December 13, 2007 archive

Breaking: New Jersey To Abolish Death Penalty

This from AP should bring cheers and applause:

The New Jersey Assembly approved legislation Thursday to abolish the state’s death penalty, making Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s signature as the only step left before the state becomes the first in four decades to ban executions.

Lawmakers voted 44-36 to replace the death sentence with life in prison without parole. Corzine, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill within a week.

This is a fantastic victory by abolitionists in New Jersey, and something that should inspire those in the other states.

The vote comes as state executions across the US are on hold until the Supreme Court decides the lethal injection challenge.

Break out the champagne!!

Details on the vote now at Blue Jersey.

WaPo suggests the victory had its roots in the state’s finances:

The repeal bill follows the recommendation of a state commission that reported in January that the death penalty “is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.” But equally persuasive to lawmakers was not saving lives but money — it costs more to keep a prisoner indefinitely on death row than incarcerated for life.

And Reuters adds:

In New Jersey, a legislative commission in January 2007 recommended abolishing the death penalty, saying there was no clear evidence it deterred the worst crimes, and that it was “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.”

I am so very pleased with this!  This is the best good news I’ve had all week!  I hope you all are enjoying this even a tenth as much as I am!!  

Why Do We Pay So Much in Taxes?

Canada is vilified in the US as a country with high taxes. Sure they have universal health insurance, but look how much they pay in taxes!! Not like here in the good ol’ US of A.!


Actually, maybe not. According to a recent study from the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Paying Taxes 2008: A global picture, Canada ranks 99th out of 178 for total tax rate. (Top-ranked are low-tax havens like Vanatu, the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates; bottom-ranked are a number of sub-Saharan countries where taxes actually exceed 100% of commercial profits – ouch.)

Canada at 99th beats out the US at 102nd.

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) and the Superficial War on Christmas

Rep. King is furious.  Nine democrats in the House voted “No” on resolution he proposed stating that  “the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world.” The resolution recognized “the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.”

What could those nine have been thinking?   Could it have been something related to the separation of Church and State?  

More importantly, what was Rep. King’s motivation for such a resolution?

Speaking with FOX News Wednesday, King said he was motivated to push the resolution because of liberal activists and “secularists in the country who are trying to eradicate Christ from Christmas.”

“It’s time we stood up and said so and said to the rest of America, ‘Be who you are, and be confident, and let’s worship Christ and celebrate Christmas for the right reasons’,” he said

Below: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir in the Mall of America.

Four at Four

Some news and afternoon OPEN THREAD.

  1. The Guardian reports US told to ‘wake up’ over climate change. Next month, the U.S. “is hosting a meeting of 17 of the world’s top-emitting nations, including China, Russia and India, to discuss long-term curbs on greenhouse gases.” But, the Bush administration opposes a EU-backed plan to reduce emissions in industrialized countries between 25% and 40% by 2020. So, “Humberto Rosa, the environment secretary of Portugal, which currently holds the EU presidency, said today: ‘If we [were to] have a failure in Bali it would be meaningless to have a Major Economies’ Meeting (MEM) in the United States. ‘We are not blackmailing,’ he said at the 190-nation meeting. ‘If no Bali, no MEM.'” Meanwhile, Reuters reports Al Gore lays blame for Bali stalemate on U.S.

  2. Can the Republicans be any more slimy and idiotic? Yeah, probably, but the Washington Post reports Senate Republicans block energy bill. “By a narrow margin, the Senate today failed again to block a Republican-led filibuster on an energy bill as GOP leaders made a stand against a $21.8 billion, 10-year tax package that would have extended incentives for wind and solar energy and reduced some tax breaks for oil companies… The 59-40 vote — one vote short of the margin needed to end debate and clear the way for a vote on the measure — came after warnings from the White House and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (N.M.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that President Bush would veto the bill because of the tax component.”

