Archive for December, 2005

It’s Almost Midnight…

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Bloggers Face to Face

Friday, December 30th, 2005

I had a real treat today — lunch with Pam (of Pam’s House Blend), her partner Kate, and Kate’s sister Sarah. Pam and Kate are here to visit Kate’s family, and Sarah is back in town after her apartment near Biloxi was wiped out by Katrina (and Sarah, I hope I’m spelling your name correctly). We enjoyed Greek food and lots of political conversation. I filled them in on some of the progressive activities going on in Birmingham and elsewhere in Alabama, and they were pleasantly surprised to find out that there are some good things happening in the state.

Progress is slow, and it isn’t always obvious, but the pace of change isn’t as glacial as it might appear. Democrats and independents are beginning to come together to push for reforms. Just in the past year, we saw the formation of the Over the Mountain Democrats, targeted at progressives who live in the mostly Republican suburbs south and east of town, and a local chapter of the Stonewall Democrats. Equality Alabama continues to provide a voice for the LGBT community in the state, and the Equality Fund PAC works with the Legislature to keep the most egregious anti-gay bills bottled up in committee. I’m seeing more and more Bright Blue Dots on the backs of SUVs , and Roy Moore’s bid to become our next governor isn’t going as well as he hoped.

Pam is just as interesting and fun in person as she is at the House Blend, and Kate is as well-informed and articulate as you’d expect. They are a great match. Sarah is a feisty progressive with a sense of humor, and I’m glad she’s back in Birmingham. I know there’s hope for the Southeast when we have citizens like them.

Pam and Kate, I wish you safe travel. Come back soon!

UPDATE: Pam has a really nice post at the House Blend.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

…with no political meaning whatsoever. Whether your faith tradition celebrates holy days this time of year or you’re just getting a welcome respite from the routine, I hope your days are blessed with love, laughter, good food, fun, family, and friends.

I’ll be cooking my first Christmas dinner on my own this year. Wonderful husband is smoking a turkey and a couple of pork tenderloins, and my mother-in-law will bring fabulous desserts, but I’m tackling the dressing, sweet potatoes, et al, by myself. My parents won’t be able to come over this year; the chemo is really wearing Daddy down, so we’ll go see them early next week. I’m used to my mother taking over the kitchen when they visit, but this year it’s time to step up and be an adult (at 46).

Pam (of Pam’s House Blend) and Kate will be visiting Birmingham after Christmas, and I’m hoping we get the chance to meet in the real world.

May the new year bring us all good health, happiness, and lots of interesting stories to blog.

A Heads Up For My Reader(s)

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

If you have noticed a time lag in posting of your comments, worry not! I somehow attracted some really disgusting spammers to a post about storm names that I put up a couple of months ago. In order to avoid having to delete twenty or thirty comments a day that were advertising some truly horrendous websites, I have configured my options to hold comments for moderation if they contain any of a long list of words frequently associated with spam.

As you know if you’ve been reading here for a while, I have no problem with profanity properly applied, so feel free to use the words necessary to express your opinion. If your comment is held up, I’ll approve it ASAP. Thanks for visiting the Blues, and keep those comments coming!

Cheney Breaks Tie To Approve Budget Cuts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Happy holidays to the poor and elderly. Senate Republicans eked out a one-vote “victory” with help from the VP. They’re so proud that they are reducing the size of the federal government at the expense of those who can’t afford to buy votes. But, as usual, it’s only a bunch of smoke and mirrors:

WASHINGTON – The Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to cut federal deficits by $39.7 billion on Wednesday by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote…

…By themselves, the deficit cuts included in the five-year bill would amount to only 2.5 percent of projected shortfalls totaling $1.6 trillion [emphasis added] over the same time frame. Republicans said the significance lies in more than mere numbers, adding that programs such as Medicare and Medicaid threaten to consume an unsustainable amount of federal revenue if their growth is not trimmed quickly.

