Msnowe's Blog

Careful – He bites

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 26, 2007

This could be in reference to Bush’s penchant for vetoing good bills multiple times. He vetoed Stem cell research twice, and it looked like he might be vetoing the SCHIP again. But no need- the House didn’t get the 2/3’s majority it needed, despite the support of 44 Republicans for the bill. So really, the blunder falls partly on the House, and the supporters of the bill who failed to drum up enough support. That said, just like it’s pretty hard to get someone to quit a habit, like smoking, its also extremely hard for some Republicans in the pockets of big tobacco to change their spots for a few poor children. A clever add campaign for SCHIP might have been something Dickens-inspired… perhaps some young scamps asking “please sir, I want some more… health care,” and showing a fat, lazy republican (modeled perhaps after Thompson) yelling “More?!?!” and then have him aim shots at the child’s head with used needles, between drags on his cigar.

But back to Bush – what this unyielding sense of take-no-prisoners politicking really shows is Bush’s inability to compromise. We’ve seen it many times before, but this time it is after his accusation that D.C. is too partisan. Well, the partisanship comes from the stern – and Bush has been hogging that space for almost seven years, doing his best Leo DiCaprio. The really scary part about this is Bush will continue a record of making repeatedly bad choices, despite the similar outlook before he decides. And this is particularly problematic when it comes not just to domestic policy, but war policy. Bush could learn from the mistakes made in Iraq so far, but too the most extent, he refuses to see the problems. And when he and his entourage look at Iran, they see a new target. Now, Iran does have some explaining to do, for sure. But the Bush administration, baiting its breath on the coasts with it’s aircraft carriers, is in jeopardy of repeating its mistakes, just swapping out all its war policy memos – taking the “q” and inserting “n.” And some Americans aren’t the only ones who are extremely apprehensive. The Brits, our pals across the pond, are even scared to alert the FBI or the administration about potential threats or military action taken against Iranians in around Iraq, fearful it will fuel retaliation, or at least be part of the argument for the US to insight an attack. It’s time for Congress to step up, and enforce their checking and balancing powers – the idea that a president can call a war, without congressional approval is problematic- there is a constitutional clause allowing the president to go forward in states of absolute emergency. But you can bet that the Bush administration has made plans(albeit flawed ones), and will carefully orchestrate its implication if they so choose, without the right bestowed to them officially from congress, at least before they actually start. This can’t happen again- we would just be flushing ourselves down to the next, deeper circle of foreign policy hell.

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Once you Pop

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 25, 2007

Bush just can’t seem to stop, vetoing the sCHIP that is.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21468916/

Hopefully they’ll get enough GOP support to override the veto…

Eviscerate This

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 24, 2007

vis·cer·ate /
1.to remove the entrails from; disembowel: to eviscerate a chicken.
2.to deprive of vital or essential parts: The censors eviscerated the book to make it inoffensive to the leaders of the party.
3.Surgery. to remove the contents of (a body organ).

Large fancy word for some, yes. But a CDC source had no trouble applying it accurately to what the Bush Administration did to the health risks of climate change report originally submitted to the white house by the CDC’s Dr. Julie Gerberding(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21449759/). The good doctor submitted her report to the white house prior to delivering the administration’s “edited” (a.k.a. eviscerated) version to the Senate Environment and Public Works Commission on Tuesday. What she originally submitted was a detailed fourteen page summary. What regurgitated out of the administration’s sewage-laden pipeline was a dramatically eroded report of only four pages. The white house couldn’t have been concerned with time limits or brevity -this was not an Oscar speech, where the nominee is quickly shunted off the stage as the music abruptly puts their hallow thank yous into discord; this was an official report for long-winded Senators, who thrive on inflated accounts and bureaucratic dalliance. If anything, they would applaud the white house and the CDC for their through approach to topic.

