Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Vic Harville Posted by Picasa

Did Anyone Ever Tell You - You Look Like . . .

A fun little program, MyHeritage, allows you to "Find the Celebrity in You."

After you complete a free registration, you upload a picture, and the program uses a face recognition process to detect the face in the photo. It then tries to match it with famous people that closely resemble you. You can use different pictures to see which celebrities it identifies more than once.

I've tried it a few times with my family & my daughter comes up with the above photos fairly often. I can see a resemblence. Best of all, for those like me, who don't know who anyone is, it has a link to a bio of the celebrity. We both came up with Hillary Clinton a few times, but I don't think either one of us looks like her.

Try it, you'll like it.
(Photos from MyHeritage): Jessica Alba, Ann Hathaway and Queen Rania

The Colbert Lampoon

Editor & Publisher says it all in an aptly titled piece: Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President Does Not Seem Amused. A few highlights of Colbert's scathing routine:

A blistering comedy “tribute” to President Bush by Comedy Central’s faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

* * * *

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

* * * *

Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face.

Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

* * * *

E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few sitting near him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting--or too much speaking "truthiness" to power.

Asked by E&P after it was over if he thought he'd been too harsh, Colbert said, "Not at all." Was he trying to make a point politically or just get laughs? "Just for laughs," he said. He said he did not pull any material for being too strong, just for time reasons.
He definitely spoke Truthiness to Power. It was blistering. A few of the jabs probably came close to bursting the Bush Bubble.

OneGoodMove has a video exerpt of highlights here: Stephen Colbert as well as the closing act video of his audition for the position of Press Secretary. Another video is at Crooks and Liars.

Also, it looks like everyone wanted the job as Propagandist-in-Chief. Here's a must see video of Bill Maher's Audition.

UPDATE: If you'd like to double your pleasure, double your fun, here's the video of the "Two Presidents" skit -- Steve Bridges & that other guy. Much as I hate to say it, it's really pretty funny.

"Reality has a well-know liberal bias." -- Stephen Colbert

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Jeff Danziger Posted by Picasa

Friday Funnies

Now the Bush has someone new to give us a Snow Job, aptly named Tony Snow, Jon Stewart presents the latest installment of the comic book "The Decider." Check it out here: Everybody's Got A Job (via One Good Move).

It's Friday, so it's time to relax and enjoy.

Here's a clip of an interview with Robin Williams on the Daily Show. Of course, he's wearing a shirt that says "The Decider." Robin Williams is the best.

You can see the first installment of The Decider here: You're Not the Boss of Me.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Jeff Danziger Posted by Picasa

And the Blog Goes On

The battle continues between journalists and bloggers, as played out in the Sunday Opinion section of the Philly Inquirer, called Currents. The paper featured three op-ed articles discussing the future of the newspaper industry and the impact of the internet and blogs. Not surprisingly, the opinions are varied.

Attytood, who has written extensively (and thoughtfully) about the issue, provides a summary in Newspapers and the need to let go: A "norg" roundup. "Norg" is shorthand for news organization, which is what he believes that papers need to be for the future. Substance over form - or format - is what's required in order to survive.

Daniel Rubin of Blinq also weighed in, expanding on the Inquirer's own editorial piece at He said, "Blog, Blog, Blog. As he explains:

The Sunday Inquirer scorched the earth to cover the blogs v newspapers debate, roping in Jeff Jarvis to posit how the era of newspaper may be over, Hugh Hewitt to argue how conservative blogs balance the liberal-dominated mainstream media, Richard Stengel to remind that to own a newspaper is to own a still-profitable public trust.

The Currents section's final word came from our newest op-ed columnist, Jonathan Last, who wrote a piece headlined, "Blog, humbug!: Good writing, news-gathering lose to speed and vehemence."

As I see it, bloggers and journalists are distracted by side issues (newspapers vs. internet) rather than the real threat to the press (in whatever form). Blogging is just a new medium, along with radio and TV. Obviously, I think it fits in nicely as an adjunct to newspapers. Most bloggers, like me, are not serving the role of journalist per se -- they do not "report" the news. They instead work to comment on the news or to assist in the dissemination of the news. Bloggers may pick up on a story that is not widely reported and spread the word through blogs. Once it becomes a big enough story in the blogworld, it often ends up back in the press, now as a bigger story.

Paper vs. paperless "newspaper" are the alternatives that readers are choosing, rather than no paper at all. It's the finances that need to be worked out, so that the press can maintain profitability. I can see some type of cable-type package being adopted, so that I can purchase access to an on-line group of papers (e.g. NYT, Washington Post, Philly Inquirer/Daily News, etc.), for a monthly fee.

Bloggers and journalists need to focus on the fact that the "enemy" is not each other, it is outside forces. For the press, the real issue is it's credibility, which is under assault by the Bush Administration. Jay Rosen of PressThink calls it "Rollback." In describing Scott McClellan's role, in The Jerk at the Podium: Scott McClellan Steps Away, Rosen says:
McClellan was a necessary figure in what I have called Rollback— the attempt to downgrade the press as a player within the executive branch, to make it less important in running the White House and governing the country. It had once been accepted wisdom that by carefully “feeding the beast” an Administration would be rewarded with better coverage in the long run. Rollback, the policy for which McClellan signed on, means not feeding but starving the beast, while reducing its effectiveness as an interlocutor with the President and demonstrating to all that the fourth estate is a joke.

* * * *

McClellan’s specialty was non-communication; what’s remarkable about him as a choice for press secretary is that he had no special talent for explaining Bush’s policies to the world. In fact, he usually made things less clear by talking about them. We have to assume that this is the way the President wanted it; and if we do assume that it forces us to ask: why use a bad explainer and a rotten communicator as your spokesman before the entire world? Isn’t that just dumb— and bad politics? Wouldn’t it be suicidal in a media-driven age with its 24-hour news cycle?

