Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Pam!!!

Disgusting. Disgraceful.

MAF54: did any girl give you a haand job this weekend
Xxxxxxxxx: lol no
Xxxxxxxxx: im single right now
Xxxxxxxxx: my last gf and I broke up a few weeks agi
MAF54: are you
MAF54: good so your getting horny

This is an exchange between Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL 16) and a sixteen year-old congressional page.

There’s a level of depravity that goes beyond the obvious.

Gay, straight, or all of the above, sixteen year-olds should obviously be off limits, and it’s a disgrace that Mark Foley was walking the hallowed halls of Congress.

No, the greatest depravity was not even his--- Dennis Hastert has known about this for eleven months, which makes him the Cardinal Law of Capitol Hill.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Harold Ford Supports Torture

polar donkey

Polary Donkey is right, Harold Ford Jr. has demonstrated once again that he is a "piss poor representative"---so why are Democrats supporting him???? I still don't understand how the Democratic Party can keep supporing this sorry excuse for a "Democrat". Will having a Senator Harold Ford Jr. really be an improvement over Bob Corker? By Voting for HFJr aren't we kissing our progressive principles goodbye???

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Political Lesson for Isaac Ford

“This was a straight setup. I’m disgusted we even showed up,” Isaac Ford grumbled after Monday night’s candidate forum. He had witnessed the same sad performance out of his brother Jake that the audience had, and was one of the few Jake Ford supporters in the room unwilling to pretend that he had made a good showing.

“What? The debate?” I asked. I was standing only about four feet away and had overheard an argument between a Ford supporter and a Cohen supporter only moments before.

“This was a fucking setup,” he said.

“How is a debate a setup?” I asked him. I won’t pretend that I’m a Jake Ford supporter, but I can honestly say that if they thought something was unfair, I wanted to hear about it.

Isaac looked at me angrily and said “It’s not a debate. It’s a forum, sir.”

“Okay,” I said, still waiting for what was unfair about the forum.

Instead of answering me, he looked up and said “What’s your name?”

“Rick Maynard,” I said, holding out my hand. I had spoken to him briefly the day before at his brother’s campaign rally, but I certainly couldn’t fault him for not remembering. I’m sure he met a lot of people that day.

“Rick Maynard, what do you do?” he asked defensively. I wasn’t really sure how that tied into what was unfair about the forum, but okay.

“I am a local blogger---“

And that was all Isaac had to hear.

“You’re a local blogger. That’s what I thought. You’re one of those Cohen bloggers, so get out of here. Get out of here. Write it all tonight. Write it all tonight. Enjoy writing to your white community, which is not gonna---

“You know, I---

“How the fuck did you get in here?”


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I've got a bad feeling about this

It's Not Even Funny Anymore...

I won’t pretend that I wasn’t backing Steve Cohen before last night’s forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. I’m a Democrat, and I’m unabashed and unrepentant for my support for Democratic candidates, unless they are simply unfit to hold office.

Nor will I pretend that Jake Ford did anything last night to swing my opinion of him. He looked like the little boy that tried on his father’s suit as he sat on the makeshift stage at the Benjamin Hooks Public Library. It was difficult not to feel at least a little sympathy for him as he struggled for answers to questions that someone that put at least a modicum of thought into his candidacy would have anticipated.

I’m not here to verbally decimate him for not having read the USA PATRIOT Act (Although I do take issue with the fact that he apparently does not realize it has actually passed already). Very few people have, including, unfortunately, most of the people that voted for it. Knowing the text of it inside out could take anyone months, as massive portions of it consist entirely of changing “the” to “a” in subparagraph fourteen of another law passed thirty years before. I’ll be honest--- I’m one of the few people in the world that actually enjoys reading something like that, and even I scrambled for the Cliffs Notes on that one after reading just a few of its three hundred mind-numbing pages.

But when you’re asked about Medicare cuts, you need an answer. It doesn’t have to be a great one, but you really must at least address it enough to let people know you care about the issue enough to look into it.

Jake had no answer. “I will defer now just to say that I will update my position on this question later as the election goes on.”


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Will the Democrats Drop the Ball (again)?