But what the Senator’s received was a pared down report, with the vitals missing. And they should have seen it coming – the Bush, a Texas rancher, is apparently also an expert at hacking, hanging, and quartering his legislative pigs for slaughter, the CDC, DoJ, and CIA included. Basically, if it can be made into an acronym, Bush thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to abbreviate their findings, with special attention to cutting out the bits that don’t roll smoothly off the tongue. To some extent, he and his cabinet can’t be blamed – helping him get his pronunciation correct is a noble, if unattainable goal. But time and again, Bush has abused his executive rights, and patronized the Congress and the Judiciary, not to mention the American people, by deciding which bits of information we should be privy to, and how that information is framed, sometimes altogether changing the meaning. Like his take on torture- instead of changing is policy, he just changes the definition of torture to fit his aims. Especially because it comes from Bush, almost everyone with an IQ over 10 should feel hard done by and extremely angry at this patronization. Big oil, transportation, and other large-pocketed businesses are the only ones who appreciate this administrative hack job, and for good reason. People will ignore global warming if the markets are up, but they might take a bit more notice if they start dropping like flies in a pesticide-treated vat. Heat stress, heart failure, respiratory problems, waterborne diseases, and mental health are all serious issues. Take a look at many of the soldiers who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. They suffer from the battle zones, and the extreme stress of this new, hotter climate. They come back with heart issues, mental health problems like PTSD, and waterborne illnesses like malaria. They cause stress to the health system in America, and the halls of Walter Reed and other VA facilities will sadly be filled for years to come as these soldiers aid. Well, Bush has decided that the next unofficial war he will call without Congressional approval is the war on Global Warming ideology – and every citizen of America, and to some extent, the world, has been unwittingly enlisted. Let’s see what happens to our climate, health, and economy after this mission is accomplished.

Take that, male chauvinist losers and fifties-style women who refuse to assert themselves

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 19, 2007

Check out this sweet study, which proves the link between feminism and better male-female relationships (for all involved!): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21364055/

Coincidental Renditions?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 19, 2007

I think it’s time for the creation of a new sub-sub-committee in Congress. It will meet in an undisclosed location, and the only way to address its members, or vice versa, will be through closed circuit television. This sub-sub Committee will be named: “the committee which formally apologizes for all the Bush administration’s dastardly deeds, though the committee itself is not at fault and therefore only takes a minute fraction of the actual blame, similar to the US public.” Long, yes – but descriptive.

So here’s the story:
http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071018/FRONT01/71018039
Apparently, in 2002, the government seized a thirty something Canadian man of Syrian descent as he was traveling through New York’s JFK airport. He was then put under the “rendition” program, flown to Syria, and mercilessly tortured. He was released nearly a year later, when he then went back to Canada. He still remains on our watch list. First, although this is a horrible story, because by all accounts he seems innocent – let us not forget he is still one of the lucky ones, in that his story got out, and he physically is no longer detained. That said, this man was sped away on a private jet to a hostile destination, where he would face the actual, not fictional equivalent to the US’s tailor-made Pit of Despair. The jury is still out as to whether our Syrian torture pit is run by an albino hunchback, but our President is certainly a shoe-in for the actual role of Prince Humperdink (though there’s a feeling that Bush’s literary doppelganger is slightly more intelligent). This raises multiple issues – and leads reference back to my previous post on Israel and Syria. No wonder we were so mum about the Israeli bombing… Syria still has it’s uses for us, so we don’t want to appear too against them. If Israel wanted to do the world a favor, it would try to empty torture camps by threatening destruction on it’s next fly by.
As nice as it seems for the House to offer up mea culpas via television to the Canadian, and allow him a few moments to declare his innocence openly, and receive the gratitude of his peers for sharing his horrific experience, it is all show. We can say whatever we want, and for that matter, the President and his administration can say or not say whatever they want as well – the truth of the words should be represented in actions. We shouldn’t be looking for long apologies, we should be looking for change in policies. Bush, so worried about too much government spending for poor children’s health care, should at least recognize the amassed unforeseen costs in fueling and loading a private jet from the US to Syria, renting out secret torturers for the year, who probably get well compensated, and all this for no good to the public. Let’s stop this behavior, this display of utter disregard for international human rights legislation. Bush needs a schooling, and the first course should focus on Geneva.

Side Note: It’s unclear exactly how this story was generated. “Rendition,” a new line cinemas feature, comes out today. It is no coincidence that this congressional meeting on rendition took place yesterday, and hit the news reels big-time this morning. It should rightly sicken people that either the media, the movie theatres, or the congress (or possibly a collusive combination of those listed), conspired to synchronize these events, to the capital gain for the movie theatres, and the general increase of this topic’s exposure for both the Congress and the movie. It is an important issue to consider – that is why this blog entry covers it, but a part of this blogger feels tricked in some way, as if writing about it only perpetuates the agendas of the suits – whether they sit in the board rooms or the congressional offices. I suppose its a win-win for those who believe in movies and in the democratic party’s position against the Administration and torture. Despite my reservations and cautions, who can argue with a possibly good movie and a free swipe at the president, really?

