Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2006 Elections

Is the perfect storm about to hit? I have had my reservations all along; particularly in light of the fiasco in 2004 but I think I'm coming around to the notion that yes, the perfect storm is brewing.

It's not just the ongoing horrible news coming out of Iraq, though that's bad enough. And it not the constant drip drip of dirty Republican politicians doing the perp walk these days. I do think these things are driving the voters toward the Democrats.

I am basing much of my cautious optimism on the recent spate of discussion among conservative pundits. Partly about how bad they think the Republicans are doing (and they're right!), but mostly - and my sample consists of just one blogger - upon the writings of a rabid conservative who has never shown a hint of concern before about the outcome of the November elections.

Now I'm reading about how unpredictable the polls are; how the GOTV action for the Republicans will save the day; how a statement from him like this, "A Democratic tsunami is still a possibility, of course." is tantum out to an admission that the Republicans are in serious trouble.

I'm not about to bet the farm or even a couple of bucks on the outcome, but I'm coming round to the idea that I won't be waking up the Wednesday after elections with a stunning headache.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Udate on the Family

Things have moved along; as they do. We go to the MD this week to have the staples removed. Then about mid-May we get to unlock the splint. What that means exactly I don’t know; but I hope it means more independence. And a slow return to what passes for normalcy in our family.

I hope to be a bit more talkative in the future...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Family Ties

This last couple of weeks has been filled with medical stuff in my household. My partner has been recovering from a total knee replacement for almost two months. This is a big deal if nothing goes wrong. Unfortunately for us, she fell and pretty much shredded the ligaments on the inside of the knee.

The good news is the new joint is fine. The bad news - she had to go back to surgery to have the ligaments reconstructed. Now she is home again, but with a long leg brace locked into full extension for a month. That's like having a long leg cast. She had to come home in an ambulance and I'm not sure she can get into either of our cars.

We drive small fuel efficient vehicles, but they aren't designed for people with leg casts. Too bad we are not driving some big SUV fuel hog! I could use one right now. I'm not sure how this little drama is going to work out yet.

But, as for my never ending thoughts on politics, they are in my head; I just have to find time to get them on to the blog. I'll work harder now that everyone in back home.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Islam and the 21st Century

I have been talking via emails with a conservative blogger:

I have enjoyed the discussion via quoted articles and emails re: the Islamic religion. You stated, “No view of religion is ever gone for ever. Islam may not be promising material for modernity; but I'm not prepared to give up on its eventual reconciliation with liberal democracy.”

How I would like if just wishing could make it so. Sadly, all the evidence indicates that Islam remains a paternal religion that flatly states they are the one true religion. While that’s not unlike most religions, the Islamic faith backs it up with these quotes from The Koran:

"Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate." (Sura 9:73)

"Those who reject Faith fight in the cause of Evil. So fight ye against the friends of Satan." (Sura 4:76)

"Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)." (Sura 9:5)

You simply won’t find a call to hurt those who don’t believe in the Bible anywhere in either the new or Old Testament. I’ve have read Islamic scholars who make the point that later verses abrogate these calls to action. If that were truly so, why do we see such a consistently high level of violence in the name of Islam? Obviously, the teaching to hurt/kill those who do not believe/convert to Islam holds great sway to today.

In any case, I don’t have much confidence that Islam will reconcile with 21st century cultural values any time soon.

I see conservatives working hard to make Islam a "peaceful religion". It's not. I wish that it was, but the sooner we come to accept that those who practice Islam would as soon kill us as look at us if we don't accept Allahah and Islam, the sooner we develop a foreign policy rooted in reality.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's up in the Republican world?

That's a loaded question in the best of times. Right now, with Bush continuing to tank and the world going to heck in a hand cart, the question is more than a little important.

What are the Republicans/conservatives/evangelical right up to today? I find it interesting that we are hearing less about the evangelical right and more about the Republicans today. For better or worse, Republicans are being viewed as one in the same as the evangelical right. For Democrats this is a good thing. We have long sought to identify Republicans with the evangelical right - for good reasons. It would seem we have finally succeeded.

The question is; can we take this new paradigm and run with it? Can we liberals/Democrats take advantage of the fact that "Republicans" are slipping into the lexicon of dirty word? I certainly hope so...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More on Immigration

The following is a conversation I had with a Republican blogger. As Usual he went on to point out the weakness of the Dem plan without really talking about the failures of the Bush administration.