So let’s screw some poor old people — they’re probably Democrats, anyway — and make a bunch of noise about reducing the deficit. That’ll make the fiscal conservatives happy, and we’ll keep up the pressure on the gays to keep the fundies in line. Ho ho ho!

It’s All the ACLU’s Fault

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Click here for a scary read at No More Mister Nice Blog.

A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, “The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.

…Writing for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich said the ACLU’s “repeated reference ‘to the separation of church and state’ … has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”

It doesn’t matter that the Supreme Court recently ruled against two very similar displays in nearby counties. The judge said those displays were put up with great public acclaim, while this one was more low-key. I guess he thinks Roy Moore’s 5,000 pound monument is okay too, since Roy sneaked it into the Alabama Judicial Building in the middle of the night.

Abramoff Getting Ready To Sing

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

WASHINGTON – Lawyers for Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff are in discussions with the Justice Department about his possible cooperation in a congressional corruption probe, a person involved in the investigation said Tuesday night.

The probe involves a number of members of Congress as well as staff. A former aide to ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, has already pleaded guilty.

And may I say, “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” (Yes, I know some Democrats will be swept up in this probe, but if they’re corrupt, they deserve it.)

Republicans: Bringing Honor Back to Washington?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Nice to see that Tom DeLay enjoyed the perks of office.

WASHINGTON (AP) – As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants – all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.

Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.

Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts with lush fairways; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.

Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children’s charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress.

Kinda makes me want to vomit.

Moore Lets the Little Woman Do His Dirty Work

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Roy Moore’s wife, Kayla, has sent out an email asking supporters for contributions to help Roy become a “national spokesperson for Christian conservatism”.

Kayla Moore wrote in an e-mail that Christmas was an appropriate time to begin their campaign “to return morality to our country and God to our public square.” Her husband is opposed by people who want to promote gay marriage and “remove Christ from Christmas,” she wrote. ..

…In the letter, Kayla Moore suggested the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State “will stop at nothing to keep Roy Moore out of the Governor’s office in Alabama!”

“In short, they want to continue to promote homosexual marriages, maintain abortion on demand and remove Christ from Christmas,” Kayla Moore wrote. “They FEAR nothing more than the emergence of a powerful national spokesperson for Christian conservatism.

“And make no mistake: If elected governor of Alabama, my husband will be that spokesman!” she wrote. “But again, he can’t get there alone which is why I am hoping you and thousands of other Christian conservatives will join with my husband in his campaign for governor.”

That’s just what the state of Alabama needs — a governor who knows nothing about running state government and who plans to spend his time as a “national spokesperson for Christian Conservatism”. As the email continues, the ick factor increases:

“I know I am asking a lot especially right in the middle of this Christmas season when your focus is on family, friends and loved ones,” the letter reads. “But, I can think of no better time than this Holy Season to begin our campaign to return morality to our country and God to our public square. We need a man like Roy Moore as governor of Alabama. With your help and God’s grace we can, and will prevail!”

Of course, Roy’s idea of morality includes defying federal court orders and executing homosexuals.

We’re Frogs!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

The fact that anyone is defending Bush’s illegal domestic spying program is a strong indication that we have turned into frogs. I’m sure you know the old wives’ tale: a frog thrown into a pot of boiling water will jump right out, but if the water is slowly heated to a boil, the frog will stay in the pot, oblivious to its impending demise.

The Bush administration has slowly raised the temperature on US citizens, with political dirty tricks, tax cuts for the rich, increasing deficits, the Patriot Act, corruption, “free-speech” zones, lying us into a war with Iraq, more tax cuts for the rich, leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent for political payback, buying the media, torture, corporate welfare for oil companies, cutting social programs that help the poor, and now domestic spying without warrants. All along the way, sycophants have defended these actions and spun opposition as misguided at best and treason at worst. And it appears that the American public has slowly adjusted to the destruction of the social safety net and the erosion of our civil liberties.

We are boiling to death, and we sit comfortably in the pot. What will it take to make us jump?