Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Feed the Children

Here's something you can do to help out hungry children: fill up a "shoebox" full of necessities as well as gifts then send it on to Feed the Children and they will make sure it gets to a child on their list.

Peanut and I did this for a woman and little boy affected by the aftermath of Katrina. He had a lot of fun picking out stuff for them both and it teaches him something that my talking to him can't: empathy and compassion.

The website says that boxes must be recieved by December 5th but I'm sure being a few days late won't hinder things too much. Just make sure it isn't there on December 24th.
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Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood Part II

Just listened to the argument that was given before the Supremes and I gotta say, they yanked AG Kelly Ayotte and the other guy all over the place hardly letting them get a word out while hardly interupting Ms. Dalven who represented Planned Parenthood. I don't think that means anything necessarily, but I do know Justice Souter has made his voice known for real.

Casey was brought up a lot.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England

It’s being heard by the Supremes tomorrow (November 30th) and new Chief Justice Roberts gets to be a part of it.

Ayotte will determine whether or not a New Hampshire law, which states unemancipated minors must obtain written consent from their parents within 48hours of an abortion, is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception for the health of said minor.

The United States District Court of New Hampshire found the Act unconstitutional and for that reason it could not be applied:

After carefully reviewing the provisions of the Act and the applicable United States Supreme Court precedents, the court has concluded that the Act fails to meet the constitutional requirements as determined by the United States Supreme Court. Therefore, the Act cannot be enforced.
Here is a section of the Act that seems to go unnoticed though I believe it places a burden on the doctor/patient privilege afforded to minors:

RSA 132:25, I. Paragraph II requires written notice to be addressed to the parent at the parent’s "usual place of abode" and to be "delivered personally by the physician or an agent." Paragraph III provides an alternative to allow notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, with delivery restricted to the addressee.
This was part of New Hampshire’s Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act that barely passed both the House and Senate committees. Requiring physicians to personally deliver letters to parents of pregnant minors within 48 hours would not only place an undue burden on doctors and their staff, it may also have the backfiring effect of keeping pregnant minors away from doctor offices altogether. We, including unemancipated minors, are supposed to be able to trust doctors, right? This is an issue Judge DiClerico choose to ignore in his ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood.

Judge Torruella, writing the opinion for the United States Court of Appeals First Circuit, agreed with the lower courts ruling for the same reasons. He also went on to say Attorney General Heed argued that in order to prove the Act was facially invalid, "the court must apply the 'no set circumstances' standard set forth in United States v. Salerno." Torruella then went on to briefly state what had been decided in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey where O'Connor's undue burden standard was thus set in stone.

It is important to remember that while O'Connor agreed spousal notification laws were unconstitutional because they placed an undue burden on the rights of women to procure an abortion at her choosing, she didn't think parental notification laws or mandatory waiting periods did. When you read the ruling in Casey by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (where Judge Alito has sat for 15 years), you will notice O'Connor believes that because a judicial bypass is included in the restrictions on minors seeking an abortion, this eliminates the undue burden standard. This will be the pressing issue when Judge Samuel Alito begins his nomination hearings January 9th since he was the lone dissenter in Casey.

But I digress.

District Attorney Heed wanted the standard set in Salerno to be the considered application for Planned Parenthood v. New Hampshire, the former was argued only a few years before Casey came along. Heed also argued that the undue burden was not thus concreted by O’Connor’s decision in Casey even though she directly stated that it will be how they decide the constitutionality of abortion laws from then on out.

Then Judge Torruella states:

Complementing the general undue burden standard, the Supreme Court has also identified a specific and independent constitutional requirement that an abortion regulation must contain an exception for the preservation of a pregnant woman's health.
Twice that was said, including the lower courts ruling. Heed left it at that but when Kelly Ayotte replaced Heed in 2004, this was his first order of business despite the opposition from New Hampshire's Governor.

So it will be interesting to see how the Supremes rule this time considering they've ruled on it numerous times before, especially in 1973 when Roe was decided. The true test will be if Roberts understands precedent as he said he did in his confirmation hearings.
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Who's the bad guy here?

Because we Democrats, or Liberals even, are the morally defunct ones right? How many Republican Senators and Representatives have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar?

Not to mention the severe backpedaling being done by both Bush and Chaney because even their precious Replublican backers are beginning to show signs of doubt.
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He's not that small anymore, but isn't he adorable? He was born in July (this picture was taken 1 month later) at the National Zoo and is considered a great achievment because Giant Panda's are so hard to breed in captivity and are touchy in their natural habitat which is being destroyed rapidly. This is the 2nd pair of Giant Panda's given to the National Zoo and they have a large observation/data room set up for these cuties.

We tried going there twice to see the panda's because we love them. However, everyone else was trying to see the panda's, too, especially the new baby and now they charge an admission fee of $10. I guess they figure since the panda's are the main attraction, they could pay their own way. Or a huge exhibit is in the process of being completed for them so that may have something to do with it.

I personally love the gorillas and elephants and could sit around watching them all day. Scroll down to see Kuja, the silverback. He's huge and knows how to play it up for the crowd of onlookers. We got to watch Kojo and Kwame play hide-n-seek last time we were there (in August). It was both fascinating and hilarious to see their intelligence so obvious.
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I wanna know

Why can't we vote to overthrow our government like the Canadians did yesterday? After all, it's not like we don't have enough evidence of their loss of morality, right?

But, when one looks closer at the real reason the Liberal Party was voted out, you can see that it's not because they had lost their “moral authority," it's that they have lost touch with the morals the Conservative, New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois parties agree with such as a liberal stance on gay marriage, open borders to immigrants and, here's the clincher, staying out of the U.S.'s War on Iraq.

