Informed Content

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Daily Press Letter Today

As anyone who submits letters to the Daily Press knows they are subject to editing by the paper. The letter on mine published today was edited and I thought a couple of valid points were omitted. I think the most serious omission was the connection of my opening paragraph to salient points made latter.

Here is the letter in it's entirety.


There is no better example of black is white, up is down, irrational thinking of the right wing in this country than the screed proffered by Michael Cochrane (State and religion intersect at marriage) on March 21st.

Cochrane acknowledges the distinction between the act of a church service (religious act) and the act of the creating a legal union by the signing a marriage certificate (legal act). Millions get married outside of churches and without clergy yet all marriages are legal creations of the state whether a priest or magistrate signs the certificate. If you don’t believe me, try getting a divorce at your church.

Cochrane writes he desires to enshrine in the constitution a tenant of his religious belief. He chooses to deny consensual and loving adults the same rights and privileges granted other couples. Unbelievably, he postulates forcing his religious belief on people who disagree makes him the victim! Cochrane fails to enumerate the legal right(s) of which he is deprived because there are none. If one does not like something, you have the right to abstain from it. If you and your church don’t approve same-sex marriages; you have the right to not host the ceremony. Believe it or not, Mr. Cochrane, gay and ummarried couples are not looking to you and your church for endorsement of their choice. Just leave them free, with the same state provided legal protections, to choose their life’s partner without your religion imposed on them. Absent that, Mr. Cochrane, is precisely what losing legal rights looks like.

Charles F. Stanton
Newport News

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Are you a 34 Percenter?

Here is a simple test.
If you answer yes to any of these questions you are likely in the 34% of the population that still supports Bush.

Do you think Iraq attacked us on 9/11?

Do you think Saddam Hussein worked with Osama Bin Laden and helped fund Al Qaeda?

Do you think Saddam was acquiring yellow cake uranium from Niger for the purpose of building a nuclear bomb?

Do you think Saddam had unmanned aerial vehicles laden biological and chemical weapons capable of striking the United States at any time?

Ok, now, this is a trick question. Ready? Bush recently said that Iran is supplying components used to make IEDs in Iraq. Do you believe him?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, CONGRATULATIONS! You are a member of the illustrious 34% that still thinks Bush is doing a heckuvajob. You probably also receive your "news" from talk radio and Faux News. You are an enabler for one of the worst administrations in our history. Thanks for nothing!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Miller vs. Webb

Here is a good read from

VA-Senate Primary: Miller versus Webb

by Matt Stoller, Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 07:28:27 PM EST

George Allen, a dull man who incessantly uses football metaphors, was considered unbeatable a few years ago. Now the mythical conventional wisdom makers have decided that it's a race. The primary on the Dem side is quite interesting, as it's showing that aside from the moderate-liberal fight in the party, there's also a populist-insider fight. James Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, is fighting with Harris Miller, a tech lobbyist, for the Democratic nomination. The Washington Post's Robert Barnes has a nice article about the race:

The 60-year-old former Marine has a complicated résumé for die-hard Democratic voters to sort through: Republican Capitol Hill staffer; Reagan administration official; supporter of Robb against Oliver L. North in the Senate campaign of 1994; supporter of Allen against Robb in the Senate campaign of 2000. He has had kind words for those who fought for the Confederacy; unkind words for the Clinton administration, which he called "corrupt"; and now says that Allen has no accomplishments and that George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan.

"I am like a huge percentage of people in this country, where I've had trouble with both political parties over the years," he said. "But when you look at the future . . . in my view, the answers to the problems in America come from the traditions of the Democratic Party."

Webb, who lives in Falls Church, took his time before deciding to join the race, egged on by a "Draft Webb" Web site on which followers post rhapsodic reviews of Webb's military expertise and leadership potential.

While Webb was making up his mind, Miller jumped in, and the result is an interesting (for political junkies) split among the consultant class that has helped produce Virginia's last two Democratic statewide victories.

Former governor Mark R. Warner took a break from his own potential presidential wanderings to attend a fundraiser for Miller on Tuesday night; aides say that Warner agreed to attend when Miller, of Fairfax County, was the only Democrat in the race and that his presence is not an endorsement. Miller's team is led by consultant Mo Elleithee, who has worked for both Warner and Kaine, and his pollster is Geoffrey Garin, who polled for Warner.

Webb has enlisted Steve Jarding and David "Mudcat" Saunders, who made their names as the architects of the rural-urban strategy that got Warner elected in 2001, and his pollster is Peter Brodnitz, whom Kaine counted on to take the public's pulse last year.

