Since I'm not writing, maybe you should. Talk about Tom DeLay's comments, Terri Schiavo, WMD... whatever in comments.
Terri Schiavo has died and the vultures in the media will have nothing more to say about it. They'll spend the rest of the day going on about things we all already know, but no more up-to-the-minute updates on the latest appeal denial.
I imagine that nothing else will be discussed tonight. I'm actually glad about that for once. I'm feeling kinda sick and I just want to go back to sleep. I think it is just allergies, but it means sinus drainage and a very sore throat. Plus my ears keep popping.
Anyway, I won't be doing very much writing. Maybe later tonight.
MSNBC has a feature on Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., on its Web site. Among other things they talk about how being on the Judiciary means being in the spotlight, giving him a leg up on any competition with the initials HRC.
Even before then he'll be in the spotlight. Next week the Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on extension of expiring provisions in the USA Patriot Act. Feingold was the only senator to vote against it in 2001.
He’ll be in the thick of the battle over whether Democrats can continue to use the filibuster to block votes on President Bush’s judicial nominees. Feingold supports the filibuster, saying that he is fighting against “the idea that one party should have a stranglehold on every lever of power.”
It's no secret that I'll have a Feingold in 2008 banner on this blog just as soon as I'm able, but I'm starting to think all this fixation on 2008 is unhealthy. I mean, we had a presidential election not 6 months ago and we have some problems we need to focus on now. Like what's going on with the filibuster. (Ed. note, I think I've been spelling filibuster with 2 'l's. Sorry about that)
Still though, it doesn't hurt to have a favorite, I guess. And Feingold is my favorite. I'll be supporting him in the primaries and God-willing in the general. You know, if he runs.
As if there weren't enough 'MemoGates' already, we have to have another one over a memo about Terri Schiavo.
There was a memo written before the Schiavo bill was passed in the House and Senate extolling the political advantage that Republicans would enjoy in exciting their pro-Life base. The memo was passed around several Republican hands on the floor of the Senate, until it ended up in a Democrat's hands according to the New York Times.
The controversy is over who wrote it. The paper is unsigned with no letterhead. And Howie Kurtz, paragon of journalism that he is, writes that bloggers are interested after their victory over CBS and Dan Rather.
My favorite line from his Media Notes column:
"There's nothing on the face of the document to identify a source -- not only is it unsigned, there's no letterhead, no nothing," Hinderaker said yesterday. "This is literally a piece of paper with stuff typed on it that could have been written by anyone."
Or what we might call a memo.
ABC News says that have a credible source that says that this was indeed passed around Republican legislators before the vote, and that they reported it accurately. They never said a Republican wrote it, only that Republican lawmakers had read it and used some of it for talking points.
The main contention by people like Hinderaker is that since we don't know who wrote it, it must obviously have been written by a Democratic staffer to hurt the GOP. That's a little bit of a logical leap, considering the only person I know of who ever tried to pull this type of stuff off before is Karl Rove.
But this whole debate has become farcical. Kurtz brings up more crap about bloggers and memos from the same group of people who don't know the first thing about how a bill becomes a law. The guys at Powerline are reactionary assholes, not investigative journalists. Don't leave it to them to do your job for you Howard.
But, while Kurtz is debating typo-filled memos and who wrote them, the Senate might lose the fillibuster and Tom DeLay might lose his job. That's what all media has devolved to, some kind of echo chamber that doesn't actually do or accomplish anything other than to recognize itself in some jacked up way to justify its own existence. They think they are, therefore they are. That's the mainstream media, and far too many bloggers have entered into the mainstream. Powerline, RatherBiased and perhaps Atrios and the like are part of the regular cycle now. Anything they might have had to say that was original is now blase. It's all "the press is too liberal" or "what liberal media" when they are all to fucking lazy to look around and see there are a million other things going on that are more important than them.
The A-list bloggers are no longer bloggers. They are the MSM. They are Howie Kurtz's dinner guests.
Since I am so keen on keeping you all informed of my personal life as well as the news, I should mention that my cousin T just had her baby. He's a new baby boy! I have no idea what his name is, but this is kinda exciting.
I should mention I'm not good with babies because I like to stay clean and sanitary... and babies don't. So there is a natural reticence on my part to be near them. But, just for you fine people, I might do some baby blogging soon.
I just thought it would be amusing to all of you that some of my traffic today included Google searches for "tucker carslon""gay".
The really amusing thing is that two totally different posts of mine made the top ten. One post that was actually about Andrew Sullivan and one about Tucker that I wrote on Friday the 13th.
So I owe some of my blog traffic to Bow Tie Boy's latent homosexuality. That reminds me, I haven't written one of my famous Tuesdays with Tucker Carlson columns in a while. I should get with it.
No, it has almost nothing to do with Terry Schiavo. Hard to believe as it may be, it is the fact that the fillibuster is in jeopardy.
Republicans want to get rid of the fillibuster in the Senate so that judicial nominations can be voted on and passed without the Democrats getting in the way. Now, you may say that they are the party in power, so they should get to have their judges. 'Stop being obstructionists you damn Democrats', is what I imagine you think. Shit, how do I know what you think.
