By MARY PEREA, Associated Press Writer 49 minutes ago
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Georgia bride-to-be who vanished just days before her wedding turned up in New Mexico and fabricated a tale of abduction before admitting Saturday that she had gotten cold feet and "needed some time alone," police said.
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was in police custody more than 1,420 miles from her home on what was supposed to be her wedding day.
"It turns out that Miss Wilbanks basically felt the pressure of this large wedding and could not handle it," said Randy Belcher, the police chief in Duluth, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where Wilbanks lives with her fiance. He said there would be no criminal charges.
Wilbanks, whose disappearance set off a nationwide hunt, called her fiance, John Mason, from a pay phone late Friday and told him that she had been kidnapped while jogging three days before, authorities said. Her family rejoiced that she was safe, telling reporters that the media coverage apparently got to the kidnappers.
But Wilbanks soon recanted, according to police.
Ray Schultz, chief of police in Albuquerque, said Wilbanks "had become scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone." He said she traveled to Las Vegas by bus before going to Albuquerque.
"She's obviously very concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family," he said. "She is very upset."
The mood outside Wilbanks' home went from jubilant to somber after Wilbanks changed her story. Family members ducked inside and the blinds were drawn, but friends expressed relief that Wilbanks was safe.
"Having cold feet is a joy compared to what the alternative might have been," friend Melinda Larson, who had planned to attend the wedding, told CNN.
The wedding was going to be a huge bash. The couple had mailed 600 invitations, and the ceremony was to feature 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.
Wilbanks' uncle, Mike Satterfield, thanked people who had helped in the search and supported the family.
"Jennifer had some issues the family was not aware of. We're looking forward to loving her and talking to her about these issues," he said.
This is a prime reason Nancy Grace needs to be kept off TV.
She basically had the woman in a ditch as the vicitim of some nefarious sex crime on last night's show. She looked like she was going to break down in tears when she talked to the woman's father.
The idea that she flipped and ran was discounted.
Obviously, this woman is a massive coward. Kidnapping? Leaving her boyfriend as the next Scott Peterson? Come on. One phone call would have cut this bullshit out. Someone could have been killed behind this. Once you get the cops involved, anything could have happened. An innocent man chased and cornered as a suspect, anything.
They have this insanely large wedding planned, and then she runs like she owes her book five grand she doesn't have. Jennifer definitely has some issues, moral courage being the first one.
If I were her fiance, I'd be preparing for a honeymoon with his new best friend, Jack Daniels. Because anyone running out on a big wedding like that either has stage fright like you wouldn't believe or doesn't want to marry you. And I'd bet on number 2.
Democrats have good reason to be aghast at President Bush's new proposal for Social Security. Someone has finally called their bluff.
They tried yesterday to portray him as just another cruel, rich Republican for suggesting any cuts in future benefits, but that's not what the prime-time audience saw on Thursday night. By proposing to shore up the system while protecting low-income workers, Mr. Bush raised a supremely awkward question for Democrats: which party really cares about the poor?
"The amount of income-related redistribution in Social Security is a lot less than people think," said Jeffrey Liebman, a Harvard economist and a former official in the Clinton administration. "If you get the details right, you can design a personal-account retirement system in which groups with high risks of poverty in old age come out at least as well as with the current system."
So why are his fellow Democrats so dead set against it? Their usual answer has been that any move to privatization would doom the poor along with the whole Social Security program. If you let the middle and upper classes opt out and finance their own retirement, the argument has gone, there will be no political support for even the modest subsidies that Social Security now provides to low-income workers - just look at what Republicans did to welfare and public housing programs.
But the elderly poor are different from the younger poor. For one thing, they're more likely to vote, a fact not lost on even the most hardhearted Republican. They also arouse much more public sympathy. Kicking 25-year-olds off welfare was popular because it was thought to be good for them. Nobody claims that forcing that widow to eat cat food will build character.
That's why even the most ardent free-marketeers are not trying to eliminate the safety net for the elderly. The libertarians at the Cato Institute are trying to strengthen it with a proposal that has been introduced by Republicans in Congress. If your individual account left you with a paltry pension, their plan would guarantee you a subsidy to lift you above the poverty line - and well above what many retirees are now getting from Social Security.
Democrats like to portray Mr. Bush as King George or Marie Antoinette. But on Thursday night, when he promised to improve benefits for the poor while limiting them for everyone else, he sounded more like Robin Hood, especially when he rhapsodized about poor people getting a chance to build up assets that they could pass along to their children.
It was the kind of talk you might expect to hear from a Democrat, except that Democrats don't talk about much these days except the glories of the New Deal. They know that Social Security doesn't even have the money to sustain a program that leaves millions of elderly people in poverty. But it's their system, and they're sticking to it.
I never liked John Tierney.
He has been advocating overturning rent control in New York for years. When it was tried in the mid-90's, landlords, among the stupidest businessmen on the planet, were planning hundreds of dollar rent increases. Of course, since the tenent lobby is the second largest in the state, the plan was stillborn.
And he's an idiot.
Bush's "plan" would cut benefits to everyone who makes more than $20K a year. Which is 70 percent of America. Think about that for a minuite. Nearly three out of four American workers would take a benefits cut. That's Robin Hood alright, if you're King John.
Because Bush has not planned to raise benefits for the poor, but simply not cut them. So in this mythical world where the market never crashes, people might make more money, some might come out better, but most Americans would be screwed like a Thai hooker visiting Neil Bush in his hotel room.
Let's be for real: nothing stops working class people from investing today. They can buy wide screen TV's and rims, they can invest in the stock market, and don't. Over 40 percent of people eligible to participate in 401K's, don't. Across the finanical and educational board. Why? Because they don't trust Wall Street. Simple as that. The complexities of investment would cause some people to live in utter poverty.
A WaPo article had an interview with a woman getting her masters in accounting. Hardly a financial illiterate. And she just said she didn't have the time, between her kids and school to worry about investing in social security.
And Tierney is also wrong in assuming the conmen at Cato aren't trying to screw the elderly. What they want to do is move this to 100 market-based investing. So everyone has to eventually jump in the market place.
In states where this plan has been tried, investment rates have been well under 10 percent, with many people moving back into the state-secured system.
If poor people want assest to pass on to their kids, being healthy and not living off them because they have a social security check is a wonderful gift. And there is no law against bank accounts. The utter selfishness of Bush's plan is amazing to behold. Robin Hood is right, but he's King John coming for your gold.
WASHINGTON, April 27 - The House passed a bill on Wednesday making it a federal crime for any adult to transport an under-age girl across state lines to have an abortion without the consent of her parents. A vote on a similar bill is expected in the Senate later this spring or early this summer, and backers says its chances are good.
The measure, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, passed 270 to 157 and was a victory for abortion opponents, who have been pushing an ambitious agenda now that Congress is under greater Republican control.
"This legislation will close a loophole that allows adults not only to help minors break state laws by obtaining an abortion without parental consent, but also contributes to ending the life of an innocent child," said the chief sponsor, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida.
The bill, intended to prevent minor girls from going to different states to circumvent more restrictive laws in their home states, applies to adults who accompany girls 17 and under. It also, for the first time, requires doctors who perform abortions on under-age girls to comply with state notification laws, and in some cases to notify the girl's parents in person. Violators could face a $100,000 fine and a year in jail.
The bill also imposes a 24-hour waiting period for young women who travel to another state for an abortion, in some cases even if they are accompanied by their parents.
Supporters characterize the measure as pro-family, saying it will prevent abusive boyfriends and others from taking vulnerable young women across state lines to receive "secret abortions" against their will. They say that the decision to have an abortion should rest solely with the parents. Amendments that would have allowed grandparents or members of the clergy to accompany the young women were rejected.
The measure has the strong backing of the White House, which issued a statement on Wednesday saying the bill "is consistent with the administration's view that parents' efforts to be involved in their children's lives should be protected and the widespread belief among authorities in the field that the parents of pregnant minors are best suited to provide them with counsel, guidance and support."
Opponents call the measure misguided and say it would violate a Supreme Court ruling that required state parental notification laws to include alternatives, like permitting abortions with a judge's consent. And they say it would put some young women, like those who are the victims of sexual abuse by their fathers, in serious danger.
