Saturday, March 31, 2007
Death Penalty -- Not for the Worst of the Worst
It's not about the most heinous crime (as evidence by the death penalty verdict of Justin Wolfe in the murder-for-hire of a drug kingpin in Prince William County and the 38-year prison sentence for Clara Jane Schwartz in the murder-for-hire of her world-renown scientist father, Dr. Robert Schwartz).
Gov. Tim Kaine recently vetoed five death penalty bills passed by the General Assembly that would have added even more crimes to the too long list of felonies where the Commonwealth executes someone in my name.
Today, there is a great article in the Daily Sun about how the Nebraska Senate is set to pass a bill to drastically reduce the number of scenarios that can be prosecuted under their death penalty statutes; and of course, Republican Gov. . Dave Heineman is threatening to veto it.
Well, go ahead and veto it, if you must. But in the meantime, lift every voice and sing, 'til earth and heaven ring, with actual facts about capital punishment.
Such as the fact that it is arbitrary, and it does not reduce crime, and in all likelihood, some poor sap has paid with his or her life for the right of death penalty proponents to have their barbaric laws on our books.
Howling Latina's proof, you might ask?
Exhibit A are crime statistics from states with the most number of executions. Surprise, surprise, they don't have the lowest crime rate. Killing by the state apparently does nothing to deter some future would-be murderer.
Exhibit B is Earl Washington, Jr., who spent 17 years on death-row and was within minutes of the needle. Lucky for him that Wilder--instead of Allen--was governor.
Exhibit C--read my second paragraph above. Also read below:
You see, the Colorado law would require prosecutors to prove a felon poses "a substantial risk 'to the lives of others' even while incarcerated."
During a terse and at times emotional public hearing at the Capitol, supporters lauded it as a way to apply the death penalty more fairly, and only to those criminals who pose a risk to others that isn't eliminated by imprisonment.
Too often a decision to pursue the death penalty depends on the varying whims of prosecutors, resulting in death sentences for some, not others, even though both may be eligible, said Tom Riley, Douglas County public defender. To insinuate people on death row are substantially worse” than murderers not on death row, "is fallacious," Riley said.
But mercy, no, retributive proponents argue. The law would then require "speculation."
And exactly how would this be any different from all the other "speculation" during trial as to aggravating factors based on a person's prior criminal history?!?
Wah, wah, wah. We want to kill; ripping the heads off small animals was only a warm-up.
Friday, March 30, 2007
GOP Brand -- The Party of Whites
What to do, what to do?
Well, it's clear the GOP brand has been tarnished by the Bush theocracy; and most Americans now view Republicans as the party of intolerant southern bigots and Christian batwings.
The Politico writes:
The former Republican National Committee chairman, Ken Mehlman, has very good advice for his fellow GOPers. The Republican brand can no longer count on being saved on Election Day by Bubba White and Holy Roller. They must expand the party tribe and publicly include a few of his Log Cabin Republican homies as well as a few Marias, Jesuses, Germaines and Shakas.
Republicans across the country are warning that increasing public discontent toward President Bush, the Iraq war and the GOP brand in general threatens to send the party's 2008 campaign planning into a tailspin.
Polling data released this month confirm what GOP officials are picking up anecdotally: Swing voters are swinging away from Republicans at high velocity. Most alarming to GOP strategists is a new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that found 50 percent of those interviewed consider themselves a Democrat
or leaning that way; only 35 percent tilt Republican.
You see, Melhlman has spent a lot of time "gather[ing] political intelligence." Like the voice crying out in the wilderness, Mehlman warns that the "GOP is in need of urgent rehabilitation, which won't come unless it can defy long-term voting patterns."
"We have to win back the confidence we lost in '06 from swing voters and ticket splitters," said Mehlman. "The way you do that, in part, is by being a party that is less reliant on white guys and expands its support among Hispanics, among African-Americans."The Southern Strategy is on its death knell, thankfully. And for those batwings who think Latinos will be their next fall guy and save their dumb asses, forget about it. There are too many of them. Here's a little gem from the Sacramento Bee.
The number of eligible immigrants choosing to become American citizens reached an all-time high in 2005, raising the percentage of newcomers who took the oath of citizenship to its highest level in a quarter-century, according to a study released Wednesday.
Wah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, wah to the Jerry Kilgores, George Allens, Jackson Millers of the world. Your days are numbered!