Miller's supporters describe him as being in the moderate mold of Warner; more than one Democrat has said Webb's candidacy is more intriguing but is "high-risk, high-reward." For his part, Kaine says he's glad that Democrats have enough candidates willing to take on the uphill battle against Allen to make a primary.

I met Mark Warner briefly once, and I really couldn't distinguish him from any other political candidate. It was at what he calls a 'Happy Hour with a Purpose', a townhall-style event that takes place in a bar and without as much speechifying as a normal political event. He gets credit for understanding that what is exciting about politics is not the speeches, but the social interactions and sense of comraderie that emerges from public discourse. That this race is taking place in Virginia, and that he is involved here, is quite interesting.

I don't know that much about Webb or Miller, so these are just impressions. Miller strikes me as a Kaine-type centrist - the guy was a lobbyist after all. He seems to be running on competence. Webb by contrast is kind of an old school Southern populist who is seeking to bring working class votes back into the Democratic Party with an attack on economic and political elites. I read his Born Fighting book a few years ago, and I enjoyed it.

The whole dynamic here is strange and interesting, and I'm curious to see where it goes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reach out to Republicans and Loose Your Hand

In a crass political poke in the eye to Governor Kaine, the republicans in the house voted to block the appointment of Danny LeBlanc as the Governor's Secretary of Commonwealth. Rejection of the appointment to the Governors Cabinet is unprecedented for a qualified candidate.

We must re-dedicate ourselves to the mission to replace every one of these republican hacks. Here is a statement from the Governor's office.

~ On House Rejection of Cabinet Nominee Danny LeBlanc ~

RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine issued the following statement following today's vote by the Republican-led House of Delegates to reject the nomination of Secretary of the Commonwealth-designate Daniel LeBlanc, a former AFL-CIO leader:

"I am saddened that the House leadership has chosen the Washington style path of partisanship by rejecting a good and capable man. This action turns its back on Virginia tradition. Virginians deserve better.

"I have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated my willingness to appoint outstanding individuals on a bipartisan basis to serve in my administration. Never before has the Legislature - regardless of which party is in the majority, and regardless of which party controls the Governor's office - ever denied a Governor his prerogative to make Cabinet-level appointments.

"I have known and trusted Danny LeBlanc for 25 years, and I have admired his spirited efforts to improve health and retirement benefits for working people across this state. He is a decent, honorable man, well-qualified to assist me as Secretary of the Commonwealth - a role in which he would verify the background of potential appointees and advise me on appointments to various boards and commissions.

"The Secretary of the Commonwealth has no - I repeat, no - role in the enforcement of Virginia's right-to-work law, a law I strongly support. Likewise, while the Secretary of the Commonwealth compiles information on requests for restoration of voting rights, the actual analysis and decisions are made by the Governor. The House leadership is fully aware of these facts, but facts had no bearing on today's exercise in partisan excess.

"It is a sad day when the House Republican majority enforces a rigid, party-line vote to reject a qualified Cabinet-level appointee. I thank Danny for his willingness to serve and express my appreciation to those who supported his nomination, especially the Democrats in the House and Republicans and Democrats in the Virginia Senate who unanimously voted 40-0 to confirm Danny LeBlanc."

Deja Vu All Over Again

From the same crowd that gave you the disaster in Iraq: All options are on the table...

When the polls start to really suck and an election is looming, the White House has a strategy: start a war. Bush/Cheney rolled out their "all options are on the table" talking points for Iraq in 2002. Look where that got us. They ran an incompetent war and showed their weakness. Now, they are adopting the same failed strategy...again. This time, it's Iran...and this time, it's clearly part for political gain. This crowd is dangerous. Very dangerous.

Bush on Iraq, March 13, 2002:
And so one of the -- what the Vice President is doing is he's reminding people about this danger, and that we need to work in concert to confront this danger. Again, all options are on the table, and -- but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.

Cheney on Iran, March 7, 2006:
"For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime," Cheney said in a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee."And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

Just watch the Hill GOPers start to line up behind the drumbeat. It's an election year, after all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Common Sense from Middle America???

Here is the defense for not allowing a rape or incest exemption in the South Dakota abortion prohibition law just passed and signed. The video clip is five minutes. This republican senator's rant begins around the 4 minute mark. Senator Bill Napoli's raped and sodomized virgin defense was contained in this PBS show. It's always much more powerful listening and seeing the people who promote these draconian positions.

Video-WMP Video-QT (David Edwards)

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

When you hear Napoli's little monologue, he sounds like a man from one of those Satanic cult movies.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why I Am a Democrat - Mark Warner

I am not sure how many have ever read or heard the speech by Mark Warner on "Why He is a Democrat". Here it is.