Priorities?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 17, 2007

One of the main topics of news discussion this morning is a juicy little story about the family ties that exist between Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic presidential hopefully Barack Obama. Apparently, they are eighth cousins; proving that truly all presidents and candidates are a highly connected crowd. I don’t know how many presidents or candidates you can link together through blood, but the number is pretty startling, even when you exclude the obvious ones (like father and son, husband and wife).
But what is even more startling is the fact that this story is making headlines, when there are so many other important news stories brushed under the data-feeders rugs like unwanted, boring little dust bunnies. And perhaps that’s what they are – because no matter what we do, they will not simply be vacuumed away, and for good reason. Take the story a few days ago about Israel’s attack on a targeted location inside Syria. What? You didn’t hear about this tiny puff of gray lingering in the corners of the news reels for a few days before prizing itself to the inner leg of political coffee tables? You’re not alone. Israel, with the help of some friendly international intelligence, including the US, identified a possible nuclear development site in Syria. A site that though not too far along, showed striking resemblances to North Korean stockpiles, etc. This suggests that the two nations are not just pals, but they may be gathering their nuclear dust to gain prominence that would be hard to completely eradicate with an easy Israeli swiffer of planes in the night. It suggests something sinister, and the lack of Syrian outcry, or coverage of an outcry, suggests that they knew the business that was bombed was on the shady side. America doesn’t seem to want to touch this one, and is letting Israel handle it. But it seems with all the intelligence people fling around, and the fears swelling around Iran, etc., it would do well to actually acknowledge known threats, or at least attempts to acquire actual nuclear technology. These small nations can go from puny to plutonium, and that is scary. We shouldn’t ignore these stories, so that we can truly understand the possible threats. Let’s focus more on these nation relations, and less on individual political family trees; please.

Brother, who art thou?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 16, 2007

Chicago’s DePaul University is conducting a study of gay male brothers, to see if they can pinpoint genetic factors linked with homosexuality. This isn’t the first test of it’s kind, or the last. This is supposedly the largest study of it’s kind ever before conducted, with over 1,000 taking part in the testing. The hope for many of those who agreed to participate in the study is that by showing that homosexuality is linked to biological factors, people who believe it is a purely immoral choice will be swayed by scientific evidence to begin think otherwise.
As any proponent of scientific research, this test is an intriguing one. But there are some concerns, especially with the hope listed above. Although it’s not the only reason people are helping with this study, it does drive some to participate, and it’s saddening that many overlook the fact that the people they are trying to sway with a study like this will never be swayed, by even the most technically advanced, perfected science. The people they are trying to convince otherwise are the same people that think Jesus rode dinosaurs and women are naught but the rib marrow of an inferior Adam. They will not accept a “study,” over a benevolent god, or a old passage in Leviticus anymore than they’ll accept a sermon over thirty minutes on Super Bowl Sunday.
That is all humorous, and mostly tame. The people who cannot accept differences in people, and refuse to see the beauty in all peoples and orientations, are laughable.
But the report of this study (found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21309724/) explains a much more insidious problem with the results of this study. That being, if they do isolate some “gay-gene,” then another issue rears it’s ugly genetic head. Because the social acceptance will ultimately lag the discovery of the ‘gay gene’, (if it exists), people will still be stigmatized. Even straight people who identify themselves as accepting of the gay lifestyle would be leery to choose to have gay children, claiming: they wouldn’t want their children discriminated against. These beliefs are categorically in error, but they unfortunately exist. This debate was rampant a few years back, when people realized they might be able to genetically manufacture children, and have parents choose eye color, height, etc. That was largely swept under the national mat, because the costs associated with such engineering are above and beyond most people’s range, at least for now. But what’s disturbing is a look at other cultures, and even past history, to determine where this social engineering via choosing baby traits might ultimately land us. China, and it’s legislation towards population control has lead to the abortion of girl babies, or flat our abandonment of them, because they are not the “desirable” gender in Chinese culture, or at least to some. It’s horrifying to think of what science can ultimately manufacture, while simultaneously applauding it’s expansive and wonderful possibilities. Let’s not make this a chapter from “The Giver,” but perhaps it would be best if people gave it a quick re-read.

