March 26, 2005

12 Things We've Learned From The Schiavo Case

This amazing exercise in hypocrisy and political grandstanding hasn't been all bad. Thankfully, conservative politicians have educated the rest of us on the real facts of the Schiavo case. Here are the TOP 12 things I've learned. Ken


1. Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, and Tom Delay are all world renowned neurologists.

2. Mike Schiavo is after money which is why he turned down 1 million dollars and 10 million dollars to sign over guardianship.

3. Congress and the State Legislature of Florida has nothing better to do than pry into the private medical affairs of others.

4. Pulling life support is bad in Florida when authorized by the legal next-of-kin, but pulling life support is good in Texas when you run out of money and the mother pleads not to pull the plug on her baby. [True story, and Bush originally signed the law as governor]

5. Medical diagnoses are best performed by watching highly edited videotape made by Randall Terry rather than in person by trained physicians.

6. Minimum wage making nursing assistants are more qualified to diagnose a persistent vegetative state than experienced neurologists.

7. 15 years in the same persistent state is not really enough time to make an accurate diagnosis.

8. Marriage is the most sacred of all unions, except when it isn't.

9. Interfering in a family's private tragedy is a great reason to cut short a vacation, but getting a memo that warns a known terrorist is "determined to strike inside the US" is cause to relax and finish up some R&R.

10. Pro-lifers are really compassionate people which is why they are hoping that Michael Schiavo dies a horrible painful death.

11. 7 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by republican presidents, so it's Clinton's fault.

12. A judge who makes rulings based on the law is obviously an atheist, liberal, democratic activist even though he is actually a conservative, republican, Southern Baptist.

and just to make it a baker's dozen:

13. The $1,000,000 court settlement that paid for Terri's medical care these past 12 years has been a great blessing, which is why medical malpractice lawsuits must be stopped and $200,000 caps should be placed on judgements.

Is There Anything MORE We Can Do For The Rich?

I recently had a confrontation with a Republican in a discussion group. After complimenting me on a fiscally responsible position I had taken on County Government spending, he proceeded to mock me and others in the group by saying that he couldn't believe he was agreeing with a "Tax & Spend Liberal". I blew my top. I pointed out our nations exploding debt and the gross fiscal mismanagement of our country by a cadre of so-called "fiscally conservative" politicians. He coyly half-apologized and claimed he was just being lighthearted. Yeah, Right. Jackass.

These people have already stolen the word "liberal" from us. They have turned it into a 4-letter curse word by connecting it to anything vile they can spew into their microphones on 40,000 hours of talk radio each month.

Maybe this jackass really was kidding. I don't care. I believe that bullies must be challenged. They don't always give speeches...sometimes they just make jokes.

So my suggestion to everyone reading this is simple: When a conservative spews some half-truth or uses their liberal stereotyping buzzwords, GET IN THEIR FACE!! Don't receprocate their hate-speech, but politely and forcefully challenge them to back up their rhetoric. Don't be afraid to do it in the middle of room filled with people... because THEY certainly haven't been shy about trashing us in front of our co-workers, our fellow churchgoers, on the pages of our newspapers, on TV, or on talk radio.

Can I get an AMEN from the congregation? KC

Before leaving town for a two-week spring break, Congress indulged in its own form of March Madness. The Republican majority in the House and the Senate passed budget blueprints for 2006 that slash domestic spending by upwards of $150 billion over the next five years. Yet they still managed to increase the projected deficit by more than $125 billion over the same period (and by more than $1 trillion through 2015). How is it possible to produce that much red ink while slashing spending? Easy. Just cut revenue by giving huge tax cuts to - surprise, surprise - high earners and wealthy investors. The lawmakers will not make any final decisions until they cobble their separate proposals into one official budget later in the year, but the early signs are all bad - pointing to the least sensible tax cuts for the least needy recipients with no thought to the exploding deficit.

In 2005 alone, almost half of the tax savings from dividend and capital gains rate cuts will go to investors who make more than $1 million a year, the top 0.2 percent of the income ladder. Nearly three-quarters of the tax benefits will go to those making more than $200,000, about the top 3 percent.

Read Full Editorial

Need We Say More?

Dubya explains his Social Security Plan
from his town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida

Confused? Read it again and again. Does this man know what he's talking about- or is he like a High School student that didn't prepare for the exam?

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: "I don’t really understand. How is it the new plan is going to fix that problem?"

