Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Church Ad rejected

Apparently, an advertisement for the United Church of Christ, with 1.6 million members, is too controversial for the major networks.

The ad appears to suggest that the church will welcome gay/homosexual people, and has the text: “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”\

Pretty scary, controversial stuff, that “love your neighbor” thing.

Death Penalty Reprieve in Texas

CNN reported today that the Texas Governor granted a 120 day reprieve to a black woman convicted of murder 17 years ago. The reason this made headlines is that it is only the third reprieve granted by the governor since he took office in 2000. The other two were 30 day reprieves, and the executions went forward after the 30 days.

I suppose there are those who will applaud this, but even granting the morality and effectiveness of the death penalty (which I do not), Is it really possible that there hasn’t been one single case where clemency or commuting the sentence to life might have been appropriate, or merciful?

Of the 944 executions nationally since 1976, 336 of them, more than one third, have been in the state of Texas alone.

With the previous information regarding red/blue states, I wondered how the execution totals compared by state. 842 of the 944 executions have been in southern or western “Red” states, and the top 12 states for executions were all “Red”. I guess the concept of mercy is not part of the “Moral Values” we hear so much about.

Given that the murder rate is also higher in all those states, it also calls into question the usefulness of the death penalty. The south, where those executions took place, had the highest murder rate of any region, at 6.9 per 100,000 in 2003. The “immoral” northeast had a murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000, the lowest of any region.

See the Camus quote at the top of this page.

On the whole, I think I’ll stick with the Northeast, liberal, interpretation of moral values.

Democracy perfected

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” \

__- H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)__

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication

The Defense Science Board Task Force, a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense. released a report yesterday. This group reports to the Defense Department and its reports are issued in its name. The report states, in part:

__**1.2 The New Strategic Communication Environment**__

\Anti-American attitudes. Opinion surveys conducted by Zogby International, the Pew Research Center, Gallup (CNN/USA Today), and the Department of State (INR) reveal widespread animosity toward the United States and its policies. A year and a half after going to war in Iraq, Arab/Muslim anger has intensified. Data from Zogby International in July 2004, for example, show that the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by overwhelming majorities in Egypt (98 percent), Saudi Arabia (94 percent), Morocco (88 percent), and Jordan (78 percent). The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe, weakened support for the war on terrorism, and undermined U.S. credibility worldwide. Media commentary is consistent with polling data. In a State Department (INR) survey of editorials and op-eds in 72 countries, 82.5 % of commentaries were negative, 17.5% positive.

Negative attitudes and the conditions that create them are the underlying sources of threats to America’s national security and reduced ability to leverage diplomatic opportunities. Terrorism, thin coalitions, harmful effects on business, restrictions on travel, declines in cross border tourism and education flows, and damaging consequences for other elements of U.S. soft power are tactical manifestations of a pervasive atmosphere of hostility.\

So much for the war in Iraq reducing the threat of terrorism.

At the same time, the International Red Cross has accused the US of “Abuse tantamount to torture” in Guantanamo.

That’s bound to help our respect and standing in the world, too.


US Auditors have suggested withholding payment from Halliburton due to fraud.

I’m willing to wager cash money that doesn’t stand up once the administration gets involved.



A search engine spider swept through here, and I am not willing for the contents of this post to be searchable, so I am deleting before I wished to.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not still thoroughly annoyed.

Ukrainian Election Fraud

Protests about election fraud are threatening the Ukraine

Apparently, the government favored leader somehow won a close election, despite trailing in both pre-election and exit polls. Turnout was extremely high, at times 104% of the eligible electorate, leading some to think chicanery was involved.

Fools. All those things were true in Ohio precincts, but you don’t see __us__ protesting and complaining.

I wonder which country cares more about the foundation of their democracy?


From CNN:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress sent President Bush an $800 billion boost in the federal borrowing limit on Thursday, spotlighting how the budget has lurched out of control in recent years and how hard it will be to afford future initiatives.

With the government facing imminent default because it has depleted its authority to borrow money, the debt limit bill would pump up the federal borrowing cap to $8.18 trillion. That is 70 percent the size of the entire U.S. economy, and more than $2.4 trillion higher than the debt Bush inherited upon taking office in 2001.

Wasn’t the Republican party supposed to be the champion of fiscal conservatism? Unfortunately, those who lend money tend to want it back later, so get your checkbooks ready, boys and girls, we’re going to be paying for this for decades to come.

Election Fraud Question

The question of whether or not there was large-scale voting fraud in the last election is moving out of the internet, and into more traditional media.

I still do not want to believe that there is any basis for this. At what point, though, will the issue be investigated and resolved? Why is the government, and are the major news outlets, doing nothing to either verify or refute these claims? We’re not talking internet rumor-mongers. Reliable statistical poll observers, the same that are used to verify the fairness of oversees votes, are questioning the results.

I would be much more comfortable if this were all proven to be wrong, than if it is ignored and ridiculed.

Family Values in Pennsylvania

It’s amazing what you can find with a little time and effort. The posting below called “A Northern Response” references an article that compares “Family Values” in red and blue states. With help from the Pennsylvania State Data Center I was able to look up divorce rates by county, and compare them with whether or not they voted primarily democratic in the last election.

By my count, 13 counties of the 67 in Pennsylvania cast more votes for Kerry than Bush. Of course, these 13 counties have by far the largest population. Pennsylvania as a whole has a divorce rate of 3.3. Of those thirteen, only two (Erie at 3.4 and Fayette at 3.5) exceed this average, and Northampton at 3.3 ties it. All the remaining 10 are far below the average, including Allegany at 2.8, Lackawanna at 2.8, Lehigh at 3.1, Beaver at 3, Luzerne at 2.5, Bucks at 2.7, Montgomery at 2.6, Washington at 2.8, Philadelphia at 2.1, and Delaware at 1.5.

Take a wild guess which counties pulled the average up to 3.3.

Again, those who would like to make an issue of morality and family values might try to clean up their own homes before criticizing the rest of us.