Friday, April 29, 2005

Forget bipartisan - Its American's Right to Know

And just so that last post was not my final thought for the night, look here on the Daily Delay under News Round Up for an interesting concept. It is not Republican or Democrat conspiracies looking into congressional ethics wrong-doing, but the public interest community. These are my peeps, the ones who are looking after all of our interests. Remember that in the elective process, we are the ones who should hold the power, not lobbyist and special-interest groups. Support free thinking, exchange if ideas and the power of minority interests for a true democracy. Kinda like we are encouraging in Iraq.

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An Uneasy Subject

This is such a queasy subject, I hesitate to put it in a post. Since the Texas legislature chose to question the rights of homosexuals to foster children, much has been written about the topic. I had understood the issue to be one of the Christian Right disapproving the lifestyle and not given it much more thought. A journey through the blogosphere tonight brought new issues to light and I can't help but sound off on them.

Off the Cuff linked an article from the WSJ Online about a CNN interview which brought up the subject of increased child sexual abuse in homes with homosexual parents. Now let me state for the record that all sources (OTC, WSJ and CNN) call the research for this claim bogus and unsubstantiated. However, like any other story, once started it takes on alive of its own. It got me thinking about pedophilia, child molestation and homosexuality.

Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder pertaining to people who sexually desire pre-pubescent children. Child Molestation is more like rape, in that it has more to do with power and control than with sex. Declared homosexuals number about 1-3% of the population.

My questions start here: Does pedophilia exist more, less or the same in declared homosexuals than in the straight population; the same question for child molesters; what about the population that presents itself as straight, but is in some way closeted, both for pedophiles and as child molesters; is child molestation greater in closeted populations because of the pain/stigma of not being out; would this make children more vulnerable to molestation in seemingly traditional families, where one parent was shielding their sexual orientation?

I have no answers to these questions, nor do I know of any definitive studies being done. My guess is children are in the most danger from people who hide their identities rather than those who share them proudly. Look at the problems in the Catholic Church. Pedophile and child molesting priests, who for years got away with destroying the lives of children, cloaked by the power of the church.

It makes you wonder what the Texas Legislature is afraid of. Is it gay parents or are they so entrenched in conservative religious doctrine, that they can't see where the real dangers lay.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Blind Leading the Blind

I found a recipe for disaster today. Take one part Bubba's post on the realities of world oil and gas supply and demand (and the Bush administration's seemingly obliviousness to the truth). Add Krugman from today's Houston Chronicle explaining why the White House is so divorced from the truth as seen by a majority of Americans. Stir in Jim Wright's analysis of the power of greed in the US Congress. Fold in the latest news from Iraq. Then bring to a boil the anger Bubba feels, I feel and probably most anyone reading this blog must feel, every time you are forced to listen to a dittohead, a Fox News whore, or any other random Christian Conservative Republican spew forth venomous lies about how we are the liars.

This is dinner in America today. Kinda makes me feel a little sick; must be something I ate.

As a little antacid check out this quote:

"The time has come that the American people know what their Representatives
are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking
lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or
are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American
people, have the right to know... I think the best disinfectant is full
disclosure, not isolation." U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 11/16/95

Now isn't that better?

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Peak Oil – The Broken Record

Last week I attended a seminar in Houston about the global oil and gas business which was put on by some friends of mine who work for a significant and politically connected oil and gas consulting firm. For the purpose of truth in advertising, I want to be clear – these guys (and gals) suckle at the hind tit of both international and national oil companies (as opposed to me who suckles at the front tit). They put on a series of seminar talks titled things like: How Much Cash – Where is it Going; and The Last Land Grab; and Iraq and Iran: Two Faces of US Policy in the Middle East; and of course – The Gathering Storm: US Energy Policy. Here is a brief synopsis of what they had to say.

