This is What Democracy Looks Like
Friday-Sunday, March 10-12, 2006
"Minds are like Parachutes, they work best when open."
A couple of years ago,
a five year old boy's mother divorced his father, moved in with her firefighter
boyfriend and her son. Not long after that, on a day when the boy was at his
father's house, the boyfriend killed his girlfriend, and then himself. The boy
went to live with the father
When the father had to go to work he usually was able to turn to family to baby-sit his son, But New Jersey's DYFUS (Division of Youth Services) would no longer allow the the boy's grandfather, a Central New Jersey police officer, the right to baby-sit his grandson because he was accused of being a pedophile.
The young, single father from my town, Sayreville, NJ, left his five year old son at home this past week, alone, so he could go to work as a warehouse manager. He locked the door and left. The boy found a five-inch barbecue lighter and started playing with it. The house went up in flames and the boy died.
On Friday, the Middlesex County (NJ) District Attorney's office decided, sad as it was, that the father should be brought up on charges. Although the DA admitted that a murder charge was not warranted, he felt that the father endangered the life of his child. He may be right, but that's not the point.
I read this account in the Newark Star-Ledger today (Saturday, March 11, 2006) in amazement. My first thought was that the "crime" of losing his child was worse than any punishment the DA could offer the criminal (in this case the boy's father). What more could "the system" do to this father than he hasn't done to himself?
I thought of a situation where, instead of this being the boy's father, it was his single mother. Would the DA bring a mother, similarly a victim of circumstances, to trial in the same situation? I honestly can't answer that, but I wonder.
What if this same thing had happened in the South Dakota near future? A mother had a child she could not support. She had no help from the state government that wouldn't allow her to get an abortion and similarly wouldn't help her support her child. With nowhere else to turn she left her child at home, alone, and the child found a barbecue lighter and lit the house on fire, killing himself. Would a South Dakota District attorney bring this mother to trial?
Then I thought of the Hispanic man in arrested in Texas for accidentally shooting his friend in a hunting accident.
And then I thought of Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney.
Cheney shot his friend (or was it an acquaintance?) in a hunting accident. he didn't rush to the hospital with his friend. He didn't "choose" to meet with police until the next say. This twice convicted drunk driver admitted to having "a beer with lunch" previously to mistaking his friend for a quail (or is that Quayle, as in Dan?).
Imagine if this boy's father had Dick Cheney's "pedigree", which includes alcoholism. What would the charges against him be then?
We are a nation of double-standards. We are trying the wrong man for the wrong crime. Let this grieving father mourn his son and get on with his sad life as best he can.
And let's place blame
where blame belongs.
To Punish a Bush
"This conduct is right in the strike zone of the concept of high crimes and misdemeanors," said Feingold, D-Wis., a three-term senator and potential presidential contender.
He said President Bush had, "openly and almost thumbing his nose at the American people," continued the NSA domestic wiretap program. [...]
[I]n a copy of the censure resolution obtained by ABC News, Feingold asserts the president, "repeatedly misled the public prior to the public disclosure of the National Security Agency surveillance program by indicating his administration was relying on court orders to wiretap suspected terrorists inside the United States."
-Posted in the Daily Kos
Bush acts as if he is above the law. If there ever was a reason to impeach, this is what the Founders had in mind. Leave it to Russ Feingold to be the only Senator with the guts to come right out and say what many of us feel.
-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane
THE LAVENDER TUBE: THE LIBERTINE
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
Everywhere one turned this week there was George W. Bush making a jackass of himself. And we aren't referring to the late-night impressionists. As if being greeted on the Subcontinent by thousands of protesters and the bombing of the embassy in Karachi isn't unpleasant enough (where *are* those folks with open arms and flowers that we've been hearing about for years?), then there were those pesky videotapes from the days before Katrina showing Mr. Bush being informed by the National Weather Service *three days in advance* that the levees might be breached in New Orleans and hearing from Michael Brown that FEMA was unprepared. Then other videotape showing the President saying how prepared the government was and that the levee breach was a total surprise.
Could it be that because Bush doesn't watch the news he thinks no one else does either?
Meanwhile, Oprah spent the week in New Orleans and Mississippi reporting with Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling on the recovery efforts. Both were pretty amazing as they uncovered how little has been done in six months. Ling, who usually reports for the Discovery Channel from the Third World, discovered mobile homes rotting in Arkansas and Mississippi and people living with no running water or electricity six months post-Katrina.
Oprah gave away houses to 65 families that she had built and paid for herself (with the help of Nate Burgos, gay interior decorator extraordinaire and lots of donations from our favorite store, Target) through her Angel Network and she chose another 100 families for her next round of house giveaways.
We find ourselves asking this question a lot: Why is it Oprah can do things that BushCo can't?
Oh right–she *cares.*
Then we saw on BBC World News that Charity Hospital–New Orleans' only hospital for the uninsured–is just a tent city now. It was destroyed in Katrina. As a consequence folks without insurance–about 50 percent of those living in New Orleans–have no medical care as the tent hospital is limited on what it can do.
Did anyone tell Bush?
