Friday, March 30, 2007

'Nuff Said . . . .

Normally I make a comment on items I put in the blog to express an opinion.

This one from the New York Blad Online needs none.

Bi-Partisan Blunders

By ROBIN BRAND & BILL SMITH - Mar. 30, 2007

GENERAL PETER PACE ignited a political firestorm recently by offering his personal view that homosexuals are “immoral,” while defending the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The national debate that followed provided an interesting window into the ever-evolving psyche of the American political establishment as it comes to terms with how to address issues relating to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The 2008 presidential candidates were immediately asked whether or not they agreed with Pace’s statement. Their responses showed that the intense debate over gay rights still finds our most seasoned political leaders—both Democrats and Republicans—stumbling and mumbling their way through an issue that remains front and center in today’s political arena.

Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) first responded to Pace’s comment by saying, “that’s for others to conclude.” Barack Obama ducked the question. To his credit, John Edwards showed leadership by flatly disagreeing with Pace—a positive shift after being widely criticized along with John Kerry for awkward references to openly gay Mary Cheney in both the 2004 vice presidential and presidential debates.

Republican candidates fared even worse. Ultraconservative Sam Brownback went so far as to praise Pace’s remarks. Other Republican hopefuls were nowhere to be found, including supposedly gay-friendly Rudy Giuliani. Mitt Romney was for gays in the military before he was against it. And John McCain has morphed from giving an inspired speech on the U.S. Senate floor against an anti-gay federal constitutional amendment to cutting TV ads for an Arizona amendment that would have banned domestic partnerships.

This collective set of bipartisan inconsistencies and pandering should offend all Americans regardless of political persuasion, sexual orientation or religious views.

From Tim Hardaway and Isaiah Washington to our 2008 presidential field, too often we see public figures revising their remarks, going into rehab or coming up with clever strategies to explain away their anti-gay gaffes. Of all people in the country, those who write and pass our nation’s laws and policies need to understand that language matters. For this reason, we must hold our national figures accountable.

IN FACT, OUR presidential aspirants should look to the American public for direction on gay issues. Recent national surveys have shown Americans support ending discrimination in housing and employment, support allowing gays to serve openly in the military and support recognizing committed gay and lesbian relationships. The Oscar-hosting Ellen is a household name, and almost a decade has passed since “Will & Grace” were welcomed into America’s living rooms.

Pace’s comments, and more importantly the lack of an adequate response from our federal candidates, sends the signal to the 6.6 million taxpaying gay Americans that they should not enjoy the same full and equal seat at America’s table as the rest of the American taxpayers.

Two things are very clear: Most of our presidential candidates don’t understand how to talk about gay-related issues; and gay Americans and their straight allies should watch very closely before hitching their wagon to any of the current presidential candidates for 2008.

As the election season approaches in earnest, fair-minded voters need to be smart and strategic; we must insist candidates invite gays and lesbians to the table. Support candidates at the local and state level who are leaders on these issues, as they are the ones who become officials on the federal level.
Voters should also remember that we have been fooled before. In 2000, then “compassionate conservative” George Bush pronounced himself “a better man” for meeting with gay people only to propose an offensive anti-gay constitutional amendment to gain re-election. Former President Clinton, heralded as the great hope for gay people, also left many sorely disappointed.

WHAT ADVOCATES FOR equality are seeking is simpler than most people believe: equal opportunity to participate fully in American life.

At a time in our country’s history when American patriots, both gay and straight, are on the front lines defending our freedom, we should demand nothing less than a commander-in-chief who stands up for full equality for all Americans. This can only be done by talking openly and honestly about gay and lesbian Americans and their families. Anything else is simply outdated, out of touch and out of step with the American public today.

Robin Brand is the chief operating officer of Gill Action and a Democrat. She can be reached at rbrand@gillaction.org. Bill Smith is the national political director of Gill Action and a Republican. He can be reached at bsmith@gillaction.org.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Once a Jerk, Always a Jerk . . . .

The same guy that Barbara Boxer had to show who was the new boss in town doesn't seem to learn very well . . . .

Inhofe vows to put brakes on Gore’s ‘Live Earth’ concert at the Capitol

March 28, 2007

Fresh from his face-to-face tussle with former Vice President Al Gore, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is vowing to stall Gore’s hotly anticipated Capitol concert to draw attention to global warming.

