Friday, April 29, 2005

This is where I will be all weekend ...

... will be playing on Sunday.

Friday night, The Wallflowers ...
Saturday night, Elvis Costello ...

More info: Beale Street Music Festival

Monday, April 25, 2005

Frist Comes Out In Favor Of Respecting Judges

In a break from the Delay wing of the Republican Party (read: religious nuts) Bill Frist has decided that the American people should respect judges rather than retaliate against them if we don't agree with their rulings. Frist, my home state Senator and Majority Leader, wants to appear as moderate as he can in preperation for his expected run for the presidency in 2008. And this is what passes for moderation nowadays in the GOP; not impeaching (or worse) judges for unfavorable rulings.
Frist also lied when he said that the Dems move to filibuster judicial nominees was the first time in history a judge has been prevented from getting an up or down vote on the floor. Lie, Lie, Lie. The Republicans controlled the Senate for most of Clinton's presidency and bottled up numerous appointments in committee. Nominees that NEVER recieved a vote.

It will be fun to watch the new populist Frist emerge over the next three years. Already his aides have been quietly grooming him for the primaries. It's rumored that part of his primary strategy will be to perform open heart surgery on Dick Cheney at key stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. Which will culminate with Frist performing mitro valve replacement on himself, to showcase his healthcare initiative which is tentatively called - CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN, YOU'LL SAVE MONEY BY HEALING YOURSELF: VOTE FRIST!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Former Member Of The Hitler Youth Assumes Papacy

It is so ironic the the guy who forgave the Jews for being Jewish was replaced by a member of the Hitler Youth. Pope John Paul II spent his younger days in the Polish resistance fighting the Nazis. (while the Vatican turned a blind eye to the holocaust)
Meanwhile, John Ratzinger was walking lock step with his Aryan brothers in the Fatherland.
When ask about the percieved irony of such a thing, Pope Benedict XVI said; "I was young, and it was required, I was just fallowing orders"......yada yada yada......
"Now it's your turn to follow orders people - LET THE INQUISITION BEGIN!"

Friday, April 15, 2005

Tom Delay: The Biggest Asshole Ever....

I don't usually do this, but here is what another blogger had to say on Tom "the hammer" Delay:


King of Crooks
By A. P. Short
April 15, 2005

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.
—Jesus the Nazarene, Matthew 23:27

Tom DeLay is not a likeable man. Some part of him has always known this, it seems, and has avoided the spotlight the way a cockroach or a beetle will, less out of a conscious sense of self preservation than because to operate in shadows and dark places is part of the creature's fundamental nature.

For twenty years, DeLay's penchant for ducking the limelight allowed him to coexist harmoniously with a Republican Party that was trying with all its considerable might, despite an increasingly draconian and heartless pro-corporate legislative agenda, to recast itself as the party of the common people.

When Newt Gingrich took over the House in 1994, DeLay was elected majority whip, the position for which he had been born and bred. Infamous for his tough tactics, many of them in ethical and legal gray areas, and renowned for his ability to convince unheard-of numbers of representatives to change their votes at the last minute to ensure passage of critical legislation, DeLay filled the post with ease and style. He was a success because he did things his way, but also because his way was exactly the way the party wanted it done.

DeLay was an invaluable Republican field general during the party's ten-year dominance of the U.S. House of Representatives, a streak that will continue at least until the 110th Congress is seated in January of 2007. He raised more money, twisted more arms, and destroyed more enemies of the Republican machine than anyone in his era, perhaps rivaling even all-time great fixers like Tex Colson, Richard Nixon, or Joe McCarthy.

Unfortunately for the GOP, the easy symbiosis between the seemingly respectable upper-class family and the crazy aunt in the attic could not last forever. Newt Gingrich was brought down by a wave of scandals, and Trent Lott, Gingrich's successor, met with his own ignominious end after publicly lamenting – in 2002 - the failure of Strom Thurmond's 1948 "Segregation Forever" presidential campaign.

Suddenly the Republicans found themselves in the position they had been avoiding for the better part of two decades – Tom DeLay was next in line for House Majority Leader. No longer could DeLay get by without ever speaking on the record, without stepping in front of television cameras to let the country get a very good look at the man who controlled, for practical purposes, the legislative agenda of the United States of America.

The fear, of course, was that Juanita Q. Public, like most people who get to know Tom DeLay, would not like what she saw. So the Republicans did their level best to ensure that Americans saw a little of DeLay as possible, and for the most part they were successful. By the end of 2004, DeLay was still bringing up the rear in polls gauging the public's knowledge of prominent political personalities – very few people outside of Texas had any idea who Tom DeLay was.