Another disturbing TV moment came watching *Nightline* with Terry Moran on Mardi Gras, after the Bush/Brown/NWS tapes were revealed. Moran was in New Orleans with the group Common Ground. College students were spending more than their Mardi Gras in the city with community organizers, doing recovery effort in the Ninth Ward that the Bush Administration isn't doing. (Another Christian student group from Penn State is spending two weeks of spring beak doing the same thing.)
The tear-jerker moment came when one fresh-faced 20-year-old student said: "When I saw this, I thought if I didn't do something to help, how could I live with myself?"
If only the President had the same attitude as this young girl, New Orleans might be well on its way to recovery.
Is there a day that goes by when we aren't yearning for the frothy and frolicsome Lewinsky scandal instead of the non-stop murderous blundering of this Administration?
Meanwhile, half a world away from the devastation in New Orleans that only Oprah and college students seem able to do anything about, Bush's televised orations from India and Pakistan neatly left out the rather incredible news that BBC and other international TV outlets were touting, namely that Bush gave India a free pass on nuclear weapons.
Where exactly was the American media on this one? Out hunting quail with Dick Cheney? In the bunker? India gets to have nuclear weapons paid for by the U.S. without having to sign the non-proliferation treaty (that India is already in violation of) because India is a "democracy?" In essence they get a gift for testing nuclear weapons against all international law. Heckuva job, Bushie.
Over in Pakistan, which has no pretensions of being anything other than a military dictatorship, Bush's good buddy, military dictator Pervez Musharif–better known as "our partner in the war on terror" as Bush called him in his press conference on March 3rd–is a little miffed that Pakistan's arch-rival, India, gets given nuclear weapons by the U.S. and Pakistan doesn't. The consolation prize Bush gave his dictator buddy (perhaps Bush should talk to the Kashmiris about these two countries?) was a few billion in aid.
Pakistan might be a dictatorship but hey–Pakistan is a partner in the war on terror! Like Dubai! Americans are so, well, non-globalization minded. Sheesh!
Bush played his ubiquitous trump card for the TV cameras on March 3rd in Karachi when he intoned that it wasn't a matter of "if" Osama bin Laden would be captured, but "when."
Guess the Prez hasn't heard the news that bin Laden has been presumed to be *living in Pakistan* for the past three years. Last year ABC's Cynthia McFadden, now co-anchor of *Nightline,* interviewed Musharif and asked him point-blank if bin Laden was in Pakistan. He responded that he didn't like to think about it and that it wouldn't be politic to answer.
Like we said, heckuva job, Bushie!
We've noted before how much we *love* Craig Ferguson, who just gets more hilarious and more politically incorrect (he will *never* get his citizenship if he keeps dissing the Prez) nightly. One of his guests this week was Eric Haney, co-founder of Delta Force, one of the most macho special ops groups ever. Haney is producer of CBS's new military drama series *The Unit* which debuted on March 7th and which we highly recommend, despite its theme.
We had expected Haney to be all gung-ho on Iraq, given his status. Ferguson clearly expected that too, because when Haney referred to this "illegal war based on a lie" he–and we–sat bolt upright. Ferguson started asking a different set of questions. (Haney never did talk about his TV show.)
Haney decried the use of torture and declared that it besmirched the image of America to use it. He also asserted that torture is "always against the rules. Always."
There were a lot of other things Haney said about the war, the military and the Bush Administration, none of them touting a party line. All of which left us wondering: who *exactly* is supporting this war, then, if even the military hierarchy is in a quandary over it?
From TV politics to, well, TV politics, *Brokeback Mountain* sure is having a trickle-down effect on daytime TV.
For weeks we've been commenting on the concurrent queer storylines with Lucas on ABC's *General Hospital* and Luke on CBS's *As the World Turns.* Events are heating up on both soaps.
*GH* has been running a superb storyline, "Quarantine," about a deadly virus (hope the Bush Administration was tuning in to this one; it was the prototype for a bird flu epidemic). One of the casualties was longtime *GH* veteran Brad Maule who has played Dr. Tony Jones for nearly two decades. Tony was Lucas's father. At his death bed (an almost unbearably touching five-hankie scene), Lucas tried to tell his father about his gayness. Tony interrupted him and said he knew all about it.
Tony then proceeded to tell Lucas–fearful that his father would disown him from his deathbed–how proud he was of him for declaring his identity and not living a lie, for standing up for himself. (The scene was re-played at Tony's memorial service, as Lucas remembered receiving his father's blessing.) "I'm so proud to be your father," he told Lucas in his dying breaths.
What an imprimatur. If only all parents could be like Tony was for his son: accepting, loving, supportive. Let's play this scene over and over for parents who disown their kids. We were deeply moved.
We have also been thoroughly engaged by the *ATWT* storyline which we absolutely love. Luke has won our heart with his love for Kevin and inability to express it. But the tensions hit a crescendo on March 2nd and 3rd when Luke's stepfather, Holden, confessed to his cousin Jack that he was afraid Luke was gay. He explained about finding Luke and Kevin giving each other back-rubs and how obviously more than friendship it was. His plaint, "Luke's a good-looking kid, Jack. Where are the girls? Where are the girls?" resonated believability. Holden also revealed that he had read Luke's online diary–acknowledging that he knew it was wrong.
