Florida may decide to repeal Seperation of Church and State

Somehow, I feel this is just inkling of things to come as the Radical Right is emboldened by recent endorsements of the Right Way of Life in our nations capital…
According to this article in the Palm Beach Post, a senator may introduce a change to the state constitution to remove the seperation of church and state clause.

TALLAHASSEE — Christian conservatives frustrated by court rulings that have found a school voucher program unconstitutional may have hit upon a possible solution: changing the constitution.
Sen. Daniel Webster, a former House speaker and now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is exploring the possibility of a citizens initiative to repeal the 136-year-old wording that separates church and state in Florida.

I’m particularly amused by the response from the ACLU:

“So if the constitution stands in the way of their radical agenda, don’t change the radical agenda — change the constitution,” said Howard Simon, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
Webster should include in his ballot initiative language to abolish the public school system, Simon said, “because that’s what its real effect would be. Maybe a little bit of honesty is what’s needed.”

Yet another block in the foundation of Jesusland.
Thanks to Aroraborealis for this link.

Who needs Law, we have GOD!

A judge in Alabama has had the 10 commandments embroidered on his robe :

McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments represent the truth “and you can’t divorce the law from the truth.”
“The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong,” McKathan said.

Good thing the judges in our great judicial system are basing their decisions on the rule of law in our country, eh?
An interesting sidebar is commentary from former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore:

“The recognition of the God who gave us the Ten Commandments is fundamental to an understanding of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I applaud Judge McKathan. It is time for our judiciary to recognize the moral basis of our law,” Moore said.

Would you trust this man with your army?

“I don’t know what the facts are but somebody’s certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know, and that’s a good thing. I think it’s a very constructive exchange,”

Donald Rumsfeld, responding to a question from angry soldiers about the inadequacy of their equipment. (Source: Reuters via Yahoo).
Update: There’s further coverage of this exchange and others here. I have to read Rumsfelds commentary and go “Can he possibly be any more arrogant?” His ‘suck it up and deal’ attitudes have to be pissing off more than just these few soldiers.

Armored tanks deployed to anti-war protest in LA

LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 – At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered. Enraged, some of the people attempted to block the tanks, but police quickly cleared the street. The people continued to protest the presence of the tanks, but about ten minutes the tanks drove off. It is unclear as to why the tanks were deployed to this location.
Video is available here: 5.8meg Quicktime (MOV) format
The video is disturbing to say the least. This was a peaceful protest. Why was the military called for a political rally? The only possible answer is intimidation. The question is, by whom? National Guard members? The local government? The police? The federal government?
Original article via LA Indy Media

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Words fail me.

I actually saw this on a bumper sticker this afternoon. Everytime I try and figure out what is trying to be said here, I get a headache and move on to something else.

Let me see if I can summarize these things a bit. First, who the heck is the ACLU, and what do they really do? According to their “about” page:

The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America’s original civic values – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Okay, sounds pretty good. So, these guys are there to defend the rights of the individual vs the centralized authoritarian government by providing a check and balance against unquestioned dictates. So, I suppose in some ways an argument could be made that they are in fact the enemy of the “state”, in that they are there to counterbalance it. Note I say counterbalance, not overthrow, but I digress, which to me is an important distinction… but I digress.

Now, this particular bumper sticker replaces the ‘C’ with the symbol of the former soviet bloc, the ‘sickle and hammer’, representing, we assume here, the tenets of communism. The implication here is that the ACLU is a communist front, bent on overthrowing the US through it’s anti-authoritarian (and, by implication, it’s anti government) policies.

Okay, so lets look at what that means…

According to wikipedia, the definition of ‘communism’ is:

Communism, or communist society, is the name of the social formation that, according to Marx, would be a classless society in which all property is owned by the community as a whole, and where all people enjoy equal social and economic status.

I’m having a hard time connecting these two concepts, at least in the methodology that is implied in that bumper sticker. “Enemy of the state”, okay, someone who wants to bring down the state power. ACLU, a body that opposes centralized authoritarian rule when checks and balances aren’t in place… er, that’s a stretch, but I guess I might see that…

But… this bumper sticker is offered up as emblematic of the views presented by the ‘right wing’ crowd. The ones who detest central authority over local issues and personal details. The very private rights tha the ACLU is sworn to defend.

I’m so confused.

The master speaks..

This isn’t related -directly- to Politics, but it seems to be to be applicable to the current situation, where otherwise sane people still think George Bush is fit to lead this country…

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous.

    – Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

My Election Predictions

I predict next Tuesday will not in fact decide who will be the next president. What will happen is we will see the largest voter turnout as a percentage of registered voters ever recorded. The vote will be close enough that there will be an immediate challenge in the courts. The fight will simply get uglier and for 2 weeks the election will be undecided. During this time stories of gross voter fraud will surface, be reported in the media, commented on, and either discarded as false, or simply lost in the shadow of “Oh yeah? Well [other side] did [this unsubstantiated rumor!]”, thereby removing any weight to the story. Wash, rinse, repeat.

In the end, no matter who wins, the public will be disillusioned with the voting process even more so than usual. Unless there is a viciously polarized populace for the next election, I see a third party rising again in 2008.

And of course, The Onion has a perfect take on the whole schpiel. (Click on the image for the full banner). Make sure you also check out their election day guide, which includes helpful hints such as:

  • Tip for those on the go: Voting a straight ticket can save you up to 15 seconds.
  • If you are black and a resident of Florida, work out two or three alternate routes to your polling place to avoid police checkpoints.
  • If you are a Flintstone, make sure to put the granite slab arrows-first into the dinosaur’s mouth.
  • If you live in Florida, for Christ’s sake, look at the ballot very, very carefully this time.

Happy electoral college day, everyone!

Bloggers are taking over the media!

Reuters has published a quicky bit about how blogs have become a real force in politics, opinion, and commentary:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. presidential campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry (news – web sites) has prompted a frenzy of gossip and conspiracy theories among Internet bloggers, hybrid online sites that blend news, gossip and opinion.

In particular, I like how the debunking of the CBS memo is attributed to bloggers who aggressively attacked the authenticity of them. Initially, I was very skeptical of the criticism being levelled at the article, but in this case, the skepticism was valid, the memo was indeed a fake.
The current bruhaha is about George Bush’s ‘bulge’ that showed up in one of the debate pictures. It looks as if GW is wearing something under his jacket, and people are speculating wildly that this was a ‘wire’, and he was being prompted off-stage by Karl Rove. Personally, I think this is pushing it, but who knows how this will pan out.

Once more into the breach!

The New York Times is reporting that one of the administrations bits of ‘irrefutable evidence’ that Saddam was starting his nuclear program up, that being the acquisition of thousands of high stress aluminum tubes, was considered implausible by most of the top nuclear consultants, and that the administration routinely ignored all the arguments and evidence that showed these tubes were most likely being aquired for small artillery rockets:

    But almost a year before, Ms. Rice’s staff had been told that the government’s foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out. I’m sure the bushies will immediately cry “The liberal media is trying to get us again! This is just more fabricated stuff!” Yeah, this the same liberal media that <a href="http://www.e-thepeople.org/article/35573/view?viewtype="completely fabricated a report of Kerry making off-color comments after the debate, without even a modicum of fact-checking, posted that Kerry had made off color remarks. FoxNews later retracted the story with what amounts to a shrug. “Oh, it’s okay, we posted a retraction, so no harm done, right?”. The author of the article was simply reprimanded.

The Man who Saved the World

There’s so many ‘interesting’ articles on the net, and rarely do I forward along articles that don’t have a lot of bearing on things I’m normally going on about. But over at the BKO Lounge, Brian posts a link to a Wikipedia article about Stanislav Petrov, a Russian Colonel who, in September 1983, was on missile duty in the Soviet Union when he received a series of alerts showing that US missiles had been launched against his country. All the available systems showed that indeed, multiple ICBM’s were en route, and his orders and procedure state uncategorically that the proper response is to launch the Soviet missiles in retaliation.
He didn’t. He reasoned there was no reason for this type of launch, and make the decision not to launch, reasoning this was a computer error in the notoriously unreliable Soviet monitoring system.
He was right. There was no missile launch from the US, and his single decision in that bunker in the middle of the night in September, 1983, most likely stopped a nuclear exchange that could have immediately resulted in World War III.
We were -that- close.

Things you have to be a republican to believe.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to the spirit of international harmony.
A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
A president lying about a blowjob is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s cocaine conviction is none of our business.
Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.
You support states’ rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they are allowed to adopt.
What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.
Via MadScience who got it via born_stubborn

The Liberal Media at Work… NOT!

This page just showed up on MSNBC. The poll question just boggles the mind. I bet some news site will happily use these results, no matter what the outcome. “62% of those polled said that Guiliani’s speech reassured them in the upcoming election!”