"Thankfully, most young women involve their parents in the decision to seek an abortion," said Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York. "But under this legislation, those who feel they cannot turn to their parents when facing an unintended pregnancy will be forced to fend for themselves without any help from a responsible adult. Some will seek unsafe abortions close to home. Others will travel to unfamiliar places seeking abortions by themselves."
Yes, I'm sure a 16-year old will have no problem whatsoever getting her Mom to drive her to a clinic if her stepfather rapes her. Yeah.
Unless she's a 13 year old foster care child in Florida and then the state will force her to carry the baby to term no matter what she wants.
A pregnant 13-year-old girl in Florida has been told she cannot have an abortion because she lacks the maturity to make such a decision.
A state court granted an injunction which prevents the girl from terminating her pregnancy.
She is three months pregnant and had planned to have an abortion on Tuesday of this week.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it will launch an urgent appeal against the ruling.
'Too young to choose'
Florida's department of children and families intervened and took the matter to court, arguing the teenager, who is under the care of the state, is too young and immature to make an informed medical decision. Judge Ronald Alvarez in Palm Beach accepted that argument and has granted a temporary injunction and psychological evaluation, which effectively blocks her from terminating the pregnancy.
It is a case which, once again, plays into the heated and divisive debate about abortion in America.
The judge's ruling comes in spite of Florida state law which specifically does not require a minor to seek parental consent before an abortion.
At what point do the wingnuts go too far with this "culture of life" bullshit and harm someone. Is the State of Florida going to raise the baby? What is she is injured for life in childbirth or dies during it? Where will Jeb! be then?
My friend David Pescovitz recently appeared on a panel addressing the question of whether bloggers were "real journalists." Then I had one of those experiences that made that abstract question all too shockingly real.
I was preparing my application for a USC Annenberg School for Communication media fellowship, which paid tuition for a weekend seminar on "Covering Entertainment in the Digital Age." I noticed that the application required a lot of information to come from my "supervisor," so I called them up to ask how I as a freelancer should handle this. I'd already obtained a letter of recommendation from my editor of six years at Photo District News, for whom I've written dozens of features about how digital technology was transforming the visual arts. Several years ago when I was awarded two media fellowships from CASE, including one on art and technology, they were extremely accommodating, so I was not prepared to hear that while USC would accept applications from people like me, I might as well not bother because they really couldn't prove I was a "real journalist." When I listed all the publications I've written for over the years, they said it didn't matter. If I didn't work in a newsroom, I apparently wasn't a real journalist in their book.
I was angry at first, of course. But on further contemplation, it made a little sense. The "real journalists," newsroom reporters who are responsible for some of the sloppiest, most fear-mongering reporting around when it comes to the digital/information age we live in, are probably more in need of a thoughtful, informative seminar than writers such as myself, who cannot cruise by knowing my paycheck will come every two weeks no matter what half-assed dreck I publish. It made me realize that the most thoughtful, provocative journalism today is, in fact, coming from independents writing for magazines, writing books, an in some cases maintaining blogs. That's not to say all television and news reporters suck, of course, but I'm not the first to intimate a serious decline in standards.
In fact, I can't even remember the last time I referred to myself as a journalist. In my view, the word has an almost tawdry ring to it. I consider myself an independent writer who, in addition to writing fiction, doing some creative consulting and fun stuff like this blog, provides high-quality journalism for some great publications. If USC doesn't think that's even worth investing in, then I hope they enjoy going down with the sinking ship they've chosen to cast their lot with.
Ah, it's a quiet, cool Friday night and when I read this, I just shake my head. Because while I was thinking about the joys of blended drinks, I was saddened to see yet another example of how the MSM is missing the boat. There are few rules left. The modern Casablanca of journalism, the White House Press Corps, is so corrupt that Jerry Springer pointed out something simple: they are slaves to power. The fact is that they aren't just not doing the job, they are failing so badly that people are refusing to even engage them. They just stop watching CNN, MSNBC.
How cluless are they?
Jon Stewart is probably the most respected newsman in America, and he does fake news. While the media does glowing portraits of him, they don't seem to get his mere presence refutes them.
Unlike the British news satires, like Public Eye and Not the Nine O Clock News, which goes hammer and tongs after celebrities and politicians, The Daily Show goes after the media. It is a daily cry for a responsible media, one which does what it should. But the newsmen keep laughing. They don't get the joke is on them.
When the clowns of Crossfire realized people were laughing at them and not with them, they were shocked. They didn't get that people didn't like the screaming and thought Stewart was dead on. They didn't get that people were happy to cheer him on berating these people.
The reason that being a journalist matters is that it has legal implications. It wouldn't matter if there wasn't the law behind the rights of journalists. But other than that, the MSM is in need of reform. Not just a bullshit here and there patch. But deep and serious reform where the way they cover the news has to change.
But this post indicates something else, journalism is moving away from the corporation and to the individual. It was one thing when newspapers were owned by the rich and crazy, now they're just profit centers and the romance of reporting, that one thing which draws people in and keeps them around, is disappearing. It's not that politics and crappy editors have ruined the day, they've always existed. But there is just something fowl, like rotten chicken skin deep in a pile of garbage, which is coming from today's journalism. It's incomplete, it's dishonest. When a long time liberal like Sheryl McCarthy can cheer on taking money from a disability check, in the liberal Newsday, and no editor said "woah, this is kinda mean, and not in the good way" then you know you can smell the stink.
A mentally unbalanced lunatic like Nancy Grace gets two hours a night to rant about crime, nearly on the verge of a breakdown every freaking day on a news channel. It's like watching a speeding car crash into an exploding building. But this is a news show. On a news channel and no one cares. Once upon a time, people would have been embarassed to have this show on. Paddy Chayefsky was partially kidding with Network, but even he would have recoiled at Fox and freakshows like Grace.
You watch this shit, night after night and you want to beat your head against the wall, because you know this isn't what is supposed to be on. American journalists can rise to heroism when needed, but too often, their deskbound editors are undermining them. And this isn't new either. The Vietnam era had the same conflicts and people quit in frustration over the same issues. Peter Arnett hung on the longest, but was eventually backstabbed out of a job in the end.
And commentary? Shit it's turned into a partisan nightmare. Once, it was the establishment, now it's cruel pikers like Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol. They lie without pause or remorse. Every word they utter is as tainted as day old tuna. And they have gotten rich from it, obscenely rich.
Jenn Shreve is, of course, as much a journalist as me or anyone else. It has nothing to do with a newsroom. But the fact that some people think so is well, as sad as it is frustrating.
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 39 minutes ago
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - Vietnam celebrated the communist victory over a U.S.-backed government Saturday, parading its troops down the same boulevard along which tanks rolled to smash into the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam 30 years ago. ADVERTISEMENT click here
Watched by the country's top leaders and legendary figures like Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, soldiers, government workers and performers marched with red flags waving toward the palace gates. Hundreds of aging veterans, their chests dripping with medals, watched from the sidelines.
Giant billboards of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam's revolutionary leader, dominated the parade ground and adjoining streets which had been blocked off to the public because of security concerns.
On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese tanks barreled through the gates of the palace, the heart of the U.S.-backed Saigon government. The fall of Saigon marked the official end to the Vietnam War, and the U.S.'s decade-long involvement in Southeast Asia. The war claimed some 58,000 American lives and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese.
"I was listening to the radio with my family and heard that Saigon had been liberated. I was very happy because for many years we weren't free. After 30 years we have rebuilt our country. Our land is safe and secure and I think the future will be better for my children," said To Thanh Nghia, 51, a government worker marching in the parade.
But the atmosphere in the country three decades later has been mostly festive, focusing on Vietnam's economic rejuvenation in recent years. Memories of the war and its aftermath are little more than anecdotes in history books for the majority of the country's population who were born after it ended.
Hmmm, I wonder how we will get our Iraqi collaborators out? By C-130?
It was the Vietnam War in microcosm....Good intentions marred by fatally flawed follow-through.
By Col. Harry G. Summers, Jr
It was not a proud day to be an American. As our CH-46 Marine helicopter lifted off the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon at 5:30 a.m., April 30, 1975--taking the last of the Americans, except for the Marine guards, to USS Okinawa and safety--the full extent of our betrayal struck home. The 420 evacuees below, whom we had given our solemn promise not to abandon, began to press at the Marine guards then withdrawing into the embassy.