The Majority Leader's comfortable anonymity could not last forever. During the 2002 election campaign, DeLay pushed his already outrageous fundraising tactics to new heights, threatening donors with retribution if they gave to (or hired) Democrats and funneling vast sums of corporate cash into the coffers of Texas state Congressional campaigns. In doing so DeLay ran afoul of Texas law, and Democratic Attorney General Ronnie Earle wasted no time in busting up DeLay's racket.

By the beginning of 2005, several of DeLay's top aides were facing indictment on serious corruption charges, and speculation was mounting that DeLay himself could soon be charged with a felony. This development presented numerous complications, not least of which was the House ethics rule that a sitting Majority Leader who is indicted for a crime cannot continue in his leadership post. The Republicans, apparently not yet understanding how completely the lid had come off the hamper containing Tom DeLay's dirty laundry, moved to shield him from disciplinary action by changing the rules of the House to allow a member to continue on as Majority Leader despite being under indictment.

House leadership also retaliated against the Republican members of the House Ethics Committee who had agreed with their Democratic counterparts that DeLay's illegal fundraising was worthy of an official rebuke, replacing the wayward Republicans with DeLay loyalists. Then the House rules were changed once again, this time to make it essentially impossible for the ethics committee to conduct an investigation into a House member's ethical lapses (the sole reason for the committee's existence.)

Then in March, Tom DeLay made a rare political misstep that seems likely to cost him his leadership post, and perhaps even his Congressional seat. Seeing what looked to him like a golden opportunity to get some positive face-time with the American public, DeLay plunged himself headlong into the Terry Schiavo case, railing publicly against the "liberal judges" who had heartlessly allowed the woman's wishes to be carried out and the law to be followed.

The result was disaster. Even among the devout, the issue was a non-starter, and tiny percentages of the American population agreed with the Republicans' decision to intervene at the eleventh hour. To make matters worse, DeLay pontificated openly in public about why conservatives should be happy that God sent Terry Schiavo to save him from the Democrats and their evil liberal media empire. Mel Martinez circulated a memo drafted by a former DeLay associate that crowed about the wonderful (imaginary) political benefits that would accrue to the Republican party as a result of their meddling in the private affairs of a grieving American family. It was not the GOP's best moment.

By early April, stories of DeLay's shady dealings with corporate lobbyists and foreign companies were breaking almost daily, and public satisfaction with the Republicans in Congress was sinking fast. Slowly, it began to dawn on movement conservatives that it might be better to cut DeLay loose than to allow him to take the entire party down with him.

In recent weeks even extremely DeLay-friendly news outlets have gone rather wobbly. The National Review is hedging its bets with lukewarm, easily reversible defenses, while the Weekly Standard seems to have adopted an editorial policy of "Tom De-Who," avoiding any mention of the embattled Republican leader. The Wall Street Journal tossed DeLay to the wolves outright last week, and even the ferociously pro-DeLay Bill O'Reilly has subtly shifted his daily spin from "witch hunt" toward "innocent until proven guilty."

At the roots level, rank-and-file Republican bloggers are aghast that the party leadership would even consider putting its 2006 fortunes on the line for the sake of such a clearly corrupt and illegitimate leader. The pieces are all in place for DeLay to be hustled out of town quietly in the middle of the night like the Baltimore Colts. Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist will toss one more bad apple on the trash heap, and the GOP juggernaut will roll on, battered but unbowed.

Well, not so fast. Let the record show that it was not until DeLay became unpopular that House Republicans even discontinued their Herculean efforts to cover up his crimes, much less discovered the conscience they must have thought they left in their other pants.

Commentators across the land, many of them Republicans, have taken to calling Tom DeLay a "hypocrite," presumably because the legislator-for-sale is also conspicuously Christian. But Tom DeLay is no hypocrite. He is what he is, and he has never made any great attempt to hide it from his colleagues. This, after all, is the man who said, when asked why there shouldn't be at least some limits on corporate financing of election campaigns "Money is not the root of all evil in politics. Money is the lifeblood of politics."

Tom DeLay has never pretended to be anything other than a nakedly partisan political animal who will do absolutely anything to win. It's the rest of the Republican party whose hypocrisy is on display. The GOP, with all high-minded talk of civic duty and its flimsy talk show patriotism, is being exposed for what it is - the refuge of crooks, thieves and con men, with Tom DeLay their beloved but disgraced King.

