Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Daily Kos: GOP Unravels...in Texas

Things are turning around in the Bush administrations home state of Texas as well!

Daily Kos: GOP Unravels...in Texas: "I'm talking about the stinging defeat suffered by the Texas GOP on the floor of the state House today. GOP leadership, helped to election by illegal corporate contributions, watched helplessly as the Democratic minority and a few frightened Republicans voted down bills that 1) raised taxes on the middle class; 2) Cut taxes for Big Insurance and other special interests involved in the scandal; 3) Stiffed school children and teachers under the guise of education reform.

This is no small matter. It should be pointed out that in the early 1970s, a political scandal called Sharpstown surfaced just ahead of a national political scandal called Watergate. By 1976, Jimmy Carter could carry Texas.

The talking points are simple: Texas Republicans are trying to raise taxes on middle class Texans and devastate public education so they can do what they were ordered to do when they accepted the illegal bribes: cut taxes for the people who paid the bribes.

Several corporations have been indicted. So have some staffers who were allegedly involved in the scheme. Tom DeLay, who lives off his aura of power, says he was powerless over a scheme that invoved his committee and its money and its contributers and that advanced his Congressional redistricting scheme. A grand jury, holding all the cards, is still meeting."

Of coarse our own congress operates on similar principles when you consider the bankruptcy bill and the energy bill!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Roberts Listed in Federalist Society '97-98 Directory

Roberts Listed in Federalist Society '97-98 Directory: "Roberts has burnished his legal image carefully. When news organizations have reported his membership in the society, he or others speaking on his behalf have sought corrections. Last week, the White House told news organizations that had reported his membership in the group that he had no memory of belonging. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press printed corrections.

Over the weekend, The Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.

Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Roberts 'has no recollection of being a member of the Federalist Society, or its steering committee.' Roberts has acknowledged taking part in some Federalist Society activities, Perino said."

Ok, yeah, uh huh!

Anyway, I am of the mind that Roe is a goner, and that isn't entirely a bad thing. As Eric Alterman points out!

Anyway, the Roberts nomination seems to mean we should plan on saying goodbye to thirty-two years of life under “Roe,” which is not entirely a bad thing, even for pro-choice advocates. After all, Bush did terrific with unmarried women without college educations. It would be helpful, politically (and democratically) for them to learn just what it was they were voting for. There’s a much longer argument to be made here, about how judicially-created and enforced liberalism has weakened its cause and alienated its potential supporters while not gaining terribly much in real world terms. (I’m told much the same can be said for “Brown v. Board—at least the “with all deliberate speed” part of it too, but I’ve not yet read up on that argument, and it’s not nearly so germane.) The implications go far beyond that obviously. Roberts is only 50 and Bush is likely to get two more nominees. We may not recognize the Constitution when he’s done. In the meantime, I’ll stick to what I know, will cover the nomination fight if something extraordinary happens. If not, there’s plenty to keep us all busy.

There is nothing you can do to stop a frieght train, and that is what the Bush administration is. The damage done may lead to important reforms in the end! Particularly if it ends public complacency. I know many people who vote for Republicans based on the notion that the courts will protect them from the religious right. It isn't just working class women who don't have time to read newspapers, as Alterman would lead us to believe. It is also upper middle class married women. The so-called security moms. That will officially end once Roe is overturned.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Job Market in W.Va. Defies Efforts to Reform Welfare

We should measure welfare reform on whether it succeeds in lifting the poor out of poverty. Not just on whether case loads are reduced! Hopefully this will be a priority for a restored Democratic congress, but given the New Democrat leanings of the modern Democrats somehow I doubt it.

Job Market in W.Va. Defies Efforts to Reform Welfare: "She has just turned 30, but her left ankle, crushed when her Dodge compact slammed into a cliff four years ago, keeps her limping, in pain and out of work. Just getting around is a job. She lives in a hollow where the roads twist like whirligigs and it takes half an hour to get to the grocery store -- 45 minutes if you end up behind a coal truck. But she no longer has a car, so she has to grab rides from relatives when she can.

Pedestrians and cars filled McDowell Street in downtown Welch, W.Va., in the 1970s, left. Since the coal boom ended, however, cities such as Welch have struggled with poverty and high rates of unemployment.
Pedestrians and cars filled McDowell Street in downtown Welch, W.Va., in the 1970s, left. Since the coal boom ended, however, cities such as Welch have struggled with poverty and high rates of unemployment. (West Virginia State Archive Via Associated Press)

Diamond received welfare, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), until the 60-month limit ran out. Nearly two years later, she began receiving disability checks, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). She gets $479 a month and $160 in food stamps. Still, she says, she can barely afford the electric bills for her trailer or food for her 8-year-old daughter.