You would think so, but if the goal is to skate through unquestioned—because the gaps in your explanations are so large to start with—then to refuse to explain is a demonstration of raw presidential power. (As in “never apologize, never explain.”) So this is another reason McClellan was there. Not to be persuasive, but to refute the assumption that there was anyone the White House needed or wanted to persuade— least of all the press! Politics demands assent, on one hand, and attack on the other. (And those are your choices with Bush and Rove: assent or be attacked.) The very notion of persuasion conceded more to democratic politics than the Bush forces wanted to concede.
I discussed risks to the press from that policy a bit in Beam me up Scotty. In one of the Inquirer's op-ed pieces, Only viable press ensures freedom, Richard Stengel said it much more eloquently:

In 1787, the year the Constitution was signed, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his friend Edward Carrington: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Like many great writers, Jefferson was sometimes given to hyperbole, but his judgment reflects the framers' view that the survival of the republic depended on the free flow of information and informed citizens. Popular sovereignty - which is at the heart of our constitutional democracy - is viable only if citizens can make informed choices and considered decisions. And for all of our history, one of the critical sources of that information has been local papers.

The media are the only industry singled out for protection in the Bill of Rights, because the framers knew that where the flow of information is limited, the abuse of power becomes unlimited. The information in papers has always been a safeguard of our freedom. As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in his opinion in the Pentagon Papers case: "The government's power to censor the press was abolished so the press would remain free to censure the government."

* * * *

"Public opinion sets bounds to every government," James Madison wrote, "and it is the real sovereign of every free one." For our nation to remain free, public opinion must be informed and educated. Local papers are a vital way of doing that. They are a public trust that must be maintained and nourished and grown, otherwise, instead of having papers without a government, we might have a government without papers. That's a truly scary idea.
Yes it is.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

*Patrick Chappatte, International Herald Tribune Posted by Picasa

Everything Must Change

The Philadelphia Daily News reports on the emerging political involvement of bloggers in The new kids on Dem block. A number of politically active bloggers such as Albert Yee of Philly Dragonballyee and Chris Bowers of MyDD, are running for Democratic City Committee spots, but are encountering resistance from the party.

Change is always difficult, especially for the entrenched Democratic political machine. But change is also a good thing, especially when the status quo is an entrenched Democratic political machine.

The culture of corruption that exists in Washington is certainly more pervasive and destructive for the country as a whole than anything we are seeing locally, but Philly has its own culture of corruption. Owned, operated and controlled by Democrats. Over the past few years, Philadelphians have been treated to an on-going federal investigation of various Democratic city officials and others doing business with them.

Whenever one party has too much control, for too long, they get too cocky. They begin to believe that government exists for their benefit and their entitlement mentality causes the beginning of corruption. The results of that are apparent in Philly and DC.

More power to the new kids on the block!

The Real Ralph

When he ran for President and became a spoiler in the race, I really lost respect for Ralph Nader. In my opinion, he was the major reason that Al Gore lost the election (other than the Florida fiasco). And when you look at the disastrous consequences of that decision, it is difficult to forgive Nader.

Watching Ralph Nader discuss the hubris of corporations on the Colbert Report brings back memories of the "Good Ralph." Watch him discuss corporations and his new book The Good Fight.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Red Menace

It's official. I decided to have a mid-life crisis & enjoy myself. So I bought a Toyota Solara convertible -- red, of course.

Good Friday was not so good for me. After I picked up my daughter from school, we were in an accident on the way home. Luckily, no one was hurt. Bad thing was that I wasn't in a hurry or speeding, on the phone or otherwise distracted, so it really wasn't fair, as my daughter said. Roads were wet from rain, so I hydroplaned into a Jeep. No damage to Jeep. My Volvo was not so lucky. Got the word at the end of this week that my car was deemed totaled. (This, of course, could be the subject of a post on how much insurance sucks, but I'll leave that for another day).

After absorbing that bad news, I decided to go for it. Indulge myself. I always wanted a convertible, but always acted responsibly instead. My daughter tried to talk me out of it, saying that only rich, old men drive a convertible. Who cares?

Just picture me cruising around with the top down, my hair blowing in the wind . . . without a care in the world.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Marshall Ramsey, The Clarion Ledger Posted by Picasa

The Race is on

Inquirer columnist Tom Ferrick has started a blog about politics and government (what better topics for Ferrick?), called Ferrick's Poliblog 2006. I've already added it to my list of blog favorites.

In a post called A Five-Second Summary, he provides a "rundown of would-be candidates for mayor of Philadelphia. It summarizes the 165,000 words written about them to date." I usually try not to copy a post or article in it's entirety, but this had to be an exception. I just couldn't cut anything out:

John Dougherty.......... Too wild
Dwight Evans.............. Too serious
Chaka Fattah............... Too lazy
Tom Knox....................Too rich
Michael Nutter............ Too smart
Jon Saidle.................... Toupe

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Mike Lester, Rome News Tribune Posted by Picasa

Driving While Black, Local Edition

The Philly Inquirer provided the latest update in the Whitemarsh Township case regarding a pattern of discriminatory police tactics, in Officer's tactics no secret, some say. The essence of the claims are that:

For more than a decade, Whitemarsh Township officials and police commanders looked the other way while a rogue sergeant used racial profiling to illegally arrest blacks, according to current and former police officers.

They say allegations that Sgt. Guy Anhorn was targeting African American motorists - mainly Philadelphia residents - were known even in neighboring police departments. And they say Whitemarsh officials were repeatedly warned about him.

I count myself as part of "some say." Off and on, I have worked in the suburbs around Whitemarsh Township for over 15 years. I'm a long time "reverse commuter" from Philly to the 'burbs.

As part of my route to the office, I traveled on Ridge Pike for many years. As you cross the city line at Philadelphia border, the speed limit is reduced, so it is a favorite area for police to target drivers. However, it was amazing to me that a significant number of drivers pulled over by police were black, even though the vast majority of drivers on that road were not.

It was something that dawned on you over time. So much so that it became a mental game for me to pass the time on my way to and from the office. Whenever I saw someone stopped, I slowed down to look in the car to see the race of the driver. 9 out of 10 times -- black driver. Mostly male. Yet, if I had to guess, the percentage of minority drivers on that road was probably no more than 20-25%.