Perhaps Tom DeLay is the most corrupt Republican in government. Even so, it is the coverup and not the crime which has brought low most prominent Republican criminals in our history, and on that score the entire party is implicated. Dennis Hastert engineered the shakeup of the ethics committee, and presided over the rule changes designed to keep DeLay in the House no matter what his crimes. Rick Santorum may be willing to call DeLay to account in April, but back in February he said nothing while the Republican leadership was purging the ethics committee to protect the Hammer.

Indeed, back before DeLay became toxic, but long after it became common knowledge that his money was raised through some very creative channels, prominent Republicans had no qualms about feeding at DeLay's ample trough. Eric Cantor, John Cornyn, John Thune, Lindsey Graham, Bob Ney, John Sununu, Norm Coleman, Bob Ehrlich, Chris Chocola, and Saxby Chambliss all took money from DeLay, and the list goes on and on. The list, in fact, is so long that it would literally be quicker to simply list the Republican congresspeople who have NOT financed their campaigns partially from Tom DeLay's tainted largesse.

But to focus on DeLay's overt corruption, his criminal activity, is actually to miss the real importance of his tenure as House Majority Leader, and just what it has done to the political climate in this country. For it is not DeLay's penchant for rewarding his donors with corporate pork or showering his immediate family with bogus "salaries" from his campaign coffers that has turned our legislative process into a farcical, undemocratic free-for-all.

In his lust for absolute power, Tom DeLay has fundamentally changed the way the American legislature is run - trampling on the rights of the minority and of the public the Congress is supposed to serve, and making a mockery of the values set forth in the U.S. Constitution. DeLay has for years longed for a system where the checks and balances that the founders set forth have been dismantled in favor of unfettered one-party rule, bought and paid for with endless rivers of corporate money.

The moves DeLay has made toward this nightmarish ideal have not been made in secret, but out in the open. And even now, at the moment of DeLay's disgrace, John Cornyn continues to endorse DeLay's dark vision of Republican dictatorship by threatening judges who refuse to bow to GOP pressure to subvert the laws of their states. Bill Frist continues his push to remove the right to filibuster judicial appointments, paving the way for the GOP to stack the already conservative federal bench with hordes of Republican partisans.

No doubt it will not be long, now that Chris Shays has broken the ice and become the first Republican to call for DeLay to step down, that some idealistic young GOP rep will stand in front of a microphone and call Tom DeLay a "cancer on the Republican party." Embodied in that statement will be a lie much greater than any that DeLay or his ample right-wing spin machine ever produced.

Tom DeLay IS the Republican party. He represents everything the party has stood for going back to the time of Ronald Reagan - hatred, hypocrisy, and endless, endless greed. The GOP may succeed in cutting Tom DeLay out like a tumor, but the cancer that threatens to choke our democracy will continue to grow.

In the next few months, as DeLay continues to circle the drain and is eventually pulled to his doom, we will learn very little about the man that we do not already know. He will lash out in desperation as the end draws near; he will expose his fundamental meanness and lack of human compassion as he personally attacks the people he once called his friends.

It is the rest of our congresspeople, both Republican and Democratic alike, who will show us their true colors in the final days of DeLay's tenure as House Majority Leader. Those who have not succumbed to the ethic that DeLay embodies - power and money at all costs, and the American people be damned - will step forward and call for a return to government by the people, not by K Street lobbyists and slick PR executives in two hundred dollar ties.

We will know the rest of them, the tainted ones, by the careful way in which they present the Tom DeLay problem as a problem with the man, and not one that infected the institution itself. Those who continue to profit from the atmosphere that Tom DeLay brought to the U.S. Congress may pile on DeLay as his carcass begins to bloat, but they will not have the courage to ask, not what Tom DeLay was, but HOW he came to rise to a position of such great power, and WHY it took so long for him to be exposed.

If these corrupt elements, and they exist in both parties, are allowed to get away with pretending that Tom DeLay was the problem, another Tom DeLay will simply rise to take his place. Americans will continue to lose faith in their leaders' commitment to representing them, and we will fall further toward the disintegration of the democratic experiment we all claim to love.

The King of Crooks is sick and dying, but his court lives on. Are we rabble content with our small victory, or shall we storm the keep as well?


