Monday, October 31, 2005

Rosa Parks and Bush Announcing Alito's Nomination for the Supreme Court

I can't believe my disgust not only with Bush's nomination announcement while Rosa Parks was being honored and laid in state, but with the addition of Alito being trotted out to "pay respects".

Atrios nails it:

I think it would've been quite nice if Judge Alito had stopped by to pay respects to Rosa Parks... yesterday. The idea that they're going to parade him in front of her casket after his nomination is truly demented, especially given Alito's dissent in Bray v. Marriot Hotels which , as explained in the majority opinion:

The dissent's position would immunize an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer's belief that it had selected the "best" candidate, was the result of conscious racial bias. Thus, the issue here, is not merely whether Marriott was seeking the "best" candidate but whether a reasonable factfinder could conclude that Bray was not deemed the best because she is Black. Indeed, Title VII would be eviscerated if our analysis were to halt where the dissent suggests.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

In the 59 Million Stupid People Category:

The Washington Post reports this morning, White House Ethics, Honesty Questioned:
A majority of Americans say the indictment of senior White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby signals broader ethical problems in the Bush administration, and nearly half say the overall level of honesty and ethics in the federal government has fallen since President Bush took office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey.

The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.

In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.

The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 Americans consider the charges against Libby to be serious. A majority -- 55 percent -- said the decision of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald to bring charges against Libby was based on the facts of the case, while 30 percent said he was motivated by partisan politics.

1. Well, DUH! Clinton only had oral sex in the White House, while Bush is screwing the entire world.

2. 30 percent of the country, as well as all the Republicans in Congress, would stand up and cheer for Bush even if at his next State of the Union address he bent over, pulled down his pants and told them all, "Kiss my ass!"

Bush and his cult followers never cease to amaze me. They believe Bush is incapable of making a mistake instead of believing he is just incapable!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Record Number of Unmarried US Women Give Birth

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I think it is worth discussing. I am not an expert, have no background, and no formed opinion at this time, but it strikes me that this is an important issue for Liberals and Democrats to be addressing. This is being widely reported in papers, most but not all from one AP article, since the announcement yesterday that nearly 1.5 million babies were born to unwed mothers in the United States last year.

USA Today: Births to unmarried women hit record

Boston Globe: More unmarried women, but fewer teens, giving birth

Washington Post: Unwed Births Hit Record But Decline Among Teens

Seattle Post Intelligencer: Births to unmarried US women set record

Henry Herald: South leads nation in number of unwed mothers

Mobile Register: Alabama high in unwed mothers

From the USA Today article:
"This is not a teenage issue," says Stephanie Ventura,. a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics. "Women in their 20s are accounting for a huge percentage of these births."

The data show that 35.7% of all births were to unmarried women. Births last year to both married and unwed mothers totalled more than 4 million.

By age group, almost 55% of the births for mothers ages 20-24 were to unmarried women. For those between 25-29, almost 28% of the births were to single women.

Teenagers, who accounted for 50% of unwed births in 1970, accounted for 24% of unwed births in 2004.

Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says she's thrilled about the decline in teenage mothers, but she worries about the trend for those ages 20 and above.

"It's not going in the right direction," she says. "The right direction would be non-marital childbearing in all groups to be going down."

Instead, the numbers of unwed births has increased slightly each year since 1990. But Ventura says "a steep increase in a short period" — the last two years — "caught our attention."

There was a general trend of decline in the rate of abortions and teen pregnancies during the 90's while Clinton was President after a steady increase during the 80s and early 90s under President's Reagan and Bush I (see "US Teen Pregnancy Statistics (PDF)). It is my understanding that this trend has ceased for abortions over the last two to three years and that the teen pregnancy rates while still declining nationally have grown in Southern states.

An interesting ranking from the year 2000 of state-by-state teen pregnancy rates is the following top 10 states:

1. Nevada
2. Arizona
3. Mississippi
4. New Mexico
5. Texas
6. Florida
7. California
8. Georgia
9. North Carolina

Missouri is ranked 29th and that "liberal bastion" state of Massachusetts is ranked 40th.

As I stated in the beginning, I have no background on this issue, but it is apparent to me that this is an issue, which needs to be addressed.

[UPDATE] 2005-10-29 21:58

A problem with these articles is they tend to disparage children of cohabitting adults. Also from the USA Today article:
Solot says unmarried mothers present very different scenarios for their children, depending upon whether they are the single, professional parent-by-choice, a cohabiting couple, or a poor woman living alone.
"It's really unfair to children," says David Poponoe, a sociology professor at Rutgers University who has studied the effects of marriage and cohabitation on children. He co-directs the National Marriage Project at Rutgers.

"One thing you don't know from these data is whether the births are to lone women or to a cohabiting women," he says.

Studies have shown cohabitating relationships are less stable and about half break up within five years. But cohabiting couples are more likely to provide a healthier environment for children than a single woman alone, the experts say.

So the article only quotes "experts" with an agenda, see What's Wrong With The Work Of The National Marriage Project?

I think there is an underlying problem for the children when according to the U.S. Census Bureau half of new unwed mothers in poverty:
Half of unmarried women who gave birth in the United States in the past year lived below the poverty level, compared with 12 percent of married mothers, U.S. Census Bureau data show.

