I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Senate "Pro-Lifers" Support Pesticide Testing on Fetuses

From Sirota:

"The Senate today voted to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from using studies that expose people to pesticides when considering permits for new pest killers. It's good that the measure passed, but look at the 37 Senators who voted against this - it reads like a list of the Senate's most ardent anti-choice (aka. "pro-life") Senators. Why is that relevant? Because, according to the Associated Press, Mr. "Culture of Life" himself, President Bush, is pushing the EPA "to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses...Even newborns of 'uncertain viability' could be tested." In other words, Bush and these 37 mostly "pro-life" Republicans, who claim they care about the unborn, support allowing corporations to test hazardous chemicals on fetuses and pregnant women. Capitol Buzz has more on how absolutely disgusting it is for someone like Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) to have voted the way he did." [Senate Vote] [Bush presses EPA to allow testing on fetuses] [Capitol Buzz on Santorum]

Dangerous Incompetence

Herbert: "The president who displayed his contempt for Iraqi militants two years ago with the taunt "bring 'em on" had to go on television Tuesday night to urge Americans not to abandon support for the war that he foolishly started but can't figure out how to win."

"The incompetence at the highest levels of government in Washington has undermined the U.S. troops who have fought honorably and bravely in Iraq, which is why the troops are now stuck in a murderous quagmire. If a Democratic administration had conducted a war this incompetently, the Republicans in Congress would be dusting off their impeachment manuals."

"Whether one agreed with the launch of this war or not - and I did not - the troops doing the fighting deserve to be guided by leaders in Washington who are at least minimally competent at waging war. That has not been the case, which is why we can expect to remain stuck in this tragic quagmire for the foreseeable future." [NYT]

Wow...and for anyone who actually watched the speech on Tuesday night, did you get anything out of it? Any sense of the truth, or what is REALLY happening in Iraq? There have been successes...but there is also great failure. Are we really going to be stuck in this quagmire for years, sacrificing the lives of our honorable servicemen and women? No one expected him to apologize for LYING this country into war (it would have been a start), but at least he could have resisted the temptation of raising the specter of 9/11. I think we've proved there was no correlation!

Bush's speech on Iraq. [NYT]
The True Cost of War. [NYT]

Monday, June 27, 2005

America Giveth, America Taketh Away

Herbert: "Although it has been lowering standards, raising bonuses and all but begging on its knees, the Army hasn't reached its recruitment quota in months. There are always plenty of hawks in America. But the hawks want their wars fought with other people's children." The war in Iraq was sold to the American public the way a cheap car salesman sells a lemon. Dick Cheney assured the nation that Americans in Iraq would be "greeted as liberators." Kenneth Adelman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board said the war would be a "cakewalk." And Donald Rumsfeld said on National Public Radio: "I can't say if the use of force would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."

"The problem now is that most Americans have had plenty of time to digest the images of people being blown up in Baghdad and mutilated in Fallujah, and they know that thousands of our troops are coming home in coffins, or without their arms, or without their legs, or paralyzed, or horribly burned." [NYT]

Krugman on China: "The more important difference from Japan's investment is that China, unlike Japan, really does seem to be emerging as America's strategic rival and a competitor for scarce resources - which makes last week's other big Chinese offer more than just a business proposition." [NYT]

Let's let everyone that has or will get AIDS die...that's the message that Bush is sending. "American law already forbids United States money from financing needle exchange programs. For Washington to decide that it wants to stop everyone else from doing that as well is a breathtakingly dangerous step." [AIDS]

Global warming is just "junk science", right? "And it terrifies the White House because it is further proof that the administration's efforts to minimize the warming threat have failed and that President Bush's voluntary approach to the problem is no longer taken seriously." [Global Warming]

