"If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican."
"If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican."
Roy Torcaso, 96; Defeated Md. in 1961 Religious Freedom Case
By Adam Bernstein, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 21, 2007;
Roy R. Torcaso, 96, whose application to be a Maryland notary public led to a U.S. Supreme Court case that affirmed his refusal to take a state oath requiring him to declare a belief in God, died June 9 at the Himalayan Elderly Care assisted living home in Silver Spring. He had complications of prostate cancer.
Mr. Torcaso, who said he was an atheist, was a bookkeeper by profession. He worked for a Bethesda construction company when his legal challenge started in 1959. He had been urged by his boss to become a notary public.
At the Montgomery County Circuit Court, he refused to swear to a state oath given to notaries public that made them profess the existence of God.
"The point at issue," he said at the time, "is not whether I believe in a Supreme Being, but whether the state has a right to inquire into my beliefs."
Army Spec. Jeans Cruz helped capture Saddam Hussein. When he came home to the Bronx, important people called him a war hero and promised to help him start a new life. The mayor of New York, officials of his parents' home town in Puerto Rico, the borough president and other local dignitaries honored him with plaques and silk parade sashes. They handed him their business cards and urged him to phone.More.
But a "black shadow" had followed Cruz home from Iraq, he confided to an Army counselor. He was hounded by recurring images of how war really was for him: not the triumphant scene of Hussein in handcuffs, but visions of dead Iraqi children.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombia is set to become the first Latin American country to give established gay couples full rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security under a bill passed by its Congress.There goes our erstwhile enthusiastic support for the Andean Regional Initiative (formerly, Plan Colombia.)
The plan approved Thursday is expected to take effect soon. It is backed by the country's conservative President Alvaro Uribe.
The measure would allow gay couples in long-term relationships to have the same health insurance and social security benefits as heterosexual couples. It also guarantees that assets accumulated during the relationship will be divided between the two, and in the case of death, inherited by the survivor.
The lesson of Reagan and to a lesser extent Thatcher - the pre-eminent conviction politicians of my lifetime - is that even those who deeply disagreed with them eventually respected their ability to stand for something unpopular and to lead. When I look at the Democrats today, I see no such conviction. That's a problem. No one is worse than Clinton, of course.I'm not going to link to him but he's easy enough to find if you want to read the rest of the nonsense. This week is exceptionally bad. He has a Ph.D from Harvard in government -- that alone should alarm us all.
A Failure of Leadership
The immigration compromise collapsed on the floor of the Senate Thursday night. Many of its hard-line foes are celebrating, but their glee is vindictive and hollow. They have blocked one avenue to an immigration overhaul while offering nothing better, thwarting bipartisanship to satisfy their reflexive loathing for amnesty, which they define as anything that helps illegal immigrants get right with the law.
The tragedy is that the compromise bill was written to bring these restrictionists along, with punitive, detestable provisions that many supporters of comprehensive reform agreed to endorse for the sake of a “grand bargain.” The bill was badly flawed but fixable, as long as there was the possibility of leadership and courage in Congress.
But obstruction happened. Republican amendments, designed to shred the compromise, happened.
Jeff Sessions wanted to deprive legalized immigrants — yes, legal residents — of the earned income tax credit, a path out of poverty for millions.
John Cornyn wanted to strip confidentiality protections for immigrants who apply for legal status, making them too frightened to leave the shadows.
Jim DeMint just wanted to kill the bill, so he voted for a volatile amendment whose substance he disagreed with. “If it hurts the bill, I’m for it,” he said.
Leadership was desperately needed to stop Republicans from dragging the bill off one of its pillars — the one that would put 12 million people on a path to legal status. It didn’t show up. Republicans who should have been holding their party and the deal together — President Bush, minority leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John Kyl — failed utterly.
The anti-immigrant hard-core — no amnesty today, no amnesty tomorrow, no amnesty ever — must not be allowed to hold the nation hostage. Like nativists of generations past, they think the country is being Latinized, and they fear it. The country is changing, but the way it always has, absorbing newcomers, shaping and being shaped by them, inexorably turning them, their children and grandchildren into Americans. Globalization has accelerated and complicated that upheaval, and decades of federal dithering have made things messy and chaotic.