It seems too easy to believe their is one genetic pinpoint for determination of sexual orientation. But then again, environment can’t be held to blame either. The idea of “orientation” itself is an anomaly – it can mean both finding one’s position for oneself inside society, or being placed into society and given a role. One thing is certain – any group of society should not be so sectioned off and stigmatized that it leads to suicides, hate crimes, etc. Opinions lean towards hope that some genetic factors can be identified to help show that gays do have a predisposition. But if found, lets not mark these genetic factors as mutations – but simply natural differences. Genes can prove theories – they cannot change hearts and minds. That type of evolution takes place within the most elemental, and simultaneously most complicated of alleles.

Sidenote* – we have to wonder the true motives of this study, given it is “federally funded.” Did it escape this catchall-administration’s deep christian agenda-woven net, or is this study somehow connected to Bush’s tactics in a closeted, department of justice kind of way? Well, if it is, who knows if they’ll ever come out.

Gore Did Win, at least for himself.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 12, 2007

Things have to get bad before they can get better. No one knows that now more than Al Gore. The man lost his presidency, and gained worldwide acclaim, popularity, an Oscar, and now a Nobel Peace Prize. The man once associated with dulcet tones remarkably similar in pitch to Eeyore is now king of the hundred acre wood, i.e. the political and mainstream world. And he wasn’t even really trying. There are even lobbies for Gore to start up a campaign, unconnected to his own efforts. I guess there is a connection between relationships and politics – people like you tenfold when you play hard to get. The man beat out nuns and monks and freedom fighters, making his race to the Nobel seem like payback for his check in the 2001 elections.

No one can say for sure how Gore would have done as a president, but despite the almost seven full years of the political equivalent of an un-anesthetized root canal, it can be confidently said that Gore himself is a better man for his defeat, and he is reaping all the benefits. (Plus, if Gore had won, the nation would probably now be on an upswing of Republican support, instead of the highly satisfying dip in approval ratings for Republicans, which is dropping with all the speed and nervous anticipation of a six flags roller coaster.) Gore’s the unlikely political rockstar, and to some extent, pop icon. And though that seems a stretch, just remember than Bono was considered for a Nobel too, but I guess he can’t always find what he’s look for. Gore, in essence, decided after the supreme court’s decision, that he would behave as if he had truly been president, and was now enjoying the benefits of years in office. He would tour the world, and campaign for his pet issues, and do charity work. Most ex presidents, Clinton and Bush senior, have gone that route. But the difference here is obvious.

Sometimes, the best woman or man for the job is the one who least wants it. The power and responsibility of the presidency is a weighty thing, and if we forget, it’s likely our grasp on reality sinks quicker than cement filled cowboy boots (Read: President Bush).
Why do we have to change a good thing? Gore fed off his feeling of being hard-done-by, and it worked for him. As much as we should admire Gore’s works, we should also respect the limits of them. Some people excel as certain things, and we’d be amiss, lest we forget the branding of Gore as nasal, obnoxious, and down right boring during his previous campaign. Gore would make a wonderful advisor, or ambassador. Thrusting him into a campaign, however, would be shoving a political bushel basket over the illuminating talents he has recently put into practice which show no visible signs of abating anytime soon. While he probably wouldn’t suck, Americans can’ be so selfish. The world (literally all of it, even the ice-caps) needs Al Gore.

So what’s next? Well, the ex-politico should go for the triple threat – Oscar, Nobel, and coming soon to an ipod near you – a Gore Grammy-winning croon

Who needs to keep the keepers?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 10, 2007

Rule of thumb: If the peacekeepers leave, you’d be giving yourself another finger by staying.

This week, the UK announced that it would be slashing it’s troop presence in Iraq in half in the next few months. Other countries, if they haven’t already pulled out most troops, have followed suit. The only stalwart war-hawks are the Poles and the South Koreans, and maybe the Australians. We don’t really hear about other country’s forces in Iraq around here, but lets look at some numbers:
Beginning of the war: over 50,000 international troops
By mid-2008: less than 7,000

Obviously, this shows the growing opposition to the war in Europe and around the world. Our only allies are dwindling, and we are left with right wing governments and Bush allies (like Australia’s John Howard), or basically, little countries that owe us (i.e. South Korea), and not to mention threatened to help out.