Martin has had frosty relations with the White House, standing by the Liberal Party decision not to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He also declined to join in Washington's continental ballistic missile shield, infuriating the Bush administration, has been called weak on terrorism, and was vocal in his opposition of high U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber.
Can you not help but wonder what the real reason behind this accusation of corruption really is? Did they vote out Martin because he really is bad for the Canadian government or is it because he's too liberal?

Canada's Conservatives, by contrast, are seen as much more receptive to improving relations with Washington, though a majority of Canadians opposed the war in Iraq and the policies of President Bush.
Yes, there was a scandal, Liberals were accused of receiving kickbacks; Martin was absolved of any wrongdoing, blah blah blah. Sometimes you can't help but wonder if people are set up in these situations so they can be found out later when it’s convenient.

I still wanna know how come we can't vote out our government like that. How come the Dem's, spineless as they are right now, can't tell all those religious moralists they aren't in touch with the way the world really works so they can't be a Senator/Representative anymore? Oh yeah, because that would be unpatriotic and cowardly. Right.
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Monday, November 28, 2005

Just so you know...

I'm working on 3 posts, including the ones for Blog Against Racism Day and World AIDS Day.

And I've been working on what ye ol blog looks like, too. Thanks Charlie!
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I was woken up at 2am last night when Peanut had a bad dream, couldn't remember what it was about but wanted to climb in bed with me to cuddle up.

Then I was woken up at 4am when he informed me he had peed in the bed.

When I woke up at 6:45 this morning because, this time, the alarm was screaming at me, I had the funniest recollection of a dream I had been having in between the interruptions and you all will love it.

I was going about my daily routine, wondering what everyone was so amped up about, when finally my sister grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me while yelling, "Didn't you hear, NUT!? How can you not have heard! President Bush has gone missing. Someone stole the President!"

Ahhh, if only that were really true.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My kid's in Style

Lots of kids from his school were in it, too, but his is the only one that counts, right? The story isn't available online because it's a free publication and in order to keep it free, the online thing just isn't working for now. But they asked the kids what they really wanted for Christmas and here's what my son had to say:

Wish List:
[Long pause] A new toy Corvette that I could drive around in my back yard. And more army toys. And more knight toys for my castle. And I also want a big castle with a catapult and something that smases the gates, and when it's smased, all the gate falls down. I also want a robot toy dog and a dragon toy and a knight bed ... and costumes that look like knights and kings.
Why do we give presents to people?
Cause if their house explodes and they don't have anything, we could jus sent it to them. Once time I did that because there was a lady's house that exploded. Me and my cousin Z. had to send toys, lots of toys, so my mom gave up my Lego knight kingdom people and I was really sad. And she also gave up my Lego Bionicles. So I just cried a little bit.
People are gonna think I'm mean because I made him give up his toys, when he did so voluntarily after I had discussed it with him first. And the story was that last year, 1 week after Christmas, a family's house was destroyed by a fire, including everything they had gotten for Christmas. Their son was Peanut's age so I sent the toys he wasn't playing with, including half of his Lego Knight Kingdom figures ... which he hadn't played with in over 2 months prior to me giving them away.

What's even more hilarious is that he has the Corvette sitting in our garage. He's also getting that castles thanks to good 'ol Santa complete with catapults and dragons. It was imported from Sweden so damn it was expensive (I bought it locally though).

I also find it funny that he said he only cried a little bit but in all reality, he didn't even blink. Kids are nuts.
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Don't forget!!

December 1st is also World AIDS Day.* Break out something red and show your support for a cure and the lift of the Global Gag Rule. Hell, just send the women and men in Africa packages of condoms.

And in light of such a pressing subject matter, still, even after 20 years of its existence, I will be posting something that day with regards to my experiences I have had in the past. My mom and I were just discussing it earlier this evening, too.

*So I now owe you 2 posts: 1 on racism and 1 on AIDS. This will be fun.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This is close

Your Blog Should Be Green
Your blog is smart and thoughtful - not a lot of fluff.You enjoy a good discussion, especially if it involves picking apart ideas.However, you tend to get easily annoyed by any thoughtless comments in your blog.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

So, I'm wonderin'

How can I have a kid who's so smart academically that he gets all "A's" on his report card (all 4's & 5's), yet his behavior sucks?

Today is yet another day that tells me either my kid's got ADD/ADHD or there is something I'm missing. This also means we will be going back to the Talk Dr. posthaste.
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Blog Against Racism Day

It's December 1st and I'm gonna do it. If you want to join in the fun, see Chris Clarke and leave him a message about your intentions.
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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Something we should ALL know

What the courts actually say in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I've been reading it a lot lately for my Women and Law class and tonight I'm reading it all again so I can write a paper (it's nothing exciting - just a max 5pg midterm). So I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with all of you out there so you, too, can know what was really said (and then pass it since this is the big deal with Alito now). I move on to Roe v. Wade next so maybe I'll post snippets of that, too.

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Robert P. Casey, Attorney General
505 U.S. 833; 112 S.Ct. 2791; 120 L.Ed.2d 674; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4751; 60 U.S.L.W. 4795; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8982; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 663

On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. A majority of the members of the court joined portions of an opinion holding that (1) the statutory provision defining a medical emergency did not violate the due process clause, (2) the provision requiring spousal notice violated the due process clause, and (3) the essential holding of Roe v Wade which held that (a) a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion before her fetus is viable and to obtain an abortion without undue interference from a state, (b) a state has the power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the state law imposing such a restriction contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger a woman's life or health, and (c) a state has legitimate interests from the outset of a pregnancy in protecting the health of the pregnant woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child--should be retained and reaffirmed.
(affirmed=SCOTUS agrees with lower courts decision; reversed=SCOTUS didn't agree with lower courts decision; remanded=SCOTUS sent it back to the lower courts for another look; I'm hoping everyone knows what the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment is)

