Canal Water Review

"To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing." Hypatia "Yeah. That pretty much sucks canal water." cwr

Monday, June 27, 2005

Radnofsky to oppose Hutchison

I might have waited to think very seriously about the Democratic challengers to KBH, but since KBH has gone out of her way to insult me, I'm thinking I need to get busy now.


Barbara Ann Radnofsky is looking pretty good right now. From the looks of her blog, she's already covered the entire state more than once. I like what I see.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Senator Hutchison assaults the patriotism of millions of Americans

Karl Rove, college drop out and advisor to the president, offered his considered opinion of "liberals" in a recent speech. His statement was so repugnant--and so false--that many were strongly offended by the remarks. They demanded an apology. Others demanded his resignation.

The significance of his remarks comes from his closeness to the president and the perception that he speaks for the president in this matter. Clearly he did, and the president's press secretary confirmed it.

One also wonders whether he speaks for other republicans when he utters such falsehoods, and apparently he does. TAPPED took the time to call all of the republican senators to see whether they felt that Karl Rove expressed their views. All but two of the 55 were unavailable for comment in one way or another, but Rick Santorum's staff avowed the Mr. Rove did not after all speak for the senator. Indeed, on the matter in question, the Senator said: "On 9-11, there was no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat, and that’s what the senator believes."

The lady from Texas has a somewhat different view. Her staff assured the TAPPED callers that this senator did indeed agree with Mr. Rove's views.

So what is our senator saying about us? In Karl Rove's words, but with her endorsement:

But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition.

As it happens, I don't believe in an afterlife that includes something called Hell. Otherwise, I would be tempted to damn them both to it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What Rove Said

Originally posted on TPMCafe.

Yes, it was offensive, but, no, it doesn't seem like anything really new. If he hasn't said these words before himself, he's certainly responsible for crafting the message that has been repeated endlessly since September 12: Either you are with us or you are the enemy. Maybe he just couldn't find another puppet to carry the message for him this time; maybe he wanted to sink his own teeth into some raw meat and taste the blood himself.Whatever.

Karl Rove is a little man.

There is some justification in being angry about Rove's words, but I'm not so sure that there's much point in going after him as an individual. It's the words and their intent that matter more to my way of thinking--because he's not the only person in this Administration who has said the same thing. It's not worse because he said it; it's a lie no matter who says it.

September 11 was a national tragedy. It was not, however, the first time that we had been attacked on American soil. It was not the first time we had been attacked by Al Qaeda. It was simply the first act which got the attention of the American public and the Administration so that both understood that something serious was happening in the world.

When that happened, there were no Democrats or Republicans; there were only Americans. Indeed, it seems that there were no French at that moment, for they were Americans, too. And were we not all relieved when a then untarnished Tony Blair stood up and said that all of Great Britain would stand beside us?

This unity included a strong desire for a military response to the Attacks. The Taliban were told to surrender Osama bin Laden or be attacked themselves. They didn't, we did--with international support.

We entered that nation, making promises to rebuild what had been destroyed by 20 or more years of war. We wanted bin Laden, but we also wanted to make sure that Afghanistan was stable, no longer to be victimized by radical religion or politics.

Our commander-in-chief failed on all counts. He didn't capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." He didn't bring the planners of the September 11 Attacks to justice. He did not stabilize Afghanistan. He did not help rebuild the country. He misappropriated funds earmarked for Afghanistan to begin planning for another war, not then authorized by Congress or supported by the American people. He then began to create a list of false reasons why he needed to prosecute the second war without winning the first.

The pattern of the Administration is to exploit September 11 for political purposes. It was a windfall for presidential ratings; it was a cornucopia of opportunity to implement elements of his agenda that otherwise would not have passed; it remains the perfect instrument with which to terrorize the American public so that they focus on their fear and fail to see the corruption of the Administration.

The pattern of this Administration is to look for simple solutions to complex problems, to denigrate thoughtfulness, to ridicule anything that smacks of intelligent deliberation. The degree to which the Patriot Act expands the authority of law enforcement agencies has nothing to do with the possibility of later indicting someone for terrorism--in their way of thinking. The degree to which one might be more successful in combatting an enemy whose purposes and strategies one knows and understands is lost on them.