But it was too late. America had not only fecklessly abandoned its erstwhile ally in its time of most desperate need but also had shamefully abandoned the last several hundred of those evacuees who had trusted America to the very end. Included were the local firemen who had refused earlier evacuation so as to be on hand if one of the evacuation helicopters crashed into the landing zone in the embassy courtyard; a German priest with a number of Vietnamese orphans; and members of the Republic of Korea (ROK) embassy, including several ROK Central Intelligence Agency officers who chose to remain to the end to allow civilians to be evacuated ahead of them and who would later be executed in cold blood by the North Vietnamese invaders.
The worst of it was that it was all unintentional, the result of a breakdown in communication between those on the ground running the embassy evacuation, those offshore with the fleet controlling the helicopters, and those in Honolulu and Washington who were making the final decisions. In short, it was the Vietnam War all over again.
On April 29, 1975, we moved from our headquarters at the DAO compound to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Saigon, fully prepared to remain in-country. No sooner had we arrived there, however, than it was found that Secretary of State Kissinger, reportedly in a fit of pique, had ordered all U.S. personnel out of Vietnam, including the FPJMT and the embassy staff.
While the evacuation at the DAO compound had already begun, the only evacuation from the embassy had been by a few Air America UH-1 helicopters from the roof, shuttling key people to the DAO evacuation point. The plan had called for the evacuation of the 100 or so U.S. personnel from the embassy in this manner. All other evacuees were to be bused or helilifted by Air America helicopters to the main evacuation point at the DAO. But that plan had broken down, and already some 3,000 people, about half of them Vietnamese, had crowded within the embassy walls. With the streets of Saigon becoming impassable, there was no way they could be bused to the Tan Son Nhut evacuation point.
There was a large tamarind tree in the embassy courtyard that made it unusable as a landing zone, and Ambassador Martin, evidently seeing the tree as a symbol of his determination not to abandon his post, had refused to have it cut down. But now the end was inevitable, and the tree was finally felled. The landing zone was still blocked, however, by the mass of civilian evacuees. To alleviate the chaos, Colonel Madison volunteered our services to Wolfgang Lehmann, the deputy chief of mission (DCM).
While Marine Major James Kean and his embassy security detail, augmented by some 130 U.S. Marines from the Ground Security Force at the DAO compound, manned the walls to prevent more people from entering the compound, we set about clearing a landing zone in the embassy courtyard and organizing the evacuees for departure. Uneasiness had begun to spread, as the crowd saw the Air America helicopters lifting off the embassy roof. Our worst fear throughout the evacuation was a repeat of the experience at Da Nang earlier in the month, where panic had taken over and it had become impossible even to land, lest the aircraft become mobbed and be unable to take off. .............. But that never happened at the embassy. For one thing, the Marine security guards were able to secure the walls and prevent the thousands in the streets outside from overrunning the compound. For another, Captain Herrington, Sergeants Herron and Pace and Specialist Bell (all of whom spoke Vietnamese) were able to assure the crowd that they were not going to be abandoned.
The first task was to clear the embassy courtyard. Under the control of Gunnery Sgt. Pace (our "inside man"), most of those in the courtyard area were sent into the embassy itself, later to be evacuated from the roof as CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters began arriving from the fleet offshore. The rest were herded into the CRA (Combined Recreation Association) compound next door. Site of the embassy club and swimming pool, it was separated from the embassy itself by the firehouse and a chain-link fence.
With the help of a local missionary, Reverend Tom Stebbins, who spoke Vietnamese, I circulated among the crowd in the CRA compound, assuring them that all would be eventually evacuated. Meanwhile a loading zone for the larger Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters was laid out in the embassy courtyard. Even with two landing zones operating simultaneously, the evacuation began slowly and sporadically, for the main evacuation point at Tan Son Nhut had priority. By midnight some 1,800 people had been evacuated from the embassy, but then the helicopter flow came to a temporary halt as the choppers refueled aboard ship after completing the DAO evacuation. Panic began to spread among the evacuees still in the CRA compound.
The Marine guards securing the gate between the CRA compound and the embassy courtyard were becoming hard pressed. Captain Herrington came to their rescue, entering the CRA compound to restore order, followed by myself and Sergeant Herron. "Khong ai se bi bo lai!" Herrington said. "No one will be left behind!"
Over and over again he reassured them, "I'm in here with you, and I'll be on the last helicopter. They will not leave me behind. No one is abandoning you. In a little while the helicopters will begin arriving again." Finally the panic subsided. As soon as it did, we moved the 1,100 remaining evacuees from the CRA compound through the gate and onto the roof of the firehouse, where they could see what was going on.
At about 2 a.m. on April 30, the helicopter flow resumed. After forcing them to abandon their luggage, we found we could put 90 Vietnamese on board the CH-53s. At 4:15 a.m. Colonel Madison informed Wolfgang Lehmann that only six lifts remained to complete the evacuation. Lehmann told him no more helicopters would be coming. But Colonel Madison would have none of it. We had given our word.
Madison and his men would be on the final lift after all the evacuees under our care had been flown to safety. Lehmann relented and said the helicopters would be provided. That message was later reaffirmed by Brunson McKinley, the ambassador's personal assistant. But McKinley was lying. Even as he reassured us, he knew the lift had been canceled, and he soon fled, along with the ambassador and Lehmann, his DCM.
It was the only time in my 38-year military career that I had been lied to on an operational matter. For a military officer such an act would be unthinkable. But the State Department obviously had different standards, and McKinley later became a high-ranking officer at State in charge of refugee affairs
The end of the Vietnam War came quickly. It was a surprise that the ARVN collapsed so quickly and anyone alive then cannot forget the sea being littered with helicopters. It was the final tragic act of a tragedy. It was a sad, shameful end to a horrible policy
One hopes when we abandon Iraq, the same story will not be told again.
April 29, 2005 -- A day after 3-year-old Clarence Ricky Davis Jr., sneaked out of his Queens home and hopped a bus by himself to a movie theater, the tyke went to the pictures again yesterday — this time with his family and The Post.
It was our treat.
The pint-size nomad also got the good news that his dad — arrested the previous night for allowing little Ricky to wander off — had been released with no charges filed.
The "sequel" to Ricky's adventure began yesterday with breakfast at IHOP before the family headed to see "Robots" at the Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, the destination of Wednesday's solo sojourn.
"It's this way!" shouted the exuberant boy, pointing the way.
"We're there!" he shouted gleefully when he got to the theater.
But the roaming rug rat kept mainly silent during the flick, preferring to munch popcorn and slurp soda, cackling joyfully throughout the 91-minute film — even though he'd already seen portions of it during his solo trip out.
Ricky's mother, Sherrie Williams, obviously relieved to have him back, barely let the boy out of her sight all day.
And the AWOL tyke nodded shamefacedly when his mother asked, "So you're not going to go anywhere without Mommy anymore, right?"
The wandering whippersnapper frightened his family and amazed investigators Wednesday when he slipped out of his Springfield Gardens home — wearing a suit jacket, no less — took the Q5 bus 31/2 miles to Jamaica and slipped into the theater by tagging along with another family.
Theater staff notified police after the mystified mother of that family told them the boy didn't belong to her. ............................
He said he'd installed a new lock on the front door — high above the reach of a 3-year-old — and another on the rear door.
I was wondering why the guys and gals and muffin stumps over at NRO's The Corner were flagging down motorists and accosting strangers to drag them into attending NRO's "Atlantafest."
This gala evening with the conservative no-stars costs $500!
No wonder they're worried about empty tables and waiters standing around with nothing to do.
Today, in an effort to whip up enthusiasm (only to churn dead air), K'Lo listed some cool reasons why You'd want to sup among the gods.
Such as (actual example), "You want to drink Jonah under the table."
Is it really responsible of the National Review, which once subscribed to Irving Babbitt's notion of the "inner check," to encourage the sort of Viking binge drinking that triggered such moral alarm among readers of Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons?
Only a few weeks ago, conservatives were mocking the boozehound exploits of the late Hunter Thompson as evidence of a desolate soul and psyche, and now they're encouraging fans to drink themselves insensible as Jonah paws the linoleum under the card table, puking up his dignity and leaving a dimpled pool for the staff to mop up later.
