Saturday, December 24, 2005

Stupid Human Tricks

These enormous, quagmiric leaps of, um, thinking that Frank Corte makes just confuse the hizzle out of me most of the time.

School are failing? Let’s slash and burn the whole system by throwing around some voucher money.

Worried about failing morality?

Holy Christmas Batman -- heaven forbid we do something to shore people up and make their lives better; like fight for living wages and health insurance.

Corte and his bill co-authors have a much better idea.

Let’s have the Committee on House Administration display the motto "In God We Trust" on the face of the white horizontal portion of the portico located over the speaker's podium and beneath the electronic message screen at the front of the hall of the house. The motto shall be set out in permanently affixed simple gold lettering large enough to be read throughout the hall.

Yes, seriously.

That is the exact wording of the introduced legislation.

I’m guessing it’s a response to the controversy over a Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

Granted it is a couple years late. But hey, noone has ever accused Corte and Company of being quick thinkers.

Here’s the thing:

1) This is just stupid.
2) Not to mention a huge waste of money.

I don’t understand these modern day Republicans...I thought the Republican party was about smaller government and fiscal responsibility.

And then they waste a breathtaking amount of money introducing stupid, worthless bills like this one.

(Want to see how much the two special legislative session cost Texas taxpayers this year? Click here. Be careful if you have a weak stomach. You may throw up a little bit in your mouth.)

I’ve a better idea, Mr. Corte.

You let me keep my money, and I’ll promise to read the “In God We Trust” printed on the back of my dollar bills.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Was Gideon A Democrat?

I know Delay is corrupt from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet but the latest revelations of how he uses campaign money was a bit surprising. Big tobacco and the like plied him with thousands of dollars and he literally has sold his soul. Did you read that he spent over $3000.00 buying donor gifts from a gift shop in Florida?

I begin to think about the current corruption in the Republican Party and I recalled the old adage about money corrupting. I let my mind ponder greed and wanting too much, and I remembered a story from the Old Testament from the book of Judges, Chapters 6, 7 & 8; about an insignificant man named Gideon.

God wanted Gideon to free the Israelite nation from the oppression of the Midianites so he called him to lead an army. Gideon was reluctant but was finally persuaded. Gideon called together an army of 32,000. God advised that the army was too big and the Israelites would claim that their own power brought them victory instead of divine intervention. Through two different tests, the army was reduced to 300 soldiers. Of course, Gideon and his army defeated the Midianites who were as “numerous as locusts”.

We Democrats do need funding to run viable campaigns, but we should never act as Delay and most other Republicans do. From top to bottom they use money to manipulate the truth; to change reality and then have the gall to tell us progressives we are not patriotic or religious if we disagree with their policies.

We do not need their kind of filth and greed. We need to look no further than the invitation God gave to Gideon (chapter 6:14) “Go with the strength you have”.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Libel And Slander And Defamation, Oh My!

Don’tcha just get sick of seeing those big screaming headlines on page one and a tiny page 22 correction a couple of weeks later?

We had a highly publicized example of this just a few years ago. Remember the San Antonio radiologist who has his life ruined when the media screamed his supposed status as a link to the 9/11 terrorist attacks during his two week detention and questioning? Most people remember that story. Fewer remember that he was found to be completely innocent and pleaded the following: "My message to the media who jumped on the case without facts: Refrain from guessing because we are playing with lives here."

Unfortunately, that same-said media has found a supporter in Frank Corte.

Mr. Corte, friend and protector of the libelous and slanderous, offered up the following legislation.

In a nutshell, this bill would substantially rewrite the common law of defamation by requiring that there be a request for correction or clarification of defamatory statements, and limiting recovery to actual damages if a correction or clarification were made in a timely manner. (Source: HaynesBoone)

So if I said something to the effect that someone needs to start feeding in some nickels because Mr. Corte’s meter done expired a long time ago, he has 90 days to request a correction or clarification and I have 45 days to provide one.* And then we kiss and make up and go skipping through a field of daisies together.

Heaven forbid we ask people to take responsibility for what they say and do.

