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Post-Holiday Action

Thursday, November 24, 2005
From the Washington Post, Reid sent Democratic Senators off to break with this message:

"Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a memo to Democratic senators aimed at reviewing 2005 and preparing them for 2006, said spokesman Jim Manley. "The opportunity for the party and the country could hardly be better," Reid wrote. He urged his caucus members to host town hall meetings over the recess centered around the theme "America Can Do Better," which seems likely to be the centerpiece of the much-anticipated Democratic agenda that is set to be unveiled in the new year. "

After the tryptophan break, we should come back ready for action. For the upcoming Senate races, here is where Harry Reid would like you to look at and support:

http://www.actblue.com/list/harryreid

Happy Thanksgiving and Plan for "Buy Nothing Day"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Everybody:

Have a great Thanksgiving, but be sure to mark you calanders to my favorite new holiday, "Buy Nothing Day" this November 26th...

Make the busiest shopping day of the year a day of "culture jamming" and of just enjoying not buying stuff. Make it an 24 hour experiment, a fast from "consumerism" or a act of protest. But try it out.

This is an international holiday that has gone on for the last 15 years, where all you have to do is not finiancially consume stuff. Don't buy gas. Don't buy a track off iTunes. Don't buy a stick of gum. See what it feels like and what fills the space.

As it says on the above stencil, which you can download free here, "Draw Something, Sew Something, Cook Something, Sing Something, Make Somthing, Buy Nothing...November 26th!

Here are some user created posters from the Buy Nothing Day blog...

Colourposter















Postersubmissions_r1_c1_1


















Postersubmissions_r5_c7_1

Bush Stuck at 36%

From the latest polling at American Research Group:

"George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings remain unchanged from a month ago as Americans hold mixed views on the economy according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove.

When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 31% approve and 62% disapprove."

Thanksgiving and "the Least of These"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
From IL-06 candidate Lindy Scott's blog:

"Last Friday, in the wee hours of the morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed (217 to 215) a budget reconciliation bill that cut $50 billion dollars from social services for our citizens. These cuts take away school lunches from poor children, food stamps from poor families, $600 million from foster care, and Medicaid funds from the sick. While these budgets cuts are further hurting poor people, extravagant tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest in our land are extended.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners has stated it very clearly:
'It is a moral disgrace to take food from the mouths of hungry children to increase the luxuries of those feasting at a table overflowing with plenty. This is not what America is about, not what the season of Thanksgiving is about, not what loving our neighbor is about, and not what family values are about....

... According to the wise mother of King Lemuel the role of government is to “defend the rights of all the unfortunate, to judge righteously, and to defend the rights of the afflicted and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). I can’t believe that most North Americans want resources to be taken from the poor and given to the rich. There is still time to change the course of these actions. Mr. Hastert, help us as a country retrace our steps and get back onto higher moral ground."

25,000 "Democracy Bonds" And Counting....

Friday, November 18, 2005
25,000 Democracy Bonds, and counting! (in about 5 months)

Buy one today!

Arguably, a "Democracy Bond" is a marketing term, but it is a term for something imporant. A new and much needed thing in politics and in the Democratic Party. It's all about normal humans -- not lobbyists, not big corporations, funding building and owning their own party.

The more "Democracy Bonds" are bought, the more we reshape politics, and compete with Republican's big donor, big business fundraising.

As they said on the Democrats.org site when it launched: "The 'Democracy Bond' initiative is about shifting the balance of power towards the people. The Republicans raise $10 million a month from lobbyists and special interests ...We all know who owns the Republican Party -- but ordinary Americans will own our party."

And from the latest on thier blog:

"Your monthly recurring small dollar contributions have allowed the Democratic National Committee to place organizers on-the-ground in 38 of the 50 United States."

Elections in 2006 and 2008 will be deeply effected by what we do NOW.

United House Dems and Moderate Repubs Defeat GOP Budget

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Again, this is more like it. Nicely done Ms. Pelosi and House Dems.

