Friday, March 31, 2006
Redstate Shows Their Disgusting Side
There are a lot of things Conservatives do that are quite immoral and disgusting. Today… today, I ran across one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. The comment threads about interview after her release are quite disturbing and really show the type of people we are dealing with.

Carroll said that she was treated well and was never harmed by her kidnappers. These comments issued responses on Redstate that included people calling her anti-American, saying that she had a mental disease, and that the kidnapping was staged. Granted, her comments seem a little odd, but there are so many reasons that could have caused her to say the things she did.

First, it may be that she is telling the truth. Maybe they didn’t harm her. Perhaps, unlike Conservatives, she feels that it isn’t right to tell lies about foreign people, simply to make them look bad. Carroll is deeply religious, and perhaps --unlike those “Christians” at Redsate who don’t live as Christ says, but instead use their “religion” to gain support for their political machine-- she actually *gasp* lives by the words of Jesus and doesn’t believe in lying, even if it is about a group that hates America.

Another possibility is that she simply didn’t feel safe. This interview was done in Iraq, from the exact same place she was kidnapped. Perhaps she felt that if she spoke truthfully, something else bad would happen to her.

Whatever her reasoning for these statements, it will remain a mystery until she has had some time to digest her safety. The people at Redstate have shown that they are disgusting and tasteless. It makes me sad that these anti-American people actually have others convinced that they somehow like America, even while their unhinged rants drip with hatred and vile. Those are not American principles, but luckily… luckily, America, like it always does, will find a way to spit them out just like all the other poisons.

Update 1: So, the has the reasoning posted in an article. I wonder if the people over at Redstate will believe this, or continue spewing hate, clamoring about how it’s just some “liberal media conspiracy” to “paint this America hater in a good light”.

Reporter Jill Carroll was "acting" to win her freedom when she praised her kidnappers and criticized the U.S. occupation of Iraq in a video, her dad said yesterday.

[snip]

"After listening to them for three months, she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing."

A spokeswoman for the Monitor said Carroll really didn't have any choice but to comply with the kidnappers' demands.

"They told her she would be freed if she made the video," Ellen Tuttle said. "She was also told they had killed another American hostage. So you can imagine what was going through her head."




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Let's See Conservatives Attack Global Warming, Now
has implemented a new policy that would allow its scientists to speak freely with the media about their findings.

NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin unveiled new rules yesterday that govern the release of agency information to news media and the public, his most detailed response yet to embarrassing allegations that NASA's public affairs office had sought to suppress the release of scientific information not consistent with the views of the Bush administration.

The new eight-page policy, written by an internal team of scientists, lawyers, public affairs specialists and managers, states that NASA scientists are free to talk to members of the media about their scientific findings and even express personal interpretations of those findings -- the heart of the controversy that has engulfed the agency since January.


With the recent 60 Minutes interview, this was bound to happen. Perhaps Conservatives will stop saying that scientists don’t agree about Global Warming, now that they can’t change science research to appear that scientists don’t agree.

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Censure Hearings
C-Span is running the censure hearings. So far, it has really shown who are not going to stick up for American citizens.

is covering the hearings, if you are unable to watch them.

Update 1: Orrin Hatch may have the creepiest voice on the planet. I’m quite certain that every time he speaks, an angel loses its wings.

Update 2: Fein has handled himself well, so far. He made a very good point to Specter. Informing 8 members of Congress about the NSA program doesn’t allow for a check to the Executive.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006
Maggart Update
The other day, about Ms. Debra Maggart, a representative from the Tennessee House, who claimed to have viewed research that said homosexual parenting has negative effects on children. There were a whole other slew of things that she said that I found offensive, but this was the most unbelievable. As a psych major, I can tell you that I’ve never read any such research, and I can assure you that I keep up on these things.

I’ve been trying to contact Ms. Maggart, so that she may provide me with the research that she has read, but have yet to get a response. Today, I sent her this final request:


Ms. Maggart,

I have tried to contact you about your claim that research points to negative effects of homosexual parenting. It seems that my request for sources has not been successful. This is my final attempt at contacting you. If I do not receive a response I will be letting my readers know that my attempt to verify your sources has fallen on deaf ears, including my opinion that you either do not feel obliged to provide your sources, or that you actually lied about having read research.

Still Patiently Waiting,
Brian Varitek
http://burntheliberals.blogspot.com


Rep. Maggart has been claiming to the media that she has gotten some revolting email regarding her comments. I do not believe that this is the way to approach her, so if you are going to email her, please be civil.

The following are some blogs that are also concerned about this whole thing. Stop by and give them a read. Hopefully, we can start a letter campaign that will make Ms. Maggart realize that, as a politician, her comments are unacceptable.

,, and

Update 1:Thanks to the anonymous commenter, I now have the transcripts of . This is sort of helpful, but not really what I wish to see. I’m looking for the actual research so I can read it myself. It would be interesting if Focus on the Family’s researcher was Robert Lerner, who isn’t a psychologist, but a social scientist. His claim to fame is a book he wrote, as part of a Right Wing, anti-gay commission, claiming that every single study that supports homosexual adoption used “incorrect research techniques”. Yep, every single study.

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Jill Carroll Released
Christian Science Monitor reporter, Jill Carroll, .

I am quite happy and surprised by this. I honestly didn’t think she was alive anymore. I’m not sure why they allowed her to go free, but thankfully they did. I really think that the requests by Iraqi officials have really helped out in these kidnapping cases.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Woman Ticketed For Anti-Bush Bumper Sticker
In Georgia, if you don’t support Bush you .

ATHENS, Ga. — A bumper sticker that takes a double-entendre dig at President Bush has landed a woman in trouble with the law.

Denise Grier, 47, of Athens was recently pulled over in suburban Atlanta's DeKalb County where she works as a nurse when a police officer spotted her bumper sticker that reads: "I'm Tired Of All The BUSHIT."

The officer who stopped her thought it was lewd, and she was cited for violating a state law prohibiting lewd or profane stickers and decals on vehicles.

Grier said the sticker is simply a political statement.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled more than a decade ago that the law against lewd bumper stickers is unconstitutional, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.


There’s no proof that she was ticketed because her bumper sticker was anti-Bush. Personally, I think that it was, but that isn’t even the issue. If a law has been ruled unconstitutional, why are there still tickets being handed out for it? This is a total waste of Georgia taxpayers’ money. Now they have to pay for this long, lengthy trial and, most likely, any legal fees involved.

