Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've had some mentally challenged trolls leave some deranged scribblings in the comments section of my blog, which I promptly deleted. But in thinking about the charges of racism being thrown around by the mentally challenged extremist conservatives, wingnuts, and trolls who visit here, I decided to do some research. As a result, I've uncovered some real racist/anti-woman statements written by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. I'll post them here with the appropriate link, as well as Judge Sotomayor's remarks, and let you decide who the racist is:

"Though the Supreme Court nominee [John Roberts] offered straight legal advice, and sometimes savvy political suggestions, he also expressed partisan views in the 35,000 pages released yesterday from his years as White House associate counsel from 1982 to 1986.

In some memos, for example, he made jokes about Hispanics and women. For a 1983 Reagan interview in Spanish Today, he said, "I think this audience would be pleased that we are trying to grant legal status to their illegal amigos."He also joked in 1982 about Kickapoo Indians, saying "a group of them made Newsweek by choosing to live in squalid conditions beneath the International Bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, rather than their Mexican homeland."

And in a 1985 memo about a corporate scholarship program for women, Roberts said, "Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."


Charles Blow, writing in today's NYTimes says:

And, The New York Review of Books published a scolding article in 2005 making the case that during the same period that he was making those jokes, Roberts marshaled a crusader’s zeal in his efforts to roll back the civil rights gains of the 1960s and ’70s — everything from voting rights to women’s rights. The article began, “The most intriguing question about John Roberts is what led him as a young person whose success in life was virtually assured by family wealth and academic achievement to enlist in a political campaign designed to deny opportunities for success to those who lack his advantages.”

Mr. Blow also writes:

"...there’s former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. When the Supreme Court was considering Brown v. Board of Education, Rehnquist was a law clerk for Justice Robert Jackson. Rehnquist wrote Jackson a memo in which he defended separate-but-equal policies, saying, “I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by my ‘liberal’ colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”

Furthermore, Rehnquist had been a Republican ballot protectionist in Phoenix when he was younger. As the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen correctly noted in 1986: Rehnquist “helped challenge the voting qualifications of Arizona blacks and Hispanics. He was entitled to do so. But even if he did not personally harass potential voters, as witnesses allege, he clearly was a brass-knuckle partisan, someone who would deny the ballot to fellow citizens for trivial political reasons — and who made his selection on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

And this:

"The same Newt Gingrich who once said that bilingual education was like teaching “the language of living in a ghetto” tweeted that Sotomayor is a “Latina woman racist.” The same Rush Limbaugh who once told a black caller to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back” called Sotomayor a “reverse racist.” The same Tom Tancredo, a former congressman, who once called Miami, which has a mostly Hispanic population, “a third world country” said that Sotomayor “appears to be a racist.”

This is rich.

Even Michael Steele, the bungling chairman of The Willie Horton Party knows that the Republicans have no standing on this issue. In an interview published in GQ magazine in March, he was asked: “Why do you think so few nonwhite Americans support the Republican Party right now?” His response: “Cause we have offered them nothing! And the impression we’ve created is that we don’t give a damn about them or we just outright don’t like them.” Ding, ding, ding, ding."

Judge Sotomayor's remarks:

"The larger context of the sentence is Sotomayor addressing former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's famous quote that "a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases."

"I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement," Sotomayor says. "First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

"Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society," she said. "Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown."

"However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give," she continued. "For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."

She went on to say that "each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate."

Friday, May 29, 2009


El Gasbag has gone all funny in the head over the Judge Sotomayor nomination. Read his lastest absurdity and ROTFLYAO like I did. Keep it up El Gasbag, you are doing so much damage to your cause that we don't need to open our mouths to counter your insane rantings. Oh, you go guy! We "heart" what you're doing to yourself and your once proud party.

LIMBAUGH: Not only does she lack the often discussed appropriate judicial temperament, it's worse than that. She brings a form of bigotry and racism to the court. I don't care, we're not supposed to say it, we're supposed to pretend it didn't happen, we're supposed to look at other things but it's the elephant in the room. The real question here that needs to be asked and nobody on our side from a columnist to a TV commentator to anybody in our party has the guts to ask, how can a president nominate such a candidate? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive. It is asked.

LIMBAUGH: Today the Republican Party seems more interested in condemning its supporters and its friends than in doing its job. Now, normally, I don't respond to all of this media bashing because if I did, it would be all I do because there is so much of it but the fact of the matter is, ladies and gentlemen, my wit and wisdom and brilliance is being drowned out out there and I have learned over the course of many, many moons that if you don't stand up for yourself, nobody else will either.

Now, a day is going to come here -- a day will come when reality hits. A day is going to come when each and every American looks up to the heavens and says "Why didn't somebody warn me?" I am that someone. I am that someone warning you. I am here to warn you each and every day and all of the drive-bys and even Republicans, all of these people using me to win a one night stand with the media, to win glowing praise from their enemies is not going to stop me from being that someone that you're going to say someday "Why didn't somebody tell me about this?"



and why women and minorities will stay away in large numbers. Who would want to be in an organization that has this guy as a member??