Flipping through channels this morning I caught an interview on Fox News (sic) with a supposed "Democratic Strategist", I didn't get her name but she was a babbling idiot. The Fox interviewer was making a strong case that Democrats were running out of issues to run on. Gas prices are dropping, the economy is in good shape, and even Osama Bin Laden may be dead. What issues do the Democrats have? What are their alternative policies to Bush and the Republicans? "Well," the democratic ding-bat responded, "look at the price of milk"!!! That was her response! This well-paid "Democratic strategist" could only respond with that piece of crap.

I knew the Democrats were taking a big risk by focusing on gas prices and getting Osama Bin Laden. I could see the "October Surprise" coming a mile away.... Gas prices are dropping (though still too high), and European intelligence has been published that claims that Osama Bin Laden may be dead. Bush could hardly take credit for it, but it will no doubt boost his poll ratings more on the "war on terror." Despite all the mistakes of the Bush Admnistration, the American people still trust Bush and the GOP more than the Democrats on fighting the "warr on terror." And I don't see how opposing "torturing" terrorist suspects will help Democrats. Watch how the Republicans turn the anti-torture proponents into "soft on terrorism" liberalism.

Well, first of all, why are the Democrats accepting the whole premise of a "war on terrorism", especially in Iraq?? Some Democrats have made the point that Bush's invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism, and has made the threat of terrorism even a larger threat to the U.S., but it has been too little too few and too late. The media, and many "moderate" Democrats are still accepting the whole "war on terrorism" lie, which is a cloak for the Republican neo-fascist takeover of the government, the erosion of civil rights, and the unconstitutional usurption of more executive power.

The Democrats SHOULD be quesioning the "war on terrorism" and making the case for the IMPEACHMENT of the Bush/Cheney regieme. The need to be talking about "class warfare" being waged by Bush, the GOP and their coporate rich allies agaisnt the working class. The should be making the case for UNIVERSAL, public health insurance to cover every U.S. citizen. Instead, they talk about "prescription drug benefits" for a few seniors, or minor band-aid fixes to larger problems.

While many on the "progressive left" have been assuming that Bush's poll numbers will continue to fall and that voters will be throwing Republicans out of Congress, I see something else. I see Bush's poll numbers going back up, with more focus on fighting the "war on terrorism", the possible death or capture of Osama Bin Laden, lower gas prices to give the illusioin of an improving economy, and the conservative-right dominating the political discourse on terrorism, war, and taxes, and the Democrats babbling on talk shows about the price of milk...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Imagine there's No Religion...

Religion and politics are a dangerous combination. It seems like Democrats and Republicans are both playing the religion card to appeal to religious voters. The Republican Religious Right have repeated the lie that liberals are "ungodly" and hostile to religion so much that Democrats have even bought it. Harold Ford Jr. filmed an ad in a Baptist church to show that he has religion, and "knows right from wrong." American Atheists say Ford has crossed the line separating church and state. Sometimes Ford Jr. sounds more like a preacher than a politician. A dangerous combination.
Pope Benedict continues his crusade against science and reason, condemning Europeans and Western society for embracing science and secularism on his recent trip to Germany. Just Imagine a World Without Religion! Hard to believe millions of people still follow the leader of that archaic cult. I can't think of any institution that has done more harm to western civilization than the Catholic Church.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Open Letter to Harold Ford Sr.

Open Letter to Harold Ford Sr.

Dear Harold,

The game you walked away from a decade ago is not the same game you walked back into a few weeks ago. One of the most important differences is that the Ford name simply no longer means what it used to. Once upon a time, someone with Jake’s name could have shown up and blown through the primary process (Or for that matter, Joe Jr.).

Between Harold’s voting record alienating many Democrats, John’s indictment for bribery, and the cemetery vote turning out solidly for Ophelia, the name has lost much of its former luster. Being a Ford helps when all other things are equal, but means little when things are as radically unequal as they are in Jake’s race.

I doubt seriously that I have to recount the qualifications of Steve Cohen any more than I have to yet again point out the absolute dearth of qualifications in your son. If Jake wasn’t carrying your DNA, you wouldn’t be voting for him either.

But running him is your prerogative. It’s how you run him that is going to give you trouble, though. If things continue as they are now, you’re going to sink the campaign of Harold Jr. just to help Jake.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Conservatives Claim Religion is Under Attack (?)

