Friday, September 29, 2006

Politics, hypocrisy: One more closet door opens

After all the grief about Gov. McGreevey last year from the so-called moral right wing, today's news is quite interesting. At least McGreevey was looking for sex from an adult. Today, Republican Representative Mark Foley (Florida) resigned from congress amidst scandalous rumours regarding inappropriate email communication with a 16 year old male page. I don't really care about Foley's sexual orientation, but I am struck by the hypocrisy here. According to his web page, he is the Co-Chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens Caucus. Well, it would seem he has some direct experience to bring to the table for that caucus.
Among the latest of these is a program designed to show children how to protect themselves from online predators.

Here is Mr. Foley's statement:
"Today I have delivered a letter to the Speaker of the House informing him of my decision to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective today. I thank the people of Florida's 16th Congressional District for giving me the opportunity to serve them for the last twelve years; it has been an honor.

I am deeply sorry and apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."
According to ABC News:
Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
Apparently this is not just one isolated incident.

UPDATE: ABC News has released a transcript of an instant message exchange between Mark Foley (Maf54) and a high school student. (note: sexually explicit content)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Politics, Bigotry: No Discussion in Wisconsin

Boy, our country has really degraded. In Wisconsin you get beat up just for trying to discuss an upcoming ballot measure.
It started with a group of diners talking about gay marriage and the same-sex marriage amendment that will be on Wisconsin's November election ballot.

A gay woman named "Jorryn" says the debate got heated when a customer from another part of the restaurant came over and joined the gay marriage discussion. "He said it's never going to happen, it's never going to never going to pass in Wisconsin, and it's against God."

That when the argument got physical.

Surveillance video shows the man, who had just joined the debate, pushed "Jorryn" down and then punched another customer.

The fight continued with the suspect yelling, throw chairs and punching people.
Read on . . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Politics: Condi is a liar

A few days ago, President Clinton went on the defensive on Fox News after being questioned about why he did not pursue Osama Bin Laden. In that interview, he said,
"That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now," Clinton said in the interview. "They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try; they did not try."
Ms. Rice just came out with a statement to the contrary.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice said during a meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Post.
What she says is a flat out lie and she knows it. She cites the 9/11 report, but obviously she must have read the Bush version and not the version published by the 9/11 commission. It's clear the Bush administration barely gave Al Qaeda a second thought during their first 8 months. To say they were as aggressive as the Clinton administration is complete bull.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Religion: Islam - The religion of submission

Just a commentary on how twisted religion really is. Now, I'm no friend of the Pope, but come on. The Pope reads a quote that questions Mohammed. Protests erupt around the world in the Muslim community. Now, that, in itself is not really that troublesome. I'm all for protest - peaceful protest. But that's where things get carried away. The Pope says he didn't mean to offend and apologizes. In response a nun is shot to death in Somalia, churches around the world are firebombed, and Al Qaeda threatens the Pope and all of us in the west saying we are "Doomed". That we should convert to Islam or die by the sword as the Koran command.

There are no people one more intolerant on earth than religious zealots. And Islamic zealots are by far the worst. In the minds of Islamic fundamentalists, Islam ≠ Peace, Islam = Submission.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fun: Keep your Gentlemen Stockings Fresh

I'll admit it - my socks are getting pretty darn ratty. So, this morning I pulled out a bag of new socks that my wife bought for me some time ago. Fruit of the Loom they are. What do you do with a bag of new socks? If you're like me, you rip open the bag and dump them into your sock drawer. Well, I was quite surprised to find this bag of socks had a great new feature - a zip-lock top! Yup! That's right. A resealable plastic sock bag. Imagine the possibilities! They'll stay fresh in the freezer for decades. You can take one pair out at a time and the rest will stay as fresh as the day you bought them. And, the best part - after you wear them, you can seal them back up to keep the stinky sweat in. I'll bet these were invented with the TSA in mind!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Religion: A Hero gives up her practice in order to save her life

