading drafter of the amendment, called that argument "preposterous." He said that the text clearly restricted only courts, not legislatures.

Which goddamn part of "NOR STATE OR FEDERAL LAW, SHALL BE CONSTRUED" did this lying fascist not comprehend? As written, even if a state passed a law saying "MAN ON MAN MARRIAGE ALLOWED," no court could construe that the law actually meant what it said.

...just wanted to add something else. It isn't really just about limiting the ability of the courts to construe it. It would also, as written, prevent the executive branch from construing the law as reading as it is written. So, the legislature can pass it. The executive branch can't implement it. Arguing that constitutional amendments which prevent the implementation and enforcement of laws don't "restrict legislatures" isn't simply semantics, it's flat out wrong, unless we've moved into a sort of legal version of "if a tree falls in the woods..." That is, if we buy Bork's argument it just means that constitutional law never restrains legislatures, as they can theoretically pass whatever crazy-ass un-constitutional bills they want, but the courts will stop them from being enforced. The only way to buy Bork's point is by granting all governmental power to the Court, on the basis that they're the final referee.

...the truth is, of course, that the amendment actually outlaws all new marriages.

Bush Waffles on Marriage Rights

Larry King, 2000:

BUSH: It doesn't matter. Let's talk about that issue. Each person needs to be judged with their heart and soul. I don't ask the question what somebody's sexual orientation is. I don't ask the question.

KING: So if you have gays working for you, that's fine. And you don't have a problem. You'd appoint gays in the Cabinet, et cetera.

BUSH: Well, I'm not going to ask what their sexual orientation is.

KING: Oh, so you wouldn't know.

BUSH: I'm going to appoint conservative people in the Cabinet. It's none of my business what somebody's -- now when somebody makes it my business, like on gay marriage, I'm going to stand up and say I don't support gay marriage. I support marriage between men and women. KING: So if a state were voting on gay marriage, you would suggest to that state not to approve it?

BUSH: The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into.

KING: You just did. You have an opinion.

(thanks to reader pp)

Ha Ha

Michael Bérubé does shorter Virginia Postrel.

Strom Thurmond Wasn't A Racist

Trent Lott isn't either.

Nor is Jesse Helms.

Really, they are/were nice guys. Not racists at all. I mean, sure, they pandered to racists. But, you know, they weren't really racists themselves. It's just...politics, right? They just always did and said things against the interests of African-Americans to get votes - not because they themselves are bigots.

What a load of crap. As is the continued insistence that George Bush isn't anti-gay.

Bush - Worse Than Tom DeLay

Now that's scary.

... I'm thinking about why DeLay might be a bit hesitant. I don't think it's because DeLay has his finger on the pulse of America and has decided this is a bad idea. My guess is that he's figured out what BushRove hasn't. First, no one likes a loser. There isn't a lot of chance this will make it through the Congress (though it could). And, more importantly, this might cause a pretty nasty rift in the Republican party. Sure, the Dems will be all over the place on this vote, but they're used to that. The Republicans will have a significant number of defectors - particularly in the Senate. And, the failure by the leadership - Frist, Bush, and DeLay - to keep their members in line will infuriate the base.

They don't want a noble defeat. They want victory.

Fidelity Pledges

This looks like a wonderful idea. Let's make this national.

Torture Lou!


Some Good

Thanks, Archbishop:

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cincinnati has announced it will support the repeal of a1993 city charter amendment that prohibits City Council from enacting gay rights laws. Cincinnati is the only city in the country with such a measure.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk called the amendment morally wrong, but said he still opposes blanket rights for gays and lesbians because it makes "homosexual behavior as legally acceptable as heterosexual behavior."

"Homosexual behavior is not tolerated by the church", he said in an article in the Catholic Telegraph, the newspaper of the Cincinnati Archdiocese, " but homosexuals still should be protected from discrimination."

"I believe now, as I believed at the time of its passage, that Article XII (the amendment) is as detrimental to the public good as the ordinance that it invalidated," he wrote.

His statement comes two weeks after a gay civil rights group called Citizens to Restore Fairness said it gathered the needed signatures to put the repeal on the November ballot.

Help Herseth

The Hill informs us, via Kos, that the Republicans have turned the big guns on Herseth. They're livid about Chandler's victory, and they understandably don't want to lose the SD special election, which is being held on June 1. Chandler started off the Big Mo in Kentucky, let's help continue it in South Dakota.