Visit A. P. Short's blog

Monday, April 11, 2005

Air America Comes To The Dirty South

Al Franken will broadcast from the Civil Rights Museum here in Memphis Tuesday April, 12th. I'm bummed that I have to work, or I would definitely stop by. Honestly, I've never heard his show. I like his books, and his humor, and his politics. The problem is, until recently, his show wasn't even on in Memphis. And like most liberals, I don't NEED to be indotrinated by the party intelligencia. I get my news from several different sources and then make up my own mind.
The "ditto heads" who listen to Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, require that daily affirmation on "how" to think. His show is just a pep rally for the pseudo-populist, nouveau racist, dim witted, moronic, rabble, who lustily hang on his every word like derranged lemmings. He has been discredited so many times; no one takes him seriously anymore. (With the exception of those above.)
So in honor of Frankens visit to Memphis, I will tune in, and maybe even try to call in and say something mean about "W", or Delay, or even Limbaugh. You know, the way talk radio should be.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Jeff Gannon Wants You To Know The Truth

When Jeff Gannon came up with the name "James Guckert", he had your best interest in mind. That is, if you were one of the "red" state people who were glad to have a second Bush presidency, you were cool with it. That thing about him whoring himself out on his own gay website, well, we don't know about. We only know the way He CHARACTerisd the accusations was - "that is an allegation" -

I am still in awe about a man, who for the last two years, has been waved into the White House press room on a daily basis under a fake name, had very little in the way of explanation, as to why he had been allowed to do so. But kudos to him for showing up in the first place. His plan was to spin a partisan yarn and make the "left leaning media" seem like they are on a witch hunt.

Problem # 1. He used a fake name as his by-line.(Jeff Guckert)

Problem # 2. He used a fake "news orginazition" as his cover.(Tallon News)

Problem # 3. He used his "real" picture for his solicitations on his gay websites.

Monday, April 04, 2005

April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. had returned to Memphis determined to lead a non-violent protest in support of striking sanitation workers. He arrived back in Memphis on April 3rd. That night at Mason Temple King gave his famous "Mountaintop" speech. He was prophetic in many ways. Not just about his own demise but about some of the problems facing the poor and oppressed minorities around the world, and the consequences of inaction:

[That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn't done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed. Now, I'm just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I'm happy that He's allowed me to be in Memphis.]

The most famous part, and I suppose my favorite part still is the last paragraph:

[Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.]

Of course the next day, at the Lorraine Motel, not far from where I'm writing this, everyone knows what happened. The Lorraine is now the National Civil Rights Museum, and if you're ever in town you should see it. The last stop on the museum tour is his actual hotel room, recreated as it was that spring day in 1968. It is very moving place. You just stand there, right next to the last door he ever walked out of. Second floor balcony.

To read the entire speech, go to: this page.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Dead Wrong

The bi-partisan report released yesterday on WMD in Iraq, spells it out pretty clear. "DEAD WRONG!" What a fucking surprise. Those of us who said the case for war was never made in the first place are not surprised. The president, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and the rest of the neo-cons aren't surprised either; they knew. That's why they threw out a bogus link to Ossama Bin Laden at the time, to sweeten the deal.

Getting away with the lie, is one thing. Escaping the harsh judgement of history will be far harder for these treacherous assholes to do.

Another Religious Nut Threatens America

Tom Delay started out his career as an exterminator. Now he wants to exterminate the Constitution. He doesn't care about checks and balances; unless you're referring to the illegal checks funneled through his Texas PAC and the balances left in his bank account. He wants to impeach the judges who upheld the law and the constitution not because the judges did something wrong or illegal, but because he didn't agree with them. This is the same man who had to have the ethics rules changed to make it harder to investigate and punish his own misconduct. Like using the FAA to track the plane of Texas state representatives who fled the state trying to stop the jerrymandering of district lines. Or holding open the voting on the medicare bill for three hours while he threatened and bribed members of his own party to get them to support it. Or how he circumvented Texas state law by funnelling $190,000 to the RNC and then directly supporting his PAC candidates with that exact same $190,000.

But Delay is not bothered by any of this. And he will tell you himself, he answers to a "higher authority" than the Constitution. Of course he does, him and every other religious nut. The problem with governing an entire society based on religious doctrine is evident when you examine the countries that do it. Look at Iran, look at Saudi Arabia, is this what kind of government we want? The religious nuts got together and attacked us on 9/11. Now, the Mullahs in our own country want to attack the Constitution.

The irony is that now, the true conservatives are finding themselves allied with the liberals. They both agree that the government should stay out of our lives.