The anti-gay christo-fascists are trying to tie their anti-gay marriage/rights agenda to religious oppression. Read this A.P. article from Sept. 14:
Conservatives Say Religion Under Attack
September 14, 2006 12:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON - Religious conservative leaders, sensing declining alarm over same-sex marriage, are warning that the debate over homosexuality has prompted attacks on religious freedom.

By expanding the discussion from marriage to religious expression, social conservatives say they will reconnect with religious voters and religious leaders who don't necessarily view same-sex unions as a threat.

"There are a number of pastors that said, 'Look, we don't get involved in politics, I'm not going to get involved in this issue, I just want to preach the gospel,'" said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "When they realize their ability to preach the gospel may very well be at stake, they may reconsider their involvement."

Perkins and others are building a case file of anecdotes where they say religious people have spoken out against gay marriage only to be punished. Perkins specifically cited the decision by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich in June to fire his appointee to the Washington area transit board after the board member referred to homosexuals as "persons of sexual deviancy."

The board member, Robert J. Smith, said he was expressing his personal beliefs as a Roman Catholic.

The subject of religious expression will be the main theme of an Oct. 15 gathering in Boston of conservative religious and political leaders that will be broadcast to churches nationally.

Many social conservatives credit the furor in 2004 over gay marriage for mobilizing voters in key states who voted for President Bush. Since then, however, 16 states have passed initiatives or legislation banning same-sex marriage and several court decisions have upheld those bans.

"As the immediate threat has diminished so has the awareness," Perkins said.

Eight states have ballot initiatives in November to prohibit gay marriage, including some states with closely contested congressional races. Perkins said religious conservative groups planned to use direct mail and the Internet to alert voters about the stands candidates have taken on the marriage issue.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
-------- should be clear to rational thinking people, that it is the RELIGIOUS RIGHT who are ATTACKING the rights of gay people! They however, are trying to turn the facts around to argue that by SUPPORTING the rights of gays and lesbians, weare attacking the rights of conservative religious people who oppose homosexuality and civil rights for gays and lesbians. It is a very twisted, but effective political strategy.

The anti-gay Christo-fascists and the neo-fascist Republicans teamed up in the 2004 election to use gay marriage to re-elected George W. Bush. It worked. Millions of Bible-thumping poor and working class people, including many African-Americans, joined with the Republican Religious Right to oppose the civil rights of gays and lesbians, and gave George W. Bush a second term to continue the Fascist Republican assault on peace, freedom and social justice. This strategy has worked so well, you can expect more of the same in the 2006 and 2008 election.

What about our Democratic "allies"? They seem to be so afraid of being accused of "attacking" religious conservatives that they are going along with this strategy!

Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, has a whole section on his campaign website called "My Faith as My Guide" in which he emphasizes his opposition to same-sex marriage as proof of his religious values! He has a new campaign ad filmed in a church he claims to be his own and the reason he knows "right from wrong."

Why aren't more Democrats willing to stand up for the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, and for the civil rights of NON-CHRSTIANS? Where are those campaign ads?

Civil marriage is a CVIL RIGHT, not based on religious beliefs or the Bible. This is a CIVIL RIGHTS issue tied to the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. The Religious Right is trying, once again, to IMPOSE their religious beliefs upon everyone, and then cry persecution when anyone opposes what they are doing or tries to defend the separation of church and state.

Harold Ford Jr. is following the Christian Right's strategy of (a) using religion to oppose the civil rights of gays and lesbians and (b) to use government to support theocratic policies.

Another reason I consider Harold Ford Jr. to be one of the most dangerous Democratic candidates and why I oppose him.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

The REAL Reason Harold is Helping Jake...

When you look at the abysmal lack of qualifications Jake Ford has for holding office, you can only ask “Why? What did we ever do to the Ford family that we deserve this albatross around our neck?”

Here’s the answer: Nothing. Much like when he’s voting in the House of Representatives, Harold Ford Jr. hasn’t even thought about the needs of the hardworking people of this district.

That’s not what it’s all about.

Assume for a moment that you have a brother like Jake. Even with the considerable wealth and clout that the family carries, they still couldn’t find a private school willing to sell this guy a diploma.

He’s got to have a job, or he’s going to spend his entire life living in your basement. So you put him to work in the family business, the Harold Ford Group lobbying firm.

But even that isn’t much of an improvement. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, so at some point in his unaccomplished career, that salary is tantamount to giving him an allowance.