You can donate to the Herseth campaign here. Even if it's only $10 a pop, if 1000 people do it that's 10 grand. In a congressional race in a fairly inexpensive media market, 10 grand is a big help. If you add $.18, they'll know it comes from my readers.

Rights, Benefits, and Responsibilities of Marriage

In 1999, the GAO prepared a report listing all of the rights and benefits of civil marriage. They came up with 1,049 of them. You can read their list here.

Here's a shorter list. Obviously, if gay people had these rights civilization would end.

I've bolded a few of the ones which aren't explicitly financial and which would be difficult or impossible to establish by private contract.

Marriage Rights and Benefits
Learn some of the legal and practical ways that getting married changes your life.

Whether or not you favor marriage as a social institution, there's no denying that it confers many rights, protections, and benefits -- both legal and practical. Some of these vary from state to state, but the list typically includes:

Tax Benefits

Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Estate Planning Benefits

Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

Government Benefits

Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
Receiving public assistance benefits.

Employment Benefits
Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

Medical Benefits
Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

Death Benefits
Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
Making burial or other final arrangements.

Family Benefits
Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
Applying for joint foster care rights.

Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

Housing Benefits
Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

Consumer Benefits
Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

Other Legal Benefits and Protections
Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
Obtaining domestic violence protection orders.
Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

Righteous Anger

Signorile's good today. Listen in.

Free Money for Big Pharma

You know, I'm just so goddamn tired of small government republi-tarians just ignoring this stuff.

Special Sauce - a Durable Good?

John Dingell writes a great letter to Greg "Dude! Where's my Reputation?" Mankiw.

Gay Republicans

Anyone who's been paying attention over the last few years knows that the Republican party went from pandering to the Christian Right to being mostly taken over by them. It is true that the other major wing of the Republican party - the corporatists - probably don't agree with them on much, but nor do they really give a shit. There's a reason for that - being wealthy insulates you from a lot. All the culture war stuff really doesn't matter when you can afford to live how you want, send your kids to private schools, etc...

As for wealthy gay Republicans - having money means that most of the effects of bigotry and discrimination are much less important. Gay marriage? Who cares if you get pension benefits when your partner dies if you're wealthy. It isn't that being wealthy means you can escape discrimination fully, it's just going to matter a hell of a lot less.

I really hope that Crazy Andy's army of a million gay people who voted Republican last time have now seen the light and will, as he's suggested in the past, not just switch their vote but actively donate and campaign for Bush's opponent. But, I really really doubt it's going to happen. Most people aren't as naive as Andy pretends to be - they knew what they were voting for.

...David E. has more.

A Note to the Media

No matter what its supporters claim, to any English speakers with a reading comprehension above about the 2nd grade level, it's obvious that the amendment proposed by Musgrave would indeed prevent states from establishing same-sex civil unions of any kind. The sweeping language could also potentially overturn anti-discrimination statutes with respect to housing and other things, allowing landlords to refuse to rent to same-sex couples, or government provided partner health benefits. Don't believe me? Call up some smart lawyers and ask them.

From the AP/NYT:

Bush's comment that the states should be left free to "define other arrangements" indicates the president does not favor using a constitutional amendment to enact a federal ban on civil union or domestic partnership laws.

The proposed amendment backed by Musgrave and others in Congress is consistent with that, but some conservatives favor going further.

It is in no way consistent with that. Yale Law professor Jack Balkin explains it to you very slowly.

This is really just ridiculous. Most news stories have at least acknowledged that some people disagree with this assessment, but the AP is telling us that this is a truly moderate position.


...the bastards at the NYT have aparently removed the offending line.


Public Campaign Action fund had a little contest to name Bush's $500,000 fundraisers. The 5 finalists are in, and now's your chance to go vote!

And, while you're there you can see what else they do.

Buy More Stuff!

Hey all, just the occasional reminder that I really appreciate it when you take the time to click through one of the Amazon links on the site before making a purchase there. As always, I'm not trying to tell you where to make your purchases, but if you are using Amazon anyway then it means I get a little cut. It isn't huge - 5% on most things - but over time it adds up if enough people do it and it's a way to support the site without spending a single additional cent.

And, don't worry about privacy issues or anything. I know what people buy, but not who buys them.

Crazy Davy's Website Hits the News

Poor Davy. His people made a list of baddies and he has to distance himself from it.

Consumer Confidence Plunges

Something's going on. I think after 3 years of "the recovery is just around the corner," people are finally losing hope.'s more on consumer confidence.