*In order to save Mr. Corte the time of requesting, in writing, a correction or clarification of the above statement; I will go on the record with the following clarification immediately. The Larry For Lege research team has informed me that most parking meters now require quarters instead of nickels. We apologize for the error and any distress this error may have caused the incumbent opponent.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Truthfully Speaking

Frank Corte has been gnawing away at Roe V. Wade like he’s got nothing better to do with his time.

I’m guessin’ he doesn’t.

It’s bad enough, this nitpicky, nasty little side-step legislation designed to make it harder and harder for women to exercise their own right to choose. But what really irks me is how fast and loose he plays with the truth.

It’s like he can't even convince himself the bills have any merit unless he embellishes them enough to push them through.

No matter where you stand on the abortion debate, let’s stay reality-based and call a spade a spade, shall we?

First of all, Mr. Corte advocates forcing doctors to utilize state-produced literature to “educate” their female patients about the abortion procedure. Ironically, he wants to make sure that all patients are making a full “informed consent” after a 24-hour “reflection period” before getting an abortion. The bill, HB 1469, was opposed by anyone with a lick of sense due to its inclusion of information of the Department of State Health Services 40+ page brochure stating that abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer following abortion. This statement is not scientifically valid and has been disputed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society and others. (Source: TX Assoc of OB/GYNs)

Nevermind, that a government-sponsored workshop refuted this correlation some time ago.

But if using state-produced literature to lie to female patients isn’t enough, Mr. Corte threw out the old song and dance in the lege itself.

The Lilith Fund board president Melissa DeHaan sat in on the hearings for House Bill 15 and watched in disbelief as Mr. Corte misled his fellow state representatives.

Corte displayed impressive foam board maps of Texas broken down by county, with the number of Ambulatory Surgical Centers found within those county borders printed boldly. He repeatedly emphasized how much HB 15 was going to increase a woman’s access to abortion care, as there are many more ASCs located in each county than abortion providers. What is an ASC? It is a place where a person might got to receive services such as rhinoplasty, liposuction, or rehabilitation of a torn knee ligament from a fall at a football game. ASCs are NOT places that have ever considered elective abortion to be part of their services. As of today, there are no Ambulatory Surgical Centers providing abortion services in Texas. Worse, no abortion provider’s facility yet meets the requirements to become an ASC - not before spending thousands of dollars on renovation expenses. Preliminary discussions between abortion facility owners and ASC owners have revealed the cost of renting space from an ASC could be as high as several thousand dollars per hour. This is, of course, providing that the Ambulatory Surgical Centers would even be amenable to such a rental.

So to sum up:

Lies to the public.

Lies to his own colleagues.

Mr. Corte? We would like to take this opportunity to inform you that your pants are on fire.

Morality Corner - Preaching To The Almost-Converted

Sister and Brother Democrats:

I am confident there are thousands of Republicans and Independents wondering what happened to the Republican Party. They hit the front page every day charged with scandal, massive corruption and invading the private lives of citizens. So how do we help our neighbors and friends come to terms with voting for the wrong party? We don't want to say "I told you so". Most folks dig in their heels when told they have been wrong, no matter what is at stake. When many people are told they are wrong, they tend to be defensive. They rationalize their choices and dig their stink hole deeper. It seems they would rather be "right" than content and safe. We have to start talking about conscience. We have to explain that the gift of conscience changes as we evaluate any situation. In the political arena we vote our conscience based on the information we have available, but once more facts are known our conscience expands to understand how the newly-understood facts fit into our previous experience. In this process our conscience becomes more fully formed.

I think enlightenment is happening all over the country and can, if we approach our Republican and Independent brethren in charity, help more full form their conscience. We should encourage all voters to reflect on the facts, their implications for the truth, and how a more fully-formed conscience can be expressed for the common good. This approach has its Christian roots in the book of Romans, the 14th chapter. St. Paul wrote, "Each should be certain of his own conscience", and, "Whatever does not accord with one's belief is sinful".

There is no sin when one is acting from the promptings of one's conscience. The only sin is in making the same choices once the conscience is enlightened.

So we say to our Republican friends and neighbors that we know this isn't what they had in mind when they put the current administration in office, and that those for whom they voted have let them down. We tell them it is not about Republicans and Democrats, but about doing all that can be done to heal this country and bring all Americans back into conversation with each other again. Tell them to come together to help make America the light of all nations as it was not so long ago. Tell them to vote their conscience, not their pride.