August 30, 2003

Yahoo! News - Bush Broadens Global Abortion Gag Rule: "CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush (news - web sites) ordered the State Department on Friday to withhold U.S. family planning help from overseas groups that promote or perform abortions with their own money. "

Streak and I actually understand the opposition to abortion--we think it is difficult to support given conservative worries about the state imposing on personal choice--but this is even harder to understand. If you believe in freedom, then why don't you let the marketplace decide? You put forward your argument about abortion and life and then try to convince people. But you shouldn't, as a conservative, restrict speech, should you? How do we export democracy by stifling speech? Of course, this has nothing to do with shoring up the right wing fundy base, does it?

August 27, 2003

CBN News - Sekulow Weighs in on Ten Commandments Battles: "ROBERTSON: Is this going to lead to civil disobedience? I mean, after all, you've got one District Court judge and you've got the chief judge of [Alabama's] Supreme Court. Sooner or later there's going to be a clash, and the citizens will rise up and say civil disobedience is ordered, we're under tyranny, we've got to do something about it. "

Good old reasonable Pat "Friend of Tyrants with Gold mines" Robertson isn't suggesting to his listeners to take it to the streets, is he? That's unpossible! (Simpsons reference). Streak suggests that this is slightly irresponsible. But then again, it is Pat Robertson. The same guy who supported Charles Taylor because he was a baptist, and who took credit for moving a hurricane out of the gulf. Jeesh.

August 26, 2003

CBO Predicts 2004 Deficit Will Top $480B ( "But if Congress permanently extends current tax cuts, as President Bush has requested, the numbers soar and remain in the red for the foreseeable future, adding another $1.6 trillion to the debt, the CBO said."

This is the part that really bugs Streak. This forecast does not include ongoing costs in Iraq which are not only important, but expensive. I don't understand the rigid approach to tax cuts. I also understand that many will call the left's objections hypocritical, but would contend that the left usually has tried to pay for its spending. The right doesn't like that method--raising taxes, but it strikes Streak as better than just spending.

August 25, 2003 News | We're losing the war in Afghanistan, too: "Many Afghans, especially women, have found this sort of unfounded cheerfulness, and the comparisons to the Taliban era, annoying. (The fact is that the majority of school age girls in Afghanistan are not back in school.) One Afghan woman, an activist, put it succinctly to me in a meeting in July: 'When you compare life to the Taliban, just about every situation seems like a paradise. Afghan women want their rights to be judged in the same ways women's rights are judged in other countries. Not by the Taliban standard, but by the human rights standard.' "

This, in stark contrast with the Bush administration spin.

August 24, 2003

The Daily Camera: Nation/world: "'Maybe they can move the monument, but they can't take it out of our hearts,' said Rich Kendall, 52, who stood steps from the courthouse doors with a 10-foot-tall wooden cross that read 'Jesus Died For You.' "

One of Streak's other friends noted that this was kind of the point. If Christians need the state to affirm their faith, then maybe they need a bigger God. Check Ebay. Search: "Jerry Layne, a self-professed street preacher from Chattanooga, carried a sign that read, 'a one-way ticket to Araq for Morris Dees and the ACLU.' Dees is one of the founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which sued Moore over the monument.

Layne said he believed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were God's punishment for legalized abortion and accepting homosexuality.

'They're taking God out of our establishments, and they're promoting sodomy,' he said. 'If America don't repent she's doomed and damned to hell.' "

Damn. I think Al Quaeda has a pretty similar theology.
For those who haven't watched the Franken v. O'Reilly debacle, it truly is an interesting comment on media, personality, truth and politics. I found it hard to watch at times and would say that Franken lost his control a few times. That is true of his book as well--this one is more personal than the Limbaugh one. He was personally insulted by the treatment of the Wellstone memorial. He was there and was also friends with the Wellstones. I think he was also fed up with the bullying of people like O'Reilly--who at times strikes Streak as the least troublesome of the Fox crew, since he is willing to at least challenge people on the right--who uses his show as a club, even cutting the mike and shouting at someone who lost their father in the World Trade center attack. O'Reilly's arrogance shows up in the CSPAN debate, when he talks about his new book really being for us, not for him. He is looking out for us, and is insulted to be challenged.

