Goodbye to all that

I’m happy to say goodbye to 2004 tonight. It has been an interesting year. I mean that in all senses of “interesting,” but especially in the sense it has in the curse: May you live in interesting times. I hope that 2005 is a better year, but nothing happens on New Year’s Day. The marking of time is a human conceit; a way of attempting to manage the unmanageable. Every so often the unmanageable rises up and reminds us of its existence. Thus, we end the year in sorrow over the unimaginable tragedy of the deaths of so many from … Continue reading Goodbye to all that

Friday Action Alert – Amnesty International

Today’s Action Alert comes via PhoenixWoman in comments at Atrios’ house. The United Arab Emirates have sentenced two women to be flogged for becoming pregnant outside of marriage. Their names are Rad Zemah Mohammed and Wasini bint Sarjan. Amnesty International considers flogging to be cruel and inhuman punishment that constitutes torture. Click here to take action via Amnesty International. Continue reading Friday Action Alert – Amnesty International

Texas Group Formed to Oppose Gay Marriage Ban

The Dallas Morning News this morning has an article about a group that has been formed by Democratic political consultant, Jason Stanford, to fight the gay marriage ban proposal in Texas. Stanford has a web site, Stanford’s approach is one that I think is very good. He is going after this issue on the basis that the real threats to marriage in this country are domestic violence and the high divorce rate. Consequently, the entire wedge issue of gay marriage is largely meaningless in terms of ‘saving’ marriage in America. That amendment [to ban gay marriage], win or lose, … Continue reading Texas Group Formed to Oppose Gay Marriage Ban

Kickass Democrats: Gavin Newsom Edition

I missed this over the holidays. Gavin to bigots: Fuck you: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wasn’t mincing any words this morning when he told a national audience that he wasn’t worried that his stand on gay marriage may have hurt his political career. Speaking on CNN, the mayor responded — quote — “who cares” when asked if the gay marriage issue hurt his chances of advancing in politics. Newsom said he has no desire to be a career politician, saying — again quoting — “some of the most miserable human beings I have ever met in my life are … Continue reading Kickass Democrats: Gavin Newsom Edition

Department of Oh, Is That All

Another department head out at the CIA. The head of the CIA’s analysis branch has become the latest victim of a purge of the intelligence agency following the appointment of its new director, Porter Goss, it was reported yesterday. Jami Miscik has told her department she will leave in February, calling her exit part of the CIA’s “natural evolution” under new management. But former intelligence officials who know her say she would have preferred to stay and was being forced out by Mr Goss, a close ally of President Bush. One former official told the New York Times: “The decision … Continue reading Department of Oh, Is That All

Your Preznit in Three Brief Takes

From Holden: Your preznit spoke today and actually mentioned Osama: Now, Osama bin Laden issued a statement, as you know, which made the stakes of this pretty clear to me. His vision of the world is where people don’t participate in democracy. His vision of the world is where people kill innocent lives in order to affect their behavior and affect their way of living. That’s right, America, Osama kills people to affect their way of living. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to get one by ol’ Georgie. On the subject of disaster relief in … Continue reading Your Preznit in Three Brief Takes

Action Alert – Gonzales

Today’s Action Alert is simple: Call or write your senators and tell them to vote against confirming Gonzales as Attorney General. America neither needs nor wants an Attorney General who clearly believes that the president is above the law and has advised him that torture is justified. Frankly, we shouldn’t have to do this. Gonzales should never have been nominated – he should be facing disbarment instead. It is a disgrace that he advised the administration that it could freely violate the law. If he is affirmed as Attorney General, this country will never live it down. Continue reading Action Alert – Gonzales


Hey, Holden, I found your Bush boom: The totals in 2003 were already impressive: Lloyd S. Blankfein, the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs made $20.1 million, of that only $600,000 was salary; and E. Stanley O’Neal, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, received a bonus of $13.5 million and restricted stock worth $11.2 million on top of his $500,000 salary. At the other end of the compensation spectrum, an investment banking analyst right out of college would have made a $65,000 salary and a $35,000 bonus last year. An associate just out of business school might have … Continue reading Ugh

Talking About Abortion

Or, things my mother and I discuss after we’ve had a couple of glasses of odious “Christmas” wine and forget that it’s a futile argument. After the election, The Poor Man suggested it was time to just chuck the entire abortion rights plank of the party platform overboard and focus on winning, citing Clinton’s DOMA as a way to triangulate and outflank the religious right. Commenters pointed out that we needed some sort of liberal equivalent to Godwin’s Law, i.e. Clinton’s law, which states that anyone who cites Clinton as a political genius who somehow overcame the strictures of being … Continue reading Talking About Abortion

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden: We bring you a take-charge kind of guy: Q Trent, we’ve heard your statements about — for two or three days about the President’s sentiments, but we haven’t actually seen him, and, more importantly, the people in Sri Lanka or Indonesia or the other locations have not seen him step out, as he did so often after, say, September 11 and some other tragedies. Can you tell us why? MR. DUFFY: The President has already sent letters of condolences to the leaders in the seven countries. He has directed the United States to play a leading role in … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

How To Help Quake Victims

Stolen wholesale from here, a pretty comprehensive list of places to go. Pick whichever one you like and send a few bucks their way: ACTION AGAINST HUNGER 247 West 37th Street, Suite 1201 New York, N.Y. 10018 212-967-7800 x108 AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE 45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor New York, N.Y. 10018 800-889-7146 AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE AFSC Crisis Fund 1501 Cherry Street Philadelphia, Pa. 19102 215-241-7000 AMERICAN RED CROSS International Response Fund P.O. Box 37243 Washington, D.C. 20013 800-HELP NOW CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES Tsunami Emergency P.O. Box 17090 Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090 800-736-3467 DIRECT … Continue reading How To Help Quake Victims

