Saturday, January 29, 2005

Random discussion...

Cheers to Joe Scarborough for letting his fellow Republicans know that payola is wrong, period. His primetime smackdown of Jack Burkman was long overdue and hopefully well-received in America.

Now on to what really has caught my eye tonight. Orcinus published a post a few weeks ago that I just happened to stumble across, never having read him before. He talks about the crazy right, and the growing number of people who feel that dissenters should just be executed, or imprisoned or what-have-you. Maybe it's hysterical, maybe it's not. It sure seemed convincing, given what I wrote about Andrew Sullivan the other night. Andy has been pro-war the whole way, but his dissent on the torture situation has caused a lot of crazies to attack him personally and accuse him of being a traitor.

If these people had been the majority during the Revolution, we'd still be British citizens right now.

I supported the war and still believe it was a good idea, however, as I have said for over a year now, the execution of the war plan sucked. The strategy was flawed badly, the planning was poor, the intelligence hideous, and no corrections were made when it became obvious early on that we didn't have enough troops (i.e. the looting of Baghdad the day Saddam's statue fell). Had we had enough security, the celebration, the joy, would have been the same, but we wouldn't have lost crucial documents (and armanents perhaps) whose absence has hindered us.

Then the torture came out, Abu Ghraib came out. We didn't jump nearly as hard as we should have to ensure that behavior was stopped, and the president continues to equivocate on it. As I pointed out before, such behavior hurts our soldiers. I know people over there in Iraq and I pray for their safety regularly. Every soldier lost is a wound on our country. These crazies need to remember something. It's not dissenters who kill our troops, it's terrorists and fedayeen who kill them. And sometimes, it's bad policy that kills our troops, in which case dissenting may save the lives of soldiers.

Friday, January 28, 2005

It's a sad world with thoughts like this...

On the subway, Peter asked, 'Shouldn't we consider having triplets?' And I had this adverse reaction: 'This is why they say it's the woman's choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That's easy for you to say, but I'd have to give up my life.' Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn't be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It's not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I'm going to have to move to Staten Island. I'll never leave my house because I'll have to care for these children. I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don't think that deep down I was ever considering it." -- Amy Richards, an abortion rights advocate, describes her decision to kill two of her babies, leaving her with a single baby, instead of having triplets

I'm saddened. I'm disgusted. I wanted to cry.

Abortion is a right that women need to have. I believe, though, that it should be a last resort, used primarily in cases of rape, incest, medical necessity, etc. It is women like Amy Richards who abuse that right. It is women like Amy Richards that make abortion a greater evil, and give right-to-life groups ammunition beyond belief. It is women like the one I heard of in California who wrote on a reflections board at a clinic that she was on her 17th abortion (and I'm guessing because she didn't want to go on the pill or use a condom) who take a procedure that, in President Clinton's words, should be "safe, legal and rare" and make it into a joke.

How could these women I mentioned do what they did? How could they have this done not because they needed to, but because of their own selfish desires? 'Oh, God, I'll have to move to Staten Island and not have freedom, oh me, oh my.' Life is the most precious commodity we are given. I've lost friends and my father all at young ages. We don't get enough time with the ones we love, and usually regret not having done more. These women gave up a combined 19 children for their own needs. It puts me beyond outrage.

Maybe this sounds like equivocating to some, or maybe it makes people think I'm a hypocrite. I believe in God. My belief in him has guided me through some rough times, and I have gone to an empty church to pray by myself when I have felt the need to unburden. It feels good to do so. It's extremely helpful. I do not believe that my support for abortion rights makes me a hypocrite, because I believe its usage should be limited to the conditions I listed, and we should do more educating and more outreach to make it that way. Legislating this and more court fights is not the way to reduce abortions and stop people from making a selfish choice. Education is, being open about it is. Roe v. Wade should be preserved, but we should do everything in our power to show women like Amy Richards that there is a better way when one wants an abortion for selfish reasons.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The GOP's savior?

Christie Todd Whitman was a good governor of New Jersey, and has not been afraid to buck the GOP line. She left the EPA over what she felt was bad information about the WTC air tests. Now she's got her own website to help support the moderates in the GOP. I think that this is what the party needs and it's what the nation needs.
I am strongly against both parties continuing their current trend of radicalization, because it's the sort of thing that beats good candidates. Look at the new Senate. Do Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn act like the sort of people we want providing "advice and consent" to nominees? They ran rather strange and bigoted campaigns, yet they won against moderate Democrats, Brad Carson especially being a good, moderate candidate.
Jim Bunning pulled out Kentucky despite the fact he seems to be suffering early stages of Alzeheimer's (look at some of the things he said campaigning). Yes, I know, I've only mentioned Republicans beating Democrats, but that's because I don't know of a case in which a moderate Republican had the chance to run the past two cycles. The conservatives are scaring moderates out of running in primaries. Look at how tight Arlen Specter's primary was compared to his general election. Then think about the pressure he's taking from his right.
Fiscally conservative, socially moderate, open to compromise, not beholden to religious groups. That's my way, that's Christie Todd Whitman's way, and hopefully that is the future way of the GOP.