I hope the NRO crew are prepared for what will greet them once they deboard from the chartered Peter Pan bus with the special pinochle table in the rear. They should be made aware that there are a lot of black people in Atlanta. A lot. To those used to seeing a J. C. Watts or an Armstrong Williams sticking out like a chocolate chip in a vanilla cookie, this may come as a cultural shock. There is no reason for them to feel threatened or besieged, but if anxiety gets the better of them they can clump together in a protective scrum and move like a plump centipede from the Boss Hogg motel to the Carson McCullers Memorial Sad Cafe, where the fest is being held.
I look forward to the digital pix from "Atlantafest" that they'll no doubt post on the site next week showing Jonah and Derb with their arms flung around two Hooters waitresses who are doing their best to bury their shame and smile
They had to mock Thompson, he was more man than any of them. But then so are most women.
Atlantans are nice people, but I think Jonah better play down the Goldberg part with that crew. I think some of those folks are more likely to have issues with him or ask when he will accept Jesus Christ in his life.
Schedule of events:
Saturday 8 AM: Wench Breeding. Come and get a comely negro wench to satiate your needs
8:10 AM Finish negro wench, have her prepare your clothes for breakfast
9 AM: Breakfast: grits and gravy, eggs, sausages, bacon, the circumsized penises of bulls
10 AM-12 AM: Containing the Jewish Hollywood threat
12 Noon: Lunch: Fried Chicken, watermelon, ice tea, served by the Dancing Minstrels who will perform after the meal.
1:30-3 PM: Making the most of your mexican slaves: A Wal Mart-sponsored talk.
3-4 PM: Abortion clincs and car bombs: bringing new technology to the culture of life
4-5 PM: Michael Schiavo: deranged killer, wife-beating sadist
5-7PM: Activist judges and the Barrett .50 rifle: together at last
8:30-Midnight: An old fashioned southern ball, where the glories of the Confederacy are recounted
Sunday 8 AM: Wench breeding
8:15 AM: Have satisified wench prepare clothes for breakfast
9 AM: Breakfast. Waffles, sauasages, eggs, and rocky mountain oysters.
10 AM: Devotional service. All non-Christians are given the chance to convert
11 AM: Slavery: Not as the bad as the liberal left says it was
12 Noon: Lunch catfish, hush puppies, pulled pork, cornbread, served by black Confederate reenactors
1-3 PM: Affirmative action: curtailing opportunies for whites
3-5 PM: Confederate reenactors stage the Battle of Ft. Pillow
5-6 PM: Deroy and Jonah run for their lives in the dual recreations of the Emmitt Till and Leo Frank lynchings.
Son, when you see a warblogger, get the legs first, they may have a little shit running down them, but since they won't fight back, you have to stop them from running, that's the key, stop the cowards from running, then eat
Charles Johnson, Marc Danziger and I have been sneaking around over the last few months, trying to turn blogs into a business. We have enlisted some others with names familiar to you with the intention of working in two areas - aggregating blogs to increase corporate advertising and creating our own professional news service.
With respect to advertising, we do not wish to go into competition with Henry Copeland's BlogAds, which we fully support. (Some of us even have them!) We are working on another model that will sell ads en masse, not blog-by-blog. We expect this model to go live within a few weeks.
As for the Blog News Service, a lot of work needs to be done and a lot of questions answered. An editorial board consisting of Glenn Reynolds, PowerLine, Lawrence Kudlow, Hugh Hewitt, Marc Cooper, Wretchard of the Belmont Club and Tim Blair, as well as the founders, is already in place with other bloggers in many countries having signed on as contributors.
This is no way meant to be exclusive. We invite you all to join us. On the advertising end, any blogger -- whether political or not -- is welcome. We would be delighted to place ads on your blog and pay you for them. You may find out more and, we hope, join by simply emailing us at email@example.com.
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Yes. This would be a "news service" if by "news service" you mean a loosely confederated group of individuals who don't necessarily go out and cover events so much as read the traditional news sources about them and then they...retype it. God knows you can't find that on the internets. Of course, check out that editorial board and the advertisers are sure to come a'running
They should call this this racist bullshiters, cowards and liars service.
I'm sure they should get plenty of ads for Celebrate Diversity and kill the sand niggers T-shirts. Assrocket and friends are idiots of the first order and Simon cowers at the sight of a Pakistani school girl. The shit runs down his legs when he goes to Westwood.
And in other words, they want to do what Kos and Atrios have already done. They might start writing true things and going from there. But that's too hard. So they have to lie.
Editorial board my as, more like a Confederacy of Dunces.
In the 13 years that Sean Narayanan lived in the US, he earned a masters degree from Oklahoma University, worked with a top consulting firm and served at senior positions in technology companies.
Three years ago, he sold off his 3,800 sq ft plush house in Virginia and returned to India.
"India today offers the best of both worlds," Mr Narayanan says.
"Global experience seems essential in the infotech industry and there's no better place than India to get it."
He now works as a major division head at Cognizant, a Nasdaq-listed infotech services provider.
Santanu Paul is another Indian who spent 13 years in the US, obtaining a doctorate in computer science from Michigan University, working with IBM in New York and leading two technology start-up companies.
Infosys Firms like Infosys have been enjoying huge profits
In 2003, he decided to return to India to become the general manager at a Hyderabad-based software services firm.
"Right now, India feels like an exciting start-up company, while the West feels like a plodding large company," says Dr Paul.
Less than a decade ago, people like Mr Narayanan and Dr Paul would have been rare exceptions in a generation that fancied the West as the land of opportunity.
Today, they are among the over 25,000 expatriate Indian infotech professionals estimated to have returned home in the last four years.
That figure comes from the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the premier trade body of India's booming infotech industry.
Around 40% of these professionals are believed to have returned last year alone.
They got what they needed, experience in America.
The fact is simple, though, American racism will prevent them from becoming CEO's and major division heads. So they go back home and take what they have earned. When I studied who ran tech companies in the 1990's, you had Asian run companies and white run companies, but few companies where Asians were senior and whites their junior, much less promoted over whites to run companies.
To anyone out there with an old student loan that you have "neglected" to pay, the federal government has three words for you: Start paying now.
The case of James Lockhart, which has made its way up to the Supreme Court and will be decided sometime during the coming term, should serve as a warning to all you student- loan deadbeats.
The court will decide if the government can legally deduct from Social Security checks debts owed on student loans more than 10 years in default. I hope the court will say, "Yes, it can."
Lockhart, a Washington State man in his late 60s, took out nine guaranteed student loans to attend four institutions of higher learning between 1984 and 1990. He had become unemployed in 1981 and never worked for more than a few months after that. He also never paid back his loans.
Guaranteed student loans are made by private lenders and are guaranteed by the federal government if the student defaults. They're the means by which millions of students finance their college and graduate-school education.
The government paid off Lockhart's loans, and in 2002 Lockhart, who by then was suffering from a heart condition and diabetes and collecting a monthly disability check, was told the government would start deducting a portion of his monthly check to pay back the more than $80,000 he owed.
The deductions continued when he became eligible for Social Security retirement, coming to $143 out of his $874 monthly check. Lockhart went to court, claiming he needed the money to pay his medical and living expenses, and that the statute of limitations on his debt had already run.
Two lower courts have ruled against him, but there seems to be a discrepancy between a federal law that says Education Department officials should aggressively pursue defaulters by garnishing their wages and other sources of income, and another law that says the government can't dun Social Security benefits to repay debts more than 10 years old.
................. Having paid off many thousands of dollars in student loans myself, I'm annoyed by those who drink generously from the well but then duck out on the government's request to pay back the money. If somebody lends you the money for something as beneficial as your education - whether it's a private donor or the government through the taxpayers - you have a moral obligation to repay it.
Most people take out student loans when they're young, so they have plenty of time to pay them off before old age and infirmity set in. But even if you're a late bloomer, you shouldn't be allowed to walk away from your obligations. James Lockhart should get a part-time job.
What got up her ass today? This is crazy.
OK, so the guy is a bit of a deadbeat, but her cruelty here is amazing. I mean stunning. It's not easy to get disability and taking money from it is downright cruel if nothing else. But her suggestion: get a part-time job, beggars description. She's not wingnut, but this is just wrong. This man CANNOT WORK. He has a heart condition and diabetes, what the fuck is he supposed to do for a living? Drop dead?
My God, there are plenty of working, well off people who don't pay off loans, go after them. But this kind of stuinning advocacy of cruelty is amazing.