In a joint opinion by O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., announcing the judgment of the court, and joined in pertinent part by Stevens and Blackmun, JJ., it was held that (2) the provision requiring spousal notice violated the due process clause by imposing an undue burden on a woman's abortion rights, because the notice requirement enabled a husband to wield, in effect, an unconstitutional veto over his wife's decision concerning an abortion; and (3) consideration of the fundamental constitutional questions resolved by Roe v Wade, of principles of institutional integrity, and of the rule of stare decisis required that the essential holding of Roe v Wade be retained and reaffirmed. (4) the provision requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice violated the due process clause by placing an undue burden on a woman's choice; and (5) the trimester framework of Roe v Wade should be rejected.
These are snippets of the opinion taken from the case opinion on LexisNexis. Everybody should have access to this database because it's got most, if not all, the cases the SCOTUS has decided on before the 1960s to present. Below will be individual additions to the opinion. I think they are important because it shows just how diverse the opinion of the court was. Btw, PP v. Casey was argued in April 1992, decided in June 1992.

Stevens, J.,(1) Roe v Wade was an integral part of a correct understanding of both the concept of liberty and the basic equality of men and women; (3) a state could promote its preference for normal childbirth by funding childbirth, creating and maintaining alternatives to abortion, and espousing the virtues of family, but must respect an individual's freedom to choose between childbirth and abortion; (4) the court properly determined that (a) the medical emergency provision was valid, (b) the provision requiring spousal notice was invalid, and (c) the provisions requiring record keeping and reporting were valid, except that the provision requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice was invalid; and (5) with respect to the statutory provision concerning informed consent, (a) the portion requiring a physician or counselor to provide a woman with a range of materials clearly designed to persuade her to choose not to undergo an abortion was unconstitutional, because the state could not inject such information into a woman's deliberations just as she was weighing such an important choice, and (b) the 24-hour waiting period was unconstitutional, where there was no evidence that the mandated delay benefited women or was necessary to enable a physician to convey any relevant information to a patient.

Blackmun, J., (2) state restrictions on abortion (a) violated a woman's right of privacy by infringing upon her right to bodily integrity and depriving her of the right to make her own decision about reproduction and family planning, (blogger note: I love this sentence) and (b) implicated constitutional guarantees of gender equality; (3) the trimester framework required in Roe v Wade should not be disturbed.
And here we switch thinking gears, big time. I didn't edit these because it helps to see just where they stand. It's also important to remember that now Chief Justice Roberts once clerked for Rehnquist and has argued many cases before SCOTUS.

Rehnquist, Ch. J., joined by White, Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., (1) Roe v Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled; (2) a woman's interest in having an abortion is a form of liberty protected by the due process clause, but states may regulate abortion procedures in ways rationally related to a legitimate state interest; and (3) the challenged statutory provisions should be upheld in their entirety, because (a) the informed consent provision was rationally related to the state's interest in assuring that a woman's consent to an abortion be fully informed, and the 24-hour waiting period reasonably furthered the state's legitimate interests in maternal health and in the unborn life of the fetus, (b) the parental consent provision was consistent with the Supreme Court's previous decisions involving parental consent requirements, (c) the spousal notice provision was a rational attempt to improve truthful communication between spouses and encourage collaborative decisionmaking, (d) the court properly determined that the medical emergency provision was valid, and (e) the statute's reporting requirements rationally furthered the state's legitimate interests in medical knowledge concerning maternal health and prenatal life, in gathering statistical information concerning patients, and in assuring compliance with other provisions of the statute.

Scalia, J., joined by Rehnquist, Ch. J., and White and Thomas, JJ., concurring (1) a woman's liberty to abort her unborn child is not a liberty protected by the Federal Constitution, because (a) the Constitution says nothing about abortion, and (b) the longstanding traditions of American society permitted abortion to be legally proscribed; (2) applying the rational-basis test, the state statute should be upheld in its entirety; (3) Roe v Wade was plainly wrong, and the Supreme Court should get out of this area of the law, where it has no right to be; and (4) the undue burden standard was inherently manipulable and would prove unworkable in practice.
For the record, Roe v. Wade specifically states that women have a right to privacy and bodily autonomy under the right to liberty under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. It also demands that no state make any laws that could impede on this right at all. Casey is what will be used to help determine the parental consent law in New Hampshire on November 30th in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire.
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Is it really worth it?

The war I mean since it seems Iraq isn't all that stable, considering more suicide bombers just blew up 84 more people.
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just sayin'....

I got a flu shot this morning and now my shoulder/arm hurts.

It's finally the 30 degrees outside that it should have been over a week ago but it's 80 degrees in my office (due in part because it's on the 3rd floor). I'm sweating that's how hot it is. And I've got the AC on.
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Thursday, November 17, 2005


I've been doing it for just a little too long and now everythings due. So I may not be posting for a few days or 5, like say, Wednesday when the last paper is handed in to the TA.

A Right to Privacy Clause in the 14th Amdendment? A decent argument as to why Dem's shouldn't just go for it.

Problems women have being women in Africa. Need I say more?

Molly Ivins once again lends her satirical humor to the criticism of the Bush administration and it's tax cuts for the wealthy.
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This is getting ridiculous.

So Cheney is now calling out the Democratic Senators who voted unanamously to go to war with Iraq, stating they all agreed Sadam Hussein was a threat, so you know, what's the problem? Funny thing though, I don't recall the UN Inspectors ever finding any WMD. I will agree Hussein was a threat, just not to us. How many times must we remind our hot button pushers that we the U.S. are the only ones who have used nuclear weapons - ever?

Sure John Edwards and John Kerry voted to go to war, but they are subject to human emotions just like the rest of us. The idea of war was suggested too soon after 9/11 (we now know the aftermath of 9/11 was used to create the need for war) and perhaps everyone, including Congress, was running high on those wild emotions of anger and revenge. After all, couldn't the phrases "bomb 'em back to the stone age" and "kill them afghans's" be heard long after the dust settled in NYC? I'm sure there were others, but I try not to listen to most derogatory names for people.