The funny thing about this is that I know there are rabid Conservatives waiting in the shadows to use this as a slam on the awesome ACLU. I can already hear it. “Look at the ACLU causing good people to go to court and costing all of us this money.” Yeah, one problem- it is this cop’s fault, not the ACLU’s. If this cop hadn’t done something that was unconstitutional this would never have happened. Put the blame where it belongs, and it doesn’t belong on the ACLU. Once again, they are fighting for another person’s rights.

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WaPo on Liberal Bias
Howard Kurtz, over at , published an interesting point about media bias.

A second major issue was whether hiring a conservative activist as a blogger was a reasonable stab at "balance" when there was no self-proclaimed liberal blogging away, as opposed to left-leaning journalists. I think that's a fair point, but I don't want to see washingtonpost.com or any other MSM outfit abandon efforts to include voices from the right.


First of all, WaPo does not have a “liberal bias”. In fact, they are more to the right side of the spectrum. They have shown this time and time again by labeling anyone who disagrees with a Bush policy, or an aspect of the Iraq war, as a liberal. Quite frankly, if you think that people are to the left because they do not agree with everything a president does, that means that you are not in the center.

I hope that more people with conservative, free-market or libertarian viewpoints decide to go into mainstream journalism to balance those of more liberal persuasions. But we can't force that to happen if that's not their goal.


And this, right here, is the reality of the liberal bias argument. The situation is the same for both universities and news outlets. If they have more liberal people working there, it is because more liberal people are applying for the job. If one of these places has a lot of liberal-leaning people, the remedy for conservative minded people is simple. Get an education in these types of things and then go apply there. Stop whining about “liberal bias”, because the problem is made by you, and you are the only ones that can fix it.

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Bush Blames Iraq Civil War On Saddam
Bush, giving his third media ass kiss of the month, , the sectarian violence is the fault of Saddam.

In his third speech this month to bolster public support for the war, Bush worked to counter critics who say the U.S. presence in the wartorn nation is fueling the insurgency. Bush said that Saddam was a tyrant and used violence to exacerbate sectarian divisions to keep himself in power, and that as a result, deep tensions persist to this day.

"The enemies of a free Iraq are employing the same tactics Saddam used, killing and terrorizing the Iraqi people in an effort to foment sectarian division," Bush said.


Please allow me to interject some reality here. The blame for the Iraqi violence falls squarely at the feet of the Iraqi people. They are the ones who are engaging in this civil war. It is not the fault of our occupation, or the fault of Saddam. The different factions in Iraq hate each other, plain and simple.

This is the point that Democrats have been trying to make, but the Republicans refuse to listen to. Ultimately, Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. We can only offer so much support. If the Iraqis choose not to form a government, then that is their choice. We cannot simply stay there forever, hoping that they will pull it all together. We need to pressure them by telling them the consequences if they cannot get together and form a government. If they choose to not listen to our warning, then that is squarely on them. This current trend of sitting back and waiting for them to stop warring with each other isn’t working.

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Abramoff Gets 5 Years and 10 Months
Abramoff .

This isn’t at all unexpected. This has nothing to do with the situation in Washington, which is still under investigation. I can’t wait to see what politicians he drops a dime on.

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Mornin' Roundup
• The is reporting about a Maryland court that overturned a 2002 Virginia court ruling, which limited custodial rights of a gay father if his boyfriend continued to live in the home.

A gay Maryland father who was forced to choose between custody of his son and living with his male partner has won court permission to reunite the household.

On Monday, a Montgomery County judge ended the four-year-old cohabitation ban set in place by an Alexandria, Va., court. The 2002 ruling awarded custody to the father, contingent upon his partner moving out. The couple moved to Maryland, which is considered friendlier to same-sex couples.



I can’t even imagine how a judge could have handed down the original ruling. I guess that legally speaking, it was the correct ruling, but something needs to be done about the law that allows this. How can a law limit custodial rights based on a parent’s cohabitation choices? Without proving that there is some sort of harm, who a parent lives with should never even enter the discussion. Living in a normal area, I sometimes forget that there are things like this in other places.


• The has an article posted highlighting what former FISA judges have to say about the NSA program. I think their comments are interesting, but there is no way that anything will ever happen to Bush. The Republicans are too afraid to hold him accountable for breaking the law. I do believe that something will be passed, probably Specter’s bill, to give this program some sort of oversight. It’s interesting that Congress is calling for oversight, yet thinks that the program is legal. If it was legal before, why does it need to be changed?

I’m not knocking the oversight proposal, because it is a great step. There needs to be safeguards in place to make sure that the program can not be abused. I just wish that the law would be upheld here, even if that means actions against the president. To me, this is just another example of why the Republicans cannot be trusted to uphold our laws.


• Though it has taken a few years, Americans are finally realizing the truth about the Republican Party. Every single poll has Democrats in the lead when it comes to Congress. After so many years of Republican screw ups and scandals, Americans are finally ready for a change. This gift that Republicans handed Democrats may not be enough, so Democrats really need to get out their platform.

.

WASHINGTON - Eyeing House and Senate elections this fall, Democrats are stepping up their effort to cut into the public perception that Republicans are stronger on national security.

Congressional Democrats vow to provide U.S. agents with the resources to hunt down Osama bin Laden and ensure a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq in 2006 in a national security policy statement House and Senate Democratic leaders were announcing Wednesday.

"We need a new direction on national security, and leaders with policies that are tough and smart. That is what Democrats offer," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday.


It’s nice to see Democrats actually getting out and speaking about their ideas. The best part of the article though, would be:

"I trust in the common sense of the American people to see these efforts for what they are: misguided political attacks that are simply a bob-and-weave effort by those who have no real solutions or proposals of their own," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

Only a Republican would think that Americans are stupid enough to believe a political attack which accuses others of committing a political attack. Note to Republicans: Actually wanting to protect our national security is not a political attack. It’s actually one of the most important issues in the country.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Alert: Debra Maggart, Tennessee Rep, Speaks Out Against Gay Adoption
Representative Debra Maggart has shown that she needs to be voted out, and quick.

From News Chanel 5:

Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said she still believes homosexual couples should not be allowed to adopt children. In fact, in addition to e-mail correspondence with a master’s student at Vanderbilt publicized recently, in which she said as much, she has also said homosexual couples may molest the children they adopt.

"We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have, in some instances, adopted them in order to have unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse," she said.

[snip]

Maggert said it's just the opposite, and the research she's read comes from a variety of sources, including the ACLU and Focus on the Family, a Christian group.



I would love to actually see this research from the ACLU, or anywhere, really. It seems that she is making this stuff up, seeing as the APA, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and a host of other organizations that actually do the research seem to disagree with her.

We have got to call her on this. There is no reason that a voter instated official should be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. If you have time, please contact her and ask her for her sources.