I might be an easy grader. But, the baseline has been dramatically altered too. We can both probably agree on the current state of affairs in Afghanistan and Iraq. The problem is; this sorry state of affairs is the result of a very badly planned and executed Bush foreign policy. Yes, there aren’t a lot of appetizing options now in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And why is that? That is a legitimate question. To my mind it is the result of a poorly thought out and implemented policy by the Bush administration. This is where the Democrats can point out their differences with the Republicans.

If Gore had won in 2000 would we have invaded Afghanistan after 9/11? Yes. Would we have stayed to finish the job? I think so. Would we have invaded Iraq? I don’t think so. Would the world really be worse off if Saddam Hussein remained in power today? Speaking of dirty little secrets; I would so NO, the world, and the US in particular would not be worse off if Saddam remained in power. That’s the other dirty little secret Republicans don’t want to talk about.

As for the “here’s our vision”, at least the Democrats are offering up something other than “stay the course”. If the 2006 election ends up being about who has the better vision, the Democrats win. The American public has already seen way too much of the Bush/Republican vision of how the world ought to be.

Republican Blogger:

I think you're an easy grader, Teresa. This kind of generic "here's our vision" document would have been useful after 2004, when the Democrats really were back to square one, and needed to hammer out some basics before coming up with some more specific proposals.

(I'll provide you with a handy counterargument - "yeah, Jim, if the Democrats had followed your advice and done this earlier, they would be ahead in the polls and with great momentum for 2006 - oh, wait a minute, they didn't follow your advice and that happened anyway!")

I think the dirty little secret on national security policy is that there aren't a lot of appetizing options that are significantly distinct from what the Bush administration is doing right now. On catching OBL, presumably the biggest obstacle right now is Pakistan's shaky control over the tribal areas. Do we send in a bunch of troops and de facto invade? Very messy, probably very bloody. But beyond that, we're hoping for some informant to come through with something and/or hoping to get lucky with a Predator drone.

On "finishing the job in Afghanistan", I think the Rahman case showed us the ugly truth about Afghani tribal society. Are we twisting arms and applying diplomatic pressure over there as much as we could? If we twist or press harder, do they break and do the Afghanis turn on us? How much is too much, and persuades the average Afghani on the street that Karzai's our puppet?

On Iraq, it's like Afghanistan, but worse. I think Americans are tiring of waiting for the Iraqis to get their act together, and even I have my times where I wonder if the skeptics are right - that a civil society cannot be formed out of the sectarian hatred of the Sunni, Shia, and Kurd; or perhaps they need a decade-long bloodletting like the Balkans before they will consider peaceful coexistence.

Tough problems, that don't have easy solutions. Tough to turn that into a distinct, appealing political agenda.

But reciting goals with no plans, as Reid and Pelosi did today, isn't all that dissimilar from what many Administration critics call the Bush/Cheney/Rummy "happy talk."

Of course my Republican friend can't see beyond his own preconceived notion of reality. That's not a surprise. I always hope that Republicans will move beyond their own self created reality; but it rarely happens.


The big controversy of the day is immigration. That's not surprising. It's a classic wedge issue for the Republicans (and Lou Dobbs ratings), and this is after all an election year. So it's no surprise that we're talking about it.

The pleasant surprise for me is how the Senate Judiciary Committee is discussing the issue. On the whole the Senators are actually thinking about the situation and not just making speeches for their constituents (except Kyl and Cronin - no big surprise). The unpleasant aspect but not a surprise is Bill Frist's plan to bring up his own competing bill in the Senate.

Honestly, can that man be any more tone deaf when it comes to politics? He is doing his best to alienate the Senators in his own party on this issue. He can't leave the Senate soon enough. And, if he continues to play to the fundamentalist right he might just get the Republican nomination for President in 2008. For moderates and liberals in the country that would surely be a gift from heaven. There is no way he gets elected. Even Hillary would win.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tim Kaine's response

Tim Kaine just blew me away. He was calm, thoughtful, and sincere. He laid out some relly good ideas and goals. I found myself really listening to him carefully, and liking what I heard.