And good to see 22 Moderate Republicans seeing the imorality of the GOP budget cutting education, healthcare and foodstamps especially while keeping the tax cuts in place for the wealthiest of the wealthy in our nation. From the NY Times:


"House Republican leaders were dealt a rare defeat Thursday as Democrats and 22 Republicans teamed up to kill a major health and education spending measure.

The 224-to-209 rejection of the $142.5 billion in spending on an array of social programs was the first time since the early days of the Republican takeover of the House a decade ago that the majority had come out on the losing end of such a vote.

The struggle on the measure underlined the divide over spending policy confounding House Republicans as they struggle to provide relief for hurricane victims while placating party members alarmed about growth in federal spending...

In rebelling against the spending measure, Democrats and some Republicans said it fell woefully short of fulfilling federal commitments.

They pointed, for example, to $900 million in health care cuts that took a toll on the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on rural health care. They opposed the elimination of $8 billion to prepare for a potential flu pandemic. And they pointed to a provision that would strip money from a variety of popular education programs and leave Pell Grants to college students frozen, as part of the first reduction in education spending in a decade.

"The Republican bill to fund our nation's investments in health, education and other important programs betrayed our nation's values and its future," Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said...

Democrats said it was unfair to reduce spending on programs like food stamps and health care for the poor to offset the costs of the hurricanes.

"This is the cruelest lie of all," said Representative Gene Taylor, a Mississippi Democrat who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina, "that the only way you can help people who have lost everything is by hurting somebody else."

(conservative) quote of the day

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties.

The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies."

-- Senator Chuck Hagel

Thirty Four

As in 34 percent.

That would explain this.

US Uses Chemical Weapons in Iraq

A while ago, I saw a blogger describe the "War on Terror" (TM) as being fundamentally misunderstood by the Bush administration and other neoconservatives. He used an analogy I wish I had come up with:

He said something like "Neocons think the game is chess" where we win by taking more of their peices out. Our enemies know that this is not the game at all, it's more like Othello. The winner in the Global War on Terror is the one who gets the other guy to look more like them, piece by piece.

The pentagon just admitted to using a horrible chemical weapon against insurgents in the battle for Fallluja -- one that they previously denied useing -- called White Phosphorus. The BBC news piece describes the effects of the agent:

"White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen...it could burn right down to the bone."

Although Pentagon seems to be splitting legal hairs on whether this is a "incidiary" versus a "chemical" weapon. The reality of the chemical effects of White Phosphorus are terribly obvious. And they note that although Britian had signed a 1980 UN Convention which expressly forbids the use of white phosphorus against civilian targets or military targets in civilian areas, but the US had not.

None of that changes the fact that today we learned we were using this chemical weapon on people.

One more Othello peice just flipped the wrong direction.

From the BBC:

"US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said.

The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US."

quote of the day

E.J. Dionne Jr on Bush's latest attack on Democrats questioning his use of pre-war intelligence as "politics" that hurt the troops:

"There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised....

The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate" who "voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power" thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight. And by resorting to partisan attacks again last week, Bush only reminded us of the shameful circumstances in which the whole thing started."

Methodist Bishops Statement on Iraq (Full Text)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Here is the full text of the Methodist Bishop's Statement on Iraq:

A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice

As followers of Jesus Christ, who named peacemakers as blessed children of God, we call upon The United Methodist Church to join us in repentance and renewed commitment to Christ's reign of compassion, justice, reconciliation, and peace.

As elected and consecrated bishops of the church, we repent of our complicity in what we believe to be the unjust and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the face of the United States Administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent. We confess our preoccupation with institutional enhancement and limited agendas while American men and women are sent to Iraq to kill and be killed, while thousands of Iraqi people needlessly suffer and die, while poverty increases and preventable diseases go untreated. Although we value the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the military, we confess our betrayal of the scriptural and prophetic authority to warn the nations that true security lies not in weapons of war, but in enabling the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized to flourish as beloved daughters and sons of God. We confess our failure to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to be a people who welcome and love all those for whom Christ died.