Yesterday on his radio show, conservative host G. Gordon Liddy continued the right wing’s all-out assault on Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

First, just like Tom Tancredo, Liddy slammed Sotomayor’s affiliation with the civil rights group La Raza — and referred to the Spanish language as “illegal alien“:

LIDDY: I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, “the race.” And that should not surprise anyone because she’s already on record with a number of racist comments.

Finished with the race-based attack, Liddy moved on to denigrate Sotomayor’s gender:

LIDDY: Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

[Imagine someone suggesting that Justice Scalia might not be able to render a judgment the day after he was unable to, *cough* perform his husbandly duty *cough* because of his age. Lord knows how his frustration would impact a decision and what we would get then.]

Finally, Liddy disputed the entire idea that there’s anything wrong with the paucity of women and total lack of Hispanics on the Court:

LIDDY: And everybody is cheering because Hispanics and females have been, quote, underrepresented, unquote. And as you pointed out, which I thought was quite insightful, the Supreme Court is not designed to be and should not be a representative body.

h/t ThinkProgress

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Several examples of a judge talking about empathy when ruling on certain cases:

"And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.

And so it's my job to apply the law. It's not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.

When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender.

And I do take that into account.

When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.

So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person." --Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

President Obama was criticized by conservatives for saying he would like to see a judge who would be empathetic on the Supreme Court. The Right was quick to say that empathy has no place in judicial decision-making; but as usual, the Right completely ignores the empathy-soaked testimony of Judge Samuel Alito when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and happily testified to his EMPATHY for certain ethnic and social groups in his judgments.

The Right is hypocritical, as usual, and its complaints against the "empathy" factor regarding Judge Sotomayor should be dismissed as such.

Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich have called for Judge Sotomayor to withdraw her nomination because they believe she's a racist and a bigot.

As Media Matters for America has documented, media figures have misrepresented Sotomayor's Berkeley remarks. For example, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said that Sotomayor was claiming "that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges." In fact, Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.

Indeed, former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience. Thomas himself, in responding to the question during his confirmation hearing of why he "want[ed] this job," said in part: "I believe ... that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


and the Hindenberg of Gasbags, predictably says he hopes she fails.


The heart and soul of the GOP again wishes for failure, and gives Mr. Obama's nominee a great big NO!

The Hindenberg of Gasbags also said Judge Sotomayor would be a "disaster" for this country, which elicited more howls of laughter from people with the ability to actually think.

Imagine this: A guy from a family of lawyers and judges, a family of privilege, who, in addition to failing all of his academic subjects in college, actually failed his ballroom dancing classes, is passing judgment on a woman whose parents emigrated from Puerto Rico, whose father died when she was a child, whose mother worked two jobs and instilled in her two children [her brother is a physician] all the values we hold dear, a woman who graduated with the highest honors from two of America's finest institutions of higher learning, and who was appointed by Republican President, George H.W. Bush, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York , becoming the youngest judge in the Southern District and the first Hispanic federal judge anywhere in New York State.

Meanwhile, as noted over at Atrios' blogspot, Eschaton, Mike Huckabee referred to Judge Sotomayor as "Maria" Sotomayor, because, y'know, "they" are all named "Maria."

Let's see if the GOP can out-hypocrite even themselves.
Found this over at dailykos:
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I have followed this man's career for some time, and he has excelled in everything that he has attempted. He is a delightful and warm, intelligent person, who has great empathy and a wonderful sense of humor. He's also a fiercely independent thinker with an excellent legal mind who believes passionately in equal opportunity for all Americans. He will approach the cases that come before the Court with a commitment to deciding them fairly, as the facts and the law require.
Speaking about Supreme Court Justice nominee, Clarence Thomas.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Robert Lowell - For the Union Dead
"Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die--
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year--
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the bless├Ęd break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Another reason for the marginalization of the GOP. In attacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 2nd in line to succeed the POTUS, the GOP uses the most sexist images, names, language to assail her. This sort of personal, gender-specific attack was wrong when it was done to Sarah Palin, and it is wrong when it is done to Speaker Pelosi.

This is, among other valid reasons, why only 22% of Americans identify with this stale, out-of-touch, mostly old white guy, sexist party. Remember how the GOP howled "SEXISM!" during the presidential campaign whenever someone criticized Sarah Palin? You'd think that for a party to be so attuned to sexist assaults on women that they'd never resort to the same sort of attacks, wouldn't you? Except this is the GOP--and they are, if nothing else, Grand Old Hypocrites.

She’s the 69-year-old speaker of the House of Representatives, second in the line of succession and the most powerful woman in U.S. history.

But when you see Nancy Pelosi, the Republican National Committee wants you to think “Pussy Galore.”

At least that’s the takeaway from a video released by the committee this week – a video that puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess from the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

The RNC video, which begins with the speaker’s head in the iconic spy-series gun sight, implies that Pelosi has used her feminine wiles to dodge the truth about whether or not she was briefed by the CIA on the use of waterboarding in 2002. While the P-word is never mentioned directly, in one section the speaker appears in a split screen alongside the Bond nemesis – and the video’s tagline is “Democrats Galore.”