- Consider the current oil prices (and gasoline prices) a long term floor
- Peak oil is a reality (although they did not use those words). Demand could exceed available supply within the next 5 years. Supply is likely to peak in an absolute sense before 2015.
- OPEC and non-OPEC countries have been producing an average of 16 billion barrels per year more than they have found for decades
- The US Government is concerned about gasoline prices (for short term political reasons) but
- The US Government is clueless about the real long term energy outlook for the US and the world
> The US Government relies on the Energy Information Agency (EIA) to do long term forecasts of crude production
> The EIA’s forecasting method is based in fantasy and is completely unrelated to the rate at which new reserves of oil is being discovered and developed.
- Competition for energy with Asia (mostly China) will become a major theme in the next decade

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Monday, April 25, 2005

The Downside of Atheism

Every once in a while, for no obvious reason, my hatred of the Bush Administration kind of overwhelms me. Despite many other potential catalysts (Social Security, Terry Schiavo, judicial nominations, and cheating to win the White House etc.) these feelings are invariably traced back to my own thoughts of Iraq. Do you realize that over 10 TIMES as many US Servicemen have died in Iraq since we declared Mission Accomplished than died in the actual "hot war" itself. Do you also realize that more than 3 times as many US soldiers have died since Dumbya was re-elected than died in the "war" portion of the Iraq war (460 vs 139). And what do we have to show for this adventure?

Well we have a country more divided than ever. We have a country in more debt than ever. We have a country that is unliked (if not disrespected) by most of the rest of the world. Our military is tied down, exhausted, and stretched thin. We are one catastrophe away from a REAL FUCKING CATASTROPHE.

I truly hope that, in the end, the world is as it was portrayed in the Old Testament. If that is true, an angry and vengeful God will bring Justice in the end to this lying pack of wolves who have taken over our Government, and they will all burn in Hell.

Unfortunately, I'm an atheist who really doesn't believe in any of that crap.

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Randomness...

It is so strange when you go away for a few days and then come back refreshed and ready to fight the good fight and nothing... what a boring news weekend. But I did manage to pick up a few post worthy bits here and there. From Cthulhu I found this little gem, Get Your War On. My favorite one is halfway down the page. It starts, "Glassy-eyed, no cognitive ability, persistent vegetative state. Poor Terri Schiavo - the unwitting personification of the Christian Right. Except she's not a disgusting hypocrite."

I know, I know, old news. But just to show you how bad it is, both Doonsbury and Tom Tomorrow are doing Jeff Gannon/Guckert. And who do you think the rest of the blogosphere is talking about, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist, and the Nuclear Option, which has changed its name to "Constitutional Option" because President Bush can't say nuclear. The only good news in any of this is that Frist would have used his option by now if he thought he had the votes. And the more DeLay, his old puffed-up pompous self, spouts-off about teaching the judiciary a lesson, the less likely Frist is to have the votes of moderate Republicans in the Senate.

One thing in the Chronicle that caught my attention was this article, trying to make sense of the DeLay trip fiasco. In a nutshell, Congressmen are not supposed to take money (and trips and gifts and such) from lobbyists. They can accept these things from non-profits, and sometimes lobbyists sit on the board of these non-profits. So when they travel with their "good friends", it is as non-profit board members, not as lobbyists, even when they pay for the flights, hotel rooms, golfing and theatre tickets with their lobbyist credit cards. And the congressmen don't know that their "good friends" have the wrong hat on when they pay their bills, so they are not responsible for any misunderstanding. And their wife is actually being paid by the lobbyist's company, as an employee, so her travel expenses are covered legally by her employer, the lobbyist who is her husband the Congressman's "good friend". And the trip, a fact-finding mission to the mean greens of Scotland and back-water stages of London's West-End, include a visit with the former PM of England who has been out of office for a decade and is bed-ridden by a debilitating series of strokes. And the big kicker is, there may not actually be anything wrong here, because the whole thing is completely legal. Except, of course, if Tom DeLay were to use his power to influence legislation on behalf of a lobby from which he has been enriched. That would be wrong.

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