Dead Internet

My internet connection is barely working at the moment, so slow posting today. But, according to Dana Bash on CNN we can look forward to two minutes of hate in every stump speech, as Bush comes out in favor of the "Gays Are Second Class Citizens" amendment to the constitution, and plans to campaign for it strongly.

This is where the Democrats' position becomes untenable. "We're against gay marriage! But we're against an amendment which outlaws it too!" That just doesn't make anybody happy.

Over to you, Andy...

...and over to you, Mary...

Monday, February 23, 2004


Two hot Democrats need your help!

From Alaska, we have the rugged yet suave Tony Knowles.

Click here to show him some love.

And, from South Dakota we have the elegant yet warm Stephanie Herseth.

Click here to show her some love.

Halliburton Investigation Whitewash

Sorry, all, I'm not going to get excited about the fact that the Pentagon has opened a criminal fraud investigation into Halliburton.

The investigation is being handled by the Pentagon's Defense Criminal investigation Service, which is a part of the Inspector General's office.

The chief of staff of the Inspector General's office is... L. Jean Lewis.

And, Jeff Gerth still has a job.

Love Triangle

I haven't been paying all that much attention to the machinations - real or rumored - among the Dem candidates. But, it does seem that Dean and Edwards have been playing a little footsie lately, which is a bit odd. I like Dean, but I'm not sure he makes sense as a Veep candidate. And, assuming Kerry is the likely - but not inevitable - candidate one would assume Edwards would be on the short list for his Veep. And, if Dean pushes Edwards more explicitly than he already has, he presumably marginalizes his organization almost completely if Kerry does win, and also may drive a wedge between Kerry and Edwards...

so complicated.

Grow the Audience

Charles Kuffner has a good point - if politicians want to use blogs to help them then they would be well-advised to do their part to grow the audience. And, this goes beyond simple fundraising - encouraging a few more eyeballs to get their news through a different filter will help them as well.

I've never been a blog evangelist. You'll see no Jarvis-esque revolutionary rhetoric from me. There are plenty of people who will never spend their time reading blogs, even if they're interested in news and politics. But, there are also plenty of additional people who would if they became aware of them.

Fun TV

John Aravosis, one of the people behind, will be on O'Reilly's show, with Kasich guest hosting, tonight at 8PM EST.

Politics, DeLay Style

From Roll Call:

When Dick Armey was House Majority Leader, he was known for saying whatever was on his mind. In the 13 months since he left Congress, the Texas Republican’s outspokenness has continued to draw attention and, increasingly, the wrath of his former colleagues in the GOP leadership.
Armey, who now splits his time between the conservative group Citizens for a Sound Economy and the law and lobbying firm Piper Rudnick, has in recent months loudly criticized the current House GOP majority for its alleged free-spending ways.
Armey’s comments have angered Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and other top Republicans, prompting some of them to look for ways to retaliate or, at the very least, portray him as a hypocrite.
“We have started looking very hard at all of Piper Rudnick’s earmarks,” said a House Republican leadership aide.
As a senior policy adviser at Piper Rudnick, Armey leads the firm’s Homeland Security team. According to the company’s Web site, he helps to “counsel clients on emerging issues, obligations, and opportunities in the area” of Homeland Security.
In an interview, Armey said he did not see any conflict between his position with the fiscally conservative CSE and his work for Piper Rudnick, explaining that his advice to clients would simply help them compete for a share of existing federal spending rather than adding to the overall total.
“Money is going to be spent. There are going to be appropriations,” Armey said.

I really don't even know where to begin here. Consider that statement "...very hard at all of Piper Rudnick's earmarks."

(from reader ag)

...on a somewhat related note, Kicking Ass lets us know that even Orrin Hatch is persona non grata these day. They really are all starting to just go totally bonkers. Cheers!

Bush Administration Predicts Worst Jobs Record Since Hoover

We've been over the various job predictions of the Bush administration many times, but I just want to make the point that now that they have officially backed off of their official prediction, it means that their new unofficial official prediction is that Bush will be the first president since Hoover to end his term with fewer jobs than when he started.

NEA is a Terrorist Organization

A lovely little Secretary of Education we have.

WASHINGTON - Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a "terrorist organization" during a private White House meeting with governors on Monday.

Democratic and Republican governors confirmed Paige's remarks about the National Education Association.

"These were the words, 'The NEA is a terrorist organization,' " said Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin.