The wisdom of equating the first woman speaker of the House with a character whose first name also happens to be among the most vulgar terms for a part of the female anatomy might be debated – if the RNC were willing to do so, which it was not. An RNC spokesperson refused repeated requests by POLITICO to explain the point of the video, or the intended connection between Pelosi and Galore.

But what isn’t open to debate is that the waterboarding conflict has been accompanied by a cascade of attacks on the speaker, not as a leader or a legislator, but as a woman.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh radio host Jim Quinn referred to the speaker on his program as “this bitch”; last week, syndicated radio host Neal Boortz opined “how fun it is to watch that hag out there twisting in the wind.”

There has also been a steady stream of taunts about the speaker’s appearance, and whether it’s been surgically enhanced. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said, “I think if Speaker Pelosi were still capable of human facial expression, we’d see she’d be embarrassed.”

Even erstwhile presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee took the time to pen a poem that begins:
“Here's a story about a lady named Nancy / A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy.”

One might argue that face-lift and fashion gibes are just sauce for the goose these days – especially given the president’s crack about John Boehner’s perma-tan during the White House

Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

But “hag”? The P-word? Really?

Not only is it bad form, say Democrats and women’s advocates, it’s bad politics.

“They can’t seem to distinguish between a backroom smirk among the boys and something you put out in public,” says former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Ann Lewis of the RNC video.

“It’s an attempt to demean your opponent, rather than debate them. If they’re serious that this is an issue of national security, then you’d think that one would want to debate it on the merits,” she says. “It’s almost as if they can’t help themselves.”

Of course, not all – or even most – of the recent attacks on Pelosi have involved her gender. Indeed, inside the Beltway, the criticism of the speaker has been almost entirely above the belt.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for Pelosi’s resignation without making cracks about her looks. Former Vice President Dick Cheney called her out Thursday without taking note of her gender. House Minority Leader John Boehner – who wants to move more slowly against Pelosi than some of his more aggressive House brethren – has kept up the pressure on her without marginalizing her as a woman.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, believes that those who attack female leaders on gender grounds do so out of weakness.

“In a way, it shows the desperation of the opposition,” she says. “If all else fails, you do something on their looks, or you remind them of sex.”

Phil Singer, who dealt with the issue as a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, takes it one step further, arguing that such tactics are actually likely to be counterproductive in the end.

"As the degree of viciousness escalates and increases, I think women – and most people living in the modern era, including men – are more likely to rally to Pelosi’s cause,” he says.

He suggests that gender-based attacks can actually be the crucible within which a woman’s base of support is forged.

“Certainly nobody wants to be on the receiving end of this type of rhetoric, but in the long run I think it could end up making Nancy Pelosi a stronger national figure, and creating a real base for her,” he says.

While Pelosi has long had to endure her share of sexist sniping, Marie Wilson, president of The White House Project, which promotes women’s leadership, believes that the fact that the speaker’s clash with the CIA centers on truthfulness may have contributed to the recent rash.

“When I first saw this come up, I thought, ‘Oh no, it’s about honesty,’” she says.
Wilson – who gasped audibly when the RNC video was described to her – explains that her organization’s research has found that honesty and trustworthiness are the two areas in which Americans have higher expectations of women in politics than they do of men. And when women in power are viewed as or accused of being less than fully honest, she says, “that strikes at the heart of the cultural ideal in this country – wives, mothers, apple pie.”

However, she notes, “If a man gets in a situation about he-said, she-said, or what people knew, you don’t go to his maleness as a way to attack him.”

The reasons for them may be ineffable, but the attacks themselves seem to be all but inevitable for prominent or outspoken women – Republicans as well as Democrats. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was called a “bimbo” by “Politically Incorrect” host Bill Maher during the campaign; Meghan McCain has had to grapple with public attacks on her appearance from radio host Laura Ingraham.

(Palin’s office did not respond to a call from POLITICO on the Pelosi matter, and McCain declined to comment. None of the House or Senate Republicans contacted by POLITICO was both available and willing to comment on the RNC video.)

Says Singer: “It’s perverse in a way that to become a very strong figure, or to develop a very strong following, [women] have to go through something like this. I don’t think it’s fair, but certainly recent history suggests that it’s just the way it is.”

At least one Republican doesn't think it's OK to compare Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore.

After viewing an RNC video that juxtaposed the speaker with the James Bond villainess, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told POLITICO Saturday: "I thought it was reprehensible, irresponsible and unpersuasive. If we're going to regain the credibility of the American people, we're going to have to stop with silly antics like that. It may get a snide chuckle inside the Beltway, but it offends most people. We have to get away from the politics of personal destruction," he said of the video.

The RNC declined repeatedly to explain the Pelosi/Galore connection, saying only that the video was about the speaker's "lack of leadership." Chaffetz is the only Republican thus far who has been willing to comment on the video. Read more: "GOP Rep. rips 'reprehensible' video -

Andie Coller -" -

Friday, May 22, 2009


The most estimable (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone asks this question in what I believe is a very well thought out comment on the torture issue in the post below. It is so good that I asked my 8-armed friend if I could use it as a post so that all who wished to could read it and enter into a discussion about torture.

