Archive for October, 2005

Just In Time for Halloween

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Have your guts scooped for Jesus! Read the Green Knight’s take on Focus on the Family’s Halloween suggestions. If Dobson is supposed to be such an expert on children, why doesn’t he know that they are concrete thinkers? My children have watched me scoop pumpkin guts, and it’s not a pretty sight. I don’t want them thinking that Jesus is going to sneak up and Roto-Rooter their innards.

Halloween Hilarity

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Click on over to Red Hair & Black Leather and check out Jeff’s Top Ten Reasons Why Trick-or-Treating Is Better Than Sex.

Think Progress Has Info on Alito

Monday, October 31st, 2005

This is some scary stuff. Alito is already being hailed as both a nice guy and a conservative judicial activist. If he and Scalia are on the Supreme Court together, they can “good-cop, bad-cop” the other justices until they turn back the clock on individual rights.

From Think Progress:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]

I don’t like the looks of this at all.

Link via Pam’s House Blend.

Bush Nominates Alito

Monday, October 31st, 2005

(AFP/Luke Frazza)

Bush has wasted no time nominating Samuel Alito as a replacement for Harriet Miers. That look on his face gives me the creeps. He looks like he’s about to sprout fangs and sink them into Alito’s neck. I expect he needs to replenish his life force after last week.

This may turn into an ugly fight — or the Democrats and moderate Republicans may roll over and give this guy a pass. At least Arlen Specter is making a show of asking questions.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Penn., a supporter of abortion rights, said that Alito’s views “will be among one of the first items Judge Alito and I will discuss.”

Not that it matters.

Given solid Republican support in the Senate — where the GOP controls 55 of the 100 seats — Democrats would have to filibuster to block Alito’s confirmation, a tactic that comes with political risks. Conservatives who denounced Miers as an unqualified crony quickly praised Alito.

Bush has learned his lesson, and he won’t be going against the religious right again. He has to rehabilitate his image and burnish his “legacy”. And make us all look deep into his eyes and forget…

The nomination of Alito, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990, is one step in Bush’s political recovery plan as he tries to regain his footing after a cascade of troubles rocked his presidency.

Bush’s approval rating in the polls has tumbled to the lowest point of his presidency and Americans are unhappy about high energy prices, the costly war in Iraq and economic doubts. Bush also has been hit by a criminal investigation that reached into the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and led to the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff, on perjury and other charges in the CIA leak investigation.

Homeland Security Misses Many Deadlines

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

I feel safer already. Could the Bush administration be any more incompetent?

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.

A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue. Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late. A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.

“The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA’s leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department,” said Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Our nation is still vulnerable.”

In fairness, Congress set a lot of deadlines, and not all of them for essential projects.

Lawmakers piled on deadline after deadline for reports, plans and regulations while the department, created after the 2001 attacks, had to integrate 22 agencies with 170,000 workers and cope with terrorist threats and hurricanes.

Those deadlines, sometimes for minor projects, distract the department from putting in place the most important security measures, experts say. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, scrambled to try to meet a Feb. 15 deadline to ban butane lighters from airplanes, a precaution that does little to protect airliners, they said.

“You have no ability to prioritize against something like that, and it’s going to take up all your time,” said Dan Prieto, homeland security expert with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The urgent becomes the enemy of the important.”

Of course, Bushco told us all that the Department of Homeland Security would rip through the bureaucracy, streamline everything, and protect us from the Terrists who Hate AmurrikaTM. Uh huh.

CNN: Libby Has Been Indicted

Friday, October 28th, 2005

The indictments include two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements, and one count of obstruction of justice — all felonies. More as it develops.

UPDATE: Cheney is at the center of the charges. He’d better hope Libby works out a plea.

UPDATE #2: Libby has resigned. No surprise there.

UPDATE #3: The Smoking Gun has a link to the official indictment. Thanks to Blogenfreude at Agitprop for the tip.

Not to Worry – DeLay Is Still Twisting In the Wind

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Prosecutor Ronnie Earle has subpoenaed 2002 emails from several of Tom DeLay’s associates who are also under indictment for an illegal campaign finance scheme.

AUSTIN, Texas – Three indicted associates of Republican U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay are being asked to hand over to a Texas prosecutor all their e-mails from 2002 in an investigation into an alleged campaign finance scheme.

DeLay, meanwhile, railed against Democrats in a letter Thursday accusing them of engaging in “the politics of personal destruction.” [Well, Tom, you certainly should recognize it when you see it. And I guess you're right, if you mean you personally brought about your own political destruction.]

The latest subpoenas issued by District Attorney Ronnie Earle request correspondence to and from e-mail addresses belonging to John Colyandro, Jim Ellis and Warren RoBold. He did not ask DeLay to provide e-mails.

Colyandro was executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee founded by DeLay. Ellis runs DeLay’s national fund-raising committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, and RoBold is a Republican fund-raiser in Washington.

Prosecutors allege that DeLay and his associates funneled corporate money given to the Texas committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee, which sent it back to seven GOP candidates for the Texas Legislature. Texas law prohibits corporate money from being used directly in a political campaign.

DeLay, Ellis and Colyandro are charged with conspiracy and money laundering. Colyandro and RoBold are charged with accepting or making restricted corporate donations….

….In a letter prepared for the Republican Party newsletter in DeLay’s home county of Fort Bend, he linked his case to investigations into possible misconduct by White House adviser Karl Rove and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

“What we’re fighting is so much larger than a single court case or a single district attorney in Travis County,” DeLay wrote. “We are witnessing the criminalization of conservative politics.” [So you admit that conservative politics are rife with corruption?]

Poor Tom. He’s just mad because he got caught. I’m sure he thought he was too powerful to be brought to account. But when you do everything you can to bring down a sitting president because of sex, you do leave yourself open to a little karmic payback.

Indictment Watch

Friday, October 28th, 2005

It looks like yes on Libby and not yet on Rove. Announcements coming at noon eastern time.

Sick Child (and Adult) Update

Friday, October 28th, 2005

The bug has moved on to me and to the 12-year-old daughter. Last night was very long….

So far the husband has avoided it, but that means he has to wait on the rest of us. Seven-year-old daughter is out of school today because of teacher conferences. She is well now, and will be spectacularly bored before long. I’m going to try to sleep through it all.

Blogenfreude had a good point in the comments below: “sorry about your child. this is why I have a cat – she barfs on my favorite piece of clothing, and it’s over. “ This is so true. I’m not ready to trade in the kids, but death (mine) was sounding like a viable alternative a few hours ago.

This Is Cool

Friday, October 28th, 2005

George Takei, who played Ensign through Captain Sulu in Star Trek, has come out. I am a complete Star Trek nerd. The original TV series looks cheesy these days, but it was way ahead of its time in tackling controversial issues, race being a big one. Apparently, the show’s setting in space of the future made the censors more lenient. The later series continued this pattern; Next Generation had an episode back in the 90′s that blatantly attacked bigotry based on sexual identity.

Takei said the current political climate made it necessary for him to speak out:

“The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay,” he said. “The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.”

The 68-year-old actor said he and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.

“It’s against basic decency and what American values stand for,” he said.

Good for you, George. I wish you and your partner many more happy years together.