He was implying that the NEA has not been one of the organizations that has been working with the administration to try to solve 'No Child Left Behind,' " he said.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, said of Paige's comments: "Somebody asked him about the NEA's role and he offered his perspective on it."

Theocracy Rising

David Neiwert takes a look at the latest actions by our favorite theocrats in Congress.

The RNC Lies

And the New York Times dutifully fails to notice. It really is unbelievable. From Bob Somerby:

EASILY SPUN: How easily are New York Times writers spun? Here is Jim Rutenberg, hopelessly bull-roared in a Sunday “Week in Review” report:

RUTENBERG: It was a sharp video attack, jarring in a political season that has been unusually short on negative advertising. A woman, sitting at a keyboard, seeks information about Senator John Kerry on the Internet. She unearths all sorts of scandalizing tidbits.
“More special interest money than any other senator. How much?” she says.

The answer flashes on the screen: $640,000. “Ooh, for what?” she says, typing out “Paybacks?” and then reading aloud from the screen, she says, “Millions from executives at HMO’s, telecoms, drug companies.” She add, “Ka-Ching!”

She can only come to one damning conclusion: Mr. Kerry, she says, is “Unprincipled.”

The one-minute spot, introduced a week ago, did not appear on television, but on President Bush's campaign Web site. And so a new bare-knuckled political use of the World Wide Web showed its head: the Internet attack ad.

Rutenberg repeats the content of this ad, and brightly notes that it’s an “attack.” But he is too inept to let readers know that this ad’s attack is utterly false. Does Kerry take “more special interest money than any other senator?” No, and the (hapless) Washington Post piece which led to this ad never made such an assertion. According to Peter Beinart, Kerry ranks ninety-second among U.S. senators when it comes to special interest money. Meanwhile, at his Annenberg “FactCheck” site, Brooks Jackson shot down this ad’s bogus claim too. (He shot it down ten days ago!) Is Kerry first among senators in special interest dough, raising $640,000 in the last fifteen years? Please. “So far, for example, Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist reported $1,022,063 in PAC donations for his 2004 campaign alone,” Jackson notes. The Bush ad’s claim is utterly bogus. Rutenberg, typing hard, failed to say so.
But then, the New York Times deals in the factesque. The RNC send out a fake claim, so Rutenberg sat right down and typed it! Meanwhile, one last note, from the Annals of Clowning: When Rutenberg went on to discuss last week’s rumor from Drudge, he applauded the press for “not tak[ing] the bait.” But he’d been yanked from the water himself, ten grafs earlier! This year it matters, Gail Collins has said. But at the Times, hopeless habits die hard.

Rutenberg's article is amusingly titled, "In Politics, the Web Is a Parallel World With Its Own Rules." The New York Times has its own rules too - thou shalt not fact check the RNC.

...I spoke to soon. The New York Times and NPR apparently have the same rules.

Open Thread

Discuss all non-Knowles items here.

Special Guest Blogger - Tony Knowles

Busy day for me, but for now you can chew on this special guest blog post from Tony Knowles, former governor of Alaska and current candidate for Senate. Available polls show this one to be a close race, but Knowles having the slight advantage. In any case, here he is...

This has the potential to be a great year in American politics. People are demanding responsibility, accountability and honesty from their representatives in Washington D.C. While there have been disappointments in politics, at the same time we are seeing increased levels of discussion, resurgence and hope in the power of the individual.

Too often politicians in D.C. have decided to use dishonesty in order to confuse and misdirect the voters. The “blogosphere” has become a new watchdog in the fight for truth and it fuels the growing demand for change. I am posting this here to discuss my ideas and to ask for your help in my race for the U.S. Senate.

First, I would like to thank you for being part of this community that is changing politics and returning power to the people. You demand a free flow of information, you help expose hidden truths, engage thousands in the political process and you create an environment that thrives on participation. Your contribution is the most important one of all: your voice.

Thanks are also due to Atrios, who has generously allowed me to talk with you using his blog. I think we can all appreciate the contribution people like Atrios make to this process. By offering his time, input and hard work he provides another place where our voices can come together.

I don’t want to spend this time talking like a politician, telling you about my life and my experience, you can click here to read that if you like. I want to impress upon you why I am running and what excites me about the race so far.

I have said that if there were no Alaska, people would still dream about such a place, a great land where opportunity and freedom are a way of life. That also applies to the entire United States. Opportunity and freedom are at the heart of this country and yet we find them constantly under attack. This is unacceptable. The power to stand up against these attacks is ours.