We have heard the arguments back and forth: The Cheney claim that torture can extract useful information; the rebuttal that says torture yields false and misleading information; those who say torture degrades our national character; those who say the law is unclear on the use of waterboarding; those who want Congress to explicitly outlaw waterboarding; those who consider the issue too divisive to serve the cause of justice or the public interest; and those who call for prosecutions to prevent future abuses.

These are the facts: In its zeal to extract intelligence, the government relied on lawyers to find loopholes in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. They scoured legal texts for opinions that would give the administration exactly what it wanted. Any scholar will tell you that any work of literature can support any interpretation or conclusion, and it doesn’t matter whether one quotes the Constitution, the Bible, the Qur'an, or Shakespeare. An honest accountant says: “Two and two equals four.” The toady says: “What do you want two and two to equal?” Thus, any argument, no matter how thin, can be made plausible.

When we engage in this kind of debate, we lose sight of a simple truth and what is really at stake. The arguments, the artless legalisms, the words remove us from the reality of naked bodies and broken bones, of windowless cells in extraordinary rendition sites, of years of confinement without the right to prove one’s guilt or innocence. When preoccupied with the argument, we forget the immediacy of a sixteen-year old kid, more victim than terrorist, lost in the gulag of self-indulgent words.

This was the reality of Maher Arar, for instance, a Canadian citizen who was detained at JFK Airport, held in solitary confinement, denied access to legal counsel, and deported to Syria where he endured tortured for a year. Although innocent, our government violated his constitutional, civil, and international human rights yet, to this day, failed to acknowledge this miscarriage of justice with a simple apology.

Should we pass more laws? What good are more laws when those who break them get a free pass?

Shall we say some human beings and some human rights are more equal than others … and dismiss the immorality of our actions in the name of national self-interest?

Why not discuss the merits of lynching, castration, and rape with the same moderation and civility? Of course, there are Republicans out to protect their brand, their image, their cronies, and themselves … as there are accused murderers and rapists who always deny their crimes. Is moral relativism a necessary consequence of political expediency?

These are NOT WEDGE ISSUES! This debate will define our national character ... whether we are truly a moral and civilized people, or whether we are hypocritical savages making convenient arguments to justify what 60 years of International Law have clearly defined as criminal behavior:

The Nuremberg Trials, 1945-46
The Genocide Convention, 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Nuremberg Principles, 1950
Convention on the Abolition of the Statute of Limitations on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, 1968
The Geneva Convention, 1949
Geneva Convention Supplementary Protocols, 1977
The International Law Commission, 1950

The fragile veneer of civilization is tenuous at best, and all we have are legal precedents that bind us to core principles. Once we ignore this body of law, we turn into savages once more--having learned nothing from history.
On his radio show this morning, “conservative libertarian” talker Eric “Mancow” Muller set out to prove that waterboarding isn’t torture by having himself waterboarded. But instead, after enduring “6 or 7 seconds” of the interrogation technique, Mancow admitted that it was “absolutely torture”:
Turns out the stunt wasn’t so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.
“It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke,”Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.”
“I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” Mancow said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face…I got voted to do this but I really thought ‘I’m going to laugh this off.’”

Thursday, May 21, 2009


"This must be our common purpose. I ran for President because I believe that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. We will not be safe if we see national security as a wedge that divides America -- it can and must be a cause that unites us as one people, as one nation. We have done so before in times that were more perilous than ours. We will do so once again."

"But I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for Guantanamo detainees – not to avoid one."

"These issues are fodder for 30-second commercials and direct mail pieces that are designed to frighten. I get it. But if we continue to make decisions from within a climate of fear, we will make more mistakes."


RNC Hits Obama For Criticizing Slavery

On May 21, 2009, the RNC tweeted an out of context quote from Barack Obama regarding a flaw in the constitution. The "fundamental flaw" Barack Obama was referring to was slavery.
RNC: as he prepares to deliver remarks in hall that holds the constitution, flashback obama: "constitution flawed" #RNC [Twitter, 5/21/09]

FACT: Obama Explains The Constitution's "Fundamental Flaw" Was Slavery. The out of context video the RNC links to contains audio from a September 6, 2001 program called "Slavery and the Constitution" on WBEZ Chicago. On the show, Obama explained that the "fundamental flaw" was "Africans at the time were not considered as part of the polity that was of concern to the framers." In addition, the framers did not " as a moral problem involving persons of moral worth." [WBEZ Radio, accessed 5/21/09]

Others Who Have Made Similar Statements To Barack Obama:

George W. Bush: "Their [abolitionists] moral vision caused Americans to examine our hearts, to correct our Constitution, and to teach our children the dignity and equality of every person of every race. By a plan known only to Providence, the stolen sons and daughters of Africa helped to awaken the conscience of America. The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times." [Remarks by President Bush on Goree Island, 7/8/03, emphasis added]

Condoleezza Rice: "In our first Constitution my ancestors were three-fifths of a man. What does that say about American democracy at its outset? I've said it's a great birth defect. And we've had to overcome a birth defect, and like any birth defect, it continues to have an impact on us. It's why we have such a hard time talking about race and dealing with race." [Council on Foreign Relations, 7/18/08, emphasis added]

Colin Powell: "It took us a while to recognize that we could not live our Constitution truly unless we eliminated slavery, and hundreds of thousands of young men fought a civil war to end slavery and then it took us a long time to get rid of the vestiges of slavery and we're still working on it to this very day." [CNN, 7/11/03, emphasis added]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Newt Gingrich is calling for Nancy Pelosi to resign because he says she dishonorably accused the CIA of lying to Congress.

