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Posts Tagged ‘i don’t recall’

In case you haven’t heard, Idaho is now famous for more than just potatoes and “I da ho”, now having a sex scandal to call its own. Senator Larry Craig was recently exposed to have plead guilty to lewd conduct in a bathroom while making a stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. How this happened in June and is only reported now is beyond me, but I’m glad to see major news outlets grill a man whose appearances at my high school were frequently key noted by anti-sex tirades and arguments for why motorcyclists shouldn’t have to wear helmets (an unrelated pet peeve of mine). You can read more about the incident at Slate where they kindly post the police report and engage in some amusing commentary about Craig’s foot tapping in the bathroom.

-Minneapolis Airport Lobby, 12:30 pm

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Regarding oneiroi’s recent post about Congress stepping aside and letting Bush quietly ream our democracy: MoveOn.org has created a petition that you can read and sign here. Go on record saying, “I’m outraged that Congress capitulated to President Bush and gave him more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant. I demand Congress act swiftly to reverse this reckless act.”

Because, seriously. Why the fuck did we elect democrats if this is what they’re doing with their time?

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When the Republicans lost their iron grip on all 3 branches of government, losing to the Democrats in both in the House and the Senate, many people sat around trying to figure out why. Was it the Iraq War? The fun & exciting sex scandals? The government’s role in warantless wiretapping, “torture”, and other dubious actions?

Congress took on the mission to prove themselves worthy of the seats they sat in, and started putting pressure against the war, promised to clean up the scandals, and started inquiring about some of those questionable activities. They put Gonzales on the stand and grilled him on the legality and constitutionality of things like the warrantless wiretapping. Congress expressed concern about how the Bush administration was administering a secretive program to wiretap people phones without oversight, as established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

These concerns were not really about the existence of the wiretapping, which has always happened, just that they’re not being approved by the proper authorities. The fact that they’ve gone this far to avoid judicial oversight is troubling, because the process was a breeze anyways. The court is already held secret from the public, and there can even be surveillance without a warrant as long as its reported within 72 hours. There is no delay to worry about. Even
then, from the program’s inception in 1978 at least until 2005, there have been four rejections out of 20,806 approved warrant requests. That’s .019% of all requests that were outright rejected.

In response to this concern over the legality of the program, the Democrat controlled congress approved of Bush’s ability to conduct these wiretaps without even this small piece of oversight. And even goes so far as to make it easier to get information from telephone companies, who before had occasionally resisted!

So…good job Democrats!

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It has been a fun month for health and the current administration. Let’s just go over some of the more recent news! stem cell alternatives

A couple weeks ago, Bush rose to the defense of embryos everywhere and vetoed the second stem cell research bill from congress. But just to prove that he still likes everyone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Lupus, he issued an executive order to “encourage” non-mini-baby stem cell research. He proudly gave his support for these alternative methods with a big thumbs up (while neither offering funding nor new avenues of research).

Then early last week the surgeon general also claimed that the Bush’s administration sought to “weaken or suppress important public health reports,” so research and general information on topics including secondhand smoke, global warming, AIDS, contraception, and stem cells were all altered to fall better in line with the current opinion of the Bush administration. Traditionally, positions such as the surgeon general (and attorney generals) have sought to be beyond the political fray, to better serve the public. Luckily these topics affect very few people. It’s not like public needs more scientific information on global warming, std prevention, or smoking. Who would that help? My personal favorite part of this story is the White House’s spokesman’s response: “It’s disappointing to us, if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.” So the White House’s response to the surgeon general’s accusations of them bullying him: “Grow a pair”

Hearing from the surgeon general that the administration officials wanted to water down more negative information on secondhand smoke, comforted me with the idea that the tobacco lobby is still doing well. Before this I thought TheTruth.com won. Speaking of which, I’m sure the tobacco lobby has no influence on the White House’s disapproval the proposed $1 tax hike on cigarettes. This bill is set to support The Children’s Health Insurance Fund by adding $50 billion to the fund over 5 years, as opposed to Bush’s proposed $5 billion. In fact Bush “denounced the Democratic proposals as a step toward ‘government-run health care’ for all”. Truthfully, I’m just amazed that someone can have gumption to spend an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars on a war, while “denouncing” a $50 billion effort for children’s insurance and the idea of universal health care…while offering little alternative. Kudos to you sir!

*A fun and interesting thing to note from the second nytimes article, was that the surgeon general was discouraged from going to the Special Olympics because of politics (the Kennedy family’s involvement). I didn’t really think this was news because Bush has always had a rocky relationship with the mentally disabled.

 

 

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Celebrities have a lot of money. They also like getting political. These two things go together well. A list of celebrity donations was released and, I know, it’s a surprise: most money was given to Democratic candidates.

To start, Hillary made a killing. Everyone from Fran Drescher to Tom Hanks opened their wallet to Mrs. Clinton, dishing out thousands. Hell even Pauly Shore and George Takei donated a grand apiece. Tobey Maguire, with plenty of SpiderMan cash to throw around, gave the legal limit ($4600). Then, there’s Chris Dodd. Poor, poor Chris Dodd. You know your campaign isn’t going too well when all you’ve got is the guy from Third Rock from the Sun and someone named Christy Romano, who is listed as the “voice of Kim Possible.”

