Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gundrum to Serve in Iraq

I first read it here, and the JS Online has confirmed it ... Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin) has been called up to active duty. According to JS Online, he will be stationed eventually in Iraq as a judge advocate.

Other Side wishes him and his family (wife and six children) well. Regardless of political ideology ... this is incredibly remarkable. One would think that he could get an exception (legitimate in this case) with six children.

Now, let's see if all those college-age Republican warmongers, like The Triumvirate, will follow his brave example, or will they continue to wage this war from the safety of their dorm rooms.

Friday, October 26, 2007

No Immunity for Lawbreaking Companies

The Senate is considering a bill that would grant immunity to any telecom company that assisted in the administration's illegal wiretapping. Chris Dodd promised to put a hold on any such bill, and Joe Biden and Barack Obama pledged to uphold it. We believe that any bill coming before the Senate that includes provisions for so-called 'amnesty' for large companies involved in illegally spying on Americans should be opposed, and have authored a letter to this effect addressed to Majority Leader Reid. You can co-sign it below. The letter will also be sent to Senate Democratic leadership and the Senate Judiciary Committee members. Click here to sign the letter. The full text is shown below.

Dear Senator Reid,

Senator Chris Dodd recently announced his intention to place a 'hold' on any bill coming before the Senate that includes provisions for so-called 'amnesty' for large companies involved in illegally spying on Americans, and to filibuster any such bill if necessary. We are writing to ask you use your position as Majority Leader to honor this hold and join Sen. Dodd's leadership efforts to stop legislation that would allow these companies to escape liability.

For decades, it has been against the law in the United States for companies to give data about their customers, or access to their customers' conversations, to the Government without a warrant. But it now appears that for the last five years-at least-AT&T, Verizon, and numerous other politically connected corporations have repeatedly broken the law, turning over to the Bush adminis- tration unfettered access to the telephone calls, Internet activities, and calling records of millions and millions of Americans.

As a result of this lawbreaking, their customers, along with privacy groups, have sued them in federal court, and they are making progress. One federal judge, an appointee of the first President Bush, emphatically rejected the excuse put forward by the corpo- rate lawyers that the companies mistakenly thought that what they were doing was legal. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote:

AT&T's alleged actions here violate the constitutional rights clearly established [by the U.S. Supreme Court]. . . . AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.
These companies have now asked Congress to pass a special law asking for 'amnesty.' The law would prohibit courts from ruling on whether these companies broke the law and force the dismissal of all court proceedings against them. We know of at least one company, Qwest, that refused these illegal government requests, a factor that adds weight when considering whether these com- panies were 'just doing' what the government requested. The companies seeking immunity clearly chose to break the law.

Providing amnesty to lawbreaking corporations is a complete assault on the rule of law and on the basic fairness of our political system. When ordinary American citizens are accused of breaking the law, they are forced to go to court and, if the accusations are proven, they suffer the consequences. If the telecoms really did nothing wrong, they should prove that in court, like all Americans must do.

Congress has faced up to this before. In 1965, some of our nation's largest banks were found by courts to have broken our anti- trust laws and also wanted amnesty from Congress for what they did. Senator Robert F. Kennedy spoke out forcefully against this. As The New York Times reported:
He objected to the basic philosophy of retroactive immunization which, he said, might logically be applied to 'murder or any other crime.'
The rule of law is the basic guarantee in our society that all Americans are treated equally. Amnesty for big business is an assault on that principle. To grant retroactive amnesty would be to announce that our wealthiest corporations are free to break the laws we pass, and amnesty would be yet another huge step in eroding our core political principles.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ennio Marchetto

And now, a break from blogging to allow someone with talent occupy the page.

Mr. Outrage

Mr. Outrage in the Parallel Universe. Apologies to Tom Tomorrow.

Say What?

Another stupid conservative comments.

"Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

-- John Tanner, top voting rights official at the Justice Department, explaining why photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chipping In

From my sis ....

For those of you who are not familiar with Las Vegas, did you know there are more Catholic churches than casinos? Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.

Since chips are received from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method of cashing in the offerings. The churches send all the collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casino of origin and cashed in.

Wait for it ...

The Franciscans are known as the Chip Monks.

We Will Persevere

James Wigderson of Wigderson Library & Pub, doesn't get it.

I like James. He has a wonderful wife, cute kids, a beautiful mother and an always interesting father who keeps sending me the weirdest stuff imaginable via e-mail (keep it up, Bill ... I do look at every one of them). James' politics are diametrically opposed to mine, but we can talk. Sometimes it gets a little hot. Most often, though, humor defuses the tense situations and we come to an understanding.

However, in this instance, his defense of Jessica McBride, while expected and applauded (he is, after all, a friend of hers), is wrong on many levels.

The key point he misses in his lengthy and rambling defense is this: McBride should not have asked the question in the first place.

One would have thought a journalism lecturer (you know, a professional) would have known better than to write such an ill-advised and questionably bigoted statement. One would have thought she would have waited for more facts rather than making flippant remarks. If after the fact it had been determined that the people murdered were indeed gangsta rappers, then perhaps a story about the dangers inherent in that musical profession, with links to the Tupac shooting and other incidents might have been relevant.