What Gingrich doesn't include in his hypocritical diatribe agains Speaker Pelosi is that a Republican member of Congress, Rep. Peter Hoekstra’s (D-MI), also accused the CIA of lying, but Gingrich was nowhere to be found, back in 2007, demanding Hoekstra's resignation for saying so.

When interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC's Good Morning America today, Gingrich was asked by her why he didn't call for Hoekstra's resignation when he said the CIA lied:

In 2007 this is what Hoekstra said about the CIA: “We cannot have an intelligence community that covers up what it does and then lies to Congress.”

Hoekstra wrote a letter to President Bush in 2006 accusing the intelligence community of withholding information on their activities from Congress. “I have learned of some alleged Intelligence Community activities about which our committee has not been briefed,” Hoekstra wrote. He said that he believed the Bush administration’s failure to fully brief his committee could constitute “a violation of law“:

Similarly, in 2007, Hoekstra described a closed-door briefing by representatives from the intelligence community (including CIA) on the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran’s nuclear capability, saying that the members “didn’t find [the briefers] forthcoming.” More recently, in November 2008, Hoekstra concluded that the CIA “may have been lying or concealing part of the truth” in testimony to Congress regarding a 2001 incident in which the CIA mistakenly killed an American citizen in Peru. “We cannot have an intelligence community that covers up what it does and then lies to Congress,” Hoekstra said of the incident.

When asked about this inconsistency by Diane Sawyer, Gingrich dissembled uncomfortably:

GINGRICH: Well, in that case, he’s writing a specific letter asking them to change something they were doing. He did not say the CIA routinely lies —

SAWYER: “Lies,” he said —

GINGRICH: — to the Congress.

SAWYER: Well, he says “lies.” He says “what it does and then lies to Congress.”

GINGRICH: And I think they actually had to come back and testify.

Apparently only US Representatives with a "D" after their names should resign when they accuse the CIA of lying. When Republican Representatives do so, not so much.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


After weeks and weeks of MSM coverage of Mr. Obama's impending appearance at Notre Dame University's commencement along with the abortion protesters, the day finally arrived, and Mr. Obama disarmed the 12,000 people who gathered to hear him talk about how we need to come together as a nation and listen to each other's side of the abortion issue without demonizing the opposing view.

In the post below titled "Beth's Posts," you will read an example of how NOT to approach this volatile issue. Mr. Obama addressed this in his speech and did a great service to this country by encouraging people to respect their opponents' opinions by not using invective and demeaning language to vilify the other side.

Good advice; good speech. Bravo, Mr. President, for showing people how to act like adults and not school yard bullies.

Obama entered the arena to thunderous applause and a standing ovation from many in the crowd of 12,000. But as the president began his commencement address, at least three protesters interrupted it. One yelled, "Stop killing our children."

The graduates responded by chanting "Yes we can," the slogan that became synonymous with Obama's presidential campaign. Obama seem unfazed, saying Americans must be able to deal with things that make them "uncomfortable."

The president ceded no ground. But he said those on each side of the debate "can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

"So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term."

He said he favored "a sensible conscience clause" that would give anti-abortion health care providers the right to refuse to perform the procedure.

Before taking on the abortion issue, Obama told graduates they were part of a "generation that must find a path back to prosperity and decide how we respond to a global economy that left millions behind even before this crisis hit an economy where greed and short-term thinking were too often rewarded at the expense of fairness, and diligence, and an honest day's work."

Saturday, May 16, 2009



This will surprise the anti-Obama people who come here to assert that he is a child killer and other such hysterical, hateful nonsense. It is a small group of very vocal people who have stirred up the controversy; and obviously, not all graduating students agree with them.

The valedictorian, Brennan Bollman, explains her perception of President Obama, and in doing so, exhibits more maturity and sense than the people who have incited the wackos over Mr. Obama's upcoming commencement address to the Class of 2009.

I never believed this controversy was a moral one. It is a political one. George W. Bush gave a commencement speech at ND, and there was no protest by the extreme rightwing Catholics. The Catholic Church is as adamantly AGAINST capital punishment as it is against abortion. And yet no one protested Bush's appearance at the time. He sent more people to death during his term as governor of Texas than any other sitting governor. Mr. Bush also invaded Iraq, a country that did not attack us, and started an unjust war, which is against Catholic doctrine, and which the Pope himslef had spoken out against.

Thank Darwin the students are so much smarter than the out-of-touch trouble makers.