Inhofe’s belief that climate change is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” is common knowledge in the capitol, and environmental groups cheered the new prospects for carbon-capping legislation when he ceded the Environment and Public Works Committee gavel this session. But Inhofe’s parliamentary powers can block indefinitely the resolution that would permit Gore to choose the capitol’s West Front for the U.S. leg of his seven-continent Live Earth concert tour — a collaboration between Gore and promoter Kevin Wall, who masterminded previous blockbuster charity concerts Live Aid and Live 8.


Perhaps Babs should have gaveled him to the head and knocked some sense into him . . . .

What a d_ckhead . . . .


Poor Al . . . .

Thus far, this is the biggest news from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today:

Congressional Quarterly MIDDAY UPDATE - March 29, 2007 – 2:24 p.m.

Former Aide Contradicts Gonzales on Involvement in Firings

The former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today flatly contradicted Gonzales’ initial claim of marginal involvement in the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year.

“I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate,” Kyle Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee.


If you remember, Al's March 13th press conference, he stated just the opposite.

I'm guessing in his April 17th appearance before the same committee, Al will use the phrase "I don't recall that . . .", "Not to my recollection . . . . ", "I can't confirm that . . . " at least as many time as Kyle Sampson did today.


Perhaps some ginkgo biloba is in order for the gentlemen to assist in their memory function?


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Touch of Humour . . . .

With all the crap that seems to permeate the world lately, how 'bout a little humour for a change?

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush went to a fitness spa for some fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decided to visit the men's room, where they found a strange-looking gent sitting at the entrance.

He said, "Welcome to the men's room. Be sure to check out our newest feature, a mirror that, if you look into it and say something truthful, you will be rewarded with your wish. But, be warned: if you say something FALSE, you will be sucked into the mirror to live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"

The three men quickly entered and, upon finding the mirror, Bill Clinton stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most intelligent of us three." He suddenly found the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most aware of the environmental problems of us three." In an instant, he was surrounded by piles of money to fund his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of finally having a wish come true, George W. Bush looked into the mirror and said, "I think . . . " and was promptly sucked into the mirror.

Feel better now?

I thought so . . . .

H/T to our friend Jo.


Monday, March 26, 2007

New York, New York . . . . .

"Family" members in New York state may be heading to Canada in the near future . . .

Check it out. Go, Judge Joan!!

Wonder how long 'til Kansas, Wyoming and Mississippi follow New York's lead?


Not in my lifetime, I'll wager . . . .


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Bush Whacked . . . .

This story may not be of interest to everyone, but as "drf" and I have lived under not one but two bushes since 2001 we found this article quite satisfying:

University of Florida squabbles over snub to Jeb Bush
POSTED: 9:46 a.m. EDT, March 24, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Florida (AP) -- University of Florida President Bernie Machen says he was "tremendously disappointed" with the school's Faculty Senate vote to deny former Gov. Jeb Bush an honorary degree.

The Senate voted 38-28 Thursday against giving the honorary degree to Bush, who left office in January.


Karma and The Universe do equalize things out, after all.

Sometimes it just takes a while longer than we would like . . . .


Friday, March 23, 2007

VP and National Security Office Blotter Blunders . . . .

More from Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine": (Emphasis mine)

On Friday afternoon, January 10 (2003), Jami Miscik, the head of the DI walked down the hall on the seventh floor shaking with rage.

John Moseman, Tenet's chief of staff, saw her as she passed his office.

"You okay?"

"No. I'm not okay. I'm definitely not okay!"

A moment later, she'd made it to Tenet's suite.

She barely could get out the words. Stephen Hadley, Condi's second, had called from the office of "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

They wanted her down at Libby's office in the White House by 5 p.m. At issue was the last in an endless series of draft reports about the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. How many drafts? Miscik couldn't remember. The pressure from the White House - and from the various intelligence divisions under the Vice President and The Secretary of Defense - had started a week after 9/11.

Cheney's office claimed to have sources. And Rumsfeld's, too. They kept throwing them at Miscik and CIA. The same information, five different ways. They'd omit that a key piece had been discounted, the the source had recanted.
Sorry, our mistake. Then it would reappear, again, in a memo the next week. The CIA held firm: the meeting in Prague between Atta and the Iraqi agent didn't occur.

Miscik was no fool. She understood what was going on. It wasn't about what was true, or verifiable. It was about a defensible position, or at least one that would hold up until the troops were marching through Baghdad, welcomed as liberators.

A few days before, when she had sent the final draft over to Libby and Hadley, she told them, emphatically,
This is it. There would be no more drafts, no more meetings where her analysts sat across from Hadley, or Feith, or the guys in Feith's office, while the opposing team tried to slip something by them. The report was not what they wanted. She knew that. No evidence meant no evidence.