With people like this, no wonder we elect so many idiots

Bigotry continues. Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorite writers, is a gay conservative, and when he makes an argument that goes against the thoughts of bigoted conservatives, they immediately accuse him of being a liberal because he's gay, and they don't criticize his opinions on the merits, they mock them and criticize them because he's gay. It is a sad time in America.
For a while there, tolerance appeared to be making tremendous progress, but under the Bushies, the bigots have made such progress, which is awful, considering that Bush is, at heart, a tolerant man. I disagree with many of his stands, because I think he's wrong, but I don't think he's dumb and I don't believe that he is a bigot. I think he played Rove's politics in the last election, and has now backtracked from it since he doesn't have to fulfill his campaign promise of the FMA.
I guess where I'm going with this is that minority opinions used to get criticized because the author was black or Asian or Hispanic. That has disappeared for the most part, except towards Muslims or Arabs. However, homosexuals continue to face this awful scrutiny. Why do we continue to treat good, decent people the way we do all over their sexual identity? What makes us hate so much? Why should a talented writer, an intelligent man like Andrew Sullivan have to face this sort of disgusting nonsense because he makes the sensible argument that the torture (and make no mistake, it is torture) hurts our efforts even worse?
The simple fact is, just because we're not as bad as what Saddam had doesn't mean that it stopped being torture. Geneva is there for a reason, so the atrocities of World War II didn't repeat themselves. We are way too close to that point. This was a war against Saddam's regime, and later become one against terrorists. We don't have an effective way of figuring out who is who in this battle, and it has been consistently proven that the best interrogation is done with kindness. Furthermore, we will get better intelligence if Iraqis don't feel like we're brutalizing their parents, children, cousins, etc. If they feel that way, they will fight us, and the insurgency will become a full-scale war. If we cut this crap out, and do a better job of filtering out the good from the bad, and treat them all humanely, then we are more likely to get the intel we need to break the insurgency once and for all. That's something Heather MacDonald, John Derbyshire and LGF have yet to figure out. They probably aren't dumb, just using tunnel vision.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

...and we'll all rant on again

I feel incredibly worried about the next 18 months. Between the fictional account of Richard Clarke about the possible future of terrorist attacks in America to the actual attack on Social Security being engineered by President Bush, God help us. I do feel better, though, that most of Congress is showing a spine and telling George that he can't pull an Iraq, that he has to work for it this time. And yes, this includes Republicans too. Many Republicans.
I think our nation is at its best when the parties split control of government. Clinton and a Democratic Congress in 1993-94=not good. Clinton and a closely divided Congress under Republican control=lots of good for the nation. Budget surpluses, welfare reform, control over spending. I miss those days. In all honesty, Clinton would have wiped the floor with Bush. If it wasn't for the FDR Amendment (as I like to call it) Clinton could STILL be president right now.
It's funny how the Bushies dissed Clinton so much, but yet invoke him to defend Iraq and the usage of the word "crisis" regarding Social Security. And amazing how instead of being called on it, the media is slowly being cowed into using the term "personal accounts" instead of "private accounts," which is what they are. Social Security was designed to give people a safety net in case of a market crash (the Great Depression, anyone?) and now the president wants to return us to that 1929 condition. Genuflecting at the throne is what leads to abuse, and this president is the master at getting people to do that. It's time for our leaders to stand up for what's right, and gutting Social Security isn't it.

And now, time to blow off a little more steam...

Bill O'Reilly has a backwards theory...invite the accused on your show, but not the accusers. Invite Maggie Gallagher (let's hear it for bigotry) and Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary at HHS, on your show to discuss why she was hired by Horn and what for, and no one from the Washington Post or from an ethical group to explain why this is a big deal.
In fact, O'Reilly kept saying "forget about the Washington Post" to Gallagher, who put on a good show of false emotion, making it seem like she was being picked on, but then, in a shocking moment, O'Reilly lambasted Horn and the Bushies for hiring journalists. Horn tried to explain, but O'Reilly slammed him again. His wording was a bit strange, though. "Conflict of interest appearance." I think you can safely strike that last word when it comes to Gallagher and Armstrong Williams.
In all, an interesting moment, showcasing everything I hate, like, and don't understand about O'Reilly.
Moving on, Margaret Spellings plays big mommy for kids everywhere by getting rid of the episode involving Buster the rabbit visiting Vermont, which included meeting two lesbian moms. Spellings claims that parents may not want their kids exposed to this. Fair enough argument....if you live in an intolerant red state. Even so, isn't PBS' job to educate? Why do far righties think that if they yell enough, or ignore enough, that gays will go away? Hate to tell you all, but gays and lesbians have been around since the beginning of time.
How about facing reality, educating your children to the fact that gays and lesbians exist, and explaining to them...oh, nevermind, that would just send James Dobson into stroke mode. Gotta love intolerance. It never strikes once, it's always in bunches. Ignore gays, claim gays have an evil agenda (because God hates gays, right, so they must be evil), tell our kids to abuse them and be intolerant, and slam a good group like the We Are Family Foundation for daring to teach children to be nice to those who aren't like you. Disgusting. I have a great vision of God, the God I believe in, the God that I think most sane people believe in, gathering up these idiots like Dobson and Falwell and Robertson and all the rest of the moralizing, holier-than-thou, hypocritical, overbearing, bigoted jerks and casting them straight into the fires of hell. If I see that day in heaven, I would be overjoyed.

I finally did it

Yes, I have a real blog now, on a blogging website, which means I can separate my personal blogging from my political blogging. I tried to start my own site, but had too many techinical issues, even for a tech-saavy hardware guy such as myself. My fiancee is better with the IT stuff, but I didn't want to bog her down, so I'm using blogspot. If Atrios can, so can I.
Maybe people will actually read this, who knows. I'll talk about local and national politics as I need something to do in the limbo between my collegiate journalistic life and the few months before I start working a professional job.
My earlier work will be copied and pasted into other postings with their original date. Wish this wasn't such a pain, but I started this by using AOL and then Livejournal stuff. Grrr. I should've started this thing sooner.