DUBYA: "Because the - all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those - changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be - or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you?

"It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the - like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate - the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those - if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."

March 23, 2005

Democrats must work in state to win it, Dean says

Party chairman sees need for respecting South, values

If the Democrats want to win in Tennessee, the first thing they have to do is campaign here, Howard Dean told a packed house at Vanderbilt University last night.

Dean, national chairman of the Democratic Party, was greeted with a standing ovation from the largely student audience. He said that as the party moves forward it needs to show those who live south of the Mason-Dixon Line that it respects them and the values they hold.

''I don't believe in blue states or red states,'' the former 2004 presidential candidate said. ''I believe in purple states — and some are more purple than others.''

During a question-and-answer session with the media before his speech, Dean said he had not heard a state GOP radio commercial airing during his visit that pegged him as a ''Northeastern liberal.'' It also labeled Dean and Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen as ''peas in a pod.''

''I've been called worse things than a liberal,'' Dean said. ''The reason the Republicans call names is because they have nothing to say about balancing the budget, creating jobs or doing anything about health care or education.''

Full Story

Bin Laden evaded U.S. forces (Kerry was right)

[Blogger Note: This story, just posted on the AP wire, will probably get little or no media attention. As the country is learning slowly, Bush and his cronies are just a bunch of liars who will do anything to stay in power -- pander to any group if it will win them votes -- and do it with a smile on their faces, serving us heaping spoonfulls of "freedom", "family", and "compassion". If you believe any of it, I have some waterfront property in Arizona to sell ya.]

A commander for Osama bin Laden during Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union who helped the al-Qaida leader escape American forces at Tora Bora is being held by U.S. authorities, a government document says.

The document represents the first definitive statement from the Pentagon that bin Laden, the mastermind of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was at Tora Bora and evaded his pursuers.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney asserted during the presidential election that commanders did not know whether bin Laden was at Tora Bora when U.S. and allied Afghan forces attacked there in December 2001. They dismissed assertions by Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, that the military had missed a chance to capture or kill bin Laden while al-Qaida made a last stand in the mountainous area along the Pakistan border.

The document, provided to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information request, says the detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora." While not identified by name or nationality, he is described as being "associated with" al-Qaida and having called for a holy war against the United States.

While campaigning for president last fall, Kerry said Bush had erred in relying on Afghan warlords to hunt down bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora in December 2001, contending on Oct. 22 that the president had "outsourced" the job.

Cheney said Oct. 26 that Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, had "stated repeatedly it was not at all certain that bin Laden was in Tora Bora. He might have been there or in Pakistan or even Kashmir," the Indian-controlled Himalayan region.

Franks, now retired, wrote in an opinion column in The New York Times on Oct. 19, "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001." He added that intelligence assessments of his location varied, but bin Laden was "never within our grasp."

On several occasions Bush cited the column as evidence that bin Laden could have been in any of several countries in December 2001. "That's what Tommy Franks, who knew what he's talking about, said," Bush said on Oct. 27.

Bin Laden remains at large.

Full Story

March 22, 2005

Hey Progressives: STAND UP!!

This morning I heard that the Federal Judge in the Schiavo case ruled as 19 other judges concluded. This morning I said a prayer for Terri - that her family, no doubt acting out of love, would let her go. I love my children, so I understand their reluctance. For those of us who believe in the soul, we find it painful to think that Terri's journey to heaven is being stalled by political opportunism.

But Terri will soon be at peace... real peace, and that makes me happy.

Here on Earth, I have hope for our country. I woke today to learn that AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of the American public are themselves WAKING UP and recognizing shameful political opportunism.

1. 70% of American's believe Congress had NO BUSINESS intervening in this case.

2. [more importantly] 67% of American's believe Republican Leadership acted because they were seeking POLITICAL GAIN.

Well, Halleluia America... where have ya'll been??

Below is an excerpt from a blogger that has a razor's sharp whit. His sentiments ring true with me, and I hope everyone who calls themselves liberal or progressive takes his advice. The day of progressives being silent punching bags for the right are OVER. Enjoy.