It was so obvious that it became the subject on an on-going joke in my Plymouth Meeting office. I was hardly the only one who noticed this pattern of police abuse. I used to say that I was going to start a civil rights practice and start handing my cards out at the city line between Philly and Whitemarsh Township.

In fact, when this story first broke a few years ago, after a group of blacks sued the Police Department, I seriously considered contacting counsel for the plaintiffs, to offer my story, for what it was worth. I never did, figuring that my testimony probably wouldn't meet evidentiary standards to be admitted in court.

But, I can attest without any doubt that the story is surely true.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Easy No More

One of Philly's all time great restaurant's, White Dog Cafe, and the Common Ground Collective have sponsored a Community Service Trip to New Orleans this week.

One of our Ladies Who Lunch is there, volunteering to help with rebuilding efforts. We haven't heard from her, despite the fact that she brought her digital camera and was going to try to email pictures to us. Her intentions are much better than her tech skills.

In my internet meanderings, I happened upon a blog called pursuing tzedek.* This Philadelphia Blogger is a Rabbinical student named Bri who is in New Orleans this week. Good chance they are on the same trip. Her impressions are posted on her blog.

*Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof - Justice, Justice shall you pursue - Deut. 16:20

I Remember When

This morning on the way to work I listened to the Morning Edition of NPR, which had a fascinating story of a woman with a special long-term memory abilities. Apparently, she has unique type of memory. As NPR says:

Neurobiologist James McGaugh, one of the world's experts on human memory, says that a woman he calls AJ has a one-of-a-kind memory. In an interview with NPR, she talks about what life is like for someone who can remember every single thing she's ever done or thought about. Her life is like a split-screen movie, with the past running almost as vividly as the present.
The report I heard was the second day of a 2 part series. Listen to it at NPR: Here's Part 1 -- Woman's Long-Term Memory Astonishes Scientists, and Part 2 -- Unique Memory Allows Woman to Replay Life Like a Movie.

UPDATE: ABC News also carried a story about this amazing feat: Woman With Perfect Memory Baffles Scientists. (Thanks Susan)

This is for the Ladies Who Lunch.
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Cartoon of the Day

* Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette Posted by Picasa

Beam me up Scotty

OK, we've had our fun with Press Secretary Scott McClellan's comings and goings, with the emphasis on goings, since he's now gone. See, e.g., Hello and Good bye (and don't miss the Updates) for some of the fun stuff.

Long ago and far away, in what seems like another life, I started my working career as a press aide for then PA Governor Milton Shapp. At that point, I expected that I would be a journalist; lawyer was nowhere in thought.

It is in part because of that experience that my interest in politics and journalism arose. Since then, I have followed issues related to the freedom and power of the press, as well as the political scene, both on the national and local level.

It is somewhat ironic that I now fear for the future of the press, because for many years I actually had concerns that the press had almost become too powerful. That is, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches all had controls (laws) in place to curb their reach. My view was that the press, as the 4th Estate, was the only "body" without any controls to prevent abuse of its power. Jay Rosen, who blogs about journalism at PressThink, in Rollback, explains it as "The old notion . . . had the press permanently incorporated into the republic as one part of the system of checks and balances - not a branch of government, but a necessary, vital and legitimate part of open government and a free society. The First Amendment was interpreted as protection for that part of the system . . . ."

Others, such as CJR Daily, Rosen, and Will Bunch, cover the issue better and with more depth than I. However, as I now survey the environment, I have grave concerns that the press has abdicated its role and has thus forfeited it power. I also fear that the loss may be irretrievable, which has the potential to permanently alter the fabric of the country in a negative way.

Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the fact that the Bush Administration has been trying to alter the power of the Executive in government. With a controlled and cowed legislative branch, and a battered Judicial branch, there has not been an effective rejection of that power grab.

Dick Polman, in his American Debate blog, touches on this issue as it relates to the press in Beam up the next Scotty. In his post about the departure of McClellan, which is his usual excellant analysis of the role of the Press Secretary, he observes:

But McClellan's mission was not to merely evade or spin information in the traditional sense. His core purpose was to be the point man for an assertive, even revolutionary, White House effort to delegitimize the mainstream conveyers of the news. And whoever replaces McClellan will play the same role.

As indicated in numerous reports . . . the Bush administration has sought to treat the mainstream press as just another troublesome special interest group, to reduce its role as a semi-official participant in the nation's governance.

Jay Rosen, a press watchdog and journalism professor at New York University, wrote last summer: "I believe the ultimate goal is to enhance executive power and maximize the president's freedom of maneuver - not only in policy-making and warfare, but on the terrain of fact itself." And writer Ron Suskind, after interviewing top Bush officials, said in an interview that they clearly want to create "a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact."
One of the lessons I learned during my stint in the Governor's office is that you can never underestimate the lack of knowledge (naivetee?) of the electorate and public (I don't mean that in an elitist or condescending way - it was intended to mean that there was a duty to inform). With that in mind, if the press is not there to advance that knowledge, who will? And if no one is there who will, what hope do we have?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

And the Winner Is?

A profile in the Rolling Stone addresses the inquiry whether Bush is The Worst President in History? For some (read that: me), it's not even a question. The answer is beyond doubt. It's one of those rhertorical questions, like "Is the Pope Catholic?"

A few years ago, when asked by Bob Woodward how history would judge the war, Bush replied: “History. We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.” I have no doubt that he wished it would be so, so he won't be around to hear the truth. Damn that truth, it sometimes manages to sneak out, even when you try to keep it under cover.

In the article, historian Sean Wilentz provides a thoughtful, but extremely damning analysis of Bush. The article is a must read in full. Wilentz details major areas where Bush has proven woefully inadequate, at best. The topics are: Credibility Gap; Bush at War; Bush at Home; and Presidential Misconduct. Overall, not a good prospect for Bush. As Wilentz says:

George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.

