He’s changing the tone

More Stories of the Obvious™ from the Washington Post: scholars are saying that the Bush campaign is lying. Who’d have guessed? Good thing they’re out there keeping us up to date.

Scholars and political strategists say the ferocious Bush assault on Kerry this spring has been extraordinary, both for the volume of attacks and for the liberties the president and his campaign have taken with the facts. Though stretching the truth is hardly new in a political campaign, they say the volume of negative charges is unprecedented — both in speeches and in advertising.

Three-quarters of the ads aired by Bush’s campaign have been attacks on Kerry. Bush so far has aired 49,050 negative ads in the top 100 markets, or 75 percent of his advertising. Kerry has run 13,336 negative ads — or 27 percent of his total. The figures were compiled by The Washington Post using data from the Campaign Media Analysis Group of the top 100 U.S. markets. Both campaigns said the figures are accurate.

The assault on Kerry is multi-tiered: It involves television ads, news releases, Web sites and e-mail, and statements by Bush spokesmen and surrogates — all coordinated to drive home the message that Kerry has equivocated and “flip-flopped” on Iraq, support for the military, taxes, education and other matters.

“There is more attack now on the Bush side against Kerry than you’ve historically had in the general-election period against either candidate,” said University of Pennsylvania professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an authority on political communication. “This is a very high level of attack, particularly for an incumbent.”

Brown University professor Darrell West, author of a book on political advertising, said Bush’s level of negative advertising is already higher than the levels reached in the 2000, 1996 and 1992 campaigns. And because campaigns typically become more negative as the election nears, “I’m anticipating it’s going to be the most negative campaign ever,” eclipsing 1988, West said. “If you compare the early stage of campaigns, virtually none of the early ads were negative, even in ’88.”

… One constant theme of the Bush campaign is that Kerry is “playing politics” with Iraq, terrorism and national security. Earlier this month, Bush-Cheney Chairman Marc Racicot told reporters in a conference call that Kerry suggested in a speech that 150,000 U.S. troops are “universally responsible” for the misdeeds of a few soldiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison — a statement the candidate never made. In that one call, Racicot made at least three variations of this claim and the campaign cut off a reporter who challenged him on it.

In early March, Bush charged that Kerry had proposed a $1.5 billion cut in the intelligence budget that would “gut the intelligence services.” Kerry did propose such a cut in 1995, but it amounted to about 1 percent of the overall intelligence budget and was smaller than the $3.8 billion cut the Republican-led Congress approved for the same program Kerry was targeting.

The campaign ads, which are most scrutinized, have produced a torrent of misstatements. On March 11, the Bush team released a spot saying that in his first 100 days in office Kerry would “raise taxes by at least $900 billion.” Kerry has said no such thing; the number was developed by the Bush campaign’s calculations of Kerry’s proposals.

On March 30, the Bush team released an ad noting that Kerry “supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax” and saying, “If Kerry’s tax increase were law, the average family would pay $657 more a year.” But Kerry opposes an increase in the gasoline tax. The ad is based on a 10-year-old newspaper quotation of Kerry but implies that the proposal is current.

Other Bush claims, though misleading, are rooted in facts. For example, Cheney’s claim in almost every speech that Kerry “has voted some 350 times for higher taxes” includes any vote in which Kerry voted to leave taxes unchanged or supported a smaller tax cut than some favored.

… Incumbent presidents often prefer to run on their records in office, juxtaposing upbeat messages with negative shots at their opponents, as Bill Clinton did in 1996.

Scott Reed, who ran Robert J. Dole’s presidential campaign that year, said the Bush campaign has little choice but to deliver a constant stream of such negative charges. With low poll numbers and a volatile situation in Iraq, Bush has more hope of tarnishing Kerry’s image than promoting his own.
That last bit sums up this election for me: I believe that most people will vote against a candidate. I”ll vote for Kerry because he’s not Bush. And I think a lot of people will vote for Bush because he’s not Kerry.

