Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Another one for the good guys

The Patriot Act took another blow today, with a US District Court judge ruling that the FBI could not demand confidential records without cause. Yea!

One of my biggest problems with Patriot Act defenders is their argument that it hasn't been abused. Rush, Medved, O'Reilly and their ilk always say to critics to cite an example where the P.A has been used incorrectly or abused. That argument is a straw man that ignores the fact that a bad law is a bad law, regardless of whether it's used or not. And, no, there have not been abuses of the Patriot Act... yet. But the law is on the books, and down the road if Bush and his cronies decide that war protestors, or ANSWER, or some other leftist group is "affiliated" with terrorists, what is to stop them from using provisions in the PA? This is not even a "slippery slope" argument, I am simply contending that it does not matter if a bad law is used well or not, it is still a bad law.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Bush is never wrong

Well, Bush's refusal to ever acknowledge a mistake continues, as he says in a recent interview that he would "absolutely" have done the "Mission Accomplished" dress-up speech on the aircraft carrier again if he had the chance to go back. Money quote from the president-

"These kids had been on a very long cruise,.... They'd been on a cruise to both, in two theaters of war now, Afghanistan and Iraq. I flew out there, and said, 'Thanks. Thanks on behalf of a grateful nation.' You bet I'd do it again."

Of course, their cruise was made even longer by the fact that the carrier was so close to shore it actually had to turn back out to sea to accommodate the president's asinine flight out to the carrier. I'm sure the sailors would have been just as happy if Bush had waited to thank them once they were docked. What an ass.

Seahawks 3-0

Well, my 'Hawks are 3-0 going into a bye week after a convincing victory over division rival San Francisco. After watching them play, I predict they go 13-3. The games I'm worried about are all on the road against the Patriots, Jets and Vikings. Taking a win on even one of those 3 would be HUGE for the Hawks.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

One for the good guys

The Florida Supreme Court struck down "Terri's Law", the one that forced a woman who had been in a vegetative state for 14 years to continue to live. The short version is, Terri Schiavo had suffered brain damage and had been a vegetable for 12 years, unable to eat or drink without a feeding tube, or communicate with her family. Her husband wanted to let her die which was, according to him, her wishes, but there is no written will. Her parents got an injunction, got pro-lifer Jeb Bush involved, and the legislator passed "Terri's Law" to have the feeding tube replaced.

My question for the "right to life" crowd is this: Why is life, in and of itself, regardless of quality, something you think is so important? I can't think of a worse hell than my entire life being in a hospital bed unable to think, enjoy life or food and draining my family's resources, and when those run out, the state's. I feel bad for her parents, but they still think Terri will recover with more therapy! It's been 14 years! I just don't comprehend the idea that ANY life, no matter the quality is something worth holding on to at all costs.

The moral is, have a living will.

Pain management and the DEA

What is wrong with our priorities?!?! Forget for a moment the colossal failure that is the drug war, and the billions of dollars wasted, the rights trampled on and lives ruined for a moment. What is going on with doctors and patients with chronic pain, and the DEA is truly obscene. The link above comes from Radley Balko (, and is a disturbing look at an increasing trend. I encourage reading the links in his story as well.

Basically, because the DEA wants to crack down on illegal prescription drug use/sales, what is happening is that doctors are afraid to prescribe appropriate doses of pain relievers (vicodin, oxycotin, etc.) for fear of being prosecuted as a drug dealer, or losing their medical license. Meanwhile, patients in blinding pain every moment of their lives are either under prescribed the medication they need, or are cut off completely after a few refills. They are left with the option of "doctor shopping" or buying the pills illegally, making otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals. Prosecutors and politicians have no problem prosecuting these doctors and patients, because, hey, they're just addicts and pushers, right? And, because of mandatory minimums, a judge with common sense doesn't even have the ability to impose probation on people convicted of these "crimes". The government is criminalizing medical care, at the expense of people in need of real medical help. God forbid, something happens to you that causes you massive chronic pain. You might just have to suffer or kill yourself.

But it's ok when Rush pops pills, right?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Fox (Faux) News

Although there has been plenty written about the joke that is Fox News, I think the only thing you need to look at is who they hire as their "experts".

Military Expert- Oliver North, a disgusting liar who dealt and worked with terrorists. Now hosts "War Stories" on Fox, and is a frequent "expert" on their various shows. Here's a nice breakdown by David Hackworth-

Political Analyst- Dick Morris, a man fired for being too sleazy for Clinton, for Christ's sake. The man is so low he had to talk on the phone to the president in the presence of a prostitute! How sad do you have to be to feel you have to impress a woman you are paying to spend time with you? Yet the network that the "family values" crowd watch for their news regularly has Dick on to "analyze" politics, usually trashing the Democrats (you know, the party that gave him a job). Great guy.

