Here is what always happens when I post sporadically. In between posts, I accumulate dozens of links to all kinds of stories, and then I can’t figure out how to present them in a tidy fashion. I read through them all again, get thoroughly depressed, and set them all aside for yet another day.

But there’s some good and timely stuff in my link list, and so I shall buck up and pin them below. And I’ll also post a cute new kitten picture, like one of these this one (update: the second picture has been moved to the end of this post to see if it fixes the format problem!)…

and we can all feel warm and fuzzy for a moment. Then we’ll get back to the infuriating business at hand.

Transitions:

  • Keith Olbermann wrote a really classy tribute to Peter Jennings.
  • The UK Guardian reprinted an excerpt from an incredible speech by Robin Cook, who died last weekend.

    Iraq:

  • Here is a riveting profile of a “changed man.” (It’s a WaPo story, so [free] registration is required.)
  • Here is disturbing evidence of the prevalence of female circumcision in Iraq.
  • Here is further proof (if you really needed it) that chickenhawks are every bit as shameless and slimey as you thought. Nothing is beneath them – except maybe the sticky trail of ooze they leave everywhere they pass. (And here is a link to Moveon.Org’s statement of support to Cindy Sheehan. Please “sign” it.)
  • Joseph Galloway ponders the no-doubt-purely-coincidental-connection between the proposed date for a draw-down of American forces in Iraq, and the upcoming midterm elections.

    Environment:

  • A judge has ruled that Bush’s No Tree Left Behind plan is illegal.
  • The space shuttle astronauts described widespread environmental damage visible even from their rather lofty perspective.
  • “Unusual weather patterns” are blamed for alarming disruptions and deaths in the ecosystems of the Pacific coast this year.
  • Global warming could also be making hurricanes stronger
  • …And it’s melting a peat bog the size of France and Germany combined in western Siberia.
  • But (be still my heart), even the toughest holdouts are convinced that at least a pair of Ivory Billed Woodpeckers is alive and (hopefully) well in Arkansas! (Shoot; that link is already archived. Try this one.)

    Dark Days:

  • Here is a very candid interview with Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA).
  • I suppose it really explains a lot about Bush supporters, if this is really “the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with”?

    Asked about continued political challenges such as Iraq and Social Security, Bush said he doesn’t care about the polls.

    “Q But power is perception.

    “THE PRESIDENT: Power is being the President.”

  • The energy bill Bush just signed makes it easier for commercial interests to buy and transport weapons-grade uranium. (Via TLC.)
  • Where Bush gets his silver-tongued way with words. Funny! Via Air America.
  • I’m sure you’ve heard. It’s already having repercussions. And now the White House is holding up the other documents they promised — so that they can see what other surprises are in there. Don’t they usually do this kind of thing before announcing the nominee? They must be a little short-staffed right now.

    Dark Ages:

  • Catholic church officials in Canada are threatening to deny baptism to the children of gay and lesbian couples.
  • Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Portland argued that a priest who fathered a child should not have to pay child support because – ready? – the woman who got pregnant could have used birth control to prevent it.
  • I wish I had seen this.
  • USA Today felt it necessary to publish a counterpoint to an editorial supporting teaching evolution (I can’t believe we’re even using this kind of terminology – as if this is a cause that must be defended. It’s science!), and Chris Mooney took them to task. Here is an excerpt from his upcoming book – a chapter on the “evolution” of Intelligent Design “theory.”

    Can’t we all just get along?

  • Katrina vanden Heuvel answers Michael Lerner’s charge that the left (as represented by her magazine) is, in great part, hostile to religion.
  • Mark Morford discovered that he really is intolerant.
  • Is this study of Democrats believable? If so, I’m speechless:

    The good news for Democrats: All the groups expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and with the leadership of the president and the GOP-controlled Congress.

    Then came the bad news: “As powerful as the concern over these issues is, the introduction of cultural themes — specifically gay marriage, abortion, the importance of the traditional family unit and the role of religion in public life — quickly renders them almost irrelevant in terms of electoral politics at the national level,” the study said.

    Many of these voters still favor Democrats on economic issues. But they see the Democrats as weak on national security, and on cultural and moral issues, they view Democrats as both inconsistent and hostile to traditional values. “Most referred to Democrats as ‘liberal’ on issues of morality, but some even go so far as to label them ‘immoral,’ ‘morally bankrupt,’ or even ‘anti-religious,’ ” according to the Democracy Corps analysis.

    (Updated with a format change to try to make things fit.)

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  • 4 thoughts on “

    Add yours

    1. A new and interested reader!

      Minority rights are, by definition, not effective platform issues in a democratic process. Thus, the Bill of Rights to protect the minority. Our efforts to protect minority rights must rely most heavily on the courts rather than elected officials.

      We on the Blue Coasts tend to forget the rest of the country out there. Voters in marginally blue states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, could have been Ohio) are turned off by our values. Tragic, but true. They are the old union vote — Democrats by trade.

      Democrats will make the most political hay by turning the “values” debate away from issues that predominately affect minority groups to issues that predominately affect the majority. These [moral] issues are health care, social security, education, and let us not forget national security. These are issues we must take the lead on.

      The class war Republicans are fighting (and winning), and their horrible vision for national insecurity, must be the focus for Democratic politicians.

      If Republicans can marry Wall Street greed to Christianity, surely Democrats can marry civil rights to protection for the middle class.

    2. Welcome new reader! (Do I recognize this name?) I agree in part… Having grown up in Ohio, and visiting it regularly to see family and friends, perhaps I get more frequent exposure to the so-called culture clashes than some “blue coasters.” I suppose what astonishes me about this study is that, nearly a year after the election, with hundreds more forces dead, thousands more Iraqi citizens dead, a growing insurgency, evidence of rampant corruption in a GOP-controlled administration, etc., it all still matters less than symbolic family values. It’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” writ large.

    3. Unfortunately, the Democrats are not currently offering much in the way of a second option. We have no charismatic leader out there drumming up support for different views. Whether it is John Edwards, or Hillary Clinton (probably not a great choice; too much of a lightening rod), Barak Obama — someone — we need someone out there proposing new ideas and making them about morality.

      Issue number one on the morality trail needs to be national security. It is an anthropological fact that a nation-state faced with a perceived outside threat will rally against that threat, leading to greater harmony within the nation-state. The threat of terrorism hangs over us, and Democrats need to understand that and take the lead in proposing better (more moral) ways to deal with that threat. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that does not mean proposing peace at all costs as the answer. We cannot allow the Republicans to monopolize the debate on national defense, but we have done so since Vietnam. This has to change.

      Iraq is a conundrum — we never should have gone in, but how to get out now that we’re there is the relevant question. What isn’t a conundrum is the abject failure of the Bush administration to address the nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran, and the failure to address the root cause of Islamic terrorism — our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The most recent of the administration’s moral and national security failings is the new energy bill. Democrats should be all over that like . . . insert your favorite analogy here.

      The “morality” issues of the Christian Right are side issues that we can effectively counter with effective middle class economic issues. But national security trumps all, and that’s where the Republicans still (curiously) have us beat. That’s what we need to focus on . . . I think.

      Gotta run

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