Oh, and:

On Wednesday, a Bush memo charged that Kerry “led the fight against creating the Department of Homeland Security.” While Kerry did vote against the Bush version multiple times, it is not true that he led the fight, but rather was one of several Democrats who held out for different labor agreements as part of its creation. Left unsaid is that, in the final vote, Kerry supported the department — which Bush initially opposed.

Yeah, and?

I’m so weary of all these Bush/Cheney stories which, to me, are so obvious. Of course, that doesn’t mean I want the media to publish them, but it’s all so anti-climactic when they do finally tell us what we’ve known all along. You know, like when the story finally came out that yes, Bill Clinton did have sex with that woman. Really? Who’d have guessed?
And gee, who’d have ever thought that Dick Cheney would be interested in Halliburton getting government contracts? Today’s Story of the Obvious™ comes from Time Magazine via Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Pentagon e-mail said Vice President Dick Cheney’s office “coordinated” a multibillion-dollar Iraq reconstruction contract awarded to his former employer Halliburton, Time magazine reported on Sunday.

The e-mail, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official on March 5, 2003, said Douglas Feith, a senior Pentagon official, provided arrangements for the RIO contract, or Restore Iraqi Oil, between Halliburton and the U.S. government, Time said.

The e-mail said Feith, who reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, approved arrangements for the contract “contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP’s (vice president’s) office.”

A spokesman for Cheney said his office had no role in the contract process.

“Vice President Cheney and his office have had no involvement whatsoever in government contracting matters since he left private business to run for vice president,” said Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for Cheney.

Bits and pieces

I was not all that shocked to learn that President Bush keeps Saddam Hussein’s pistol mounted in his private study at the White House. I’m sure he’d much rather show off Hussein himself, stuffed and mounted, but hey, we haven’t gone that far yet.
What did surprise me in the Time magazine article was this:

Another of the room’s mementos: a photograph of special-forces soldiers in Afghanistan praying after burying a piece of the World Trade Center there as a tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Frankly, I’m bewildered and a little bit outraged at this. How is burying a piece of the World Trade Center in Afghanistan a tribute to those who died? You buried it at the place where our enemies planned the attack?!
Maybe they thought they could grow another if they watered it enough.
I’m not even going to ask how they got the piece. It seems like the government just distributed pieces of wreckage to all and sundry after the event. Even Rumsfeld had a piece in his office.

Colonial House

I’ve just finished watching the latest PBS reality docudrama, “Colonial House”, courtesy of TiVo. It was fascinating how this program more than any of the other “house” shows stirred up emotions, mostly around religion.
Putting 21st century people into 17th century situations, complete with laws mandating attendance at Sabbath services, creates a lot of friction. I’m sure that the casting choices made by the producers were calculated to make that point. They sent a Baptist minister and family, a non-believing family, a gay Southern Baptist, a religious studies professor, and a man who is now going into theology.
The governor of the colony was Jeff Wyers, a Baptist minister from Waco, Texas — almost guaranteed to make some people wince. As a counter to that, they chose a family who are of indeterminate faith, it seemed that they were either Wiccan or atheist.
From the beginning, I knew that I was going to have trouble watching this, waiting for the 21st century fundamentalist to jump into the role with both feet, and at first, he didn’t disappoint. He talked unceasingly of being in the project in order to create the shining city on the hill, continually impressing upon the audience that he was almost a prophet, trying to start a new, religious town.
But something happened, to both him and me.
We both began to realize, as I watched him and he watched his colonists, that people cannot be pegged into pigeon holes because of their faith.
Very early on he realized that although a 17th century governor would have imposed his beliefs upon his citizens, enforcing them by law and punishment, a 21st century minister simply can’t do that. After time, I think it was actually his personal belief, and not a capitulation to reality of the times we live in. He genuinely felt that if another person didn’t share the same faith, forcing it upon them would not make them truly believe. When one of the cast came out as gay during the project, a genuine 17th century governor probably would have had him put to death. Our governor seemed to furrow his brow, but we never saw any change in the way he interacted or treated the man.
Halfway through the series, he and his family left the project. His daughter’s fiance had been tragically killed and his son injured in a car wreck. I was genuinely sorry for them, especially his daughter who I realized was bright, intelligent and thoughtful… not what I expected from a Baptist minister’s daughter. They returned later, but left again — for good — when another family tragedy loomed.
At the end of the final episode, they took time to look back at the project. Our friend the minister said, “The sad thing about the colonists, one of the things I learned is, they fled religious persecution, and then came here and fell back into it.”
His daughter said, “I realize what a bubble I have lived in in this Bible belt. I just imagined that at least the Christians would all, in a way, believe the same; and I had no idea how many different angles there were to even the Christian belief.”
Well said. This family has done more to rehabilitate my opinion of devout Christians more than anyone else ever has.