Update 1: My attempts to contact Ms. Maggart have yet to yield any information on this supposed “research”. I’ll still make attempts, but it isn’t looking to good for her.

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Brazil Takes Steps To Protect Rainforest
Browsing the news, I ran across .

Greenpeace released maps last weeks showing that less than 10 percent of the world's forests remained intact, and environmentalists said governments worldwide have failed to honor their commitments to the Global Fund for the Environment, another product of the Earth Summit, leaving the fund with only $10 billion — or $67 billion less than promised.


I’ve always realized that there was severe degradation to our biosphere, but it never really hit me until I saw that 10 percent number. I’m not sure why others don’t get worried about these things. Perhaps… perhaps they think that it’s all hippy stuff and that the environment doesn’t matter. All I know is that if world governments do not starting taking the environment seriously, we are all going to be screwed.

At least Brazil is taking some small steps.

Brazil's Environmental Ministry said late Sunday that 84,000 square miles of the Amazon rain forest — an area about the size of Kansas — would be declared a protected zone over the next three years.



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Why Can't The Religious Right Get It?
It’s no secret that the religious right has a certain vision of America, an America where everyone is forced to live according to their interpretation of Christian morality. Conservative Christians have become just another lobbyist group spending their time trying to persuade politicians to vote on issues the way the religious right agenda mandates. The danger of these lobbyists is that their agenda is for American government --in a totally anti-American initiative-- to control every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

is one of these moves by the religious right to force the hand of politicians.

A summit of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholic and Jewish activists yesterday produced a "Values Voters' Contract with Congress," an outline of what the religiously minded expect their elected representatives to bring about in the near future.

Modeled after the Republican Party's 1994 "Contract with America," the "Values Voters' Contract" stipulated 10 aims, ranging from legislation to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to laws guaranteeing greater religious freedoms in the workplace, prohibiting human cloning and embryo research, and guaranteeing a "right to life" to all children before birth.

[snip]

"Let's not say, 'Oh, it's not that bad,' " said the Rev. Tristan Emmanuel, director of the Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre in Jordan Station, Ontario. Secularists, he added, practice "Christophobia," which he deemed "an irrational fear of anything Christ-based."

"When you listen to their rejection of our participation in the public square, it's visceral," he said.



It seems that some of these lobyists may be incapable of comprehending the point. It isn’t that we have an irrational fear of anything Christ-based, but the fact that we do not want people dictating to us how we should act in regards to personal morality decisions. When America is called “The Land of the Free,” that doesn’t mean that everyone is free to control each other. In a truly free land, people should be able to do anything that doesn’t pose an obvious risk to society. Gays getting married, abortion, pornography, and any other social issue should be left up to each person, so that they may act according to their own moral beliefs. It should not be anyone’s decision on who I marry or adopt, except for me and the others involved.

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Scalia Asked To Recuse Himself
It is improper for a judge to preside over a case after they have publicly spoken about components of it. SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia recently spoke about detainee rights to a group in Sweden.

During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break." Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: "If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."


The problem is that the court is set to hear a case today that will be deciding this exact issue, causing a group of retired army generals to ask .

In a letter delivered to the court late yesterday, a lawyer for the retired officers cited news reports of Scalia's March 8 remarks to an audience at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland. Scalia reportedly said it was "crazy" to suggest that combatants captured fighting the United States should receive a "full jury trial," and dismissed suggestions that the Geneva Conventions might apply to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Scalia's remarks "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that, even before briefing was complete, he had already made up his mind" about issues in the case, the lawyer, David H. Remes, wrote. Noting that Scalia reportedly had discussed the rights of accused terrorists in the context of his son Matthew's recent tour as an Army officer in Iraq, Remes wrote that this creates an appearance of "personal bias arising from his son's military service."

The case to be heard today -- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , No. 05-184 -- is one of the most important terrorism-related cases to reach the court. It is a challenge by Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur, now being held at Guantanamo Bay, to the legality of the military commission that seeks to try him for war crimes. Military trials for terrorist suspects are a centerpiece of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policy, but they have been criticized by human rights activists, especially in Europe.


During the confirmation hearings of Alito and Roberts, the two judges refused to answer questions if the case could come before the court. I do not understand the double standard here. How can these people have a fair trial, when Scalia has already made up his mind and spoke on it? This is a very important case for human rights, so hopefully Scalia will do what is right and recuse himself. Everyone deserves to have an impartial panel judge them in court.

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Georgia: The State of Required Bible Classes
Georgia feels the need to require schools to teach classes with the bible as the textbook. (h/t Washingtonrox)

But he wouldn't mind taking a class on the holy text if it were offered at his high school in Decatur, Ga. After all, "You look at 'The Old Man and the Sea,' 'King Arthur' and even 'The Matrix,' all have biblical allusions," the junior says. "It'd be useful to know exactly what's in it."

The Georgia legislature seems poised to endorse just such a course. Though students in many states enroll in classes related to the Bible, Georgia would become the first to require its Department of Education to put in place a curriculum to teach the history and literature of the Bible. Schools would use the book itself as the classroom textbook. Specifically the bill would establish electives on both the New and Old Testaments.

It has overwhelmingly passed both chambers, but needs a final vote on a minor House change. The vote is expected as early as Monday. If it passes, the state's Department of Education has a year to establish Bible elective courses in the curriculum.


It is already legal to allow classes to teach the bible in a historical and literary sense. For what reason does the Georgia Congress feel the need to require public schools to have these classes? I can think of over fifty different texts that are superior to the bible when it comes to literary content. Perhaps they should be the required text, seeing as, you know, they are better literary texts.

If classes want to focus on the historical impact of the bible on our culture, they can use a textbook to do this. Why do they need the actual bible, when only 1/50th of it would have any relevance to the history of our culture? Quite simply, they are going to use the bible and then supplement it with other things, leaving the bible the focus of the class.

This is simply a thinly veiled attempt to get the bible in the classroom. Allow each school district to make the choice on using the bible in curriculum. There is absolutely no need for the state to require its schools to have classes that use the bible as a text.

When this passes, it will be a sad, sad day for education.

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Monday, March 27, 2006
People Who Help Illegal immigrants Receive Basic Human Rights Will Not Be Punished
The Senate Judiciary Committee has by Senator Durbin that would allow people to help illegal immigrants receive basic needs, without fear of legal repercussions.

WASHINGTON - As immigration rights activists rallied outside the Capitol, senators broke Monday from the House's get-tough approach by refusing to make criminals of people who help illegal immigrants.

The Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that would protect church and charitable groups, as well as individuals, from criminal prosecution for providing food, shelter, medical care and counseling to undocumented immigrants.

"Charitable organizations, like individuals, should be able to provide humanitarian assistance to immigrants without fearing prosecution," Durbin said.