You would think she was cheated out of an education.
This woman has a job which pays quite well and an education. Yet, she cheers on taking money from a chronically ill man. Is this society so cruel that this kind of meanspiritedness is now acceptable in a liberal newspaper? How would she like to live on $731 a month? Man, this kind of just intense meanness seems to be all the rage these days.
It's not that he's right, but he certainly didn't make himself sick, did he? He could be a complete loser screwball for all I know, but it is unseemly for a well-off, educated woman cheering on the seizure of a SSI check.
Students have been protesting round-the-clock outside the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University, denouncing the "Nuclear Option" being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Class of 1974. Yes, it's that Frist's campus center...
The protest started at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, and it will continue as long as students, faculty, and members of the community step forward to protest one-party rule (we're booked solid through Saturday). Speakers are going all night - despite rain, drunken heckling, and attempts by campus security and Princeton borough police to shut down the protest. We've been gathering outside the Frist Campus Center, a building funded by a $25 million donation from Bill Frist and his family.
Students and a few faculty members have read from biographies of the judicial nominees, poetry, the Constitution, Monty Python, the Declaration of Independence, Princeton's "Rights Rules and Responsibilities" policy, the Princeton University student phonebook, articles and editorials on "Justice Sunday," Wendell Berry essays, and children's books. We've also enjoyed some lighter moments of ad-libbing.
The protest has been shown on CNN's "Inside the Blogs" feature, written up in the AP News Wire, covered by Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, and discussed on the nationally syndicated Thom Hartmann radio program. We've been live-blogging at the Princeton Progressive Review, and we've jury-rigged a webcam with a live video stream of the protest.
Bush's Social Security Theft Plan relies on one thing, selfishness.
He simply cannot conceive of the idea that grandparents might want their grandchildren to be secure. Only those out for themselves, with no thought of their family, would think his plan is a good idea. His repeated statements "your checks will be protected" raises one question for many people: what about my children and grandchildren? Do they get a secure future?
Bush cannot answer that. And that is why his plan is failing. The elderly know they will get their checks, the problem for Bush is that the believe his plan will deny that to their heirs.
By Caryle Murphy and Fred Barbash Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, April 28, 2005; 10:03 AM
BAGHDAD, April 28 -- Iraq's National Assembly approved a list of cabinet appointees Thursday, giving life to the country's new government after almost three months of negotiations.
Rather than prolong the paralysis that had held up the process of forming a government since the Jan. 20 elections, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari submitted a cabinet list that included five acting ministers along with 27 ministers.
Despite the approval Thursday, Sunni politicians remained deeply dissatisfied with the makeup of the government.
The assembly vote, by a show of hands, ratified the choices worked out by Jafari and political leaders representing Iraq's main religious and ethnic interest groups in a delicate balancing act complicated by a dispute about the role, if any, of politicians formerly associated with Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath Party.
The Cabinet was approved by 180 lawmakers out of the 185 present in the 275-member parliament, Speaker Hajim Hassani announced to applause.
Jafari, a Shiite, will be acting defense minister, a position that was supposed to go to a Sunni Arab. Ahmed Chalabi, a secular Shiite leader and onetime favorite of the Pentagon, will be one of four deputy prime ministers and acting oil minister.
As soon as the assembly approved the new cabinet, however, leaders of the Sunni Arab community issued complaints about how the new government had been chosen.
Though Sunni Arabs boycotted January's landmark elections, the Shiites and Kurds were keen to have them participate in the government in the hope that this would help defuse the Sunni-led insurgency.
"It was very disappointing for us that most of our candidates has been sent back," said Iraqi vice president Sheikh Ghazi Yawar, who had been negotiating for the Sunni Arab community with Jafari's predominantly Shiite Muslim political coalition.
He said that contrary to what the Shiites alleged, none of the Sunni candidates had ties to the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein. The Sunni candidates, he added, "are all non-Baathist."
For example, Yawar said, Sadoun Al Dulame, who was rejected by the Shiites for minister of defense, is a sociologist who left Iraq. He was sentenced to death by Hussein, and worked closely with U.S. officials in 2003 on planning post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID The Associated Press Thursday, April 28, 2005; 11:13 PM
WASHINGTON -- The ivory-billed woodpecker, once prized for its plumage and sought by American Indians as magical, was thought to be extinct for years. Now it's been sighted again and conservationists are exulting.
The striking bird, last seen in 1944, has been rediscovered in the Big Woods area of Arkansas, scientists and conservationists reported Thursday.
This artist rendering provided by the journal Science shows the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct, that has reportedly been sighted in eastern Arkansas, a Cornell University researcher says in a paper released Thursday, April 28, 2005. John W. Fitzpatrick of Cornell University said there have been several independent sightings of a bird that appears to be an ivory-billed woodpecker. (AP Photo/Science) This artist rendering provided by the journal Science shows the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct, that has reportedly been sighted in eastern Arkansas, a Cornell University researcher says in a paper released Thursday, April 28, 2005. John W. Fitzpatrick of Cornell University said there have been several independent sightings of a bird that appears to be an ivory-billed woodpecker. (AP Photo/Science) (AP)
"This is thrilling beyond words ... after 60 years of fading hope that we would ever see this spectacular bird again," John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, said at a news conference.
Since early 2004 there have been several independent sightings, including one caught on videotape, of one or more of the birds, Fitzpatrick said.
That video of the bird's 3-foot wingspan and distinctive black-and-white markings confirmed the presence of the creature that seemed to have vanished after logging destroyed its habitat.
The discovery of living examples of an animal believed to be extinct is rare, said Tess Present, director of science at the National Audubon Society. "Wow," she said. "This is tremendous."
Interior Secretary Gale Norton said, "Second chances to save wildlife once thought to be extinct are rare. ... We will take advantage of this opportunity."
To make the president Ivory beaked Woodpecker stew.
Aside from the lion factor, the trial shows an ugly side to South Africa
The conviction of two South Africans for throwing a black man into a lion enclosure is a reminder of the deep-rooted racial antagonisms that remain in South Africa's rural areas, BBC News's Justin Pearce reports from Johannesburg.
South Africa has just celebrated the 11th anniversary of democratic rule under a human rights-based constitution.
Yet on Thursday, a white man and his black employee were convicted for feeding a former black employee to lions.
Outsiders could be forgiven for wondering what happened to the "rainbow people" vision expressed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the end of the apartheid era.
In fact, what limited racial integration has happened in South Africa has been confined to the cities.
If anything, racial tensions in the countryside have increased since the end of white minority rule.
Under apartheid, black people dispossessed of their land had little option but to work for white landowners who could hire and fire employees at will.
Police were at the service of the white farmers, helped by the "commandos", civil defence units manned by the farmers themselves.
The landowners also controlled access to housing, in a system that bore many of the characteristics of feudalism.
On the one hand, this system has been slow to change; on the other hand, those changes that have taken place have been regarded with deep suspicion by whites who are keenly aware of the large-scale expropriation of land from white farmers in Zimbabwe.
South African land reform legislation, allowing black people to reclaim land from which they or their ancestors were dispossessed, has added to white fears; at the same time, the slow implementation of these laws has deepened black frustration.
At the same time, attacks against white landowners have become more frequent.
This sounds familiar to me: Reconstruction, anyone?
The American people have a bad habit of seeing all enemies as the next Hitler, the one man to stop, and with Al Qaeda, that is the wrong way to approach them.
Of course, the only discussion of terrorism in America is on JAG and 24, discussion as in thinking about the subject, as opposed to mouthing platitudes about the subject. Now people are pissed that Maggie Gyllenhaal actually had the nerve to suggest that the US might have actually enraged people with their policies.
The never blame America crowd, the people who endorse torture and murder, don't make the connection. They get up on their high horse and say "I love "Merika, we ain't do nothin'", while the rest of the world is indifferent to our very real struggle with people who want to,if not destroy this country, kill a bunch of Americans to make their point.
You cannot piss on your neighbor's lawn without people noticing. How many dictatorships have we propped up, how many AQ recruits did that create? More than one.
And when someone says anything which suggests this, they get shat on. Why? Because American exceptionalism is the thing that must be protected above all else. We can't be guilty of anything, so the people against us are just crazy terrorists.
