|Marriage is love.|
(And thanks to The Mad Prophet for pointing me to this bit of code.)
I am appalled to learn that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, in a blatant attempt to manipulate the political system to his advantage and that of his party, attempted to co-opt officials and resources of the federal government in a matter of local politics in Texas. I am further appalled to note that the federal government, through my representatives in Congress, is not looking into this matter and planning to take all appropriate steps both to censure and/or punish Mr. DeLay, and also to ensure that nothing like his misuse of authority can ever happen again.
Mr. DeLay may not have liked the actions of the majority of the Democratic representatives to the Texas legislature, who walked out of the session and went into hiding across the state line in Oklahoma to defeat the gerrymandering of district boundaries, engineered by Mr. DeLay to ensure easy victories for Texas Republicans. Well, as we say up here in Illinois, tough shit. I'm sure the Texas Democrats thought roughly the same about Mr. DeLay's redistricting plan, but that's neither here nor there. The fact is, DeLay tried to use federal agencies (the FAA and the Department of Justice) to interfere in a local matter.
Worse yet, Texas Republicans, obviously following the lead of their current second-favorite son, did likewise. Even as American citizens were being killed overseas by terrorists, the Republican leader of the Texas House had the gall to ask the Texas Department of Public Safety to call up the Department of Homeland Security and ask them to track down his missing Democratic colleagues for him. (This despite the fact that their hiding place in a hotel in Ardmore was about as well-kept a secret as the postal address of the White House.) Compounding the colossal screw-up, the Texas DPS has now apparently destroyed any and all of its records regarding this incident, in plain violation of ordinary record-keeping procedures and quite possibly sunshine laws as well.
I expect abuses of power such as these to be investigated to the fullest extent of the law, and that appropriate punishments will be handed out to all the guilty parties. I further expect that all costs incurred by the federal government for this wild goose chase will be repaid by either the state of Texas or, more appropriately, the Texas Republican Party and Mr. DeLay.
I look forward with interest to seeing these proceedings on C-SPAN.
I believe that Congress, the DEA, the courts, and the states have no business telling doctors how best to treat their patients. Everybody wins when doctors have the necessary discretion to prescribe medications and treatments, appropriate to the illness, that they think are best suited to the patient's needs and the clinical situation.
According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 73 percent of Americans are in favor of "making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering." Also, since 1996, voters in eight states plus the District of Columbia have passed favorable medical marijuana ballot initiatives.
Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. No one has ever died from an overdose, and it has a wide variety of therapeutic applications including relief from nausea and increase of appetite, reduction of intraocular pressure, reduction of muscle spasms, and relief from chronic pain. Not only that, but the hemp plant it comes from makes great rope, paper, and natural fiber for clothing. 'Cept we can't grow it here in the land of the putatively free and the home of the too-infrequently brave, 'cuz some crazy kids might try to smoke it. (This despite the fact that by the time anybody smoked enough hemp to get high, they'd be dead from lack of oxygen.)
Let's face up to reality. Our "War on Drugs" is only making the problem worse. Just like the Bush regime's propagandistic "War on Terror," it's a complete wash--and we pay a hell of a lot of money for the nothing we get in return. But since I'm quite sure that Congress, and particularly the Republican "leaders" in Congress, don't have the balls to go ahead and admit this fact, we should at least stop busting people in chronic pain, and the doctors that prescribe the only pain reliever that works for them.
If the drug "czar" has an extra $200 million lying around that he can spare for opposing legalization initiatives, then it's obvious that his budget is far too large. Take that cash and spend it on something USEFUL for a change. If you insist on spending it to combat the pernicious influence of drugs on our society, then allocate it to pay for treatment so that anyone who wants to get clean can do so without having to wait six months or a year just to get into a program.
And speaking of marijuana, were our representatives in Congress high when they voted to spend money to develop new nuclear weapons? Because as far as I can tell, it's either that or they're just plain insane. I'd prefer to think that the legislators who voted for that package were only temporarily impaired and not certifiably bonkers. Only time will tell on that score.
So now our Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief wants to build some new nuclear toys. If this weren't so serious, I'd be laughing my ass off about now. I find this action particularly ironic given all the fuss the Bush regime has been making this year about weapons of mass destruction. It was bad enough that our unelected leader never could seem to remember that the United States has probably the single biggest stockpile of such weapons in the world, that he himself had publicly refused to forego the first use of such weapons and, oh yeah, that the United States is the only nation in the world ever to have used nuclear weapons in war.
Adding to that hypocrisy, even as he berates the North Koreans and the Iranians for trying to develop nuclear weapons, his cold warrior in chief is begging Congress both to spend money (in violation of the same non-proliferation treaty that Bush is brandishing in Kim's face) on developing new nuclear toys, but also to quit looking over his shoulder as he spends the public's hard-earned tax dollars, presumably the better to spend them on things he knows the public will not support, without having to take any flak for his actions.