The committee also approved more than doubling the current force of 11,300 Border Patrol agents in an effort to stem the tide of new undocumented workers arriving daily. It voted to add 2,000 agents next year and 2,400 more annually through 2011.


I’ll withhold judgment until I see what comes out about this work program idea. This is good news, and I’m glad to see that a Democrat took charge and defended basic human rights.

Update 1: It seems the Senate Judiciary Committee has come to a final decision on this immigration bill.

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee approved sweeping election-year immigration legislation Monday that clears the way for 11 million illegal aliens to seek U.S. citizenship without having to first leave the country.

I think that this is a good idea. Immigrants who have lived here and worked here for a long time should not have to be sent back to their countries of origin. To be quite honest, I’m surprised that Republicans allowed this --well they all didn’t, but enough did-- because it seemed that immigration was their new pet project. I really expected them to go at this with full far-right fervor, leaving me totally hating everything they came up with. You know, the whole Conservative horrible idea machine.

The 12-6 vote was unusual, with a majority of Republicans opposed to the measure even though their party controls the Senate.

[snip]

At several critical points, committee Democrats showed unity while Republicans splintered. In general, GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Mike DeWine of Ohio, who is seeking re-election this fall, sided with Democrats. That created a majority that allowed them to shape the bill to their liking.


That’s right folks, some Republicans actually strayed away from a party line vote. It’s like Armageddon, or something.

In purely political terms, the issue threatened to fracture Republicans as they head into the midterm election campaign — one group eager to make labor readily available for low-wage jobs in industries such as agriculture, construction and meatpacking, the other determined to place a higher emphasis on law enforcement.

That was a split Bush was hoping to avoid after a political career spent building support for himself and his party from the fast-growing Hispanic population.


It seems we are finally seeing a split between the far-right Republicans and the more moderate Republicans.

I agree with this entire legislation. For once, I feel that Republicans and Democrats worked together to produce something that I can agree with. Hopefully this bill will not be eroded when it comes out of the full Senate. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with this 100 percent.


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Scalia Flips Off Reporters
Have you ever wondered what Conservative SCOTUS judges do after attending church? Well, it seems they .

Minutes after receiving the Eucharist at a special Mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had a special blessing of his own for those who question his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.

“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.

“That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.

“It’s none of their business,” continued Scalia, who was the keynote speaker at yesterday’s Catholic Lawyers’ Guild luncheon. “This is my spiritual life. I shall lead it the way I like.”

The conduct unbecoming a 20-year veteran of the country’s highest court - and just feet from the Mother Church’s altar - was captured by a photographer for the Archdiocese of Boston newspaper The Pilot, whose publisher is newly minted Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Although one of his sworn duties is to uphold the freedom of the press, a jocular Scalia told the shutterbug, “Don’t publish that.”


Can someone explain how this is appropriate behavior for a SCOTUS judge? Perhaps the flack he has taken over his comments is getting to him.

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NSA Wiretapping: Be Heard
has put together a great call to action.

For Phase One: The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding more hearings on the illegal domestic NSA spying without a warrant on Tuesday. They will also be holding hearings on Sen. Russ Feingold’s censure resolution on Friday. We’d like to get their attention, and let them know that illegal actions of the President and upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are issues about which Americans care deeply.

So here is what we want you to do:

We’re headed back to the FAX machines this morning. Please take some time to FAX the members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know how you feel about this issue.


Check it out and participate. It’s important that we be heard.

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Abdul Rahman Update

Abdul Rahman has yet to be released, as .

Officials said the case was dropped Sunday partially because of concerns that Abdul Rahman is mentally unfit to face trial. The move also followed strong pressure from Western governments.

Prosecutors have said they want doctors to examine Rahman, but they have not confirmed that he would be released. Prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari said state attorneys were working on the case Monday and an announcement would be made later in the day. He declined to elaborate.

An Afghan official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that the 41-year-old would be released, but authorities were debating how and when it would be done.


Simply, I have no doubt in my mind that this man will be killed when he is released. I want to be optimistic, but Afghani citizens are calling for his death due to his law breaking. I know I’m going to get slammed by Conservatives for this, but perhaps he should be placed in a mental facility. At least there he can some sort of security.

Face it, no matter how much we speak out about this, we are never going to convince an entire culture that their beliefs are wrong and that ours are right. In some ways, I think we may have made the situation worse. The Afghani community is even more upset, protesting western culture for interfering. This is no longer about a Christian convert. It has become a struggle between two different cultures, both with strong beliefs rooted in a couple thousand years of religious thinking.

I really don’t know what is left for us to do. I hope, with all that I am, that nothing happens to this man. Basic human rights should be the cornerstone of any country.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006
Open Trackback
Open Trackback. Feel free to ping this post's trackback, no matter the subject.
America: No Reason To Be A Part Of Civil War
The AP is as a result of more “sectarian violence”.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Police found 30 more victims of the sectarian slaughter ravaging Iraq — most of them beheaded — dumped on a village road north of Baghdad on Sunday. At least 16 other Iraqis were killed in a U.S.-backed raid in a Shiite neighborhood of the capital.

Accounts of the raid varied. Aides to the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi police both said it took place at a mosque, with police claiming 22 bystanders died and al-Sadr's aides saying 18 innocent men were killed.

The Americans said Iraqi special forces backed by U.S. troops killed 16 "insurgents" in a raid on a community meeting hall after gunmen opened fire on approaching troops.

"No mosques were entered or damaged during this operation," the military said. It said a non-Western hostage was freed, but no name or nationality was provided.

Associated Press videotape showed a tangle of dead male bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of what was said by the cameraman to be the imam's living quarters, attached to mosque itself.

The tape showed 5.56 mm shell casings scattered about the floor. U.S. forces use that caliber ammunition. A grieving man in white Arab robes stepped among the bodies strewn across the blood-smeared floor.

A total of at least 69 people were reported killed Sunday in one of the bloodiest days in weeks. Most of the dead appeared to be victims the shadowy Sunni-Shiite score-settling that has torn at the fabric of Iraq since Feb. 22 when a Shiite shrine was blown apart in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Much of the recent killing is seen as the work of Shiite militias or death squads that have infiltrated or are tolerated by Iraqi police under the control of the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry.

Many of the victims have been found dumped, mainly in Baghdad, with their hands tied, showing signs of torture and shot in the head.


It’s apparent, to me at least, that the deaths in Iraq are being caused by Iraqis fighting and killing each other. There is a culture war taking place inside of that country, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure why the hell this is America’s problem.

