Random Liberals

We are random liberals (who knew?). Collectively, we make up the greatest blog in the history of ourselves. We will blog about anything that suits us; mostly politics, with a little bit of religion and randomness to make the blog exciting.

Contributors
Rob
Joshua

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bill Cosby comes to mind

In his brilliant stand-up movie, Bill Cosby Himself, Bill Cosby talks about wanting to have a child. Speaking of himself and his wife Camille, he says "We sat in the back seat of a car..........and discussed it." The audience roared. It was definitely one of the best moments of the routine.

President Bush came out of his interview with the 9-11 Commission this morning to make public remarks. He said that he was glad they had this discussion. Yes folks, he called it a "discussion." Then he took four questions from the field. They all were quickly brushed aside. Later today, I will have a trascript from the remarks (assuming there was a stenographer there), and will have a better analysis.

UPDATE: Here is the transcript, courtesy of the White House website. Analysis to come later, when I have time to study the transcript.

Robert

Bob Edwards

Everybody listen to Morning Edition tomorrow morning. It will be Bob Edwards' last broadcast before he is moved into the "senior correspondent" position. I really don't have the connection with him that other people do. I only really started listening to NPR in the last couple of years. However, Edwards is something of an institution, having started at the show five years before I was even born. He will be sorely missed, although I am confident that NPR will find a more than competant replacement.

Also, be sure to watch ABC's Nightline tomorrow night. Ted Koppel will be using the entire show to read the names of every American killed in action in Iraq. The list will be some 500 names. It will not include those killed in accidents.

Robert

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

South Africa

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the first free elections in South Africa since the end of Apartheid. This week, NPR's All Things Consedered is running a five part series produced by Radio Diaries on Nelson Mandela and his role in the struggle for democracy. Go listen to the first parts and read more about Mandela. Or, you can listen from here. This is a very important part of recent world history.

Robert

Sunday, April 25, 2004

What do you know?

Who would've figured? Apparently, people/soldiers are fungible, according to Donald Rumsfeld. Fungible means something along the lines of an object or thing that can be easily replaced. When I heard that Rummy had gibly said that statement, I was furious and yet almost ready to start laughing at his stupidity. It's so sad when someone can convince themselves that the soldiers don't really count when they die because they can be replaced.

Along the same lines of stupidity, the Dallas Morining News printed some quotes that President Bush made in an October 2000 debate. A couple are, "I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building." and "I'm going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious."

Okay, now sing along with me, "... I stuck my foot in my mouth and I ain't got nothin' to say...". My suggestion to Mr. Rumsfeld and President Bush is the good old saying think before you act. Or in their case, speak.

Joshua

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Slight change

I have moved comments to the bottom of each post instead of the top. It appears that the last commenter was a little confused as to which comments link was for which post, so now that I understand html a little better than I did when I started, I have moved it around.

Robert

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Equal rights? Who gives a **** about equal rights?

The Michigan House of Representatives has voted to pass a bill that would allow "health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds." It was passed for the express purpose of allowing doctors and nurses to refuse to treat homosexuals. It now has to pass the Senate, which is Republican dominated. Fortunately, the governor (Jennifer Granholm) is a Democrat, so I don't think it will get past her and become law. Still, this is very troubling legislation. I can't believe it even made it out of committee, and here it is, getting passed by the House. Insane. I don't know what else to say.

Here is the House version of the bill.

Robert

In the spirit of earlier posts of today...

Volunteer for a local campaign. Whether it's for your candidate for state representative, senator, U.S. Rep, city council, or your local John Kerry campaign, volunteer. I plan to do so for both state representative candidate Darrel Cox and John Kerry. It will be the experience of a lifetime. Also, encourage a couple of friends to help you out. Write letters to your local paper. Make your candidates known.

Have fun, and don't break any laws while doing so, please. Leave the law-breaking to Republicans.

Robert

DNC essay contest

The Democratic National Committee is holding an essay contest in conjunction with MTV's Choose or Lose campaign. (So is the RNC, but I figure not many people reading this will care about that one.) Anyone between the ages of 18 and 24 is eligible to enter. The essays are to be 300 words or less, on the following topic: Why should politics be important to youth and how can youth get more involved in the political process? A panel of judges will pare the entries down to the best ten, and then voters at mtv.com will choose the winner (I think; I'm not exactly sure how the second part works). The winner will present his or her essay as a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. According to the convention website, the speech will happen during primetime, so there is a chance that it would be on national television.

I of course intend to enter. I encourage anyone of age to do the same. This is a magnificent opportunity for young voters to make themselves known and heard.

Here is the website for the contest.

Robert

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. Go hug a tree for me. I'll be doing the same.

Don't be ashamed to admit that you're a bleeding heart, tree-hugging, environment-loving liberal.