Why I am a Democrat, by Gov Mark Warner

"...In Washington the last couple of years, we've seen lots of talk, but few results. And we're heading in the wrong direction.

The last time we had a Democratic President, America saw the first budget surpluses in a generation.

Just three years later, the Republicans' own numbers show a future filled with deficits as far as the eye can see.

The last time we had a Democratic President, unemployment fell to record lows. But today it climbs a little higher every month.

The last time we had a Democratic President, the stock market soared. Today, it just sputters.

In 2000, America was promised something called "compassionate conservatism." And you know - that sounded familiar to a lot of us in the South. We had been saying for a long time - balance the budget, but not on the backs of working people.

But they meant something else - and all we got was more of the same....

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic President since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. When I ran for Governor, the Republicans controlled both houses in the legislature and every statewide office - and the White House picked our Governor to run the Republican National Committee.
And despite those odds, we won because we built a new coalition of Virginians.

We did that by laying out a message that focused on meeting the needs of an information age economy - a message that stressed economic opportunity, educational opportunities, and fiscal responsibility.

We started with the most loyal Democrats. We said to African Americans and to working people - We know that you have been taken for granted in the past. Those days are over. You will help lead this team.

We said, we're going to bring people together - just like Governor Winter showed us how to do here in Mississippi.

And then we reached out to Virginians in rural communities - to people who hadn't voted for a Democrat in a long, long time. And we asked them to give us a chance.

In a 21st century economy, you can be successful anywhere - if you have a good education and job skills.

We talked about giving young people the chance to get a good job in the place they grew up. Because you shouldn't have to leave your family or your hometown to get ahead.

We said, Virginia will never prosper if all the good jobs are in one area, and other places get left behind.

And then we said something that a lot of people had never thought of - you can like NASCAR - you can like hunting - you can like bluegrass music - and you can still vote for a Democrat.
We did all this because we recognized that if you're going to offer people economic hope, you can't spend all your time talking about the same old social issues that have divided us for too long.

You can't move forward if every discussion is about abortion and guns.

Those are all important issues, and we can't ignore them. But they create passion that often distracts us from more fundamental issues.

And let me say it again - if we can do it in Virginia, we can do it for America.

We have to do it for America. Because America deserves better than failed fiscal policy. America deserves better than an economy that leaves millions of people and whole communities behind.
And Democrats offer better. We offer optimism, and we offer hope for the future.

Now as you might guess, a lot of Republicans and Independents supported us. And since then, a lot of them have asked me, Mark - Why exactly are you a Democrat?

And I just smile. Because if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand.

I am a Democrat because since Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence - and since Jackson spoke for the common man - our party has never been the party of the status quo.
Instead, we have been the ones to see a challenge - and do something about it. Let's be honest - it hasn't always worked perfectly. Sometimes it has gotten us in trouble. Sometimes it has split us apart. But sometimes, those are the wages of progress.

And yet, I am a Democrat because the greatest and most noble political experiments of our time had their birth in our party.

I am a Democrat because the New Deal literally saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

I am a Democrat because a generation after a Democratic president started the Peace Corps, you can still find faded photographs of John F. Kennedy on the walls of homes from South Africa to South America.

I am a Democrat because fighting for working men and women is always the right fight.

I am a Democrat because our party led the struggle for civil rights and because we recognize that discrimination and bigotry are not dead - and that we must continue to seek equal opportunity for all.

I am a Democrat because despite our failures, our missteps, and our excesses - we know that waging a war on poverty does not mean fighting the individuals who are poor.

I am a Democrat because we know that today's battle is about the future versus the past - and it's time to put aside yesterday's battles of us versus them.

I am a Democrat because we know that criticizing success won't create a single job.

And most of all, I am a Democrat because when my three daughters go out into the world to make their lives, I want them to find a world where there's less hopelessness - less selfishness - and less violence.

I want them to find a world where there is more opportunity - more understanding - and more hope.

That is the mission of this party.
That is what we work for.
That is why we get up every morning.
That is why we're here tonight.
And our work is not done."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bad News Day for Bush

Am I biased against Resident bush? No, it is not that I am biased against bush. It is the facts that are biased against bush.

Check out, in just one day, articles in major newspapers today. Now, if we could only get people to read newspapers again!!! From the WAPO and NY Times.

Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq
Intelligence 'Misused' to Justify War, He Says

Libby Testified He Was Told To Leak Data About Iraq

White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm

U.S. Trade Deficit Hits All-Time High

Just another day for the most dishonest, corrupt and incompetent administration in my lifetime!