"I'm not going back there, again, George," Miscik said. "If I have to go back to hear their crap and rewrite this goddamn report . . . . I'm resigning, right now."

She fought back tears of rage.


Tenet picked up the phone to call Hadley.

"She is not coming over," he shouted into the phone. "We are not rewriting this fucking report one more time. It is fucking over. Do you hear me! And don't you ever fucking treat my people this way again. Ever!"

They did not rewrite the report.

And that's why, three weeks later, in making the case for war in his State of the Union address, George W. Bush was not able to say what he'd long hoped to say at such a moment: that there was a pre-9/11 connection between al Qaeda and Saddam.

One down. But two salient points - wobbly, but still standing - on the heart-stopping issue of nuclear weapons remained in the text: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Both statements were crafted to carry the clarion ring of proof, and both were known, by people inside the CIA and the White House, to fall far short of that standard.

And so, with the vp's office and condescending's office basically telling george what to do, is it any wonder we're in this mess?

I'd say no . . . .


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boxer vs. Inhofe: Elections have Consequences

Yes, the dems have "the power of the gavel" . . . . They've got to be banging it for the right reasons, though.

If they don't start making substantial changes in bushco's policies, it's going to be a LONG time before things improve . . . .

Mr. Snow's Words Come Back to Bite Him in the A-_-_ . . . .

Compliments of "Crooks and Liars" and Glenn Greenwald:

Here's Tony Snow in 1998:

"Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

"Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

"One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold — the rule of law."

Now apparently, Snow doesn't want to hold his on boss to the same standard.


Tony's next few news conferences should be quite interesting . . . . "Go get him, Helen Thomas!!"



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Cowboy Circles the Wagons . . . .

From the Associated Press minutes ago:

(03-20) 15:59 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

A defiant President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.

Democrats' response to his proposal was swift and firm: They said they would start authorizing subpoenas as soon as Wednesday for the White House aides.

"Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability," said Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said, "We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. ... I have proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse."

He added that federal prosecutors work for him and it is natural to consider replacing them. "There is no indication that anybody did anything improper," the president said.

Bush gave his embattled attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, a boost during an early morning call and ended the day with a public statement repeating it. "He's got support with me," Bush said.*

*Well, based on recent history (think Donald Rumsfeld) that ought to make 'Ole Al feel pretty good . . . .


Local 4th Anniversary of Iraq War Vigil . . . .

Last evening we joined fellow citizens at our community gathering place . . .

Even here in major "bushland" our local MoveOn.org folks organized a candlelight vigil to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the Iraq war . .


'Ya know, it seems like just yesterday that we attended the 3rd anniversary vigil . . . . Is there any chance there will not be a 5th anniversary version?


And, our sign made the local ABC television affiliate's evening newscast . . . . Kind of says it all, doesn't it ? ? ? ?



One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent - What's the Difference ? ? ? ?

Currently I'm in the process of reading Ron Suskind's book The One Percent Doctrine. So far, it can be highly recommended. (My local county library only had the Large Print version available . . . I could get used to reading this size font, let me tell you - Plus, you just fly through the pages!)

About a quarter of the way into the book I found the following confirmations of the methods that bushco utilized to handle events post 9-11: (Emphasis mine.)

To prevent anonymous leaks - the traditional method for officials to pass information to members of the press and, through them, to the public and others in the administration, including the President - the Bush team issued government cell phones to a wide array of officials and mandated that they be used. This way, the were able to monitor incoming and outgoing calls from both office phones and mobile phones. What's more, they issued strict orders, with penalties that could include immediate dismissal, that no one should speak to a member of the press without permission - permission that was generally controlled by the White House communications office.

Karen Hughes, who oversaw that office and met each morning with her team of several dozen media officers from across the government, was convinced that the mainstream press was dominated by political opponents, and in any event was attracted to "conflict" stories. Her ideas was, as much as possible, to ignore the major newspaper, magazines, and television networks, all of which had become accustomed, over decades, to having regular meetings with a sitting president. No More. Their access would be limited and carefully managed. What's more, the President would have only about one third as many individual press conferences as Bill Clinton, or on fifth as many as the first Bush. The goal was to keep this President away from impromptu exchanges with informed questioners, never one of his strong suits.

Informed questions, however, could also be killed at their source. They were winnowed, steadily, by a broadened standard of what is classified. The initiative was a pet project of the Vice President, who'd long believed that public and congressional scrutiny of presidents was weakening executive power. With Cheney's guidance, documents were being classified at twice the rate of the previous administration.

