November 9, 2007 archive

Give me a break, for God’s sakes!

Updating this with a great comment from Alma

I’m tired of the media, and parties telling us (4.00 / 1)

who is electable.  It’s time we told them who is electible, and acceptable, to us.  It’s time to move the party to the left and the best way to do that is for the far left (Me & many here, I think), to go even farther if possible, as loudly as we can. 

Four at Four

Some news and your afternoon Open Thread.

  1. The Los Angeles Times reports that one of California’s largest Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders. “One of the state’s largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved. Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. avoided paying $35.5 million in medical expenses by rescinding about 1,600 policies between 2000 and 2006. During that period, it paid its senior analyst in charge of cancellations more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting or exceeding annual targets for revoking policies, documents disclosed Thursday showed.”

  2. The Seattle Times reports that a Federal judge ruled druggists may withhold “morning-after” pill. “A federal judge has suspended controversial [Washington] state rules requiring pharmacies to dispense so-called ‘Plan B’ emergency contraceptives, saying the rules appear to unconstitutionally violate pharmacists’ freedom of religion. The rules appear to force pharmacists to choose between their own religious beliefs and their livelihood, Judge Ronald B. Leighton of the U.S. District Court in Tacoma wrote Thursday.” Leighton was nominated by George W. Bush in 2002 and was confirmed by the voice vote in the Senate.

  3. The New York Times reports the U.S. releases nine Iranians in Iraq.

    Iranian diplomat Moussa AsgariNine Iranians held on suspicion of aiding insurgents were released from American custody in Baghdad early today, according to the United States military.

    Two of the freed men were among five Iranians arrested in January during a nighttime raid on an Iranian diplomatic office in the northern city of Erbil, an act that further strained the increasingly fraught relations between the United States and Iran. At the time, the military accused the five Iranians of working with anticoalition Shiite extremist groups, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later said that… Bush had authorized that and other raids because the military believed sophisticated bombs were flowing into Iraq from Iran…

    In a news release, the American military said that after careful reviews, the nine men were no longer considered security threats and had no further intelligence value. The men were expected to journey back to Iran late Friday, Mr. Qumi said. Their release came at a time when American forces are freeing increasing numbers of detainees.

  4. McClatchy Newspapers report Justice Department returns to enforcing voter laws. “The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is reversing course and has begun taking steps to enforce a 1993 law that’s intended to make it easier for poor minorities to register to vote. The division, which has come under attack for allegedly pursuing policies aimed at suppressing the votes of Democratic-leaning minorities, has demanded that 18 states provide evidence that they’re complying with the National Voter Registration Act. If it is fully pursued, this new action will represent the first significant return to traditional enforcement of voting-rights laws since a scandal erupted earlier this year over the alleged politicization of the Justice Department.”

There’s TWO bonus stories below the fold — one about the Yellowstone Super Volcano another about shortages in wind power. So blow on down below the fold…

Netroots Identity Crisis: Act 2

Like the Welshman before him, Major Danby does not get it. In rationalizing the handling of the Mukasey vote, Danby argues:

You can argue that Reid should have still allowed a cloture vote so that we could see which of the 40 Senators who opposed Mukasey were unwilling to filibuster him.  That would make sense if Reid were a journalist or a netroots activist.  But he’s a Majority Leader, and he serves his caucus, and sometimes that means letting them get away without having a vote that spotlights the hypocrisy nuance of their position.

Suppose you really believe that, is Major Danby Harry Reid? Are any of us? What in the fuck does Danby think the role of the Netroots is? Obviously, he sees HIS role as EXPLAINING to us poor simpletons how “Washington works.” There is a lot of that going around at Daily Kos these days.

No, Major Danby, we are NOT Harry Reid. We are the Left flank of the Democratic Party. And when the Left flank of the Party dedicates itself to rationalizing capitulation (whatever its merits in a specific instance for the people doing the capitulating) then you become nothing but an enabling arm of the Beltway Dems.

This is not new with Danby, but never has he stated it so starkly. Pathetic.

Let’s Talk About Sex

As if there had ever been reason for doubt, a new study confirm what we all already knew: abstinence-only doesn’t work.

From the Associated Press:

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies.

“At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners” among teenagers, the study concluded.

The study was released by the non-partisan, reality-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”

Pseudo-religious pseudo-morality doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Treating people like responsible adults does.

The study debunked the following claims by abstinence-only advocates:

-that sex ed promotes promiscuity

-that sex ed leads to kids trying sex sooner, and participating in it more often

-that it confuses kids

Of course, what really leads kids to try sex is hormones. Teaching them that what their bodies are telling them is bad doesn’t work. Their bodies know better. What does work is teaching them how to approach their sexuality responsibly. Of course, our medievalist government wants to suppress sex at all costs, even if it means promoting policies that are counter-productive.

