Us vs. them

 Posted by at 13:48  Politics
Jun 302007
 

CNN: It’s the people vs. the government.

Hardly news. It’s been that way for a long time now; at least since January of 2001.

What is interesting in this article is that, however bad the Democratic majority may be, people still prefer it to a Republican majority…

A solid majority says it’s good for the country that the Democratic Party is in control of Congress. Even though they’re doing a lousy job? Yes.

People think, OK, the Democrats aren’t so great. But the Republicans are worse.

Just a bare majority of Americans now holds a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party (51 percent). But only 36 percent like the Republicans. That’s the Republican Party’s second-lowest rating in 15 years. Only in December 1998, when the Republican Congress voted to impeach President Clinton, were Republicans held in lower regard.

If the Democrats can just figure a way around the obstructionism of the Republicans, I think they’ve got a good shot at governing (and fixing the Republican mess) for a long time to come.

Jun 302007
 

And it’s about time!

3 former leaders of ex-gay ministry apologize

Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group’s message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.

Speaking at a Hollywood news conference, the former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization said they had acted sincerely in their years of work with Exodus. But they said they had all, over time, become disillusioned with the group’s ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts…

The former leaders from Exodus cast its work in grim terms.

“Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families,” the three, including former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, said in a joint written statement presented at the news conference. “Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates…”

Others speaking at Wednesday’s news conference included Jeremy Marks, former president of Exodus International Europe, and Darlene Bogle, the founder and former director of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral agency based in Hayward, Calif.

All three said they had known people who had tried to change their sexual orientation with the help of the group but had failed, often becoming depressed or even suicidal as a result.

All over but the confetti

 Posted by at 22:13  Politics
Jun 292007
 

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck.

Bush loses on immigration; his presidency fading fast too

lame-duck.gifThe Senate’s rejection Thursday of President Bush’s immigration plan was the latest in a series of embarrassments that have exposed Bush’s political weakness and shaken his hold on power.

The president slipped out of town for a long weekend in Maine before the Senate delivered the final blow to his immigration bill, but it wasn’t the only setback that might put a damper on his seaside getaway with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the space of a single short week, Bush was hit with more Republican defections on Iraq, more bad news from the battlefield, more subpoenas from a hostile Congress, a new assault on his signature education plan and embarrassing disclosures about his vice president.

He also found himself in a fight over executive privilege that begs comparisons to Richard Nixon’s legal battles during the Watergate scandal.

“It’s the incredible shrinking presidency. He’s lost battles in the courts. He’s lost battles in Iraq. He’s lost battles on Capitol Hill,” said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.

“His bank account is empty and there’s nowhere to go for more. I think his presidency is essentially over.”

Click on the headline to read the full article.

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Car bombs in London

 Posted by at 18:53  Politics
Jun 292007
 

A couple of unexploded car bombs were found in London today.

Paisley Dodds of The Associated Press makes it sound like the world almost ended…

London Police Foil Major Terror Plot

LONDON (AP) – Police thwarted a devastating terrorist plot on Friday, discovering two Mercedes loaded with nails packed around canisters of propane and gasoline set to detonate and kill possibly hundreds in London’s crowded theater and nightclub district.

The plot, coming only two days after Gordon Brown took over as prime minister, raised the specter of the attacks in July 2005 when the London Underground and an iconic double-decker bus were targeted by a group of homegrown terrorists who killed 52 people.

As police searched for car bombs and terrorists in the city of 7.5 million, roads were closed and police sirens echoed. Authorities stepped up security across Britain, from central London streets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Self-described terrorism expert Larry C. Johnson does not quite agree: London Bomb–What a Crock of Crap!!

Me? I think that if this had been the work of al Qaeda, they would have gotten the job done. It all appears rather amateurish, to my way of thinking.

By the way… Feel safer yet?

Cheney keeps house – barely

 Posted by at 18:58  Politics
Jun 282007
 

vice-president-residence.jpg

House Rejects Proposal to Defund Cheney

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Dick Cheney won’t lose his home, his office and his entertainment expense account after all. The House on Thursday rejected an attempt to eliminate the vice president’s executive office budget, a move that Democrats tied to Cheney’s assertion that his office didn’t need to comply with national security disclosure rules required of other executive branch agencies.

Republicans denounced the proposal as political theater.

The vote, on an amendment to a 2008 spending bill for the Treasury Department and executive branch agencies, was defeated 217-209.

“We are pleased to see a bipartisan majority reject this political stunt,” said Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., author of the amendment, said it was the logical outgrowth of the vice president’s claim that his office was outside the scope of rules imposed on other executive offices.