* * * *

How does any president's reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties -- Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush -- have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures -- an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

* * * *

History may ultimately hold Bush in the greatest contempt for expanding the powers of the presidency beyond the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution. There has always been a tension over the constitutional roles of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers intended as much, as part of the system of checks and balances they expected would minimize tyranny. When Andrew Jackson took drastic measures against the nation's banking system, the Whig Senate censured him for conduct "dangerous to the liberties of the people." During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's emergency decisions to suspend habeas corpus while Congress was out of session in 1861 and 1862 has led some Americans, to this day, to regard him as a despot. Richard Nixon's conduct of the war in Southeast Asia and his covert domestic-surveillance programs prompted Congress to pass new statutes regulating executive power.

By contrast, the Bush administration -- in seeking to restore what Cheney, a Nixon administration veteran, has called "the legitimate authority of the presidency" -- threatens to overturn the Framers' healthy tension in favor of presidential absolutism. Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president's powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious "signing statements," which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. Earlier presidents, including Jackson, raised hackles by offering their own view of the Constitution in order to justify vetoing congressional acts. Bush doesn't bother with that: He signs the legislation (eliminating any risk that Congress will overturn a veto), and then governs how he pleases -- using the signing statements as if they were line-item vetoes. In those instances when Bush's violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws.

Bush's alarmingly aberrant take on the Constitution is ironic. One need go back in the record less than a decade to find prominent Republicans railing against far more minor presidential legal infractions as precursors to all-out totalitarianism. "I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the president," Sen. Bill Frist declared of Bill Clinton's efforts to conceal an illicit sexual liaison. "No man is above the law, and no man is below the law -- that's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country," Rep. Tom DeLay asserted. "The rule of law protects you and it protects me from the midnight fire on our roof or the 3 a.m. knock on our door," warned Rep. Henry Hyde, one of Clinton's chief accusers. In the face of Bush's more definitive dismissal of federal law, the silence from these quarters is deafening.

* * * *

No historian can responsibly predict the future with absolute certainty. There are too many imponderables still to come in the two and a half years left in Bush's presidency to know exactly how it will look in 2009, let alone in 2059. There have been presidents -- Harry Truman was one -- who have left office in seeming disgrace, only to rebound in the estimates of later scholars. But so far the facts are not shaping up propitiously for George W. Bush.

The magazine cover for the story is here: Worst. President. Ever. I had to give it special billing, so I posted it separately.

Other posts on this topic can be found at He's Number One and Worst. President. Ever.
(umm, I guess there's a theme happening here). I think this falls under the category: if you repeat it enough, it must be true.

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Worst. President. Ever

Hello and Good bye

I'm sure everyone knows by now that Scott McClellan, the Press Secretary for the President, resigned today. In memory, Al Franken played a tribute today on his radio show. You can listen here: Crooks and Liars.

And, in a surprise announcement, Bush has named a new Press Secretary -- Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. Upon reflection, it is the perfect choice. His previous position was in PR. He served as Minister of Information for Saddam Hussein.

You may remember him by the endearing nickname he was given by the Americans during the Iraq invasion -- "Baghdad Bob."

As Will bunch of Attytood noted:

Al-Sahaf, who endeared himself to American viewers as Saddam Hussein spokesman "Baghdad Bob" and had to be lured out of semi-retirement in the United Arab Emirates, wasted no time in fielding questions from the White House press corps about a variety of topics, including the war in Iraq.

"They are not near Baghdad," he said in response to a question about sectarian fighting in the Iraqi capital. "Don't believe them.... They said they entered with... tanks in the middle of the capital. They claim that they - I tell you, I... that this speech is too far from the reality. It is a part of this sickness of their plan. There is no an... - no any existence to the insurgents or for fighting in Baghdad at all."

When journalist Helen Thomas tried to show the new press secretary pictures of the fighting, al-Sahaf snapped: NO!"We have retaken the neighborhood. There are NO insurgents there. I will take you there and show you. IN ONE HOUR!"
If you need nore help remembering him, you can mosey on over to this site, The Collected Quotations of Baghdad Bob - The Iraqi Minister of DisInformation, to peruse some of his finest quotes.

According to Attytood, Bush has given him a new nickname -- "Beltway Bob." Perfect!

UPDATE: Countdown also has a tribute with Keith Olbermann's favorite Scotty moments. I'm waiting for the Jon Stewart clip to appear somewhere. . .

UPDATE #2: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has two clips about McClellan's departure: Scott Free and the Scott McClellan Tribute.

Yes, Another UPDATE: I feel like I did with the Cheney shooting episode. I just can't give it up. Here's another gotta see it. Blogger Watching Washington notes that SNL had the advance scoop on McClellan's departure. You can check it out here: Life Imitates Art -- McClellan Quits; Rove Demoted. (Via Blinq)

(Mandy -- This one's for you)

Cartoon of the Day

* David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Posted by Picasa

The Big Chill

He was reviled as "lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures," by J. Edgar Hoover, noted FishBowlDC. Jack Anderson's NYTimes obit observed:

"Mr. Anderson was a flamboyant bridge between the muckrakers of the early decades of the 20th century and the battalions of investigative reporters unleashed by news organizations after Watergate. He relished being called 'the Paul Revere of journalism' for his knack for uncovering major stories first almost as much as he enjoyed being at the top of President Richard M. Nixon's enemies list."

On the same day that journalism's annual Pulitzer prizes were announced, in a post aptly titled The thought police want a dead Pulitzer Prize winner's documents, Will Bunch of Attytood described "a shocking new detail [that] emerged in the broader war against a free press -- and here the Bush administration is in danger of winning for keeps. Ironically, it involves a Pulitzer Prize winner of generations past -- the late Jack Anderson, who was one of the best in his trade back in the era when men were men and Bob Woodward was Bob Woodward."

A NYTimes article, F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter, gives the details:

The F.B.I. is seeking to go through the files of the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson to remove classified material he may have accumulated in four decades of muckraking Washington journalism.

Mr. Anderson's family has refused to allow a search of 188 boxes, the files of a well-known reporter who had long feuded with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had exposed plans by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Fidel Castro, the machinations of the Iran-contra affair and the misdemeanors of generations of congressmen.

Mr. Anderson's son Kevin said that to allow government agents to rifle through the papers would betray his father's principles and intimidate other journalists, and that family members were willing to go to jail to protect the collection.