Robert

Monday, April 19, 2004

April 19

Today is the anniversary of two very important events in my lifetime. The first is the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX in 1993. I was living in Waco at the time, though I was only 9 years old when it happened. I remember very little about the stand-off, and I haven't really done my research on the event, so I still know very little about it.

The second, of course, is the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995. In total, these two events killed over 260 people. Now, 9 years later, Terry Nichols is being tried on state murder charges in Oklahoma, unnecessarily. He is already serving a life sentence on federal charges, but state prosecutors in Oklahoma want blood, not to mention the press. This is not justice. Justice was served when Nichols was sent to prison for the rest of his life. I cannot see how justice is served by forcing the families of the victims to relive all the crap that they went through, just to try to kill another. Nichols isn't going to hurt anyone from prison. Just let him rot in peace.

Robert

Tony Blair has found his spine!

From The Guardian, British Prime Minister Tony Blair today condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi by Israel. This marks the first time that Blair has shown that he has a mind of his own not attached to that of President Bush's. Hopefully, this becomes a trend.

I've always wanted to like Blair. He's well-spoken, and is much more willing to listen to the other side than Bush. He comes across as very smart. I can't understand why or how he was sucked into Bush's horse manure. With what he has said today, and with the new prime minister of Spain showing a mind of his own, maybe Prime Minister Blair can be convinced to be more openly critical of the Bush administration.

A fool's hope, I'm sure, but it's my right to have one.

Robert

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Bush endorses Sharon plan

Today at a joint press conference with Israeli crook...I mean, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, President Bush endorsed Sharon's plan to pull Jewish settlements out of the Gaza Strip. In addition, Bush announced his endorsement of Sharon's plans to keep most of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This effectively marks a complete abandonment of the so-called "road map" peace plan, though Bush would not admit that. The plan called for reciprocal concessions from both the Israelis and the Palestinians. One of the concessions Israel was supposed to give was the disbanding of all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. With this reversal, I cannot imagine Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie will push very hard to end Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Qurie also pointed out that "Bush is the U.S. president to give legitimacy to Jewish settlements on Palestinian land." Indeed, this is an unprecedented and incredibly short-sighted move by the president. He has now placed in even greater danger the Israeli people (and by extension, the Palestinian people, too), and also U.S. troops in Iraq. It has been reported that the four contractors were mutillated so horribly two weeks ago in part as a revenge for the assasination of Sheikh Yassin in Israel. It can only be assumed that there are some in Iraq who will again wish to seek vengeance for American slights. Bush opened Pandora's box long ago, but he refuses to shut it.

Robert

United States

Everybody, say it with me. U-nigh-ted States. Not Amurca. United States. How much harder can it be to say "United States" than it is to say "America." As I said in my first ever post (here, third paragraph down), our country is not America by itself. It is one of many countries in America. Our country is the United States, and we should be proud of it. Quit shortcutting our name, Mr. President! (No, he's not the only one, but he's the person I'm most mad at right now, so he gets to take the brunt of my rant.)

Speaking of the president, here is a transcript of his speech and press conference that he held last night. You will find that there is a good reason he hasn't held a prime time press conference since the beginning of the (undeclared) war in Iraq. He has nothing new to say. This press conference was completely pointless. He just danced around the questions, using the same talking points he's been using since it became clear that there were no biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons to be found.

On a mostly unrelated note, I called in to a local talk show on my NPR station, which was fielding questions in between the morning and afternoon sessions of the 9-11 commission. I just have one thing to say about that: I'm sticking to writing. I said something completely incoherent that I can't even remember anymore (thank God). It was my first time to call a radio show with the intention of saying something on the air, so maybe that's excusable. I do not intend to let this deter me from future calls. However, I will be writing down what I want to say when I do call again, so I don't sound so uninformed. I do think that I have good things to say (I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't think so), but I'm just not a good extemporaneous speaker. I'm much better at reading speeches, or at least giving memorized speeches.

Robert

Monday, April 12, 2004

Bush schedules press conference

President Bush has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow night at 8:30 EDT. It will be nationally televised. If you can stand his lack of enunciation, and the probability that Helen Thomas will not be there (or will be relegated to the back row), therefore assuring that the President will not have to answer any questions harder than "When is your next photo op," then you should watch. I will try, though I also have a chalkboard that needs to have nails raked across it.

Also of importance tomorrow are the 9-11 commission public hearings. They will begin at 9:00 EDT, and included on tomorrow's schedule are former FBI director Louis Freeh, former Attorney General Janet Reno, and current AG John "Edgar" Ashcroft. I can only assume that NPR will be broadcasting the hearings, but I cannot find any confirmation. Tune in to your local NPR station at the appropriate time tomorrow, and find out. If you have cable or satellite, finding the hearings will be easier. Just flip to C-SPAN.

Here is a full schedule for the commission hearings tomorrow.

Robert

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh

It ain't my fault (did I do that?).