The media focus on the controversy surrounding President Obama's upcoming Notre Dame speech might give the impression that Obama is not welcome at the university. Class valedictorian Brennan Bollman, the woman who will be sharing the stage with the president on Sunday, says that couldn't be further from the truth.

"This issue has not divided the campus by any means," says the Catholic, pro-life biology major who will be attending Harvard Medical School after graduation.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bollman stressed that her peers do not view the president's overall values as inconsistent with Catholicism. In fact, Bollman says Obama is practicing Catholic values in his administration. Like Jesus, Bollman says, Obama is trying to invite "everyone to the table."

Condemnation of Notre Dame's invitation has come from Catholic Church members as well as anti-abortion groups, who have pushed the message that Obama and his pro-choice policies are not welcome.

These groups have drummed up a considerable amount of coverage despite their smaller numbers.

On Friday, Alan Keyes, one of Obama's challengers in the 2004 Illinois Senate Race, was arrested (for the second time in one week) on campus during a protest with about forty anti-abortion activists.


Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes and five others were arrested Friday and held overnight. Keyes was released Saturday evening after posting $1,000 bond.

Also protesting Saturday was Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion.
She said she had planned to be arrested on Saturday, but changed her mind when a security officer ushered her to the side and gave her a chance to walk away.

"I didn't know why he just kind of gently moved me away. So I'm like, maybe this isn't the right time," McCorvey said.

Some driving past the protesters on Saturday waved in support. Others yelled at them. One man honked his horn in protest and held up a handful of hangers, a symbol of the gruesome procedures some pregnant women resorted to before Roe v. Wade.

Later, about 10 pro-Obama demonstrators assembled across the street holding up placards with slogans such as "Honk if you support Obama" and "Pro-Jenkins/Notre Dame." Jenkins has been criticized by many, including dozens of bishops, for the school's decision to invite Obama.

On campus, though, there were no signs of protest. Students generally favored Obama giving the graduation speech. The graduating class voted to name Jenkins their Senior Class Fellow.
A full page advertisement in the South Bend Tribune on Saturday had the headline: "Catholic Leaders and Theologians Welcome President Obama to Notre Dame." The ad, signed by university professors around the country, many of them at Catholic schools, said that as Catholics committed to civil dialogue, they were proud Obama was giving the commencement address.

There were some students, though, who opposed Obama giving the speech. ND Response, a coalition of university groups, has received permission from Notre Dame to hold a protest on the west end of the South Quad on Sunday. Spokesman John Daly said he expected 20 to 30 graduating seniors to skip commencement and attend the prayer vigil.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I have a troll who comes to my blog and obsesses over a woman's right to decide what she wants to do with her body. Abortion is legal. But Beth can't accept this fact. She visits my blog regularly; and no matter what the subject is, she introduces abortion into the discussion.

But here's the insanity. She posts her comments, then, perhaps, has second thoughts about her foolish and insane diatribes, comes back, and deletes them. Coward.

She is apparently unaware that I have copies of every post she leaves here. I'm putting this up for all to see; and perhaps, she will finally cease and desist, once she realizes that her comments do not disappear. I will continue to post them, even as she scrubs them, until she stops coming here. [I will also post some of them in the comment section here, where she cannot delete them.]

Beth has left a new comment on your post "MICHELLE OBAMA MAKES TOP 100 LIST FOR MAXIM MAGAZI...":

Does anyone really care what list Michelle Obama made or didn't make? Does anyone really care at all what kind of shoes she is going to wear today? There are so many more important things to worry about. Like the outrage of Obama speaking at Notra dame!

It is an outrage and a scandal that Notra Dame University, one of the countries premier But I'm afraid that the truth is lost on the liberal Obamatrons, even those who think that they are Christians don't get it. universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage, and the sanctuary of life.

As a parallel, should Hitler have spoken at Jewish University? He advocated death to the Jews as well as other races and religions. Obama agreed to lift the ban of stem cell research and to fund abortions in other countries with taxpayer money.

No, Obama shouldn't give the commencement address at Notre Dame, nor should he be given an honorary degree. This Catholic university has always been held in high esteem and the offer to speak should never have been extended.

No, Please America lets stand up for something! Abortion and Stem Cell research on fetus's is wrong! And Shaw thinks Limbaugh is guilty of treason? She need look no further than the Oval Office for treasonous activity. Neither one of them up held their Oath of Office to uphold the constitution and as a result we have a socialist usurper sitting in the White House. If she needs to bring up the issue of treason she should start there.

And when will Shaw do a blog on Pelosi? Pelosi is a liar. She knew more than just water-boarding techniques and how/when/where the U.S. was using it via CIA or others. I'll wager she also knew perfectly well what the Rendition Program was all about since used by the Clinton Administration in the early 1990s. Pelosi is as treasonous as Obama is!

But I'm afraid that the truth is lost on the liberal Obamatrons, even those who think that they are Christians don't get it. And they never will. All this writer can think about is her brainwashed mush of Michelle Obama, who is another piece of crap in the eyes of the anyone who understands anything about Catholic teachings!!