Seeing as the Republicans are the party in power, perhaps they should get on the ball and offer up some solutions for this Iraq situation. As of right now, their solution seems to be to sit back and wait for this civil war to burn itself out. The Republican policy of do nothing will lead to their eventual loss of power. Democrats need to step up their calls for a timetable so that American voters can see that they are serious and have a plan, unlike the GOP.

Oh, and before some Republican comes here and burns up some strawman, let me say that I’m not talking about leaving Iraq, right now. In fact, that isn’t what Democrats are even trying to suggest. The Democratic strategy is simple: give the Iraqi government a timetable so that they know we are serious. This civil war isn’t our problem, and we need to let the Iraqis know that we are not going to fight their wars for them.

Republicans can try and attack this strategy all they want, but the truth is, it’s much better than their no strategy.

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Reporters In Iraq Tell Their Side
There is no doubt in my mind that most of the news being reported about Iraq is negative. Conservatives -- including the Bush administration-- have been throwing all sorts of accusations at journalists, from claiming that they are part of a big liberal conspiracy to turn the public’s opinion of the war, to them running negative stories because they sell. Finally, reporters in Iraq have begun speaking out and defending themselves.

This morning, :

KURTZ: Thank you.

Bush and Cheney essentially seem to be accusing you and your colleagues of carrying the terrorist message by reporting on so many of these attacks. What do you make of that?

LOGAN: Well, I think that's -- that is a very convenient way of looking at it. It doesn't reflect the value judgment that's implicit in that.

As a journalist, if an American soldier or an Iraqi person dies that day, you have to make a decision about how you weigh the value of reporting that news over the value of something that may be happening, say, a water plant that's being turned on that brings fresh water to 200 Iraqi people. I mean, you get accused of valuing human life in a certain way depending on how you report it.

And also, as -- I mean, what I would point out is that you can't travel around this country anymore without military protection. You can't travel without armed guards. You're not free to go every time there's a school opening or there's some reconstruction project that's being done.

We don't have the ability to go out and cover those. If they want to see a fair picture of what's happening in Iraq, then you have to first start with the security issue.

When journalists are free to move around this country, then they will be free to report on everything that's going on. But as long as you're a prisoner of the terrible security situation here, then that's going to be reflected in your coverage.



I get this… overwhelming feeling that Republicans are going to try and blame everything Iraq related on the media. Their accusations that reporters are only reporting the negative, and not the positive, seem totally opposite of my beliefs. When I watch the news, I feel like they are softening the war a bit. Iraq is a total war zone, but when reporters report, everything feels so medicated.

(h/t:)

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Charges Dropped Against Abdul Rahman
The case against Abdul Rahman, the Christian put on trial in Afghanastan for converting from Islam, has been dropped.

POLICHARKI, Afghanistan - An Afghan court has dismissed case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity for lack of evidence, an official said Sunday.

The court, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, had been under intense international pressure to drop the case against Abdul Rahman, who faced a possible death sentence for his public conversion.

Some Islamic clerics had called for his execution, saying Rahman would face danger from his countrymen if he were released.


This is great news for everyone who has been paying close attention to this case. Without pressure from people across the political spectrum, this man would most likely be executed.

I hope there will not be a backlash from the Islamic fundy community, but I have a feeling that it’s bound to happen, so hopefully all involved are prepared.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006
I Can't Support These Immigration Laws
Reading through some news articles today, I ran across on the immigration protests that are breaking out across the country. I have yet to comment on these new immigration laws proposed by Frist --well I’ve commented on them a little bit, but not about the laws themselves-- and I realized that I really didn’t know where I stood on this issue. After giving it some serious thought, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

First, I do believe that we need to tighten up our borders. There is a huge, gaping hole in our Mexican border for terrorists to move themselves through. I can strongly get behind any law that would actually strengthen the border itself. Providing more border patrol would really help close the gap a bit. If we are going to protect our borders, we need real, physical things, not laws. Terrorists that are coming into the country will not simply stop because our laws are stricter.

Secondly, I cannot support these laws proposed by Frist. To even think about punishing organizations, such as churches, that help immigrants gain basic human needs is an atrocious slap in the face of basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if a person is here illegally, or not, people should not be penalized for helping them stay alive. Hopefully through more protests, Republicans will back away from Frist and realize that it would be a bad move for Republicans to take a blatant stand against basic human rights.

About 200 people protested outside a town hall-style meeting held by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., a leading sponsor of the House bill. He defended the legislation, saying he's trying to stop people from exploiting illegal immigrants for cheap labor, drug trafficking and prostitution.

"Those who do that are 21st-century slave masters, just like the 19th-century slave masters that we fought a civil war to get rid of," Sensenbrenner said at the meeting.
"Unless we do something about illegal immigration, we're consigning illegal immigrants to be a permanent underclass, and I don't think that's moral."

Since Thursday tens of thousands of people have joined in rallies in cities including Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta, and staged school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.

The demonstrations are expected to culminate April 10 in a "National Day of Action" organized by labor, immigration, civil rights and religious groups.


I really disagree with Sensenbrenner’s quote. No matter what job an illegal immigrant is doing, when they get deported, someone else will move in and fill the niche. Allowing immigrants to come to this country doesn’t cause a lower class, low work wages cause a lower class.

I will be marking April 10th on my calendar. This “National Day of Action” sound like a great plan.

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Conservatives Really Hate Gay Adoption
Yesterday, to an article discussing a study produced by the Adoption Institute. I really didn’t write much about the study itself, as it really doesn’t provide any new information. Nearly every study ever published in a peer reviewed journal agrees that there are no negative effects of homosexual parenting. In a total disregard of these facts, are launching a campaign against this research.

However, AP does not inform readers that author Jeanne Howard is passionately involved in promoting acceptance of homosexuality in her work with P-FLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

“Homosexual activists’ handprints are all over this one,” says Robert Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. “Take it with a grain of salt. They funded it and will no doubt promote it, hoping the public will be too distracted to check its pedigree.”

[snip]

Knight applauds AP for noting “that the study’s funding came from homosexual activist groups.” But he faults the news service for not informing “readers that the study’s author apparently is an activist with the radical homosexual group P-FLAG, which promotes acceptance of homosexuality among children and teens. For years, P-FLAG has urged schools to provide books with graphic seduction scenes between adults and minors. P-FLAG regularly characterizes any parents who object as bigots motivated by ‘hate.’

“Does this disqualify Ms. Howard’s study?,” Knight asks. “No, but it shows that the study did not emerge in a scientific vacuum.”


Though this post doesn’t come right out and say it, it is obvious that it was written to somehow cast doubt on this research. They may have a point if this research said anything new, but it doesn’t. This is the exact same thing the research has been telling us for years. Perhaps they would like to question the science of it?