I think what surprised readers is that I'd take aim at people, not just their ideas. Well, I've resisted "personal attacks" for almost a year. But while I was on sabbatical in February, I decided I was making a mistake about that. I revere Martin Luther King and Gandhi and Thich Nhat Hanh, but if you want to put me in a boxcar or jail me for thinking wrong or make me feel like an enemy in my own country, I'm no longer turning the other cheek. These rightists are bullies who dump all over facts and reason and then criticize progressives for their table manners. And this technique works -- they have gone a long way to turn our country into a sad parody of itself.

When I was a child, Mother Uptown taught me how to deal with a bully: You march up to one, haul back -- and hit him in the face. As hard as you can. One, because most bullies are cowards; you'll get instant respect. And two, because force is sometimes the only language that a bully understands.

So that there are no surprises from here on, let me put it out there loud and clear. Liars and lazy thinkers and pundits who think punditry means linking to other pundits are going to be called by their rightful names in this space. You want a piece of me? That's only fair -- come ahead. But have your facts ready. And link to real news sources. Because otherwise I'm going to hit you again and again. It's the least I can do for the tens of millions of Americans who are, each day, losing their basic freedoms.

March 21, 2005

Social Security: On With the Show

President's 'Conversations' on Issue Are Carefully Orchestrated, Rehearsed

MEMPHIS, March 11 -- It sounded as if all of Graceland were clamoring for President Bush's plan to restructure Social Security.

The mostly white audience in this mostly black southern city clapped wildly as Bush took what he called the "presidential roadshow" to its 14th state Friday. He was greeted like Elvis -- adoring fans hooting and hollering, and hanging on his every word.

The few dissenting voices in the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts were quickly silenced or escorted out by security. One woman with a soft voice but firm opposition to Bush was asked to leave, even though her protests were barely audible beyond her section in the back corner of the auditorium. The carefully screened panelists spoke admiringly about Bush, his ideas, his "bold" leadership on Social Security.

If the presentations sound well rehearsed, it's because they often are. The guests at these "Oprah"-style conversations trumpet the very points Bush wants to make. Seniors on stage express confidence that Bush's plan to create private investment accounts would not eat into promised benefits, and the granddaughter of one spoke hopefully on Friday of a richer retirement if the president prevails.

To help make its case, the White House recruits people such as Mark Darr, 31, an insurance agent from Benton, Ark., who joined the president on stage at a forum in Little Rock last month. In a subsequent interview, Darr said he believes he was chosen because he went to college with one son of Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee and provided insurance for another.

After the governor's office called, Darr said, he began receiving one call after another from the White House, quizzing him on his thoughts on Social Security and his family history, just as they did all the other candidates. "I'm sure they wanted to . . . make sure they weren't going to embarrass the president," Darr said.

Full Story: It Actually Gets Worse...

March 20, 2005

Immoral, Shameful Political Strategy

As I watched the live coverage of Congressional debate over the Terry Schiavo case, I was struck by perhaps the most hypocritical statements I have ever heard on the floor of the House. Republican Congressmen spoke again and again, invoking the following statement, paraphrased:

"It is a fundamental right, that we as a society should protect and provide care for the least among us."

Earlier in the week, I MYSELF expressed the same sentiment to my family and friends as I expressed my outrage at the deep cuts our Congress made to the Medicaid budget. Medicaid provides healthcare to the poorest of the poor in our country. To hear these words spoken by men who voted overwhelmingly to cut Medicaid, while pushing through 134 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL TAX CUTS for the wealthiest in our society, truly hurts my spirit.

When will the American people recognize hypocrisy in its most venomous and manipulative form?

Quoting an article in the Washington Post:
"In a memo distributed only to Republican senators, the Schiavo case was characterized as "a great political issue" that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006."

"This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue," said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. "This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."

Do these Senators have no shame? Is the pursuit of a political agenda worth using a family's pain and torment for political gain? Every day in this country, doctors and families are forced to make heart wrenching decisions. Do not resuscitate orders are signed by grieving families and honored by hospitals thousands of times every day in our country. In the Schiavo case, the family could not come to an agreement on what was best for Terry, hence the legal battle. For Senate leadership to attempt to use a painful family dispute to cast a glow on re-election bids is truly shameful.

As I sat in church this morning, I looked over at my oldest son and posed a question to myself: What would I do if this were my choice to make? I love both my children, and a lump forms in my chest just by pondering this question. I really don't know what I would do. I pray my family never faces such a dark day, but I can promise you this: If my family ever faced this situation, any politician who tried to use my family's pain as an issue in a election cycle might very well find himself needing some medical care of his own.