This is not the time to fuel the fires of nuclear proliferation. Nor is it the time to waste even more money on our bloated defense budget when there are so many other competing demands on a shrinking revenue stream. As President Eisenhower said, spend everything that's needed to keep the country safe, and not one penny more. These are pennies that will better be spent feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, educating our children, taking care of our infirm and our elderly, helping other nations around the world work toward our own standard of living, and making the world a safer place to live for all its citizens, not just those that happen to have the launch codes to weapons that can destroy the world altogether.
Dear Representative Hastert,
My tax dollars are what pay your salary and fund our government work. I am concerned about the way you, as my elected representative, allocate my dollars. For example, I disagree with Congress' decision to spend more than half of the discretionary budget on the Pentagon while starving children's health care and education programs.
I agree with Dwight Eisenhower, who urged spending everything necessary to defend our nation, and NOT ONE PENNY MORE! Squandering tens of billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, Star Wars and other unnecessary Cold War systems robs our communities of the investments needed here at home. Please oppose any budget that wastes our precious resources--and our nation's future--in this way.
Former admirals, generals and military officials agree that the U.S. can safely reduce the Pentagon budget by 15%. That's enough to do ALL of the following at no additional taxpayer expense:
- Provide basic health and food to the world's poor: $12 billion
- Rebuild America's public schools over 10 years: $12 billion
- Reduce class size for grades 1-3 to 15 students per class: $11 billion
- Reduce debts of impoverished nations: $10 billion
- Provide health insurance to all uninsured American kids: $6 billion
- Increase federal funding for clean energy and energy efficiency: $6 billion
- Public financing of all federal elections: $1 billion
- Fully fund Head Start: $2 billion
And while we're at it, let's forget about the Bush regime's proposed tax cuts for the wealthy. They will do nothing to stimulate the overall economy (the $1.6 trillion cut in 2001 didn't do anything, so what makes you think a cut not even half that large will?), but they will placate the wealthy donors to the Republican Party. I'm sorry, but if ever there was a time to stop sucking up to the wealthy, this is it. We're in our worst fiscal crisis since the Second World War, and you people are sitting on your fat behinds helping your rich buddies to get richer, while everyone else is expected to bend over and take it.
The Bush regime has broken so many promises already (and to constituencies that matter far more than fat-cat party donors) that it would take me an hour just to list them all. But a few of the biggest ones: eliminating the threat from Al-Qaeda (seen the headlines from Saudi Arabia today?), increasing domestic security (why can't the responders in this week's terrorism drill communicate any better than first responders to the World Trade Center attack? Because the Bush regime refuses to help pay for the necessary improvements, and his economic policies have put every last one of the states in a huge budget hole!), and, oh yeah, not passing present debts on to the next generation (remember when we used to have a budget surplus? now go look at the deficit projections: $300 billion for THIS YEAR ALONE!). This is not the time to cut the revenue stream.
It's time to get off your duffs, get your heads out of your rectums, and stop playing with the smoke and mirrors. Get us an economic stimulus plan (the Democrats have proposed one that actually stands a chance of working) that will solve this nation's economic problems before it's too late. You can bet your sweet bippy the rest of the nation is watching what you do.
What's up with this insane notion to amend the Constitution to prohibit burning of the flag?
While flag burning is rare, it can be a powerful and important form of free speech. In fact, the proposed constitutional amendment would do irreparable harm to our right to free speech and undermine the very principles for which the American flag stands. Those who favor the proposed amendment say they do so in honor of the flag. But in proposing to unravel the First Amendment, they desecrate what the flag represents, and what millions of Americans have died to defend. Some of those Americans were my ancestors, and they started shedding blood on behalf of this nation during the Revolutionary War. I've got to think they're all whirling in their respective graves at the thought of this amendment.
Let's remember that the form of the oath taken by all members of the armed forces, as specified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Title X, United States Code, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 31, Section 502), states that it is the Constitution they are sworn to protect, not the flag. If we vitiate the object of the soldiers' oath, the flag that flies over them, and which they wear on their uniforms while in service, becomes meaningless.
Jailing protesters is supposed to be something that happens regularly under authoritarian regimes, not in America. I read that two young protestors in Hong Kong were arrested for burning the Chinese flag after mainland China took over control of the island nation. Cuban courts commonly jail dissidents who "dishonor" the Cuban flag. While jailing protestors might be common in totalitarian regimes, Americans expect--and indeed have put their lives on their line--to ensure that our right to free speech is not abridged. (Of course, that was before the Bush regime inflicted John Ashcroft on us.)