"It's my father's legacy," said Kevin N. Anderson, a Salt Lake City lawyer and one of the columnist's nine children. "The government has always and continues to this day to abuse the secrecy stamp. My father's view was that the public is the employer of these government employees and has the right to know what they're up to."
In concluding his post on the issue, Attytood warns:
There's no way to minimize something like this, but what's really creepy is that this is no anomaly. Time and time again, we've seen excessive and unprecedented levels of secrecy from the Bush administration in a relentless -- and sadly undercovered -- war to control the past. In fact, one of Bush's earlier actions as president was to rescind the pending release of documents covering his father's presidency. More recently, the CIA and other agencies have taken the unprecedented step of reclassifying documents from the National Archives.

Now, by putting a lid on the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting of the past, they are trying to control your future. It is incumbent on the journalists of the present to stop them -- while we can.
It is fitting to end with a quote used by Attytood (which I also saw quoted elsewhere in the past few days). It says it all.

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'
-- George Orwell, 1984.

You're Not the Boss of Me

The Quote of the Day via Rolling Stone, Bush Knows Best?

In his press conference this morning Bush told the Army's anti-Rumsfeld contingent, You're not the boss of me:

"I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
If seeing is believing, you can watch the video of the latest, priceless Bushism at Crooks and Liars.

And finally, Jon Stewart's take on the Rumsfield Rumble -- "War Wars" -- is here: Throw away your TV.

UPDATE: Jon Stewart couldn't let this one go. He also has an installment of the comic book character The Decider, that you should see. You may also want to listen to I'm The Decider, a pretty good parody version of I Am the Walrus.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Quote of the Day

First and last, it's a question of money.
Those men who own the earth make the laws to protect what they have.
They fix up a sort of fence or pen around what they have,
and they fix the law so the fellow on the outside cannot get in.
The laws are really organized for the protection of the men who rule the world.
They were never organized or enforced to do justice.
We have no system for doing justice, not the slightest in the world.

--Clarence Darrow
Born April 18, 1857

(Via My Left Wing)

Cartoon of the Day

* Etta Hulme, Fort Worth Star Telegram Posted by Picasa

Vice Squad

A new article in the American Prospect, Vice Squad, provides a chilling look at the inner workings of the Vice President's office.

With the barrage of bad news from the Administration, which tends to shift the focus elsewhere, it's easy to forget about the VP, except as an object of ridicule for shooting someone in the face. However, with Cheney's penchant for secrecy, as described in detail in the article, that's no doubt exactly how he likes it. The fact that the public doesn't know what Cheney is up to doesn't mean he's not doing anything. It just means that we don't know what he's doing. And that's dangerous, because so is he and he does a lot.

The article is a definite must read to get a clue about the inner workings, power and influence of Dick Cheney and his Cronies. As described by the article's tagline:

They terrorize other government officials, and they'’re so secretive that their names aren'’t even revealed to a harmless federal employee directory. And they'’ve helped ruin the country. Meet Dick Cheney'’s staff.

(Via Attytood)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Let's Play the Blame Game

Last week, Joshua Marshall of Talking Points Memo posted a report that the Republicans were planning to run Spanish-language ads, alleging that "Democrats were behind the bill the House passed to treat illegal aliens as felons." As TPM explains it:

That of course is the GOP-backed bill Republicans are now running away from in droves.

Figure the ad will get taken off the air? Will the cable nets feature the bamboozlement?

The argument is really pretty egregious even by GOP standards. House Republicans put up a bill to make being an illegal alien a felony. An amendment was proposed that would have made it a misdemeanor. As the AP reports, "Democrats, including members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, voted against the amendment, arguing they did not support criminal penalties. Nevada Republicans Jon Porter and Jim Gibbons also voted against the amendment, which failed. The felony provision remained in the bill, H.R. 4437, and it passed the House on a largely party line vote."

So Democrats wouldn't vote for criminalizing at all. Ergo, they're for making it a felony. (Emphasis mine)
Now I've been looking for confirmation of this outrageous story, but had only seen a few other blog references, all citing back to the TPM story. Admittedly, I've said many times that the Republicans think nothing of lying about a previous event, even when the original version is preserved on videotape for all the world to see. They don't even flinch when confronted with the evidence. So why should this latest episode surprise me?

Today -- four days later -- I saw this post from MyDD, Criminalization of Undocumented Immigrants Came from Bush, which links to an LATimes article, Blame Builds More Barriers in Immigration Debate.

And yes, it is true. The Republicans who pushed the inclusion of a felony provision in the House bill now plan a campaign to blame the Democrats for it. As Brownstein reports:
Frist and Hastert blamed Democrats for one of the most controversial ideas in the debate: the provision in the legislation the House of Representatives passed in December designating the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in America as felons. The Republican National Committee plans to run Spanish-language radio ads echoing that charge.

The proposal to designate illegal immigrants as criminals, more than anything else, has ignited the nationwide wave of protests against the House bill. To attribute the idea to Democrats, Frist, Hastert and the RNC have to join the story on the last page — and then misrepresent the evidence to boot. In fact, from the start of the recent debate, Republicans have driven the notion of imposing criminal penalties on illegal immigrants. Although President Bush has never acknowledged paternity, the idea's fathers include his administration.

* * * *

Contrary to the description from Hastert and Frist, Democrats and immigrant groups opposed this proposal from the start. In particular, they charged that the idea advanced a hidden agenda distinct from the argument about equalizing the penalties for overstaying a visa and sneaking across the border.

During the Judiciary Committee debate, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-Lakewood) pinpointed one of those concerns: By designating all illegal immigrants as criminals, she said, the bill would increase pressure on local law enforcement officials to apprehend them -— a top priority for many conservatives. "This bill could lead to an open season on anyone in this country who appears to be foreign," she said.

Democrats identified another concern in their dissent to the committee report that accompanied the bill. Proposals, such as those most senators support, to allow illegal immigrants to work legally in the U.S. and move toward citizenship exclude those with a serious criminal record. If all existing illegal immigrants were branded as felons, the Democrats noted, they would be ineligible for any future legalization program.
To summarize: When opposition grew fierce, the Republicans wanted to change the penalty provision from a felony to a misdemeanor. The Democrats didn't want any criminal penalties, so they opposed the amendment. So now the Republicans say the Democrats are the bad guys.

