news aggregator

March 16, 2006

President Bush is expected to get much of what he requested in a $92 billion House measure for wars and hurricane cleanup, but a provision on the controversial Dubai ports deal is a reminder that legislators are increasingly apt to part ways with the president.
Categories: News
Not really, but I've been rather puzzled by the concerned reactions to V for Vendetta. The two basic ones seem to be "it glorifies terrorism!" and "it makes references to the Bush administration which means it's really about the evil Bush administration!"

The first one is just silly. The world of the comic book, and presumably the movie, is a genuine fascist totalitarian state. I'm reasonably sure that the violent overthrow of tyrannical governments is something we're usually okay with. I mean, we kept encouraging Iraqis to do just that. I seem to remember something in our own history too. The fact that the fascist state evolved from the country we know as the United Kingdom doesn't change the fact that it is indeed a fascist tyranny.

As for the references to contemporary events in the film, that's a way to provide a frame that the audience can understand. Whether the filmmakers intend it to be part cautionary tale or not, if you do a movie about the "near future" it certainly makes sense to ground it its past, or our present. The original book is similarly grounded in the author's view of then-contemporary England.

Anyway, I haven't actually seen the movie, but if a movie about a fascist tyranny has people freaking out because they view it as a critique of the Bush administration I think that says more about their own view of the administration than the filmmakers'.

Oh, and David Denby's smack on Moore for being concerned at the time about quarantining AIDS patients is ridiculous. Discussion of quarantining AIDS patients was pretty standard fare in the mid-1980s, and though it never went anywhere as a matter of policy in the US, LaRouche did get quarantine proposals onto the California ballot twice. Yes it was LaRouche, and yes they were defeated, but he still managed to get the signatures to get them on the ballot.

And, from the December 20, 1985 New York Times:

A majority of Americans favor the quarantine of AIDS patients, and some would embrace measures as drastic as using tattoos to mark those with the deadly disorder, according to a poll published today.

The Los Angeles Times Poll found that 51 percent of the respondents supported a quarantine of acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients, 48 percent would approve of identity cards for those who have taken tests indicating the presence of AIDS antibodies and 15 percent supported tattooing those with AIDS.

In the mid-80s there was plenty of reason to be concerned that such measures could be taken. From a Nov. 4, 1985 CSM article:

Also on Wednesday, Representative Dannemeyer introduced five bills in Congress. They would: make it a felony for an individual from a high-risk group to donate blood; prohibit anyone with AIDS from working as a health-care professional in institutions receiving federal funds; deny federal funds to cities that do not close bathhouses frequented by homosexuals; keep children with AIDS from attending public schools; and allow health-care workers to wear special protective clothing around AIDS patients without interference from hospital officials.


For Rep. Don Gilmore, a Republican state representative in Ohio, public pressure prompted him to introduce an AIDS-quarantine bill.

''I'm shocked, I'm getting support from all over the US,'' he says of his proposal that all the AIDS victims in Ohio be quarantined in their homes. He says the bill has strong support among his colleagues in the legislature. He does not expect it to pass, however, because, he predicts, state health authorities will adopt other AIDS-related measures to syphon support from the bill.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
From NYPopulist:

Besides the typical shortcomings that any Republican budget bill has, this one has a particularly alarming problem: ANWR is in it and because it's a budget bill, we can't filibuster.

We need to call the 41 anti-drilling Dems (and Jeffords) and tell them to vote it down because of ANWR.  Same goes for Chafee, Coleman, DeWine, McCain, Smith, Snowe, and Collins (gonna need some more convincing for McCain and Smith especially).

We need to call Burns, Ensign, and Coburn and tell them to vote it down because of the debt ceiling amendment and fiscal responsibility (as noted in the previous comment).

We need to call Akaka and tell him to vote down the budget because his amendment was not agreed to and subsequently, there isn't enough money for veterans in the bill.

Some others who are likely or may vote down the budget are Voinovich and Specter.

Etc, etc, etc.

In my opinion, the key votes will be: Landrieu, Akaka, Inouye, Specter, Snowe, Collins, McCain, Smith, Burns, Ensign, and Coburn.  Call these Senators and tell them to oppose this disastrous budget!

There's plenty in this bill to fight. Use this diary to coordinate.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
An NBC/WSJ poll shows President  Bush's ratings continue to drop to new lows, while a majority would now prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress.
Categories: News

  • If the administration was pinning all its hopes on the Iraqi Parliament to provide some good news as a backdrop to today's massive air assault, they will be disappointed.
    The long-expected first session, which took place within days of the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion, lasted just over 30 minutes and was adjourned indefinitely because the legislature still has no speaker.

  • The GAO has completed an audit on government contracts for Katrina relief. Here's a surprise.
    WASHINGTON - The government wasted millions of dollars in its award of post-Katrina contracts, including at least $3 million for 4,000 beds that were never used, auditors said Thursday.

    The full report will be released later today.

  • NYPopulist reports that Cantwell and Kerry have decided not to offer their amendment to strip the Arctic drilling provision from the budget bill, instead hoping to focus the effort on defeating the entire bill. It might not be a bad move, as a number of Republicans are not happy with this budget bill as a whole, and at least one has gone on record as saying they'd oppose it if it included drilling in the Arctic.

    Already, four Republicans -- Mike DeWine and George Voinovich of Ohio, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island -- have declared their opposition to it. Two more GOP defections would sink the budget, assuming every Democrat and Independent Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords vote against it. Specter said Tuesday he might vote "nay" even if his amendment boosting education and health research is adopted.