Aware that we are to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, we personally and as bishops commit ourselves to:

* Pray daily for the end of war in general and the Iraq war specifically; for those who suffer as the result of war, including the soldiers and their families; the Iraqi people in their struggle to find a workable form of government; and for the leaders of the United States that they will turn to truth, humility, and policies of peace through justice.

* Reclaim the prophetic authority that calls nations, individuals, and communities to live faithfully in the light of God's new creation where all people know their identity as beloved children of God; where justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream; and where barriers are removed and all creation is healed, reconciled, and renewed.

* Commit ourselves to peacemaking as an integral component of our own Christian discipleship, which means advocating and actively working for the things that make for peace: personal, institutional, and governmental priorities that protect the poor and most vulnerable; modeling an end to prejudice toward people of other faiths and cultures; confronting differences and conflicts with grace, humility, dialogue, and respect without being so cautious in confronting evil that we lose our moral authority.

We call upon all United Methodists to join in the pursuit of peace through justice as revealed in Holy Scripture and incarnate in Jesus Christ.

* Let us move beyond caution rooted in self protection and recover moral authority anchored in commitment to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
* Let us object with boldness when governing powers offer solutions of war that conflict with the gospel message of self-emptying love.
* Let us with compassion share the pain of God's children who suffer from the devastation of war and those who live in poverty resulting from misplaced priorities and misguided public policies.
* Let us work toward unity in a world of diversity, that all peoples will come to know that we belong to one another, and that "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself … and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us"(2 Corinthians 5:19).

96 bishops decry 'unjust and immoral' situation in Iraq

From the United Methodist News service:

"Ninety-six United Methodist bishops have signed a statement repenting "of our complicity in what we believe to be the unjust and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq."

The signers include more than half of the denomination's active and retired bishops, both within the United States and in the Central Conferences outside the United States. Bishop Kenneth Carder, one of the signers, told United Methodist News Service on Nov. 11 that the statement had been nearly six weeks in the making.

The statement confesses "our preoccupation with institutional enhancement and limited agendas while American men and women are sent to Iraq to kill and be killed, while thousands of Iraqi people needlessly suffer and die, while poverty increases and preventable diseases go untreated."

While the sacrifices of military personnel are valued, true security does not lie in the weapons of war, the bishops pointed out.

The bishops committed to praying daily for the end of war in Iraq and all wars in general, reclaiming the idea of living "faithfully in the light of God's new creation" and pledging to peacemaking as an "integral component of our own Christian discipleship."

DNC National Grassroots Kickoff Tommrow Night

Monday, November 14, 2005
Everybody, tommorow is a nationwide organizing kickoff for the Democratic party... And if you haven't heard about it yet, it isn't too late to check it out, find a local houseparty and join in.

So far, more than 1,000 meetings are set in all 50 States... A key point in the event is a nation wide conference call with Chairman Dean

"The elections are a year away -- and that's exactly the point. We cannot wait until the last few months before an election to build an organization, and we cannot let that organization fade away after Election Day."

Democrat Bob Casey Way Ahead Against Santorum in Latest Senate Race Polling

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Especially with the lessons learned from the recent elections, Bob Casey Jr's latest polling for the Pennsylania Senate seat shows much promise, and for many of the same reasons.

Casey is a Catholic and well known pro-life Democrat, and a popular and competent former Treasurer of the State, he is already polling WAY ahead of Rick Santorum (see below)...

But the race will tighten in the year to come. And even though lately Casey has been outraising him, Santorum still has a much bigger total campaign war chest however.

Help even that out.

And if you are in Pennsylvania, think about volunteering...

Here is the polling with a hat tip to Political Wire:
"If the poll earlier today on the Pennsylvania Senate race was bad for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), the new Rasmussen Reports survey is terrible.