Next up, John Edwards scored a good amount, most notably $500 from Oliver Stone, which seems a little strange. I would have guessed he’d give money to Gravel. In fact, the two seem so delightfully loony that one would think they were related. Mike Gravel however, got $700 from Mark Ruffalo, shaving a couple hundred off of the ninety bagillion dollars of debt he’s in. Obama kicked a little ass, even getting the Tom Skerritt donation. As we all know, Tom Skerritt has an incredible influence over the United States. As Skerritt votes, so does the nation. In the political world, this is called the “Skerritt Pull.”

Kucinich gets several actors, including Rosario from Will & Grace (Shelley Morrison), the woman no one liked on Baywatch (Alexandra Paul) , someone from Days of Our Lives (Deirdre Hall) and Hector Elizondo, the prostitute-friendly hotel owner from Pretty Woman. Bill Richardson scored big bucks, definitely getting the “old Hollywood” vote with people like Michael Douglas, Paul Newman, William Friedkin and James L. Brooks.

And finally, Pauly from Sopranos and Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie gave to Giuliani. Meanwhile, all Republican candidates other than Giuliani have not received a dime in donations from anyone, and are collectively breaking open their piggy banks and checking couch cushions for loose change.

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I have already expressed my ceaseless, violent anger at the terms “Daddy Party” and “Mommy Party,” but now political gendering has gone a step further. Salon.com posted an article last week called “Hillary is from Mars, Obama is from Venus,” which basically argued that Obama is a bigger girl than Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she has ovaries. Admittedly, Brooklyn Skeptic is guilty of regularly reinforcing gender stereotypes, but we’re just trying to be cute. The rest of the world is not cute.

Michael Scherer writes for Salon.com,

Throughout history, American presidents have been men’s men who puff their out chests against evil. Think Teddy Roosevelt on safari, Jack Kennedy in PT-109, Ronald Reagan on his horse, or George W. Bush with a chain saw clearing brush. If leaders show any slackening of testosterone, especially in wartime, they are quickly derided as wimps (George H.W. Bush), a Frenchman (John Kerry) or weaklings (Jimmy Carter). But on the Democratic campaign trail these days, where the first woman in U.S. history is making a serious run at the White House, gender roles are being swapped.

He cites Clinton’s tough-as-nails demeanor and Obama’s exultation to dream together as evidence of their misplaced genders.

I think we’re all just missing the boat here and being lazy with our lexicon. A person who believes he or she should rightfully be the president of the United States is going to have a particular set of personality traits that are not necessarily common in all people. These traits, I suppose, would be a dominant personality, with some delusions of grandeur, egoism, ambition and obstinance. One could also rightly suspect that the candidate would be uncommonly intelligent, personable, charismatic, and good looking. However, these second-ranked traits are not required to be president, and are easier to fake with the right staff.

As our political arena becomes ever-so-slightly more accessible to non-white-and-male Americans each year, we are beginning to see that these traits are exclusive neither to one gender nor to one racial background. Politicians, like members of every other profession that I can think of, can be basically anyone, assuming they have the above mentioned personality traits. So when Scherer talks about the flipped gender roles of the leading democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, he, too, is being lazy. Scherer quotes Clinton saying that she is “not running because [she is] a woman. [She is] running because [she thinks she is] the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.” While Scherer interprets this as another masculine move, downplaying her femininity and underscoring her ambition (so unladylike), I see this as just another example of the presidential power trait (patent pending, jerk). Clinton believes she knows a better way and she thinks she should lead the county there.

Scherer shows Obama

[Singing] an empowerment ballad on the stump that would make most lady folk singers proud. “The decision to go to war is not a sport,” he tells crowds, rejecting the male metaphor. “We can discover the better part of ourselves as a nation,” he says. “We can dream big dreams.”

Sadly, under all of this inflammatory gender comparison (singing vs. sports), what is ignored is the actual power behind his words. While he isn’t clearing brush or womanizing, he’s calling for revolution of our political system. I don’t know if that’s “feminine,” but it certainly betrays his presidential power trait. He also knows a better way. He thinks he should be the one to lead the U.S. out of this shitshow we’re in. There’s no way that any of this is masculine or feminine. This is nothing but total politician. We need a third gender when we’re talking about politicians. Maybe it’s the presence of two assholes instead of typical male or female genitals.

So what? So maybe we should start listening to the actual ideas and strategies and stop trying to put every fucking thing into these circumscribed categories of acceptable gender behavior. No Mommy Party and Daddy Party. No bitch. No man’s man. No brush clearing. No Indigo Girls.

**Update: Scherer responds to readers tearing him a new one…

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I will admit my interest in politics, especially here on the blog, is not based on the need to know what’s going on in my government. Basically it’s just reveling in the soap-opera of it all.

And luckily Alberto Gonzales keeps on giving. The best part of his hearing on Thursday was his terse exchange with Senator Specter. These two guys are roughly on the same team, and so Gonazales thought this would be a great time to just let his annoying-ness shine. Read more for my in depth analysis of Gonzales in his finest hour:

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