Civil Liberties

Called 2 Hate?

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The god I knew as a young Southern Baptist didn't have much interest in the pursuit of petty politics. He - and this particular god was most definitely a he - seemed pretty comfortable with the rendering-unto-Caesar model, which suited me just fine.

Today that good-old god is dead, replaced by an angry patriarch hell-bent on punishing some of his children because they don't happen to be heterosexual. At least that's what you'd have to believe if you want to join his Wake County band of homophobes named Called 2 Action. According to the organization's own website, its roots are firmly planted in overt discrimination.

In god you trust

As a back-sliding Baptist, I often find myself confronted by the passion of Theocrats who want to inject god into our state's public institutions. And not just on the fright wing fringe. There are plenty of people on all sides of the political spectrum who happily ground their political arguments in religious doctrine and dogma. This kind of thinking, for example, fully explains the NC legislature's recent decision to require the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

In recent months, I've been trying to frame a coherent response to the steady stream of claims that god is somehow on 'our' side because he (yes, he) had the ear of the founding fathers. Fortunately, that response has already been written by a person much more eloquent than I. His name is Paul Kurtz, and he has a thoughtful article on the website for Council for Secular Humanism. This is as complete a statement for keeping god out of government as I have ever seen. Consider this excerpt:

A visit to Freeperville

(cross-posted at The Christian Dem Home Journal)

Over at Daily Kos, we have a lot of Dem heavyweights post on a regular basis. Louise Slaughter, Paul Hackett, John Conyers, Brad Miller, Henry Waxman--even the occasional post from Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi.

But I always wondered--why don't we see the same at Free Republic? How come Repubs like John Boehner, Sue Myrick, Robin Hayes, Deb Pryce, Jack Kingston, Marilyn Musgrave and the like barely drop by? Well, I got my answer when Dmsilev posted about a recent trip he made to Freeperville. There was some heavy discussion going on about a recent incident in Spain where a couple of men were removed from a UK-bound flight because they were speaking Arabic and the passengers thought they were acting suspiciously. Some of the comments there were just plain sickening.

Oxymoron: corporate person

When I think about the many threats to the quality of our democracy, the growing influence of corporations in public policy always tops my list. Up until last fall, I naively assumed that influence was mostly contaminating national politics. But as my focus shifted to North Carolina and BlueNC, I have been stunned by the role corporate money plays in how our state government operates. On one hand, you have the Puppetmaster, illegally buying and selling elections with corporate money. And on the other hand, you have Chuck Taylor, running campaign commercials fully funded by the US Chamber of Commerce. And in between, you have a swirl of corporate contributions to politicians that is absolutely mind-boggling.

How did this happen? How did we allow our democracy to be hijacked by corporate interests? And what can we do about it?

Update: I pledge allegiance

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Driven by my strong distaste for legislating patriotism. I've written to nearly every NC House member, pleading with them to resist their patriotic pandering with a new law that would require schools to "offer" the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Many have written back, some agreeing, and most disagreeing with my position. Today I heard from Grier Martin:

I ended up voting for this bill. It was a feel good bill, but I can't say I feel too good after the vote. The reasons you served in the armed forces certainly parallel my reasons for serving. What enabled me to support this bill was the clause that schools "shall not compel any person to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance".

Senate Poised to Send Anglico to Jail

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CHAPEL HILL - In a move that can only be described as pandering to American pseudo-patriots, the US Senate, led by Chickenhawk Richard Burr, is once again taking up a bill that will make desecration of the American flag unconsitutional. The story in USA Today, reports the sorry turn of events.

"It's scary close," said Terri Schroeder of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the amendment. "People think it's something that's never going to happen. ... The reality is we're very close to losing this battle."

I absolutely heart Harry Taylor

He's my man.

And this blog entry has absolutely nothing to do with my need for an opportunity to practice the html to embed a photo, oops, I mean "image."

Not that I want to digress from the lovin' I'm feelin'. Heck, I'm so full of the pash I'll even spread the gooey stuff over the AP's Tim Whitmire, Washington Post's Peter Baker and the New York Times' (Jim Rutenberg the "Charlotte Observer's" Carrie Levine and anyone else who mentioned either Harry's question, the protests outside, OR the fact that they couldn't get takers on the 1000 tickets to attend the event.

Duke lacrosse story deserves comment

I know Anglico said it was a slow news day when he posted the castration story but, still, I have to say it seems like fun and games in comparison to this horrible Duke lacrosse team debacle. At least there, the survivors were willing.

Maybe I missed the discussion of this topic. Or maybe we're all too repulsed to comment? I sure am. I just hope the sentence for rape in North Carolina is appropriate to these alleged crimes.

Dean Set To Testify!

Cross Posted from www.the raw

Former Nixon Counsel John Dean was announced as a witness before Friday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a resolution to censure President Bush, according to a press release sent by Senator Russ Feingold (WI-Dem) to RAW STORY.

Along with Dean, former Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein - under President Reagan - will also be testifying.

Although while White House Counsel, Dean played a major role in the Watergate scandal, he later became a "star witness" for the prosection (Wikipedia).

Senator Feingold's Press Release:

Bush Buries Another One

In 2004, at the suggestion of the 9/11 Commission the Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created. It has never been funded, nor has it hired any staff. It has taken a year for its members to receive nominations and confirmation. President Bush has guaranteed the board will not be able to accomplish its stated goals. He failed to include funding for it in the most recent budget.

According to Newsweek the Office of Management and Budget doesn't seem to know what's going on, but assured the board would be completely funded.

Trust me, it gets on

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