I think Ron Brownstein says it best: "Does chutzpah translate into Spanish?"

Cartoon of the Day

* Steve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Doug Marlette

Quote of the Day - Easter Edition

It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance -- for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light. ...But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?

--Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

(Via Just Between Strangers)

Easter Greetings

You don't want to miss President Bush's Weekly Radio Address for Easter Sunday. His remarks include the new truth about Judas.

Also, there is some sad news to share on this Easter. Although one may rise today, another is slain. The Easter Bunny was Tragically Slain by Vice President, according to a news report at My Left Wing.

More of the Same with McCain

Two of my favorites, Dick Polman and Helen Thomas, write about one of my least favorites, John McCain.

Polman, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, observes that Candidate McCain puts his right foot forward:

There comes a time, in the life of virtually every ambitious politician, when it is deemed wise to retool the image, reposition the issues, and put old rhetoric in sync with new realities.

That moment has arrived for John McCain. The erstwhile straight-talking maverick is now riding the Spin Talk Express, in the view of many skeptics.

It's simple pragmatics. McCain knows that his likely bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination will flop unless he can convince grassroots Republicans that he's not in bed with the "liberal press." In short, he wants to nix the joke, long uttered by disdainful conservatives, that his official title is Sen. John McCain (R., Media).

Hence, his spate of recent moves: The Arizonan used to vote against President Bush's tax cuts; now he's voting for them. He said during the 2000 campaign that the Rev. Jerry Falwell was an "agent of intolerance," but now he's showing respect by speaking May 13 at Falwell's college. He has softened his earlier opposition to a federal amendment banning gay marriage. He used to punt on the issue of teaching creationism, but now he endorses it. He has hired a former senior Bush operative whose name turned up in Tom DeLay's money-laundering indictment.

* * * *

Not surprisingly, McCain's actions have alarmed a number of his media fans - Arianna Huffington contends that he is selling his soul in the service of ambition, "making a pact with the devils of the religious right" - yet that reaction is precisely what McCain needs to woo the social conservatives who vote heavily in crucial Republican primaries, notably in Iowa and South Carolina. And what better advertisement for McCain's conservative bona fides than to be assailed on Meet the Press and The Daily Show as having betrayed his maverick persona?

* * * *

The irony, however, is that McCain's efforts to present himself as an establishment conservative Republican may not sway his target audience. Many conservatives dismiss his image overhaul as mere opportunism. They acknowledge McCain's conservative voting record, but they point out that on a lot of big issues - such as campaign-finance reform and guest-worker immigration reform - he hooks up with liberal Democratic senators like Russ Feingold and Edward Kennedy.

* * * *

Wary conservatives might settle for McCain if it ultimately appears that he alone can prevent a Hillary Clinton presidency. If that happens, perhaps his most daunting challenge as the nominee would be to attract the independents and Democrats who warmed to his maverick image. In the end, his prospects for success in 2008 may hinge on whether he can build bridges between his two personas, the old and the new.

For those interested in the Daily Show video, As McCain Turns, watch it at Citizen McCain via OneGoodMove.

Thomas' aptly titled Commentary, Want more Bush? Elect McCain, likewise points to his move right of this media darling. Thomas, ever the real "straight shooter," is not taken in:
With his "hail fellow well met" persona and tendency to jaw with the media and pundits in the back of the campaign bus, he has created the impression in some quarters that he is a "moderate."

Forget it. His voting record speaks for itself.

McCain is working hard to prove his staunch conservative credentials as he woos the far right in his party.

If he wins the presidency, the country can expect a continuation of Bush's aggressive foreign policy and ultra-right domestic programs.
I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record with McCain (see a few rants at Sitting in a Tree and He's Not the Right Man). My concern, however, is with those Democrats who want to believe that he would be a reasonable compromise candidate. He's not. I feel that same way about McCain that I did about Ralph Nader -- he can only hurt the Democratic Party, by siphoning off voters who would otherwise support a real Democratic candidate.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy Saturday & Easter Bread

Today is "Holy Saturday" for Catholics, the last day of Holy Week, the day before Easter. Someone asked me if Saturday had "a name" since there was Maundy Thursday, Good Friday & Easter Sunday. I knew there was, but couldn't think of it.

While pondering the official name of Easter Eve, my mind wandered to the Italian Easter Bread that my grandmother, Noni, used to make at Eastertime.

So off to Google I went. I found the name for Holy Saturday. While I was at it, I also looked up why they call Good Friday "Good" Friday. Having gone to Catholic school, it was good alright, since we got the day off and it was the only day of the year with no mass. Sure, you did have to attend Good Friday services (noon to 3 pm), but at least it was something different. Looks like there is no sure answer, although it's probably a derivation of "God's Friday," just like Good-bye is shorthand for God be with you. Who knew.

Anyway, while I was at it, I decided to look up Italian Easter Bread as well. I wasn't sure if it was a Noni invention or an Italian tradition. Noni was famous for concocting her own recipes. She used to make what we called "Mush-it-all-up," which was mostly stew with whatever was around. That and assorted other variations, which were usually delicious. A few times, not so much.

Turns out the Easter Bread (pictured) is an Italian tradition, a bread version of an Easter Egg Basket. The ring shape stands for Christ and the egg for the Resurrection. This egg bread is the traditional recipe for Holy Saturday. Who knew.

I mentioned it to my daughter, who said that she and her friend Maggie were talking about Italian Easter Bread at school yesterday. Small world. Who knew.

Blog, blog, blog

My Left Wing Blogger Maryscott O'Connor is featured in a front page Washington Post article, The Left, Online and Outraged, which discusses her entry into the blogsphere as a liberal political writer and how that's enabled her to reach others with similar views far and wide.

Likewise, Blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (a/k/a Kos) of Daily Kos was on The Colbert Report, discussing his book "Crashing the Gate" (which received a good review from NYTimes Book Review). As he describes in his book, he was one of the first to establish a strong political liberal community through his blog.