Law Enforcement Expert- Mark Furman, a closet racist who pretty much single-handedly blew the O.J. Simpson case.

embedded Reporter/War Analyst- Geraldo Rivera, pretty much a journalistic joke for the last 15 or so years anyway, was such a jackass, he gave away a unit's position on television! And Fox did not fire him! The military removed his embedded credentials, but he continued to report for Fox.

So given Fox's judgment in who they hire, why would anyone take anything they said with more than a grain of salt?

ADDENDUM, 9/29/04: A new Fox News Poll on their website today asks "Do you believe that Saddam Hussein was part of 9/11 attacks on U.S.?" Yes- 54%, No- 38%, I did but no longer think that- 2%, None of the above- 6%

How dumb are Fox New viewers?!?!? The belief in a link between Saddam and 9/11 is a running joke on just about every other news station or writing, excluding the neocon crew of course. I also got a kick out of this story comparing the educational level and economic level of The O'Reilly Factor and The Daily Show viewers, done after O'Really(?) dismissed Stewart's audience as "stoned slackers"-

Gay Marriage!

A newly formed group, Allies for Marriage and Children is trying to change the state constitution to ban gay marriage. Frankly, government should get out of the marriage biz entirely, but since that is not going to happen, why don't these groups start by addressing the existing problems in straight marriage first?

The idea of "the sanctity of marriage" is a joke anyway. Between no-fault divorces, 50-70% infidelity in marriages, and being able to get married in Las Vegas while drunk, how "sacred" is marriage in the first place? Allowing a small minority of the population to join the marriage party is not going to influence the institution one way or another. Those who believe in "traditional" marriage will not be affected. The anti-gay marriage groups are simply trying to legislate their beliefs that homosexuality is a sin. Whether it is or not, legislation should not have a dog in this fight at all.

And, no, gay marriage will not result in an outbreak of incest and beastiality.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bush and the Economy-

Recently, the Bush campaign has been trying to tout an improvement in the economy by using increasing home ownership, and especially unprecedented home ownership by black Americans. They conveniently forget to acknowledge two reasons for this- 1) Insanely low interest rates that were lowered in response to an economy that went into recession when Dubya took office, and 2) The high rate of ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgages).

Many analysts are worried that these ARMs are a ticking financial time bomb, and that in 5-7 years we will see an unprecedented amount of foreclosed properties when those ARMs have their first adjustments. For example, a new homeowner may have been able to afford to buy a house at the super low intro rate on the adjustable, say 4.500%. After 5 years, however, that rate could go up to 10.000%, effectively doubling the homeowner's mortgage payment, making it unaffordable. But these little details are ignored by the administration. It just sounds so much better to tout unprecedented home ownership, doesn't it?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Bush and staying the course-

I am constantly perplexed by the fact that so many Bush supporters cite Bush's unwavering attitude on Iraq and terrorism as one of the things they like about him. Staying the course is only a good idea if you are on the right course to begin with. And changing course when you get blown off course is a very good idea. I don't understand what is admirable about a leader who refuses to acknowledge mistakes, refuses to change their mind when facts and situations change, and seems to live in a fantasy world. The man said our strategy in Iraq is working on the same day his own intelligence services stated that the best we could hope for is "tenuous stability" and at worst, all out civil war. This is our working strategy?

Seahawks Post:

Well, my Seattle Seahawks are 2-0 and have matched their total road wins from last year, so I'm a happy man this Monday morning. The defense is looking good, and the offense made the plays they had to to eke out the win. The 'Hawks have San Francisco and St. Louis next, so are poised to start the season 4-0.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Intro to my blog. I will be posting about whatever catches my interest in politics and culture here in Seattle and around the world. Washington is a weird state politically, and I have a weird perspective on politics. I do have to say, one of my basic personal principles is that anyone who defines themselves politically or personally as a part of a group is an ignoramus. I am liberal on some things, conservative on others, and indifferent to many things that seem to be important to a lot of the public.

I grew up in the "liberal" west of Washington and lived in the "conservative" east of the state for 7 years, ages 20-27. I try to read a piece of everything before I form an opinion, but like a lot of us, I will probably get drunk and post some ill-conceived bullshit sometimes, or even sober, say some other bullshit. I will try to correct myself when I do.

Regardless, I like debate, and I love people who can change my mind, or at least make me question and examine what think or believe.