The proportion of legal immigrants becoming U.S. citizens has reached its greatest level in a quarter century, according to a major report released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
The ethnic makeup of new U.S. citizens has also changed, the Pew Center found. Between 1995 and 2005, the number of naturalized U.S. citizens originally from Europe fell below those from Latin America and Asia.
"There are a lot of reasons people can choose to naturalize, and one of these is certainly the political climate," said Jeffrey Passel, Pew Hispanic Center senior research associate and one of the nation's leading immigration demographers.
The principal implication of this trend, Passel said in a telephone news conference, is is that new citizens mean new voters.
Red State Farmers Helping the Tyrant
Defeat, defeat, defeat is all we simpletons know. You are either with the Bush administration or against them. Freedom is on the march and will continue to be on the march--no matter what--and no matter how many Iraqis we need to kill along the way. No surrender.
And with that mindset in vogue, Howling Latina found herself barred from visiting her cousins and aunts in the island nation of her former homeland by a new Bush dictum that prohibited Cuban-Americans from visiting their birthplace unless they had a sibling or parent still living there.
But not to worry...the ban doesn't apply to everyone. You can still visit the Jewel in the Carribean, if you have a few well placed friends in the agriculture industry. You see, Cuba is allowed to happily trade with folks like Nebraska farmers and state officials, as evidenced by their recent trade deal inked with the friendly folks of the Cornhuster State. Yep, to the tune of more than $60 million.
And wait, that's not all. "Talks are continuing to bring even more "future trade," the Nebraska state agriculture director recently told the Omaha World-Herald.
"We have established Nebraska as a reliable supplier of high-quality agricultural products," he said.
Except....it looks like the trip wasn't all business.
Much of the latest visit was filled with negotiations between the 31-member Nebraska delegation and Alimport, the Cuban import authority. But the Nebraskans also toured a port area, a supermarket and a bakery and attended a baseball game.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"I don't recall, I don't remember..."
Syke! Just funnin' with the would-be Madam Supreme Court Justice. You know, only to see how she might react.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has a great article on I-dunno-Sampson.
And here's one of the best quotes from Sampson answering a question posed by Sen. Chuck Schumer about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias: "I believe that I believed that I was correct...at the time...to the best of my memory."
Incredibly, Iglesias was put on the attorney hit list and canned after the November elections because of his lack of aggressiveness in voter fraud cases--even though this is the very same guy the Justice Department selected to train other U.S. attorneys on how to investigate and prosecute VOTER FRAUD CASES.
What a load of crap--voter fraud indeed! The only fraud being perpetrated is the bullshit excuses by this administration for firing professional public servants.
It's come down to getting the ax for refusing to play politics with justice. That's now a firing offense in this most corrupt White House.
Hear ye, Hear ye, Wingnuts!
Yesterday, we learn that Pres. Bush's walk-in-the-park-to-liberate-Iraqis have resulted in 655,000 deaths. Now to put this horrendous figure in perspective, Firedoglake has a post and chart to illustrate what exactly this figure means.
For the folks mathematically challenged, the poop on the war against terrorism and freedom on the march in the Middle East means that "one out of every forty (sic) Iraqis who were alive at the beginning of this monstrosity" are now dead!
Not too worry, though. Bush had to rid the world of the tyrant and liberate Iraqis, right?!?
Hmmm....the Washington Post this morning reports about a recent meeting between the White House (and yes, that would be El Presidente) and a Russian general with a long history of butchering dissenters.
Bush welcomed Gen. Vladimir Shamanov (the same Russian general who directed "some of the most notorious atrocities against civilians during the brutal second war in Chechnya") to the White House and sat around smiling for pictures.
Of course, in the case of Shamanov, it's an entirely different matter. He was simply shutting down an rebellion that threatened a NATION.
Russian troops under Shamanov rampaged through the village of Alkhan-Yurt in December 1999, killing 17 civilians, according to human rights investigations. The soldiers looted homes and shot those who got in the way, including a woman over 100 years old. Shamanov threatened to shoot villagers who pleaded with him to halt the "cleansing operation," investigators found. Rather than prosecute, the Kremlin gave Shamanov a medal -- a medal he appeared to wear to the Oval Office.
The European Court of Human Rights also has found Shamanov's troops responsible for the "massive use of indiscriminate weapons" that killed civilians in another village, and human rights investigators concluded that detainees at a base under his command were beaten, subjected to electric shocks and held in pits.