But McBride didn't do that. That's the shame of McBride and the reason her exploits are exposed. The right would rather that their words were ignored, while they are allowed to attack with reckless abandon. Why do you think they are so against the Fairness Doctrine and so obsessed with "liberal" bias?

It's because they can't win the argument. And now that liberals have caught on to conservative tactics and are again winning the public opinion war, conservatives are fretting.

Fret away and never fear, the McBride, Fred Dooley, Peter DiGaudio and right-wing watch will continue unabated.


The number of invasions of liberal blogs by Fred Dooley of Real Debate Wisconsin infamy, and the bad taste he usually leaves with his rude comments prompted this artistic rendering. It gives new meaning to the term F-bomb.

And then, of course, there is the double-entendre.

By the way, I like bike paths.

Specificclick and Sitemeter

I've removed Sitemeter from my site, for a number of reasons. One, I don't really care how many people read my posts, regardless of what Fred Dooley may think. This experiment has never been about attracting traffic.

Two, Sitemeter is sending specificclick cookies onto websites hosting the counter. My site was infected and one result was consistent jumping to another screen that said specificclick could not be found. This was annoying.

Anyway, it's gone and good riddance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Proof the GOP Is Retreating In the Tax Wars

by David Sirota
Working for Change

A while back I wrote a post about how the conservative movement is in shambles in the Rocky Mountain West. Then, a few weeks ago, I wrote a newspaper column on how the long lines at the chronically underfunded/understaffed Division of Motor Vehicles lays waste to the whole right-wing mantra that cutting government is good for the economy. I recounted my own personal struggles at the DMV - struggles that most Coloradans go through. Now, the Rocky Mountain News reports that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) is looking at ways to fix the DMV problems, suggesting perhaps a refund of license fees if customers are forced to wait longer than a set period of time.

The move by Ritter to address these issues in the context of his government efficiency plans is terrific. But what is just as newsworthy is this little nugget buried in the story:

"Republican House Minority Leader Mike May, of Parker, said he doubts a money-back guarantee or discount would work because there simply aren't enough employees. He said the state would be better off hiring more workers and opening license bureaus at night and on weekends."
May actually has a good point - the underlying problem is underfunding and understaffing. But what he doesn't mention is that the Colorado Republicans used their former legislative majorities to pass budgets that slashed budgets for state agencies like the DMV. Colorado Republicans also have championed the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights which creates the rationale for such budget cuts. Now, incredibly, the Colorado Republican leadership is berating the very cuts they championed.

Hypocrisy, as usual, knows no bounds - and it is precisely this kind of hypocrisy that voters tend to see right through come election time.

Drinking Right

Conservatives' weekly night out ... can't hold their liquor.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Because I Care (Surprisingly)

Though I may disagree with him on everything, and I think his over-the-top rhetoric does nothing for civil debate ... .

Still, I don't want him to die and I do hope that he continues to live a full and (though morally impoverished) bountiful life, especially for his family and friends. So, I would like to offer local blogger and right-wing firebrand, Fred Dooley of Real Debate Wisconsin, this heartfelt assistance and help. Below is part of a diet plan that I have been using. So far, it's been useful in helping me lose ten pounds. Coupled with a modicum of exercise, like simply walking for one half hour every day, my energy level has risen precipitously. I was out the other day playing football with my ten and eight year-old nephews ... still got it at 51.

Provided to you because despite all of our differences, we still share humanity. Oh, and I would consider yoga. It helps clear the mind and stretch those muscles.

• 1 cup Cheerios
• 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
• 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
• 1 whole-grain English muffin, toasted, topped with 2 teaspoons light butter or margarine
• Coffee (if desired)

Mid-morning snack
• 5 pieces dried apricot
• 2 fig bar cookies (such as Fig Newtons)
• 1 cup tea with lemon

• Sandwich: one 6-inch whole-wheat pita, spread with 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise (flavored with 1/2 teaspoon horseradish) and stuffed with 2 ounces deli-style roast beef, 1-ounce slice of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, 3 tomato slices and lettuce
• 6 baby carrots• 1 banana, sprinkled with cinnamon

Afternoon snack
• 8 ounces fat-free plain or light yogurt (any flavor)
• 3 vanilla wafers

• 4 ounces grilled or broiled salmon (brushed with honey mustard and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed before cooking)
• 2/3 cup brown rice (garnished with 1 teaspoon toasted nuts)
• 3/4 cup sliced asparagus spears, steamed or microwaved, sprinkled with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
• Salad: 2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves topped with 1 tangerine, peeled and sectioned; 2 scallions, chopped; and 1 tablespoon chopped almonds; drizzled with 2 tablespoons sesame seed vinaigrette salad dressing
• 1 cup light ice cream (any brand that's about 100 calories for 1/2 cup)
• Water or other no-cal beverage

Good luck and long life.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red Sox v. Rockies

Who would of thought it ... Dustin Pedroia just smoked a 3-run double to put the Sox up 9-2. Coupled with his 2-run homer earlier, five RBIs for the rook. Quite a game.

I'm a National League guy, but I think the Sox will put down the red hot Rockies in six.