Cheney said in his speech at the Frontiers of Freedom's 2005 Ronald Reagan Gala, that the Democrats who are now loudly accusing the Bush Adminstration of falsifying the need for war and now the occupation of Iraq is "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

This coming from the guy whose aide has been indicted on several charges with regards to lying and leaking sensitive information and whose corporation has been charged with fraud and misleading the government.

I think everyone has had the last few years to settle into the real documented information and more proof is published even in mainstream sources everyday as to the erroneous reasons we began the war in the first place (I dislike saying 'we' since it was mostly a bunch of 'he's').

"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," Cheney said. "The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out.
Yeah, because they've been so hurt by all the bad press the war is getting. Perhaps it's more of the fact that they are "over there" fighting for our supposed freedom, getting shot at more than 30 times a day by citizens who don't want them there at all. I think fighting a bullshit war has been having way more of a hazardous effect on our soldiers mental state than whether or not we "over here" can agree on it's premise.

"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone. But we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them."
How's about we refresh his memory. Downing Street memo anyone? Did we imagine that? I don't think so. Even a fellow schoolmate recognized the contradicitons (and this went to press before Cheney's big speech).

The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of anti-Western hatred are over.
I found that there quote when looking for others made by Cheney. I particularly like this one because it's rapidly becoming contradictory. The poverty rate in the U.S. has grown instead of decreased. The middle class is disappearing. Urban and rural schools need help and funding to pass the SOL's. Our top 1% who live high above the upper class rob the poor by way of tax cuts and corporate welfare. We are the 2nd richest country in the world yet we have the highest rate of poverty (compared to other first world countries).

And yet Cheney feels it's important to go after the Democrats who have began to oppose the war in Iraq because their voices have gotten louder. Does he not read the newspapers either? The anti-war movement has been getting more vocal and mobile. Cindy Sheehan let us all know that parents of soldiers do not swallow whole the reasons for war.

With that, I leave you with the now famous words of Eisenhower...

Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.

and the ultimately famous persona of Franklin Roosevelt

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
Roosevelt, Franklin D.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

So I've decided....

I'm giving up on Virginia and moving to Illinois.

CHICAGO, Nov. 15 - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed a measure on Tuesday intended to allow all children in Illinois, including those in working-class and middle-class families, to obtain health insurance.

National experts on health care said the new law, which will offer discounts on premiums for those who qualify, was the broadest plan to insure children by any state.

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Seriously, I need a camera phone

Just too damn bad they're so expensive for my broke ass.

You see, this morning in Carytown a man was holding a handmade sign titled, "Fuck Richmond Police." Naturally, the po-po had to instigate this man and were pulled over to the curb chatting with him. I doubt they were being nice but who can blame them in a fucked up way; they were being publicly called out by an enraged man who just so happened to be homeless.

What did the sign say you ask? Ahhh, that part I had to drive back twice for to make sure I got it right. ;)

Fuck Richmond Police
1. For the harassment of the poor and homeless
2. Administrative abrogation of the Common Laws of public property (i.e. trespassing and whatever else he had listed that I couldn't get down)
3. There was a third but after driving by two times, I figured I needed to stop being a blog geek and move on

There are men, and some women, all over downtown Richmond, the Fan and Carytown who hold signs that say they are Vets, have fallen on hard times and need help. I give them money whenever I can, but lately I haven't had any for myself much less some to give to others. I'll buy them food if they're hanging out near the 7-Eleven or Ukrop's because I can do that with my check card. A few times I've gone and bought food then brought it back to whomever was sitting on the corner. It's been a great teaching tool because now I absolutely abhor the wasting of perfectly edible food and it drives me nuts that most restaurants can't give the extras to homeless shelters and the like for food safety reasons (regulated by Virginia's Department of Health). I've been known to give whatever I have left to someone walking down the street and I eat too much now, perhaps because Peanut decides he doesn't want what he ordered (or that I made) after taking only 2 bites.

But I digress. I almost stopped when I drove by the older gentleman who was practicing his right to a peaceful assembly on public property (he was on the sidewalk). I seriously thought about stopping when I drove by for the second time and one of the cops was out of his car, chatting with the man holding the sign.

You see, Richmond's 5.0 don't have a very good reputation for dealing with homeless persons humanely and it's been an ongoing subject controversy here. Homeless persons believe they have rights, even if the same rights I, as a person with a job and car, aren't available to them, many persons who are homeless believe they still get to hold on to those constitutional rights given to all Americans. And why shouldn't they? After all, I don't remember the Constitution or the Bill of Rights demanding a person must hold a steady job, be completely sane, own a car, or have a permanent address, right?

Because if that were the case, then I know a whole lot of Founding Fathers who shouldn't have believed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to begin with.
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I *heart* Barack Obama

Thanks to Orange, I can show you why. I probably shouldn't put the whole thing here in this post, but it does say it's from the Chicago Tribune at the very bottom and I am linking to it.

Cutting `pork' to rebuild coast
We can quickly find $100 billion for Gulf Coast reconstruction with a balanced approach on spending and cuts
By Barack Obama
Published November 15, 2005

With an expected price tag of well over $100 billion, the cost of rebuilding the devastated areas of the Gulf Coast already is putting a significant strain on our federal budget. Yet in Washington, fiscally irresponsible policies have been piling up deficits since long before Katrina came ashore.

For too long, the philosophy in Washington has been that you can spend without consequence or sacrifice. That we can fight a war in Iraq and a war on terror, protect our homeland, provide our citizens with Medicare and Social Security and maintain our domestic priorities, all while cutting taxes for the wealthy and funding every local project there is.

If you're wondering how Congress pays for all this, it doesn't. Instead, billions of dollars are borrowed from other countries and put on a credit card for our children to pay off.