How do you get this leech off of the family dole?

It’s “Welfare-to-Work” time.

Harold Ford Jr. is supporting his brother simply because he’s tired of supporting his brother. This moves him off of the Harold Ford Sr.-administered welfare and into a job where it’s forgivable (Perhaps even preferable, if you’re a Republican) to be as dumb as a box of rocks.

Don’t knock it. It worked wonders when George Bush Sr. was trying to find a job for his two little dullards.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Would you elect a congressional candidate that does not dare to confront his opponent overtly? Someone who has so little substance that he must disguise his identity to cowardly attack others? Would you vote for someone who is so incompetent that he can’t even protect his own anonymity from being discovered?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you have selected Jake Ford to be your next Congressman. Congratulations – please [don’t] play again…

Jake Ford has being identified as the driving force being the slanderous website attacking Senator Steve Cohen. Although he almost did a decent job at keeping his involvement secret, he was outsmarted --and outed-- by a group of concerned individuals, collectively (and sometimes infamously) known as “The Liberal Bloggers.” Can you say B-U-S-T-E-D?


A sad ending to an era...

Once upon a time, in a land long ago and far away, there was a bright young man who got elected to Congress. He stood for progressive ideals and was as great a champion of the underdog, the oppressed and the poor as anyone this town had ever seen. He spoke truth to power, caused people to love him and despise him, sometimes in the same week.

He was attacked and prosecuted for crimes he did not commit, and the case was so bad that 12 white folks from rural West Tennessee saw through them and acquitted him. He would occasionally say something that angered his district, but since he helped one and all, no matter whether they lived in his district or not, he was usually quickly forgiven by all but the most rabid haters.

The day came when he presented his eldest son and said, this is who I want to succeed me, and the district agreed, and, for a while, the eldest son showed promise, even though his party was no longer in power.

Then, things began to change. The eldest son, bearing the name of the father, attacked the President of HIS OWN PARTY due to the President's personal failings. Then he began to act as if he had been raised in East Tennessee, not South Memphis. The father, once the champion of the land, moved east and south and began to disappear while his namesake sounded more Republican than those who had dared to challenge his father. The namesake even praised the new President, of the OTHER Party, who had led this country to disaster after disaster, and seemed ashamed of the party of his birth.

The namesake sought to run for higher office, and the father, once the champion of the poor and the oppressed, came home from parts unknown to help his eldest son, and then to have his youngest son keep the seat in the hands of the family, even if it meant opposing the party that had brought he and his children wealth and fame.

The old champion, now a shell of himself, began organizing ministers in the black community as if it were somehow 1974 all over again, but things were now different. People in that community, people who had been with him for years, asked, WHY? We have a new champion, and he may not look like you do but he sures VOTES like you did, and he is the nominee of our party. You've been away for so long and you really don't know how things are any more. Enough is enough, they said, stop this.

However, like Willie Mays stumbling in the 1973 World Series, the old warrior kept on, not realizing that in his efforts to continue the legacy, he was endangering the eldest son in his own back yard. The rival chieftain smacked down the old warrior and proved to most that the old warrior was now a stranger in his hometown, and all was being lost.

The moral of our story, for which the final chapter has yet to be written, will still be that one should never take anything for granted, and that things always change, whether we want them to or not.

Harvest My Heart

"Harvest My Heart" has just been published at This is the third story of mine to be published at the hippest literary zine on the web, and the one of which I am most proud.

So please go read it, and then send an email to the editors telling them that it's the Best Story Evah!

Cross-posted at The Flypaper Theory and Midnight, and I'm Still not Famous.

Candidate Statements

I have uploaded the candidate statements here. I have a statement from every candidate except for Brown. As soon as I get his, it will be posted there as well.

UDPATE: Link fixed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

WREG-TV Up For Sale

The Grey Lady is getting out of the TV business, selling nine stations, located in eight cities: Oklahoma City (2), Des Moines, Fort Smith, Memphis (WREG), Moline, IL, Huntsville, and Scranton, PA. Apparently all of the stations are profitable, but they claim they want to focus on the paper itself, along with its digital businesses.

This comes at an interesting time for NewsChannel 3, having finally caught their long-time rivals at WMC-TV 5 in the 10 PM news ratings, and running neck-and-neck in the 5 and 6 PM slots.