  3. The LA Times reports Clinton says race will be over Feb. 5. “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is anticipating that she will not have to wait long to become the Democratic presidential nominee, privately telling campaign donors in California that the race ‘is all going to be over by Feb. 5… You’ve got to realize that people in California will start voting absentee about the time Iowa and New Hampshire happen,’ the senator from New York said at a closed-door fundraising reception Tuesday evening. ‘In fact, more people will have voted absentee by the middle of January than will have voted in New Hampshire, Iowa and a lot of other places combined.'” Donors were asked to pay $2,300 for VIP status and a mere $500 for admittance.

  4. Reuters report that Latinos hurt by immigration debate: study. “The intense debate over illegal immigration has made life more difficult for U.S. Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority in the country, with many fearing deportation and having difficulty finding work and housing, study found. The report by the Pew Hispanic Center released on Thursday found that just over half of all Hispanic adults in the United States worry that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported… The survey said smaller numbers of Hispanics — ranging from about one-in-eight to one-in-four — said the heightened attention to immigration issues has had a specific negative effect on them personally.”

Des Moines Register bars Kucinich and Gravel from Debate

Oh the Fear of the Corporate Controllers and Managers of our world!

I wish I had a photo of a gnarling tiger to put here.  But I can only say,


The “Des Moines Register” has banned Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel from tomorrow’s Democratic debates.  Here’s the reason, as reported in 12/13/07 USA today:

Kucinich protests exclusion from Des Moines debate; should he get an invitation?

Six-term Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich is crying foul over tomorrow’s Des Moines Register debate for Democratic presidential candidates. The campaign today issued a lengthy protest against his exclusion from the debate, the last before the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The newspaper’s standards for participation include at least 1% in its statewide poll and an office and paid staff in Iowa. Republican Alan Keyes, who has not been in any debates this year and has done little if any campaigning, has made the cut for today’s GOP debate, which we’ll be live-blogging here at 2 p.m. ET.

Kucinich’s campaign said today he has been excluded because “his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront.” The campaign quoted newspaper editor Carolyn Washburn as saying, “It was our determination that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa.”

Kucinich’s campaign says Marcos Rubinstein, its field director and state coordinator, runs the campaign from his home office in Dubuque, “bolstered by a dozen-or-so other senior campaign staff who have traveled the state over the past several months.”

The campaign also notes that Kucinich is the top-ranked candidate in online polls conducted by Democracy For America and Progressive Democrats of America and both groups plan to advertise for him.

What do you think? Should Kucinich get an invitation? Should Mike Gravel get an invitation? Was it right to include Keyes in today’s debate? We welcome your (polite, civil and thoughtful) comments.

(above from:  USA Today, “On Politics” by Mark Memmott & Jill Lawrence, 12/13/07)

I’ve got to go to a doctor’s appointment, so I can’t write any more than this.  But you know how to find it.  Go there and leave your comments.  I did.  I’ll also mail the DMR later.

Feel free to add a Gnarling Tiger if you wish.

Pony Party… Fiddlin’ About

Thanks for looking. Please don’t rec pony party, hang out and chit chat, and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

Ally Bain, Jay Unger…Ashoken Farewell: (you might know this one!)

Natalie McMaster:


Ashley MacIsaac:

Time to scrap the Electoral College?

The EC: prudent system established by the founding fathers to prevent tyranny of the majority, or obsolete system that waters down the influence of voters in more populace states? Recent history, of course, would incline liberals to disfavor the EC, but what about the big picture? What’s your opinion, and what evidence is it based upon?

We’re hosting an experimental debate to investigate the Electoral College. The debate includes essays (which anyone is encouraged to write; we’ll add the links to the list) and a structured platform created at the neutral third-party site cruxlux that permits point-counterpoint debate. If you’re interested in hammering out the strengths and weaknesses of the EC, or arguing your case to an audience with diverse political viewpoints, check it out. (I have nothing to do with cruxlux and can’t moderate or otherwise control the debate there, it’s all user-driven.) Below the fold, I’ve reproduced the explanatory post from SC.  

George W. Obama? Or Hillary R. Bush?

Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has written probably the most sobering article I’ve yet seen about the prospects for the Iraq occupation, and what can be expected from Democratic presidential candidates.

NewsFlash! Contempt takes a step forward

WASHINGTON (Reuters)– The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to hold two top aides to President Bush in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in its probe of fired federal prosecutors.

Just the Judiciary Committe, but it will force their hand and make them respond, every bit of pressure helps!

Update 10:32 PST — Magnifico

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted for a contempt citation against Karl Rove and Josh Bolten on Thursday, the latest move in an inquiry into possibly politically motivated firings of federal prosecutors.

The 12-7 vote sent the citation against the two to the full Senate…

The Senate Judiciary Committee vote means that contempt citations against Bush administration officials await floor action in both chambers of Congress.

It’s not clear they will advance any further.

Congressional Dems: Corrupt? Or Just Incredibly Stupid?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

There is no question that the Congressional Dems have been technically corrupted, absolute power and all that. Not in the traditional way of JUST taking money for votes….but corrupted by the current process of government. And corrupted in such an insidious way that they have no idea who they are, what to do, and most importantly, who they represent. Corrupted to the point where they are adrift with no moral compass…valuing the politics itself over the results of the politics.

There is only one thing that can set them back on course…us. We The People speaking up, yelling loudly at them to get their shit together, pressuring them to do the right thing and holding them to account when they don’t.

Pony Party… Fiddlin’ About

Thanks for looking. Please don’t rec pony party, hang out and chit chat, and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

Ally Bain, Jay Unger…Ashoken Farewell: (you might know this one!)

Natalie McMaster:


Ashley MacIsaac:

Self-Deception Does Not Help.

An email just landed in my inbox linking to an article from Alexander Bolton at The Hill this morning, telling me, for the umpteenth time, that Congressional Democrats led by Nancy “I think we’re doing just great” Pelosi and Harry “we don’t have the votes” Reid have once again caved or capitulated or rolled over or backed down or given up or submitted or tried their best, or some other bullshit story that I keep hearing, not only from mainstream media, but from progressives all across the blogosphere.

Dems cave on spending

Senate and House Democrats backed down Wednesday from a spending showdown with President Bush.

The Democrats’ capitulation Wednesday on the total domestic spending level is the latest instance of Bush prevailing on a major policy showdown. Bush and his Senate Republican allies have repeatedly beat back efforts by Democrats to place restrictions on funding for the war in Iraq as well as Democratic attempts to expand funding of children’s health insurance by $35 billion.

In the final analysis, Democrats realized they would not be able to muster enough Republican votes to override Bush’s veto. The president vowed to reject any spending package that exceeded the $933 billion limit he set.

Democrats made a final attempt to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and Bush by threatening to kill all lawmakers’ earmarks to bring the cost of the omnibus to the level Bush demanded. Obey hoped rank-and-file Republicans would pressure their leaders to accept a Democratic-proposed compromise…

The email came from truthout.

On Tuesday srkp23 posted a story about Human Rights Watch telling us that Dems are “cowardly”.

I hear stories like this every day. And I’m sick of it.

Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Congressional Democrats are not caving or cowardly or capitulating or incapable or rolling over or backing down or giving up or submitting or trying their best, or any of that crap.

They are, simply and plainly, COMPLICIT.

And I think it is long past time we not only stopped letting the MSM fool us but long past time we stopped fooling ourselves, and long past time we stopped letting Republicans or Democrats in Washington take the country for a ride.

Once more, with gusto…

Congressional Democrats are not caving or cowardly or capitulating or incapable or rolling over or backing down or giving up or submitting or trying their best, or any of that crap. They are, simply and plainly, COMPLICIT.

They are doing exactly what they intended to do all along. And one of the things, IMO, that they have intended to do all along is to fool and convince the electorate into believing that they are “trying” but “failing”.

They are doing neither. They believe that the electorate is too stupid to see through them. Maybe they are right?

It’s about time we smartened up… and about time we quit accepting being set up.

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