Friday, May 06, 2005 

Funny or no? You decide.

It would be funny if it weren't true.


Unpatriotic, Filthy Rich Hiding Money

ACSBlog has a thought-provoking post about how the filthy rich are hiding unimaginably large sums of money in tax havens overseas. This hurts the US, of course, because money being earned here can't be taxed by us when it goes to these tax havens. The post includes a quote from The Center for Freedom and Prosperity saying that they shouldn't be eliminated, calling them "an escape hatch for overburdened taxpayers."

Why don't the Democrats rail on this every time we have to resort to deficit spending? There is an absolutely gigantic sum of money out there that the US is being wrongfully denied taxation rights to. Every time the Republicans want to make new cuts, Democrats should be pointing to the legislation that they'll be introducing to close these loopholes that the Republicans won't be letting out of committee. Democrats should be calling them out on protecting the thieving, unpatriotic rich. They should be saying they're weakening our national defense by keeping money out of the budget. This is a perfect way to show America where Republicans stand: firmly on the side of the rich, firmly against the middle-class.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 

Frist/DeLay '08!

The people at MoveOn do my bidding. As I suggested, they've launched a petition calling on Sen. Frist and Rep. DeLay to condemn Pat Robertson's semi-treasonous statements about judges and terrorists. The petition will be coupled with an ad which will be run in Washington, DC and Frist and DeLay's districts.

It will be interesting to see how Frist and DeLay react. This is truly out-there stuff that Robertson is saying, and failing to repudiate it will surely land the two in a whole lot of hot water. Unfortunately, however, what Robertson is saying is so extreme that the two may decide that it won't lose them too much cred among their less-frothing-at-the-mouth Radical Religious Right base. On the other hand, Frist is pretty far in the extremists' pockets as he prepares for a presidential run. DeLay has less to lose; it's becoming increasingly clear that his political career is rapidly ending. All in all, if the two fail to condemn this madness, I will be on the bandwagon...

Bill Frist/Tom DeLay '08!


Military Recruiting Falls Short

Army and Army Reserve recruiters are apparently falling far short of their recruiting goals, with worrying implications for national defense. Right now is not a good time for the Army anyways, with allegations of recruiting scandals, the possibility of recruiters being banned from college campuses and Pfc. Lynndie England's Abu trial (and its new developments) all over the news, but the huge drop in new recruits is especially troubling in that it has implications for the War on Terror and the military's ability to fight another engagement (say, in North Korea or Iran) should it become truly necessary. It's becoming increasingly clear that the military has overextended itself, and whether you're a hawk or a dove, the ability to project power is an important one, if for no other reason than deterrence. Unfortunately, the Army's recruiting troubles are nothing new, and the longer we're unable to succeed in Iraq, the worse they will become. There's no short-term answer to this problem. What keeps me awake at night, of course, is a reinstatement of the draft, a far more worrying prospect for a college student than the overextension of the military. Under a Bush administration and a Republican Congress, it's not as farfetched idea as it once was.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 

Runaway Bride Charges?

CNN reports that despite runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks' having made a partial apology, Georgia authorities are still considering charging her for making false statements to police, which, depending upon exactly what they charge her with, could result in a prison sentence of up to five years. As of right now, it is still CNN's top story.

This whole situation highlights two seperate but equally important problems.

The first problem is the media's coverage of the affair. This should not be a major news story. Soon-to-be-married woman disappears into thin air? Certainly a news story. Woman is subsequently found, claims to have been kidnapped but later recants and admits getting cold feet? A news story, for a day. Why this is national rather than regional news I can't fathom, but that's beside the point. The point is, there are much more important stories to be covering. Lynndie England has pled guilty to Abu Ghraib abuse charges, at least one U.S. Marine pilot just died over Iraq and the questions over the killing of Italian agent Nicola Calipari continue. These stories all have real significance, far more than a confused woman who ran away from home. All this, of course, is not unusual of the media, which has taken lately to stories in which little previous interest and no public good exists (Laci Peterson, Terri Schiavo, anyone?).