And this later:

As captives were flowing into Camp X-ray in Guantanamo, the White House and Justice Department had produced some preliminary guidance on interrogation. Most noteworthy was a memo from White House counsel Al Gonzales in late January 2002, asserting that the Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war did not apply to the United States in the treatment of detainees captured in Afghanistan.

None of this is news to those of us who follow events and reporting on how bushco has in the past and continues to operate. Perhaps one day the general public will also accept the fact that this administration has done more damage to individual rights than any other in recent history . . . .


Monday, March 19, 2007

Huh ? ? ? ?

Why not just bring "Brownie" back in with this list of losers?
(HT to Mike Allen of Politico.com)

White House Seeking Gonzales Replacements

By: Mike Allen - March 19, 2007 09:06 PM EST





Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions.

Among the names floated Monday by administration officials are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.



And you wonder why we are trying to get out of here . . . .



Canadian Blogger News . . . .

So, this month we have been accepted into two Canadian blog groups:

Progressive Bloggers and The Tyee.

Makes us proud to be "Aspiring Canadians", eh?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Leonard Nails It Again . . . .

Compliments of the Miami Herald:

Don't ask this general about morality
Posted on Fri, Mar. 16, 2007

By LEONARD PITTS JR.

I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.-- Gen. PETER PACE, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

In other words, it's wrong because it's wrong.

Boil down Gen. Pace's controversial comments in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune to their essence, and that's what you get. Bypass intellect, detour around critical reasoning, and there you are: wrong because it's wrong. No other explanation necessary.

That, says the general, is why he opposes repeal of the military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy. He doesn't want homosexuals to serve openly -- they already serve clandestinely -- in the armed forces.

People like the general -- in other words, bigots -- often wrap up their objections in claims of fundamental right and wrong where sexual orientation is concerned: I have a moral objection to homosexuality, they will say, loftily.

I've always thought ''visceral'' would be a better and truer adjective. As in, a gut-level objection to people of the same sex engaging in physical or emotional intimacy.

PRETENSE OF PRINCIPLE

If those who feel that objection would admit to being driven by instinct and not principle, I could at least respect their honesty. Frankly, it's not uncommon for heterosexual people to flinch at the idea of homosexual intimacy. But the problem is, that admission would cost gay-haters the pretense of principle.

After all, to admit that a response is visceral is to admit you haven't thought it through. Ergo, frame it as a ''moral'' issue. As a practical matter, it comes out the same, but it sounds more high-minded. And never mind that it makes no sense.

I have never understood how a people -- meaning individuals bonded by some racial, sexual, religious or geographical commonality -- can be immoral. Is it immoral to be Jewish? Immoral to be male? Is it immoral to hail from Idaho? How, then, can it be immoral to be gay?

At this point, of course, someone is frantically pointing to an obscure Old Testament passage as his or her authority for the immorality of homosexuality. Thing is, the Old Testament also requires the death penalty for disrespectful children, forbids the eating of meat cooked rare, and obligates the man who rapes a virgin to buy her from her father and marry her. I've seen no groundswell of support for those commands.

Morality, it has always seemed to me, has less to do with commonalities of existence than with how you treat other people. Do you lie to or about them? Do you steal from them? Do you cheat them? Do you walk by their suffering, oblivious? Do you, except in self-defense, harm them physically or mentally? The answers to those questions, I think, define morality more exactly than whether you're sharing a bed with someone who has the same sexual equipment you do.

PAINFUL IRONY

That's why, four years into the Iraq debacle, there is painful irony in hearing the president's top military advisor give a lecture on morality. Team Bush misled the nation into war against the wrong enemy. It hospitalized wounded Americans in squalor and filth. It left the people we ''liberated'' without electricity, gasoline or medical services for months turning to years because of its failure to plan.

How moral is that? And how moral is it for the chairman of the joint chiefs to insult soldiers who are still in harm's way, soldiers who have been wounded, soldiers who have died, because they do not love as he would choose? The answer in two words: not very.

So the general will have to forgive me if I cannot take seriously his maundering on right and wrong. Where morality is concerned, his words serve only to make one thing clear: He doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Nor do bush, cheney, et all . . . .


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Two Moms Have Landed ! ! ! !

Great news from our Two Moms to Canada friends!

Congratulations to the whole family, and we hope to follow you soon!

Cheers . . . .

The Decider Decidely Isn't . . . .