I know some wondered why he was picked, and I can see why now. This guy is good and can only get better. We may have just seen the unveiling of the next President of the Unitied States. We could do much worse.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Alito Filibuster

Is the Alito filibuster a good idea? I can see problems (mostly political), but the basic idea is a good one. I would even go so far as to say it's an excellent one. If Alito is, as liberals believe going to rubberstamp the conservative viewpoint of Scalio and Thomas, than the filibuster - though failed - puts in place the mechanism whereby Democrats did everything they reasonably could to stop this nomination. As the year goes on, and if Alito tows the line toward more loss of personal privacy, including abortion rights; we will look back on this attempted filibuster as a watershed moment in the growing of the Democratic spine.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Iran and nukes

Well, isn't this just a mess? It's really ugly all the way around. I think there is a way to avoid the nuclear scenario though. That would be the one where we (and who "we" are is yet to be determined) disable enough of Iran's nuclear facilities to set them back some 20 years. A couple of things – the Muslims in this world already hate the US, the great Satan, so there's nothing to lose there. Hopefully, the current hateful environment on the planet won't last forever. If you think back to the state of affairs in 1941-1942, I would say emotionally the planet is in about the same state. But, we didn't stay that way.

As much as I think we made a huge mistake attacking Iraq, it seems like a no-brainer not to see that an attack on Iran that includes us is inevitable. We need to be the ones who decide when and who decide how.

The only question in my mind is do we have enough military forces, bombs, etc to get the job done? And, by the way, I am not advocating using ground forces here. Warn the cities that have the nuke facilities in advance, give the people time to get out, than take out the plants, research labs etc. Also, let's get some covert action going on the scientists in Iran. Kidnap, kill, whatever it takes to get the brains of the operation out of the picture.

Now, before you liberals have a stroke, remember I'm a Pragmatic Liberal. And it's as pragmatic as hell to take the nuclear scenario out of Iran's future.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Can a 42 year old even get through basic training?

So, the Army plans on reaching its recruitment goals by luring in grandparents. The top age allowed has been raised to 42. It sounds like some kind of SNL routine, but sadly, it's the truth.

Do we actually think a 42 year old (and I can say this with authority) will even make it through basic training? Will the arthritis get in the way? Or other ailments endemic to the early 40's population?

If this is the only way to meet the Army's goals; don't we run the risk of having an Army literally incapable of the job it is tasked to do?

And, on a more practical note, isn't the health care of these recruits going to be inordinately high?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Illegal Immigrants

There is lots of news today about the Catholic Church and its supposed support for the illegal immigrants.

I want to ask a different question. How would this country look and run if all of the illegal immigrants were to be deported? Have you spent any time looking into the kinds of jobs they perform? From my experience, they work in large numbers in the service industry - maids, stockers, field workers, and more recently in the construction industry. My question is, with the US unemployment rate running about 5%, where do we think we are going to get the workers to replace the illegal aliens?

And, more importantly, why do we want to do this? If they provide a service that does not seem to be filled by legal aliens or US citizens now, what exactly is the problem with the service they provide?

Hillary, Take Two

Well, I've had a night to sleep on it. And, I think I was right, but not completely. Now that Hillary has gotten out there on the attack, she needs to stay there. Certainly she can add clarity to the statements she has made, but don't back down an inch.

And, from what I've seen today on the news she isn't. Furthermore, she has to take on the Republican congress, Bush, and NOW, Laura Bush. How ridiculous is it that what Laura thinks about this gets any air time at all. And, now is a perfect time for Hillary to point out that Laura is not an elected official, and once she gets herself elected to ANY office at all, then she can speak with some authority.

I also notice that Barrack Obama backed up Clinton today on her statements. This is good news. All Democrats need to stay together on this issue, and not just defend the position, but go after the fake outrage of the Republicans. The Republicans have no claim to any outrage about any issue with regard to how Congress is run. They run it, and badly.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hillary and the Plantation

I see that Hillary Clinton has given a speech in a mostly black church in New York. She stated that the leadership of Congress was "running it like a plantation; and you know what I mean".

Now, she went on the very next sentence to state this meant that they didn't allow any business but their business to see the light of day. That the Democrats were shut out. This is true.

The question is, will anyone remember or bother to note anything other than the "plantation" statement. I don't think so, and I think her comments were at the least not well thought out, and at the worst just stupid. She muddled the whole argument which is a good one to the point where it will be hard to make it now.

I know I rant about the Republican's and their talking points, but there is something to be said about prepared statements that don't end up being taken out of context and creating situations where way too much time is taken up explaining the statements and being on the defensive.

Friday, January 13, 2006

About Alito...

It seems pretty clear he is on his way to confirmation. Like most nominees lately, he managed to pretty much not say anything, and got away with it. It looks like we're left to hope that once elevated to the bench of the Supreme Court, he will recognize the importance of his job and conduct himself in a way that at least follows the law. We'll see...

What to do about Alito...