That was the general theme of Condoleezza Rice's testimony this morning, just like it was for almost all of the testimony two weeks ago. George did his dead level best with the info he had, even though he didn't consider al Qaeda to be the threat that he now considers it to be, but wait yes he did, even though he had zero cabinet principals meetings about terrorism, but there was that daily briefing on August 6, but...ow, my head.

Condi kept trying to stick to talking points, such as the fact that there was no "silver bullet," that just "shaking trees" would have gotten us nowhere, that Bush was tired of "swatting at flies," blah blah blah. The heroes on the commission today were Richard Ben-Veniste, Bob Kerrey, and Tim Roemer. All three of them kept at Dr. Rice (though Kerrey was having a little trouble with her name, repeatedly calling her "Dr. Clarke"), and in the end, I think Dr. Rice came across as very political and as a question-dodger. Kerrey also accused Dr. Rice of filibustering the questions, giving longer answers than was necessary so as to keep from answering more questions than she wanted to. I tend to agree with Kerrey.

According to the Chairman of the commission, they will be asking Dr. Rice to come back and testify in private again. Also, the commission asked the White House to declassify the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) of August 6, 2001. It appears that the White House will once again refuse, then cave under pressure as they have so often in the last couple of months. Time will tell.

Here is the 9-11 Commission website.


UPDATE: Apparently I was wrong. The White House is set to release the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing today (Friday). It seems that they decided that the two months they have spent stonewalling this already was plenty.

Robert

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Rwanda

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the assasination of the Rwandan president, whose plane was shot down. The next day, April 7, 1994, extremist Hutus began the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. 800,000 people died in 100 days.

Think about that. 8,000 people per day, slaughtered. To me, that's unimaginable.

Yesterday, I heard a one-hour radio program on NPR produced by American Radio Works and PBS's Frontline called The Few Who Stayed: Defying Genocide in Rwanda. Their website can be found here. Take a look at the site, and learn about this unspeakable crime.

Robert

Oh lovely

According to River at Baghdad Burning, Sunni and Shi'a mosques in Iraq are calling for Jihad.

This is just great. I don't see how we're going to be able to get out of this. Everything in Iraq has gone to hell. FUBAR. (For the uninitiated, that's "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition")

Robert

Monday, April 05, 2004

Anniversary

UPDATE: From Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964:


| "Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United
| States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is
| not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social
| transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to
| discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending
| cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood, If this is to be achieved,
| man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge,
| aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
|
| The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears
| witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are
| travelling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all
| Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights
| Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super
| highway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create
| alliances to overcome their common problems."


The full text of the speech is here.

--Original post--

Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, I was too busy to post this yesterday, so it was relegated to today. My apologies. I wanted to have a quote here, but I did not plan ahead of time, and so I don't have one ready. Again, my apologies. I will try to have a quote here tomorrow.

Robert

New blogger pt. 2

In case you did not notice, I have added a blogger to my rolls. Joshua will be blogging on a semi-regular basis, as he sees fit. Hopefully, between the two of us, this site will keep updating regularly. We will do our best to continue to give you good commentary and analysis of what is important to us, and to people in general.

Robert

Friday, April 02, 2004

Apology Obscene?

I was reading the Dallas Morning News last Sunday and an editorial about Richard Clarke caught my eye. A man wrote in and said that the apology Mr. Clarke gave to the families of the victims of 9-11 was obscene. Mr. Clarke's apology went somewhere along the lines of he apologized that our government failed us. The man immediately accused Mr. Clarke of saying Bush is a bad president (not that I think he's a good one). The government is not just the president; it's Congress, the Senate, FBI, the Cabinet, ect..

The fact of the matter is that our government failed us. Period.

Who are you going to trust; a man who is willing to apologize on national television and radio or a man who refuses to testify in public to uphold a tradition?

NOW

NOW with Bill Moyers is a great show, and should be required watching for everyone. Today, Bill conducted an interview with former Richard Nixon staffer John W. Dean, whose book Worse than Watergate was just released this past week. Dean contends in this book that the Bush administration shrouds itself in a cloud of secrecy thicker than any in United States history, including Nixon's. He also contends that Bush is more impeachable than Nixon was, because unlike Nixon's lies and cover-ups, Bush's have led to the deaths of about 600 soldiers and countless civilians.

There was also a fascinating segment by David Brancaccio at the end about gas prices. Specifically, Brancaccio sited the Bush ad from last week that said John Kerry had "wacky ideas" about gasoline, citing his vote ten years ago for raising the gas tax by $.50. Brancaccio then quoted an expert who said that ironically, if that tax had passed, we might have lower gas prices. This would happen because with the short term higher prices that would have occurred in the wake of a much higher gas tax, more people might have bought more fuel efficient cars, instead of gas-guzzling SUVs. With more fuel efficient cars on the road, demand for gas might have been lower, which would have the effect of lowering gas prices. Obviously, this is all speculation, but it is very interesting, and does make sense.

Be sure to visit the NOW website for more, and probably better, information.

Robert