Good evening, I hope everyone's psyched about the weekend. We'll kick things off with Democracy Now!
Justice Dept.: Delay Redistricting Plan Violated Voting Act
A memo obtained by the Washington Post shows lawyers at the Justice Department concluded a controversial Texas redistricting plan spearheaded by indicted Congressmember Tom Delay violated the Voting Rights Act. The memo argued the redistricting plan illegally diluted the voting influence of minorities in several Texas congressional districts. The memo said: "The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect." Texas lawmakers approved the plan anyway, the memo says, because it stood to increase the number of elected federal Texas Republicans. Following the plan's approval in 2003, Republicans gained five seats in the following year's congressional elections. The redistricting plan is currently being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Congressmember Delay is facing state charges of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with state elections.
We picked this one because The Common Ills community has a lot of members in Texas. They just break every rule in the book, don't they. It's like "Target: the 9th Circuit (The Republican war on the judiciary continues)" where the Republicans snuck into the budget bill the provision to break up the 9th Circuit. They have no shame and they cheat.
National Guard Offering $1,000 Recruiting "Finders Fee"
Faced with dwindling recruiting numbers, the Army National Guard is offering a finder’s fee to soldiers who can enlist new recruits. This according to a report in USA Today. The Guard Recruiter Assistant Program, launched this week in five states, offers National Guard members rewards of $1,000 dollars for enlisting a recruit and an additional $1,000 dollars if the recruit shows up for basic training. The National Guard says recruiting has fallen 20% short of its goal this year.
Now this is how bad things are, they're asking the non-recruiters to recruit. They tried to act like they were doing good. They lowered the targets to keep from embarrassing themselves, but no one wants to sign up. So now they're asking people who did sign up to help them out. The National Guard is supposed to be a weekend a month but you've got Guards serving in Iraq for months and months. That's not what they signed up for and that's taxed them, their families and the Guard itself. The costs of Bully Boy's war are big and one of them is that who wants to serve with a mademan in the White House?
Now I need to put up something here. Elaine asked me if I was checking my bulk mail folder and I haven't been. She has stuff in her's that she just looked at today. Me too. Let me start with this Nemanja Divjak wrote awhile about a new blog: www.millionpostsblog.com. I'll go ahead and post a link because I feel bad that Nemanja might feel ignored since it went to the bulk folder.
I also had three e-mails noting things that I'd already seen at The Common Ills. I think this is the one of the three that's still timely, Danny Schechter's "Debating Iraq: A Murtha Moment and the Slide to An Exit:"
The much-maligned Mr. Marx said history often begins as tragedy and repeats itself as farce. That was never more true than last Friday night as we watched the great Iraq war "debate." Those of us with the stomach to do so saw the consequences of years of increasingly polarized partisanship in our Congress. It was as manipulated and managed an episode of theater that I have ever seen. It was more like a fraternity food fight than an honest discourse on all sides.
Even the Washington Post, the local organ of media power, was disgusted, noting: "Aggressive challenges to the Bush administration's military and political strategy -- even calls for an immediate withdrawal of troops, such as that made by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) on Thursday -- must be part of that democratic discussion. Yet what we've mainly seen during the past two weeks is a shameful exercise in demagoguery and name-calling."
That's because no one is really saying what they believe. The Democrats want out but are afraid to say so and the self-styled patriots see the end coming but need someone to blame beside themselves. The drama on the hill represented a triumph of message point politics with thoroughly robotic and irrelevant cliché-ridden speeches on the Republican side with Congress member after Congress member playing at patriotism by finger pointing.
It was matched I am afraid, by equally vitriolic opportunism by leading Democrats who had blindly supported the war and now avoided talking about the truth of what their hawkish colleague Mr. Murtha was talking about. Instead they defended his character and military record, but rarely backed his courageous call for withdrawal.
Elaine had the same three items e-mailed to her and she may note a different one (or none at all). But she will be noting the same two items from Democracy Now! and providing her commentary so be sure to check out her site Like Maria Said Paz.