The latest Rasmussen poll shows Santorum "continuing to lose ground in his battle for re-election" and now trails Bob Casey, Jr (D) by twenty percentage points, 54% to 34%. In the July Rasmussen survey Santorum trailed by 11 points."

A Thought Experiment

PatimagesOkay just a little experiment:

Pat Robertson (still fresh from his advocating assasination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez) just made this statement regarding Dover residents who voted several school board members out who supported the teaching of Intelligent Design in local science classes.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there."

Here is the experiment: Just for a second think about the "pIcture of God" that Robertson is painting to the world with this.

  • Small and weak, capable of being "voted out" of town
  • Kinda petty and vengeful, willing to stand by and willing to abandon a city of people to disaster over a school board vote
  • An absent God, not caring for people asking for his help

Later, after this quote was picked up by the press, he issued this "correction" that if you really read it, doesn't correct much:

"I was simply stating that our spiritual actions have consequences and it's high time we started recognizing it. God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in His eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin…maybe he can help them."

Again with the "don't call on God," or "I recommend they call on Charles Darwin" lines... and note, the treat of God's curse is still in there: "if they have future problems in Dover..."

In Scripture Christians are called "God's Ambassadors" and are told that when we talk to the world it is "as though God were making his appeal through us."

That is a crazy heavy responsiblity, and I'm sure I fail at it in a lot of ways.

But I see the peevish, weak, bitter caricature of a god in statements and re-statements today from Pat Robertson, I realize what damage we can do when with that responsiblity.

Kaine, Faith and Democrats Part III

From E.J. Dionne today, ephasis mine in bold:

"Democrats all over the country will study how this devout Catholic explained his opposition to the death penalty as a matter of deep religious concern. The strangest thing is that because the death penalty issue encouraged Kaine to talk about his faith, it may have helped him with conservative voters.

"This is a very good proving ground for the belief that Democrats can talk about values and their faith and it will make a difference," said Karl Struble, a top Kaine adviser...

And then there were Kaine's proposals to rein in exurban sprawl, which helped him carry outer suburbs in Prince William and Loudoun counties, something even Warner had not been able to do. Pete Brodnitz, Kaine's pollster, argued that outer suburban voters saw controlling growth as a better solution to the region's transportation problems than more "taxing and paving," as Kaine would put it.

So, yes, Tuesday's elections will be seen as a rebuke to Bush. But they may be more important as the moment Democrats finally figured out how to talk without embarrassment about God and the practical uses of government."

"Gobsmacked"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I haven't used the word "gobsmack" in a sentence ever, till now.

Here goes. I am "gobsmacked" at what issues the Church as a whole chooses to speak out on, and the issues that it chooses to be mostly silent on.

Here is a key, key, key one that I feel very passionately about:

We are at a critical window, a time when our culture is deciding how to define the lowest low end, the bare minimum expected ethical treatment of political and military prisoners. In essence, we are defining what we as Americans is and isn't torture.

It astonishes me that the Christian voice is not more clearly vocal here.

Especially when Jesus himself spoke very directly about our treatment of prisoners as a specific metric to our relationship to Him. In a parable Jesus talks about the end of time, when those right with God ask Him:

'When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

And the King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

That is pretty serious stuff. Whatever we do to our prisoners we have done to Jesus. To me, that needs to be the baseline on the Christian communities voice on this matter.

I'm further gobsmacked (see how I worked that word in again) by the Church's mostly silence, since this isn't even a partisan issue. It doesn't land as a "liberal" or "conservative" issue.

Republicans like Senators John McCain, Chuck Hagel and almost every other senator has voted for language clearly defining torture, forbiding "cruel and inhumane or degrading" treatment and limiting interrogation techniques to what is in the official Army manual. This passed 90-9 in the Senate.

