Saturday, June 18, 2005

Real Blog Content on a Friday? 

No, not here. But Michael at 2millionth web log had a slew of great posts yesterday. If you missed them, there's one on current events and one on historical echoes that shouldn't be missed.
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Friday, June 17, 2005

7. "....this will take a long time" 

Angela serves me green-jasmine iced tea on occasion and is interested in possibly joining the Peace Corps.

In case she's sent to Amazonia, I thought I'd provide her with this helpful (perhaps life-saving) "to do" list.

I'll be back with another post this evening. Have a nice one!
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

"I think I'd rather try and rob a biker bar than a Shreveport beauty school." 

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Cochran 

For someone who has co-sponsored 91 bills and resolutions during the 109th congress, it's unfortunate that Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) has decided to not co-sponsor Landrieu's Senate Resolution 39.

From the Clarion-Ledger:

Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said Tuesday he declined to co-sponsor a popular resolution apologizing for Senate inaction on lynchings because he felt he could not apologize "for something I did not do."

"I don't feel that I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate," Cochran said. "But I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and that those committing them were not punished."

In the past, Cochran has signed on as a co-sponsor of bills apologizing for the U.S. government's mistreatment of American Indians and Japanese Americans. The difference is the lynching resolution was not an apology on behalf of the federal government but just the Senate.

Cochran could not be reached for comment for further clarification of his position.

I will be interested to see Senator Thad's full explanation for his principled decision. It's regrettable that more lynchings occurred in the fragrant Magnolia state than any other (at least 581), and that Mississippi Senators open themselves up to (sometimes reckless) criticism by refusing to support the Senate's apology.

For those who believe the Senate's apology is an empty, insufficient gesture-- Yes! I agree with you! Let's do more! How about some meaningful restitution to the affected families and their direct descendants? Perhaps $1 or $2 million each-- or were you envisaging a larger number?



"Proud perpetrator posing for this photo postcard sent through the mail
in Mississippi in the early 1900s."
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Yes, I see the "W" sticker above your pelican license plate, but you forgot to add the trail of piss... 

Bush is protectionist when it hurts Louisiana ports and free trade when it hurts Louisiana sugar. He's slashed funds to protect our state from flooding, and gives us $8 million to fix a $14 billion coastal erosion problem.

Now this:
The Bush administration on Tuesday said it opposes sharing offshore oil and gas royalties with coastal states, a significant setback for Louisiana's effort to secure federal financing to restore its battered coastline.
...
Louisiana officials who saw the energy bill as their best shot to win a permanent share of royalty revenue condemned the surprise statement. For years, the state's congressional delegation has unsuccessfully staked a claim to a portion of the $6 billion the federal government collects annually in offshore royalties. Louisiana hopes to use the money to restore its coastline, which has been eroding partly because of the channels cut through the marshes to reach offshore oil and gas platforms.

"The president's statement indicates a failure to appreciate the burdens borne by the people of Louisiana and other oil- and gas-producing states," Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement that emphasized that five coastal states produce more than a quarter of the oil and gas consumed by the United States.

"The administration does not understand why these states must be compensated for their contribution to our domestic energy supply and national security," she said.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she was "astounded" at the statement by President Bush, who comfortably carried Louisiana in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

Denying coastal states a share of mineral royalties in federal waters when inland states collect 50 percent of royalties from oil, gas and coal mined on federal lands within their borders is wrong, she said. Last year, according to the Minerals Management Services, more than $1.5 billion was returned to inland states in federal mineral royalties.
...
[Blanco said] "Despite continued assurances from White House officials that the president understands the ecological disaster that we face, actions speak louder than words, and the president's opposition to outer continental shelf revenue sharing to save Louisiana's coast is a bitter pill."

Honestly, the number of anti-Louisiana positions this administration takes is astounding. How far does one have to go back in history to find a president with a comparable set of hostile policies to the "Gret Stet"? And did he carry Louisiana? Not once, but twice?

Does anyone want to make the claim that Bush's policies, over all, are relatively good for Louisiana? Anyone?
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Cig Cig Sputternic 

In a significant defeat, the Queen Bee failed to get the votes for her $1/pack cigarrette tax to fund teacher's pay raises. She's blaiming "willful obstructionists" in the legislature who put Big Tobacco over our precious, darling, defenseless children.