I hope that the new owners, whoever they will be, will keep a local focus at 3; this, along with the return of Richard Ransom and the revitalized Claudia Barr, is what has led them to this point, IMO.

Hat tip to Mike Brester for the breaking news....

Monday, September 11, 2006


Everywhere I've looked today, there's been some maudlin "We'll never forget" item on every newscast. For the last week, the airwaves have been flooded with one dramatization after another. The largely fictional "The Path to 9/11", which largely whitewashed the action (Or lack thereof) of the first eight months of the Bush White House. "The Flight That Fought Back" on Discovery HD, which dramatized the gallant fight put up by the passengers of United Flight 93, who deserve our eternal respect and gratitude. And President Bush took to the airwaves to say... Well, nothing really, except to reiterate that he still thinks it was a smashing idea to go to war with one of the few nations in the Middle East that contributed no personnel and no money to the operation.

I wish I could be maudlin about it. I wish I could do as so many in the media seem to, forget about it for 364 days a year, then torture myself with bad TV as a form of penance.

But I don't have it in me. In five years, I've seen the video of the planes hitting the towers and the towers crumbling so often that I can honestly say it has no effect on me.

That's probably because my blood has boiled every day in the five years since I saw it on live TV. Want to know where the "angry blogger" you see came from? Probably not, but you're going to see it anyway if you read this.


Halimah Abdullah's Literary Offenses

With all due apologies to Mark Twain for borrowing his title... Given that the subject of this piece writes so badly that even James Fenimore Cooper looks like Bill the Bard by comparison, it seems fitting.

For those who aren't aware, Abdullah the Butcher wrote this in the Political Notebook:

If you can't beat 'em, blog 'em... Former Ninth Congressional District candidate Joe Ford Jr. grew tired of constantly responding to "flames," those personal, derogatory attacks on the Internet.
So he decided to fight cyber with cyber and wade into the flotsam that is local blogosphere punditry through his own site:

"Wade into the flotsam"? Is that what she calls writers that, unlike her, have firm enough a grasp on the English language to know that zoning laws dealing with whether or not adult shops can remain open on Sundays are not "sex crimes"?

Is "flotsam" defined as "people smart enough to know that black candidates playing "smear the Jew" isn't "Race-tinged back and forth between some African-American groups and Cohen"? After all, last time I checked, for it to be "race-tinged back and forth between some African-American groups and Cohen", Cohen would have to have fired back at some point, right? Wouldn't a journalist have been able to establish something like that? Are they not teaching anything about investigative journalism at whatever Clown College taught her to string a sentence together?

This, unfortunately, is the state of political coverage at the Commercial Appeal. Everything political runs across the desk of either this buffoon, or their better-known op/ed columnist that managed to turn a little girl's hairstyle into a six-part series.


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Here's a MUST read article by Thom Hartmann on how the Republican Right is trying to redefine "fascism" and apply it to Islamic fundamentalists who actually seek to impose THEOCRATIC, not fascist governments. It is, in fact, the Republican Right which is supporting facism, a government and society dominated by the military and the corporate rich.
Islamic or Republican Fascism? Also check out Thom Hartmann's new book SCREWED: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Herenton is a Concern Troll

(We already know what happens when we try to take local Memphis politics to Daily Kos. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Daily Kos was brought to Memphis?)

Herenton a "concern troll," say online activists

By Peebly McNewsprint
Commercial Appeal
September 7, 2006

MEMPHIS, TN - Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is "a concern troll," according to online activists from the popular liberal website, Daily Kos. This comes after the city mayor's comments yesterday, where Herenton and Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton endorsed Democratic congressional nominee Steve Cohen at a joint press conference.

More below the fold...

Sneak Preview of Bush's 9/11 Speech

He's reserved a few minutes of network TV time for Monday night, and yep, it's been leaked.

Fellow Amerrcans,

Five years ago today, I was reading stories with some kids. Some guy comes up to me and says "Mr. President, we're under attack". It was a real pain in the ass, because we were just coming to the good part of the story. Now, people have been mean to me because I sat and read "My Pet Goat" for a while longer, but them people have it all wrong. It's called "THE Pet Goat". That durn goat eats everything, and it's the funniest damn thing since I said "pull my finger" to Tony Blair's wife during a state dinner.