The second problem is the amount of litigousness (criminal, not civil) that seems to exist here. For every action, there seems to be a legal reaction. In this case, why should an upset woman who gets cold feet and runs away on the eve of her wedding be charged criminally? There is no concern over her re-offending, no lesson for others to learn, and the embarrassment that she is suffering is certainly punishment enough. She was, without question, wrong to do what she did, especially lying to the authorities. But to prosecute her, especially for a felony, seems wildly unnecessary.

Monday, May 02, 2005 

I thank thee, New Patriot

My sincerest thanks go out to Luke Francl, who was kind enough to plug me over at New Patriot and get me my very first readers. New Patriot is an excellent site, one that I read on a daily basis, and the folks over there are great contributors to the blogosphere. One can never have too many lefty Minnesota blogs.

And welcome, of course, to those New Patriot readers. As you can see, this is a brand-spankin'-new blog, but I hope you'll consider sticking with me for a while as this gets going. I hope my perspective, that of a young person, student, and southeastern Minnesotan, is different enough to make North Star Politics worth reading regularly.


Minimum Wage Increase Passes the House

Today the Minnesota House passed a minimum wage increase of $1/hour for most businesses. This is quite a coup in a GOP-controlled House, and it should be a major talking point for candidates (mostly DFLers) in the elections next year, especially after some concern about incumbents' prospects next year. The only major concession by the DFL, apparently, is a $.05/hour reduction in the training wage, which I'm told can only be applied for 90 days after an employees' hiring and only for those under 20 years old. I think the trade-off is an acceptable one, as Gov. Pawlenty is making noises about being willing to sign it.

I'll admit to being caught by surprise when I read this news; I wouldn't have thought that something like this could pass so easily (18 Republicans voted for it) in the House, which has not been friendly to DFL legislation, and especially as the hospitality industry fought tooth and nail to prevent this bill's passage. Politics aside, though, I think this is a major victory for the working poor and something that everyone who voted for should be proud of. This was badly needed, especially in light of a Congress that already defeated similar legislation and is unlikely to pass it any time soon.


Pat Robertson To Undergo Foot-From-Mouth Surgery

Just yesterday, two instances of Pat Robertson's foot going all the way down his throat and coming right out the other end.


Federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists, the Rev. Pat Robertson claimed yesterday.

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I think we have controlled Al Qaeda," the 700 Club host said, but warned of "erosion at home" and said judges were creating a "tyranny of oligarchy."


Responding to a question from ABC host George Stephanopoulos about why a God "so involved in our daily life" would allow a tsunami to kill hundreds of thousands of people, Rev. Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America, replied: "I don't think He reverses the laws of nature." That statement, on the May 1 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, conflicts with other meteorological comments by Robertson, who has repeatedly linked natural disasters to the will of God.

After Orlando, Florida, city officials voted in 1998 to fly rainbow flags from city lampposts during the annual Gay Days event at Disney World, Robertson issued the city a warning: "I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. ... [A] condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."

Robertson claimed that his prayers to God helped steer Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Felix in 1995 away from Hampton Roads, Virginia, the headquarters of Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, according to The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) on June 10, 1998. The Virginian-Pilot further noted that "Robertson also believes that various natural disasters are signs of God's will and that the world will suffer more of them before the arrival of 'the end of the age.' ''

This man isn't just a hateful bigot, he doesn't even know what he believes. This is incredible, and it speaks for itself.

There's an opportunity here, however. Democratic leaders should get together and ask Pres. Bush, Sen. Frist, and Rep. DeLay to repudiate and condemn the first bit (the second story, in my mind, is Robertson's own problem). Sen. Frist in particular has had trouble distancing himself from the Radical Religious Right as he mulls a 2008 presidential bid. While some may see judges as being out of control, only a madman could possibly believe they represent a threat in the same ballpark as Osama bin Ladin and company.

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