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Glide Path to Ruin

Rich: "Mr. Tomlinson has maintained that his goal at CPB is to strengthen public broadcasting by restoring "balance" and stamping out "liberal bias." But Mr. Moyers left "Now" six months ago. Mr. Tomlinson's real, not-so-hidden agenda is to enforce a conservative bias or, more specifically, a Bush bias. To this end, he has not only turned CPB into a full-service employment program for apparatchiks but also helped initiate "The Journal Editorial Report," the only public broadcasting show ever devoted to a single newspaper's editorial page, that of the zealously pro-Bush Wall Street Journal. Unlike Mr. Moyers's "Now" - which routinely balanced its host's liberalism with conservative guests like Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Paul Gigot and Cal Thomas - The Journal's program does not include liberals of comparable stature." [NYT]

Kristof: "On fiscal matters both parties have much to be ashamed of, but Republicans should be particularly embarrassed at their tumble. Traditionally, Republicans were prudent, while Democrats held great parties. But these days, the Bush administration is managing America's finances like a team of drunken sailors, and most Republicans keep quiet in a way that betrays their conservative principles."

"More than two centuries of American government produced a cumulative national debt of $5.7 trillion when Mr. Bush was elected in 2000. And now that is expected to almost double by 2010, to $10.8 trillion." [NYT]

Friday, June 24, 2005

The War President

Krugman: "Leading the nation wrongfully into war strikes at the heart of democracy. It would have been an unprecedented abuse of power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire. And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to the reality of how we got in."

"On one side, the people who sold this war, unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little war have led to disaster, are still peddling illusions: the insurgency is in its "last throes," says Dick Cheney. On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic."
"We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us to war on false pretenses have no credibility, and no right to lecture the rest of us about patriotism." [NYT]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Not On Faith Alone

Herbert: "The president and these home-front warriors got us into this war and now they don't know how to get us out. Nor do they have a satisfactory answer to the important ethical question: how do you justify sending other people's children off to fight while keeping a cloak of protection around your own kids?"

"If the United States had a draft (for which there is no political sentiment), its warriors would be drawn from a much wider swath of the population, and political leaders would think much longer and harder before committing the country to war." [NYT]

Cuomo: "Mr. Bush does not deny the greater potential of embryonic stem cells: he says his decision was compelled by his belief that retrieving stem cells from the embryo destroys it, thereby resulting in the killing of a human being that cannot be justified no matter how vast the potential benefits."

"The president did not claim his conclusion was based on biomedical science. He said only that it was an expression of his religious faith." [NYT]

I have no doubt that Bush believes what he espouses, that human life begins at conception. I have no doubt that a lot of people believe that, whether is true or not. But can't we get past this religious morass and work on finding cures? Support embryonic stem cell research. [Petition]

Friday, June 17, 2005

Conservatives Battle PBS/NPR

Tribune: "Late Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would reduce next year's federal allocation to public broadcasting by 46%. The measure would cut $100 million from next year's budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the private nonprofit that distributes federal funds to local stations. The CPB funds make up about 15% of public broadcasting revenue.
Money earmarked to help local stations undergo digital conversion and to upgrade PBS' satellite system would also be cut. And funds for public television's "Ready to Learn" programs — shows like "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow" and "Postcards From Buster" — are on the chopping block." [Tribune] [NYT]

Originally it was reported that the Repugnicans on the House Appropriations Committee wanted to cut ALL federal funding, but now it is 46%. This makes me sick. This is PUBLIC BROADCASTING!!! The Repugnicans, namely Kenneth Tomlinson (Republican chairman of CPB's board of directors) want more "conservative programming" on PBS and NPR to balance what they call "political lopsidedness." Is it politically lopsided to watch Sesame Street, or Reading Rainbow??? Is it politically lopsided to listen to NPR??? Let's just cut children's programming because we don't want to see kids learn something! Keep the masses ignorant and uneducated!

What's the Matter with Ohio?

