Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Mashup (11/20/09)

(And I also posted here about a political matter close to home.)

  • As I noted yesterday, “Holy Joe” Lieberman decided to hold his Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Fort Hood shootings.

    And as noted here, he had a hard time getting people to testify (awwww)…

    Mr. Lieberman’s hearing made only limited headway because the Obama administration has refused his requests for witnesses from the F.B.I. and the Defense Department.

    Mr. Lieberman said he had spoken with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Mr. Gates, who told him they would cooperate with his inquiry, but did not want to compromise the criminal investigation.
    Ah, but he was able to get one “name” figure anyway…

    As a result, Mr. Lieberman proceeded with several nongovernment experts and former officials, including Frances Fragos Townsend, formerly the homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.
    And what did Fran have to say? Well…

    Ms. Townsend expressed concern that “political correctness” and fear of intruding on Major Hasan’s free speech rights might have interfered with the sharing of information earlier this year, when an F.B.I.-led counterterrorism team examined his e-mail exchanges with Anwar al-Awlaki, a well-known radical Islamist cleric, but found nothing amiss.
    I guess this is what you can expect from someone who issued a report on Hurricane Katrina that was “incomplete,” said it was “offensive and crippling” that she actually had to worry about being subpoenaed in the course of doing her job (horrors!), and said that Osama bin Laden was “virtually impotent” (all noted here, though I also praised her for going against the wishes of “Deadeye Dick” Cheney here; I guess such praise was premature).

    Actually, if all Lieberman needed was someone to mouth right-wing talking points, he could have called Glenn Beck as a witness. He would have been just as credible as Townsend, and he probably would have gotten better TV ratings on CSPAN from his intended target audience.

  • Update 11/21/09: Yep, I think the "L" word sums up Lieberman here also (h/t Eschaton).

  • Also, I should note that, to probably no one’s surprise whatsoever, Christine Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the Stupak-Pitts pro-sepsis coat hanger abortion amendment (here) is hilarious (OK, the reaction to it from those dreaded liberals, I mean).


    …(and) what I found particularly smirk-inducing was the total silence from these same quarters over recent decades as the Catholic Church threw its weight behind health-care reform. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama could have had no better champion than the leaders of the church who consistently criticized both Republicans and Democrats in Washington for failing to address the needs of the indigent and lower-middle class.
    Instead of responding to Flowers’ dog-whistle antics and trying to engage her in something close to intelligent dialogue on this (a fool’s errand in her case), I thought it best to link to this post instead from Natasha Chart of Open Left here, who tells us the following…

    I remember the day in 1997 when I listened to my doctor tell me that I had a very large ovarian cyst, also, that I was likely to have a miscarriage. She said it was good that my body seemed to be taking care of things on its own, because the cyst could rupture and hemorrhage and they couldn't operate if I was pregnant because it was a Catholic hospital.

    My doctor wasn't mean about it, she just couldn't give me this operation that she'd told me about a minute previous I needed to avert a threat to my life.

    I was lucky that I miscarried. As the hormone-induced changes in the cyst caused pain that made it hard to stand upright in a matter of days, it's a good that I didn't have to go through the trouble of finding another hospital covered under my insurance. I went quickly from the terror of waiting to know if I could get that operation to the grim realities of going through it and recovering.

    It turned out all right, but I've always remembered since then that I once sat helpless in a doctor's office watching her eyes slide away from mine to the floor as she refused to say anything when I pressed her to tell me what would happen if there wasn't a natural miscarriage. She just skipped ahead to how someone with my blood test results wasn't going to be pregnant much longer.

    Opponents of abortion like to center their arguments around the fetus and talk about whether it's a person. Which basically means to me that they don't think women are people with the basic right to determine the conditions of their lives and what will happen to their bodies, who can be forced to suffer or die because it will make someone else feel better.
    I would ask that you read all of her post, and then tell me what a compassionate, conservative Catholic Flowers supposedly is (I’ll try not to laugh too loudly if you do, but I won’t guarantee anything).