In my eyes Seyran Ates is a hero. Not just a hero, she is an amazingly brave hero. For twenty years she has been fighting against the subjugation of Muslim women by fighting for their rights. She is a lawyer and has represented countless women who have escaped from the tyranny of male domination. She has fought against "honor killings" to prevent the death of Muslim women who are slaughtered for the crime of wanting to be an equal member of society. She has fought against forced marriage and has helped many women escape abuse at the hands of their husbands. In 2005 she was named Germany's Woman of the Year, deservedly so. Facing increased pressure from Muslim men - ok, let me rephrase that - after being shot once, recently attacked outside a courtroom, and after receiving death threats daily, she has decided her life and her daughter's life took priority. She has decided to stop practicing law. What a tragedy that twisted religious ideology that thinks women are second class and should be killed for the honor of their husbands has driven this hero out of her career and more importantly has prevented her from saving the lives of countless women in the future.

Seyran's Web Page (in German)
Telegraph Story
Deutsche Welle Story
Western Resistance Story

Politics, Hypocrisy: Flippity Floppity

Matt Mechtel is running for the US House on the Republican ticket against incumbent Earl Pomeroy. For all the flack that Democrats have received from Republicans regarding the issue of "flip-flopping", I found todays news article in The Forum to be quite funny. It pertains to the issue of immigration.

Back in March, Mr. Mechtel made a statement in an interview about illegal aliens and immigration.

March 29, 2006:
Interviewer: Sure. One quick follow-up. One thought that I’ve had and I wanted to get your thought on it, was a key to maybe making it less, providing less of an incentive to illegal immigrate might be to make our legal immigration process easier, more streamlined. Is that something you agree with?

Mr. Mechtel: Absolutely, absolutely. We can work on streamlining that process and you know to the point right now where we do have illegals in the country, you know, let’s, let’s give them an amnesty period to get signed up and go through a period where they can legalize themselves so we don’t criminalize the people that are already here. They’ve made it here, let’s give them the opportunity to get melded into the system, let’s give them the opportunity to be legal. That way we can get a handle on this thing right to start with. We’ve got to start somewhere and there’s no perfect solution to this so, you know, that’s definitely one way we could start.
September 6, 2006 he made this statement:
“No one who is here illegally will ever get citizenship. There will be no amnesty.”
I love the response of Jim Fuglie, Executive Director of the ND Dem-NPL:

Fuglie said it is “interesting that the first debate on illegal immigrants in North Dakota this year is between Matt Mechtel and Matt Mechtel.”

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Politics: Vote For Us Or Die

I'm getting tired of the administration's fear mongering. So, I did what every citizen should do - I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper. Here's what I sent:

Dear Editor,

It would seem the Republican administration is feeling the pressure of public opinion and is reaching into their bag of tricks to pull out old, familiar messages. Yup. They're laying the fear card flat out on the table. They would have you believe that if you vote for a Democrat our border gates will suddenly be lifted and swarms of islamofacists will come streaming in to rape and murder our citizens. They keep lying about "cut and run" when the Democrats have long said we need a tough and smart approach to address the problems facing our nation and the world. Rumsfeld says we are immoral and stupid to criticize an administration that has never had any idea what threatens our nation or how to face it. This is coming from someone who three years ago said that the war would only last six more months! This is coming from a Secretary of Defense who would not listen to his generals when they pleaded to provide enough troops and equipment to face our enemies. This is coming from a man in power who, along with the vice president, thought the insurgency was "in its last throes". This rhetoric is coming from an administration that demonstrably never had a plan in the beginning and is still floundering and waiting for Jesus to come down and save us. And you believe what they say about Democrats? They are not protecting us. They are not thinking about, nor solving, the problems that face our country. Why? They are too busy worrying about how to make people afraid enough to vote for them. We don't need strategies on how to win elections, we need strategies on how to save the world.

We are seeing the same old tricks. The Republicans say the same lies over and over again until people forget the truth. The truth is Democrats do not want an immediate pullout from Iraq. They know we are entrenched there for some time, but for God's sake, we need to plan beyond tomorrow. We need to start coming up with a strategy to bring our brave men and women back. We need to convince the Iraqi forces they will have to take control of their own security. That will never happen with an open-ended occupation.