Yet, when it comes time to pay these bills, no one seems to agree on any tax cuts to defer or any programs to cut. You don't have to be a deficit hawk to know that growing entitlement spending combined with tax breaks for billionaires is not a sustainable future for America.

Every family knows that it's one thing to use a credit card; it's another thing to keep spending money you don't have. You have to "Pay as You Go," which is a rule most Americans live by. Washington once did too, until the White House and Senate Republicans abandoned it to push through the president's tax breaks.

The latest example of this irresponsibility is Congress' plan to pass $70 billion in additional tax breaks despite record-breaking deficits. Clearly, old habits are hard to break.

It's time for a return to responsibility in the budget process.

I know there are Democrats who don't want to give up spending, Republicans who don't want to give up any tax breaks for the wealthy and members of both parties who don't want to give up pet projects back home, but now is a time for shared sacrifice. Americans want members of both parties to put all options on the table to start solving this problem.

I believe that we can quickly find $100 billion for Gulf Coast reconstruction with a balanced approach that finds half the money in spending cuts and half the money in the delay and repeal of tax breaks, primarily for millionaires.

To cut $50 billion in spending, we could put a two-year moratorium on all pet projects and other local spending. We could defer projects such as the $10 billion mission to Mars or eliminate unnecessary business subsidies.

We could drop funding that gives private companies extra incentives to participate in the new Medicare drug program--as the Senate already has agreed to do, though the White House has refused thus far.

We could save Medicaid money by increasing the rebates that brand-name drug manufacturers owe the program.

Rather than this measured approach, some in Congress have advocated indiscriminate across-the-board cuts. This is an irresponsible approach.

In their own budgets, Americans don't cut back on essentials such as food, heating and health care before first forgoing luxuries, and Congress shouldn't either.

Others intent on cutting spending have pointed to Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere" as a wasteful project. I agree and believe that it represents the first type of project we should cut. But it's wrong to single out one state's pork project. If we're serious about shared responsibility, let's eliminate all pork projects in all states. To find $50 billion in tax breaks, we could postpone a planned tax break for millionaires, and we could temporarily roll back one of the tax cuts for those who make an income of more than $2 million per year.

With the challenges we face in Iraq and at home, asking more of those who have so much doesn't just make fiscal sense, it makes moral sense. No one likes to make hard choices on spending, and everyone has an argument about why their priorities are most important. But we are in this together, and government is about choices.

The American people are willing to sacrifice for their country--they're willing to give when there is need, to contribute where they can help. People also know what it's like to live within your means--to spend only what you can and be responsible for what you owe.

Americans expect their government to act that way too. It's time for all of us in Washington to put away old habits and rise above partisan politics so that we can meet those expectations.

If we can collaborate on paying for Gulf Coast reconstruction in a bipartisan manner now, we'll have a model for tackling our long-term budgetary challenges in the future.


Barack Obama is a Democratic senator from Illinois.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My state disappoints me

There are many days I love Virginia. It's pretty here, there is a lot of history (did you know 8 presidents were born and 7 buried here?) but it's when I read things like a 71 yr old woman getting a meager $599 a month that bugs the shit out of me. You see, we bring in a lot of money, have held onto our Triple A Bond rating, rank in the top 5 grossing states, are #5 on Best of the Web and yet we can't seem to fund a decent life for our retiring citizens.

Each month, she gets $463 from Social Security and $136 from Supplemental Security Income, a federal program to help older and disabled people who have little or no income and need help with food, clothing and shelter.

Her medical care and prescription drugs are paid by Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance for the poor.
Seriously now, the best we can do is $599/month when she still has to get through winter and the proposed hike in oil prices?

For all those thinking of moving to Virginia, be forewarned that at times, its politics sure do suck. We already rank 49th in financing community/social programs for persons with disabilities and now the Supreme Court has agreed with the 4th District Court of Appeals that parents will now have to prove the Individual Education Plan's for their child(ren) aren't working. Which I think totally let's an already defunct process off the hook entirely.

And people say voting for Governor/Lt. Governor doesn't matter....
Keep reading....

SCOTUS says Parents Carry Burden of Proof

This is in regards to special education plans, or IEP's, that schools have to implement. Now it has been said a parent(s) must prove the IEP is doing the student more harm than good. I totally disagree with their decision but I'll delve into it more later because right now I have to get on a bus to head to a class where I will be taking an exam that I hope to get at least a C on.

Til then, here's why I disagree with the decision:

The decision, which is likely to affect hundreds of cases a year, was a disappointment for parents and disability rights groups who argued that making them prove that special-education programs were inadequate gave school districts little incentive to address their complaints.
And whose doing the flip flopping here:

The Bush administration had originally entered the case on behalf of the parents, arguing that under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, a district had the burden of proving the adequacy of a student's "individualized education program" rather than the other way around.

But when the case reached the Supreme Court, the administration switched sides, arguing that the court should apply the "traditional rule" in civil cases that "the party initiating and seeking relief" bears the burden of proof. This was the argument that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor accepted in her majority opinion.

Anyway, have a blast and I'll be seeing you soon.
Keep reading....

Monday, November 14, 2005

For Alito, the cat is out of the bag

The 100+ pages have been released from the Reagan and Bush Sr. Libraries and it's not looking good for affirmative action, abortion/privacy rights and well, anything else on the other side of constructionist conservatism:

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," he said.
I love this quote most of all:

Alito's supporters say the judge's statement from 1985 shouldn't be held against him.
Those same supporters were Miers' dissenters. Didn't they hold her comments/answers (woman's right to self-determination) against her, hence the reason for her withdrawal from the nomination process?

In the document, Alito also declared himself a "lifelong registered" Republican and a Federalist Society member, and said he had donated money to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Conservative Political Action Committee and several GOP candidates.
Wasn't a judge just removed from DeLay's trial for contributing to Democratic organizations? A move that Shrub's administration fully supported?

