Saturday, April 30, 2005

Say NO to the Drug War

R rated protest picture

Great Moments in Texas Politics - Senfronia Thompson

JR 6 speech against discrimination by Representative Senfronia Thompson

I have been a member of this august body for three
decades, and today is one of the all-time low points.
We are going in the wrong direction, in
the direction of hate and fear and discrimination.

Members, we all know what this is about;
this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a
wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real
things we need to be working on. At the end of this
session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not
be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental
and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It
does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax
relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education
system. It does not restore one child to CHIP who
was cut from health insurance last session. It does
not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World
access to health care. It does not do one thing to
care for or protect one elderly person or one child
in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to
protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and
discrimination. I know something about hate
and fear and discrimination.
When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk
about "protecting the institution of marriage" as
well. What they meant was if people of my color
tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd
often find the people of my color hanging from a
tree. That's what the white folks did back then to
"protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks
thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to
the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian.
I read the good book, and do my best to live by it.
I have never read the verse where it says, "gay
people can't marry." I have never read the verse
where it says, "though shalt discriminate against
those not like me." I have never read the verse
where it says, "let's base our public policy on
hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to
me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness-
not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years-and I
have seen a lot of promises broken. I should
be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule
because that's another promise you broke. You
used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the
cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now
that blacks and women have equal rights-you turn
your hatred to homosexuals- and you still use your
misguided reading of the Bible to justify your

You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you
can go home and brag. Brag about what? Declare
that you saved the people of Texas from what? Persons
of the same sex cannot get married in this State now.
Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages,
civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships,
contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered
into in this State- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then
that is one thing- the Chisum amendment does real harm.
It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid
thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers
of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint
ownership and support agreements.
You have lost your way- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator-
you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we
need to address so that you can instead play on the public's
fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into
thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights-but I can
guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not
hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink
as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great
grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an
integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of
Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for
nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're
trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I
had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench
my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter
restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering
most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury. I
had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get
you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship
feels like.

In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down
this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the
field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person
amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then,
too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty,
and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against
homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job
protections. We have denied them and their children
freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have
tried to criminalize their very existence. But, we have also
absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to
care for and support their spouses and children, to count
their family's assets in determining public assistance, to
obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life
or necessary medical decisions for their life partners---
sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend
our own country. And then, we can stand on our two
hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual
families are unstable."

And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual
in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family
members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors,
have embraced them within your own family for the essence
of Christianity is love. Yet,you are now poised to constitutionalize
discrimination against a particular class of people.

I thought we would be debating real issues:education, health
care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly,
protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of
seniors in nursing homes. I thought we would be debating economic
development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem
cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more
abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's
time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing

The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids-sweet
little vulnerable kids - out of the homes of loving parents and put them
back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's
disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of
my ilk, when I was a small child; they too are second class citizens.

I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.

Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere.
But, I want you to know that this amendment is blowing smoke to fuel the
hell-fire flames of bigotry. You are trying to protect your constituents
from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go
home and talk about.

Senfronia Thompson is a proud and loyal Democratic State Representative from Northeast Houston/Harris County and currently represents District 141 from which she was first elected in 1972. Representative Thompson may be reached by email in Austin at or in Houston at

She is also serving her first term on the Democratic National Committee representing the Lone Star State having been elected at the Houston Convention in June 2004.

Sent by Carl Whitmarsh - proud Texas Democrat

Democrat Hero Jim Moren

The Raw Story | In scathing interview, Democrat says Bush Social Security plan won't help; Dubs Cheney 'ass kisser'

One of the Democrats that Bush counted on to support his Social Security dismantling speaks out and it's a scorcher. This is especially significant as he was counted as one of the most sure votes for any bill the GOP put forward on Social Security. Until more Democrats speak out like this and use similar plain language to state what Bush and the GOP leadership is doing they will remain the minority party.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

CNN Blackholeing Blog Critics from Google

CNN using comment spamming to remove critical articles from Google searches.

CNN sucks now. At least you know what you are getting at the faster paced but Fascist FOX NEWS.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Someone else has spotted that Friedman is a pile of manure


The usual ratio of Friedman criticism is 2:1, i.e., two human words to make sense of each single word of Friedmanese. Friedman is such a genius of literary incompetence that even his most innocent passages invite feature-length essays.

On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans. Man flies on planes, observes the wonders of capitalism, says we're not in Kansas anymore. (He actually says we're not in Kansas anymore.) That's the whole plot right there. If the underlying message is all that interests you, read no further, because that's all there is.

Monday, April 25, 2005

No Plan, No Clue, Train wreck coming

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal quotes Business Week:
Howard Gleckman: "Despite their brave talk about the need to control the red ink, President George W. Bush and Congress are marching in the opposite direction. At Bush's urging, lawmakers are about to approve an additional $80 billion to fund the war in Iraq for 2005. The House has voted to repeal permanently the estate tax -- at a staggering 10-year cost of nearly $1 trillion. Congress is abandoning a White House request to trim farm subsidies, and lawmakers are balking at modest cuts in Medicaid.... You don't need a green eyeshade to understand the long-range problem. Today, as a percentage of the economy, federal tax revenues are at 50-year lows -- only about 16% of gross domestic product. But spending is humming along at 20% of national output.

