Archive for September, 2006

This Pretty Much Sums Up My Attitude Today

Friday, September 29th, 2006

(Click the picture to order your very own magnet.)

Sorry I Missed It

Friday, September 29th, 2006

The public hearing over whether or not to rename Richard Scrushy Parkway turned into a shouting match that spilled out into the street.  Local talk radio host Frank Matthews, a long-time Scrushy supporter, argued against the name change, saying Scrushy had not been found guilty.  Huh?  In what alternate universe?  I guess Frank missed this:

In June 2005, a Birmingham jury acquitted Scrushy on criminal charges related to the massive accounting scandal at HealthSouth. This past June, Scrushy was convicted by a federal jury on six charges against him – bribery, conspiracy and four counts of honest services mail fraud.

There was no decision at last night’s meeting — the proposed name change has been referred to a committee.

The People Who Run Denny’s Must Be Dumber Than Rocks

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

How many discrimination suits does it take before you figure out not to discriminate?  Maybe the Denny’s folks figured if they weren’t refusing to serve Hispanics or requiring prepayment from black customers, they wouldn’t get in trouble for firing a manager who had to have her leg amputated because they considered her a safety risk.  I cannot muster the words to describe the utter stupidity.

Congress Rolls Over for Bush (Again)

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Human rights?  What human rights?  If W says you’re an enemy combatant, your ass is off to Gitmo.  Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, and do not expect to see the light of day again.  No appeals, no recourse.  And the definition of “enemy combatant” has been expanded to mean pretty much anything Bush wants it to mean.  So far, this doesn’t apply to US citizens, although it does apply to non-citizens living here legally.

For all the religious right’s screaming about women’s rights and gay rights bringing about the end of American civilization, it’s one of their own who is dismantling democracy right in front of our eyes.  I hope they’re proud of him.  I’m not.

Bush Wants His “Disappear and Torture” Bill, and He Wants It Now!

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

W headed over to Capitol Hill today (presumably before flying in and screwing up traffic in Birmingham) to urge Congress to pass his reinterpretation of the Geneva Conventions.  Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA ) introduced an amendment that would restore detainees’ right to challenge their detention, but it was defeated.  And that’s a good thing for W — not, as he says, because there are so many bad people out there who want to hurt us, but because it seems almost every time a detention is challenged, it turns out the detainee is either completely innocent or only tangentially connected to terrorism.

Specter said the right to challenge one’s detention was fundamental in American law, and that the Supreme Court would reject the plan if the right were stripped.

“This is wrong. It is unconstitutional. It is un-American,” said Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee’s top Democrat. “It is designed to ensure that the Bush-Cheney administration will never again be embarrassed by a United States Supreme Court decision reviewing its unlawful abuses of power.”

Our very own Jeff Sessions (R-idiot) had to chime in and show his complete disregard for those who are a bit too brown or too not-American:

Republicans said lawsuit[s] from Guantanamo inmates were clogging the courts and detracted from the war on terrorism.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said the bill should not “create a long-term battle with the courts over everybody that’s being detained. It is a function of the military and the executive branch to conduct a war.”

So instead of carefully investigating these prisoners, many of whom were handed over for a bounty with no proof they had done anything wrong, and quickly releasing those who can’t be linked to terrorism, we’ll just throw them in Guantanamo or some other prison and let them rot there forever.  If they can’t challenge their detention, then they’ll just have to shut up and deal with it.

That’s a great way to spread American values around the world.

Seen Somewhere In Birmingham

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Okay, before anyone yells at me, I think Hugo Chavez was out of line in his remarks to the UN.  But I just about fell out of my chair laughing at a comment I saw somewhere that the sulfur smell was actually due to Bush’s fondness for flatulence.  I hope he can restrain himself while he’s in town today, but those of us who comprise “the public” will never know for sure.

Hat tip, REDACTED you know who you are.

W Comes To Town

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Bush will be in Birmingham today, visiting Hoover’s Homeland Security Department — I mean Public Safety building — and then zipping downtown for a Riley fundraiser.  Here’s the money quote:

Neither event is open to the public.