The liberals are showing what their agenda truly is a blanket of lies and socialism. Wh cares what Michelle Obama is wearing to the next party? Who really cares about what kind of dog their kids want?We should be caring about Notre Dame and are they REALLY a Catholic university? How strongly committed to church doctrine is it? So what if Obama supported legislation to strengthen abortion RIGHTS?

He voted against legislation that would make it a crime to knowingly kill an unborn child, but so what? He offers HOPE and is the soon-to-be savior of our nation. Notre Dame has sold its soul to have a abortion rights Leftist believe its commencement address because he's cool, hip

The Catholic Church is clear in its rejection of abortion. No pro-abortion person, should speak at the commencement! This is an absolute disgrace! Obama is an absolute disgrace!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I find this sort of Top 10 or Top 100 listing silly and nonproductive, and the only reason I'm posting this is to counter the sad and lonely haters who couldn't stop themselves from coming here and insulting Mrs. Obama in the comment section in the post below. I felt it necessary to show them that their offensive opinions of the First Lady, while giving them some strange sort of sick comfort, are definitely those of a fading and ever-shrinking unimportant minority.

For what it's worth, Mrs. Obama has made history again--even though it's not exactly earth-shattering. I'm more impressed with her strength as a woman, her devotion to her family, and her academic achievements.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – For the first time the US First Lady has made Maxim magazine's annual top 100 list of "hottest women in the world," with Michelle Obama making the grade at number 93.

Billed as the "stimulus package America really needs," the British-based international magazine known for revealing pictorials of models and actresses showcases Obama in her tasteful official White House portrait.

In the rare accolade for a political spouse, the magazine notes that her husband President Barack Obama "may be dealing with two wars, an economic meltdown, and a rapidly graying dome.

"But at least our Commander in Chief gets to come home to the hottest First Lady in the history of these United States."

Obama has been hailed as a style icon by fashionistas around the world since her husband was elected president.

Maxim's self-described "eyeball-searing, fantasy-fulfilling, brain-exploding" list has Obama topping "Top Chef" host and model Padma Lakshmi (#95) and Oscar-winning "Wrestler" star Marisa Tomei (#97).

The magazine, which has a monthly US circulation of some 2.5 million and is distributed throughout the world, moved over last year's chart-topper "Transformers" star Megan Fox to give the number one spot to TV's "House" actress Olivia Wilde.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


What a stunning woman! We're lucky to have such an intelligent, classy woman as our First Lady.

I'm not a big fan of poetry slams, but any attention given to poetry is fine with me.

The candles flickered, the bassist strummed and, one by one, the writers and poets seized their moments in front of the microphone.

James Earl Jones served up Othello, his sonorous voice rumbling through the East Room. Mayda del Valle, a poet from Chicago, conjured her grandmother from Puerto Rico. Joshua Brandon Bennett, a poet from Yonkers, N.Y., delivered an ode to his deaf sister, his fingers flying as he translated his words into signs.

First lady Michelle Obama spoke of the importance of art and culture.It was Tuesday night, time for the White House poetry jam. A pony-tailed disc jockey hovered over a pair of turntables in the hallway, guests sipped white wine and President Obama and his wife, Michelle, celebrated the power of the spoken word.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain,’’ Mr. Obama told the crowd.

Mrs. Obama urged her guests to “enjoy, have fun and be loose” as they absorbed performances from Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Jewish and African American writers in an event intended to showcase the diversity of American talent.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I had never heard of Wanda Sykes until she appeared at the Correspondents' Dinner and made crude remarks about Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh's fans fell over themselves trying to outdo each others' indignation over her tasteless remarks. It's really hilarious to observe these hypocrites fall apart over a Limbaugh-like crass joke, but have only good things to say about torture and how patriotic it is for America to promote it.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's official. Big Dick is insane.

Why the cable news stations [or anyone] listens to this has-been is a mystery to me. Maybe the reason can be found in the old "train wreck" analogy. It's awful to watch, but you can't take your eyes off of the disaster.

Cheney prefers Limbaugh's brand of Republicanism to Colin Powell's. Really. He stated that on the teevee today.

Big Dick prefers a thrice-married, former drug addict, undereducated, overfed demagogue to Colin Powell? That says it all.

Stick a fork in the poor, benighted, confused old rot. He's now in the company of every family's crazy old uncle.

Cheney: As a Republican, I choose Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell.

Last week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the Republican Party is in “deep trouble” because it is “getting smaller” and being led by far right polarizing figures. Specifically, he said that Rush Limbaugh “diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without.” Limbaugh then responded that Powell ought to “close the loop” and leave the Republican Party instead of “claiming” to be interested in reforming it. Today on CBS’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked Cheney about the spat. Cheney said that he comes down squarely on the side of Limbaugh:

CHENEY: Well, if I had to choose — in terms of being a Republican — I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think. My take on it was that Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican. [...]

SCHIEFFER: And you said you’d take Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell?

