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.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Unequal Rights

On Saturday, in an effort to prove to the rest of the country that Texas really, seriously is not gay, without a shadow of a doubt, the Texas Senate approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban marriage rights for same-sex couples. The amendment, which has already passed in the House of Representatives, will now go to the voters as a referendum on this November's ballot. While there is already a Defense of Marriage Act on the books in Texas, legislators felt that they had not proven their manly heterosexuality enough to the rest of the country. Even three Democrats--Ken Armbrister of Victoria, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, and Frank Madla of San Antonio--voted for the amendment, giving it bi-partisan cover.

Of course, in an effort to show that they aren't bigots or anything, lawmakers are saying that this amendment will not infringe anyone's rights. In the words of Republican Senator Todd Staples of Palestine, "There's a distinction between intimate associations and the right to have the government recognize or subsidize your arrangement." Which is true. The government should have nothing to do with your intimate associations. I'll be patiently waiting for the constitutional amendment, banning state recognition of marriage.

[Edited for clarity @ 1:00 CDT]


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ahh, dictators

So, from today's press gaggle, we find that if you are a pseudo-Communist dictator with ties to the former Soviet Union, and you jail 75 members of the opposition, the United States will rhetorically beat the crap out of you; however, if you are a pseudo-fascist secular dictator with ties to the former Soviet Union, and you kill hundreds of unarmed Islamic protestors -- but in the name of the war on terrorism --, then the United States will rhetorically send you to your room for a couple of days, and make you cross your heart and promise that it will never ever ever ever happen again:

Q Scott, the President of Uzbekistan has now admitted that his government killed upwards of 170 of its citizens, some anti-government protestors, some escaped prisoners, apparently. Opposition groups say the figure could have been far, far higher. What's the President's view of this situation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, we spoke about it just the other day. The State Department addressed this very matter and expressed our concerns about it. Obviously, we have continued to urge restraint by all and for all to work for calm in Uzbekistan. We were deeply disturbed by the reports that authorities had fired on demonstrators last Friday, and we expressed our condemnation about the indiscriminate use of force against unarmed civilians. And we certainly deeply regret any loss of life. So we've expressed that previously.

But we've also called on people to reject those who would try to incite violence, as well. And we talked about that, too. We've urged the government, as well, to allow humanitarian organizations, like the International Committee for the Red Cross, to have access to the region so that they can gather facts and help take care of people that need help.

Q That's very clear. I wonder if I can contrast it with something, though. In 2002, the President said of another leader who had arrested 75 people and had them sentenced: "The dictator has responded with defiance and contempt and a new round of brutal oppression that has outraged the world's conscience." The President was speaking of Fidel Castro, who imprisoned these dissidents, didn't kill any of them, and I wonder why the double standard.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that I would look at it that way. Obviously, Terry, there are different circumstances around the world. You have to deal with those different circumstances. And so I wouldn't look at it that way at all. But we have long spoken about our concerns when it comes to the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, and we've laid out the facts as we know them about the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. We would like to see a more open and responsive government. But the way to achieve that is not through violence; it's through peaceful means. And that's what we always emphasize.

Q This is a leader who has been in power since before the fall of the Soviet Union. He's clearly a dictator by any definition of that word. And I wonder if you could respond to the concerns that many people have that this administration is going easy on him because he is necessary in the war on terrorism, in part because the United States has rendered certain detainees into his country and --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the facts speak differently. The facts are very clear in terms of we speak out about the concerns that we have, we speak out when we are disturbed by events that take place. And that's what we have done in this instance, as well. And I just did.

[emphasis mine]

You hear that, Islam Karimov? You should be almost ashamed. If you ever do it again, we may have to slap you on the wrist, and possibly even stop rending people to you for special interrogation. Now go over to the chalkboard and write out "Killing unarmed civilians is bad" 100 times. And may that be a lesson to you.

Something else I noticed and wanted to highlight, from the same section:
Mr. McCLELLAN: [...]We would like to see a more open and responsive government. But the way to achieve that is not through violence; it's through peaceful means. And that's what we always emphasize.
Heh. That's one of the funniest jokes I've seen in a while. Since when do we give a shit about peaceful means?

Transcript here (via Holden at First Draft)


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I looooove this country

Alright, so according to the AP, United Airlines is going to be allowed to default on its pension payments as part of its plan to dig out of bankruptcy. This will leave the federal government to pick up the tab, which as you might could guess will not be able to pay all of what was guaranteed to the retirees. This was a defined-benefit pension, much like the current social security system. Now instead of getting what they were promised over the 30 or so years that they worked, retirees will now receive some reduced amount, totally screwing whatever retirement plans they might have had.

This settlement comes less than a month after President Bush signed the bankruptcy reform legislation into law. That law makes it impossible for anyone who makes more than the median income in their state to have their debt cleared by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, even if the cause of their debt was a medical emergency or divorce. What does it say about our political culture when a huge corporation can renege on pension payments to loyal workers, but a family can't get insane medical expenses dropped because they were caught between insurance companies?