She believes this is how it will always be. 'I can't work at all,' she said, 'and there ain't no jobs here no how, except in the coal mines. There's nowhere else for me to go, neither. Without my family, I would not survive.'

In the Central Appalachian coal country, where the land is famously rich and the people famously not, welfare caseloads are down, but poverty still flourishes. Since the 1996 welfare reform law, or Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, took effect, the rolls in West Virginia have dropped from 38,404 to fewer than 10,000. In general, the law -- which sets a five-year limit for receiving welfare and requires recipients to get an education, take job training or perform community service -- is considered a success. But in West Virginia, many former recipients are worse off than before, according to research by West Virginia University.

Even as the Senate is considering reauthorizing the welfare reform act with stricter work requirements and more child care funding, a prime goal of the act -- moving welfare recipients into jobs -- remains elusive in rural West Virginia, according to the research, done in conjunction with the state Department of Health and Human Resources. A year after their checks stopped, 73.1 percent of former recipients were unemployed, 65.6 percent reported not being able to afford their basic utilities, and only a small proportion believed that their prospects for the future were good (11.3 percent) or excellent (3.1 percent), the researchers found."

Prostitution Puts U.S. and Brazil at Odds on AIDS Policy - New York Times

Prostitution Puts U.S. and Brazil at Odds on AIDS Policy - New York Times: "But the Brazilian approach is anathema to many conservatives in the United States because it makes use of methods seen as morally objectionable. Brazil not only operates a needle and syringe exchange program for drug addicts but also rejects the Bush administration's emphasis on abstinence, being faithful and the controlled use of condoms, the so-called ABC approach, in favor of a pragmatism that recognizes that sexual desire can sometimes overwhelm reason.

'Obviously abstinence is the safest way to avoid AIDS,' Dr. Chequer said. 'But it's not viable in an operational sense unless you are proposing that mankind be castrated or genetically altered, and then you would end up with something that is not human but something else altogether.'

'If we increasingly focus the prevention of AIDS along these lines, we are generating carnage, a slaughter,' he said. 'It's not a realistic vision, and the epidemic is going to grow larger and larger.'

Brazil, of course, is not the only country to have been affected by the American policy. Senegal has one of the lowest H.I.V. prevalence rates in Africa, but has been cut off from the Bush administration initiative, public health experts said, because prostitution has been legal there since 1969. And in Central American countries like Guatemala, religious groups supported by American financing have distributed fliers to prostitutes urging them to adopt the ABC approach."

This article is very poorly written. I assume the sticking point is that the religious right doesn't want to give Prostitutes condom education.

Most women do this for money, not for sex. There is no reason to punish them with the aids virus just because they are trying to support themselves and their families. Prostitution is wrong, and I hate it but so is the grinding poverty that causes it.

I really think that some of the people who say the religious right actually likes people dying of aids are probably right. It is more imporatant to punish sex than save lives. My own conclusion is that the religious right are a bunch dullards and they make me ashamed to call myself a Christian!


Ok people, Greg Palast is illustrates that the "Asian Tiger", China didn't get wealthy by adhearing to the free market philosophy of Milton Freidman, Tom Freidman, or George Bush. Neither did any of the other "Asian Tigers" but that is not within the scope of the article.

: "Economics Lesson #2: Don't take economics lessons from George Bush. Or Milton Friedman. Or Thomas Friedman. What that means, class, is don't believe the big, hot pile of hype that China's zooming economy is the result of that Red nation's adopting free market economic policies.

If China is now a capitalist free-market state, then I'm Mariah Carey. China's economy has soared because it stubbornly refused the Free – and Friedman-Market mumbo-jumbo that government should stop controlling, owning and regulating industry.

China's announcement that it would raise the cost of the yuan covered over a more important notice that China would bar foreign control of its steel sector. China's leaders have built a powerhouse steel industry larger than ours by directing the funding, output, location and ownership of all factories. And rather than 'freeing' the industry through opening their borders to foreign competition, the Chinese, for steel and every other product, have shut their borders tight to foreigners except as it suits China’s own needs.

China won't join NAFTA or CAFTA or any of those free-trade clubs. In China, Chinese industry comes first. And it's still, Mssrs. Friedman, the Peoples’ republic. Those Wal-Mart fashion designs called, chillingly, 'New Order,' are made in factories owned by the PLA, the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army.

In an interview just before he won the Nobel Prize in economics, Joe Stiglitz explained to me that China's huge financial surge -- a stunning 9.5% jump in GDP this year -- began with the government's funding and nurturing rural cooperatives, fledgling industry protected behind high, high trade barriers.

The free trade mantra dominant in most of the media is simply and unfounded Dogma. The only countries that have practices this are South American and African hellholes!