    Oh, and another thing, Christine: I should tell you that, in all of the time that I have attended church, I have never heard anyone from the pulpit who “consistently criticiz(ed) both Republicans and Democrats in Washington for failing to address the needs of the indigent and lower-middle class.”

    With that in mind, though, if you want to get an idea of how this country has fared on the poverty issue under Republican versus Democratic presidents, the Census bureau put some numbers together cited in this post, and except for President Carter (though not for lack of trying to combat it, I’m sure), this country fared worse under the Repugs.

    And in other faith-related news, Richard Viguerie (someone else who gives Catholics a bad name, IMHO) has been encouraging his brood not to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development “because of the pro-abortion and homosexual organizations that are funded by CCHD,” as he put it here.

    In response, this editorial tells us the following…

    In Baltimore, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development helped the United Workers Association win a salary increase for cleaners at Camden Yards, strengthens the mission of the Maryland Disability Law Center and assists Neighborhood Housing Services to combat predatory "pay day" lending by developing micro-lending in communities that lack access to banks. In other cities, grants have helped groups fighting for better working conditions on behalf of farm workers. McDonald's, Yum Brands, Burger King and other fast food chains now pay tomato pickers more for their backbreaking labor in the fields because of these efforts. Just this year, the campaign awarded more than $7 million to grass-roots community organizations across the country. The campaign's Poverty USA initiative, which raises awareness about the impact of poverty on families, has been recognized as one of the best public service programs in the nation.

    For centuries, Catholic social teaching has emphasized the obligation to care for our struggling neighbors on the margins of society. This is why Catholic Charities USA oversees the most extensive social services network for the poor outside of the federal government, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development provides low-income citizens with the tools to improve their own lives.

    As more Americans lose jobs and health care, faith-based community organizers offer critical lifelines to those who are only a layoff or medical scare away from poverty. This work is more important than ever. Census figures show the number of people falling into poverty increased by more than 2 million last year. Nearly 40 million Americans now live below the poverty line, the highest level since 1960.

    The ACORN scandals should not define the proud legacy of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The bishops' initiative has distinguished itself for the past four decades and deserves the support of all Americans who recognize the silent genocide of poverty as a political and moral failure unworthy of a great nation.
    Amen to that.

  • And finally, though this is a week old I know, this communicates another reason why social justice is important as far as I’m concerned; that is, to stand up to the intolerant ravings that are spreading this country faster than the H1N1 virus, particularly when one side is responsible for it, but it is somehow excused because the other side of the ideological chasm is guilty of the dreaded “partisanship” also.

    With that in mind, I would like to state the following for the record…

  • I never threatened conservative interest groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers or the Chamber of Commerce, organizations that are typically antagonistic towards Democrats in general (here).

  • I never said any Democrat/liberal/progressive/whatever should “prepare for war” with conservatives (here).

  • I never “prayed” for Dubya’s days to “be few” (yes, I had my Bush Countdown clock on this site, but that was for the end of his time in office, not the end of his life - here).

  • And I would have never imagined bringing a gun to a Republican presidential campaign event (here).

  • And I sure as hell never threatened a police officer (nor would I ever even entertain such a thought) after Dubya was installed as president in 2000 and (arguably) voted back to office in 2004 (here).

  • And I hope it goes without saying that I would never kill innocent church parishioners either (here).
  • So the next time you read David Zurawik or some other pundit whining about how MSNBC and Fix Noise are supposed to be equally partisan, remember that Rachel Maddow has never alleged that the president was a mass murderer (here) and Keith Olbermann has never smeared anyone he disagreed with by nicknaming them as “killer” (here).

    And let’s all hope and pray that it doesn’t take anyone else’s death to make that point plainly understood once and for all.

  • Update: Let's also pray for a brain cell here, people.

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