I’m not sure how far to the right you have to be to consider P-FLAG a “radical homosexual group”. Apparently, to Conservatives, clearing up misinformation circulated by anti-civil rights groups is “radical”.

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Moving Passed Ben's Ethical Problems
It only took two posts for Ben Domenech to give an apology on Redstate, and to his credit, I thought it would take him a lot more time. With finding more examples of plagiarism, it’s pretty safe to say the Ben will be taking some time away, hopefully getting his ethics and values in order.

It seems that liberal blogs are taking a lot of heat from Conservative writers. It’s interesting because these are usual Conservative games. We showed one of their own doing something horrible, so instead of addressing the issue, they throw ad hom attacks at the people who worked quite hard to expose this story. You’d think that they would be thanking the bloggers who broke this; imagine how many problems this would have caused them later on, if we hadn’t exposed it now. Conservatives, please take responsibility for your ethical problems and stop trying to change the subject through attacks.

Ben Domenech is done and it is time to move on to the real issue here, which is the Washington Post.

First of all, would you please finally explain why you think that you need a Conservative blogger? As much time as you spend reading blogs, you’d think that the first thing you’d realize is that the writers on your staff, who you consider “liberal”, are nothing of the sort. If someone doesn’t agree with Bush, or the war, that doesn’t make them a “Liberal”. Perhaps you should pick up a dictionary, or even better yet, start comprehending what the blogs are saying.

Secondly, how did Domenech’s racism and plagiarism go unnoticed when you hired him? When people depend on someone for news, it would be nice if, you know, they were able to investigate things. If the Washington Post was anything other than a news source, these problems could be overlooked. But investigating is what you do for a living, so I find it amazing that you couldn’t investigate Ben Domenech, properly.

WaPo, it’s time to step up and face your critics.


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Friday, March 24, 2006
Another Bush Powergrab
The Boston Globe has published an article detailing another power grab attempt by Bush. (h/t )

WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.


I can’t believe that it took so long for the media to pick this up. President Bush’s interpretation of government power is quite radical and something that I think Americans need to know more about. It’s really not that hard to figure out. Congress writes the laws and the Executive executes them (I mean, come on, it’s right there in the names… Executive…Legislature)

It’s important that during midterm elections people vote for members of Congress that will make sure there is oversight on these borderline civil liberty violations. Once again, the government of this country is set up so that no one branch can have sole power. There is always oversight in order to prevent abuse. Do not allow this administration to change the principals of this country.

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Abdul Rahman: Why I Agree With Conservatives
Conservatives are rallying around Abdul Rahman. This is a positive cause, and I fully support their calls for Bush intervention.

"The Bush administration simply cannot let this happen. They have to stop this one way or the other. It would make a mockery of much of what President Bush has about our creation of a new democracy in Afghanistan," said Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, a keen analyst of American political trends.


If we are going to spread democracy to other countries, we should at least make sure that the members of those countries have basic human rights.

Bush is going to piss off his entire base if he doesn’t do something.

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Why the Anti-Gay Adoption Stance is Immoral
The has an article detailing the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute’s statements of support for gay adoption. Reading this article, I realized that there was absolutely no reason for adoption centers to keep gay parents from adopting. Not allowing gay parents to adopt, simply because they are gay, is quite immoral for three reasons:

• All research has shown that having gay parents does not have a negative effect on a child. Some lying, whacko members of the far-right often mention some sort of “negative harm”, yet they cannot show that any of this is true. A lot of people need to realize that just because an organization like the The American Family Associate says something, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Groups like the AFO are simply political organizations with political goals.

• Everyone should be most worried about the wellbeing of the child, even if it means they must do things that may go against their beliefs. There are many children in foster care that cannot find a home. Leaving them in the system -- a system where they’re just another random face, another body… a system where they cannot flourish and feel like they are the center of the world-- because you cannot agree to do what is best for the child is simply an adolescent response.

• In America, everyone should have equal standing, unless there is a secular reason why they shouldn’t. There is no secular reason to rule out gay adoption. Any attempt at all can only be seen as a bigoted reaction. Quite simply, if facts do not back up your position, you are speaking from a platform of untruths.

Slowly, the country is evolving away from gay prejudice. The religious-right knows they are fighting a losing battle, which is why they will go as low as lying to support their cause. When truth doesn’t work, something has got to keep your beliefs supported.

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Ben Domenech Resigns
Well that took all of two days.

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.



I guess that social experiment has failed.

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It's Time For Ben To Be Shown The Door
To anyone that even browses blogs, it has become quite obvious that most have united against Ben Domanech. The first bullet came when it was revealed that Ben had some racist leanings and a lack of total respect for the recently deceased. This information really revealed a lot about Ben’s character, but still… still, I would have been ticked off if WaPo had fired him for this reason. I do not believe anyone’s views should be censored, even if they are racist. WaPo had to know that by employing a far-right nutter, these are the views that they would get.

The second bullet, , is one that needs to be looked at by WaPo. Anyone that has plagiarized another’s work needs to be held accountable. WaPo has no business employing someone that steals from others and then passes the work off as his own. If WaPo doesn’t want to support stealing, then they need to show Ben the door. This type of behavior should not be tolerated. It’s time for WaPo to take a stand.

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Bush Gives Money to Socially Conservative Groups
The Washington Post up detailing the Bush administration’s Conservative sided grant giving.

"If what you are asking is, has George Bush as president of the United States established priorities in spending for his administration? The answer is yes," said Wade F. Horn, who as assistant secretary for children and families at HHS oversees much of the spending going to conservative groups. "That is a prerogative that presidents have."

Horn and other officials said politics has not played a role in making grants. "Whoever got these grants wrote the best applications, and the panels in rating these grants rated them objectively, based on the criteria we published in the Federal Register," he said. "Whether they support the president or not is not a test in any of my grant programs."


A lot of Conservative groups are deserving of this money, because they do a lot of good in society. With that said, I have a hard time believing that there is nothing political about some of these grants. The Bush administration has given a lot of money to abstinence-only programs, which could only be a political move to appease his radical base. Why else would the administration give so much money to people who advocate teaching an education system that has been shown to be ineffective? If it is not political, then what is it?

In a Dec. 12, 2002, executive order, Bush addressed one of the major concerns of religious groups considering applying for public money. Bush declared that religious groups receiving federal grants would not be required to comply with certain civil rights statutes, and could discriminate by hiring employees of specific religious faiths.

This is something that I have always disagreed with. If a religious group is going to get money from the state, they should have to follow all laws, including ones that disagree with their religious beliefs. These religious groups made the choice to get money from the government, which should allow the government to regulate them. If a religious group wants to get involved with the state, they have broken down the wall of separation and should have to uphold on laws.