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden: Holden here, checking in from my extended Christmas holiday vacation to keep you up to date on the gaggle. Little Scottie must be visiting his mom this week, Texas Comprtoller Carole Keaton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn (how bout them family values?!), ’cause backbencher Terrence Trent d’Uffy was subbing for him today. And it was indeed a boring gaggle, due to Scottie’s absence or that of Les Kinsolving I suppose. So instead of bringing you the straight gaggle today I’m going to play Fun with [snip]. Q Separately, a new bin Laden tape has emerged that’s calling on Iraqis not … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

Further Adventures of Senator-On-Turtle

I’m filing this under “Stories Which Elicit A General Sense of ‘Bite Me’:” Opponents of gay marriage concede victory will not be swift in their attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution, even after prevailing in all 11 states where the issue was on the ballot last month. � While the Nov. 2 election also increased the ranks of amendment supporters in both houses of Congress, the gains were relatively small. “We’re going to have to see additional court cases come down” supporting gay marriage before congressional sentiment shifts dramatically, predicted Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, who supports … Continue reading Further Adventures of Senator-On-Turtle

Action Alert – The Inauguration

The idea here is to turn the inaugural festivities into a negative for Bush. Write to your local paper and explain that inasmuch as the country is at war, it is shockingly inappropriate for Bush to spend $44 million on his coronat…oops…inauguration. He should just take the oath and get to work. Pictures of wealthy donors getting out of limousines in tuxedoes and cowboy boots are just wrong when our troops are suffering and dying in Iraq. It is extremely callous on Bush’s part to put on this kind of spectacle. Bush will hold the inauguration and all the parties … Continue reading Action Alert – The Inauguration

Yushchenko Takes Ukraine Election … Again

I don’t pretend to uderstand the politics involved here. But I can’t get over the actions of the protesters, the supporters, the ordinary people who made this happen. People stood in the streets for hours and they refused to leave until right was done. They wanted something and so they stood and they camped and they stayed, and it happened. I’ve spent three days listening to various people recite versions of a story they think was about a miracle; I have yet to hear anything that tops this. A. Continue reading Yushchenko Takes Ukraine Election … Again

Yuletide Noodling

It’s Christmas Eve and cold here in Dallas. It isn’t often cold at Christmas here and since I love cold weather, especially at Christmas, it makes me happy. It’s good to feel happy. I started out this season convinced that Christmas would go about the way the rest of 2004 has gone, which is to say, more or less fubar. I was mad about the childish fundies and their crusade to take every bit of fun possible out of the season with their small-mindedness. God those people must be miserable, honestly. Then my mother in law went into the hospital. … Continue reading Yuletide Noodling

Death Denied

The weather here has been frigid for days; I keep thinking it will finally get too cold for the earth to turn, the mechanism will jam. The tips of my fingers crack, there can’t be enough blankets, and each morning on the radio that wakes me I hear about the wind chill. The darkness was starting to make me claustrophobic. Then two days ago I held a friend’s week-old baby, a tiny little frog-creature who arched her back and flung out her long-fingered hands to grasp at something only she could see, deep blue eyes screwed tightly shut. She was … Continue reading Death Denied

No Room at the Inn for My Bush Boom

From Holden: New home sales take their biggest tumble in more than ten years. Sales of new U.S. homes tumbled at the sharpest rate in more than a decade in November, the government said on Thursday [snip] Sales of new homes plunged 12 percent last month, the biggest drop since a 23.8 percent fall in January 1994, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.125 million units. Continue reading No Room at the Inn for My Bush Boom

Freedom Is On The March!!

From Holden: A respected Iraqi politician calls on all foreigners to stop meddling in Iraq’s affairs. I’m looking at you, America. Adnan Pachachi, a leading Iraqi politician and one-time foreign minister, on Thursday accused Washington of interfering in Iraq’s affairs by insisting that the Jan. 30 election go ahead on time no matter what. [snip] “The strange thing is that America and Iran, who differ on everything, agree on one issue of holding elections on Jan. 30,” Pachachi told reporters. “It is not the business of the United State or Iran or any other country to talk about delaying or … Continue reading Freedom Is On The March!!

Grilled Gonzales?

From Holden: Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, Daniel Klaidman and Michael Hirsh predict a rough ride for Alberto “El Verdugo” Gonzales. Sources close to the Senate Judiciary Committee say a chief focus of the hearings will be Gonzales’s role in the so-called “torture memo,” as well as his legal judgment in urging Bush to sidestep the Geneva Conventions. In a Jan. 25, 2002, memo to Bush, Gonzales said the new war on terror “renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners.” Some State Department lawyers charge that Gonzales misrepresented so many legal considerations and facts (including hard conclusions by State’s … Continue reading Grilled Gonzales?

Better Take Another Look at That Soul, Georgie

From Holden: Vlad Putin had his own year-end press conference today. During the three-hour news conference that touched on a wide range of issues, Putin voiced continued support for the war on terror, but sniped at Washington over Iraq where he opposed the U.S.-led military invasion. He said Moscow welcomed the aspiration of all those who wanted to see the situation normalise but he added: “I have grave doubts as to whether democratic elections can be guaranteed in conditions of full occupation.” Putin carped at U.S. criticism of Russia’s elections and internal changes, including new laws to scrap gubernatorial elections, … Continue reading Better Take Another Look at That Soul, Georgie