Anyhoo, on 9/11, or shortly thereafter, I made a solemn promise to my fellow Amerrcans. "Osama bin Laden, wanted dead or alive". I didn't realize at the time that he had been framed by Saddam Hussein. Now, now it looks like Saddam was framed by Mahmoud Ahme... Ahme... You know, that guy in Iran. We're now hearing reports that Fidel Castro's brother might have had something to do with it too.

I'm now in my second presidentiary. Iraq's new president is in his first presidentiary, only he doesn't call it a presidentiary because he's not a presidentiarier. I'm working to secure his promise that both platoons of the new Iraqi military will help us look for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in Iran, or wherever they may be hiding.

It's very important to remember that even though most of those nineteen hijackers were Saudi, their leader was Saudi, and most of the money behind the terrist group was Saudi, it was an Iraqi operation. Because otherwise, people are going to rise up and toss me into the streets. I'd like to thank Congress for the bipartisan effort to save my tuckus. The efforts of brave and honorable men like Bill First, Duke Cunningham, and Tom DeLay would mean little were they not helped by Democrats like Joe Lieberman and Harold Ford on the other side.

I love you too, Harold.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Winner Is... Willie Herenton.

Mayors Wharton and Herenton held a joint press conference yesterday to endorse State Senator Steve Cohen in the 9th District Congressional race yesterday.

The endorsement was not a huge surprise--- I think most of us expected it.But Herenton scored HUGE in it. You can watch his full comments by clicking here and clicking the video links on the left side of the page.

Some choice excerpts from his words to the media after the press conference:

"How can anybody in their right mind can think that Jake Ford is better qualified to serve this 9th District than Steve Cohen? It makes no sense to me."

"I have nothing against Jake personally, but his qualifications are nowhere appropriate for him to represent the 9th Congressional district when compared to Steve Cohen. I mean, that's real simple."

"I've resented for decades the politics of the Ford family. The family seems to think that they should have a monopoly on all elected positions in this state and this county. I've always rejected that."

Had Harold actually been willing to do what his supporters expect all of us to do (Swallow the distaste and support the duly nominated candidate), yesterday's press conference would barely have caused a ripple.

Instead, he handed Mayor Herenton a knife to plunge repeatedly into the heart of not only his own campaign, but the political fortunes of his entire family.

For once in his long career, Herenton is in a position to make himself the good guy in the story by backing not only the legitimate Democratic nominee, but the only qualified man in the race. With his scathing comments, he drove a wedge between those who support Cohen and those who support Harold Ford Jr.

But here is the most important thing that happened yesterday.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Infant Mortality Redux

All I can say is "It's about damn time".

If anyone affiliated with the municipal government read Aimee Edmondson's award-winning series for The Commercial Appeal about the high infant mortality rate in the 38108 ZIP code referenced here, there's been no evidence of it.

Ditto for the county government. Ditto for the state government. And don't even get me started on the feds.

So it was nice to see this on the Action News 5 website today:
A class action lawsuit claims to prove that there is a link between the infant mortality rate in one Memphis neighborhood and the chemicals that polluted a nearby creak.

Okay, it was less nice to see that whoever wrote the copy for that story can't spell the word "creek" properly, but the news is good.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Conservative Judge Nails anti-Gay Marriage Amendments


Conservative 4th Circuit Federal Appeals Court Judge Harvie Wilkinson, who was long-rumored to be on President Bush's short-list for possible Supreme Court candidates, writes today in the Washington Post, "The chief casualty in the struggle over same-sex marriage has been the American constitutional tradition." Arguing against congressional passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Wilkinson said, "The Framers meant our Constitution to establish a structure of government and to provide individuals certain inalienable rights against the state. They certainly did not envision our Constitution as a place to restrict rights or enact public policies, as the Federal Marriage Amendment does." Rejecting arguments propounded by many conservatives that sanctioning gay marriage would destroy families, Wilkinson responded, "It is not wrong for gay citizens to wish to share fully in the life of this country, to partake of its most basic and sacred institution, and to experience the intimacy, bonding and devotion to another that only an institution such as marriage can bring. To embrace this view one need not believe that sexual infidelities will disappear but only that many gay couples will make good on their vows and lead fuller, richer and more productive lives as a result."

Big Surprise... Barbarians at the Gate!

