Thursday, April 29, 2004

Alpha Politics

Alpha Politics

By Madeleine Begun Kane

"A" is for John Ashcroft and the liberties he's mauled.

"B" is for Barb Bush and hub. Dub's birth is all their fault.

"C" is for Ms. Condi Rice, who speaks so many lies.

"D" is for the Dixie Chicks, who dare to Bush despise.

"E" is for our soon to be Ex-Prez George Dubya Bush.

"F" is for Al Franken, and his mean and funny Rush.

"G" is for Gen. Boykin, who believes Bush speaks with God.

"H" is for Ms. Karen Hughes, who's tall of tale and bod.

The rest is posted here and
here.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Ethical Relativism and Public Policy

In a seminal speech, Religious Belief and Public Morality -- A Catholic Governor's Perspecitive, delivered almost 20 years ago at Notre Dame, then-NY Governor Mario Cuomo delivered a complex explanation for his support of Pro-Choice legislation.

Known far and wide for his rhetorical skill, the speech is 'classic' Cuomo (emphasis mine):

The hard truth is that abortion isn’t a failure of government.  No agency or department of government forces women to have abortions, but abortion goes on.

Catholics, the statistics show, support the right to abortion in equal proportion to the rest of the population.  Despite the teaching in our homes and schools and pulpits, despite the sermons and pleadings of parents and priests and prelates, despite all the effort at defining our opposition to the sin of abortion, collectively we Catholics apparently believe—and perhaps act—little differently from those who don’t share our commitment.

Are we asking government to make criminal what we believe to be sinful because we ourselves can’t stop committing the sin?

The failure here is not Caesar’s.  This failure is our failure, the failure of the entire people of God.


In the context of today's debate over Kerry's Catholic duty vs. Public commitment, I wonder if taking the ethical relativist position (Relativism is a "philosophical theory asserting that there is no absolute truth, only truth relative to the individual, or to a particular time or culture, or both. To put it another way, relativism may be defined as the radical denial of objectivity") plays well with the voters. If it does, can relativism work when applied to other issues where public policy is in deep conflict with Judeo-Christian teachings -- the death penalty, unjust war, and policies toward the working poor?

Cross-post here.

DreamKitty.com: Hello Kitty USB-HUB

I want, I want, I want.the Hello Kitty USB-HUB. It's my every stationery fetish come to life. I am eleven.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

From Talking Points Memo

Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall has a transcript of Scott McClellan's refusal to deny that Bush conspired with Prince Bandar - the guy they call "Bandar Bush", who is just like a son to George the first- to lower oil prices if they got rid of Saddam.

QUESTION: There were no conversations specifically about the President’s reelection?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can ask Prince Bandar to --

QUESTION: But from the point -- I mean, conversations are obviously two ways.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- what his comments were. But the conversations we have are related to our long-held views that we have stated repeatedly publicly, that market forces should determine prices.

QUESTION: To follow up on that then, I would gather that the White House view is one of expectation that the Saudis would increase oil production between now and November.

MR. McCLELLAN: Our views are very well-known to Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar made a commitment at the stakeout that I will let speak for itself. You all should look back to those remarks.

QUESTION: We’re missing the allegation here, which is that Prince Bandar and the Saudis have made a commitment to lower oil prices to help the President politically. Is that your --

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those comments to him. I can tell you that what our views are and what he said at the stakeout is what we know his views are, as well.

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions --

QUESTION: Is there a deal?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- I wouldn’t speculate one way or the other. You can direct those questions to him, but I’m telling you

QUESTION: I’m not asking you to speculate either. Do you have knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m telling you what our views are and what we've stated, and I'm telling you what I do know, which is that our position is very clear when it comes to oil prices and what our views are. And Prince Bandar spoke to you all just a few weeks ago out at the stakeout after meeting with some White House officials and expressed --


QUESTION: So you have no knowledge of such a commitment?


MR. McCLELLAN: -- and expressed their view. I'm not going to try to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions to him.

QUESTION: The President is confident that the American elections are not being manipulated by the world's largest oil producer?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our view is that the markets should determine --

QUESTION: The market doesn't. It's a cartel.

MR. McCLELLAN: But our view is that that's what -- that the markets should determine prices. And that's the view we make very clear to producers around the world, including our friends in OPEC.


There's an article about it here:http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20040421-1819-whitehouse-bandar.html

Is it getting any clearer to Americans that we are just pawns in a game?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

thank you... :)

I just want to thank Elaine for the invitation to the group... I'm proud to be a Blog Sister, and I only hope to make you all proud too... :) my blog is at http://zingela.blogspot.com... I've just started it, so bear with me!
*hugs*

Heather

Friday, April 16, 2004

Affordable Housing ... that stays affordable!