I'm The Decider - with apologies to Dr Seuss



I'm the decider. I pick and I choose.
I choose among whats.
And pick among whos.
And as I decide
Each particular day,
The things I decide on
All turn out that way.
I decided on Freedom
For all of Iraq.
And now that we have it,
I'm not looking back.
I decided on tax cuts
That just help the wealthy.
And drug care for oldsters
(Just those who are healthy).
And parklands and wetlands
Who needs all that stuff?
I decided that none
Would be more than enough!
I decided that schools
All in all are the best.
The less that they teach
And the more that they test.
I decided those wages
You need to get by,
Are much better spent
On some CEO guy.
I decided your Wade
Which was versing your Roe,
Is terribly awful
And just has to go.
I decided that levees
Are not really needed.
Now when hurricanes come
They can come unimpeded.
That old Constitution?
Well, I have decided-
As "just Goddamn paper" *
It should be derided.
I've decided gay marriage
Is icky and weird.
Above all other things,
It's the one to be feared.
And Cheney and Rummy
And Condi all know
That I'm the Decider -
They tell me it's so.
I'm the Decider
So watch what you say,
Or I may decide
To have you whisked away.
Or I'll tap your phones.
Your e-mail I'll read.
'cause I'm the Decider -
Like Jesus decreed.

* This is an exact Bush quote


Too bad "the decider" makes bad decisions . . . .



Friday, March 16, 2007

Re-Framing Is Wonderful . . . .

Between this, this, this and this the events of the past couple of weeks have been wonderful if you have taken my advice about re-framing your view of the remainder of the bushco term.

Karma is alive and well in the Universe after all, and "drf" tells me I'm smiling a lot more lately . . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2007

NDP Spots . . . .

While surfing liberal blogs today I came across a reference to a new YouTube channel from the NDP. It features 30-second TV spots that do a pretty good job of describing NDP positions on major issues.


While there I also came across the video above that was filmed in December of last year with Jack Layton and mr. harper in a House of Commons episode. I had forgotten about this, but upon viewing it again it made me laugh out loud. Hopefully, you will have a similar reaction.

It's refreshing to see politicians of different persuasions with a sense of humour, eh? ? ? ?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's Getting Old . . . .

'Ya know, it gets a little old at times, and this is one of those times . . .

Clinton, Obama skirt queries on gays in the military
BY GLENN THRUSH glenn.thrush@newsday.com

March 14, 2007, 9:45 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- If gays and lesbians were looking for a champion to dispute Gen. Peter Pace's claim that homosexuality is immoral, they might have expected Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama to leap forward.

Not quite. While both Clinton and Obama are courting gays and lesbians, and would allow them to serve openly in the military, the Democratic front-runners have been curiously reticent about challenging the statements of the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.

The highest-profile pol to say homosexuality is not immoral? It's former Navy secretary, ex-spouse of Liz Taylor and current Republican senator from Virginia John Warner, who told reporters Tuesday, "I respectfully but strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral."

On Wednesday, Newsday repeatedly asked Obama if same-sex relationships were immoral.

"I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters," said Obama, leaving Capitol Hill. "That's probably a good tradition to follow."

He turned the conversation to opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy: "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country."

Later, an Obama spokesman said the senator, in fact, disagrees with Pace.

That sequence was remarkably similar to Clinton's responses Tuesday. When an ABC reporter asked her about the issue, she replied, "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude."

Later, a Clinton spokesman said the senator, in fact, also disagrees with Pace.

So why the dance? Clinton and Obama supporters, speaking on condition of anonymity, said both might have been trying to avoid offending socially conservative Democrats, particularly churchgoing African-Americans, who share Pace's views.

Steve Sanders, a gay Democrat who sat on the party's platform committee in 2000, said Clinton and Obama are engaged in a delicate balancing act. "Hillary and Barack have made very public overtures to religious Americans. They are trying to figure out how progressive Democrats can also make appeals to Americans of faith. It's a work in progress."

Personally, isn't it time we "progress" beyond this pandering to the religious "wrong"?

It is getting real old . . . .


Pace off Base Part Deux . . . .

Ain't it just always the way?

Sharp Drop in Gays Discharged From Military Tied to War Need

By Ann Scott Tyson - Washington Post Staff Writer - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The number of homosexuals discharged from the U.S. military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy dropped significantly in 2006, according to Pentagon figures released yesterday -- continuing a sharp decline since the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts began and leading critics to charge that the military is retaining gay men and lesbians because it needs them in a time of war.

According to preliminary Pentagon data, 612 homosexuals were discharged in fiscal 2006, fewer than half the 1,227 discharged in 2001. On average, more than 1,000 service members were discharged each year from 1997 to 2001 -- but in the past five years the average has fallen below 730. The data were provided to The Washington Post in response to a request.