And the understanding of these people is well, retarded by politics. Serious adults use the words "islamofascist" like the word means anything. It makes people like the always drunk Chris Hitchens feel like a man, like his naval officer daddy did on the bridge of a ship. But he didn't risk being sunk or seasickness or anything else remotely dangerous. He uses this word which not only sounds stupid, but makes no sense. Makes the user sounds as brave as jack lighting deer poachers but means nothing.
Osama Bin Laden is not a fascist. He is not seeking to dominate the world. Attaching islam to it makes no sense. WHy? Because that isn't what they're about.
Osama and friends are Islamic revivalists. Which means that they want to return to the 13th Century and the days of the Caliphate. This is not a new movement, but a repeated challenge to state power for at least 200 years, but it is utopian in nature. It has a history predating fascism and little in common with it. It is just a cheap way for chickenhawks to feel they are engaged in some new struggle.
And then, out of fear and political expediency, we conflated the threat of Al Qaeda and refused to deal with it's taliban allies seriously.
Afghanistan was used as the testbed of Donald Rumsfeld's theories of war. Which worked against the hillbillies who then went back into the hills and stayed there. Then they declared victory. Afghanistan was going to show how powerful the US was, and then every few months, we get a video from Osama and friends. Because Rumsfeld found out, at the cost of hundreds of Americans and the security of this country, his ideas on transformational warfare were seriously wrong. As much as I respect Special Forces, they are men, not supermen and there are limits as to what they can do. To think a few A teams can run around a country and win a war is insane.
Instead of investing the two to three divisions of paratroops and light infantry we needed there, they're now patrolling Iraq and losing. No matter what happens in Iraq, we will be in Afghanistan for years to come.
The fact that Bush and the GOP has shamelessly used Al Qaeda to get reelected has obscured the real threat from Al Qaeda.
First, AQ is not some vast network of millions of angry Arabs. Osama is the religious Che. People use his image as a way to stick it to the man. His image basically says fuck the state. While there are hard core supporters of Osama, the reality is that AQ is the new Bader-Meinhoff gang or the Japanese Red Army, disaffected graduate students who are pissed that they do not rule the world.
The 19 men who attacked the twin towers were middle class Saudis and Egyptians, people who could have had good lives in their countries or the west, but they were so pissed, that they decided to use violence to create their utopia. Why? Becuase it was a lot more fun to play terrorist than work for a living. There are thousands in their ranks, but the few people who are dangerous are able to hide in the masses of the disaffected. And since we have mangled our relations with the Arab world so seriously, AQ membership is a status symbol, like being a Black Panther.
Second, they are showboats.
If they had decided to set up 20 car and suicide bombs in Manhattan, instead of the WTC attacks, they could have shut the city down. But car bombs aren't flashy, and they want the world to notice them. Attacking the WTC was serious, but they had no capacity for follow on, and like graduate students, they hunt for the best theoretical solution and not the simple one. They can do one big attack every year or so, but a campaign of terror is beyond their grasp so far. Which is why the concentration on chemical and bioweapons is so rendolent of people who are still wedded to school solutions.
The resistance in Iraq is much more direct, they load up cars with RDX and blow people up.
But that isn't what Al Qaeda is interested in.
Osama Bin Laden has one goal and it isn't the destruction of the United States. It is to replace the Saud family with the Bin Laden family in running Saudi Arabia. No matter how much he cloaks his intentions in religion, his real goal is power. Osama is like so many rich dillitants who tire of a life of rent girls and casinos, and gets attached to a cauise. The life he should have lead would have made him a rich sybarite, with European mistresses and fat bank accounts. But with that life, he would have to obey the Sauds, and coming from the second family of Saudi Arabia, he wondered why it wasn't the first.
His plan to overthrow the Sauds comes through the US. If he can weaken the US, then the Sauds have no place to turn. And given the complete corruption of that family, AQ gains in Saudi Arabia have been profound.
And of course, Bush has inflated then ignored Osama as it served his purposes. He wanted to overthrow Saddam for any number of reasons, none of which had anything even remotely related to the security of the United States, but when time for the switch came, he told the American people and the Congress that Saddam was the real mastermind behind 9/11. A story only wingnut crackpots believed, but a lie which served their purposes all too well. The only problem was that Iraq was the best thing that ever happened to Saddam Osama. Not only is it a live fire training ground for the motivated, it has trapped a large proportion of the US Army in Iraq. Every soldier patrolling Tikrit is one not patrolling the Hindu Kush. Osama couldn't be happier with this turn of events. Not only are US troops occuiped in a soul-killing, machine-destroying war, one which is shrinking the pool of potential recruits, he has 150,000 targets.
While the warmongers like to talk about the flypaper theory as if there are a finite number of terrorists, the reality is that it's more compost heap than flypaper. Iraq is training a new generation of hard core terrorists, nuturing and educating them. While the US has tried to pretend that there have been thousands of foriegn nationals flocking there, the reality is that the group is much smaller, but that much more dedicated.
And of course, while we are dying in Iraq, AQ grows stronger in Saudi Arabia. How many attacks have there been since 2003? 10, 20? All suicidal, but scary all the same. Before Iraq, this was rare, now, with the battleground of Iraq a handy training ground, Saudi Arabia can have any number of terrorists ready to kill Saudis after a few months of killing Americans.
The only way to protect the American people is to have Muslims realize that Revivalists will harm them more than help them. The racism of American policy shines through. We want freedom in Lebanon, but don't care if Egypt ever has free elections. We talk about elections in Iraq, but never say a word about the disnefranchisement of Saudi women. Arabs are not stupid, they are not blind. They see the hypocrisy and the lies and the abuse of the Palestinians and they treat our words as lies. American policy under Bush has hindered our war on terror not enhanced it.
The one greatest thing we could do to enhance our standing within the Arab world would be to ensure justice and stability for the Palestinians. This is the signature issue in the Arab world. They don't care about the farce of the Iraqi parliment or Lebanon. They care about Palestine and as long as Israel tries to deal with the Palestinians as subjects and not equals, AQ will always have a cause to rally around.
But something important has happened since President Bush's inauguration. America's moderates may not be screaming, but they're in revolt. Many who reluctantly supported the president and the Republicans in 2004 are turning away. The party's agenda on Social Security, judges and the Terri Schiavo case is out of touch with where moderate voters stand. Worse for Bush and his party, most moderates have a practical, problem-solving view of government and think these issues are far less important than shoring up a shaky economy and improving living standards.
The moderates have rebelled before. This period in American politics is beginning to take on the contours of the years leading up to the 1992 election. That's when Ross Perot led an uprising of the angry middle and Bill Clinton waged war on the "brain-dead politics of both parties." Bush's decision to read the 2004 election as a broad mandate for whatever policies he chose to put forward now looks like a major mistake. In fact, Bush won narrowly in 2004, and he won almost entirely because just enough middle-of-the-road voters decided they trusted him more than they did John Kerry to deal with terrorism.
The latest poll to bring home this message was released late last week by the Democracy Corps, a Democratic consortium led by pollster Stan Greenberg and consultant James Carville. Greenberg and Carville are not triumphalist. They are careful to note that "Democrats are not yet integral to the narrative" of American politics and that the decline in the Republicans' public image "is not accompanied by image gains for the Democrats." Democrats still have a lot of work to do.
But one finding deserves more attention than it has received: The "biggest drops" in the Republicans' standing, the pollsters noted, "have come from people who do not identify with a party," with "those who describe themselves as ideologically moderate" and with "mainline Protestants," that is, Protestants outside the ranks of the evangelical and fundamentalist churches. These are classic middle-of-the-road groups.
In light of the revolt of the center, Senate Republican leader Bill Frist sent exactly the wrong signal at the worst possible time by speaking over the weekend to a group of Christian conservatives who see Senate filibusters of judicial nominees as blocking "people of faith" from the courts. The fight over judges is, for pragmatic voters, a distraction from issues that matter. And moderates are uneasy with the pressure some Republicans have sought to bring on judges by way of moving court decisions in a conservative direction. The president, in the meantime, cannot seem to persuade middle-of-the-road Americans that Social Security needs far-reaching changes -- or even that Social Security's troubles constitute one of the most important problems facing the country.
All this, in turn, explains why Republican charges that Democrats are "obstructionist" have not worked. As long as moderate voters believe that Democrats are blocking measures that are immoderate, middle-of-the-roaders will welcome, or at least tolerate, a fair bit of obstruction.