Krugman: "Since their 1994 takeover of Congress, and even more so since the 2000 election, Republican leaders have sought to make their political dominance permanent. They redistricted Texas to lock in their control of the House. Through the "K Street Project" they have put lobbying firms under partisan control, starving the Democrats of campaign funds. And they are, of course, trying to pack the courts with partisan loyalists." [NYT]

No one party should hold complete control over government. You see here how one-party rule has cost the State of Ohio dearly. And don't be fooled, this happens in every state. Power breeds corruption, and the notion of immunity for those on the leading side. Now, this is starting to happen (or has been happening) nationally.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Uncle Sam REALLY Wants You

Herbert: "One of the many problems here is that adolescents should not be hounded by military recruiters under any circumstances, and they shouldn't be pursued at all without the full knowledge and consent of parents or guardians."

"Let the Army be honest and upfront in its recruitment. War is not child's play, and warriors shouldn't be assembled through the use of seductive sales pitches to youngsters too immature to make an informed decision on matters that might well result in their having to kill others, or being killed themselves." [NYT]

Recruitment numbers are so far down right now that they are trying anything and everything to get these kids to sign away their lives. How far away are we from a draft? You know, the one that Bush and his cronies promised wouldn't happen.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Don't Follow the Money

Rich: "Had the scandal been vividly resuscitated as the long national nightmare it actually was, it would dampen all the Felt fun by casting harsh light on our own present nightmare. "The fundamental right of Americans, through our free press, to penetrate and criticize the workings of our government is under attack as never before" was how the former Nixon speech writer William Safire put it on this page almost nine months ago. The current administration, a second-term imperial presidency that outstrips Nixon's in hubris by the day, leads the attack, trying to intimidate and snuff out any Woodwards or Bernsteins that might challenge it, any media proprietor like Katharine Graham or editor like Ben Bradlee who might support them and any anonymous source like Deep Throat who might enable them to find what Carl Bernstein calls "the best obtainable version of the truth."" [NYT]

Krugman: "The great advantage of universal, government-provided health insurance is lower costs. Canada's government-run insurance system has much less bureaucracy and much lower administrative costs than our largely private system. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured. [NYT]

Herbert: "With the war in Iraq going badly and allegations of abuse by military personnel widespread, young men and women are increasingly deciding that there's no upside to a career choice in which the most important skills might be ducking bullets and dodging roadside bombs. [NYT]

Friday, June 10, 2005

Republicans Behaving Badly

Drama in the Judiciary Committee:

"Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans. Sensenbrenner declared that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, was irrelevant."

"James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, speaking immediately after Sensenbrenner left, voiced dismay over the proceedings. "I'm troubled about what kind of lesson this gives" to the rest of the world, he told the Democrats remaining in the room.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, in a statement, said the hearing was an example of Republican abuse of power and she would ask House Speaker Dennis Hastert to order an apology from Sensenbrenner." [Yahoo] [Buzzflash] [Video]

I'm sure glad this jag represents the area right around me here in Milwaukee. The Democrats tried to have a civil hearing on one of the worst laws in the land, and all they get for their efforts, is to have their voices shouted down, microphones turned off, and to be ignored. Hooray for Democracy!

Losing Our Country

Krugman: "But the real reasons to worry about the explosion of inequality since the 1970's have nothing to do with envy. The fact is that working families aren't sharing in the economy's growth, and face growing economic insecurity. And there's good reason to believe that a society in which most people can reasonably be considered middle class is a better society - and more likely to be a functioning democracy - than one in which there are great extremes of wealth and poverty." [NYT]

Here's to the death of the middle class, and to the American Dream. No longer can we expect to do better than our parents and grandparents before us. No longer are these jobs and opportunities available to us. But, the rich get richer, and that's what matters apparently.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This Old Cub

Wild Bill Holdman: "It's beyond comprehension. Walk outside, watch the ground pass under your feet and imagine heading for the next town, the next state. Imagine walking over mountains, across rivers, around lakes. Imagine doing it in snowstorms, thunderstorms and sweaty 95-degree heat. Then imagine doing it by yourself, your only human contact coming with strangers who don't believe where you've been and can't grasp where you're going.