"It is hypocritical that the Pentagon seems to retain gay and lesbian service members when they need them most, and fires them when it believes they are expendable," said Steve E. Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit that opposes the policy.

More than 10,870 military personnel have been discharged under the policy since President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993. The law requires that gay service members keep their sexual orientation private and do not engage in homosexual acts, and it prohibits commanders from asking about sexual orientation.

The dismissed have included Arabic speakers and other linguists, intelligence experts and medical personnel -- all of whom are in short supply. In 2005, for example, 49 medical workers were discharged.




Even though General Pace considers us "immoral", I guess we're good enough for cannon fodder, eh? Perhaps he should listen to what former Republican Senator Alan Simpson has to say on the matter - It could enlighten him.

Get us out of here . . . .


A New Frame Around the Visual . . . .

Frequently I am involved in political discussions with friends and family (Imagine that!!) when the topic of how awful it is that bushco has nearly 2 years left to screw up the US even worse than they already have. (Actually, as of today it is 677 days and counting according to the Official George W. Bush "Days Left In Office" Countdown clock on this page.)

While agonizing over the time they have left in office, one day I decided to "re-frame" the visual into something which I think is a much more positive use of time. Rather than commiserating about how bad the situation is, I now view it in a different light:

In the time bushco has left in office, the current Congress will continue to subpoena, call before committees, investigate, demand explanations, etc. of these dredges of humanity while they are still in office and assumed to be accountable for their actions.
The phrase "twisting in the wind" comes to mind - especially with al's DOJ revelations yesterday. I'm putting my money on Senator Pat Leahy's chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee to get to the bottom of this latest abuse of power. No doubt many of their actions will result in trials, convictions and sentencing for crimes committed. Are you getting the visual yet?

You would be amazed how many times a smile comes to my face these days.

Try it and see if it doesn't work for you also. It's a lot cheaper than therapy or anti-depressants . . . . .


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pace Off Base . . . .

Ah, and one wonders why we have chosen to vacate the good 'ole USA:

Staff: Top general won't apologize for remarks on gays

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top U.S. military officer, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, doesn't plan to apologize for telling a newspaper that homosexuality is immoral, his senior staff told CNN on Tuesday.

Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Chicago Tribune on Monday that he supports the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay people from serving in the U.S. armed forces.

The general also compared homosexuality to adultery -- behavior that is prosecuted in the military, he said.

"My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain things, certain types of conduct that are immoral," Pace told the Tribune. "I believe that military members who sleep with other military members' wives are immoral in their conduct."

vert.pace.gi.jpg

Pace also told the paper, "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts.

"So the 'don't ask, don't tell' [policy] allows an individual to serve the country ... if we know about immoral acts, regardless of committed by who, then we have a responsibility.

"I do not believe that the armed forces are well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way, not just with regards to homosexual acts," the Joint Chiefs chairman said.

"So from that standpoint, saying that gays should serve openly in the military to me says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity," he added.



It's just great to be considered second class citizens at best by some of the people in positions of authority in the US . . . .



Vancouver Video . . . .

This video on Vancouver was pointed out by our Realtor friend in the city. We thought it was quite good.

Hope you enjoy it, too . . . .




Makes us even more anxious to get up there permanently!


Sunday, March 11, 2007

And Will You Be Having Dessert This Evening ? ?

From today's The Province:

Pot not on menu at family eatery — Staff Reporter

Four teens in West Vancouver may want to think again before they choose to do a drug deal in a busy family restaurant. On the table. At suppertime.

The four were arrested Thursday at the Park Royal White Spot when they were easily spotted at a table dividing up marijuana in plain view.

“It wasn’t on the menu,” noted West Vancouver police Sgt. Paul Skelton.

It’s not clear who spotted the three 16-year-olds and 17-year-old doing the deal — it was 6:15 p.m. in the busy restaurant — but someone in the eatery called police.

The investigation was exceptionally brief. The youths were asked to step outside, where they were arrested and searched and relieved of 65 grams of pot.

The incident was “probably not a good judgement call,” said Skelton.

“Research,” he noted dryly, “has shown that marijuana use impairs your judgement.”


And more from the "going to pot" realm:


Three tonnes of marijuana abandoned in U.S. — AP

ONTARIO, Calif. — A truck with three tonnes of marijuana was found abandoned on a freeway ramp with its engine still warm, authorities said.

