Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
Stupid and Offensive: One of the first moves of our new national education secretary is to protect children from lesbians. As discussed here, a children's show can expose diversity in various ways, including fundamentalists, but same sex parents cross the line.
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
When I was in high school, a Wendy's was built from scratch along my bus route in about three months. Three years or so ago, my favorite local fruit store closed down, and the place designated for a library. The thing is nowhere close to being done. And, the expectation of a new library in a reasonable amount of time is no more. I have learnt not to think about the matter, though almost daily I pass by the shell of a library, noting graffiti and recently a broken window. It is rather depressing really, much like the days when it seemed possible that we were months away from the end of the current administration. Four more years.
After additional debate, the expected occurred, and Condi Rice was confirmed as secretary of state by a vote of something like 85/15. A more firm opposition was suggested by the 10-8 party line committee vote in support of Alberto "the rules don't apply to us" Gonzales. Many who voted for Dr. Rice did not really favor her too much, though the usual nice words about her intelligence, personality, and experience were supplied. It was deemed the President's right to choose his own people; some suggesting Rice actually was a more honest selection than Colin "Goddamn, I'm Free" Powell. "Honest," however, is of limited value when it means a closer fit to an unfit administration.
The senior senator of Minnesota had a good speech on why Dr. Rice is not really qualified to be Secretary of State, aside from her loyalty to the administration. His at times harsh words led some to suggest he was challenging Rice's integrity. Well, yes he was, namely her lack thereof. There is some who say the Democrats need to be more concerned with the public's desire for morality, which pertains to "right conduct or its principles."
A look at the winners of the last election, however, suggests what is really needed is the appearance of morality. Spinning the facts to push us to war and as the troubles of said war continues is far from moral. Dr. Rice repeatedly, and name calling of the likes of Sen. Boxer or Kennedy will not change this, proved herself lacking of integrity. For this, she gets a promotion.
Isn't America great? But, say some, they won the election. This does supply them with additional power and the appearance of a mandate. And, in some respect, and this does not put some Americans in good stead, an actual one. The American public knew in some sense who they were voting for, even if many were confused about certain facts. No matter. This does not suddenly make immoral or unethical acts right, or supply integrity where it is lacking.
Finally, "No election, whether fair or fraudulent, can legitimize criminal wars on foreign countries, torture, the wholesale violation of human rights, and the end of science and reason." Not in our names. For those who spoke this basic truth, you have my thanks, even if the final result still leaves so much to be desired.
Addendum: The dissenting votes against Dr. Rice and Alberto Gonzales are worthy of a bit more comment. It turns out that the thirteen votes against Rice's nomination was the most against a pending Secretary of State designee since Henry Clay in 1825. [Many felt his nomination was a corrupt bargain in return of support for Adams when the 1824 presidental vote went to the House of Representatives].
Also, the straight party line vote against Gonzales in committee is notable given implications by Sen. Schumer and Leahy that they (to my disdain) might support him as well as the fact that committee member Sen. Feingold was one of the few Democrats who voted for John Ashcroft's confirmation. Sen. Feingold is known for his independence and desire to be bipartisan whenever possible.
Thus, the straight party vote is particularly noteworthy.