Restoring order will be wrenchingly difficult, but it must be done. The country cannot leave an unlawful, chaotic system to fester, with legal immigration channels clogged, families split apart, crops rotting and state and local governments dreaming up ways to punish 12 million people whose identities are unknown to the authorities, and who aren’t leaving, no matter what Congress does. We cannot simply fortify a wall while continuing to extract cheap labor from cowering workers who risk death to get here. Inaction on immigration carries a brutally high price, but those on the phobic right are willing to mortgage their country’s future to pay it.....
I'll have some of whatever they're smoking.
The reader you posted stated that Noonan and others who are late to the party have no credibility to criticize Bush. Hogwash. Have you and this reader never heard of the expression "the straw that breaks the camel's back?" You maintain loyalty in politics even when you are in disagreement with a party or a President. If you are part of a political movement you realize that no politician is ideologically pure or completely without fault. However, you do expect that your loyalty will be rewarded with more than mere lip service to one's ideological beliefs and you expect more than comically bad incompetence.
A lot of intellectual conservatives are now asking themselves at which moment did they lose faith in Bush. For some, such as yourself, it was Abu Ghraib. For others, it was the chaos that unfolded in late 2003-04 and the intransigent refusal of Rumsfeld and Bush to respond to it.
For another group, it was the President's use of warrantless wiretaps and vast expansions of federal power. For many it was the realization that two of the three biggest domestic accomplishments for Bush (outside of the tax cuts) were Ted Kennedy sponsored pieces of legislation. For a huge number it was the culture of profligate spending.
For myself, the seminal moment at which I lost real faith in this President was in the aftermath of Katrina. He could no longer profess to hold the mantle of competence and indeed, he was the poster child of cronyism and ineffectiveness. He proved himself to be dilatory and disinterested, all in the face of the worst natural disaster in this country's history. Granted the local politicians screwed up royally (and are still doing so in NOLA), but he is the POTUS and is expected, at the least to focus our efforts to recover, and to lead. He held that mantle after 9/11, he pissed it down the drain after Katrina.
The last straws for conservatives are the White House's arrogant refusal to contenance any criticism of what it is doing in Iraq coupled with its arrogant and condescending ramroding of a disastrous immigration boondoggle, all the while telling the people "who have carried his water for years" that they are a bunch of bigots and ignoramuses.
Don't forget Andrew that the scales had to fall from your eyes as well. It has come at different times and in different ways for all of us, but it does not make Noonan's critique of Bush any less credible that it has come later than your own. It just means that you were more foresighted than she was.
Hagel's fury over Iraq has unsettled his political life. He has been at odds with the White House for at least five years, but he has now alienated some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate. Even his friendship with McCain, who was once his mentor, appears to be on the rocks. In early February, Hagel called a McCain resolution on the Iraq war "intellectually dishonest." When a reporter from GQ asked Hagel this winter how serving in Vietnam had affected his decisions on Iraq, he drew a cruel contrast between his service and McCain's: "When I got to Vietnam, I was a rifleman. I was a private, about as low as you can get. So my frame of reference is very much geared toward the guy at the bottom who's doing the fighting and dying. ... John McCain served his country differently--he spent five years as a prisoner of war. ... I don't think my experience makes me any better, but it does make me very sober about committing our nation to war." In March, after Hagel had voted for the Democratic resolution on withdrawal from Iraq, McCain fired back. "My views are not framed by events that happened thirty years ago," he said. "I don't think it would be fair to my constituents, intellectually, to have my views formed only by that one experience of my life. That's maybe where Chuck and I have some differences." McCain's comments were as cruel as Hagel's. And they were also hypocritical, given that McCain invariably uses his own experience as a prisoner of war to attract support for his current stance.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.
The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is 94 pages long and lists 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 235 years. He is charged with racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money-laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Jefferson is accused of soliciting bribes for himself and his family, and also for bribing a Nigerian official.
Almost two years ago, in August 2005, investigators raided Jefferson's home in Louisiana and found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a box in his freezer.
Jefferson, 63, whose Louisiana district includes New Orleans, has said little about the case publicly but has maintained his innocence. He was re-elected last year despite the looming investigation.