The news out of Washington today is that the GOP has decided to table immigration "reform" for the coming year, ostensibly because of the impasse between the Senate's idea of immigration overhaul, which could eventually lead to citizenship for some, and the House's idea of it, which consists of saying "There are way too many brown people here".

Of course, the real story is this: Much like all of the other wedge issues Republicans use to try and divide Americans, this is not a "problem" that they wish to solve; It's simply something for them to complain about in an election year.

How many times can they run the "barbarians at the gate" electoral strategy without their voter base ever wising up?

Terrorism: "Islamic extremists are coming to destroy your country and your way of life... And only WE stand between you and them. " Meanwhile, we're coming up on five years since "Wanted dead or alive", and Osama and his lieutenants are on TV more often than the guy that played Urkel.

Gays: "Homosexuals won't be happy until your marriage means absolutely nothing. They're here to destroy your beliefs and your culture, and only WE stand between them and you." Meanwhile, there's little evidence that gay marriage is anything but a shell game designed to bring out religious voters every election year. Want some evidence? Why was the anti-gay marriage constitutional emendment not on the ballot here in 2004 when all those other states ran it? Because there was no Senate seat in play in 2004, and the GOP was going to win TN by a comfortable margin anyway. This year there's a Senate seat in play, so it's back to "gay bashing as political strategy".

Abortion: "It's murder! Elect us and we'll get rid of it." Meanwhile, we're coming up on 35 years since Roe vs. Wade, and the Supreme Court that was supposed to be some miracle salve to get rid of it has been in place for some time now. Much like a doctor performing a brain scan on the president, their voter base is standing around saying "Where is it?"

Immigration was "barbarians at the gates" at its most pathetic, though.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

I am calling for a head

Friday, September 01, 2006

County Commission

I went to the swearing in ceremony for the county commission today (and don’t worry, I slipped back into class with several minutes to spare.) I’m really excited about the new commission, although if you hope for a more or similarly partisan commission, I don’t think you’re going to be getting it. Most of the speeches were well done and heart-felt with me even laughing at the (highly fertile) Republicans’ speeches. Joyce Avery was practically crying during hers which was rather sweet. I apologize, but after listening to Flinn’s speech, I will have to call him grandma from now on (as his grandchildren do.)

Nothing surprising happened; it is a ceremony after all. Harvey’s speech did have its moments though. He used his speech to praise the “county mayor” Herenton and talk about looking forward to working with him. He also talked about the “strong, independent men” on the commission (Because Henri and the other women are so submissive, I guess.) Finally, he closed with asking us to pray that they don’t “flop” and that he hoped we didn’t end up thinking “why did we elect these idiots.”

Don’t mean to be harsh on the guy, I don’t know much about him and hope he does well. Those lines were just too good to pass up though.

The "Gay Marriage" Dilemma for Progressives

Like many people, I am struggling with the issue of "gay marriage" and whether to support or vote for Democratic candidates who either oppose gay marriage or support amending the U.S. or TN Constitution to prohibit gays and lesbians from being able to marry. First, I don't think marriage should be the focus of the gay rights movement at this time, when we still do not have basic rights like protection from job discrimination when the majority of the public support that issue and a majority OPPOSE "gay marriage." Forces within and outside the gay community have forced the issue into our political and public discourse.

We are forced to choose between (a) supporting Democrats regardless of their position on marriage rights to end the Republican control of all branches of government or (b) not voting for Democrats or supporting third party candidates who DO support full equal rights for gays and lesbians but who cannot win and thus taking votes away from the Democrats. In this case, we are accused of helping to elect Republicans and we are always forced to answer the question "Would you prefer that the Republican or the Democrat wins?"

The argument that we must vote for the Democratic candidates regardless of the position on gay marriage to stop the Republicans has some persuasive power, until you consider the following questions.

How can a gay person, or any progressive who believes in equal civil rights for all people, support a "Democrat" who campaigns AGAINST the rights of gays and lesbians to have the same civil rights as straight people?

The CONSERVATIVE argument is that in "Red" states like Tennessee Democrats have to be against gay rights in order to win. If we vote for these conservative Democrats, aren't we rewarding these conservatives for OPPOSING our civil rights and aren't we confirming their position that that is the only way for Democrats to win?

By voting for anti-gay conservative Democrats, aren't we helping to push the Democratic Party further to the right? How will our continued support (vote) for these conservative Democrats make the Demcratic Party more progressive???