That's why we may soon see a shift in the GOP's approach: Shrewd Republican strategists aren't saying much publicly, but they are seeing some of the same things that Greenberg and Carville are seeing. And those smart Republicans are very worried.
The GOP radically overplayed their hand with the fundies. The Schiavo thing blew up on them and now they are trying to recover and it is just digging them deeper in the hole. When a US Senator called James Dobson the antichrist, and then modifies it to anti-Christian, someone is not living in fear of them.
These people make the sane nervous, with their end time babbling and attacks on contraceptives and the like.
I'm writing this entry with a great deal of sadness, mixed with anger. Whenever I hear of an individual or a group of individuals engaging in bigoted behavior because of race, or gender, or age, or religious or national origin, usually I want to dismiss it as the behavior of someone who's generally ignorant.
Today, I can no longer do that.
No one should be bigoted, or wishing to engage in discriminatory acts against ANYONE. Yet, they do, and it is not only hurtful for the party to whom that ignorance is directed, but also for the party engaging in it. This morning, I awoke to hear on the radio that a gay bar in San Francisco, the "SF-Badlands" have been engaging in bigoted practices against African-American patrons and African-American applicants. A GAY bar. Who would have thought it, in the 21st Century?
I'm saddened because at this point in time, gays and lesbians are targeted by religious whackjobs who have taken it upon themselves in trying to help God out, when the reality is, God can handle His business, just fine. I'm angry because I know if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be defending a gay or lesbian's right to live their lives the way they want, work where they want; in other words, the civil liberties and freedoms that I enjoy and that my ancestors fought and died for.
So I am puzzled by the fact that the homosexual community, usually a blantant target for bigots everywhere, have a few bad apples engaging in the same destructive behavior that makes them no better than any bigoted person of color.
In a time where the government is considering everyone who's not white, heterosexual males, fair game and open season on bigotry and hate, I am speaking out, now, because the price of bigotry is too high a price for mankind to pay.
I am a Christian, and I'm aware of what the Bible says about homosexuality. Yet, I'm also aware that because of the history of my people; the trials, the struggles, the outright racial wars, I cannot afford to allow myself to be engulfed by hatred of someone else because they don't look like or act like me. The beauty of human creation is that with our differences, with our uniquenesses, we give this world a vibrancy and colorfulness that it would not otherwise have if we all looked like, or acted the same. Therefore, as a Christian, I'm required to treat anyone I encounter with the dignity, honor and respect that they are deserving of.
It does not matter if you are gay or straight, person of color, or caucasian; I have an obligation to treat you with dignity, honor and respect. I have no opinion of the homosexual and the life they choose to lead. But I will fight to defend your right to have it.
My Christian friends say I'm a fool and that I'm not doing God's will. I don't think God's will includes beating the hell out of someone, or denying them jobs and the choice to live their lives however they want, because WE don't agree with it. This is the same treatment we were subjected to as African-Americans; denied the right to live where we wanted and with whom; where to send our children to school, where to work, whom to marry. Our heritage and culture were methodically stripped from our ancestors as slaves for over 400 years.
Asian-Americans, especially those of Japanese descent - many of you were born in America, yet during World War II, your family was stripped of your businesses, your property, your jobs - all because the Government thought you would become sympathetic to Japan and help them out in the war effort.
Latinos and Native Americans - most of America was your land. Some of your ancestors fought, bled and died to keep it from being stripped from you, not to mention your heritage and your culture.
Women - until 1920, you were considered your husband's property. You couldn't say jack about what to do and when to do it. You didn't even have a say about who got to go to Elected office until a mere 85 years ago. Your men stood on your back and elevated himself to position of prestiege, honor and glory, while knowing damned well he couldn't have achieved his accomplishments without YOU.
I may not always agree with you, but I will always defend your right to your opinion, your beliefs, your values, your principles. The bottom line is, those of us who have been subjected to bigoted remarks or behavior, discrimination or hate crimes - we cannot afford to repay hate with more hate. It is too costly.
All of us are the group that Should Not be Bigoted.
The Microsoft Corporation, under sustained fire from gay rights activists, employees, bloggers, and the national media after The Stranger reported last week that the company had withdrawn its support for a state gay rights bill under pressure from a Christian pastor, is disputing fresh claims by the minister that the company shifted its position on the bill in response to his demands.
The Stranger informed the company late Monday afternoon, April 25, that the minister at the center of the controversy, Dr. Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, had provided the paper with his recollections of two conversations with Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bradford L. Smith during an hour-long interview at the church office that afternoon.
Over the course of the interview, Hutcherson sharply contradicted the company’s public stance in recent days that it had decided to take a neutral stance on the bill prior to meeting with him.
Microsoft, however, continues to stress that this was the case. On Tuesday, April 26, Smith, who is traveling in Europe on company business, contacted The Stranger to offer his own account of what took place. He restated the company’s contention that Microsoft had taken a neutral stand on the bill before ever meeting with the minister, and said that the bulk of the meeting was devoted to clearing up confusion about whether the company officially backed the bill. Smith reiterated that Microsoft had not supported the bill this year, and said the decision to remain neutral on the bill was made last December, well before his initial meeting with the pastor.
“They’re lying,” Hutcherson said flatly when asked about Microsoft’s assertion that its position on the bill was not revised because of the pressure he brought to bear on the company. Hutcherson asserted that the company withdrew its support only after he threatened to organize a national boycott of Microsoft products.
Hutcherson expressed disappointment with Ballmer’s statement—“Steve Ballmer, I believe, is a liar”—and said in no uncertain terms that Microsoft was not being forthright about the substance of the conversations company executives had with him, and about the timing of the company’s decision. “The company lied, and ‘the Black Man’ is not going to lie down and say ‘okay,’” he said, referencing his nickname around the church office. He added, “Evidently they don’t know that I won’t keep my mouth shut about unrighteousness.”
Hutcherson said that he asked for a meeting with Microsoft after becoming upset that two company employees had testified in favor of the bill on February 1. He first met with Smith and three other lower-ranking executives on February 23.
At that meeting, Smith made it clear to the pastor that the company supported the bill, Hutcherson said. Smith told him, he said, that the company had recently been asked by GLEAM, the gay and lesbian employees group at Microsoft, to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, but the company had said no. Smith went on to say that Microsoft did support the anti-discrimination legislation, and he described it as a “civil rights issue”—a red flag for Hutcherson, who is African American—Hutcherson said. The pastor recalled asking Smith a question: “You won’t stand up for two men or two women getting married, but you will put your power behind a guy who wants to dress up in a dress and come to work?”
Smith replied, according to Hutcherson’s recollection, “That’s our policy. We thought this is a good bill to stand behind.” Hutcherson then said he told Smith he would organize a national boycott of the company if it did not withdraw its support for the bill. “You’re not going to like me in your world. I am going to give you something to fear Christians about,” he said he told Smith. “I told him, ‘You have a week,’” to decide, Hutcherson said.
Hutcherson acknowledged that he had suggested that if he were in charge at Microsoft, he would have fired the employees, not for their testimony, but for misrepresenting the company. When Smith told him, at their second meeting in mid-March, that the employees would not be fired, Hutcherson emphasized that he said he told Smith he was fine with that decision, and thought firing them would have been too harsh a punishment. .......................
“He told me that he thought that we should fire the employees,” Smith said. He added, “It didn’t strike me as a situation where it was appropriate to fire people.” He did agree with Hutcherson that the testimony “created the impression that the company was supporting a bill when the company wasn’t involved,” he said, adding, “In my mind, that was what the meeting was about.” Smith also added that Hutcherson had requested that the company issue a letter stating that it was neutral on the bill, or that the bill was unnecessary, but that he declined.
When Smith met with Hutcherson a second time in March, he told the minister that he would not fire the employees, and said he had realized Microsoft need to “tighten up” its government-affairs processes. He told Hutcherson that he had asked the two employees to write a letter to the chair of the House committee that heard their testimony in favor of the bill in which they clarified that they had spoken there as individuals.
.................... Hutcherson said he did not hear back from Smith within a week. He offered a “shot across the bow” by talking about Microsoft’s support for the bill in his church and on the KTTH 770 radio show that he hosts. Some Microsoft employees who worship at his church contacted Smith to let him know that the pastor was being serious, Hutcherson said. He said that eventually Smith agreed to meet with him again sometime in mid-March.