I want, really want to feel comfortable with Judge Alito. But, I'm having problems. Surprisingly, it actually doesn't have to do with his pro-life positions. That seems pretty well established, which is not surprising, considering he has been nominated by President Bush.

My bigger issues are arising with his truthfulness. The discussions today about his membership in the now defunct Concerned Alumni of Princeton. He was a member; in fact he listed it on his resume for a job in the Reagan administration in 1985. The merits/demerits of the association aside, his answer that he didn't "remember" being a member is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at worst. This man can quote extensively from numerous court cases going back over a 15 years period, but can't "remember" if he belonged to a group "demonstrating its anti-gay, anti-minority and anti-female sentiments"?

That defies belief, plan and simple. This judge is lying and I think pretty much everyone in the hearing room knows it. To my mind that disqualifies him from the job of Supreme Court Justice on the face of it. He's lying about this, what else is he lying about, or will lie about in the future? Why does he have so much trouble acknowledging being a member of this group? He can easily state that he does not hold these views today; that time and maturity have changed his beliefs. I could believe that; it happens to all of us.

As it stands though; I find him to be disingenuous and dishonest. I don't want him on the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

King George

"It is slowly becoming clear that the Bush administration's real goal is not winning the right to torture, or to spy on Americans, or to lock people up without recourse. It is absolute power."

This is from a Salon opinion piece about the push for absolute power. The old saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely is particularly apt for this president. Here's a man raised in wealth and privilege; never having to actually be responsible for any of his actions. The thought that he would have of himself as truly above the law isn't surprising. Nor is it surprising that he feels himself to be the chosen one. Barbara always treated him that way. So has Laura.

The unfortunate part comes in when he takes these dysfunctional beliefs and adds that to the fact that he isn't even really a properly elected president. Truly, why would we think he would behave differently? His intellect won't allow it; it upbringing won't allow it, and his entourage won't allow it either.

The Polar Ice Cap Is Melting

Here's an article sure to upset anyone living near any coast on the planet:

Polar Ice Cap Melting

The melting of the polar ice cap has accelerated over the last few years, and scienetists are rightly concerned about what this means for us.

"Even if temperatures and conditions went flat from this point forward, we anticipate that Arctic ice would eventually disappear," Scambos said.

What this means is hard to say exactly, except that the polar ice cap is melting, and will completely melt regardless of what we do going forward.

It's not clear how much the sea level will rise, but some experts think it could rise 23 feet by the end of this century. I won't be around for the big day, but my great grandchildren will, and I'm sorry we're saddling them with this fiasco.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Let's try this again

Obviously, I'm no expert at doing web pages! So, here (I Hope) is the actaul, correct link to my Blog through my ISP. Geez, I guess I should have taken that class.

Pragmatic Liberal

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I'm taking advantage of my ISP's offer to host a web site - for free - and switiching my blog over there. Here's the new url:

Pragmatic Liberal

I hope those who enjoy my thoughts, or maybe just check in to disagree, will come on over to follow the blog.

Thanks so much for those who have checked in regularly. I'll keep posting at the new site.

Teresa Wyeth

Kerry and 2008

I want to believe I've heard it wrong. That there's no way John Kerry would even think about running again. Not after running one of the worst campaigns I have ever seen. The man DIDN'T RESPOND to the Swift Boat attacks. What does that say about his ability to respond to a threat as President?

I'll be up front though. I voted for him in 2004. It was clear that we needed to get Bush out of office - and I'm not really prescient, I just didn’t want the power grab to continue, as it apparently has.

Let someone else run as the Democratic candidate. Someone who will strike back at those who launch unfounded attacks. Someone who isn't afraid of upsetting some wing of the party. Someone who realizes that the very liberal wing of the party is going to vote for whoever wins the nomination. What other choice do they have? Nader? Never again.

I want someone strong enough to respond to the filth dished out by the fundamentalist rightwing whackos.

Abramoff Cops a Plea

What does it all mean? Can we expect him to give us details on his dealings with members of congress? I know he was somewhat of an equal opportunity briber, but he was way more generous to the Republicans.

Certainly one of his biggest benefactors was Tom DeLay. I hope he brings down lots of people in high places.

New Blog

I'm in the process of setting up a web site through Homestead. I'll double post both places for a while, and let you know when I switch completly over to the new site.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Lawless President

Well, it's official now. The President has stated in his signing statement re: the McCain Amendment:

The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.

As far as Bush is concerned, if he wants to break the law, he will. If congress the media can't stop him from usurping power from congress and the courts, the name "King George" will be more than just a sarcastic phrase.