It shouldn’t matter how strong you are – when your friends pull out, it’s never a good omen. And let’s not forget, these troops were largely a population of “peacekeeping forces,” that stayed out of heavily combative zones, and served a more humanitarian role in Iraq. That doesn’t mean they didn’t face danger, but it was to a lesser extent than the American combat forces continue to face.
The most ballsy aspect of this steady withdrawal of coalition partners is the American response, on the management level. One former Pentagon official went so far as to say: “A British withdrawal and that of other countries really does not matter very much. They’re playing a very limited role.” Imagine that. Yes, the countries leaving are not in combat for the most part – but perhaps that was also part of their strength. American troops bring fire and brimstone, and if this was a parenting situation, we would be the “bad cops.” I’m not saying we’re “bad,” our soldiers are good people – but they have to be tough, to enforce the rules and stay alive. But the international troops, as peacekeepers, were the good cops. Well, the good cop-bad cop approach is only effective when you have both bad and good cops. When you tip the scales so much, and are left with tough parents, the children get offensive, aggressive, and extremely non-cooperative. We’ve already witnessed this, and unfortunately it looks as though it’s only going to get worse.

Words can’t execute the utter ridiculousness of Pentagon and Administration officials claiming that the PEACEKEEPERS role and importance in a unsettled and harried country is completely void and superfluous. Yes, because these soldiers aren’t going home in body bags, or with psychological trauma and livelong injuries, they must be completely useless. Perhaps if we concentrated on peace, instead of control, our outcomes would lead us to a quicker withdrawal as well. And this stance, one of petulant denial of our allie’s helpfulness, and the refusal to acknowledge them with the thanks they deserve, will get us absolutely nowhere, except backwards.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21210031/

Demo demo

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 9, 2007

If a blogger invokes poetic silence in their blog, does anyone hear it? Still reeling from the defeat of the SCHIP bill by Bush’s veto, that’s what yesterday’s lack of post was all about. So now, because of the generally slow news week so far, onto a little political chatter.

The democratic front runners seem to understand that this is indeed a marathon, and not a race. Well, at least not yet. They won’t have to hit the ground running for at least a few more months, though that does not mean that their languid and light steps are not carefully choreographed. Of course, they can only do so much — the media likes to take them the rest of the way.

Let’s start with the least likely of the most likely candidates – John Edwards. Many might be shocked by this, but to this blogger, this is perhaps the scariest potential candidate of the top three (Edwards, Obama, Clinton). Most might guess Clinton if asked for the candidate with the largest gasp-factor. And to an inattentive political observer, they might be right. But-though gut feelings are never the best bet- Edwards has an aura around him that borders on the ghoulishly disturbing, and some of his views seem to be extreme, and his appearance waxy and vague. If politics were held in a baseball stadium, Edwards wouldn’t be out in left field, he’d be upper deck on the third base side, waving from the corner. It seems odd that someone running a second time would be so unstable. He is a man of contradictions, and can we trust whats lying beneath the expensively teased hair?

Obama and Edwards are trailing Clinton in most polls, with Obama holding closer to Clinton. The problem for them, and the positive for Clinton is that all three are not too divergent, and Edwards and Obama are not making any unique and popular stances to set themselves apart. They can bash the Clinton campaign all day, but unless Clinton makes a mistake, that strategy will not get either of them very far. And their similarities are both blessing and curse. Each candidate has released health care plans. For the most part, they are relatively similar. However, Clinton, because of her past work with health care plans during the Clinton administration, was given a whole day of press on her proposed plan. Edwards and Obama couldn’t really bash the actual plan, because they’re highly similar. So they go for character attacks. But this will not when either the nomination. Character evaluation is pretty much set – unless some new, shocking developments come to light. Although politicians are an unusual breed, they don’t tend to make themselves completely different in a matter of months, even if they change parties. So people already know and have decided what they think about each candidate. It is a matter of policy and effectiveness that now needs evaluation. And if this trend continues, with Clinton doing fine, and Obama and Edwards not making much a of a dent, both the men are in a little bit of a whole. You should only take a step back and wait for a big mistake by the opposing campaign when you can afford it, and the odds for such an event are high. At this point, the bet that Clinton will defeat herself is a long shot. It might be best to pick some other favorite tactics.

In a perfect world, everyone should still be undecided — this is a serious nomination. Obama might be young, but he has less of a Republican outrage factor than Clinton does for a general election. But can Obama do the job? These are important notions to consider, very carefully.