........................ Now Hutcherson is upset with Microsoft, saying company executives are not returning his calls and are trying to back away from their meetings with him. “I’ve called them so many times, more times than Van Camp’s has got pork and beans,” he said. “I want to get Brad [Smith], Steve [Ballmer], and [Bill] Gates to sit down in a room with me so we can get this cleared up real quick.”
Asked if he regrets meeting with Hutcherson, Smith was circumspect. “I think it’s unfortunate the way this whole issue has evolved,” he said. He offered a strong endorsement of the company’s heavy emphasis on diversity. “I regret the company is being depicted by some as a company not committed to those principles.”
Now this is clear as a bell.
First of all, I know why Microsoft dealt so delicately with him. Because he was black. Microsoft has tried very hard to work with black groups to increase computer use, making alliances with Tom Joyner and Tavis Smiley. So when he came stomping in, they were very sensitive to his concerns. But then , like white people, they missed one major fucking point: Hutcherson IS BLACK. Any call for a boycott would have exposed him to widespread ridicule in the black community for being a Republican tool. If their governmental affairs people had more blacks in it, they would have shut his ass down within days. Other Seattle-area pastors could have been rallied to support the company. Because any pastor so worried about gay marriage is a wingnut.
Maybe some white churches would have gone along, but given the endemic racism of most of them, they would have either ignored him or tried to bigfoot him.
The idea that people take him seriously is well, ridiculous. He's a black minister in Seattle. Which isn't exactly the heart of black culture in America. Come on. I get why MS was trying to deal with him, but the smart move would have been to dare him to call his boycott and send an Apple store rep to meet with him. Because this man has no power to organize shit. He may be a big deal in Seattle, but that doesn't carry much weight anywhere outside of Puget Sound. I think they were fooled into thinking this guy had much more juice than he did.
Now, MS is handling him right, ignoring him. They don't need to straighten shit out with him. They need to ignore him, and get some pastors on their side, which should be as easy as funding some computer rooms in their churches.
I understand why gays flipped out, and helped that process along. But if I had known the good reverend was black, I would have had a different response. Because I would have realized that his threat had no teeth. Give black people a choice of computers or homophobia, they're gonna choose computers every time. If he had dared to organize a national boycott, the black media would have ridiculed him as an idiot. He would have been hammered on shows like Tom Joyner for his idiocy. Wasting time on such a tangential issue would have been seen as playing into the hands of the GOP. Instead of causing Microsoft pain, it might have split his church instead.
The only reason they even listened to this crackpot was because he was black. Now, they realize his mega church is just a church and gays can cause them infinitely more pain.
I mentioned Focus for the Fuhrer once and now I get their e-mail.
Focus Says Salazar's 'Antichrist' Comments a Smokescreen
Senator is using "overheated rhetoric" to divert attention from his record, ministry says
Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Focus on the Family today dismissed as "overheated rhetoric" and "suspect theology" comments from U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar that the ministry is the "antichrist of the world."
Salazar, a first-term Democrat from Colorado, made the comments during a Tuesday interview with a Colorado Springs television station, in a report reviewing his recent public disagreements with Focus, which has urged Coloradans to question the senator on his support of judicial filibusters.
"In my view," Salazar said of the ministry, whose 1,400 employees he represents, "they are the antichrist of the world."
Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family's vice president of government and public policy, said "this appears to be just the latest example of what is fast becoming a pattern with Sen. Salazar."
"He's using overheated rhetoric to draw attention away from his broken campaign promises," Minnery said. "He told the voters of Colorado, when he was trying to win their votes, that he supported up-or-down votes for judicial nominees; now, he's backing his party's filibusters.
Of course James Dobson is working for the devil. He certainly isn't working for God.
Marist's polls show a disaster for Ferrer, with a near total collapse of his black support.
Mayor Bloomberg rebounds against potential Democratic rivals: In a major turnabout in this year’s race for New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg outpaces all of his Democratic contenders. Mayor Bloomberg, who trailed Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer just last month, now leads him by 13 points in the race for mayor among New York City’s registered voters. Bloomberg receives the support of 51% of the city’s registered voters compared with 38% for Ferrer. Mayor Bloomberg also leads potential rivals Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Congressman Anthony Weiner, and Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
While the nmumbers don't show this outright, Field's support has solidified. What is clear is that Ferrer's statement about the Diallo murder not being a crime was been a political disaster for his campaign. While it is still early, only an apology has any chance of saving his mayoral bid.
How bad is it? An 11 point drop and the first lead that Bloomberg has had against him since the winter. Which means one thing: blacks have abandoned his campaign in large numbers.
And it is this issue, because Bloomberg's stadium plan is still unpopular.
Without question, blacks across the economic strata feel Ferrer's comments constitute an abandonment of them and their concerns. Yet, his pandering to the police will gain him no votes either. So he chose the worst possible action. How his staff could not understand how sensitive this issue is and how deeply the black community feels the police got away with murder, shows incredibly inept staffwork. What the numbers also show is some slippage in Latino support as well.
With numbers like these, people are seriously going to consider running for mayor. While Bob Kerrey passed, and is now kicking himself, others may see an opportunity.
S enate majority leader Bill Frist appeared through a telecast as a speaker at "Justice Sunday," at the invitation of the event's main sponsor, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. "Justice Sunday" was promoted as a rally to portray Democrats as being "against people of faith." Many of the speakers compared the plight of conservative Christians to the civil rights movement. But in sharing the stage with Perkins, who introduced him to the rally, Frist was associating himself with someone who has longstanding ties to racist organizations.
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.
....................... James Dobson, who founded the Family Research Council as the Washington lobbying arm of his Focus on the Family, invoked the Christian right's persecution complex. On an evening when Jews were celebrating the second night of Passover, Dobson claimed, "The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court" with the Roe v. Wade decision. On his syndicated radio show nearly two weeks earlier, on April 11, Dobson compared the "black robed men" on the Supreme Court to "the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan." By his logic, the burden of oppression had passed from religious and racial minorities to unborn children and pure-hearted heterosexuals engaged in "traditional marriage."
Bishop Harry Jackson, from Hope Christian Church in College Park, Maryland, was Justice Sunday's only black speaker. Jackson had recently unveiled his "Black Contract With America," a document that highlights wedge issues like gay marriage that would presumably pry black churchgoers away from the Democratic Party. But so far he has been disappointed. "Black churches are too concerned with justice," Jackson lamented in his speech. Nonetheless, his association with the right wing has done wonders for his personal profile. Just after Bush's second inauguration, he was among a contingent of black clergy members invited to the White House for a private meeting.
Justice Sunday also featured a token Catholic, William Donohue, who heads the nation's largest "Catholic civil rights organization," the Catholic League. In the battle to confirm far-right judicial nominees like William Pryor, who happens to be Catholic, Donohue has become a key asset for the Christian right's evangelical faction. ..............
But for all his concern with anti-Catholicism, Donohue had no qualms about sharing the stage with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler. "As an evangelical, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church," Mohler remarked during a 2000 TV interview. "It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office." Donohue, who has protested against Democrats who have made no such comments about Catholics, was silent about Mohler. In fact, the site of Justice Sunday, Highview Baptist Church, in Louisville, Kentucky, is Mohler's home church.
The same people behind this anti-gay pogrom are the same people who used to run with the Segs back in the day.
Jackson is a special kind of fool for supporting these people, "black churches are too concerned with justice". What the fuck is that? Too concerned? Shit, that's why they exist. I think that people who support his ministry are fucking morons. Because he cares more about his wallet than your children and their futures.
This crosses my mind because I was watching Dr. Phil and he had on two women. One, 44, was drinking so hard, she was coming home and passing out. The other, 17, was taking cheesecake shots.
Neither came across as sexy as they thought they were, because they were kinda cheap.
Now, I have to admit, everyone has a different answer, but for me, I have a preference for glasses and business suits. But that varies for other people.
And intelligence. I cannot abide stupid women. No matter how attractive they are.
I was just wondering how other people define this.
Because one of the sexiest movies I've ever seen was Something about Mary. Why? Because how could you not fall for a football-loving doctor who caredfor her retarded brother and watched Sportscenter every night. I don't know a guy who didn't love that movie.