Now I want to say thank you to everyone who dropped an e-mail about yesterday's race comments that Betty and me did together. I'm going to share the positive feedback with her tomorrow when we're all working on the latest The Third Estate Sunday Review edition. If you read Elaine's post last Saturday, you know Betty's been getting some really mean e-mails full of threats and racist remarks. Jim said it's like with Ava & C.I.'s TV reviews. That started out with all of them plus C.I. doing the TV reviews. But it quickly became just Ava & C.I. and when they started getting credit for them, all the sudden the e-mails on them changed. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing strongly (including "You're so stupid!"), they suddenly started containing threats as well. I don't get that kind of e-mail but Rebecca's noted the kind of e-mails she and other women get and I guess when some "tough guy" knows it's a woman writing, he feels like he can make threats. Makes him feel like a "tough guy" or something.
Cedric gets that nonsense sometimes too, racist e-mails. I read his "Race" today and was really impressed with the way he approaced the topic so check that out. It's a serious, hard hitting look.
After that, since it's the weekend, you may need a good laugh so check out Betty's "Hell is your house-bound husband on house arrest with you serving the sentence:"
"You can't bench me!" Thomas Friedman bellowed. But obviously Gail Collins can.What lit the fire under Ms. Nonsense & No Sensibility?
Davy Brooks came into her office ("In his shiny ass pants, Betinna! In his shiny ass pants!") and had a vacation request of his own that he repeatedly dropped on the floor necessitating that he repeatedly bend over in front of her. ("It was as though I had died and gone to Mansfield Park, Betinna! Mansfield Park!") With no lines cupping his butt and no lines near his upper thigh, Gail was convinced he must be wearing his sock. ("In another life, Betinna, I'd like to come back as that sock!")
Gail says she played it cool so I'll assume that besides sweat dripping from her forehead and her hands shaking, she managed to pull it together. She signed the request, granting his time off. Davy stood by her desk grinning. Then he asked her if she'd ever seen Disclosure.
Poor Gail, I had to explain that film to her. If it's not a book at least a hundred years old or something airing on Pax, she's lost.
Her idea of a pop culture ref is, "Betinna, what's wrong! You look like Beth on her death bed!"I keep trying to explain to her that Jo and Marmie hardly trip off the tongues of kids today but she swears Kayne West's "Gold Digger" says not "When I'm in need" but "When I'm a reading Little Women." I've tried playing the song for her repeatedly but some people hear only what they want to. (Which does explain her editorials.)
And it's Friday so we need a lot of good laughs to get this weekend started. When you need to laugh, read Ava & C.I.'s TV reviews. Here's something from their latest one and it's on supposed country music star Kenny Chesney:
Somewhere in the Sun no doubt pleased arm pit fetishists throughout the land. If Chesney flashing his pits does it for you, ABC provided you with enough mulitple orgasms to last a lifetime.
Other than on the arm of Renee Zellweger, this was our first time seeing Chesney. And we quickly realized that something more was going on than Chesney's desire to demonstrate, repeatedly, that, yes, he had hit puberty and sprouted body hair.
What if, we wondered, Liza Minelli woke up one morning with two left feet? She would still have the song in her. She would still need to express herself through movement.
If that day should ever come, Minelli will owe a huge debt to Kenny Chesney who is bravely pioneering The Dance of the Arms while others without dancing feet simply accept their lot in life. "Jazz hands"? That's so last millenium. This is arm choreography at it's most energetic. Chezney with a Z!
Little Miss Show Biz strode around the stage. Sometimes he did the wave all by himself. Sometimes he pointed at the audience in a sudden burst of arm movement! Sometimes he did an extended pointing session, sweeping the arm back and forth. Sometimes he threw both arms suddenly into the air in an All . . . That . . . Jazz kind of manuever. The arms need to be bare. They are his legs.
Kenny sleeveless is like a dancer in short-shorts.
Watching him blowing kisses and move around gesturing wildly, our question wasn't, "Why did Renee leave him?"; our question was, "Did she ever see him onstage before she married him?"
She must have felt like Marjorie Main standing next to Judy about to wow 'em with "Get Happy." Chezney's very dramatic. Some might say overly dramatic. We'll just say we've never seen anything in country music quite like it. (Rip Taylor's never done a country album, right?)When we got over our shock that so much could be done with arms, all of it embarrassing, and over our giggles at his pop eyes, dramatic head turns and those facial expressions made for Match Game PM, we were left with . . . the music.
Kenny smiles a lot in the sad songs. He winks a lot while singing the lines, he blows kisses. We're not really sure if it's that he doesn't understand the lyrics he's singing or if he's just so bound and determined to sparkle.
Motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.
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