Friday, June 06, 2003

So what's going on in Bush's America today? Let's see....

Unemployment hits a 9-year high

Polluters get away with murder while toothless EPA does nothing

Republicans try to eliminate the filibuster rule in the Senate because 2 of Bush's 128 judicial nominees were not approved and Bush demands 100 pecent compliance from a rubber-stamp Congress.

A Pentagon spokesman explains that a DOD intelligence report issued prior to the war that said "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons" was actually consistent with the administration's claims that Iraq had huge piles of Weapons of Mass Destruction that required an immediate, pre-emptive invasion to eliminate. The spokesman also goes on to explain that black is white, up is down and yesterday is tomorrow.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

I'm a real sucker for lists. This one is from Country Music Television and purports to be the Top 100 Country songs of all time.
Lots of good ones on the list, but also some filler. I don't see "Luchenbach, Texas" anywhere.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Seeing as how the flag buring issue is bound to keep resurfacing every few years like some kind of zombie horror show I decided to dig up this old Letter to the Editor on that subject that I wrote during the first Bush presidency. This was published in the Bryan-College Station Eagle on July 13, 1989.

“The hysterical wave of nationalism that has swept across our country has encouraged our President to propose an amendment to our Constitution that would put a serious dent in the Bill of Rights. No, even worse than a dent, it would be a wedge that future leaders could use to pressure in even broader restrictions on our freedom of expression.
Some people seem to be surprised that the First Amendment protects more than just the spoken word. The Surpreme Court has consistently held that symbolic actions are protected as free expression as long as they are conducted peacefully. This is nothing new. What is new is this near idolatry of the flag. Having respect for what the flag stands for is one thing, worshipping the flag itself is something else.
Chief Justice Rehnquist was wrong in trying to compare flag burning to defacing a public monument. A protester cannot purchase a monument, but they can go to any store and buy their own flag. If they burn someone else’s flag then they should be tried for theft and destruction of another’s property. But they should not be penalized for expressing anger and resentment against the government in the most dramatic and shocking way - burning a symbol of that government. What if they fire up a copy of the Constitution or hang an effigy of the President? Would this not be equally offensive? Our founding fathers believed that goodness and righteousness would always prevail through forces of reason and therefore were not afraid to allow a free flow of ideas. Why are we afraid today?”

With folks like John Ashcroft and Tom Delay in charge of things these days maybe we should be afraid!

"Sen. Clinton calls husband a liar"
That is the screaming Page 1, top of the fold, banner headline in today's San Antonio Express-News. One would think, from the way the newspaper is playing the story, that Sen. Clinton had denounced her husband, the former president, just yesterday from the floor of the Senate. But the story is actually an Associated Press review of Hilary Clinton's new book "Living History" which is a memoir of her 8 years as First Lady. Sure, it reveals for the first time the pain she felt when her husband's infidelity was exposed during the Monica Lewinsky/Ken Starr debacle in the late 1990s. And I suppose that even makes it somewhat newsworthy. I could even see a newspaper teasing the story on its front page and then running it inside somewhere. But treating it like the major news of the day in such tabloid fashion is something I thought was beneath my local newspaper. It certainly helps to make the point that Eric Alterman makes in his book "What Liberal Media?" which is that there is no liberal bias in the news media, especially when it concerns the Clintons.

Meanwhile, runner-up for President George W. Bush has told one of the biggest lies in modern political history when he claimed repeatedly that Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. So where are these tons of biological and chemical agents that Bush detailed in his State of the Union address and in multiple speeches leading up to our pre-emptive military invasion? If he was so concerned that they were there back then, why isn't he more concerned that they are missing now? Did they really end up in Syria or Iran or in the hands of Al Quaeda terrorists? Or is it more likely that these weapons were destroyed long ago and Bush purposely misread intelligence reports to make his case for a military confrontation?

I saw this quote floating around on the Internet and it is particularly apt to think about right now. "Nobody Died When Clinton Lied" Yeah, and nobody lost their job either.

Interestingly enough, the AP story is not really that sensational. It is just the headline writers and editors at the Express-News whose bias is showing in this case. For example, inside on the jump page the story has the following statement "She (Hilary) concludes that what her husband did was morally wrong, but not a betrayal of the public." And what is the subhead for the story as it continues on Page 4A? "Sen. Clinton tells of betrayal"

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I noticed on C-SPAN today that in the House they are debating a flag burning amendment once again. This is amazing. It is like an annual ritual that the Republican right must go through every year. They have been debating this thing since I was in college in the mid-1980s and they just keep bringing it back over and over again. I guess I should dig up the old letters to the editor I wrote about this issue back in College Station (where I was probably the only member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who was also active with Students Against Apartheid).

I guess it's not like we have anything more important to concern ourselves with. Like maybe these missing Weapons of Mass Destruction that we went to war over just a few months ago that nobody seems to care about anymore. Or how about the stagnant economy and the 2 million jobs lost since runner-up W. took office? No, the flag debate is a great distraction. Funny how I haven't noticed any flag burning during the past 15 years while our national symbol has remained unprotected by a Constitutional amendment. But I have noticed lots of people wrapping themselves in the flag on a regular basis.

I got to see the big dust-up between right-wing talkmeister Bill O'Reilly and liberal comedian/author Al Franken that was televized on C-SPAN today. I have to admit that it was never as nasty an exchange as I was led to believe. I thought that O'Reilly was pompous and kind of dry. Franken was just flat-out funny. I loved the way he kicked off his talk about his new book "Lies and the Lying Liers Who Tell Them" (with a picture of O'Reilly on the cover, by the way) by announcing that God had told him to write the book to correct the assertion by Bush that he had been chosen by God to be president. No, actually it was Clarence Thomas who chose him to be president, Franken says.

Molly Ivins was also on the bill with Franken and O'Reilly and it was wonderful to see her looking so well and nice to know that she is coming out with her own new book "Bushwhacked." I remember seeing Molly many years ago in College Station when she gave a talk at a local Unitarian Church. Back then, Bush Jr. was just a failed businessman who kept getting one incredible break after another eventually leading up to partial ownership of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Today, Bush Jr. is our president despite the fact that myself and a majority of American voters (even in Florida) did not vote for him. And so far, his presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. Josh Marshall today talks about a new poll out that shows how America's image with other countries has plummeted since the war with Iraq began. And that image will only get more tarnished if it turns out that Iraq never had the WMDs that we used to justify a pre-emptive military invasion.

Monday, June 02, 2003

This is pretty neat! I'm a "Crunchy Crustacean" in the Blogosphere Ecosystem over at The Truth Laid Bear. The site uses a special program to track the number of inbound links to weblogs registered at the site and then ranks them accordingly.

So far I'm ranked at No. 2076 out of about 2612 web logs tracked on the site. I have 2 inbound links thanks to Off the Kuff and Easter Lemming - Liberal News which both were good enough to link to my May 20th rant about the sparcity of liberal voices in the national media.

Now all I need to do is get blogrolled by a couple more web sites and I can evolve up through the blogosphere food chain to become a "Lowly Insect"!