Posted by at 19:36  Politics
Dec 312004

House to Consider Relaxing Its Rules

House Republican leaders are urging members to alter one of the chamber’s fundamental ethics rules, which would make it harder for lawmakers to discipline a colleague.

The proposed change would essentially negate a general rule of conduct that the ethics committee has often cited in admonishing lawmakers — including Majority Leader Tom DeLay — for bringing discredit on the House even if their behavior was not covered by a specific regulation. Backers of the rule, adopted three decades ago, say it is important because the House’s conduct code cannot anticipate every instance of questionable behavior that might reflect poorly on the chamber.

Republicans, returning to the Capitol on Tuesday after increasing their House majority by three seats in the Nov. 2 election, also want to relax a restriction on relatives of lawmakers accepting foreign and domestic trips from groups interested in legislation before the House.

A third proposed rule change would allow either party to stop the House ethics committee from investigating a complaint against a member.

I do not understand the need for these rule changes. I thought Republicans were supposed to be the epitome of morality and ethics. Are they saying they’re not?

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 Posted by at 16:46  General
Dec 312004

U.S. Tsunami Aid Skyrockets to $350M

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – The United States upped its tsunami relief aid tenfold to $350 million Friday as the world’s ships and planes converged on devastated shores. Bottlenecks of supplies built up, fears of epidemics grew, and in an echo of 9/11’s aftermath, people at a Thai resort scoured a bulletin board of 4,000 photos in search of the dead and missing.

Six days after the earthquake and tsunamis that ravaged 3,000 miles of African and Asian coastline, the death toll passed 121,000, and 5 million people were homeless. Remote Indian islanders were said to be facing starvation.

This is wonderful, but the article is mistaken. The government of the United States has increased its offer of aid by 23.3 fold. Remember, the initial offer was $15 million, which they then upped to $35 million after it was pointed out to them that they were being kind of stingy. Also, I don’t know that “skyrocket” is the term I would have chosen, since we are spending more than $350 million every two days on George’s invasion of Iraq.

I’m glad that the individual citizens of the United States are taking up the slack. It is going to take a lot to even make a dent. Please see the previous post for ways in which you can help.

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 Posted by at 04:28  General
Dec 312004

Be sure your speakers are turned on then watch this video (Windows Media format).


The death toll is now over 100,000.

Here are some links. Please help if you can…

American Red Cross International Response Fund
AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund
Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund
M餥cins Sans Fronti貥s International Tsunami Emergency Appeal
Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund
Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy
UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts

(If you know of any others, please add them in comments.)

Before and after…

This is a photograph of a residential area, about one mile from the shore, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, taken on June 23, 2004…


The same area on December 28, 2004…


Bob Herbert writes in today’s New York Times

It’s a peculiarity of modern technology that people anywhere in the world can sit back and watch in real time, like voyeurs, the life-and-death struggles of their fellow humans. The planet is growing smaller and its residents more interdependent by the day. We’re fully aware that our planetary neighbors in southern Asia are desperately drawing upon the deepest reservoirs of fortitude and resilience that our troubled species has at its disposal.

What this means is that we’re the supportive community. All of us. This catastrophe would at least have a silver lining if it moved the people of the United States and other nations toward a wiser, more genuinely cooperative international posture.

William Faulkner, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, said: “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

That’s what Faulkner believed. We’ll see.

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Hilarious hypocrisy

 Posted by at 03:12  Politics
Dec 312004

It’s hilarious to read this on the weblog of a rabid right-winger…

That’s right, stupidity and insanity have joined forces, and they want to waste taxpayer dollars again to do another recount in Ohio…

Enough is enough already. Bush won. Kerry lost. You can count the votes over and over and over and over and over and over and nothing will change that.

(I agree with him, by the way… Bush won and Kerry lost. That result is to be expected when the majority of the votes are cast on machines owned by two companies which are owned by Republicans and the Secretary of State (the man in charge of the election) is a co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the state. No amount of recounting is likely to change the outcome.)

and then read this in the Seattle Times

The night before Washington’s secretary of state was scheduled to certify Democrat Christine Gregoire as the governor-elect, her Republican rival Dino Rossi called for a complete re-do of the longest, closest governor’s race in state history.

Enough is enough already. Gregoire won. Rossi lost.

To paraphase Mr. Rossi: “The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn’t just bad for you and me — it is bad for the entire country. People need to know for sure that the next president actually won the election.”

We will most likely never know for sure.

George W. Bush received 60,608,582 votes in 2000 and 50,456,002 votes in 2004. Given his monumental screw-ups (and outright lies) over the past four years, there is absolutely no way that anybody is ever going to convince me that 10,152,580 more people decided to vote for him in 2004 than in 2000. It simply does not stand the test of reality.

George W. Bush, in my eyes, has never been and will never be the President of the United States.

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 Posted by at 17:35  Politics
Dec 302004


“Tsunami? If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times… stop using big words around me!”

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And the winner is…

 Posted by at 16:16  Politics
Dec 302004

Democrat Declared Wash. Governor-Elect

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – After three vote tallies and 58 days of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington’s governor-elect on Thursday. But her Republican rival did not concede and wants a new election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, certified Gregoire, the three-term attorney general, as the winner of the closest governor’s race in state history. She won a statewide hand recount by a scant 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast.

While there were mistakes, Reed told a news conference, “at this time there is nothing that appears fraudulent.”

“I saw serious mistakes being made. I saw them being corrected,” Reed said. “That’s part of the process. The system itself has worked well.”

Is it really necessary to remind the Republicans that George W. Bush was “elected” by a much smaller margin in 2000 — 537 votes out of 104.3 million cast?

If new elections were the order of the day, Al Gore would be president now and this country (and world) would be in much better shape.

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Perfection personified

 Posted by at 05:20  Politics
Dec 302004


There are only two perfect people in this world, George… you and I. I must confess that there are times when I have doubts about you.

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Was Jesus gay?

 Posted by at 03:54  Lifestyle
Dec 302004

Some people seem to think so.

But please do not spread this around. If the evangelical right wing of the Republican party gets wind of it, all hell is going to break loose.


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Fact vs. Fiction

 Posted by at 16:21  Politics
Dec 292004

John H. Hinderaker (a.k.a. “Hindrocket”) writes “All across America, newspaper editors have racked their brains trying to think of ways to blame the tsunami on the Bush administration.” As proof, he links to an imaginery conversation in the offices of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Now it is no secret that many (most) on the right do not care much for newspapers, or for journalists in general. Their leader, George W. Bush, makes no secret of that fact that he does not even read them. The reason is not difficult to fathom – journalists report the news, and the news is generally contradictory to the propaganda put forth by BushCo. It is difficult to face facts when your brain has been programmed for fiction.

To further understand the problems faced by today’s media, read Greg Mitchell’s column in today’s Editor and Publisher.

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