And this part scares me most of all as in falls directly in line with the direction Shrubs and his hedgemen have been swaying to lately:

Alito wrote that he believed "very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values." (emphasis mine)
Visit Dr.B, Jill at Feministe, jedmunds at Pandagon and so much more. It's in just about every newspaper (online) and I'm sure it will make the first page tomorrow, right alongside an article about the U.S. and all this should-we-or-should-we-not-outlaw-torture brouhaha.
Keep reading....

Security amped after shooting occurs

I took Peanut to see Zathura Friday evening because he was too excited to wait 'til Saturday. Which is fine because I get excited when we get to do stuff by ourselves and, of course, when he gets excited.

When we pulled into the parking lot, the police presence was obvious. They had blocked off the section of road directly in front of the theatre, had unmarked cars and trucks throughout the parking lot (they just sat there observing I assume) and had several officers standing both inside and outside the theatre itself. After all that I was surprised to notice that mounted patrol weren't included in all the hoopla.

The reason for all this? A shooting had occurred in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania after supposedly viewing 50Cent's (pronounced fiddy) new movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. According to the CNN article linked above, Loew's (the name of the theatre company) pulled it from other theatres in the surrounding Pittsburgh area pending a completed investigation. What is interesting, and it's something even the article states, is they aren't sure if the shooters saw Get Rich beforehand or not, witnesses only knew that he came "from that area."

This morning on the Russ Parr Morning Show I listened as a caller asked how come this kind of security reaction wasn't present for such movies as S.W.A.T., Doom, or any of the earlier gang-type movies like Menace to Society or Boyz in the Hood that were equally if not more violent. The rebuttal was that the life of 50 Cent, as well as several other rappers, are more accessible now. Movies are being made about them, feuds are no longer kept private (i.e., Tupac, Biggie) and rap itself is no longer a new thing such as when LL Cool J broke onto the scene in the 80's.

I believe the shooting was erroneously linked to the movie because it allows society to ignore the bigger question of why shootings continue to happen. From what I've heard (and read), the makers/creators of Get Rich took great pains in addressing the gang life portrayed in the movie so as not to incite violence. Perhaps by allowing this obvious correlation between the movie and the 1 shooting afterward hands society a scapegoat instead of addressing the real issues at hand such as gun violence/control (there are appx 200million guns in the U.S. with handguns making up appx 65million of them: that's enough to arm every person over the age of 13 at least twice), unemployment, poverty - all of which help contribute to our crime rate (the U.S. has the highest crime rate in the entire world and that is only of the incidents that are reported to police).

To reiterate, I believe the two counties that responded to the 1 shooting by putting a heavy police presence at the theatres showing Get Rich overreacted. There is such a low risk factor that what happened in PA would happen here, in another state, that is appx 7 hours away by car. Hell, according to national polls, I've got a better chance of winning that $310million lottery jackpot than getting shot outside a movie theatre. Now that's one I'm willing to take.
Keep reading....

Friday, November 11, 2005


This is some of our conversation had during dinner tonight at Wendy's.

Peanut: Mom, did you know Russians gave us the Statue of Liberty?

Me: It was the French.

Peanut: Oh yeah.

Me: Do you know when they gave it to us?

Peanut: (screwing up his face) Uh, when we weren't even alive?

Me: (laughing) Yep, definitely before we were alive. Do you remember why?

Peanut: For freedom....

Me: Well, kinda....

Peanut: Liberty is the fancy word for freedom.

Me: (chuckling) Yep. Did Ms. S. tell you that?

Peanut: Yep.

Then we talked about the trip we took to Hoboken, NJ and Manhatten when he was only 1 year old. I told him about how we tried to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade but he was on my at-the-time boyfriend's back and people kept pushing on him trying to move the boyfriend so I got really pissed and we left. The boyfriend and I decided that was pretty stupid so decided to take the opportunity to tour Rockefeller Plaza since most everyone was at the parade.

Upon finishing dinner, I got up to throw some of our trash away and overheard the couple sitting not that far from us trying to guess whether Peanut was a boy or a girl. I know this because I heard the guy ask something and the woman said, "Nope, it's a boy." Give me a break. But being as Peanut has now grown into a feminine-shaped face, he's gonna be plagued with the boy/girl dilemma all his life I think.

We then left to head over to the movie theatre where I had already bought tickets to Zathura. (Which has got to be the best movie I've seen so far this year, btw, even if it had 4 white boys/men and the token 1 white young woman. It's way better than Jumanji.)

As we walked up to the guy who takes the tickets, I saw a huge poster for Casanova so said it out loud 'cause it's a lot of fun to say actually, especially if you say it with the right accent. Peanut asked what it meant and I told him, "It's a fancy word for playa." The kid knew what I was talking about.

Of course, throughout dinner and the previews to the movie he was singing the one line of "holla back now." I have no idea where he got that from and when I asked, he didn't know either.
Keep reading....

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A win for the environment?

Thank goddesses green earth the House decided to ditch the drilling bill for fear they wouldn't be able to pass the budget bill. The Senate still has the language in their version and supposedly , if the bill passes the House, a few good souls will be appointed from both branches to work out the differences between the two bills. I say drop it and move on.

The decision to drop the ANWR drilling language came after GOP moderates said they would oppose the budget if it was kept in the bill. The offshore drilling provision was also viewed as too contentious and a threat to the bill, especially in the Senate.

This, of course, is another "setback for Bush" and I'm truly enjoying myself.

The budget bill is immune from filibuster, but drilling proponents suddenly found it hard to get the measure accepted by a majority of the House. That’s because Democrats oppose the overall budget bill, giving House GOP opponents of drilling in the Arctic enough leverage to have the matter killed.