I believe there is are some long term problems that need resolution here particularly in regards to the increase of poverty and reduced access to information from sources like Planned Parenthood.

As I stated at the stated at the beginning, I'm no expert and have no background in this issue, but it would appear to present some long-term negative consequences if left unaddressed.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Steve Gilliard has made some excellent points this morning

From Steve Gilliard's The News Blog, Why a Libby indictment is crucial:
Everyone is chomping at the bit over a Rove indictment and missing the point.

Yes, everyone would like to see that turd get his comeuppance and be frogmarched out of the White House. It would make for great theater.

But after the emotional satisfaction, what we really have is a man protecting his boss. He would have smeared you if it was to protect Bush. He wasn't plotting to run Iraq, he didn't care who ran it unless it made Bush look good. Jail would suit him fine, but he's only a part of this.

Nailing Rove doesn't nail the neocons.

I. Lewis Libby, otoh, is more important. Far more.

This is not the election, this isn't about us winning, this is about national security, and while I know a lot of people want to hammer Bush through Rove, the stakes are much higher than that. Bush is well on his way to collapse, trial or no trial.
First, Libby was part of the neocon circle. He knew all of the key players, and thus, as his boss's factorum, he was representing Cheney directly. When people from Bolton's office got Plame's name, that's who it went to.
Second, if you eventually want to get to the forgeries and the lies which led us into war, the route lies through Dick Cheney and his man Scooter and not Rove and Bush. While Bush may have wanted war, he contracted the work out to Cheney, who then went to Libby, who was obssesed with the subject.

Remember, it was Cheney leaning on the CIA for positive words, it was the neocons like Wurmser and Flietz who challenged the CIA. People who worked for John Bolton. Is Karl Rove tied to these people? No. But Scooter Libby is and so is Dick Cheney.
It was the neocons who led this country into war, with their man Cheney at the helm. Bush was an eager client, but they were the sales team, And as long as they have power, this country is in danger.

Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker'' Suite

Takes on an entirely new meaning with Fitzmas!

My early morning humor gift in anticipation of the arrival of Fitzmas, may all our Fitzmas wish lists be fulfilled!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trent Lott: Old Segregationist Habits Die Hard

Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), the former Republican Senate Majority Leader and supposedly reformed segregationist, gave a prime example of the Republicans' attitude toward blacks when he said the following regarding the withdrawal of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court:

"I think the President should look across the country and find the most qualified man, woman, or minority."

Old habits die hard and it is apparently too difficult for Lott to say "the most qualified person".

Harriet Miers Withdraws Supreme Court Nomination

Question: Mr. President, do you think you made a mistake in nominating Harriet Miers?

Bush: No, it was the Senate's fault for wanting White House papers!

Memo from the Desk of Harriet Miers


Your the bestest Preznit ever!



Wednesday, October 26, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Fitzmas

'Twas the Night Before Fitzmas (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Fitzmas, when all through the White House

political operatives were stirring, even Porter Goss.

The aides were going through their papers with care,

in hopes that St. Fitzgerald would not come there.

President Bush was nestled all smug in his bed,

with visions of Jim (Beam) and Jack (Daniels) dancing in his head.

And Jenna with Vodka, and Barbara with gin,

even Laura, Condi and Harriet decided to join in.

When out at the gates there arose such a clatter,

Cheney sprang from his chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the window with much ado,

tore open the shutter, and shouted, “F--- you!”.

With the aides all running around out of their wits,

Rove knew in a moment it must be St. Fitz.

More rapid than eagles, his indictments they came,

and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Cheney! Now Libby!

Now, Bolton and Matlin!

On, Bartlett! On, Card!

On, Hadley and McClellan!

To the top of the porch!

To the top of the wall!

Now (frog) march away! March away!

March away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky

so up to the White House the indictments they flew,

with cars full of Feds, and St. Fitz too.

And then, with a twinkling, Cheney heard enter the room

the prancing and pawing of a buffoon.

As he drew in his head and was turning around,

Into the room President Bush came with a bound.

He was dressed like a soldier, just one of the troops,

and his walking was erratic he kept going in loops.

A bottle of joy he had in his hand,

and he looked like a reject from a rock’n’roll band.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up in a smirk,

and told Cheney to drink and not be a jerk.

The stump of a pot pipe he held tight in his teeth,

and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He looked for Rove and his big round belly,

When he saw Fitzgerald, his legs turned to jelly.

He was smirking and cursing, a right furious monkey,

and I laughed when I saw him, and thought of the Donkey.

A blink of his eye and a jerk of his head

soon gave me to know we had nothing to dread.

Fitz spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

and handed out the indictments, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

and giving a nod, out the door he went to the Garden of Rose.

He sprang to his car, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Fitzmas to all, and to all a good night!"

A personal thank you and apology

I want to thank people that have expressed concern regarding my recent absence.

I am sorry for being absent the past few weeks. If you missed me then accept this apology. If you didn’t miss me then apologize to me (just kidding). There are times when illness supplants all my priorities, activities and motivation, including blogging. Despite my strong desire to blog, this past month has been especially difficult and nearly impossible while experiencing vision problems and severe migraines. For now they have subsided and the hopeful prospect of Fitzmas will bring me additional comfort. I have to take reading slow and easy for while, but should be back to speed soon.