The pattern of the Administration is to use the word "liberal" as a pejorative term. Make no mistake that when the President called Senator Kerry "a Massachusetts liberal," he was not stating a fact, he was using hate speech. (In Texas, the preferred usage is "Taxachusetts Liberal.") Rove is simply using the same concept without the geographic prefix.

The pattern of the Administration is to rewrite history to reflect its own preferred narrative of events. Reality, truth, fact--none of this is relevant. Only the story that makes the Administration the only hope and salvation of the American people in the face of a godless and dangerous world matters.

Rove's statement is simply part of the pattern. Perhaps he created the pattern; perhaps not. It is, however, the pattern that is more important than the person who presents it.

If his words make you angry and you want to fight back, do so, but not in anger. Do so coldly and with calculation. Take him down, if you can.

But taking him down will not end the pattern--and it is the pattern that needs to be ended.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Courting the Pro-Lynching Vote

Senate Resolution 39 was filed on February 7. That gave plenty of time for all 100 U.S. Senators to sign on as co-sponsors before the vote to approve it on June 13. Only 78 of them did--18 on the last day. Neither Texas Senator did.

SR 39 is a resolution that expresses the Senate's contrition for having spent decades blocking any anti-lynching legislation at the federal level.

Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, filed the bill and was joined by the majority of her colleagues. Because of that majority support, no record vote was taken. We can, therefore, only judge from their absence as co-sponsors what the true position of Senators Hutchison and Cornyn might be.

In this case, I'm thinking that actions speak louder than words. Landrieu's move was not a trick to make Republicans look bad. Southern Democrats were the worst offenders in the days when lynchings terrorized communities across the South. Apparently, Landrieu's resolution was inspired by Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. Perhaps she had just read the book--or seen the exhibit. I'm guessing that she was moved by the horror she saw in those pictures and ashamed to be part of a body that had done so much to make it acceptable that she wanted some atonement. Not reparations. Not vast new bureacracies and budgets. Just an apology--reconciliation--and a better future for our country:

Whereas an apology offered in the spirit of true repentance moves the United States toward reconciliation and may become central to a new understanding, on which improved racial relations can be forged:

Both parties are now actively courting minority voters. Why would anyone not support this resolution whole-heartedly?

There's been quite a bit of discussion about this vote at the TPMCafe (where I've been spending way too much time lately). I checked some of my usual Texas blogs to see what they were saying.

This from The Burnt Orange Report:
. . . If the two senators from Texas couldn't find the moral courage to stand with the overwhelming majority of their peers in casting a symbolic vote against hate seven years to the week after the death of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper County, then why should they deserve anybody's vote?

Nada from PinkDome.

Bupkus from Off the Kuff.

Dang, not even The People's Republic of Seabrook!

Ah, you can always count on The Panhandle Truth Squad! They ask: "Kay Bailey pro lynching?" Sadly, they don't mention that John Cornyn seems equally to be pro lynching.

I would have thought this would be a matter of greater concern in Texas.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Governor wants people with higher family values to put Texas in the rearview mirror

Governor Perry cheerfully signed disastrous legislation for Texas families on Sunday. He did so in a religious facility, blithely blending church and state in both message and venue. And then he topped it off by pointing out that folks who place a higher value on marriage than he and his supporters should just go elsewhere.

You couldn't make this stuff up in your worst nightmares.

The bill signing was for SB 419, which is actually the continuation legislation for the Board of Medical Examiners. The bill is part of the regular Sunset Review process that happens with state agencies wherein there is a review of their operations and consideration of revisions to those operations before a proactive vote to continue the agency--or dismantle it. The BME legislation is pretty much "must pass" legislation.

While the legislature could have voted the whole bill down, there really would have been hell to pay. Physicians would have faced all sorts of licensing problems in Texas and in reciprocal licensing with other states. Disciplinary actions, such as they are, would have been problematic. The BME covers other groups besides physicians, so there were quite a few dominoes in play here.