This has been the life of Bill Holden since Jan. 11, when, motivated by the story of Ron Santo, he hopped on a highway in Prescott Valley, Ariz., and headed for Wrigley Field with two goals: to raise $250,000 for juvenile diabetes and to arrive in time for the Cubs' July 1 game against the Nationals. (Today, Monday, June 6, he's in Springfield, IL, on his way to Lincoln, IL. About 240 miles still to go.)" [ESPN] [ThisOldCub] [JDRF] [WildBill'sWalk]

Here is a guy with no cartilage in his knees, walking from Arizona to Wrigley Field. He relies on the kindness of strangers and the depths of his heart and soul to get him there. All because he fell in love with a team, whose star of yester-year, Ron Santo, has juvenile-diabetes (Type I). As a sufferer of juvenile-diabetes (Type I), Santo's story holds special meaning to me. For this man, Bill Holden, to walk 2,100 miles to raise money for JDRF is amazing. [Donate]

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Downward Mobility

Editorial: "With all of the debate about taxes, the economy and domestic spending, it is hard to imagine anyone supporting the notion of taking money from programs like Medicaid and college-tuition assistance, increasing the tax burden of the vast majority of working Americans, sending the country into crushing debt - and giving the proceeds to people who are so fantastically rich that they don't know what to do with the money they already have. Yet that is just what is happening under the Bush administration. Forget the middle class and the upper-middle class. Even the merely wealthy are being left behind in the dust by the small slice of super-rich Americans." [NYT]

Editorial: "Greg Winter of The Times reported yesterday that the federal government has rejiggered the formula that determines how much families have to pay out of pocket before they become eligible for the student aid package, which consists of grants and low-interest loans. The new formula, which will save the government about $300 million in federal aid under the Pell program, will cause some lower-income students to lose federal grants entirely. The families of others will have to put up more money before they can qualify for financial aid. Perversely, single-parent households will have to pay more than two-parent households before they become eligible." [NYT]

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just Livin' The Dream

Herbert: "As far as the Bush administration is concerned, the gap between the rich and the rest of us is not growing fast enough. An analysis by The Times showed the following:

"Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes - a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data - now pay income, Medicare and Social Security taxes amounting to virtually the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000. Those earning more than $10 million a year now pay a lesser share of their income in these taxes than those making $100,000 to $200,000." [NYT]

Is this the "American Dream" that you signed up for when you voted for Bush??? I didn't think so! Enjoy your low-paying job that will soon be shipped off to China or India. Aren't you glad that you voted for Bush because of his "morals?" Well, you reap what you sow...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Worse than Watergate

Herbert: "Now, with George W. Bush in charge, the nation is mired in yet another tragic period marked by incompetence, duplicity, bad faith and outright lies coming once again from the very top of the government. Just last month we had the disclosure of a previously secret British government memorandum that offered further confirmation that the American public and the world were spoon-fed bogus information by the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq." [NYT]

Stem Cell Debate: "That alliance was on prominent display last week when, to protest a bill supporting the use of embryos for stem cell research, President Bush appeared with the McClures and 20 other Snowflakes families, kissing the babies, some of whom wore T-shirts that said "former embryo," or "this embryo was not discarded." Federal and state lawmakers have held similar appearances." [NYT]

I respect your beliefs, but you are flat out ignorant. How old are your parents? Do they have Alzheimers? Diabetes? Know anyone with these ailments? You are too short-sighted to look beyond these tiny clumps of cells and see what is on the horizon: cures to some of the nastiest diseases of our time. They need to step into my shoes for one week. One week. As a sufferer of Type I Diabetes, they can take all of my shots for me, which are considerable. They can prick their fingers for me to test their blood to see if they need to take yet another shot, or eat something. I don't wish ill upon anyone, but I just would like these people to open up their eyes and see the suffering that goes on. What is "Christian" about withholding treatment for those that suffer??? These are left over clumps of cells from fertility clinics...why throw them away when we can use them to solve medical problems!?!