The point is, when the roles were reversed, the GOP had no problems using the fillibuster. They had no problems obstructing the legislative agenda of President Clinton. They had no problems keeping pro-Choice judges off the bench (despite the fact that being a pro-Choice judge means you are upholding the law). Democrats, at least to my knowledge, never thought about getting rid of the fillibuster. The GOP has already removed every other means for the minority party to express itself, now they just want to ride roughshod over the Democrats appoint God knows who to the bench.
So, there is a new ad out explaining all of this to the American people. You can watch it here. You might even want to donate some money so that they can continue to run the ad.
Every once in a while, I just like to show off my dork-like knowledge of the world. It's my way of proving to you that I am, in fact, far superior to you and everyone you know. Or, I just can't help it. I watched a lot of TV as a child and that useless trivia information needs an outlet.
Today, we're talking Marburg. "What's that?", you say. Marburg is a deadly hemorraghic fever, first seen by Western doctors in Marburg, Germany in 1967. A monkey quarantine station had several infected monkeys from a particular island where several plague monkeys end up in Lake Victoria in Africa. Marburg is one of three sisters, filoviruses, Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan being hte other two. And since we all know Latin, I don't have to tell you that 'filo' means string. Marburg is sometimes called 'stretch rabies' since some of the symptoms appear rabies-like, and when viewed under a microscope, the virus string tends to curl up into a loop and looks like the rabies virus.
Among the symptoms, one of the worst is the liquefying of bodily connective tissues, including the tissues of the face. At first, this makes the face look like a mask with no expression. But then, as it continues and the skin is lno longer connected to muscle or bone, the face droops and sags horribly. It is very horrible to look at.
Internally, it is even worse. The lining of the intestines and stomach slough off and are vomited up. The lungs and heart liquefy and the spleen hardens and triples in size. The skin breaks and blood that has lost its coagulative properties leaks nonstop from any opening, even the eyes and gums. The testicles swell and turn black then loose their skin covering.
Finally, the body starts the final phase of decomposition, you start the vomit negro, or vomitting up arterial blood that has leaked through your stomach filled with little black spots packed with virus. All the while, the clotting elements of your blood have been lodged in your brain, causing massive strokes. Then, you "crash and bleed out" meaning you finally just drop dead and your body spasms uncontrollably spraying virus-infected blood and bodily fluids all over the place.
All this within 3-18 days.
Also, Marburg is potentially one of the oldest lifeforms on the planet. The string is made up of 7 proteins, and that chain of proteins forms RNA, the precursor to DNA. Marburg could be billions of years old.
And its in Angola right now. The CDC is sending experts to help stop the spread of a very transmitable virus. At one time, I wanted to study viruses like Marburg, but somehow, I found a lower lifeform to study... politicians.
I'm luckier than most other Texans, my congressman is a Democrat.
Democrat Chet Edwards to be precise. He's what you might call, a moderate Democrat; he does represent a heavily Republican district, after all. Tom DeLay saw to that. But there are some things that he is a fierce fighter for, even if they make him unpopular. Apparently one of them is maintaining separation of church and state.
In my very own Waco Tribune-Herald, Congressman Edwards laid out his thinking:
"There are a lot of issues we make a big deal out of that will be forgotten two or three years from now, but if we allow government to get overly involved in our personal religious faith and our houses of worship, it will start our country down a slippery slope that would fundamentally change our nation for the worse," Edwards said.
I've written pretty extensively about how I want religion to stay out of politics. Last week's episode of the West Wing was about the religion litmus test politicians must pass to get into office. But Edwards is taking this from the other side, which I find refreshing, he wants government to stay away from religion.
As much as I want those damn Baptists to keep their protestant hands out of government, I want government to stay away from me, telling me that I have to be protestant. I like having my freedom of religion and the ability to not have Congress all up in my grill about what they think I should do to worship God.
They are two sides of the same coin. Once we allow prayer in school, which prayer? Will it be in Latin or English? Which Ten Commandments will we use, the Catholic version or the Protestant version? Which version of the Bible will we quote from, the Catholic Bible or the King James version? Once we have approved religion, we automatically have rejected religions.
As long as we have a separation between the church and the state, religion can thrive (especially those that are not in the majority) and the state thrives because it is not reliant on the authority of the church, but from law. Besides, what could be more fundamental in such a democracy as ours? Puritans and Catholics who escaped England to have religious freedom founded New England and Maryland. Irish Catholics came to the new world to find hope, as well as Evangelicals who went west. That wall must remain or we start to have problems, like discrimination against people who are not of the popular or state faith. Not being elected president because you're Jewish. The little kid who gets beaten up at recess for being Buddhist.
All that is what is embodied in the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
There is maybe a political price to pay, but I'm sticking with Congressman Edwards for having the guts to want to protect my right to be religious in whatever way I choose and to keep government out of the church regulating business.
This could only be Texas Politics. The local community college, MCC, held a $73 million bond election today. I just found out that the measure failed 52-47%, or roughly 5 votes, since no one bothered to go vote on the matter.
Sad to say, that includes me. The Trib has editorialized on this, we've written article after article, still somehow no one from the newsroom bothered to go vote for the bond. It would have made a world of difference if we had.
One of the copy editors put it best, "If only they had said it was for an athletic complex instead of a science building."