Why can't the moderate Republicans just say they don't agree ANWR should be open to drilling without having to worry about how to disagree, such as this backsided escape route?

GOP leaders, led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., also agreed to drop a plan to allow states to waive a 24-year ban on drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and open a contested tract off the Florida Gulf coast to oil drilling. Several Florida Republicans opposed the plan.

It's easy for an Illinois Representative to say yes to drilling off the coasts of the U.S. He's landlocked and won't have to look at therefineriess nor suffer the environmental dangers that willinevitablyy come up.

I wish they would understand that our energy efficiency could be better increased by investing our money into continuing the development of alternative fuels ('cause we know they are possible and do exist currently), increasing emission regulations on cars and so much more. That is something I could support.
Keep reading....

Why I still hate Abercromie & Fitch

They only pulled two of the girls tshirts because those were what the 26 young ladies spearheading the girlcott found the most offensive. If you look just 2 posts down, you'll see live proof that there are more than two shirts carrying offensive wording on a womans chest area.

Hey people who live in Illinois, State Senator Steve Rauschenberger, who is a Republican (but you may know that already), wants all the tshirts for both women and men pulled off the shelves in Illinois. This time I actually agree with a state-wide ban on clothing, especially when they say things like "Muck Fe" and "You Blow I'll Pop."
Keep reading....

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Andrea Yates

The highest criminal court in Texas has cleared the way for a retrial.

A lower-court ruling in January had thrown out the convictions because of erroneous testimony that prosecutors used to suggest that Yates had gotten the idea for the killings from an episode of the television show "Law & Order."
As many of you may know, she was found guilty in the deaths of 2 of her children; the guilty by reason of insanity plea went unfounded. The prosecuter in the case said Yates knew what she was doing when she drowned all 5 of her children and that it was wrong.

I'm not entirely sure that is the case, but I don't know everything that happened in her life prior to the psychotic break or what was discussed during the trial. But she did have a long history of being treated for depression as her husband readily admitted, including the consumption of anti-psychotic drugs.

They are hoping she won't be put on trial again, but are weary they will be able to reach a specific plea agreement since it appears Yates doesn't need a jail, but a psychiatric unit instead. Yate's husband, who divorced her shortly after she was convicted, agrees that she should be spared a second trial if at all possible. Easy for him to say isn't it?

If Yates goes to trial again, she could be found guilty by reason of insanity and this time without the influence of Park Dietz, who perjured himself on the stand the first go around.
Keep reading....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Virginia has a new Governor

and he's a Democrat. Yay!!

Lt. Governor is Bill Bolling. (not yay)

Attorney General has yet to be decided since it's still 50%/50%. They will be up late doing a recount.

All the races were tight. Bolling won by a measly 30,471 votes whereas Kaine won by more than 100,000 votes. There are less than 4,000 votes separating Democratic Creigh Deeds from Republican Robert McDonnell.

I'm so excited that we voted for a Democratic Governor for a 2nd term in a row! Kaine vows to begin office by mandating pre-kindergarten be available for all 4 years olds. I'm game even if Peanut is now 6 and in 1st grade. Kaine wants to raise the gas tax, too, and give benefits to immigrants. I'm for both, especially since more money hopefully means more social programs funding and Virginia has the 10th largest population of hispanic/latino immigrants in the nation.
Keep reading....

Election Day

It's only us and New Jersey. Imagine that. I definitely like Virginia being in the news for real politics and not because we have a few state senators trying to get young men (a.k.a. young black/African men/boys) to pull their pants up and the want for young women to hide their thongs.

I found it hysterical when, a week or two after it ended, my mom asked me if I knew the whole damn world was laughing at us.
Keep reading....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch

Let us not forget the wonderful marketing genius of Abercombie and Fitch (it's pretty bad when one can google A&F and get more sites detailing boy/girlcotts than actual information about the company). The good news is, they have decided to pull some of the shirts off the shelves, thus "giving in" to the girlcott. I'm kinda glad because these are highly offensive tshirts that were being marketed to women/girls only, especially of the college persuasion. It's just too bad they didn't pull them all.

What I would really like to know, is how come no one is raging over the sexism/misogyny running amok on the men's tshirts? I was curious if a company who would put messages such as "I [heart] Frat Boys" on a tshirt for women/girls would do something just as alarmingly stupid for men/boys. And yep, they sure as hell did.

There are more: "I work well with D cups," "I mow your moms lawn" and "Pussies to love." I think the tshirts for men are far worse than the ones for women because it teaches and reinforces that we vagina carriers are nothing but a hole to be plugged with the indomitable penis.
Keep reading....

Lite posting today

Because the Governor/Lt. Governor and Attorney General will be elected tomorrow and I may need to save all my energy toward posting the results. (hehehe) I'm literally praying over here that I don't wake up to very bad news Wednesday morning as I did November 3rd of last year.

In the meantime, there is a lot going on around the world.

The riots in France are getting worse and taking over the city much like the many riots we've had here.

A search and rescue mission is still underway in Kentucky and Indiana after a deadly tornado whipped through, killing 20 and destroying everything (and we thought the aftermath of Katrina was bad. We had warning, these people had none).

Shrub humorously told Chavez the U.S. "does not torture" which is bullshit because 5 more soldiers were just charged with detainee abuse and the CIA has a few secret prisons. I think it's obvious that Bush doesn't know what's happening within his own military by now, don't you? (I don't even thing he knows what's going on within his own country.)
Keep reading....

An interesting game

by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It teaches you stuff about gas consumption and the kind of car you drive while you "play".

Me? I can't wait to get a full-time job so I can ditch my F.O.R.D. and get a Prius or Honda Hybrid.
Keep reading....

Free screensaver

from the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Get yours here.

I did.
Keep reading....

Friday, November 04, 2005


President Bush: "I encourage Congress to push the envelope when it comes to cutting spending."