I read both blogs regularly and they are very interesting, informative and insightful. Blogging is becoming a recognized political medium, especially on the left.

At first, when I started to read the Post article, I thought that it was going to characterize the left as extreme and angry, without acknowledging the often extremely vicious, racist right wing side of the blog world, but it wasn't that kind of article at all. In fact, the article implies that nasty nature of the right was almost a "given," while the left end of the political spectrum has only recently begun to rant. O'Connor was used as an example of the new, enraged left. All in all, a fair portrayal.

Like O'Connor, I too have used my blog as a way to express the frustration and concern that I have with the direction of the county under the governance of the Republican party and the Bush Administration. Before I started to blog, I noticed that my anger level was much higher when discussing these issues with my political cronies. Now that I have another outlet -- this blog -- which allows me to think about and express my views, my anger is less histrionic. I still have the same passionate views, I'm just able to express them more rationally. I have also found that, for me, combining sarcasm and humor with my political views tempers my rants a bit.

Of course, unlike either of them, my readship is me, myself and a few assorted like-minded souls. Doesn't matter though, since I still enjoy my ability to write a bit and rant as necessary. For me, that's what this is all about.


Cartoon of the Day

* Mike Lane Posted by Picasa

Waas is All That

The latest National Journal report from Murray Waas, Cheney Authorized Leak Of CIA Report, Libby Says, adds another piece to the CIA leak puzzle. Waas has been called the new Bob Woodward -- since the real Bob Woodward gave up that role (see e.g., Jay Rosen's Murray Waas Is the Woodward of Now), and he has been the source for many of the recent scoops regarding the Bush Administration, from Iraq to the Plame scandal.

In last week's article, Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks, Waas was the first to reveal that Bush authorized the leaks of classified documents to the media, which has caused the latest headache for the White House. This time, Waas says that Libby was not only authorized by Bush - through Cheney - to leak classified information from the 2002 NIE, but was also authorized by Cheney to leak a still-classified CIA summary report on Ambassador Wilson'’s Niger trip. As he explains:

Vice President Dick Cheney directed his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on July 12, 2003 to leak to the media portions of a then-highly classified CIA report that Cheney hoped would undermine the credibility of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, a critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, according to Libby's grand jury testimony in the CIA leak case and sources who have read the classified report.

* * * *

The previously unreported grand jury testimony is significant because only hours after Cheney reportedly instructed Libby to disclose information from the CIA report, Libby divulged to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper that Plame was a CIA officer, and that she been involved in selecting her husband for the Niger mission.

Both Libby and Cheney have repeatedly insisted that the vice president never encouraged, directed, or authorized Libby to disclose Plame's identity. In a court filing on April 12, Libby's attorneys reiterated: "Consistent with his grand jury testimony, Mr. Libby does not contend that he was instructed to make any disclosures concerning Ms. Wilson [Plame] by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or anyone else."

But the disclosure that Cheney instructed Libby to leak portions of a classified CIA report on Joseph Wilson adds to a growing body of information showing that at the time Plame was outed as a covert CIA officer the vice president was deeply involved in the White House effort to undermine her husband.

* * * *
The new disclosure also raises the question whether President Bush or his aides knew that Cheney may have been deciding on his own to authorize the leaking of classified information. Senior government officials said that top Bush aides -- including then-deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett -- were not aware that Cheney had authorized the disclosure of the CIA report on Wilson's Niger mission. These officials raised the possibility that Bush himself was unaware at the time of Cheney's action.
Regarding the release of Plame's name and CIA employment, a senior administration official said that even if Cheney did not directly authorize Libby to leak the information to the press, the vice president might have set a climate in which his aides viewed it as routine to release classified information whenever it served their purposes.
The Administration can (and will) spew propaganda and spin on this, but this is the classic definition of "abuse of power." As Firedoglake puts it:
The evidence that Cheney was a key architect in the effort to discredit Wilson -— and quite possibly Fitzgerald'’s target -— is growing.

* * * *

Bottom line: this time there'’s no wiggling out of it. Dick Cheney ordered Scooter Libby to leak classified information to a reporter for nothing more than political hay prior to an election when they felt that the truth of Joe Wilson'’s allegations could hurt them at the polls. They spared nothing -— not even national security -— in the craven pursuit of power.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Signe Wilkenson, Philly Daily News Posted by Picasa

MySpace or YourSpace?

The LATimes has an article that the parent of every teen, especially girls, should read. The article, Testing the Bounds of MySpace, chronicles the story of a mother's foray into the MySpace world, with all of the attendant examples of teens who "go wild" with racy photos and postings.

It's like the Wild West out there in Webspace.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press Posted by Picasa

The Boom's a Bust

Former Philly reporter Steve Lopez has a great column in the LATimes, Income Gap More Like a Chasm, discussing the growing class/income disparity, which applies well beyond the city limits of LA. As he observes:

In the last week I've written about the quick recovery of an illegal immigrant who was shot in the chest while landscaping a yard in Inglewood, and a U.S.-born high-rise security guard who makes so little money she can only afford a phone booth-size room in downtown Los Angeles.

Some readers saw an obvious connection:

The illegal immigrant and thousands like him have depressed wages for legal blue-collar residents like her.

There's certainly some truth in that. If you've got an illegal workforce willing to work for peanuts, and employers happy to exploit their desperation, wages at the bottom end are likely to stay low.

But let's forget illegal immigration for a moment, because if you ask me, we've got other economic problems in Southern California, and here's a thumbnail sketch:

Despite a relatively healthy economy on paper, middle-income jobs are as scarce as intelligent screenplays, and that has more to do with the death of manufacturing than the influx of illegal immigrants.

* * * *

What this means is that we've got $20-million houses offering spectacular views down the hill and into the Third World. If not for the fact that it takes forever to get anywhere on the bus, we'd have a revolution on our hands.

So the question I've been asking public officials and civic leaders is what we can do about the income gap that runs like a fault line through the land, dividing the haves from the help.

I want to stand up and clap when Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. lays some of the blame on the big-box planning model. He says we do not need — repeat, IX-NAY— any more Targets and Kmarts, or any other Coliseum-size discount joints.