A California Highway Patrol officer saw the rented truck partially blocking the ramp Wednesday night and stopped to offer help before smelling marijuana, CHP Sgt. Telfinues Preszler Jr. said. The officer found plasticwrapped bundles of marijuana in the back, with an estimated street value of US$20 million.

“Somebody’s going be in some major trouble for walking away and leaving that quantity sitting on the side of the freeway,” Preszler said.


'Ya gotta love it . . . .


Friday, March 09, 2007

Cleaning Up After the Visit . . . .

The natives speak without forked tongue . . . . 'Ya gotta love their analysis of the situation.


Priests to purify site after Bush visit

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA, Associated Press WriterFri Mar 9, 12:20 AM ET

Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites — which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles — would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.

The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States has neglected the region and at combatting the rising influence of Venezuelan leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush "history's greatest killer" and "the devil."

Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.

And this is only the first day of the bushco visit . . . . Who knows what the next few will bring ? ? ? ?


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Martha Gets a Chance (Finally!) . . . .

We watched the Liberal's Leadership race last year with interest . . . One of the more impressive candidates was Martha Hall Findlay. It appears she pretty much "got the shaft" from the Liberal party, re: belinda stronach . . . .

This news today from CBC News:

Veteran Liberal MP Peterson retires, clearing way for Hall Findlay

Last Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2007 | 12:32 PM ET

Veteran Liberal MP and former trade minister Jim Peterson announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in his Toronto riding, paving the way for former Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay to run.

The riding of Willowdale is considered safe as Peterson, first elected in 1980, has held it for all but four of the past 26 years. In the last election, he won the riding by 14,000 votes.

From 1997 to 2002, Peterson was a secretary of state for international financial institutions. A year later, then prime minister Paul Martin appointed him the international trade minister.

Hall Findlay is expected to be given the Liberal nomination for the riding. Hall Findlay, who finished last of eight candidates in the leadership convention in December, threw her support behind St├ęphane Dion, the eventual winner.

In 2004, Hall Findlay ran in the Toronto area riding of Newmarket-Aurora, but lost to then-Tory Belinda Stronach. She later won that riding's Liberal nomination again but stepped aside after Stronach joined the Liberals in May of 2005.

Hall Findlay was one of three contenders in the Liberal leadership race who were not sitting MPs.

The other two have also announced their intentions to run for a federal seat.

On Wednesday, Bob Rae said he hopes to run in the riding of Toronto Centre after Liberal MP Bill Graham announced he would not seek re-election.

Meanwhile, Gerard Kennedy has announced his intention to seek the nomination in Toronto's Parkdale-High Park, currently held by the NDP's Peggy Nash.


Listening to her in the previous debates, the Libs could do a lot worse. She deserves a place at their policy table . . . .


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Humour for the Day . . . .

Laura Bush bought George a parrot for his birthday.

She told Dick Cheney, "The bird is so smart! George has already taught him to pronounce over 200 words!"

"Wow, that's
pretty impressive", Cheney said, "but you realize of course that he just says the words. He doesn't really understand what they mean."

"That's OK", Laura replied. "Neither does the parrot."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Down . . . . How Many More to Go? ? ? ?


Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case


By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN and MATT APUZZO
The Associated Press - Tuesday, March 6, 2007; 12:12 PM

WASHINGTON -- Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted Tuesday of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters.

He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.

All I can say is: "Yee Haw!!"

Monday, March 05, 2007

Great News from Two Moms! ! ! !

On a happier note, Two Moms to Canada a got great present in the mail today!!

Sure hope we're next . . . .


Right Wing Female Icon - Lucky She's On Their Side . . . .

Don't ya' just love repuglican "women"?? And I use the word lightly in this case . . . . )

Coulter under fire for anti-gay slur
POSTED: 6:31 a.m. EST, March 4, 2007
storyvert.coulter.ed.gi.jpg
Purty, ain't she ??
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has been widely criticized for calling presidential candidate John Edwards a 'faggot.'
Story Highlights
• Coulter condemned for referring to John Edwards as a "faggot"
• Edwards attempting to raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' for his campaign
• Comment was made by Coulter at 34th Conservative Political Action Conference

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Prominent politicians from both parties and a gay-rights group on Saturday condemned right-wing commentator Ann Coulter for her reference Friday to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot."

"Ann Coulter's use of an anti-gay slur yesterday was un-American and indefensible," Edwards said in a posting on his Web site, www.johnedwards.com.

"In America, we strive for equality and embrace diversity. The kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large.

"I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak out against that kind of bigotry and prejudice every time we encounter it."