But this language (which was attached to a military spending bill) has been threatened to be vetoed by the Whitehouse and has been actively lobbied against by the Vice President. Cheney is seeking an exemption be added by the House to allow the CIA to practice "cruel and inhumane" treatment that goes beyond the army field manual.

One exception to the Christian silence on the matter is Sojourners. There may well be others, I hope so. If so, please post to the comments.

Here is an online petition from Sojourners on this topic to Speaker of the House Hastert that I recommend you check out and seriously consider signing...

-- Tim

Kaine, Faith and Democrats Part II

On Democrats and Faith: from Amy Sullivan, who always does a good job with this topic:

"The post-mortems of yesterday's elections will continue, but already one of the conclusions forming about Tim Kaine's victory in Virginia is that it shows how a religious Democrat can neutralize the recent Republican advantage on cultural issues and character.

Kaine talked about his faith consistently, starting from the very beginning of his campaign. He didn't throw it out as an honor badge for which he should get instant credit, but explained how his work as a Catholic missionary in Central America formed his commitment to public service. And although Kaine relied on his Catholicism to explain his personal opposition to both abortion and the death penalty, his insistence that as governor he should not impose his religious beliefs on others by blocking either one was an argument voters--if not pundits--understood and supported.

For those who say this is just a cute way to have it both ways, consider this: That might be true if Kaine just wanted to cultivate support with social conservatives while reassuring pro-choice voters that nothing would really change. But opposition to capital punishment isn't terribly popular in Virginia. If he's going to go ahead and allow executions to take place, he could have just shut up and kept his personal feelings quiet. Instead, Kaine chose to take an unpopular stand and explain his decision to voters.

I want to be very clear: I don't think Kaine won because of his faith. But he was able to use it to neutralize attacks that too often do in Democrats running in culturally conservative spots. That means he got to compete on actual issues--whether immigration or education or sprawl or health care. And that's good news for Democrats."

Reward Success

Last night we as Democrats did good, all across the board.

This is a thing to be rewarded.... I'm upping the amount I give monthly in my Democracy Bond, and sending a "thank you" $10 bucks in additional donations here, here and here.
You should think about doing something like that, too.

That is deciededly more like it.

A Trumph and a Guide

The Washington Post analysis of last nights Virginia race is right on the money. Read the whole thing, but here are excerpts:

A Triumph For Warner, And a Guide For His Party

Virginia's quadrennial search for a governor featured neither charismatic personalities nor dominant policy initiatives. But Democrat Timothy M. Kaine's resounding victory over Republican Jerry W. Kilgore nonetheless provided important political lessons for the commonwealth, and maybe the country.

The outcome marked what feels like a dramatic strengthening of Democratic appeal in Northern Virginia, the state's richest and most populous region. It showed that Republicans can no longer depend simply on the power of their party to win statewide and demonstrated the dangers of a negative campaign. It presented an intriguing campaign model for Democrats, in which religious faith plays an important role. And most of all it demonstrated the appeal of Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), for whom this could become the first stop of a presidential campaign.

"I think this is an interesting test case for Democrats to see if you can run a faith-based campaign focused on values and do so as a progressive candidate in a Southern state," Rozell said....

It worked, Rozell said, because of Kaine's frequent reference to his service as a missionary in Honduras while in law school and his familiarity with the language of religion. "It did not come off as calculated," he said.

Virginia voters cast ballots Tuesday for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House district races. Voters also elected new mayors and local officials in a handful of local Maryland and Virginia races.

In his victory speech last night, Kaine told the crowd, "We proved that faith in God is a value we all can share regardless of party."

Vote Today!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Big election day today:

You can find information on New Jersey here, and information on Virginia here.

California voters looking for where to vote, can go here...

Now, REMEMBER TO VOTE!