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Wiccans Winning Recognition
Wiccans may be against the Department of Veterans Affairs, which refuses to allow Pentacles --a Wiccan religious symbol-- to be placed on the headstones of Wiccan soldiers.

That crusade may be nearing an end. The Veterans department said this week that it is nearing a decision on several requests for memorial markers adorned with Pentacles, including one from the widow of a National Guardsman killed in a helicopter attack in Afghanistan.

"We expect a decision soon," said Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman.

In a step interpreted as partially smoothing the way for Pentacle approval, the VA's National Cemetery Administration amended a rule last October that had been a bureaucratic roadblock. Until then, applicants had to submit a letter from a "recognized central head" of the faith attesting to the fact that the requested symbol in fact represented the religion.

But because the Wiccan faith and its related sects are substantially decentralized, that requirement was essentially impossible to meet. Now, the National Cemetery Administration asks for a letter from "a recognized leader."


It seems that this is at an end and that the Pentacles will be allowed on the headstones. My only question is, why is the DVA restricting what religious symbols may go on these headstones? Shouldn’t anyone be able to place a representation of their religion on a headstone if they choose? How is it legal for them to only allow certain religious symbols?

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Domenech Admits Comments
Yesterday I about WaPo’s new nutter, Ben Domenech, and the rumor about his little secret identity. I really didn’t think there was much truth to it, but apparently .

I should know better than to second guess the better liberal bogs.

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Americans Look To Different Places For News
According to a new study conducted by the , Americans are turning to online news sources more often.

When asked where they got their news "yesterday", 57 percent of the 3,011 respondents included local television among their sources, 49 percent included national television, 49 percent included radio and 43 percent included the Internet.

By comparison, only 38 percent said they had read a local newspaper, and 17 percent, a national paper.

Among the more intense home users of the Internet, who account for 40 percent of all home broadband customers, 71 percent said they had used online sources for news, while 59 percent cited local television, 53 percent mentioned radio and 52 percent cited national television newscasts.


Actual newspapers are really at a disadvantage. Other than investigative news pieces, newspapers have nothing good going for them if people have the internet. The internet offers access to every piece of news in the world, as it happens. Who would want to read about yesterday’s news in a newspaper, when they could read it online as it happens?

Because you can find a news source to fit your exact likings on the internet, online news has a second advantage over all other news mediums. If you want to read from a liberal point of view, you know where to find it. The internet really is the whole world at your finger tips.

Just as noteworthy was the rise of foreign and non-traditional news sources for high-speed home Web users. One-quarter get their news from such sources, like the Al-Jazeera and British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) websites, and, to a lesser extent, websites which aggregate news like the conservative Newsmax.com and the liberal Alternet.com.


This is an interesting trend that really speaks about the public’s view of our main stream media. Some people really think that our news really sugar coats things, especially in regards to Iraq, and feel that they need to leave the country to find an accurate picture.

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War on Easter Begins...
...And what a nauseating .


A toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" were removed from the lobby of the City Council offices, because of concerns they might offend non-Christians.

A council secretary had put up the decorations. They were not bought with city money.


Cue religious right’s collective head burst.

I’d also like to say that if anyone gets offended by a big bunny and some plastic eggs they need to get their head examined.

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Dueling Justices
Today’s has an article showing the two schools of thought that now take residence inside our Supreme Court.

The dueling opinions themselves were relatively straightforward; as has
often been the case in the court's recent past, although not so far this term, the justices revealed their real feelings in the footnotes.

Writing for the majority, Justice David H. Souter said the search was unreasonable,
given the vocal objection of the husband, Scott Randolph. True, Justice Souter said, the court had long permitted one party to give consent to a search of shared premises under what is known as the "co-occupant consent rule." But he said that rule should be limited to the context in which it was first applied, the absence of the person who later objected.

The presence of the objecting person changed everything, Justice Souter said, noting that it defied "widely shared social expectations" for someone to come to the door of a dwelling and to cross the threshold at one occupant's invitation if another objected.

"Without some very good reason, no sensible person would go inside under those conditions," he said.

"We have, after all, lived our whole national history with an understanding of the ancient adage that a man's home is his castle," Justice Souter said. "Disputed permission is thus no match for this central value of the Fourth Amendment."

(snip)

"The fact is that a wide variety of differing social situations can readily be imagined, giving rise to quite different social expectations," Chief Justice Roberts said. For example, he continued, "a guest who came to celebrate an occupant's birthday, or one who had traveled some distance for a particular reason, might not readily turn away simply because of a roommate's objection."

Noting that "the possible scenarios are limitless," he said, "Such shifting expectations are not a promising foundation on which to ground a constitutional rule, particularly because the majority has no support for its basic assumption — that an invited guest encountering two disagreeing co-occupants would flee — beyond a hunch about how people would typically act in an atypical situation."


I find the differences in interpreting the law by these two groups to be quite interesting. The majority opinion seems to take into account the Constitution and its original goal of protecting the people. This isn’t surprising to me, because of the judicial philosophy of the dissenting justices. They believe that the law should only be established exactly as is written in the Constitution. I find this to be a dangerous philosophy. The world has changed a lot since the drafting of this document and will continue to do so… forever. We must look at real world situations and think about the ways the Constitution would apply to them, even if it isn’t completely spelled out.

The Roberts/Scalia types seem to still be in the minority. Hopefully God will not answer Pat Robertson’s prayers to get rid of one more judge, allowing Bush to appoint a third.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
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Specter and Wiretapping
Arlen Specter has been one of the few sane voices in the GOP regarding the NSA spying program. He was one of the first to call for hearings and someone that I think has been a strong ally to the Democrats. I personally feel like he didn’t do nearly enough to get to the bottom of this, but he has finally taken the .

The Senate Parliamentarian last week gave Specter jurisdiction over two different bills that would provide more checks on the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.

One bill, written by Specter, would require a secretive federal intelligence court to conduct regular reviews of the program's constitutionality. A rival approach — drafted by Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine and three other Republicans — would allow the government to conduct warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days before seeking court or congressional approval.

Specter said the House and Senate intelligence committees could have had authority over the program under the 1947 National Security Act, which lays out when the spy agencies must tell Congress about intelligence activities.

But, Specter said, the committees haven't gotten full briefings on the program, instead choosing to create small subcommittees for the work.

"The intelligence committees ought to exercise their statutory authority on oversight, but they aren't," Specter said. "The Judiciary Committee has acted. We brought in the attorney general. We had a second hearing with a series of experts, and we are deeply involved in it."