Poor Bee. She started with honey and finished wth the stinger, yet she still could not get her hive in order. Now she's buzzin' around blamin' folks. She should blame herself for not being able to explain the necessity of the tax; especially after state revenue forecasts improved.

If you're a proud "willful obstructionist", Chad Rogers has a list he'll put you on.

---
In other news, the Senate approved slots at Louis Armstrong Int'l to fund the Saints. Over at the Metblogs, I railed on the T-P for their opposition to this measure.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Senate apologizes for being soft on terror 

Inspired by a 5-year old book>, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA) sponsored a resolution apologizing for the "failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation".

As we know, New Orleans was home to the largest mass lynching in U.S. history, and (at least) 391 total lynchings occurred in Louisiana over the years. There's a good deal of information on lynchings and the Senate apology over at Landrieu's site, where she describes it for what it was: American terrorism. The Senate apology goes on to call lynching "the ultimate expression of racism following Reconstruction". Quite right: according to the resolution, "99% of all perpetrators of lynchings escaped punishment".

I congratulate Senator Vitter (R-LA) for signing on as a co-sponsor to the resolution. Unfortunately, at this time, neither Vitter's nor George Allen's websites have been updated to proclaim their support for the Senate's overdue apology.

John at AmericaBlog has compiled a list of Senators who, for whatever reason, have not yet signed on as co-sponsors of the Senate Apology. As of this writing the list includes:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)-- became a cosponsor.
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Michael Crapo (R-ID) became a cosponsor.
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA) "
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) "
Trent Lott (R-MS)
Kay Hutchison (R-TX)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) "
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)
George Voinovich (R-OH) became a cosponsor.

I expect some of these Senators to retroactively cosponsor the resolution in coming days. (Yes, you can do that.) I'll update it as new info is available. Unfortunately, I doubt all will cosponsor.

One wonders... why not?

---
Update: I slogged through each Senator's web page to see who chose to update their sites with a press release regarding the Senate's apology. Most hadn't, so I do want to commend those Senators who made an effort to raise awareness about this important resolution in a timely manner. Here's a list of Senators who had something on their sites (that I could find): Leahy D-CT, Jeffords I-VT, Reid D-NV , Levin D-MI, Cantwell D-WA, Obama D-IL, Clinton D-NY, Kerry D-MA, Mikulski D-MD, Feingold D-WI, Santorum R-PA, Snowe R-ME, Bayh D-IN, Pryor D-Ark, Lincoln D-Ark.

Hopefully more Senators will display their support for Landrieu's resolution in the near future.

Again: why wouldn't you?
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Laffer ass off 

Whatever Kevin Drum's faults, he always does a superior job of exposing the stupidity inherent in supply side voodoonomics. Here he dynamites one of their favorite shibboleths.
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More Juice 

John at Balloon Juice flags my earlier post saluting him, and responds to Jeff G's criticisms made here.

Welcome to all.
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"The tongue has no bones" 

President Bush 6/1/02

Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place. Targeting innocent civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong... There can be no neutrality between justice and cruelty, between the innocent and the guilty. We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name.
...
The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance. America cannot impose this vision -- yet we can support and reward governments that make the right choices for their own people. In our development aid, in our diplomatic efforts, in our international broadcasting, and in our educational assistance, the United States will promote moderation and tolerance and human rights.

Wapo 6/14/05:
Defense officials from Russia and the United States last week helped block a new demand for an international probe into the Uzbekistan government's shooting of hundreds of protesters last month, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.

British and other European officials had pushed to include language calling for an independent investigation in a communique issued by defense ministers of NATO countries and Russia after a daylong meeting in Brussels on Thursday. But the joint communique merely stated that "issues of security and stability in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan," had been discussed.

The outcome obscured an internal U.S. dispute over whether NATO ministers should raise the May 13 shootings in Andijan at the risk of provoking Uzbekistan to cut off U.S. access to a military air base on its territory.

The communique's wording was worked out after what several knowledgeable sources called a vigorous debate in Brussels between U.S. defense officials, who emphasized the importance of the base, and others, including State Department representatives at NATO headquarters, who favored language calling for a transparent, independent and international probe into the killings of Uzbekistan civilians by police and soldiers.


---
* "La langue n'a pas d'os" -- Title is a translated Creole proverb alluding to promises made with the secret determination not to keep them.