However, Jack's "so what" attitude didn't help Holden any. When Kevin turned up looking for Luke he tossed him off the Snyder farm and forbade him from having anything to do with Luke. The sight of police detective Jack only underscored the threat. Kevin told Luke he couldn't see him anymore, devastating the teen.
Later Luke told *his* cousin Jade in vague terms about his feelings for Kevin. Jade has been running interference with Holden about Kevin for weeks now. (She's a superb character; we usually have trouble embracing new characters who turn up as long-lost children of dead relatives on soaps, but this storyline fits perfectly. Jade–half white, half black–feels like a misfit just like Luke does. Their bonding was inevitable and works fabulously. They have tremendous gay guy, straight girl chemistry.)
Holden expressed his fears about Luke's gayness to Jade, too. Later Jade told Luke that she knew he is in love with Kevin. It's so beautiful–this friendship with Jade and Luke. She convinced him to go tell Kevin about his feelings.
"Love is love," she said simply. "He might feel exactly the way you do. But you have to tell him."
We *love* this storyline for its deep humanity, the superb acting and utter believability of the action. Holden told his son on March 3rd that he loved him no matter what. We'll see what happens when Luke reveals his sexual orientation to his parents–and when he tells Kevin how he feels.
(Let ABC and CBS know how important it is that they continue to do storylines that include real queer characters.)
Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take It Anymore?
The UAE is furious at the DIS-United States. They can and should blame 9/11 and the Bushies for the problem. Had neither of these disasters (yes, I consider Bush a disaster) hit the U.S., we never would have developed the level of paranoia we all have now. It isn't racism...it's fear...and that fear started with 9/11 (which involved 2 UAE countrymen) and has been stoked continuously by the Bushies even to the point of sending U.S. soldiers to die for it. The problem is so bad that Iran is threatening us too...because only WE are supposed to be "allowed" (according to the Bushies) to own WMD. Not that I like WMD but if we own 'em, well why wouldn't other countries do the same? And who is to say that WE would handle them any better?....
The Bushies made the deal and tried to foist it on us. They did this after several solid years of sending out waves of fear to all Americans. It's no wonder we rose up and said NO MORE! The double messages got to be too much. It's a pity the UAE is mad at us, but they have to consider OUR loss of LIFE and our loss of face too.
And what about the UAE not recognizing Israel? That's a problem too.
-Billie M. Spaight
I agree with the sentiment of this article... to a point. I don't agree that we, as a world superpower should allow Iran to have WMD's just because we have them.. Whereas I don't trust the Bushies in the least, I think our nation has the ability to only let it (whatever "it" is) get so far. I don't have the faith in the Iranian people to prevent their government from using WMD's against the world's people. I don't relish the thought of a nuclear Iran. The US has shown the ability to not use nukes, even under the leadership of two Bush administrations. -NG
NBA OR NFL?
36 have been accused of spousal abuse
7 have been arrested for fraud
19 have been accused of writing bad checks
117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 have done time for assault
71 (repeat 71) cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
21currently are defendants in lawsuits, and
84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year
Can you guess which organization this is?
Give up yet? . . . Scroll down,
It's the 535 members of the United States Congress.
The same group of Idiots that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.
-Forwarded by Jenny Hanniver
In response to "Unless you address the above issues (and more) you have no right to make a law that forces any woman to spend nine months of her life carrying a child she cannot afford to carry or take care of after its birth," Rhian writes:
When men get their noses and their politics out of the business of what goes on between a woman and her doctor when she seeks medical care, Roe won't matter. Neither will religion.
It will all be personal, and private, as it should be.
I wonder how men would react if laws were enacted, even made part of the Constitution, regarding political control of their little swimmers?
In response to "Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has been instrumental in the cover-up of virtually every national security scandal of George W. Bush’s presidency" Anonymous writes:
...and, did you notice that while everyone was watching the Dubai debacle, the Republicans in both chambers decided not even to hold hearings on the NSA surveillance program? And, not a peep from the Democrats. One of the words that resonates well with the American people, especially in light of its connection to another Republican administration about thirty years ago is, "cover-up." Why are not the Democrats screaming about the cover-up of the surveillance program? Not only is it the right thing to do because it's accurate, but it's a vote-getter.
In response to "I think that the U.S. should break up. I think that the Northeast should secede from the U.S. We are different people with a different mindset and different needs and we do not fit in with where the rest of the country is going. We don't want to go there. Other states can join us if they wish," Rhian writes:
There is a lot to be said for sticking together and remaining a superpower.
Bush will not be in office forever.
Besides, if the Northeast secedes they might start burning women at the stake again, like they did in the old days when anyone not a puritan (fundamental Christian) was declared a witch.
Just because this Bush won't be in office forever doesn't mean a Bush or Bush-like won't be. After all, that is the globalist elitist plan, isn't it? -NG
In response to "That's something for all of us to think about during Women's History Month—and beyond," Rhian writes:
And yesterday on NPR, the report that Vicente Fox, the President of Mexico has publicly stated that women are nothing but washing machines with legs.
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