Delay Aid and Lobbyist Scanlon on Playbook of How to Politically Use Christian "Wakos"

Thursday, November 03, 2005
I know a lot of conservative friends who will justifiably feel angry and used at this. HT to JohnnyCougar and VirginiaDem over at DailyKos for this:

http://indian.senate.gov/2005hrgs/110205hrg/110205exhibits.pdf


It's from a group of documents released yestereday by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. And it documents conversations between GOP lobbyist Scanlon and Abramoff who bilked native American tribes out of millions of dollars lobbying for Indian gaming casinos.

A good background article is here, and it describes how "McCain described the Coushatta Tribe as a "money train" for Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, to fund their own personal uses and other activities, including supporting GOP politicians and causes."

Salon writer summarized it as "Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tx., sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe's gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives."

It makes mre rmember Clinton's DNC speech, suggesting that "since most Americans are not that far to the right...they [the GOP] need a divided America, but we don't." Well, here is exactly that strategy from major GOP lobbyists in black and white, from page 119:

"This part of the program deals with solidifying the support of Christian conservatives and minority religious outlets in SW Louisiana...

...Our mission is to get specifically selected groups of individuals to the polls to speak out AGAINST something.

To that end your money is best spent finding them and communicating with them in modes that they are most likely to respond to. Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something, and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.

The wackos get thier information from the Christian Right, Christian Radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees.

(conservative) quote of the day

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
"But many activists on the Right, fervently hoping for new justices who will reverse some of the Court's work of the last 30 years, expressed concern about the carefully crafted tenor of [Judge Robert's]responses. As one of my colleagues at Yale Law School recently observed, conservatives who wanted a revolutionary have seen their President appoint a moderate instead. Certainly nobody will ever confuse the leanings of John Roberts with those of, say, Chief Justice Earl Warren. But anyone expecting a precedent-hunter modeled after, say, Justice Antonin Scalia will wind up sorely disappointed. Roberts does not appear to be a man on a mission. He appears to be a judge.

Christian activists, whatever their politics, should put aside dreams of creating a Supreme Court that will order the American public sphere to their liking. (Secularists should put aside the same dreams, but that is a subject for another day.) In a democracy, it is not the proper role of the courts to serve as the vanguard of any political or social movement, imposing on a dissenting nation a host of rules that the people are bound to resist. The late Alexander Bickel, one of the greatest legal scholars of the past century, warned repeatedly that judges must avoid hubris, exercise their authority with prudence, and attend, always, to the possibility that they might err. That is why, in his book The Morality of Consent, Bickel described the interplay between court and public as "a conversation not a monologue...

...If the justices lead the revolution, it will justifiably fail. If it is wrong for the Supreme Court to insist on revolutionary change according to the passions of its members, it does not become right simply because of a change in personnel."

-- Stephen Carter in this month's Christianity Today editorial

quote of the day

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
"I have a theory about Congress, which is that there is often a moment when the effective majority switches, when the minority takes control of the agenda well before an election. It happened in 1994 when Gingrich forced the Crime Bill back to conference. It happened in 1996 when Kennedy forced the Senate to take up the minimum wage increase. After those events, the majority never quite had control of the agenda again.

I think the same thing just happened today when Harry Reid took the Senate into closed session..."

-- Mark Schmitt

"Rule 21"

Reid and Dems in the Senate starts acting like we mean it.

Please Reward this action...From the Washington Post:

The Senate's Democratic leader, Harry M. Reid of Nevada, initiated the closed session by invoking Rule 21, which was seconded by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the minority whip. In a floor speech, Reid declared that "a cloud hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold the administration accountable" on a variety of issues.

He was particularly incensed about what he said was the refusal of the Senate Intelligence Committee under Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to follow up on an investigation of the intelligence that led to the war in Iraq. A report was issued in July last year, but a "phase two" inquiry into how the Bush administration used that intelligence has not been held. Reid accused Roberts of breaking a promise to conduct that investigation in an effort to "provide political cover for this administration," which he said had "consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts" in making its case to invade Iraq in 2003.

"I demand on behalf of the American people that we understand why these investigations are not being conducted," Reid said. He then demanded the closed session.