Now, those of you who watched Manor House with me know how much I enjoyed picking the cutest of the cast. The colonists at New England were not exempt from this activity. In line with what I said about the cute guys in London last week, let me just say that the top two cuties on Colonial House, Paul and Dominic, were both British. The other two cuties were John and Jeff. Luckily, in this series, there was lots of skinny dipping and shirtless fun going on. Yay, PBS!

What do you get when you cross…

Today’s Style Invitational asked for hybrid animals:

Emu x quail = email: a fast-flying bird that propagates rapidly, is monitored obsessively by humans, and often carries a virus. (Allan Moore, Washington)

Monarch x woodchuck = princechuck: A pitiable drone that remains near its mother in its immature stage for years and years and years. (Jack Cackler, Falls Church)

Cardinal x carrier pigeon = cardcarrier: a creature that feels safest going along with the flock (Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles)

Chamois x cheetah = chamois sosa: shares habitat with newly discovered species, the corked bat. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Wombat x elephant =womant: a creature that can lift many times her own weight but won’t tell you what that weight is. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Scottish terrier x tapir = scotchtapir: Uses sticky traps to ensnare its prey. (Steve Shapiro, Alexandria)

Afghan hound X bandicoot = talibandicoot: The female of the species is not allowed out of the nest. (Brendan Beary)

Lark x king salmon = larriking: An odd-looking bird that never stops squawking — and doesn’t know when to stop spawning. (Jack Cackler, Falls Church)

Monarch butterfly x sea anemone = arch enome, which has PLANS for the coral reef, yes, grand plans indeed, mwahahahaha! (Mark Young, Washington)

Unicorn x tick = unick: an animal with a useless horn. (Scott Slaughter, Mount Airy)

Wallaby x marten = walmart: a fast-propagating creature that invades an ecosystem and displaces all other species. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

In Memorial

To all the people who have given their time, their blood, their lives for their fellow Americans… and their fellow man.
Thank you.

You win some, you lose some

I guess it’s a fair exchange, eh?

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Springfield will no longer offer health benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of city employees now that same-sex couples are legally allowed to marry in Massachusetts. Mayor Charles Ryan said couples have 90 days to marry and retain insurance coverage.

Then there’s this good news — being called gay is (finally) no longer “libelous.”

BOSTON — Stating that someone is homosexual does not libel or slander that person, particularly in light of new court decisions granting gays more rights, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner dismissed a lawsuit by James Albright, a former bodyguard and boyfriend of pop singer Madonna. Allbright said he was libeled because his name appeared in a photo caption in a book about Madonna — under a picture of Madonna walking with a gay man.

“In fact, a finding that such a statement is defamatory requires this court to legitimize the prejudice and bigotry that for too long have plagued the homosexual community,” she wrote in her opinion on Friday.

Gertner said other courts’ rulings that stating someone is gay is defamatory had relied on laws criminalizing same-sex sexual acts that might well be unconstitutional. Previous decisions had not taken into account more recent decisions recognizing gays’ equal rights, she said.

She pointed to a Supreme Court ruling last year that found a Texas sodomy law unconstitutional, and to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling last year that it would be unconstitutional to prevent gays in the state from marrying.
I always found those kinds of lawsuits to be ridiculous, obvious attempts at grabbing money — like most lawsuits. Hell, people have accused me of being straight… perhaps I should sue?

