Friday, January 14, 2005

'Money makes the world go 'round'

From the Good Professor, a bit of encouraging news about the progressive ability to battle Richard Mellon Scaife and his ilk:
"A group of billionaire philanthropists are to donate tens of millions more dollars to develop progressive political ideas in the US in an effort to counter the conservative ascendancy. George Soros, who made his fortune in the hedge fund industry; Herb and Marion Sandler, the California couple who own a multi-billion-dollar savings and loan business; and Peter Lewis, the chairman of an Ohio insurance company, donated more than $63 million in the 2004 election cycle to organizations seeking to defeat Bush. At a meeting in San Francisco last month, the left-leaning billionaires agreed to commit an even larger sum over a longer period to building institutions to foster progressive ideas and people. "

Money, as they say in Cabaret, makes the world go round. Every little bit helps! My dream is to buy out the Wall Street Journal and make it sing the praises of Marxian economics. KIDDING! :) I WOULD like to buy the WSJ someday though. When I rule the world, I suppose.

'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse'

By way of Hit and Run, I note with sorrow and a bit of anger that the Air Force is struggling with its budget as well as manpower. A couple of key 'graphs from
On manpower:
"The Air Force is also concerned that it may run into a manpower shortage when time limits on active duty use of National Guard and Reserve troops begin to expire.
"THE GUARD AND RESERVE were designed to be called up for a war of national survival or something of short duration like Desert Storm [in 1991]," the third official says. "They were not designed for the global war on terrorism where there's high operational tempo for a very long time. We need a bigger active-duty force and a smaller Guard and Reserve. But it will be a terrific problem to come up with the necessary money. One plan is to have the Guard and Reserve run the bases and infrastructure while the active-duty forces go off to war."

On budget cuts:
"Furthermore, the administration may be planning further attacks on modernization spending. One industry official says the Pentagon may reprogram about $8 billion in Fiscal 2005 funds, shifting the dollars from modernization to pay war costs. OMB may also be preparing a 20% spending reduction mandate on all federal agencies, to help offset war expenditures. "

Unlike some of my peers, I support a vigorous defense budget. My own military experience has informed my opinion, and I have seen what happens when the military has to deal with a lack of manpower and supplies. Cannibalizing aircraft is a very bad thing to do, folks, and it gets done all the time. And now, this damn Iraq war is causing the military to AGAIN struggle in key areas. We are cutting important projects to pay for this fiasco! Ridiculous!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

'Ethics? We don't need no stinkin' ethics!'

Kevin Drum says it best about the New Republic article excerpted later in this post:
"Amazing. It took Democrats 40 years to start losing losing their soul to corruption. Republicans have left them in the dust in a mere decade."

It is amusing, and a bit sad, to see the Party of Morals and Values finding new ways to reach new lows, as recounted in the excerpted article by Quinn Hillyer below. For example,
"Three times last fall alone, the bipartisan ethics committee unanimously admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay for actions that reeked of impropriety. Rather than castigate their sharp-elbowed leader, though, the Republican conference as a whole turned on GOP ethics committee chairman Joel Hefley, who had dared to issue rebukes to DeLay. Citing term limits on ethics committee membership, the House leadership pushed Hefley out of his chairmanship. But Hefley had served only four years as chairman; the usual chairmanship limit is six years--and House leaders showed their hypocrisy by simultaneously waiving the term-limits requirement to give seventh and eighth years as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee to California's David Dreier."
Later in the article:
"Finally, Republicans have tried to weaken the actual written standards of ethics that have governed the House for decades. DeLay had been admonished for running afoul of a broad prohibition against any actions that don't "reflect creditably" on the institution. House leaders originally indicated support for a change that would disallow rebukes for anything other than a violation of a specific, preexisting law or rule. The distinction is important: The proposed new standard would equate ethics with legality. But ethics, by their very nature, involve broader issues than mere legality; after all, that which isn't technically illegal can still be unethical."

So if a House leader wanted to, oh, I don't know, have sexual relations with an intern in his or her office, it would be perfectly okay, because, you know, it's not illegal. A bit...Clintonian...there, eh fellas?
Read the New Republic article for more examples of the decline and fall of the Values Party.

Monday, January 10, 2005

'No G-Nudes is Good G-Nudes'

Ezra Klein at Pandagon and The Advice Goddess has a couple of pithy comments on libraries banning the hilarious America: The Book, A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Apparently, the match the nude justices to the robes page was a bit much. They must have missed Thomas 'TJ' Jefferson's comment on how Halle Berry and how he 'loves the mochachina.' :) Read the book, it's great! And check out Ezra's quick post and The Goddess' more extensive and spot-on comments.

'Holy Mother Church?'

One of the issues that I have dealt with in my life is, well, not a loss of my Catholic faith but a doubt. Really, since I left my hometown and moved down here to Florida, I think I have only attended one or two Catholic Masses. And yet, my identity as a Catholic, who I am, remains important to me. I guess I am a 'cafeteria' Catholic, but I accept that. And I accept that maybe I am going to Hell for my doubt (and for marrying a Presbyterian; hi hon!), but I still love and honor and admire the Pope and have faith in an Ultimate Arbiter. And I mourn for the Church that I have, I guess, abandoned. This column in my hometown paper states emotionally and eloquently the impact that closing the churches is having on the Catholic community in the Bay State. From columnist Joe Dwinell in the Milford Daily News:

"Those holding vigils, or trying to in the case of the South Natick church, are not the "disgruntled protesters" you accuse them of being. They are just showing a human emotion over the loss of a place they have turned to for reflection and rejuvenation.
That's the secret of church. I love words and having an hour every week to listen intently to the greatest story every told, as the saying goes, is a blessing. If you do it enough times, you come to enjoy the surroundings and make a place of old wood, old glass and old beliefs seem new every week.
Lately it has been difficult to return to that place. The Catholic church should be all about children and making their lives more meaningful, that's why the stories of abuse have hit the faithful so hard.
The "me, me" society you accuse many of dwelling in is actually the total opposite of the true nature now being shown in the vigils taking place. Catholics are speaking out. It's not complicated. It's not insulting. It's exactly what we've been told to do for years on end.
Do the very best you can to give our modern society a benevolent side. That's the mission of the church. "

Well said.

'New York, A Wonderful Town...'

Welcome to New York, Randy. You'll fit in just fine. Those Yankee bastards know all about punches and slaps, now don't they? Just ask A-Rod. :) (Some of the captions on the second link might be a bit risque, so click with care!)
Red Sox World Series Champs!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, I'm STILL psyched).

'Mad Max: Beyond Freeperdome'

The pillars of the community over at Free Republic apparently are disconcerted that Mel Gibson said nice things about Michael Moore and 'F9/11.' Reading some of the posts can be disturbing, like watching Attila eat his young or something. Click on the link here or in the title. Thanks to Atrios for the link.
< Blogarama