And that's just the beginning of the problem. As the boomers age, three government programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- will suck up a mind-boggling chunk of the income the nation produces. In just two decades, those programs alone will eat up every dollar of anticipated tax revenues.... Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who gave the green light to big deficits in early 2001 when he put his stamp of approval on Bush's tax cuts, told the Senate Budget Committee on Apr. 21 that the budget is 'on an unsustainable path.'"
He continues with the Financial Times before concluding: And it's not the most fiscally irresponsible U.S. administration since World War II. It's the most fiscally irresponsible U.S. administration since before Alexander Hamilton rammed Revolutionary War debt assumption through Congress.

Monday, April 11, 2005

D. James Kennedy's Creepy False History

I was manually flipping through the channels the other day and stopped at TBN. Trinity Broadcasting Network is the voice of Christian orthodox evangelical fundamentalists around the world and the new voice of the Republican base here at home.

TBN has had recent programming changes since there is controversy over the homosexuality and sumptuous lifestyle of its main on-air spokesman and founder and his outing by popular faith healer Benny Hinn.

The program I couldn't get past creeped me out. D. James Kennedy was preaching on Thomas Jefferson and the myths and lies liberals were spreading about him in an effort to destroy the United States.

First, D. James Kennedy, I can't bring myself to type Dr., looks like an alien from Star Trek, an anti-Vulcan. Instead of pointed ear tips on top he has no ear lobes but a pointy stretch of skin below. Just what you want in a leader - an anti-Vulcan. Away with calm logic, I have the authority of hateful lies.

Second, he was using the rhetoric all too common nowadays from the GOP and Christian fundamentalists about the "evil" liberals, the "evil" American Civil Liberties Union, (who by the way defended Rush Limbaugh's right to keep medical records private), the "evil" liberal media establishment, and the "evil" fake historians and educators. All of us educated civil libertarians and liberals out here are evil, evil, evil and going to Hell, Hell, Hell. He even added a dig about the anarchistic godless French.

Third, he distorted and twisted history. He proceeded to try to pull every time Jefferson supported the church and Christianity as an example of what a great Christian leader he was. One who would support what his organization is trying to do which is to "recreate" America as a Christian theocracy.

During all this he glossed over and tried to explain away Jeffersonian positions he didn't approve of. The "wall of separation between Church and State" he said really was the church being protected from the government. There wasn't any such thing as the Jefferson Bible, Jefferson's cutting out of the parts of the Bible he couldn't support - this was only Jefferson creating a moral guidebook based on the Bible. The little problems that Jefferson had with Christianity can be explained away as Jefferson's loss of loved ones and not having access to a minister for theological guidance. As an aside he mentioned Lincoln's "falling in with the wrong crowd" as an explanation for his unorthodox views.

This was a lecture sermon on the myths and distortions of Jefferson that was full of myths and distortions. Jesus, every time I see a sermon lately I feel I need equal time.

Both Lincoln and Jefferson could be called liberal Christians which these crackpot fundamentalists don't understand. They seem to feel they must lie and distort history to explain away their views.

Jefferson in particular did not believe in the rank superstitions which he felt had been inserted into the Bible. He believed Jesus was a great man but did not rise from the dead and all miracles are superstitions added by credulous ignorant people. Abraham Lincoln believed in a God of love and these fundamentalists don't. Jefferson said he would have been a Unitarian if a church had been near him. Lincoln supported Universalism, which says the message of Jesus and the Bible is love and no tyrant would be so cruel as to condemn people to everlasting punishment. These are the mind and heart responses a thinking loving person can apply toward Christianity.

Media Transparency has created an information page on the powerful political power D. James Kennedy now has.

What distinguishes Dr. Kennedy from the more colorful, media-genic, and recognizable religious right figures such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Dr. James Dobson is that "Kennedy has shepherded his flock in a more orderly, and Presbyterian style into the Christian Right."" Part of his crusade is to twist American history to make people believe that the U.S. was founded as a 'Christian nation.' "It is this false, historical revisionism that is central to the ideology of the Christian right -- it's a critical part of their justification to restore an idea that never was."

Between the years 1998 and 2003, Dr. Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and Evangelism Explosion received more than $7.2 million in grants from conservative foundations. The most generous donors, according to Media Transparency, have been the Orville D. and Ruth A. Merillat Foundation and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, which alone ponied up nearly $6 million earmarked as "unrestricted grant[s]" to the organization's "general fund."
American's United for the Separation of Church and State have obtained a recording of the GOP leaders pledging to strongly push the Religious Right agenda on judicial nominations, church politicking, abortion, marriage, the Terri Schiavo case and other right to life issues.

Just another sign that America is being lead by mutants straight to Hell.

The Light of Reason also sees the GOP quoting Stalin to lead us to Hell.

This was a birthday blog - now back to job hunting.

Unitarian Jihad

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sibling Jackhammer of Loving Kindness.

Get yours.