That’s pretty much the story of the entire Bush presidency.

Proof of Something I Already Knew

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Kids are almost always better with computers than their parents are.  A three-year-old bought himself a pink convertible on eBay, using his mother’s password and the “Buy It Now” option.  That’s what happens when you click “remember me on this computer” or other similar options.  I hope my children don’t hear about this and get ideas.  (Fortunately, the seller didn’t hold the parents to the $17,000 bid.)

Compromise Compromised

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

When is Sen. John McCain going to figure out that George W. Bush can’t be trusted?  The compromises in the detainee bill worked out last week have already been sabotaged by “re-working” over the weekend.

From the New York Times:

In one change, the original language said that a suspect had the right to “examine and respond to” all evidence used against him. Mr. Graham and his colleagues in resisting the White House, Senators John W. Warner of Virginia and John McCain of Arizona, had insisted that the provision was necessary to prevent so-called secret trials. The bill submitted late Monday dropped the word “examine” and left only “respond to,” reviving complaints about secret trials, this time from Democrats.

In another, the original compromise said that evidence seized “outside the United States” could be admitted in court even if it had been obtained without a search warrant, a provision Republicans and Democrats agreed was necessary to deal with the unusual circumstances of seizing evidence on the battlefield.

The bill introduced Monday dropped the words “outside the United States,” which Democrats said meant that prosecutors could ignore American legal standards on search warrants within the country. The bill also broadened the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant, from anyone “engaged in hostilities against the United States” to include anyone who “has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.”

“These are significant changes, not technical changes,” said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, where the original bill backed by Senators Warner, McCain and Graham was approved. “It’s hard to know how to vote on a bill that’s this much in motion.”

Now the plan is to push the bill through before the election year recess so Bush can parade a “victory” before the voters.  Here’s the problem: we have a president who cannot tolerate dissent and lackeys who do everything possible to shield him from the real world.  I don’t think we should be handing him any more power to declare US citizens to be enemy combatants or to try them using secret evidence (although House Republicans say they will restore the word “examine”, I’ll believe it when I see it).  Of course, it doesn’t really matter how the bill reads; W will just include a signing statement that says whatever he wants it to say.

The same Republicans who are supporting the President now would be screaming in horror if a Democratic President asked for such power — and so should all of us.  I have no desire to live in a dictatorship, whether it comes through military coup or blind loyalty to a power-hungry bully.

Stricter Voting Laws Disproportionately Impact Poor, Elderly

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Republicans who are pushing for stricter voting laws, like state-issued picture ID or proof of citizenship, seem to believe that there’s an epidemic of voter fraud.  I’m not so sure.  Voter turnout is abysmally low in most elections.  If the majority of registered voters can’t be bothered to go to the polls, why would a flood of illegal immigrants, felons, or others who can’t vote legally take the time and risk of registering, much less turning up at a precinct on election day?

This article in the New York Times confirms my hunch: there is little to no evidence of widespread voter fraud across the US.  Cracking down on supposed fraud by requiring a new ID or a birth certificate is only going to suppress the vote of poor and/or elderly people who have every right to cast their ballots but don’t have the transportation, money, or access to time off to scoot around to various government offices in order to obtain documents.

Don’t get me wrong; in theory, I have absolutely no problem with requiring proof of identity to vote.  But I live in a little bubble where everyone has a car and a driver’s license and (most likely) a passport and access to funds if they need to order a new copy of their birth certificate.  And this kind of comment is truly offensive:

“Democrats believe they represent stupid people who are not smart enough to vote,” said Randy Pullen, a Republican national committeeman from Arizona who championed a statewide initiative on the new requirements. “I do not.”

No, Mr. Pullen, Democrats don’t equate being poor or elderly with being stupid.  They do understand that people in these groups have limited access to resources many of us take for granted.  That doesn’t mean we should limit their access to the voting booth.