Jan. 7th, 2003

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Busy Busy Busy on the five nonexistent swarthy people and our hands-on president.

A little context: start here, and read up for Interesting Monstah's start-to-finish coverage of the crisis.
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The president is proposing an economic "stimulus" plan that will certainly stimulate the very wealthiest Americans.

Its centerpiece will be an end to taxes on dividends, which will cost the government about $300 billion over the next decade. It happens, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, that roughly half that money would go to people earning more than $350,000 a year, to the top 1 percent of Americans. The 80 percent of households earning less than $73,000 a year will get less than 10 percent of this stimulant.

With so many Americans losing their jobs and their health insurance, with senior citizens getting clobbered by prescription drug costs, with money short for educating kids, you'd think we could find better ways of stimulating the economy.

But everything I just said is politically incorrect because it involves a kind of warfare of which the president most definitely disapproves.

"I understand the politics of economic stimulus, that some would like to turn this into class warfare," Bush said last week as he was giving reporters a tour of that very nice ranch he owns in Crawford, Tex. "That's not how I think."

Now, if I were in the president's position -- or in the position of the wealthy contributors who lavishly financed the campaigns of his political friends last year -- I wouldn't want anyone to talk about class either...
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A new state report on the Klamath River supports contentions by fishermen, environmentalists and several American Indian tribes that 33,000 fish died on the lower river last fall because the Bush administration allowed too much water to be diverted to farmers.

The report by biologists at the California Department of Fish and Game is expected to figure prominently in a lawsuit against the federal government that seeks to reduce water supplies to farmers before the spring irrigation season, which begins in April.

Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to appear on Thursday in federal court in Oakland, Calif. A similar legal challenge against the Department of the Interior, which regulates the river's flows, failed last year, but the extensive die-off has given opponents of the federal policy new resolve.

"This time around, Exhibit A will be 33,000 dead spawners," said Glen H. Spain, the Northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "The water has been overcommitted and the demand has to be brought back into balance with the supply."

The state report, which was released on Friday, warns that if conditions on the river remain the same and water flows are not increased, the Klamath could experience another major fish kill. Last year's die-off was the largest ever in California of adult chinook salmon, which accounted for about 95 percent of the dead fish. A smaller number of coho salmon and steelhead trout also died.

One author of the report, Neil Manji, a fish biologist in Redding, Calif., said the study was not intended "to point fingers" at the Bush administration. Instead, he said, it was meant to make the case for having more water in the river as "a common sense approach" to managing the fisheries' needs.

The report says that of all the factors that contributed to the die-off, from the large number of fish to the presence of bacterial pathogens in the water, "flow is the only factor that can be controlled to any degree."

"Man can only do so much at this particular time," Mr. Manji said. "I think every scientist would agree that increased flows would reduce the potential for a big kill."

Last March, in a reversal of a curtailment the year before, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton presided over a ceremony at Klamath Falls, Ore., in which water was released to farmers that had been held back because of concern about endangered fish. The policy switch was denounced by fishermen, Indian tribes and many environmentalists, who vowed to fight it and a new 10-year management plan for the river that would keep water flowing to the farmers.

Kristen Boyles, a lawyer with Earthjustice, an environmental legal group that represents the opponents of the administration's policy, said the state report contributes to a growing consensus among scientists that diversions from the river for agriculture are harmful. The 230-mile Klamath River, which flows from Oregon to the Pacific Ocean near Redwood National Park in California, supplies irrigation water to about 200,000 acres of farmland through the federal Klamath Reclamation Project.


Jan. 7th, 2003 02:36 pm
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For the life of me, I’ve never been able to understand why so many Christians have a bee up their ass about evolution.

Posit your God on the front end of that bad boy and let Him/Her be a farmer.

Angel: - “Hey God, wait till you see what grew in the Australia Patch. The people down there are calling it Platypus.”

God: (Whose voice sounds like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons) - “Australians. Aren’t they the ones that make weird music by blowing into logs?”

Angel: - “Yes.”

God: - “Excellent!”