As a Democrat and a Vietnam Veteran I believe in the importance of national security. But our long term security is jeopardized by unilateral action without imminent threat. We need to take the moral high ground and rebuild the respect of other nations through alliances in fighting terrorism and in addressing non-military issues of disease, poverty and the environment.

We must support our troops by doing more than saying that we support our troops. Supporting our troops means not cutting military benefits and keeping our promise to veterans. It means that we must stand up to John Ashcroft, the Patriot Act and other assaults on the very personal freedoms which our troops are fighting to protect.

Jobs, education, healthcare, civil rights are all at the heart of providing opportunity and securing our freedom. By slashing resources at every level for education, by failing to rebuild a crumbling economic infrastructure, by not fulfilling promises to provide affordable healthcare and by abandoning sensible fiscal policy we are turning our backs on the future. We must reverse this trend, and working together, I believe we can.

We can restore confidence in our economy by refocusing on small businesses, punishing corporate ethics violations and balancing our budget. We can invest in our nation’s future by educating our youth. We can provide affordable healthcare for all working families. We can return America to its role as a leader of nations. All this, and more, is within our grasp if we come together and fight for what we believe.

I am proud to have received Planned Parenthood’s earliest ever challenger endorsement along with the support of NARAL, KIDPAC and a variety of labor unions. Yet the real strength of this campaign so far has come from individual Alaskans. The support and words of encouragement I have received from thousands of Alaskans is humbling, and it reinforces my desire to serve both Alaska and this country in the United States Senate.

This ground swell of grass roots support for my campaign has allowed me to keep a steady lead in the polls. But this will be a close race. 140,000 votes will be cast for the winner in this election and that means that there is a real opportunity for me to deliver my message to each and every voter. I need your help to accomplish this task. To learn more or to contribute click here.

Please ask questions about my campaign and offer your thoughts on my race.

It's perhaps a bit early, but once the sun rises in the West some of the Knowles campaign staff, and at some point perhaps Knowles himself, will be reading and responding to any comments/questions you may have.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

You Just Wait!

I think Ezra is right. So far the Bush re-election team has been a bit of a joke. I mean, Mars? Remember that? And I'm a space fan.

Let's remind ourselves that the strategy that they're using is reminiscent of the one they used to justify the Iraq war. Before, during, and for a long time after the "end of major combat operations," the line was "just you critics wait! we'll find those pesky WMDs yet and won't you look like fools!" I remember Bob "traitor" Novak promising a September Surprise from David Kay, or some such nonsense. Such promises honestly did make war critics a bit hesitant. I mean, if Saddam really did have a nuke under his bed we'd admittedly look like the fools.

But, don't fall for it. Stop being afraid of what's coming. They're nasty, but they really aren't all that bright.

...Richard provides an appropriate quote from All the President's Men:

Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.

... and, also, this fits in with the "Osama is cornered!!!" leaks. They may be true, or maybe they're trying to to pre-empt attacks.

Pop Quiz

Which right wing blowhard said this at a recent appearance?

If I were gay, I would marry Hillary.

...the answer can be found here.

Hitchens in VF

Apparently Hitchens has a pretty critical piece on Gibson's The Passion in this month's Vanity Fair, in which he writes this line:

It isn't all that hard to upset Jews, as Gibson must have known he would, and it's even possible to suspect him of doing so in order to create a climate of emotional publicity."

Maybe Hitchens was just jealous of all the attention that Easterbrook was getting. I really can't comprehend how an editor of a major magazine would let that line through.

...just wanted to add that I'm not trying to claim that this line convicts Hitchens of serious anti-Semitism. I was primarily chastizing the editor for letting it through. Hitchens does have a rather odd history, and it's pretty hard not to think that Hitchens came within millimeters of becoming an actual holocaust denier during his period of flirtation of David Irving. If Irving's undoing had happened a couple of years later Hitch may have thrown himself over the cliff. But, since then Hitch has discovered he has Jewish relatives and seems to have adopted the kind of condescending philo-Semitism which is all too common these days.

It was a poor way to phrase whatever the hell he was trying to say.


The wonderful folks at Haloscan have implemented a Trackback feature. I've just added it, and now we can see if it works...

Anyway, not having ever used it before I'm not entirely sure how to make use of it. But, basically, if other bloggers want to they can "ping" the trackback system so that their post will be linked in the "trackback" link.