I think these bills are an excellent idea. All the American people wish to have is oversight to make sure that the President is not breaking the law. America was formed with an entire system to ensure no one branch could have power without the others signing off. I think that we should hold to our history and make sure that this continues.

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Red America, Boring America
WaPo’s social experiment into seems to have begun with… boringly predictable rhetoric. In one post alone, Ben Domenech implies that the majority of Americans are Conservatives (you’d think that someone who writes for WaPo would, like, have access to poll figures), that there is a liberal bias in the MSM (typical Conservative propaganda that gets flung when things get reported that they don’t like), and that every bad move the Republicans have made was due to their lack of listening to their Conservatives base (which, most mainstream Americans view as just the opposite… you know, their bad moves were caused by listening to their far-right base). Proving that he’s just a far-right stereotype, we even get a gun reference within the first 8 paragraphs. Nice!

You’d think that WaPo would attempt to hire someone with some sort of originality, instead of the usual carbon copy of every other far-right nutter.

The only interesting thing about Ben Domenech is his possible . To be quite honest, I’m not too sure about these rumors, but at least they are more interesting than Ben seems to be.


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Californians Starting To Back Gay Rights
A shows that Californians are growing in their support of gay rights. There is a lot of interesting information here.

Some 67 percent of Californians support the rights of gays and lesbians to serve in the military, 59 percent favor prohibiting employers from discriminating against homosexuals and 55 percent say gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, according to the telephone poll conducted Feb. 12-26.


These are some promising numbers, though I’m sad that they are on the lower side. Only 55 percent say that GLBT couples should be able to adopt? So that means that 45 percent of Californians are not aware of the research that shows GLBT parents do not have a negative effect on their children. I think the main goal for civil rights groups should be making this research more widely known. It will not sway everybody, but once the people that don’t have actual prejudices see the material I think that the 45 percent will shrink.

In the survey of 1,000 adults, including 680 registered voters, Californians by a 57 percent to 33 percent margins also said they believe homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal. The margin is higher among registered voters, 64 percent to 27 percent.


So, ummm, 33 percent of Californians think that we should outlaw homosexuality? That’s a bit frightening. I can’t even begin to imagine the thought process that leads to people believing that the state has a right to tell its citizens who they may have sex with.

But on the question of marriage, just 43 percent of the state's residents support legalizing same-sex marriages, while 51 percent disapprove. The numbers are similar among registered voters: 44 percent in favor of gay marriage compared with 50 percent against it.

Although they don't want to sanction gay marriage, state residents by a 50 percent to 40 percent margin oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.

While Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said, "The consensus has still not moved toward supporting same-sex marriage," he said the poll reveals that gay marriage is significantly more acceptable to younger residents. And he said other poll indicators reveal a growing acceptance of homosexuals in society.

For example, only 29 percent of Californians aged 65 or older back same-sex marriage, compared with 64 percent who believe it should be illegal. But among residents 18 to 29, 54 percent support gay marriage and 42 percent are against it.


I’m sad to see the number of people that support gay marriage so low. As the article states, there is some progress, especially among younger people. This makes a lot of sense, because younger generations are attending college at higher rates and are more educated than the older generations. Once someone is educated on the issues of homosexuality-- instead of simply being “taught” by some random far-right guy-- their attitudes will change. The most damage can be done to these far-righters by simply providing the true facts of the situation. Truth is always the enemy of these anti-gay people.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
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Archbishop of Canterbury Speaks About Creation
The leader of the world’s Anglicans has come out .

This whole article is worth a read. The archbishop makes a few interesting statements about why evolution isn’t necessarily against the bible, which is something that I think a lot of Christians don’t realize.

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New Hampshire Strikes Down Gay Marriage Amendment
Though New Hampshire doesn’t recognize gay marriages, the House today that would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

CONCORD, N.H. --The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

The late afternoon vote was 207-125


Conservatives are so afraid of the GLBT community they need to add amendments to the constitution to prevent things that are already not legal. It’s really disheartening to see my fellow Americans so lost when it comes to understanding the principals of this country.

Specific safeguards were put into place to prevent the majority from overriding the minority, which some people do not understand. They feel that the majority has no voice anymore, but that simply isn’t true. The majority does have a voice in all things that pertain to them. Who someone else marries has no effect on them, so they should not have the right to control this part of another person’s life

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Another Abu Ghraiber Falls
Another perpetrator of the abuse at Abu Ghraib has been today.

WASHINGTON, March 21 — An Army dog handler was found guilty today of abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by frightening them with his unmuzzled Belgian shepherd for his own amusement.


It’s good to see that these people have to pay for the crimes that they committed. In my mind there was always a chance that they would be put in front of some kangaroo court. It’s good to see that we are holding these abusers accountable.

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Collateral Damage?
There’s an article in Time (h/t AmericaBlog) shedding new light on what may be an incident of American soldiers purposely killing innocent Iraqi civilians.

The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communique from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.


To be quite honest, I’m not really sure what to think about this. It is possible that this was simply an incident where innocents were killed by accident. But… but, if any of this is true, I think that it is quite sickening. I would not give this article any weight at all, except for one thing:

There are also questions about why the military took so long to investigate the details of the Haditha incident. Soon after the killings, the mayor of Haditha, Emad Jawad Hamza, led an angry delegation of elders up to the Marine camp beside a dam on the Euphrates River. Hamza says, "The captain admitted that his men had made a mistake. He said that his men thought there were terrorists near the houses, and he didn't give any other reason."

But the military stood by its initial contention—that the Iraqis had been killed by an insurgent bomb—until January when Time gave a copy of the video and witnesses' testimony to Colonel Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. After reviewing the evidence, Johnson passed it on to the military command, suggesting that the events of Haditha be given "a full and formal investigation." In February an infantry colonel went to Haditha for a weeklong probe in which he interviewed Marines, survivors and doctors at the morgue, according to military officials close to the investigation. The probe concluded that the civilians were in fact killed by Marines and not by an insurgent's bomb and that no insurgents appeared to be in the first two houses raided by the Marines. The probe found, however, that the deaths were the result of "collateral damage" rather than malicious intent by the Marines, investigators say.


For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the military would lie about what really happened. I’ve always been a firm believer that people only lie when they don’t want the truth to be known. If this was truly an accident, why would they not want people to know what really happened? It seems like the military has done everything in their power to make it seem like this innocent wasn’t an accident at all. The sad thing is no one will ever know the truth.

The real positive of this article is that it really shines a light onto the Iraqi side of this war. From the quotes of this little girl, I felt that I really got inside of what it is to be an Iraqi civilian during these times. Sometimes I really forget that there are real people over there, living real lives. It’s nice to be reminded of that.

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