Aren't Democrats in Tennessee and other conservative states taking the votes of gays (and progressive Democrats) for granted, and as long as they do not feel threatened by the loss of those progressive votes won't they continue to move to the Right?

I do not think a single issue like "gay marriage" (politicallly a very difficult issue in the South) should determine whether we support a candidate, but we have some very different situations:

Steve Cohen was one of only a few Tennesse legislatures to vote AGAINT the TN anti-gay marriage amendment. This does not mean he SUPPORTS gay marriage. I have not heard or read where he has said he supports gay marriage. He may be forced to say he supports "civil unions" instead, but he can oppose the amendment as unnecessary and unjust. This was the same position John Kerry and other Democrats took on the national level. It seems like the best way to "diffuse" the issue, although the anti-gay Republican Right would still accuse them of supporting gay marriage, but I think the majority of voters would not mind a candidate who supports something like "civil unions." It's not full equality, but it gets pretty close. It's moving in the right direction. (Personally I would prefer "civil unions" for gays and straights, with the same civil rights, and drop the issue of "marriage" altogether.

Then there is Harold Ford Jr. HFJr went futher than just opposing "gay marriage," he voted for, supports, and is campaigning on his support for the Republican anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. He voted for the FMA in 2004, while the Democratic Party and it's Presidential candidate John Kerry were opposing the Republican amendment, correctly, as an attempt to write prejudice and discrimination into the Constitution. HFJr didn't mind, as long as it would help him win his race for the U.S. Senate. He continues to emphasize his opposition to gay marriage, as well as the leadership of the Democratic Party, on social issues like gay marriage.

Now I can support a candidate like Cohen who may not publicly support "gay marriage" but who does not campain AGAINST it or support constitutional amendments.

There is no way really to rationalize Harold Ford Jr's campaign against gay marriage other than a blatant use of homophobia and preducice against gays to win a political race. That I cannot support. That is why I will NOT vote for Harold Ford Jr.
Does that mean I "prefer" the Republican candidate win? No, it means that I prefer to support a candidate who is not running against progressive democratic values and who supports equality for all americans. That candidate may not be Democrat. Who is to blame if the Republican wins because many progressives did not vote for the Democratic candiate? I blame the Democrat who did not stand up for progressive values. Blame HIM, not those of use who used our vote to support a candidate who did not run a campaign bashing gays and lesbians (or Nancy Pelosi and "liberal" Democrats).

I was starting to shift my position to support HFJr to help the Democrats take control of the Senate, but after hearing more and more of his anti-gay, anti-Nancy Pelosi, anti-Democratic Party campaign speeches, his blatant attempt to pander to conservative bigots across the state, there is NO WAY I will vote for that S.O.B. He can go to hell!

Yes I will be voting for Green Party candidate Chris Lugo, a REAL progressive who supports my rights. He will not win.
Don't lay a guilt trip on me for helping Corker to win. My vote is not going to make the differnce between Ford or Corker, and if it does, blame Harold Ford Jr., not me. He could have had my vote easily. He blew it.

Stop Harold Ford Jr.

P.S. I am sick of the B.S. on DailyKos that we ahve to support Democrats regardless of their political positions: liberal, conservative, it doesn't matter, all that matters is that Democrats "win." This argument makes me sick. Throw progressive values out the door. Gay rights, women's rights, workers rights, etc... fuck them all. All that matters is that the Democratic party "wins." I don't consider having a spineless Republican ass-licker like Harold Ford Jr. representing us in Congress to be "winning." What do I win by having him in the Senate? Another anti-gay theocratic demagogue, who happens to have a "D" instead of an "R" after his name. If Harold Ford Jr. doesn't seem to care about supporting the Democratic Party, why do the dailykos ditto heads bash progressive like ME for not supporting the Democratic Party??? What fucking hypocrisy. The DailyKos and the support Democrats regardless of political ideology crowd can all go to hell. I want the Democratic Party to stand for something (more than political expediancy), and grow into an opposition party against corporate power and the coprorate rich and their takeover of the media and the government. I WANT to support the Democratic Party...and I will support progressive Democrats, I willl NOT support anti-gay, homophobic, racist, pro-corporate, militaristic Democrats. I don't think electing pro-corporate, anti-gay, theocratic Democrats is "winning," it is LOSING!