Wake up, municipalities! This one's simple. Outlaw any unpaid outdoor political advertising originating with the advertising distributor. Or just ban billboards outright. That's what rich communities do!
You gave Clear Channel this pulpit, and you can take it away.
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The first time Jose Ramirez saw a human body ripped apart by a rocket, it took hours for him to regain his composure. Nothing in his training as a Navy medical corpsman had prepared him for the sight of the dead Marine brought in September to the military field hospital outside Fallujah.
"I walked around in shock," said Ramirez, 26, of San Antonio, a Navy petty officer third class attached to Bravo Surgical Company. "I've seen people die before on the emergency room table. But what I was trying not to do, what I was trained not to do, is look at the patient with tunnel vision. It reminded me that I had to get prepared."
Two months later, when the first wounded American and Iraqi troops arrived at the hospital after storming Fallujah, Ramirez had braced for the worst.
"It doesn't hit me when I'm working on a patient. But after we're cleaning up, and I see the blood on the floor or I see someone bagging a piece of arm or leg, I know it's going to be in my mind for the rest of my life," Ramirez said.
Fifty-one U.S. troops have been killed and 425 wounded since the ground assault on this insurgent stronghold began on Nov. 8.
Happy Thanksgiving to our troops, from everyone in the Bush administration, Republican congressional leaders, Halliburton, Antonin Scalia, and those 31 Red States!
The scheming in Washington as President Bush prepares for his second term is easily explained. It's the insurgents versus the Washington establishment, and the insurgents are winning.
Mr. Bush finds himself in the unusual position -- for a president, anyway -- as leader of the insurgents. Unlike other presidents who came to Washington with bold plans, Mr. Bush has not been housebroken by establishment forces. Even Ronald Reagan made peace with Washington. Mr. Bush hasn't. He wants to impose a breathtakingly conservative agenda in his second term, one that has prompted cries of protest from establishment figures like David Gergen, aide to four presidents, and the voice of the Beltway, the Washington Post.
If Mr. Bush is anxious his insurgency might fail, he hasn't let on. On the contrary, he exudes confidence that, despite the establishment, he'll succeed in his second term. Mr. Bush did make one bow to the establishment last week. He showed up in a tuxedo at the British embassy for a party honoring Ms. Rice. "One tux a term," a White House official said. "That's our idea of outreach to the Washington community."
The title of the article is "Bush the Insurgent." As far as cute pundit metaphors are concerned, Barnes laid a big rotten egg.
Is this the way conservatives support our troops — by comparing their commander-in-chief favorably to their enemy?
Conservative Christian groups across the country are protesting a film about the life of sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, calling it a Hollywood whitewash of the man they hold largely responsible for the sexual revolution and a panoply of related ills, from high divorce rates to AIDS and child abuse.
"For those who think of people of faith as poor, uneducated and easy to command, I'm sure it would be amusing to see people praying outside of theaters," said Focus on the Family* spokeswoman Kristi Hamrick. "But we want to have a serious intellectual conversation about who Kinsey was and what he did."
[Robert] Knight [director of the conservative Culture and Family Institute in Washington] acknowledged, however, that some opponents of the Kinsey film may be reluctant to try to punish its distributor, Fox Searchlight, owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
"Fox has a schizophrenic personality. Conservatives appreciate Fox news channel for bringing balance, but the Fox entertainment network, on the other hand, has clearly been the leader in driving TV into the sewer with its non-stop sexual emphasis," he said.
Fox isn't the only one with the schizophrenic personality. If Christians consider Murdoch's combination of pro-Bush messaging for political power and pro-sex messaging for commercial power to be "balance," then they will have even more difficulty with the word "integrity."
If you want to "have a serious intellectual conversation about who Kinsey was and what he did," consider speaking with someone other than these folks.
*"Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based broadcasting empire of psychologist James Dobson, has been working for nearly two years -- ever since it learned that director Bill Condon was planning to make the film -- to enlist scholars outside the evangelical Christian community to help 'debunk' Kinsey's research, Hamrick said."