CHENEY: I would. Politically.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


This sampling of Letters to the Editor taken from today's NYTimes gives us an insight to how Americans (Democrats AND Republicans) perceive the ever shrinking, party of "NO!" and now, mostly goofballs [Limbaugh, Bachmann, Palin, etc.] that was once the GOP:

To the Editor:

David Brooks, in “The Long Voyage Home” (column, May 5), reminds Republicans that they are, or should be, the party of civic order.

Since the ancient republics, however, civic order has been the product of civic virtue, the principle of participation in government and protection of the interests of the commonwealth and the common good.

The community in a republic is not formed simply to achieve order. It is formed to respect and guarantee to future generations all those goods we hold in common.

Gary Hart
Kittredge, Colo., May 5, 2009

The writer, a former Democratic senator from Colorado, is the author of a book about the Jeffersonian ideal in 21st-century America.

To the Editor:

David Brooks posits that Republicans are in trouble because they are “the party of untrammeled freedom and maximum individual choice.”


Republicans favor government intrusions into such fundamental individual choices as reproductive health, marriage, adoption and death. That is a big part of their problem, one that they ignore at their peril.

Deborah Leavy Haverford, Pa., May 5, 2009

• To the Editor:

David Brooks’s excellent column struck a real chord with this cradle Republican.

I don’t recognize the people who have taken over the party my family served for 150 years. The Republicans I grew up among believed in democratic capitalism, not a feudal society of gated communities for themselves served by an ill-housed, ill-nourished, ill-educated, un-doctored servant population.

They were veterans and had learned in war that everyone is expendable. They did not have utter contempt for working people. Even amid the social upheaval of the ’60s, they were not like the callous, precious, entitled people currently calling themselves “Republicans.”

Ann N. Greene Philadelphia, May 6, 2009

To the Editor:

I take exception to David Brooks’s assertion that one of Republicans’ core themes is “moral clarity.”

Perhaps moral clarity as a conservative or religious conservative might define moral.

Does the Republican position of disregard for a policy of health care for all show moral clarity?

What moral? Indifference?

Does the Republican position of tax the poor and middle class and give tax-breaks to the rich show moral clarity? What moral? Selfishness?

How about the Republican position on global climate change? What moral? Ignorance?

What does the Republicans’ beloved trumpeting of individualism boil down to many times? Greed.

Susan Hall Remacle Canaan, N.H., May 5, 2009

To the Editor:

David Brooks would have us believe that inherent in the Republican philosophy is a belief in individual freedom. This is certainly so, if the freedom in question is to own any type of gun without restriction or to run a business without any regulations that protect the environment and the consumer.

But what if one is a man or woman who wants to marry a person of the same sex, or a woman who wants to choose whether to bring a child into the world? Not so much.

James Spada Boston, May 5, 2009

To the Editor:

David Brooks got it only half right when he wrote that the Republicans draw the wrong lessons from classic western movies.

Instead of emulating the lone pioneer hero like Wyatt Earp, as Mr. Brooks suggests, the Republicans are acting like a gang of ruffians who ride into town and shoot up the place just when the beleaguered sheriff — in this case President Obama — is trying to restore some semblance of civic order.

Hoyt Hilsman Pasadena, Calif., May 5, 2009

•Keep listening to the overpaid and undereducated Limbaugh--and follow him right off the cliff.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009


A new Gallup poll shows Mr. Obama's approval rating among religious Americans to be very favorable, in fact, according to Gallup, his favorability is very high among Catholics, more so than among Protestants, those hostile Notre Dame protestors notwithstanding.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup Poll Daily tracking during President Obama's first 100 days in office finds broad support for him among Americans affiliated with most major U.S. religions. U.S. Muslims and Jews give Obama his highest job approval ratings, at 85% and 79%, respectively. He also receives solid majority support from Roman Catholics (67%) and Protestants (58%), and more approval than disapproval from Mormons.

Mr. Obama's favorability among Jews and Muslims is the same, very high.

The commonality between U.S. Jews and Muslims in their broad approval of Obama is notable given the global friction between Jews and Muslims with respect to Mideast politics.

High U.S. Jewish support for Obama is not surprising given that Jews are traditionally heavily Democratic in their political orientation. Democratic Jews supported Hillary Clinton by a slight margin over Obama in the battle for the Democratic nomination last year, but they gradually came around to supporting him in large numbers for the general election.

And it is very high among nonbelievers.

Obama also enjoys broad support -- 73% approval -- from the sizable group of Americans with no religious affiliation, including those calling themselves atheists or agnostics.

These findings are based on large sample sizes for each religious group contained in the combined Gallup Poll Daily tracking results from Jan. 21-April 29, 2009. This includes interviews with approximately 55,000 Protestants (defined in this study as those who identify themselves either as Protestant or with another non-Catholic Christian religion), 24,000 Catholics, 2,500 Jews, 1,600 Mormons, and 350 Muslims.
White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.
Do those torture-friendly people ask themselves "Who Would Jesus Torture?" If not, can we ask them to imagine Jesus in a room with a terrorist and allowing him/her to be tortured? Can they really imagine that?
And don't we frequently hear from religious people that people can't possibly have morals without religion? How, then, do nonbelievers know that it is morally wrong to torture and the evangelical Christians do not?