Democrats want a smart military. We need to regroup and restore our armed forces that are so thinly stretched now. We have other threats arising around the world. What would we do if the problems in Iran or North Korea suddenly escalated today? We don't have the military resources to address them. Democrats know that our security must start here at home. It has been five years since September the 11th and we are still not protecting our ports, protecting our nuclear plants, or protecting our citizens in meaningful ways.

Democrats know that building our economy, reeling in spending, and supporting all our citizens, not just the richest 1%, is the surest way to build a stronger, more unified nation. Democrats do have plans. Democrats do not want to tax and spend. I can't, for the life of me, understand why people keep supporting an administration that wants to borrow and spend. That is fiscal irresponsibility.

We do not need fear, we need leaders who will roll up their shirtsleeves and get down to work. We need smart leaders who will fight for Americans and our way of life. We need leaders in our elected offices that will reach across partisan boundaries and solve problems. When President Bush stood up and addressed our nation during his inaugural speech and pledged to unite our nation by "reaching out to all who share his beliefs," I knew then the country would be more divided than ever.

Let me say this again. Democrats have plans to turn this country in a new direction, to better the lives of its citizens, and secure our nation. They have plans to restore our status in the world as a strong but caring nation. They will not ignore the world's environmental problems and will do their part to keep our planet alive for generations to come. They have plans to balance our nation's checkbook so our kids will not have to pay for our fiscal ineptitude. Democrats want to instill hope rather than spread fear.

Don't be swayed by lies. Read. Become informed about all candidates who will be coming up for election - locally, statewide, or national. Ask tough questions and expect detailed answers. It is the responsibility of all of us to be informed voters, not ignorant followers. That is how we will change our country for the better.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Terror: Fox guarding the henhouse

The Syrians object to an international peace force on the border of Lebanon so they say THEY will prevent arms shipments to Hizbollah.

Syria to enforce arms embargo
Syria promised to "undertake as soon as possible" measures to increase its number of border guards and give them additional training and equipment, Annan said. Syria will also establish liaisons with the Lebanese armed forces, border police and international personnel "in order to set up an effective interdiction regime," the secretary-general added.

Asked whether such measures would succeed in blocking arms shipments to Hezbollah, Annan replied: "I think it can happen. It may not be 100 percent, but it will make quite a lot of difference if the government puts in place the measures the government has discussed with me. I have no reason to believe it will not be done."

Hmm . . wait a minute . .isn't Syria one of the countries that supports terrorism? Didn't they arm Hizbollah in the first place?

US State Department:
Syria provides safehaven and material support for several Palestinian rejectionist groups, including HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Abu Musa Organization (AMO), and the Popular Struggle Front (PSF).

Syria continues to provide safe haven and political cover to Hizbollah in Lebanon, a group responsible for killing hundreds of Americans and numerous others in the past. Syrian support for Hizbollah continues to be a major impediment towards progress in our counterterrorism efforts. Syria allows resupply of Hizbollah from Iran via Damascus. Syria also allows wanted Hizbollah terrorists, including Imad Mugniyah, to transit Syria and find haven there. The Syrian military presence in Lebanon supports Hizbollah actions there.
Nonpartison Council on Foreign Relations:
Syria and Iran work together over issues related to Hezbollah.

After 29 years of occupation, Syria was forced out of Lebanon in April 2005 largely due to massive public and international protests. The results of a preliminary U.N. investigation into the February 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, implicated several top officials in the Syrian government. Following the preliminary report, the United Nations passed a resolution requiring full cooperation from Damascus into the murder investigation. Although Syria has officially withdrawn from Lebanon, experts say it maintains intelligence operations there, and continues to exert some influence, both in politics and through its support of Hezbollah.
While I have respect for Kofi Annan as leader of the United Nations, I think he is seriously ingenuous. To state that he has no reason to believe Syria will not follow through means that he is completely ignorant of Syria's nature and recent history.