** Another applicable Creole proverb is "Everybody knows what boils in his own pot"--( i.e, knows his own business best).
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Monday, June 13, 2005

John's got the Juice 

A few days ago I made some comments about the Republican Party and the support it receives from reactionary bigots. The context was the blogosphere's renewed interest in Tony Perkins' purchase of David Duke's membership lists back in the day. Jeff Goldstein linked to me, and I got into a typically unproductive give-and-take with the commenters over at Protein Wisdom (a site I actually enjoy on occasion).

I wish I'd seen this exquisite post over at the (conservative) blog Balloon Juice. It is really a clear, utterly true portrait that I couldn't have phrased any better. I will reprint much of it, and then advise you to read the whole thing. (The post was initiated by a conservative's denunciation of Jesse Helms' continuing criticism of the Civil Rights movement.) John Cole from Balloon Juice writes:
Implicit in the reading of Ed's post [denouncing Helms] is the understanding that many of the people who make up our current party do trace their lineage back to the wrong side of the civil rights issue, and while we may not want to admit it publicly, and the Democrats go over-the-top in their condemnation of the GOP and the 'Southern Strategy,' many people know in their heart that our side was not the force of change or the force behind integration (and spare me petty arguments about how it was Southern Democrats who voted against Civil Rights, and, yes, I know how Al Gore's father voted and that Robert Byrd was in the KKK). We realize that in the past, many on our side had dirty hands in the civil rights battle, so we are especially sensitive to modern flare-ups with racist undertones. We recognize why many African-Americans to this day still refuse to give the GOP a chance.
...
This is part of the reason I have had such a bee in my bonnet about the all-out demonization of homosexuals and the recreational and, for the most part, politically motivated gay-bashing that the far right of my party seems all to quick to engage in as of late. It disgusts me, and it is, in my eyes, nothing more than a throwback to the obscene old days of our embarassing segregationist past.

If this really were about the sanctity of marriage, it would be one thing. But, it is pretty clear to me at least that it isn't, and all I see is the same old reliance on selected biblical passages, the mean-spiritedness, the anger and venom and unfounded hostility, the dire predictions of apocalypse and the absurd invocation of states right's and the future of our children. It is the same old hate wrapped up and packaged for another demographic. And, as far as I can tell, it is coming from the same crowd of people who 40 years ago would have been fighting to keep my black students and my black next-door neighbor drinking in a different fountain. Quite frankly, I have had enough of it.

I commend John's forceful description in the highest possible terms, because he realizes that no one can strengthen their "side" without a true awareness of its faults and weaknesses. John made a brave and eloquent statement, and I salute him for telling the hard truth. My aim is to do the same, in my own way, here at YRHT.

And to be clear: Is the GOP racist? No. But too many Republican voters are.
Are Democrats morally superior? Hell no! In fact, they have more than their share of embarrassments and wackjobs-- I've no doubt about that.

Politics is best understood as a nasty game with high stakes. (And I'm still clinging to the belief that it isn't hopelessly rigged and unchangeable.) Choose a side, if you must, and work to empower and improve it. Honest self-criticism is an excellent way to do both.

So, my leftist readers would do well to read the above as an example of looking within, rather than a source for cheap potshots.
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Why I don't do captions 

... because friends like Ian are so much better at them.
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Too few Caribbean Queens for Billy O 

With a heavy heart I must report that the upcoming 8-night "Caribbean Fantasy" cruise with Bill O'Reilly has been cancelled. Though widely promoted, only a fraction of the 800 tickets were sold. The theme was going to be "The Battle for American Values".

I think this was poorly planned from the start. See, "American Values" and the "Caribbean" just don't mix. For, as we learned: "Once people get into that hot weather they shed their inhibitions, you know they drink during the day, they lay there and... they have dinner and then they come back and fool around..."

No word on whether a complimentary set of Factor loofa mitts were included in the "fantasy" package...

Thanks to this hopeful organization and, naturally, the Flaming Liberal.
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Apocalypse New Orleans 

Blacksundae's Shannon is at it again, directing a new film called Eschaton.

The supernatural thriller occurs in the Crescent City, of course. Go read about it over at Shannon's, and remember to check out Rise of the Undead if you've inadvertently put it on the backburner (like I have).
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