Edwards' campaign posted the video on their Web site, and asked readers to help them "raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry."

Coulter made her comment in Washington during an address to the 34th annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, during which she gave her opinions about the Democrats' slate of presidential hopefuls.

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions," said Coulter, whose comment was followed by applause.

CNN has reached out to Coulter's representative, and received no response.

But the New York Times reported that she responded, in an e-mail, "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."

A spokesman for Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, called Coulter's comments to the conservative group "wildly inappropriate."

In a written statement, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said, "Ann Coulter's words of hate have no place in the public sphere much less our political discourse. Not only should she apologize but those who participated in the conference with her should denounce her shameful and divisive actions."

"Ann Coulter's use of this anti-gay slur is vile and unacceptable," said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "and the applause from her audience is an important reminder that Coulter's ugly brand of bigotry is at the root of the discriminatory policies being promoted at this gathering."

In a written statement, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on Republicans to denounce her remarks. "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments," he said.

During a question-and-answer session, Coulter referred back to the issue of gays by alluding to the bid for the Republican presidential nomination being made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media -- how they keep describing Mitt Romney's position as being pro-gays, and that's going to upset the right wingers," she said. "Well, you know, screw you! I'm not anti-gay. We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against."

She added, "I don't know why all gays aren't Republican. I think we have the pro-gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they're victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us."

A spokesman for Romney called Coulter's use of the slur "offensive."


I think you could refer to Coulter in general as "offensive" . . . .


John Amaechi weighs in on the topic:



'Nuff said . . . .


Friday, March 02, 2007

Priorities out of Whack . . . .

From today's Vancouver Sun another example of US vs. Canadian priorities:

U. S. to develop new hydrogen bomb - Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — The U. S. Energy Department will announce today a contract to develop the first new American hydrogen bomb in two decades, involving a collaboration between three national weapons laboratories, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

The new bomb would include design features from all three labs, though Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay Area appears to have the taken the lead position in the project. Los Alamos and Sandia national labs in New Mexico will also be part of the effort.

Teams of scientists in California and New Mexico have been working since last year to develop the new bomb, using the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The bomb is known as the reliable replacement warhead, intended to replace aging warheads that are currently deployed on missiles aboard Trident submarines.

The contract decision was made by the Nuclear Weapons Council, consisting of officials from the U. S. Defense Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration, part of the Energy Department.

The cost of the development is secret, though outside experts said it will cost billions of dollars — perhaps tens of billions — to develop the new bomb, build factories to restart high volume weapons production and then actually assemble the weapons.

The program would mark the first time that the military would field nuclear weapon design without an underground test. The last time scientists set off a hydrogen bomb was in 1991 under the Nevada desert. President Clinton ordered a moratorium on testing, a decision continued by President Bush.

Proponents of the reliable replacement warhead effort say the nation’s existing nuclear stockpile is getting old and that doubts will eventually grow about reliability of the weapons. They say the new weapon would not have any greater nuclear yield and could not perform any new military missions beyond those of existing weapons.

So far, those arguments have attracted bipartisan support, including from Democrats who have long played a leading role in nuclear weapons issues.

But critics say the existing stockpile is perfectly reliable and that it can be carefully maintained for decades. The new bomb would undermine U. S. efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, they add.

How 'bout spending "tens of billions" of dollars to cure cancer, feed starving Africans, combat global warming, etc.? No - that would do nothing to increase the corporate defense contractor's profits, would it?

Allow Iran and North Korea to develope nuclear capabilities? Nonsense, we can't allow that. We could not trust those countries with this technology as they might abuse it.

Give me a break!

And people wonder why we would rather live in Canada . . . .


Thursday, March 01, 2007

They Had Their Chance . . . .

Former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln D. Chafee , (R) writes in a New York Times op ed today that current senators running for US president had an option back in October of 2002 regarding the Iraq situation.

He concludes:

The Senate had the opportunity to support a more deliberate, multilateral approach, one that still would have empowered the United States to respond to any imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein. We must not sidestep the fact that a sensible alternative did exist, but it was rejected. Candidates — Democrat and Republican — should be called to account for their vote on the Levin amendment.

When you listen to those senators involved in the campaign try and explain why they voted in support of mr. bush's actions, remember that they did have a viable option at the time.

They should have taken it . . . .


What a Difference a Court Makes . . . .

This from CBC News today:

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that denying Canada Pension Plan benefits to some surviving partners of same-sex relationships is discriminatory and unconstitutional under the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Imagine how different US culture could be with the Canadian Supreme Court rather than the current justices . . . .