If people are so damned determined to build themselves an image of God, why not let it be a God of unthinkable patience and a love of freedom.

from Real Live Preacher
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Northwestern University professor Charles Moskos, the primary author of the current U.S. policy on gay and lesbian soldiers, said this week that he supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military if the nation reinstitutes the draft. Moskos, an influential military sociologist who has been widely consulted by policy makers on military personnel issues, offered his remarks Wednesday to researchers at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a research unit of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"If an open gay said, 'I want to go into the Army,' it would be his prerogative," Moskos said. "Of course, there would be problems with that, there would be hassles, but they probably could be overcome." Moskos, who has been criticized by colleagues and civil rights advocates for his defense of the military's antigay policy, acknowledged that his support for drafting gays might appear to undermine his rationale for barring openly gay soldiers during peacetime. But he said the draft represents a "higher virtue" than the privacy rights of straight soldiers, which he has frequently cited in his opposition to letting gays serve openly with straights. He added that instituting the draft would require ending all forms of the gay ban. "You can't use a gay ban with a draft because that would make it too easy for people to get out," he said.

Just so we're clear on this, as long as the military is a free education and a royal road to the middle class in peacetime, we don't want "open gays," even if they speak farsi or something.

Once there's a war to fight, straight soldiers can just look out for themselves in the showers. What the hell, they're gonna die anyway, right?

How much you gonna bet Jeb's kids still get out of going.

via Naked Writing
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I value his advice on terrorism," Mr. Bush said of Mr. Chambliss at a March campaign rally in Atlanta. "He's sound when it comes to counterterrorism. He's been in the Oval Office to give me sound, solid advice. And I've listened to it every time he's come in there."

Now it all becomes clear.

As Atrios reported last November, the Saxter's advice on counterterrorism is: "Just turn (the sheriff) loose and let him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line."

That would be Saxby "I have the intestinal fortitude to attack a triple amputee veteran's courage after spending the war hiding from the draft board like my own precious ass was on the line - can't say that about my opponent" Chambliss.

On the other hand, he knows more than somewhat about deranged religious radicals plotting to take over the country, being as Ralph Reed ran his campaign and all.

via digby and TBogg
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Musings has some questions about the lad's bona fides.

(dammit, I can't remember who I got this from - e-mail me, huh?)

edit: digby, of course. Who else. Sorry, digby.
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A scenario for the '04 elections. I don't know if I agree with all of the assumptions, but it's interesting.


Jan. 7th, 2003 03:55 pm
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Outside of a Dog (a book is man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read) has a whole bunch of stuff about Terry Pratchett. Spoilerama, but I've just finished rereading the night watch books and I'm primed.
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Electrolite on the purge of heritage enthusiasts from the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Now, apparently, it's being run by "heritage enthusiasts."
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Solonor apparently felt compelled by the tenor of his e-mail to explicitly label his commentary as satire.

I think that's sad on any number of levels.
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...Why, though, has the press failed to grasp Cheney's ineptitude? The answer seems to lie in the power of political assumptions. The historian of science Thomas Kuhn famously observed that scientific theories or "paradigms"--Newtonian physics, for instance--could accommodate vast amounts of contradictory evidence while still maintaining a grip on intelligent people's minds. Such theories tend to give way not incrementally, as new and conflicting data slowly accumulates, but in sudden crashes, when a better theory comes along that explains the anomalous facts. Washington conventional wisdom works in a similar way. It doesn't take long for a given politician to get pegged with his or her own brief story line. And those facts and stories that get attention tend to be those that conform to the established narrative. In much the same way, Cheney's reputation as the steady hand at the helm of the Bush administration--the CEO to Bush's chairman--is so potent as to blind Beltway commentators to the examples of vice presidential incompetence accumulating, literally, under their noses. Though far less egregious, Cheney's bad judgment is akin to Trent Lott's ugly history on race: Everyone sort of knew it was there, only no one ever really took notice until it was pointed out in a way that was difficult to ignore. Cheney is lucky; as vice president, he can't be fired. But his terrible judgment will, at some point, become impossible even for the Beltway crowd not to see.
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The disadvantages to the individuals so brought in are notable. If you think back to when we had the draft, people were brought in; they were paid some fraction of what they could make in the civilian manpower market because they were without choices. Big categories were exempted -- people that were in college, people that were teaching, people that were married. It varied from time to time, but there were all kinds of exemptions. And what was left was sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time, because the churning that took place, it took enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.

Donald Rumsfeld shares his thoughts on all those ultimately useless dead young men who weren't fortunate enough to have anal cysts or fathers in Congress or better things to do.

via Blah3
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