How would you feel about a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with no money down and a mortgage set at $400 a month for the next 30 years? This is the deal I am currently putting together for 17 native Hawaiian families who have been granted 99 year leases to Community Land Trust (CLT) land under the Dept. of Hawaiian Homelands. They are working with Self-Help Housing to build their own homes under the supervision of a construction supervisor (with subcontractors for plumbing, electric, excavation, and masonry) and the mortgages will in fact vary from $256 - $600 per month, depending on family income. This is fact, not theory.

"A Community Land Trust (CLT) creates affordable housing by taking the cost of land out of the purchase price of a home.... Homeowners leasing CLT land under their home enjoy the security, control, tax advantages and ability to build equity just like any homeowner. -- Homestead Community Land Trust - Seattle, WA

So I ask you again, how would you feel about having such an opportunity? How about the idea that anyone could have such an opportunity, even though they may only make $10 an hour?

If you do have apprehension at this idea, you would benefit greatly from taking a close look at your psychological belief in scarcity and the need for "survival of the fittest." I would like to suggest that a more evolved way of looking at how people live in community embraces the idea of shared land, private houses, where everyone wins and no one sacrifices. Even the current owners of the land do not lose. The land is bought from them at market rates then developed by the land trust which then turns around and leases it off to the families who will build their homes there. Let me say this again. Everyone wins and no one loses! This is wisdom in action.

If you agree, consider putting your words and actions where your wisdom is. Read the full entry at Indigo Ocean to learn more, then find out what is being done in your area to create a community land trust in which you can participate.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Beating Wonkette to the Punch


Too easy, drill sergeant ... too easy!

Cross-posted here

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Ode to the August PDB

The infamous August PDB has been declassified and released and the Bush & Co excuses continue:

Ode to the August PDB
By Madeleine Begun Kane

When Condoleezza Rice speaks out
Does anybody buy her?
It's hard to fathom how she fumbled warnings, oh so dire.

"Historic," Condoleezza shouts
About that August briefing.
I guess that's why that PDB did catch the Bushies sleeping.

The rest of my Ode to the August PDB is here.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Mommies in Uniform

If you know a service member who'll be spending Mother's Day away from the little ones, you can send them a Mother's Day greeting via the pages of Stars and Stripes.

And speaking of Stripes ... they've got a feature today on life in Sadr City from the service members' perspective:

Life in Sadr City, one of Baghdad’s poorest neighborhoods, can’t be easy. Unpleasant smells drift from piles of refuse strewn along the streets. During the day, idle children stare at U.S. soldiers guarding police compounds. Women clad in black from head to toe — dressed more conservatively than many of their counterparts in much of Iraq’s most cosmopolitan city — stride by with wary glances after visiting the market.


Get the whole story.

Happy Lucky Me - The SushiLover Jersey

And I want the Happy Lucky Me - SushiLover Jersey.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I read this just now and suddenly I'm crying and crying and cannot stop.

I didn't know him, but he was from my town.
He was only a few years older than my kids.

When I yank myself back from this very personal precipice of horror and try to be detached, I can see that news like this is beginning to feel like the casualties statistics from Vietnam. In 1965 I remember starting to pay attention to the death toll reports, and being a little in awe; a "Gosh, I'm living through History or something!" attitude. As months and then years went by, I started numbing up, until the death reports simply got monotonous and I dismissed them as "the SOS."

Nearly forty years later: I'm living through History; I'm numbing up; More of the "Same Old Shit."

As a result, I've decided to go to choir rehearsals tomorrow night. It'll be the first time I've gone since...... October 2001.
After 14 years I bugged out of the Canticle Choir, once my refuge and my weekly free therapy session, because other responsibilities and obligations were pressing in and the proverbial Something had to give.

For some reason, probably having to do with being Norwegian and Lutheran, I've been able to separate my disillusionment with my church from my love of choral singing. Fact: If you are a Lutheran of Scandinavian heritage living in the Midwest, chances are overwhelming that you sing in a choir. Choral singing is rampant here. Everybody's in a choir. Always. I may be forever disenchanted with the church, but nothing could possibly drive me away forever from singing in a church choir. It is absolutely the most spiritual, soulful, therapeutic and cathartic activity I've ever experienced.
[Yes, including sex. I am a middle-aged woman, and one of the best perks of that job is knowing that I'll never mince another word in my entire life if I don't want to. Get used to it.]

So, here it is Holy Week 2004, and I'm sobbing over a 22-year old kid from Eden Prairie who was killed in Iraq , and I don't know how to deal with the emotional pain. I know the Canticle Choir will be singing a requiem at the Tenebrae Service at St. Andrew Lutheran on Good Friday, and so I will be there too, singing.
We will be doing either the Brahms German Requiem, in English, or the Rutter, or the Fauré. The Brahms is wonderful, but I'm hoping for the Fauré. Has there ever been a more beautiful, all-encompassing musical expression of comfort and meditation and love? I say No.

Okay, now you go listen to the Fauré Requiem. Right now. Peace.

Cross-posted on my blog.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Daily Kos Song

If you've been following the Daily Kos controversy -- a great summary is here -- you might enjoy my song parody on the subject, the Daily Kos Song.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Name My Blog Contest - $250 Prize

I started blogging almost a month ago, mainly because I wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about. I have to admit that after only a few short weeks, I'm hooked.

