April 07, 2005

A Living Will

I guess I'm on a humor kick this week. Call me "giddy", but I can't help but be in a great mood when so much attention is being paid to the corruption of Republican House Leader Tom DeLay. The birds are starting to sing on "The Hammer" and his days in Washington are numbered...but just in case DeLay or his corrupt cadre of pandering cronies decide to troll the hospitals of America for a new political pawn, I think I'll sign the following "Living Will"...


I, _______________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hand of peckerwood
politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

**If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't do so ever again.

When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children
and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma and who nonetheless may be in need of nourishment.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a thousand religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and/or crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own damn business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.

April 06, 2005

Build your own Bush administration! It’s easy — and fun!


Like most Americans who can read above the fifth-grade level, you may wonder how President George W. Bush gets away with the outrageous things he does. I have good news for you! The staff here at Morbo Consulting Corporation, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton) has been studying the Bush approach and has released the following step-by-step guide to creating your own Bush administration. Now you too can come up with insane, thoroughly discredited ideas and see them passed by Congress right in the comfort of your own home! Just follow each step carefully, and you can’t go wrong.

Step One: Back some absurd, outlandish scheme that was discredited more than a century ago and that no thinking, rational person would today advocate — for example, calling for the repeal of laws banning child labor.

Step Two: Change the terminology of the debate. Of course you can’t come right out and say, “Today I am calling for a repeal of the laws banning child labor.” Instead, give your approach a user-friendly, euphemistic title. Words to use include “America” (or “Americans”), “Opportunity,” “Freedom,” “Patriot,” “Tax-reduction,” etc. With the right words, a bill repealing child labor laws can easily become “The Young Americans’ Employment Opportunity Act of 2005.”

Step Three: Hold “town meetings” in red states or the red parts of blue states. Be sure to carefully screen the audience until only sycophants are left. Have the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, NSA, state police, local police or a hired College Republican goon squad remove the following: anyone carrying a sign that opposes your plan; anyone who came in car bearing a left-wing bumper sticker; anyone who came in a Volvo or a Prius; anyone wearing a t-shirt, button, hat, etc. that expresses opposition to any conservative idea; anyone wearing Birkenstocks; anyone with a neatly trimmed beard wearing a tweed coat (probably a college professor); anyone drinking “designer coffee”; anyone eating an ice cream cone that was purchased at a Ben and Jerry’s; anyone who looks like a “radical liberal.” (Helpful Hints: Have local GOP activists screen people as they enter the room and ask them what long-distance service they use and what kind of mileage their vehicle gets. If they reply “Working Assets,” to the first and any number above 12 to the second, have the College Republican goons escort them to the “free speech/protest zone” across town, near where the slaughterhouses used to be.)

Step Four: Create warm, fuzzy anecdotes and have real Americans tell them. Distribute liberally at the town meetings. Example:

“Thanks for welcoming me to Fort Collins, Colo. It’s great to see you all here. With us today are Spenser and Emma, who live right here in Fort Collins. They’re great Americans. Spenser is 10 and Emma is 8. Spenser, what are you going to buy with all that money once the Young Americans’ Employment Opportunity Act passes?”

Spenser: Legos!

“And what about you, Emma?”

Emma: Ponies!

“That’s great. Legos and ponies. What great Americans. You see, my opponents don’t want Spenser and Emma to have Legos and ponies. I do. I guess that’s one difference between us.”

Step Five: Have industry backers create a phony “grassroots” organization. A name like “Americans for America’s Future” is best. Commence issuing press releases, paid advertisements, airing of “news segments” on the Fox News Channel, etc.

Step Six: Accuse your opponents of having no plan. Use lines like this: “I ask my opponents, ‘What’s your plan?’ You say you’re against the Young Americans’ Employment Opportunity Act. So what’s your plan for bringing Legos and ponies to boys and girls like Spenser and Emma?”

Step Seven: Have a Heritage Foundation front group release a phony study making wildly inflated claims to the media. Don’t worry, they won’t bother to check the facts, and soon you’ll have a story like this in all of the papers:

“A study released today by the American Council on American Worker Rights shows that passage of the Young Americans’ Employment Opportunity Act will pump $60 billion into the economy the first year after its passage and create 4.8 million new jobs.”

About two weeks later, some academic somewhere will release a study disputing these claims. It will point out that the pony market in America is limited to 9-to-11 year-old girls, many of whom would be afraid of a real pony, and note that Legos are made in China, Switzerland and Denmark. Don’t worry. It will appear as seven paragraphs on page A17 of The Washington Post, and two of those paragraphs will be opposition quotes from a spokesman for the American Council on American Worker Rights. After all, “both sides” must be heard.