All drugs have a risk-benefit profile, but if the risk is murder-suicide, it more than defeats the therapeutic purpose of the drug, wouldn't you say?
Unless of course the therapeutic purpose of Lariam is just an illusion overshadowed by the profit motive of those who enforce its use by the troops. Pushing a profitable drug over an effective drug makes loads of sense to those making the profit.
And it's timely too: profitability over reality is the same hidden motivation that appears behind lots of catastrophic decisions nowadays.
From UC Berkeley: "The study shows an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in [Florida] counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods. Discrepancies this large or larger rarely arise by chance -- the probability is less than 0.1 percent."
For most of us, white-collar crime in the name of Jesus Christ is just an abstraction, a few lines unceremoniously noted in the Wall Street Journal or Forbes, until you receive (as I did) the following email from a woman named Sandy Tucker who gave me permission to share it with you:
This is my story…
I was widowed in 1984 and my accountant/financial planner invested $50,000 into Wells Real Estate Fund I as a B Investor. According to Wells Real Estate personnel, today my $50,000 is not worth a cent.
For many years, I communicated with Mr. Wells, both verbally and in writing, to determine what the outcome of my investment might be, but the lies always overshadowed any honesty, and therefore I never knew the real truth of my Fund I investment as a “B” investor.
During these past 20 years, I never received one cent of return on my money. I truly believe that he thought his investors would die before he had to answer to them, and I am sure that many have.
I will be 61 years old in November and still hanging in there, working two jobs to make a living, and fighting to the end to bring resolve to this situation before I die.
Fifty thousand dollars may not mean much to Leo Wells, or Ken Lay, or Neil Bush, or any of those who have profited handsomely from the Christianization of American politics, but it means an enormous sum of money to one 61-year-old Christian widow.
In her lengthy email, Ms. Tucker also included detailed descriptions of Wells's funny business with prospectuses as well as the class action lawsuit that resulted. All to no effect. Her money is all gone, and the "Christian" businessman who has yet to be publicly disgraced (let alone prosecuted) for his actions has not answered for it.
But the heart of the matter is this, in her words: "Any man, whether an individual or a business owner, who professes to be a Christian and puts God in control would never do to anyone, including widows, what he has done to me and hundreds of other investors."
For twenty years she has borne this burden alone.
Investing and religion are a difficult mix at best, partially because the timeframes are at odds. Ms. Tucker brought up the Wellsian concept of an investment afterlife, which of course does not exist: "I truly believe that [Leo Wells] thought his investors would die before he had to answer to them, and I am sure that many have." Bad investments like those held by Leo Wells's investors are the real "death tax."
The ultimate problem with government and business leaders invoking the name of Jesus Christ, as Leo Wells and George W. Bush do with great regularity, is that unsuspecting Christian voters and investors assume that their beliefs are shared. This assumption is a fatal mistake.
Although I am not a Christian, I do know of at least one Commandment that bears repeating: "Thou shalt not steal." But American faith-based elites are more concerned with publicly displaying the Ten Commandments than with actually following them.
Unfortunately, for all Americans who are also Christians as well as for the rest of us, expecting justice from self-anointed dispensers of "morality" is too much to ask.
If there is indeed an afterlife, Leo Wells will burn in it.
If you want to go after white-collar crime carried out by hypocrites, you need to find someone who has already been successful in such investigations. Some like John Kerry.
Darleen Druyun never showed the taxpayers who employed her anything like appreciation, let alone love. Maybe we can get Druyun's priest brother Edward Lofton to help pray for return of the billions of tax dollars squandered by his sister and her daughter Heather. After all, he gives radio lectures on what "love" is.
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling wants his trial moved out of Houston because one-third of area residents polled associated his name with negatives like "pig," "snake," "economic terrorist" and the "financial equivalent of an ax murderer."
Skilling's co-defendants — ex-Chairman Ken Lay and former chief accounting officer Rick Causey — joined in the request. It argues there is pervasive anti-Enron prejudice in the Houston area, in part because of the stake this community had in Enron's fortunes and in part because of prejudicial publicity.