Not only do those places devour what little land is still available, but the jobs they provide are lousy, and it's not as if consumers have nowhere else to turn for tube socks and toilet paper.

* * * *

Kent Wong of UCLA's Center for Labor Research agrees that we need to keep trying to replace the kinds of jobs that were lost in Southern California when aerospace and manufacturing went belly up. But he also knows that the service economy is here to stay, and that means we have to find ways to elevate the standard of living for bellhops, janitors, security guards, nannies, maids, construction workers and waiters.

"We have a situation like we did in the 1930s, when auto manufacturing, mining and steel work were poverty jobs," Wong said. Unionization moved those workers into the middle class, he says, and it can push service employees in the same direction.

Los Angeles County has 55,000 security guards, said Bruce Stenslie of the Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board.

"If you could move them from $8.50 an hour to $10.50, $11, $12, with health benefits," as Local 1877 of the Service Employees International Union is trying to do with security guards, "you'd have an enormous impact on the economy," he said.

If you hear a sucking sound, it's mass hyperventilating by the fat and happy building and business owners who employ the security guards. But before you shed too many tears for the captains of industry, consider the billions of dollars in corporate welfare shelled out each year across the land, not to mention congressional largesse on offshore flimflam and other tax shelters and loopholes.

Beyond that, a living wage translates into more people contributing and fewer people on the dole.
This may explain why the supposed economic goodtimes aren't being celebrated, despite the fact that we keep being told that they are here. Where? Over here? No, over there. Somewhere.

He Ain't Tired

Once again, Deborah Leavy has published an op-ed that does an excellent job expressing my own sentiments on the subject she's writing about. In her latest Philly Daily News column, It's the Arguments That Are 'Tired' & 'Poor', she notes:

IN THE CURRENT discussions about immigration, the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your tired, your poor...") is often cited, usually with considerable eye-rolling, by those who use it to argue that pro-immigration people are hopelessly outdated, impractical romantics. Perhaps some are. But I think there are much more contemporary and compelling reasons to continue to welcome immigrants to our shores.

* * * *

To put it bluntly, those who want to come here to share in our way of life aren't the ones who want to kill us. You don't bomb the place you want to move to. The more who think America is the place to be, the better.

* * * *

We get the best of the gene pool. Once here, they are ready to work hard to realize their goals - the Pakistani taxi drivers taking double shifts, the Chinese restaurant owners who put their extended families to work, the Latino day workers who crowd into rooms at night so they can send money back to their families. Their energy is new blood pumping into the American economy.

Are they taking jobs from Americans? Only when they are exploited because of their immigrant status. Stop employers from taking unfair (and often illegal) advantage of immigrants and they will be competing with Americans on a level playing field.

* * * *

No doubt much of the anti-immigrant feeling is coming from the same place it always has - prejudice. We also didn't want the Chinese, the Irish, the Italians or the Jews. Now there are people in a panic because salsa outsells ketchup, ballots must be multilingual, customer service offers an option in Spanish.

They worry that Hispanic immigrants, legal and otherwise, aren't just in big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, but in whitebread towns everywhere across the country.

And if that isn't enough, there are Korean-language signs on shops and churches and taxi drivers wearing turbans. It's enough to scare the living daylights out of Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, whose grandparents didn't exactly come over on the Mayflower (and would have been immigrants if they had).

Throughout our history, immigrants have invigorated our nation. Our ability to absorb other cultures is our strength - it makes us who we are. We have to start with that premise in determining immigration policy.
As I watch the Immigration Rallies across the country, with the passion this issue has raised within the immigrant population, there has been a tinge of sadness as well. With all of the serious assaults and threats to our liberties and by the government in power, we too should be taking to the streets in revolt. But alas, we do nothing. We do need that infusion of spirit in our country that our newest members may inspire.

Immigration is certainly a complex issue, but I think that it is fairly clear that the policies that we currently have in place to deal with the issue are inappropriate and inadequate. However, any solution needs to take into account these long held views and principles as we try to fashion a reasonable way to include new people in our midst.

Luckily, the Republicans can't get their act together on this issue either, so they won't be able to make it worse.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

* Pat Oliphant Posted by Picasa

Gotta Go

In honor of Passover, which begins at sundown, Jib Jab (makers of the classic "This Land" video) presents Matzah for your viewing pleasure.

This one is for my cohorts of the Jewish persuasion. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cartoon of the Day

"A Leak"

*D. Honig, Hypnocrites

A Day to Remember

-- President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on April 11, 1968, a week after Martin Luther King was assassinated.

“Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race,
until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins,
emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.”
(Photo & Quote via My Left Wing)

Confidential Disinformation

The other day, I included a reference to an '80s TV show, "Yes, Prime Minister," A Sacred Homage, which has a eerie resemblance to the situation with George Bush, as Leaker-in-Chief.

You can watch a clip of the episode in which the Prime Minister is exposed as the leaker, at OneGoodMove, Good Leak, Bad Leak. As OGM says, "the application of the Secrets Act is reminiscent of recent Bush Administration leakgate shenanigans and the dialogue about when its okay to release and when it is not is classic."

One of the OGM Commenters included the following quotes from the Show that are very apt:

Sir Arnold: "Are you suggesting that I give confidential information to the press?"
Sir Humphrey: "Certainly not, Arnold. This is confidential disinformation."
Sir Arnold: "Ah, that is different."

Sir Humphrey: "So I gather, you denied that Mr. Halifax's phone had been bugged?"
Jim Hacker: "Well obviously, it was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer."
Sir Humphrey: "Yes, unfortunately although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear."
Jim Hacker: "Epistemological? What are you talking about?"
Sir Humphrey: "You told a lie."
Jim Hacker: "A lie??"
Sir Humphrey: "A lie."
Jim Hacker: "What do you mean a lie?"
Sir Humphrey: "I mean you ... lied. Yes I know, this is a difficult concept to get across to a politician. You ..... ah yes, you did not tell the truth."

After watching this clip, you almost feel like you are watching what's happening in the White House as we speak. Life follows Art for sure with this one. You should definitely check it out!