Straight shooters

Don’t you love the way the members of the current administration have with words? How about this amusement from Dana Milbank in this morning’s Washington Post:

President Bush’s secretary of veterans affairs took an unusual foray into politics last week when he suggested that U.S. troops shoot straighter for Republican presidents.

Yeah, they’re shooting straight, alright. Just ask Pat Tillman.

“I think our active military respond better to Republicans because of the ideals we believe in and because of the tremendous support that President Bush and previous Republican presidents provide for our military and our veterans,” Secretary Anthony J. Principi ventured Thursday afternoon in a chat on the Bush campaign’s Web site.

That unorthodox assertion emerged when Principi was asked by Lars Thernstrom of Philadelphia: “Why do you think troops, in general, respond better to Republican as opposed to Democratic leadership?”

It’s no secret that soldiers tend to lean Republican; that is why the Bush campaign was so eager to get the overseas military ballots counted during the Florida recount. But it’s quite another thing to say that the avowedly nonpartisan U.S. military works harder for Republican presidents than for Democratic presidents. Are the men and women of the armed forces more likely to obey Republicans’ orders? Do they fight harder for Republicans? Was Franklin D. Roosevelt just lucky?

Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera said it is wrong to say troops “put partisanship before duty.” Phil Budahn, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Principi “meant they were responding better as voters” — not warriors.

Whatever the meaning, Principi certainly responds well to Bush. “President Bush commands the same stature as men like Lincoln and Churchill,” Principi said in response to another question. “I believe the President’s service in the guard has played into his ability to be a great leader.”

One only wonders how Churchill was able to gain his stature without service in the National Guard.
If I’d been eating lunch, I’d have lost it. The secretary of veterans affairs, who has been presiding over cuts to veterans benefits despite all the rhetoric, has actually compared Bush favorably to Lincoln and Churchill. You know, I don’t recall Lincoln endorsing a constitutional amendment to discriminate against a minority of American people, do you?

I sometimes feel like we are living in some bizarre, unreal world; like a novel come to life, like a sci-fi story. I also sometimes feel that I now know what people in 1930s Germany saw happening around them.

NPR is starting to lean

I’ve often argued that NPR is not as lefty as the right-wing would have us believe. I tend to find NPR’s coverage pretty much balanced, sometimes to the point where I think they lean a bit right. I certainly don’t find them leftist at all, and nowhere near the wacky left-wing antics of, say, Pacifica Radio. And above all, I have been concerned with the corporate intrusion into NPR lately, which came to a head recently with the frequent underwriting credit for Wal*Mart, of all companies.
Now it seems that a study is confirming my suspicions of a right leaning, while showing that the public no longer seems to be a factor in Public Radio:

That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among many conservatives. Spanning from the early ’70s, when President Richard Nixon demanded that “all funds for public broadcasting be cut” (9/23/71), through House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s similar threats in the mid-’90s, the notion that NPR leans left still endures.

News of the April launch of Air America, a new liberal talk radio network, revived the old complaint, with several conservative pundits declaring that such a thing already existed. “I have three letters for you, NPR. . . . I mean, there is liberal radio,” remarked conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan on NBC’s Chris Matthews Show (4/4/04.) A few days earlier (4/1/04), conservative columnist Cal Thomas told Nightline, “The liberals have many outlets,” naming NPR prominently among them.

Nor is this belief confined to the right: CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer (3/31/04) seemed to repeat it as a given while questioning a liberal guest: “What about this notion that the conservatives make a fair point that there already is a liberal radio network out there, namely National Public Radio?”

Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants—Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

Partisans from outside the two major parties were almost nowhere to be seen, with the exception of four Libertarian Party representatives who appeared in a single story (Morning Edition, 6/26/03).

Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge, individual Republicans were NPR’s most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance. George Bush led all sources for the month with 36 appearances, followed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (8) and Sen. Pat Roberts (6). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer all tied with five appearances each.