Read Franken's new book and email me. He researched his book pretty well and makes some very good arguments, but he is unabashedly liberal and his bias is evident. I don't have a problem with that and appreciate his candor on that.

His dissections of Ann Coulter are mostly taken from the (a great blog, btw) and, but are nonetheless worthwhile. She is easy to dissect--the bigger mystery is why more conservatives don't ask her to shut up. He also takes on Sean Hannity--who is clearly the new Limbaugh--and shows how disengenuous not only Hannity is, but also the show, Hannity and Colmes.

In any case, it is a very interesting read. He returns to Operation Chickenhawk with success and has a great discussion of Supply Side Jesus (v. Jesus of Nazareth). Enjoy.

August 23, 2003

O'Reilly v. Franken

For those who haven't seen the CSPAN debate, Al starts talking around the 4:45 mark. Very interesting. Arts & Entertainment | Judge rejects Fox bid vs. Franken book: "There are hard cases and there are easy cases, the judge said. This is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit, both factually and legally. In addition to denying the injunction, the judge took direct aim at Fox for bringing the case.

“It is ironic that a media company, which should be protecting the First Amendment, is seeking to undermine it,” Chin said. "

Not so ironic when you remember who Fox is. Streak would like to note that I have purchased the book (rare for me to do so with a hardcover) to give the finger to Fox.

August 21, 2003

Printed from "God?! Why, some poor wide-eyed plaintiffs' lawyer from Demopolis, in town to file an asbestos lawsuit, might get the impression that the state of Alabama thinks highly of God. Mercy, we can't have that -- never mind that the Founders thought highly of God."

Streak has difficulty with people who will put together entire boycotts for huge blocks of granite, but won't bother to even worry about the environment or poverty at all. They think highly of God, but don't care about God's creation.

August 20, 2003 | Dallas-Fort Worth | Latest News: "

Mr. Ratliff, who had declined to comment on the redistricting fracas until Tuesday, also disclosed that in the summer of 2001 he was asked by Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land and current U.S. House majority leader, whether he, as acting lieutenant governor, would suspend the Senate's two-thirds rule so the GOP could push through a favorable congressional redistricting plan during a special session."

'I said, 'No,' I would not agree to that,' he said, adding that the subject was not brought up again while he was the state's No. 2 officeholder. "

Ratliff is a Republican, btw. One of Streak's friends accuses me of demonizing the Honorable Mr. Delay. I would suggest that this is just further evidence that Delay will do whatever it takes to get his way--which is in stark contrast to the faith he says he believes. Remember, this is the same guy who blamed the Columbine shooting on liberals teaching evolution. - News - 'In God We Trust' Posters Finding Way Into Schools: "'It's an American issue,' she said. 'It's time for us, the majority, to say that we love America's godly heritage.'"

Streak wonders if this isn't begging the question. Should America also say that they love their pagan heritage? Or the greedy heritage? Or the heritage that used the godly heritage to disenfranchise blacks and Indians? Oh, and it is Oklahoma. Just when we start making strides out of the Okie stereotype.....

August 19, 2003

Paul Newman Is Still HUD

Paul Newman prepared to sue HUD for besmirching character in movie of same name.

" A coalition of the willing — i.e., the Bratwurst Asphalt Company and the Ypsilanti Hot Dog and Bean Shop — has been pushed forward and is prepared to label its products "fair and balanced," knowing that Fox News will sue and that its newscasters will be so tied up with subpoenas they will only be able to broadcast from the courtroom, where they will be seen tearing their hair and whining, looking anything but fair and balanced, which would certainly be jolly good sport all around."