The filings showed that 31.8 percent of Houston area survey respondents used negative descriptions when asked about Skilling. That was about three times the percentage of people in Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix who came up with negative responses when asked about Skilling.
"He is the devil," said one Houston-area respondent.
"Jeff Skilling is an arrogant, conniving, pompous, brilliant crook," said another Texan surveyed by Philip K. Anthony's DecisionQuest firm.
There was also this amazing coincidence: "The filings showed that 31.8 percent of Houston area survey respondents used negative descriptions when asked about Skilling" and "...Houston-area respondents were at least twice as likely to know someone who has been harmed by Enron's fall. About 33 percent of the Houston respondents knew someone affected."
Could there be a correlation? Does personal knowledge of victims have anything to do with the public's perception of culpability?
And what's wrong with the other non-negative 68 percent? Why aren't they paying attention to their neighbors' misfortunes?
...52 counties tallied their votes using paper ballots that were then optically scanned by machines produced by Diebold, Sequoia, or Election Systems and Software. 29 of those Florida counties had large Democratic majorities among registered voters (as high a ratio as Liberty County— Bristol, Florida and environs— where it’s 88 percent Democrats, 8 percent Republicans) but produced landslides for President Bush. On Countdown, we cited the five biggest surprises (Liberty ended Bush: 1,927; Kerry: 1,070), but did not mention the other 24.
Those protesting e-mailers pointed out that four of the five counties we mentioned also went for Bush in 2000, and were in Florida’s panhandle or near the Georgia border. Many of them have long “Dixiecrat” histories and the swing to Bush, while remarkably large, isn’t of itself suggestive of voting fraud.
That the other 24 counties were scattered across the state, and that they had nothing in common except the optical scanning method, I didn’t mention. My bad. I used the most eye-popping numbers, and should have used a better regional mix instead.
Interestingly, none of the complaining emailers took issue with the remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County’s website shows, we had the most unexpected results in years: more votes than voters.
I’ll repeat that: more votes than voters. 93,000 more votes than voters.
Talk about successful get-out-the-vote campaigns! What a triumph for democracy in Fairview Park, twelve miles west of downtown Cleveland. Only 13,342 registered voters there, but they cast 18,472 votes.
In the next four years, drug makers, health-care companies and financial-service concerns expect to benefit from Bush efforts to rein in legal costs and extend dividend and capital-gains tax cuts. Wall Street companies are looking for a flood of new investment if Mr. Bush succeeds in opening the Social Security system to privately owned accounts. Fast-food chains are less worried about a higher minimum wage and auto makers about tighter fuel-economy standards -- both areas where a Kerry administration planned to make changes.
Many industries invested heavily in the Bush campaign as much to avert a victory by Sen. John Kerry as to help ensure four more years for Mr. Bush. Health-care and drug companies contributed $26 million to Mr. Bush and the Republican Party, knowing the Massachusetts Democrat planned to have the federal government bargain directly with drug makers on Medicare prices and allow drug imports from Canada.
While Congressional Democrats will probably continue their push for such measures, Mr. Bush's victory, along with Republican gains in the House and Senate, greatly diminish the Democrats' chances. Another Kerry proposal, to change the way pharmacy-benefit managers do business, seems unlikely to go forward.
The election news pushed shares up, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting a gain of 101.32, or 1%. Drug, oil and defense stocks -- all anticipated beneficiaries in a second Bush term -- posted sharp gains.
In other words: Your retirement money will mysteriously vanish when CEOs like Enron's Ken Lay decide they'd rather tank the stock and invest in Aspen real estate. Your paycheck will not even remotely keep up with the cost of oil and natural gas. Your expensive-to-fuel car will pollute more. Your medicines and health care — when you can get them at all — will be dramatically more costly.
Health care and drug companies paid only $26 million to loot billions from consumers and the US Treasury. The Bush administration is truly the bargain of the millennium — if you're a big business.