And speaking of costs, there’s a bill now before Congress that would spend $141,000,000 for community-based, abstinence-only sex education. That’s $4,000,000 more than Bush requested. Because with all the problems in the world, there’s no better way to burn our tax dollars than on ill-conceived attempts at sexual repression.


Nat King Cole Got It Right

Penned in 1956:

Holy Joe Hates Us!

“Lieberman Calls Liberal Democratic Base ‘Paranoid'” is the headline on a lengthy item in The New York Times’ “The Caucus” blog site today.

A few “highlights”:

In remarks yesterday, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for their adherence to the views of the “politically paranoid, hyper-partisan” liberal base of the Democratic party, saying that allegiance could harm the eventual nominee’s chances of gaining entry to the White House.

In the speech, Senator Lieberman referred to his primary loss, and denounced the anti-war base of the Democratic party that worked hard to defeat him last year. Despite the fact that he overcame that opposition and won re-election, leading Democrats and many of the presidential candidates, consider the 2006 election results – which gave Democrats majorities in the House and Senate – a mandate against the Iraq war.

“No Democratic presidential primary candidate today speaks of America’s moral or strategic responsibility to stand with the Iraqi people against the totalitarian forces of radical Islam, or of the consequences of handing a victory in Iraq to Al Qaeda and Iran. And if they did, their campaign would be as unsuccessful as mine was in 2006.”

Mr. Lieberman called opposition to the [Kyl-Lieberman] amendment, “a case study in the distrust and partisan polarization that now poisons our body politic on even the most sensitive issues of national security.” He then assessed how Democratic officials have been swayed by anti-war forces within the party:

“First, several left-wing blogs seized upon the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, offering wild conspiracy theories about how it could be used to authorize the use of military force against Iran.

“These were absurd arguments. The text of our amendment contained nothing-nothing-that could be construed as a green light for an attack on Iran. To claim that it did was an act of delusion or deception.”

And I’ll conclude with this gem:

“There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base-even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.”

Here’s the linky to the full story:


I can honestly say that, had I known in 2000 as much about Lieberman as I have learened in the past seven years, I would not have voted for Gore-Lieberman.

Would have had to sit that one out.

A World in Chaos, part one….America Humbled


We are living in world that has been steadily sliding into chaos.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just at the time it needs desperately to be coming together.

The most recent highlight of this chaos is the establishment of a nuclear armed dictatorship.

In the country that holds the caves and huts that comprise the de facto HQ of the alleged deadliest enemy of the United States. (Besides itself.) A dictatorship that has a real prospect of leading to full out chaos. Thus giving a golden opportunity to the very people we are supposed to be the most terrified of… to obtain the very thing that we are supposed to be most terrified of…iow, Al Qaeda with a nuke.

And this is one of our “key allies in the Global War Against Terror.” This latest marker of chaos produced by Republican ‘foreign policy’ would be truly ‘terrifying’…if any of us had the capacity to still be terrorized.

But wait! Don’t order yet!

America War Paar Da! (Look at that American War!)

Via zuky, I journeyed over to ultrabrown, where this video protest song caught my eye and ear.

The juxtaposition of comedy, biting commentary and tragic footage strikes home.

Ah, American moral leadership.  Did we ever have it?  Or is it, as in our own individual lives, moments of clarity and humanity, moments where we are our best selves but then we go back to our emotional conflicts, neuroses, fears, and can’t really look in the mirror and call ourselves heros?

America Tortures – Good Bye to Daily Kos

This is my good-bye to Daily Kos, posted this morning:


This is not a Bipolar rant, followed by weeks of absence and then a sheepish return.

I’m done with Daily-Kos, because I’m done with America as it currently stands in the world of civilized peoples.

America tortures.  It’s now official.

The Democratic Party just allowed the approval of an Attorney-General who refused to call water-boarding torture or illegal.

The only explanation I can accept for this is that it’s now no longer a big deal.  America tortures…just don’t admit it in public…wink-wink…let’s move on the the spending bill…

Not this guy…I’m outta here.

The Despicable David Brooks

Yep. He did. And he says Kevin Drum agrees with him. Oh, Brooks starts by the standard unsourced argument that Ronald Reagan really did not mean to send a message to white Southerners on civil rights when he gave a speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi where defense of “states rights” figured prominently. He calls those of us, including his colleague Bob Herbert, purveyors of a “heinous conspiracy theory.”  But the truth is Brooks has been a pernicious, mendacious apologist for the GOP throughout his career and this is no different.

Brooks provides NO evidence to buttress his claims. Indeed the version he provides buttresses the argument that the Philadelphia speech was in fact an exercise in dogwhistle politics in the Deep South:

Lou Cannon of The Washington Post reported at the time that this schedule reflected a shift in Republican strategy. Some inside the campaign wanted to move away from the Southern strategy used by Nixon, believing there were more votes available in the northern suburbs and among working-class urban voters.