  • In case you were wondering how committed the wingnuts are to curtailing the rights of women, look no further than the Missouri House, which is refusing to fund family planning and certain women's health services. Here's the reasoning of one genious representative.
    "If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that," Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

  • The latest SUSA poll has Bush in positive approval ratings in just three states, Utah, Wyoming, and Alabama. with a net-positive approval in 7 states, but over 50 in just 3 -- Utah, Wyoming, and Alabama. (Sorry for the confusion on that.) He's just breaking even in Idaho (go Idaho -- I know you can do better!).

  • Lo and behold, some more improvements to the new comment system, particularly for users of Firefox on Macs.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

Support HRes543
Introduced by Rep. Abercrombie (D-HI)

America has been at war for 3 years, with no end in sight, and Congress has refused to debate the war since the initial authorization to use military force was debated in 2002
Since Congress last allowed a discussion of Iraq on the floor of the House:
 Congress has appropriated over $300 billion of taxpayer money on Iraq.

Categories: Blogs
John wants a list of Bush stupidities. I want to take us all the way back to the beginning when a spy plane was downed in China. The crew was held for weeks and Bush's biggest concern was whether or not they had Bibles. The Chinese returned the plane itself in crates months later, presumably getting a nice look at whatever tech goodies were in there, after Bush got down on his knees and begged forgiveness. At the time the spin from the wingers was that even though we apologized we didn't super duper apologize, so it was okay.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Jessica Simpson -- singer, actress, and America's sweetheart in the minds of many fans -- came to town in her new role as a spokesperson for Operation Smile, the nearly 25-year-old nonprofit volunteer medical organization that performs free dental surgery around the world.
Categories: News
Eyal Press writes that Montana is leading the way for states to improve legal representation for the poor.

Categories: News

By Jay Shaft- Editor of Coalition For Free Thought In Media

Video Hosted at San Francisco Bay (INDYBAY) Indy Media

Categories: Blogs
The New York Times this morning gleefully claimed that the censure move is rallying Bush's base (Read Digby's excellent take on it here).  From Soledad O'Brien to the NYT to the pundits on TV who snickered and sneered when Feingold made his announcement, the press has minimized the story.  During this morning's press conference, Senator Feingold put the press in its place:

FEINGOLD: It seems to me appropriate, when the spin machines are out there and people are using various language, to come out and reiterate my reasons for doing this.

I think that the press decided immediately that somehow this was a bad thing for Democrats and a good thing for  conservatives. The facts don't bear it out. You don't have the polls to prove it. The way my colleagues are responding to me suggests to me they're thinking about this, that they feel that there has to be some accountability.

So the instant decision about what the story is, actually, I think is going to backfire on those who made up the story. I don't get the feeling that I had on Monday about this -- yes, people were concerned -- I'm not getting that.

And if the right wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that they can somehow turn the president's reputation around by saying, "You're darn right he violated the law, and it's a good thing," I think they're just as confused as they are about their Iraq politics. People aren't buying it anymore.

So not only do I not regret it, I felt an absolute obligation to do it.

Senator Feingold is correct. There are no polls to support the contention that censuring the President for his lawlessness would negatively affect Democrats. Indeed, in the first poll out on censure, 46% of Americans agree with the resolution, compared to 44% who do not.  There are 10% who are undecided.  From the way the media has portrayed censure, you would think we would see Dubai-like numbers with opposition at 80%.  But the American people want accountability.  

The discussion about the President's violation of the law is just beginning. As the truth unfolds, the American people will realize that this President broke the law, and possibly invaded their privacy on a grand scale.  Will the media report on those numbers? As Chris Bowers notes, "Let's see how many news outlets are willing to actually report on facts and scientific surveys of public opinion on this story, and how many are just willing to write stories filled with "truthiness" and anecdotes.""

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs

By John Ward Anderson, Washington Post

Locals say several Iraqi women, children among dead.

Baghdad - At least four and perhaps as many as 13 people were killed, including a number of women and at least one child, in a U.S. military operation Wednesday against a house where insurgent collaborators were believed to have taken refuge, local officials and the U.S. military said.

According to the military, the incident occurred as U.S. forces were attempting to apprehend a "foreign fighter facilitator" for al-Qaeda in Iraq at a house near the town of Ishaqi, about 55 miles north of Baghdad. As troops advanced on the house, the statement said, they came under fire and "coalition forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets."

Categories: Blogs
Joshua Foer reviews The Discoveries, a new book by Alan Lightman, who makes scientists into artists by promoting original journal articles as "the great novels and symphonies of science."

Categories: News
Steve Fraser reviews Death in the Haymarket, in which James Green uses the story of the Haymarket riot to expose the hopes and fears of nineteenth-century America, a nation living on the knife-edge of social catastrophe.

Categories: News
Rebecca Solnit writes that Rachel Carson, Betty Friedan and Jane Jacobs opened vast new possibilities for social transformation by writing about widespread attacks on nature, women and the poor.

Categories: News
On the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, don't forget the media spin that helped make this war possible.
Source: AlterNet
Categories: News
As Rep. John Murtha put it, 'The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaida.'
Source: AlterNet
Categories: News
The New York Times spins the censure story rightward.

Categories: Blogs
Molly and Jimmy are blazing a trail for every good small d democrat to follow.

Categories: Blogs