Cut the Crap

The attempts by our Pravda press to cheerlead on the economic news is really getting old. Weeks ago, Brad DeLong debunked the whole "the Household Survey is picking up the self-employed while the establishment survey is not" idea, which was used to claim that measured is a GOOD thing, because, you know, the truth is all these people are now running their own businesses selling their crap on Ebay building custom-made vanity sculptures for their CEO overlords.

As Brad pointed out, and he points out again today, the Household Survey does indeed pick up the number of self-employed, but that number hasn't actually risen significantly.

And, people, even Uncle Alan Greenspan isn't buying this particular story.

Fact Check Everything

It's time for the media to recognize that they cannot put everything the RNC and their goons claim as fact into print. They lie. When you print their lies, you are lying too.

In Washington, D.C., officials with the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign were telling reporters that Turnipseed gave $500 to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

On Feb. 5, the Salon online magazine reported that Bush-Cheney spokesman Terry Holt, citing the Turnipseed-to-Edwards donation, questioned whether the motives behind Turnipseed's comments about Bush's service were "pure" or part of a "political attack."

That donation, as the Mobile Register was able to confirm on Thursday, was actually given to the Edwards campaign by Will Turnipseed, a 34-year-old waiter at Wynlakes Country Club in Montgomery.

Dumbest Idea Ever

Bush's immigration proposal really was the stupidest idea Karl ever came up with:

BURLINGAME, Calif. — An uproar over illegal immigration roiled the state Republican convention on Saturday as party leaders struggled to keep the rank and file united behind Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush.

Hundreds of GOP loyalists booed the president at a rally where U.S. Senate hopeful Howard Kaloogian and his allies denounced Bush's plan to give temporary legal status to undocumented workers.

"Enough is enough!" the crowd shouted. "Enough is enough!"

Good News

Look, I really think this poll taken by the Boston Globe is good news, not bad news. It's pretty incredible that just a few months ago a plurality polled supported legalizing gay marriages. That's pretty damn incredible. And, now we have:

The survey, taken by phone Wednesday and Thursday, indicated opposition to gay marriage has jumped 10 percentage points since a Globe survey done just days after the Supreme Judicial Court's Nov. 18 ruling legalizing gay marriages.

Then, 48 percent polled supported legalizing gay marriages, while 43 percent were opposed. In the recent poll, 35 percent supported legalizing gay marriage and 53 percent were opposed; the survey of 400 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Given the margin of error, the jump isn't as huge as the article spins.

The article continues:

A majority of respondents over 40 opposed gay marriage, while about 45 percent of those under 40 favored it. Catholics firmly opposed legalizing gay marriage, while 47 percent of Protestants opposed it and 38 percent supported it.

Sixty percent of those polled last week backed the creation of civil unions for gay couples, while 31 percent were opposed. In November, the Globe asked people if they "think gay and lesbian unions and partnerships should or should not be allowed by law." In that survey, 67 percent supported them and 23 percent were against.

This is very strangely worded language. On one hand it's surprisingly high, but on the other hand if I were a poll respondent I wouldn't have been sure if the poll was really referring to "a marriage-type civil union arrangement provided by the state" or just, you know "gay and lesbian relationships."

But, anyway, most people just don't understand this issue. There's confusion. They don't understand that it has nothing to do with the government forcing your church to bless certain types of relationships with religious marriage. Perhaps that's the part that people need to understand. This has nothing to do with the religious aspect of marriage. In fact, that type of gay marriage has always been legal and there are churches all around the country performing same-sex marriages all around the country even as I type this.

It is true that 5 years ago few would have predicted that granting "civil unions" would have been seen almost as a moderate mainstream position. But, now people need to understand that the only distinction between "civil union" and "marriage" is the name, and that is, as they say, truly a distinction without a difference. Now people need to understand that the Catholic Church will never, and should never, be forced to marry any couple they don't want to. And, nor will the pastor at the First Church of St. Elvis. This is a state issue, not a religious one.

Some courageous leaders could easily turn this one around. It's the right thing to do, and it's shockingly close to being the popular thing to do.

Buy Girl Scout Cookies

They're yummy, and some idiots in Texas are boycotting them because they have an affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

Unlike the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts haven't succumbed to the bigots.

Ralph's In

And I don't care.

...Ralph needs a proofreader. So do I, but I'm not running for preznit.