Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australia Gives Howard The Boot

I rarely look at politics down under, but the stunning defeat for John Howard and the conservatives of Australia really give me hope. For years Howard’s conservative faction held a grip on politics in Australia. The election this week which delivered 81 seats of he 150 in parliament to the Labor Party.

Unlike the GOP leadership in the US, Howard took full responsibility for the defeat. ``I accept full responsibility for the Liberal Party campaign, and I therefore accept full responsibility for the coalition's defeat in this election campaign,'' Howard said in his concession speech in Sydney.

A key part of his oppositions platform was immediately signing the Kyoto Protocols and withdrawing from Iraq. Sound familiar?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wal-Mart Rates "Don't Buy" From HRC

My friends already know I won't shop at Sam's or Wal-Mart because of their policies toward labor and their promotion of offshore manufacturing. Now I have another reason to avoid the big box behemoth. The HRC gave Wal-Mart a "red" rating or "do not buy" due to their refusal to provide domestic partner benefits for their employees.

Target, my favorite discounter, rated an 80 on the same scale or a "green" rating from HRC. I always knew there was a reason besides the clean stores, stylish merchandise and great advertising that I liked Target.

Republican Senator "Underwhelmed" With Bush Knowledge Of Iraq

It’s interesting that even a few Republicans are finally getting the picture of what a mess we have in the White House. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) "raised some eyebrows" with his recent remarks about President Bush. After a visit with the president Senator Corker said, "I was in the White House a number of times to talk about the issue, and I may rankle some in the room saying this, but I was very underwhelmed with what discussions took place at the White House."

When asked to clarify his remarks he continued that when discussing the situation in Iraq, "I just felt a little bit underwhelmed by our discussions, the complexity of them, the depth of them."

When the Republicans realize that we have incompetence in the White House, it’s really bad. Even their characteristic ideological myopia seems to be failing. Time for Impeachment to be back on the table!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Florida Gets No Deligates For Democratic Convention

This whole "our primary is first" fiasco is getting really out of hand. Today the Democratic National Committee told the state of Florida it’s delegates will not be seated at the national convention because the Florida legislature moved it’s primary so early it violates party rules. The DNC rules state that states that have not been granted a special waiver have to schedule presidential nominating contests after Feb. 5. To make matters worse, there are no hotel rooms reserved for the Florida delegation.

This harsh penalty was designed to encourage other states not to start upping the dates of their primaries, thus making the primary process even more chaotic than normal. The state legislature now has 30 days to comply or the ruling will be final.

Another part of the problem is the Florida legislature is controlled by Republicans. Many think they pushed the date froward precisely to get this kind of response from the DNC. Personally, I think that is a given. Needless to say the lawsuits continue.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oral Roberts Calls "Emergency Meeting" at ORU

Things at ORU are heating up. Yesterday Oral Roberts himself addressed an "emergency meeting" of the faculty to address the problems at the school bearing his name. The faculty had previously vote several no-confidence measures in the then head of the school, Richard Rogers. Rogers stepped down in the wake of the scandal and according to many faculty at the school, there will be mass resignations if he returns.

Scott McClellan's New Memoir Implicates Bush In PlameGate!

Scott McClellan has finally written a tell all book about his time at the White House. What he tells is no surprise to me, but it’s nice to hear it from someone inside the White House as confirmation. According to his memoir Scotty puts the blame for the Valerie Plame scandal directly at Bush’s feet. Time to call another congressional investigation and this time get Scott on the stand. Then tell me why impeachment is off the table?

Read the rest at Think Progress and then call your Senator and Representative!

Hate Crimes Rise 8% for 2006

In a report marked by spotty and uneven reporting the FBI concluded that Hate Crimes are up 8% for the year 2006. Southern states are the worst at reporting hate crimes whereas states like California are more efficient.

Most criminals who perpetrate hate crimes are white 59% and most victims are minorities. Black account for victims of most racially biased crimes, Jews fall victim of religiously motivated hate crimes, Hispanics are the ethnic victim of choice and no surprise gay men lead the list of sexual orientation.

Though the report gives no conclusions of what it means, I think it’s safe to say a lot of the rise has to do with the timbre of public discourse in recent years. As far right evangelicals cry for punishment of gays and lesbians and the media drums up racial divisions it is no surprise that hate crimes are on the rise. Biased reporting and programs that promote stereotypes add to the problem, but they are not the root cause.

The real problem is in the hearts of Americans. Our country has always been a melting pot, but with that mix comes fear ignorance and prejudice. We have had times of much worse violence against minorities, but that is no excuse. What we need is a new way of understanding what it means to be an American. I think we have dome a disservice to our kids when we fail to teach them about the great waves of immigrants that settled this country. When we fail to teach them about the past prejudices and problems, they will be clueless when they have to handle them.

We need to be spreading a message of not just tolerance, but acceptance. So long as our politicians and church leaders use wedges to divide us from them, we will continue to have the problem of hate crimes.
It’s time someone actually started teaching the golden rule as something other than a platitude.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cities Install Cameras To Prevent Public Sex - Why Not Put On A Show?

Seems like a lot of cities have the idea that they can put cameras in areas where people have public sex and stop the problem. Perhaps, but it does offer a possible secondary use. I am not a fan of public sex, I feel it places people in non-consensual situations and that goes against my grain. However, the use of surveillance cameras also bothers me. I would like to propose an entertaining and practical solution for both problems.

In communities where the cameras are installed, some enterprising performance artists, dancers, actors, etc, should take advantage of the free screen time, especially if these are posted online like those proposed in Miami, Fl. Why not find the cameras and at times when public sex is known to happen, put on a show for the surveillance cameras? Nothing pornographic or racy, just good old fashioned song and dance. If the cams are online, you have instant exposure, and your activity will deter any public sex. It might even entertain the police who watch hours and hours of dreary footage with nothing happening but a few shadowy figures involved in whatever constitutes that type of crime.

Whoever succeeds in this, please send me the video if you can get it. I would love to see this put into action as both a statement against the "big brother" aspects of the cameras and as a creative way of deterring public sex.

Senate Stays In Session Through Thanksgiving Holidays To Block Bush Appointments

In a welcome show of "cajones" the Democratically controlled Senate will stay in session during the holidays in order to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments of judges and from passing legislation as "executive orders". With the Senate still in session Bush cannot claim any need for such boondoggle appointments of people who would not hold up to Senate scrutiny.

So write Harry Reid a letter of thanks for protecting our democracy.

Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 The GOP's One Trick Pony

If you have heard Giuliani speak you have heard the phrases, "on September 11", "post 9/11" or the famous "since September 11". You would think he could find another way to connect with the American people, but instead he has only one trick and he keeps going back to it again and again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

GOP Rep. Bob Allen Convicted and Resigns

Republican State Representative Bob Allen of Florida resigned last week in the wake of a conviction for solicitation. Seems the Honorable Representative was caught in a restroom offering to have sex with another man, and unfortunately for him it was an undercover officer. Once again the party of Character and Morals has been shown to be the party of hypocrisy and sleaze.

The growing number of busted GOP folks is starting to look like a pattern. If you are uncomfortable with your sexuality, or ashamed of being homosexual, you become a Republican and try to pass as straight. More importantly, if you are closeted enough, you become an elected official who persecutes openly gay people. Now I am not a doctor, but that’s a pathology in my book.

And by the way, if you are in the GOP and somehow can bring yourself to be openly gay, join the Log Cabin Republicans. There you can pretend that your party gives a damn about your rights and you can continue to give money to the folks who actively work to deny those rights. Now that’s really a pathology!