Step Eight: Place an op-ed supporting the act by Zell Miller in The Wall Street Journal. Claim bipartisan support. Release new poll by Americans for America’s Future showing that Americans overwhelmingly support the idea of children who want Legos and ponies being allowed to have them if their parents agree.

Step Nine: Call Democrats who are fighting the legislation “obstructionists who oppose giving all Americans access to the American dream.” Point to examples of children mentioned in the Bible and have the Religious Right start a congressional phone campaign.

Step Ten: Bask in House and Senate approval of your legislation. Sign the bill during an opulent Rose Garden ceremony flanked by children who want Legos and ponies while industry lobbyists stay way out of sight.

See how easy it is? Why, it’s so simple even a — ahem — child could do it.

April 04, 2005

Bill Gates Speaks On Behalf of Public Schools

Below is a great speech by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He is sharply critical of our public schools, particularly high schools. His speech points out two things that PROGRESSIVES believe:
Schools need MORE funding, not less. Schools need to be smaller, more focused and modernized.
As Gates says, in his slightly nerdy but blatantly honest way: "We are quite literally RUINING the lives of millions of Americans by sending them through a school system that does not prepare them to succeed in the real world."

By the way, Gates, unlike many wealthy politicians, has given hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to public education...so he's literally "put his money where his mouth is."


April 03, 2005

Abortion Rate is Up in Bush Years

So this is the Bush Administration's "Culture of life"? Skyrocketing abortion rates. This article, provided by Oconee Democrat Mike Bartlett, makes the point that nearly all Democrats and moderate Republicans already know... quoting from the article below:

"Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative."

Amen, brother.


I, Glen, am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis. I am consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness. For my family, "pro-life" is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby. David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing to us and to the world. Gary Krane is an investigative journalist.

We look at the fruits of political policies more than words. We analyzed the data on abortion during the Bush presidency. There is no single source for this information -- federal reports go only to the year 2000, and many states do not report -- but we found enough data to identify trends. Our findings are disturbing.

Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4 percent decline during the 1990s. This was a steady decrease averaging 1.7 percent per year. (The data come from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies.)

Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened.

We found four states that have posted three-year statistics: Kentucky's increased by 3.2 percent from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3 percent from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9 percent from 1999 to 2002. Colorado's rates skyrocketed 111 percent. We found 12 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6 percent average increase), and four saw a decrease (4.3 percent average).

Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.

For anyone familiar with why most women have abortions, this is no surprise:

Two-thirds of women who have abortions cite "inability to afford a child" as their primary reason (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). In the Bush presidency, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Herbert Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.

Half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate. And men who are jobless usually do not marry. In the 16 states, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.

Women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency -- with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million -- abortion increases.

My wife and I know -- as does my son David -- that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, every father and every child needs public and family support.

What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, insurance, jobs, child care and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need a president who will do something about jobs, health insurance and support for mothers.

Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena, Calif. He can be e-mailed at gstassen@fuller.edu

Krane is an independent investigative journalist in Philadelphia.Readers can write to him at 151 Tulpehocken, Philadelphia, PA 19144 or Coordinator@FairElections.us

Fake protest was insult to America

I know some of the people who showed up for this fiasco, noted in the letter below. I have a message for the organizers of this event:


Now that seems like an immature thing to say, doesn't it? Name calling? No, let me explain. A PIG will consume virtually anything you put in front of it to eat. The PIGS who organized this event - and the PIGLETS who participated in this mockery of our constitution are no different than real pigs. They consume whatever garbage the right wingers in our country feed them. How ANYONE that participated in that event could think, even for a moment, that they were supporting our troops by MOCKING our constitutional right to free speech and assembly, is beyond my comprehension.

This sad event is the byproduct of hate radio and venom of the far right. Several generations of young college minds have been poisoned by the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and Coulters of the world. Very sad.

[April 1, Anderson Independent]

Last month the Anderson Independent-Mail ran a brief on an anti-war rally to be held at Bowman Field in Clemson on March 12. I attended and the demonstration was small. Soon, though, our meager gathering was surrounded by pro-war activists. This would've been understandable, even expected, except for what soon unfolded.

The alleged leader of this "anti-war" assembly was aligned with and even had organized the pro-war crowd, instructed them to circle us, and conveniently invited the press, specifically the Tiger Town Observer.

Andrew Davis, an associate of the Tiger Town Observer, was the foreman for this set-up. Among my anti-war peers were respectable seniors, professors, and otherwise thoughtful individuals who were targeted for our compassion. This was a disgusting show of manipulation and shone very negatively on Clemson University and the student body thereof.

American ideals include freedom of speech and assembly, and such harassment and libel should not be tolerated, encouraged, or accepted. This exhibited a lack of integrity of Andrew Davis and his cohorts.