FAIR’s four-month study of NPR in 1993 found 10 think tanks that were cited twice or more. In a new four-month study (5/03–8/03), the list of think tanks cited two or more times has grown to 17, accounting for 133 appearances.

FAIR classified each think tank by ideological orientation as either centrist, right of center or left of center. Representatives of think tanks to the right of center outnumbered those to the left of center by more than four to one: 62 appearances to 15. Centrist think tanks provided sources for 56 appearances.

The most often quoted think tank was the centrist Brookings Institution, quoted 31 times; it was also the most quoted think tank in 1993. It was followed by 19 appearances by the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies and 17 by the centrist Council on Foreign Relations. The most frequently cited left-of-center organization was the Urban Institute, with eight appearances.

Diversity among think tank representatives was even more lopsided than the ideological spread, with women cited only 10 percent of the time, and people of color only 3 percent. Only white men were quoted more than twice, the most frequent being Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (8 appearances), Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings (7) and E.J. Dionne, also of Brookings (6).

Told ya.

Update: The NPR Ombudsman responds to this report:

For me, I would take issue with FAIR’s assumptions and definitions about what constitutes a conservative opinion.

… FAIR refers to The Brookings Institution as a “centrist” think tank. This is, in my opinion, a trickily subjective adjective. Many would consider Brookings to be a solidly liberal organization whose scholars and pundits are frequently heard on NPR.

FAIR might also question, as some listeners have, whether All Things Considered’s weekly left-right encounter between E.J. Dionne and David Brooks is really pitting a “true” liberal against a conservative.

But conservative organizations tend in my experience to be unabashedly open about their ideology. Liberals and liberal organizations are less so, possibly because they are so often put on the defensive by a more aggressive and militant conservatism.

As examples — Brookings avoids describing itself as either left or right. It prefers to point to its “reform” roots going back to the early 20th century (see Web Resources below)

The Heritage Foundation (see Web Resources) on the other hand is open about its conservative roots and ideology.

… Listeners are quick to dash to their e-mails when they hear an opinion that is not their own. NPR’s role, it seems to me is not to provide listeners with intellectual comfort food.

FAIR is concerned whether the pendulum has swung too far. That’s my concern as well.

I think it may have and NPR needs to do a better job in general and especially in an election year — to make sure that the range is both wide and deep.

At the same time, FAIR’s study seems to reinforce the notion that what constitutes the center in American journalism is rapidly becoming an endangered species. For the left, NPR is never quite left enough. For the right of course, NPR remains a paragon of liberal bias.

NPR sees itself as a bastion of fair-minded journalism. But fewer media critics are able to agree with that.

A modern Stonehenge

Two times a year, May 28 and July 12, the sun lines up in such a way that the sun appears to set on the center line of every street in Manhattan. Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day shows what it’s like when this happens.

Usually, the tall buildings that line the gridded streets of New York City’s tallest borough will hide the setting Sun. This effect makes Manhattan a type of modern Stonehenge, although only aligned to about 30 degrees east of north. Were Manhattan’s road grid perfectly aligned to east and west, today’s effect would occur on the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox, March 21 and September 21, the only two days that the Sun rises and sets due east and west. If today’s sunset is hidden by clouds do not despair — the same thing happens every May 28 and July 12. On none of these occasions, however, should you ever look directly at the Sun.

Those of you in New York, please report back your observations!

Republicans with a spine

Kudos to David Catania, a DC council member who, as an openly gay man and a Republican always seemed to be a living oxymoron. But after Bush announced his support for an anti-gay constitutional amendment, Catania had reached his breaking point. He announced his intention to fight the reelection of Bush, even though he had already raised over $70,000 toward that goal.
Yesterday, he left the Republican party in DC because they refused to certify him as a delegate to the nominating convention.

Catania, a lifelong member of the GOP and openly gay political activist, raised more than $50,000 for the Bush campaign in the past year but became a vocal critic after Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Carol Schwartz, the other Republican on the 13-member council, resigned as a delegate to the convention in protest of Catania’s banishment.