In order to continue, I have to change the name. Roxanne's Rant|Rave sucks. Hence, the contest.

Here are the rules:
  • You must post your entry in the comments area here, using a valid email address (don't post entries below)
  • You may submit one entry per day
  • Entries must be received no later than midnight EDT on Friday, 16 April 2004
  • You may choose to receive your US $250 via tipjar, Amazon, or Powell's
  • The decision of the judge (me) is final

    The winner will be announced via this blog on 18 April 2004.
    If you have questions, email me at roxanne at roxannecooper dot com
  • Saturday, April 03, 2004

    Calpundit moves to Washington

    The Washington Monthly, that is. Kevin Drum, the Calpundit, has moved again. Last year, he bid Blogger good-bye for Movable Type. Now, he has a new blog at the Washington Monthly. He says being a part of Big Media (well, middling media, really) will not cramp his style. For readers not familiar with the Calpundit, he focuses on politics, but also probes business and does his share of cat blogging.

    Forwarding Address. . . As promised — assuming you take a generous view of "a day or two" — starting today I will be blogging for the Washington Monthly magazine's new blog, Political Animal. Here's the new address:

    www.washingtonmonthly.com

    I will probably still post a few personal items here occasionally, but basically my entire blog is being transplanted to the Washington Monthly's site. Nothing much will change, really, at least at first. It will still be me doing the same thing I do here, unedited and unplugged. We may add some guest bloggers in the future, but the details are a bit murky at the moment. We'll work it out as we go.


    So please add Political Animal to your bookmark list, and if you're a blogger please add it to your blogroll. See you there!


    NOTE: The link above is a direct link to the blog. It will be right smack in the middle of their newly redesigned homepage. It should become active around 7 am Eastern time on Wednesday.


    UPDATE: Honest, I really am blogging over there now. Go read all the new posts. Go now!


    And add Political Animal to your bookmarks. Just click on the link above with your right mouse button and then click "Add to Favorites. . . ." It's easy!


    Long time readers of Mac-a-ro-nies know Kevin is one of the big dogs who led me to become interested in blogging and helped me become a good blogger. His address may have changed, but I am sure the quality of his blogging has not. I have updated my blogroll to follow Kevin to Political Animal. You should, too.


    What's the art?


    Kevin has two cats. I assume they've moved to Washington, too. The cat pictured is Jasmine.

    Note: This item is part of a column that appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

    Jill Scott - Thickness lyrics

    Today I did something I thought I would never do, I added a iTunes playlist to my blog. I was motivated to do this because I was listening to Jill Scott's song Thickness and I was so deeply and profoundly moved that it affected everything I was doing. This song is half spoken word poetry/ half song. The lyrics available online don't do it justice because they don't include the monologue that precedes the poem. In essence the poem talks about a young girl that Scott sees on the street. This 14 year old "baby" is dressed provocatively and is smiling at the obscenities that are being yelled at her by men twice her age. Scott gives a phenomenal read on what causes our daughters, sisters, friends to want to dress and behave in the manner that they do. She blames every thing from television to horomones in dairy products. This is one deep piece. At the very least read the lyrics, but the song is a must hear. Run out and buy the CDs or head over to the iTunes store and slap down your 99 cents. It is well worth it.

    N.B. As Scott says, "This is grown folks music" so the language is a little graphic.

    Jill Scott - Thickness lyrics
    Cross posted on my blog

    Friday, April 02, 2004

    Fact-Free Bush Song Parody

    The Flip-Flopper-In-Chief would have us believe that John Kerry's the real flip-flopper. This, from a President who never lets the facts interfere with policy. Which brings me to my latest song parody, Fact-Free Bush. Feel free to sing it to "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain," using this midi link which opens a second window.

    Fact-Free Bush (to be sung to "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain")

    By Madeleine Begun Kane

    When the facts get in the way you change the facts,
    And when facts get in the way, give facts the ax.
    When the facts get in the way,
    When the facts get in the way,
    When the facts get in the way you change the facts.

    When Iraq is not as threat'ning as you claimed,
    Say you never said it was, play language games.
    When Iraq is not as threat'ning,
    When Iraq is not as threat'ning,
    When Iraq is not as threat'ning as you claimed.

    When your job projection numbers are quite wrong,
    Blithely claim you never bought them all along.
    When your job projection numbers,
    When your job projection numbers,
    When your job projection numbers are quite wrong.

    That was always my position, is your line.
    Doesn't matter if you've really changed your mind...


    The rest of my Fact-Free Bush song parody is here.


    (This post originally appeared here.)

    'I Saw Papers That Show US Knew al-Qa'ida Would Attack Cities With Airplanes'

    'I Saw Papers That Show US Knew al-Qa'ida Would Attack Cities With Airplanes'

    The hits just keep on comin', don't they Shrub?