Streak likes this guy--Hud is a great movie and he makes great sauce and dressing--and loves the "coalition of the willing." | Limousine liberals and corporate-jet conservatives: "Using a complex computerized map graphing congressional voting patterns over the past century, the three professors have found precisely the same polarization between the parties on Capitol Hill. With increasing consistency, Democrats support legislation that helps the middle class and the poor, while Republicans protect their affluent constituency."

More from Joe. Streak wonders about this, but has seen enough from the GOP to realize that they clearly favor those with money than those without. Is it just the worship of the market system? Do they just believe that those with money are better people who work harder and deserve their wealth? | Limousine liberals and corporate-jet conservatives: "George W. is the kind of 'regular guy' who burns through millions of other people's dollars in failed businesses, drinks too much until early middle age, dodges an insider-trading scandal, picks up a major league baseball franchise, and eventually finds himself in the Oval Office as commander in chief of the world's only superpower, thanks to a justice appointed to the Supreme Court by his father. "

Streak liked this characterization of the President from Joe Conason's new book.

August 18, 2003 | Big lies: "If Americans have a common fault, however, it's our tendency to suffer from historical amnesia. Too many of us have forgotten, or never learned, what kind of country America was under the conservative rule that preceded the century of liberal reform. And too many of us have no idea whose ideas and energy brought about the reforms we now take for granted.

If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. "

All good points. Streak is very tired of the bashing that liberals take on a daily basis at the hands of Fox News and others. | Big lies: "Liberals value the dynamism and creativity of democratic capitalism, but they also believe in strong, active government to protect the interests of society. They understand that markets function best when properly regulated, and they also know that unchecked concentrations of private power encourage environmental pollution, financial fraud, and labor exploitation. Liberals see a broad social interest in ensuring real opportunities and decent standards of living for everyone, while requiring basic responsibility from everyone. "

Streak thought this was a good summation of what many liberals believe. So much more attractive than anything you hear on the media about evil, communist liberals.

August 15, 2003

Streak finally figured out how to work the archives on this thing. Or his friend Alafair did. I forget. Might have been Molly. But she is only 3 months old and a cat. Hard to figure she would know how to edit the settings like that. But who knows. Alafair is a very smart dog, but unimpressed with Streak's blathering. Anyway, the archive links now work.
Real Live Preacher

Streak is fortunate to have a lot of friends. J suggested that Streak and I take a look at this other blog. One of the best I have seen. This represents more about what faith is to me than anything I have seen from evangelicals in years. For what it is worth.

August 10, 2003

Yahoo! News - Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence: "The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush (news - web sites), Vice President Cheney and their subordinates -- in public and behind the scenes -- made allegations depicting Iraq's nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied:"

This is exactly what Streak has been talking about for months. It isn't just willful deception, but the willingness to allow misunderstandings and misstatements to continue.

August 5, 2003

Everything Is Political: "As I've said, this is only one example of a broad pattern. Still, why does politicized analysis matter? One answer is that it undermines democracy: how can Congress or the public make informed votes if both are fed distorted information?

And even if you aren't bothered by an administration that systematically misleads the public, you ought to be worried about the decisions of an administration that systematically misleads itself. A leader who is told only what he wants to hear is all too likely to make bad decisions about the economy, the environment and beyond."

This column details how the Bush admin has systematically edited their own Treasury department analysis to present tax cuts in the best light. Krugman is obviously liberal, but this issue of "salting the mine" by editing the policy analysis before decisions are made, is exactly what we have seen in the war in Iraq, environmental policy and energy decisions. As the Atlantic Monthly reported, this same pattern was exactly followed with regards to death penalty clemency appeals under Governer Bush. Streak suggests, like Krugman, that if you limit the information, the decisions will also be seriously limited.

August 4, 2003

Yahoo! News - Afghan Political Violence on the Rise

Streak wonders if we can count this as a win. This is what is called losing the peace. Violence is on the rise, Taliban leadership is openly having people killed and handing out guns to followers.