Catania, in an interview, said he would have fulfilled his obligation and voted for Bush at the Republican National Convention in New York, “but I have no intention of supporting him in the general election.”

“I have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Are you at home behind your eyes supporting a person who would write discrimination into the Constitution?’ There is simply no way I could rationalize that,” Catania said.

… Catania, 36, said he raised $70,000 to $80,000 for Bush’s reelection, earning him membership in the exclusive club of big-time fundraisers for the president. Catania was designated a “Maverick” — people younger than 40 who raise at least $50,000. But he said he has asked the campaign to remove his name from the list.

Terry Holt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, declined to comment on the dispute between Catania and the D.C. GOP and would not respond to Catania’s criticism of the president. He said most voters will support Bush on such issues as “strong national security and a vibrant, prosperous economy,” suggesting that “values issues” would not play a big role in voters’ decisions. Asked about voters for whom the gay marriage issue is important, Holt said, “We would hope to win their support on the broad range of issues that unite all Republicans.”

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP activists, called Catania’s break with the party “a great loss . . . and what it is for us is another very harsh reminder of the fact that the effort to amend the United States Constitution is causing a culture war within the GOP.”

He said other party activists are “agonizing over a thoughtful way to handle being delegates.”

… Catania said yesterday he cannot support Bush any longer. “In 2000, I supported a person who said, ‘I am a compassionate conservative and a uniter, not a divider,’ ” he said. “Now he’s decided, ‘I’m not a uniter.’ He picked an issue that is driving a wedge within the American family and is using it for crass political purposes. You don’t hear much anymore about compassion in the White House.”

I have always had a problem with gay people who identify themselves as Republicans. That party, despite it’s marketing slogans of inclusion, has never welcomed diversity. Now that they have cemented power for themselves to such a level, they are removing that mask and more and more people are realizing who they really are. The Republican party claims to stand for smaller government (just small enough so that it fits in your bedroom), lower taxes (on the rich, high deficits for everyone else)… bull. Why do people believe them when they make these claims?

I can only hope that their downfall is beginning, evidenced by the sheer number of party members who are questioning their leaders and leaving the party.

And make them wear a triangle

One thing that has really burned me for years is the fact that I can’t donate blood. The Red Cross, in it’s bigoted wisdom, assumes that any gay man must automatically have AIDS, and therefore refuses blood donations. Of course, they accept donations from anyone else, you know.
Anyway, “Top 10 Conservative Idiots” puts the FDA on their list this week for yet more discriminatory idiocy:

The FDA announced new rules last week which would prevent homosexual men from anonymously donating to sperm banks “in the name of preventing transmittable diseases,” according to Yahoo News. Yes, despite the fact that there is a 72 hour test which will determine whether someone is HIV positive, despite the fact that straight men can also contract STDs, and despite the fact that the International Red Cross accepts blood donations from gay men, the Bush administration is stepping up its push to make sure that homosexuals are treated like second-class citizens. After May 25, “agencies that collect tissues or cells including sperm [must] ask the donor if he has had sex with men or used injectable drugs in the past five years. If the answer is affirmative in either case no donation is allowed.” I mean, this is utterly ridiculous. So you show up to donate sperm or blood. They ask you if you’ve had gay sex or injected drugs in the last five years. You say “yes” and you’re barred from donating. But if you say “no” then what – do they just take your sample on faith? Of course they don’t – they test it to make sure it’s safe. So if they’re going to test it anyway, what’s the point of asking the friggin’ question in the first place? Oh wait – I know. It’s to make homosexuals feel like sub-humans. Duh.

And this good news is followed up by:

While we’re on the subject, last week George W. Bush was seen celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education ruling which ended government-mandated racial segregation in schools. What a thrill it was to see Our Great Leader pontificating on the importance of civil rights and the bravery of the justices who made the decision. Later that day, in an ironic twist of space/time-bending proportions, Bush reiterated his call for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and ranted on about “activist judges” who are subverting our sacred traditions. What, you mean like the sacred tradition of segregated schools? Let’s just hope it doesn’t take 50 years for the nutjobs to come around this time.