But there was another event going on that week, the Neshoba County Fair, seven miles southwest of Philadelphia. The Neshoba County Fair was a major political rallying spot in Mississippi (Michael Dukakis would campaign there in 1988). Mississippi was a state that Republican strategists hoped to pick up. They’d recently done well in the upper South, but they still lagged in the Deep South, where racial tensions had been strongest. Jimmy Carter had carried Mississippi in 1976 by 14,000 votes.

So the decision was made to go to Neshoba. Exactly who made the decision is unclear. The campaign was famously disorganized, and Cannon reported: “The Reagan campaign’s hand had been forced to some degree by local announcement that he would go to the fair.” Reagan’s pollster Richard Wirthlin urged him not to go, but Reagan angrily countered that once the commitment had been made, he couldn’t back out.

Well, that settles it no? Sheesh. Brooks ACCEPTS that Nixon ran a Southern Strategy, ACCEPTS that the Reagan campaign was looking to make inroads in the Deep South against the Southerner Carter and even accepts that:

You can look back on this history in many ways. It’s callous, at least, to use the phrase “states’ rights” in any context in Philadelphia. Reagan could have done something wonderful if he’d mentioned civil rights at the fair. He didn’t. And it’s obviously true that race played a role in the G.O.P.’s ascent.

So this is the “evidence” that absolves the Reagan campaign? This is what allows a man with a history of mendacity to slur people like his colleague Herbert as “heinous?” Oh and what of the evidence that Brooks ignores? Like this:

Ronald Reagan on the subject of welfare. He cited a Chicago “Welfare Queen” who had ripped off $150,000 from the government, using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen social security cards, and four fictional dead husbands. The country was outraged; Reagan dutifully promised to roll back welfare; and ever since, the “Welfare Queen” driving her “Welfare Cadillac” has become permanently lodged in American political folklore.

Unfortunately, like most great conservative anecdotes, it wasn't really true. The media searched for this welfare cheat in the hopes of interviewing her, and discovered that she didn't even exist.

As a bit of class warfare, however, it was brilliant. . . .

Except in was not class warfare only. It was mainly RACE warfare.

And this:

Ronald Reagan was key to the South's transition to Republican politics. Goldwater got the ball rolling, but Reagan was at his side from the very beginning. During the 1964 campaign, Reagan gave speeches in support of Goldwater and spoke out for what he called individual rights — read that also as states' rights. Reagan also and portrayed any opposition as support for totalitarianism — read that as communism.

In 1976, Reagan sought the Republican nomination against the incumbent President Gerald Ford. Reagan's campaign was on the ropes until the primaries hit the Southern states, where he won his first key victory in North Carolina. Throughout the South that spring and summer, Reagan portrayed himself as Goldwater's heir while criticizing Ford as a captive of Eastern establishment Republicans fixated on forced integration.

. . . After he defeated President Carter, a native Southerner, Reagan led an administration that seemed to cater to Southerners still angry over the passage of the Civil Rights Act after 16 years. The Reagan team condemned busing for school integration, opposed affirmative action and even threatened to veto a proposed extension of the Voting Rights Act (the sequel to the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed a year later and focused on election participation). President Reagan also tried to allow Bob Jones University, a segregated Southern school, to reclaim federal tax credits that had long been denied to racially discriminatory institutions.

Of course this is just a sample of what Reagan said and did on race issues throughout his political career. But Brooks would have it that the Phildelphia, Mississippi speech was NOT intended to be consistent with Reagan's entire political history. It was just an accidental bit of “callousness.”

David Brooks has been a mendacious and despicable charcter in our political discourse for many years now. But this column today sinks him to a new low.

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

This Friday I’m REALLY phoning it in….

click for fun:

Have a great weekend!!!


Docudharma Times Friday Nov. 9

This is an Open Thread: The First Amendment Lives

In a brilliant act of courage the United States Senate confirmed Michael Mukasey as the next Attorney General of the United States. Let the reign of Alberto lite begin.


Protest Greets Police Plan to Map Muslim Angelenos


Published: November 9, 2007

A plan by the counterterrorism bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department to create a map detailing the Muslim communities in that city, an effort described as a step toward thwarting radicalization, has angered civil rights groups, which say it is no better than racial profiling.

At least three major Muslim groups and the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter yesterday to top city officials raising concerns about the plan.

“When the starting point for a police investigation is ‘let’s look at all Muslims,’ we are going down a dangerous road,” Peter Bibring, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Southern California, said in an interview. “Police can and should be engaged with the communities they are policing, but that engagement can’t be a mask for intelligence gathering.”

Thanks to the Bush administrations fear mongering, overt racism and all around hatred Los Angles police department has made a map. Does this remind anyone of a other place and time, say from the 1930’s.

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