“Perhaps the vice president thought he occupied an undisclosed fourth branch of government,” Emmanuel said.

The proposal would have withheld about $4.8 million in the budget for the vice president’s official residence, his office and for other expenses including the hiring of passenger vehicles and entertainment expenses.

217-209. That’s how close the Cheneys were to being out on the street. I am sure that Halliburton would have bailed them out, though. They were never in any real danger of decorating a cardboard box.

Isn’t it funny how the Republicans will label anything with which they do not agree was “political theater” or a “political stunt?” It’s getting rather old, actually.

Keep on digging

 Posted by at 18:34  Lifestyle
Jun 282007
 

Isaiah Washington apparently does not know when to stop digging.

Ex-‘Grey’s’ Star Cites Racism for Firing

isaiah_washington.jpgLOS ANGELES (AP) – “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington said racism was a factor in his firing from the hit ABC series after he twice used an anti-gay slur.

Washington, who initially used the epithet during an onset clash with a co-star, told Newsweek magazine that “someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me.”

He tried to make amends by expressing remorse and volunteering to enter a counseling program to understand how the confrontation got out of hand, he told Newsweek.

“My mistake was believing that I would get the support from my network and all of my cast mates across the board. My mistake was believing I could correct a wrong with honesty and sincerity,” he said in the interview posted online Thursday.

“My mistake was thinking black people get second chances. I was wrong on all fronts,” he said.

His unwillingness to act like a submissive black at work was part of the problem, Washington said.

“Well, it didn’t help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn’t a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn’t speak like I’d just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime,” he said.

“I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that ‘some people’ were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I’m a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn’t go around saying ‘Yessah, massa sir’ and ‘No sir, massa’ to everyone?

“It’s nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family,” he said.

Deeper and deeper.

This argument may have carried a little weight forty or fifty years ago, but not now. This is the 21st Century, dude!

There comes a time when you need to just shut your mouth and cut your losses.

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Nothing to hide?

 Posted by at 14:44  Politics
Jun 282007
 

For people who say they have nothing to hide, these folks sure are working hard at hiding it…

Bush Won’t Supply Subpoenaed Documents

The White House said today it would not comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony relating to the firings of federal prosecutors last year, setting up a potential constitutional confrontation over its claim of executive privilege.

In a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees, President Bush’s counsel, Fred F. Fielding, said the White House refuses to turn over documents that were subpoenaed by the two committees on June 13. The deadline for handing over most of them was today.

“I write at the direction of the President to advise and inform you that the President has decided to assert executive privilege and therefore the White House will not be making any production in response to these subpoenas for documents,” Fielding wrote in the letter to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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They win

 Posted by at 14:06  Politics
Jun 282007
 

There will be no immigration reform this year. Like Iraq, it will most likely be left for the next president to deal with…

Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

“Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress’ failure to act on it is a disappointment,” he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn’t find common ground. It didn’t work.”

The bill’s Senate supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

harville062607.jpg

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Can straights change?

 Posted by at 11:46  Lifestyle, Politics
Jun 272007
 

Poll majority: Straights’ orientation can’t change

(CNN) — A majority of Americans believe that straights could not change their sexual orientation even if they wanted to, according to results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday.

It’s the first time in a CNN poll the majority has held that belief regarding heterosexuality.

Fifty-six percent of about 515 poll respondents said they do not believe sexual orientation can be changed. In 2001, 45 percent of those responding to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll held that belief. In 1998, according to a CNN/Time poll, the number was 36 percent.

In addition, 42 percent of respondents to the current poll said they believe heterosexuality results from upbringing and environment, while 39 percent said they believe it is something a person is born with — a close division that reflects the national debate over the issue.

However, those numbers are greatly changed from the 1970s and ’80s, in which fewer than 20 percent of Americans said a person is born heterosexual. In a 1977 poll, the number was 13 percent.

Of course that is not the way the article was written. Click on the headline to read the whole ridiculous thing. If you have a modicum of intelligence, however, I think you get the point. A homosexual cannot change his or her sexual orientation any more than a heterosexual can.

If you still believe that sexual orientation can be changed and if you are heterosexual, let me ask you this: Do you believe you could decide to become gay? Do you really, truly, honestly believe that you could wake up tomorrow morning and decide that from that time forward you would be homosexual? Do you think there is some church program you could attend that would make you change? If you answered no to any or all of these questions (and if you have the least bit of honesty in you, you did), then why do you believe it is any different for gays and lesbians?