The clever move to attach anti-abortion legislation to the bill gave the provision some major protection. The provision itself sounds like a nice-to-do thing because it just requires that a parent provide written consent for an unmarried minor's abortion. What's wrong with a parent consenting to a child's decisions about health? What's not to like about making sure that there is a paper trail? Plenty, of course. And the provision goes further in prohibiting third trimester abortions in all but the most extreme circumstances: the mother will die, the mother will suffer brain damage or paralysis, the fetus is brain-damaged.

Here's the actual language:

A physician commits an offense when, he/she:

(18) performs an abortion on a woman who is pregnant with a viable unborn child during the third trimester of the pregnancy unless:
A) the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the woman;
(B) the viable unborn child has a severe, irreversible brain impairment; or
(C) the woman is diagnosed with a significant likelihood of suffering imminent severe, irreversible brain damage or imminent severe, irreversible paralysis; or
(19) performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor without the written consent of the child's parent, managing conservator, or legal guardian or without a court order, as provided by Section 33.003 or 33.004, Family Code, authorizing the minor to consent to the abortion, unless the physician concludes that on the basis of the physician's good faith clinical judgment, a condition exists that complicates the medical condition of the pregnant minor and necessitates the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function and that there is insufficient time to obtain the consent of the child's parent, managing conservator, or legal guardian.
(c) The board shall adopt the forms necessary for physicians to obtain the consent required for an abortion to be performed on an unemancipated minor under Subsection (a). The form executed to obtain consent or any other required documentation must be retained by the physician until the later of the fifth anniversary of the date of the minor's majority or the seventh anniversary of the date the physician received or created the documentation for the record.

I cannot imagine anyone wanting to have an abortion just for fun. I cannot imagine a mother--young or fully adult--who would want to give up a child in any but the most extreme circumstances. But "extreme" may vary from one woman to another. What one can handle physically may be much more than one can handle emotionally, or financially, or circumstantially. I cannot imagine having to make such a difficult decision without the emotional support of those who love me and care about my well being. The problem is, of course, that those would would fulfill such a role are not always the parents of the young woman who needs the help. Abusive families, dysfunctional families, hostile families abound in our society. This legislation doesn't make those families any better. Nor does it make it more likely that fewer young women will desire an abortion. Indeed, it may increase the likelihood of a speedier return to those good old days of back alley abortions.

Judicial bypass still remains. If you want to do something positive now, look at Jane's Due Process. They help young women in crisis find the help they need--not necessarily abortions--help.

Of course, there's still that interesting provision that applies to adults. Even when an adult woman and her husband decide that the risk of continuing a pregnancy is too great or that they cannot take care of a child with serious birth defects, the Texas Legislature and now the Governor want to step into that family decision to make their own rules about how that family will have to survive in the future. Perhaps Mama won't be brain damaged or paralyzed, but she can get along with a damaged heart or kidneys. So says Will Harnett. Maybe the child will not be brain-impaired, but will have any one of a number of serious birth defects that will force the family into poverty, deprive their other children of any attention from exhausted parents, or create a living hell for an perpetually sick, or worse, unwanted child.

I don't know what the circumstances would be that would lead me to make a decision to terminate a pregancy that I had carried for 6 months already. How could I cope with the crashing defeat of all my hopes and dreams for that child? And yet, none of us knows what our breaking point will be. We certainly don't know what it will be for another family.

And then we come to that other part of the Governor's bill signing. This was not a signing of legislation that required his signature. Nope. It was a political photo op--at a religious venue--to make sure that everyone knows that he, too, is a promoter of hate--in Jesus' name.

HJR 6 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban, yet again, same-sex marriages and anything that vaguely looks like it. Just as the previous bill cuts gaping wounds in Texas families, this one purports to support family values while destroying families. Same sex families. Common law families. Private contracts that create some semblance of legal security for couples. Even the dignity of dying in the presence of someone you love. These will be wiped out by the passage of this constitutional amendment.

It's all sick and sickening. And the Governor just put the icing on the cake when he said:

"Texans have made a decision about marriage and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas then maybe that's a better place for them to live."

One of the ministers attending the signing whined that those who oppose these bills must want people of faith out of the public square. Funny thing. I didn't really want that before. Now I do. Me and Jesus--just can't stand those hypocrites. Maybe they should find another state to live in.