Good evening. First, thanks to Rebecca, Wally and C.I. for finding the thing Jess and me did funny. I got a lot of e-mails on that today and I know that's cause they all spotlighted my post.
I also want to say thank you to C.I. for pointing out that my post went up Tuesday evening. Maureen Dowd did write about PETA, KFC and Pam Anderson in her Wednesday column. Like C.I. said, we must have both had KFC on the brain. But one person saw it at Rebecca's and took me to task for writing what I wrote AFTER I had read Maureen Dowd. He wrote back later to say he saw the thing at The Common Ills with C.I.'s note and checked and saw that my thing went up Tuesday and too soon to have read Dowd's column because those go up around midnight. So either we both had KFC on the brain or we both searched Pam Anderson and PETA and KFC was the first thing we came up with which is probably more likely.
Senate Approves Torture Ban, Denies Gitmo Detainees Right of Appeal
After the ANWR amendment was removed, the Senate unanimously passed a $450 billion dollar defense budget bill. The Senate also approved a ban on torture of detainees in US custody -- a proposal the White House opposed until last week. But in a concession to the Bush administration, the Senate okayed an amendment that removes the right of Guantanamo detainees to appeal their detention in US courts.
We say no to torture but don't give anyone a way to complain if they are tortured at Guantanamo? That's why McCain's thing was such crap. If he was sincere he would have fought against Lindsay Grahm's thing. It kind of nullifies McCain's torture ban.
Cheney Casts Deciding Vote on $40B Cut To Welfare, Student Aid, Medicaid
And in another vote, Senate Republicans managed to pass a fiercely contested $40 billion dollar-budget cutting bill with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Dick Cheney. The New York Times notes cuts to student aid account for nearly one-third of the budget bill’s savings. Students will be forced to pay higher interest rates, banks will receive lower subsidies for student loans, and eligibility for college aid will be narrowed down. David Ward, president of the American Council on Education, said: "This is the biggest cut in the history of the federal student loan program."
The budget bill also grants states new authority to impose fees and scale back benefits for millions of low-income Medicaid recipients. In addition, the bill imposes stricter work requirements for welfare recipients, and penalizes states for not reducing the number of families on welfare rolls.
Well they had to do something to increase recruitment, right? This is pretty disgusting. I think I'd feel that way even if I wasn't in college. They got all the money in the world for the rich but they want to do everything they can to hurt the little people who really need the help. There's no compassion in "compassionate conservative."
Now I want to note something by Robert Parry's "Democracy's Battle Joined, Again:"
In recent months, the mainstream press -- humiliated over its credulous coverage of Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction -- has published a few revelations from government whistleblowers upset over Bush-Cheney abuses. But the major news media still shies away from going so far as to invite a right-wing backlash.
How else to explain why New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. held the story about Bush's warrantless wiretaps for more than a year, when timely publication before Election 2004 would have given the American voters a chance to deliver a judgment on this extra-legal program. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Spying & the Public's Right to Know."]
Instead of informing the nation, Sulzberger bowed to the administration's demands that the Times spike the story. It was finally published on Dec. 16, 2005, because it was about to be revealed in a book written by one of the reporters, James Risen.
Can't Say Liar
Also note how the mainstream press continues to choke on calling Bush a liar even when the facts are obvious. For instance, the disclosure that Bush signed his order for warrantless wiretaps in 2002 led researchers back to an assurance he made to the American people in a speech in Buffalo, N.Y., on April 20, 2004.
After calling for renewal of the USA Patriot Act, Bush veered off into a broader discussion of wiretaps. "By the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order," Bush said. "Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
Though a clip of Bush's statement was carried on network news programs, it was followed by the White House explanation that Bush was only talking about the Patriot Act. The network news reporters presented that claim as the final word on the subject.
I got familiar with Robert Parry's name thanks to The Common Ills because a lot of members spotlight him. And then I knew from Ava that he was really cool when ABC ticked her off by making a mistake in a press release. And I knew Rebecca really liked him and calls him stuff like "the last real print journalist." But we read his book Losing America for Sunday's book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review. He really is a good writer. I'll try to note him more because that's a really good book. Wally and me were on the phone going, "I didn't know that" and "Wait, did you see page . . ." It's a really good book. He has some more books and hopefully we'll read another one soon for a book discussion. I say "hopefully" cause the fact is there is a long list. And there are weeks when we read and are ready for a book discussion and then on Sunday something goes wrong and there's no time or we get it done and it gets lost and we didn't save a draft. Jim and Dona are suggesting we drop down to four books because we're having more people participating (and that's good) and we're having more discussion so they think we might even want to drop down to three. Sometimes, it's a struggle to read five books in one week cause of the work I have to do for my classes and all. So it might be good to drop down to three. But the thing is there is a huge list of books from readers of The Third Estate Sunday Review and we really do look at the list. C.I. is the easiest of all of us because most of the time C.I.'s already read a book by the time someone e-mails to suggest it or if it's something one of us is suggesting. There have probably been four books that C.I.'s had to read for a book discussion.
After C.I. it's probably Betty and Dona because they both love to read and can get through anything. If they stop reading a book, you've written a bad book because they will try to find something, some reason to keep reading. But the rest of us will stop reading at any point if the book just isn't cutting it. And sometimes, there isn't time to do five, so we've done one. If that happens, it has to be a book that one of us really loved. So it's been a lot of fun and it makes me look at books in different ways than I would normally. Helps me understand them better cause someone will see something I missed or something I thought was a small detail and didn't pay much attention to will be really important to someone else.
I'm real glad the book discussions are so popular. Folding Star did a book thing at A Winding Road. And so I think it was Dona who came up with the discussion because no one wants to step on any toes. Books were Folding Star's thing and music is Kat's.
Now there were some e-mails about my suggestion of a gift. I wrote about this on Tuesday. A reader has been dating a woman since a little before Thanksgiving and she wasn't sure what to get her for Christmas. Heather says my suggestion of DVDs were cold and unromantic. She says it should be the woman's favorite perfume. Cody loved my suggestion and says he forwarded it to his girlfriend as a hint. Ma had a problem with the DVDs too because she said if the woman's getting a DVD player and hasn't owned a TV before she may get the DVD player and think, "Well I didn't want that." And then she's got three gifts (TV, DVD player and DVDs) that she's not interested in. So Ma thinks the woman needs to make sure the girlfriend is looking forward to a DVD player before getting her DVDs. Callie says she likes the DVD idea but says she has music DVDs and only watches them a few times and then forgets about them. She says she can watch Bull Durham and What Lies Beneath and anything by Alfred Hitchcock over and over so she thinks it's better to get someone a movie movie on DVD. Dale says to get a braclet. Beau says DVD but a funny movie and not a concert or videos. So maybe that helps in time for Friday shopping.
That's it for tonight. What, you ask, no saying check out Elaine's site?
She hasn't written yet. How do I know? Nina and me pick her up at the airport later tonight.
Elaine's spending Christmas with my family and we're really happy about that. She hopes to write later tonight but Ma pointed out that she's not only worked a full day, she's had to deal with crowded airports and a plane trip so she may be exhausted. But you can still check! :D
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