How about with start with the extras Congress gets? the kickback's perhaps? Or how about their salaries? Betcha they aren't looking into their own wallets....

The bill also would tighten eligibility standards for foster care assistance in nine states and delay some lump-sum payments to very poor and elderly beneficiaries of Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program.

Nope. They aren't.

"They are targeting programs for poor people to pay for tax cuts for rich people," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin. Once those tax cuts are passed, Obey added, deficits will be increasing again.
Bigger deficits for Peanut's generation to start paying off. All because Shrub thinks them rich folks need less taxes and more money 'cause that whole Trickle Down Theory works so well.
Keep reading....

technical difficulties

I'm having them. This blog thing is a learning curve for me so right now I'm trying to figure out how to expand my margin on the left so I can make room for the new stuff on the right. I think I'm losing.
Keep reading....

Thursday, November 03, 2005


To whomever keeps looking for welcome2thenuthouse, wouldn't be easier if you bookmark me you think? Add me to your favorites or something? Maybe you even want to say 'hi' now since I'm calling you out? ;)

There is also a few people searching incessantly for adult. I think they are trying to find information on Adult Barbie Clothes since that is the post of mine they keep reading. However, 'adult' people, if you searching for something else, might I suggest that you be a little more specific?

A mishmash of search terms were found, such as plain 'ol nut, no name calling, Jensen v. Evelith and even minimum wage, which I don't remember talking about ever but I could be wrong. Hey, maybe it's a sign that I need to point out how wonderful our nation state is by keeping minimum wage at $5.15 even after numerous reports have proven no one can really live off that *much* money. And that Congress is considering raising it to a whopping $6.65 per hour. (Do notice that the link is from 2002. It's now 2005 and still nothing has been decided. By the time they make up their mind, they'll need to increase it another $1.50.)

Does this mean my blog is getting smarter you think?

I personally enjoyed the one person who found me when searching for basketball nut house drill. What might this be you ask. I would answer I have no bloody idea since the google link didn't narrow it down any. But I was 5th on the list of hits, below a basketball purchasing guide and home improvement site.

I noticed that someone in Reston, VA, likes me and reads while at work. tsk.tsk.
Keep reading....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Conservative Republicans

I find it funny that they are being more vocal on my blog lately than "the choir." What's up with that anyway?

Perhaps I should take this time to state my guidelines for posting.

Be respectful. No name-calling. Be nice. I have absolutely no problems with discourse as long as its done respectfully without bringing any woman-hating language (or any other person-hating, non-inclusive language for that matter) into it. That is no gay bashing, no feminist bashing, no SAHM vs. working mom bashing and so on. I ask that we each be polite yet passionate. We are all adults so I'm sure this can be easily accomplished.

If you do/don't do any of these, I'll delete your post. If you still wanna be rude, I'll ban you.

Thanks and have a great day!

(Btw, it's freakishly warm here in Virginia and it's the first week of November.)
Keep reading....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

DeLay Quotes

These were in my work email inbox the other day and I thought I'd share:

"So many minority youths had volunteered; that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself."
--Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War

"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
--Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005

"I AM the federal government."
--Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building, May 14, 2003

"We're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper power."
--Tom DeLay, explaining why America must topple Saddam Hussein in 2002 interview with Fox News

"Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."
--Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003, quoted in The New Yorker

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."
--Tom DeLay, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999 (gee, sound like anyone else we know?)

"A woman can take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure. To provide stability. Not that a woman can't provide stability, I'm not saying that... It does take a father, though."
--Tom DeLay, in a radio interview, Feb. 10, 2004 (this will be hard to prove exactly unless we can find the transcripts from the actual interview which is highly unlikely)

"I don't believe there is a separation of church and state. I think the Constitution is very clear. The only separation is that there will not be a government church."
--Tom DeLay speaking at a luncheon in favor of Bush's faith-based initiative, July 10, 2001.

"Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996] are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist."
--Tom DeLay, during a debate in Congress on increasing the minimum wage, April 23, 1996

"I am not a federal employee. I am a constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of the United States, I am not a government employee. I am in the Constitution."
--Tom DeLay, in a CNN interview, Dec. 19, 1995

And look! A website that gives us more food for the fodder.

Funny, if you google quotes of delay you get the proof yourself. Huh. Who'd a thunk.
Keep reading....

good news i hope

Dem's are pushing for a delay in Alito hearings. If they get it pushed 'til late January, this increases the chances of O'Connor still being around in order to decide Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood (which will be heard on November 30th).
Keep reading....

DeLay strikes again

Or rather, his defense lawyer does.

The removal of the judge from DeLay's case infuriates me. His reasoning is spurious and defensive, purposely looking for ways to try for a non-guilty verdict.

The ruling came after a hearing in which Delay's attorneys argued that state District Judge Bob Perkins' political donations created the appearance of bias.

The judge donated to democratic candidate John Kerry and to Yes, even DeLay has the right to a fair and unbiased trial, but how many of us have gone before judges who donated to republican candidates or organizations? How many minor girls have to go before these same judges to ask for permission to have an abortion? Can they ask for a new judge so as to get an unbiased decision?

Probably not.

"The public perception of Judge Perkins' activities shows him to be on opposite sides of the political fence than Tom DeLay," defense attorney Dick DeGuerin argued.

Can we all use this as an excuse to get a judge who will most likely rule in our favor? Get her/him on the "right side" then we should be free and clear, yes?

But that's not where DeLay's defense plans to stop. They want the trial moved out of Austin, too, because it is seen as "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."

Oh give me a fucking break already. I am in the Capitol of the Confederacy and so are the many black/African's who live here. Can women and the many persons of color change our venue everytime we get in legal trouble so we can get someone more likeminded?

Not really because we're usually flat broke and haven't been bedding down with the 'right people' to begin with, playing golf and such.
Keep reading....