Well, Howling Latina supposes that Bushie got the idea of awarding his biggest toadies and henchmen the Presidential Medal of Freedom-- right out of the Kremlin propaganda manual--just like a lot of the White House great ideas about democracy in the homeland.
Republicans Shut Down Senate Judiciary Meeting
It seems the Senate has a rule that while in session, members can shut down any hearing. And because the Republicans could, they did. GOPers demanded the hearing be adjourned!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Jim Webb Co-Sponsors Bill to Curb Global Warming
The U.S. Department of Energy has been looking into carbon sequestration for about five years, and divided the country into seven regions where organizations of industries, state agencies and academic institutions have been studying it. Virginia is part of the Southeast Region Carbon Sequestration Partnership, "the largest sequestration partnership that the U.S. has," [Michael Karmis, director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech said.]The project would bring dollars to Tech to research the isolation of "atmospheric carbon" since it's believed that fossils fuels produce global warming.
Well boys and girls, our junior senator once again delivers for Virginians and nation. Not too shabby.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Fitzgerald Was Set to Get The Ax
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald was ranked among prosecutors who had "not distinguished themselves" on a Justice Department chart sent to the White House in March 2005, when he was in the midst of leading a CIA leak investigation that resulted in the perjury conviction of a vice presidential aide, administration officials said yesterday.
The ranking placed Fitzgerald below "strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty" to the administration but above "weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.," according to Justice documents.
Fitzgerald's ranking adds another dimension to the prosecutor firings, which began as a White House proposal to remove all 93 U.S. attorneys after the 2004 elections and evolved into the coordinated dismissal of eight last year. The firings have caused an uproar on Capitol Hill amid allegations of improper political interference and have led several lawmakers in both parties to call on Gonzales to resign.
Bye, bye Alberto, Hello Jeb...?
In fact, a blurb below the screen on "Hardball" reports that GOP leaders are looking for a successor to Gonzales.
Well, look no further than the family. Howling Latina thinks the president would love to nominate his dear beloved brother, the former governor of Florida.
And why not?!? Pres. John Kennedy did it. Jeb is available, experienced and loyal.
But...would the Senate confirm Jeb?! Personally, HL thinks they would.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Why Is Defense Counsel Not Allowed to Ask Jurors to Walk in the Defendant's Shoes?!?
In a March 14 article, the Virginian-Pilot reports that Capital Defender Joseph A. Migliozzi Jr., told jurors in his closing argument that "to understand Porter, they should 'step in this person's shoes.'"
Circuit Judge Chuck Griffith went ballistic.
"That is an improper argument under Virginia law," Griffith said. "You are never to be asked to step inside somebody else's shoes. Never."Hmmm, so the jury can witness tearful gut-wrenching testimony from the victim's family and friends but defense can't even ask the jury to empathize just a tad and try to see things from the vantage of the convicted.
Yep, sounds fair to Howling Latina...NOT!
"Meet the Press"
Next, former Democratic Rep.Tom Andrews of Maine and director of Win Without War side-by-side with disgraced former Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas, Richard Perle of the neocon American Enterprise Institute and former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, a U.S. Navy retired vice admiral will discuss the Iraq War as it marks its disastrous fourth anniversary on Tuesday.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Tom Davis & His Flip-flopping Talking Points...
Think Progress has a few good quotes that make the point from the liars and their dissembling talking points (and this especially includes Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post who should have known better than to assert that Plame was not covert as recently as a few days ago):
CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden has also recently confirmed to Democratic Congressmen Henry Waxman of California and Silvestre Reyes of Texas that Plame was covert.
Washington Post editorial: “The trial has provided…no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.” [Washington Post, 3/7/07]
Mort Kondracke: “I frankly don’t think since Valerie Plame was not a covert officer
that there was a crime here.” [Fox, 3/9/07]
Sean Hannity: “She did not meet the criteria, in any way, shape, matter or form as a covert agent.” [Fox, 3/6/07]
Robert Novak: “No evidence that she was a covert agent was ever presented to the jury.” [Fox, 3/6/07]
Victoria Toensing: “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.” [Washington Post, 2/18/07]
So...it sure looks like the Washington Post and others have a little work ahead of them in setting the record straight, right?
The news side of the Washington Post reports this afternoon that Plame's "employment 'was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit,'" as characterized by GOP blowhards.
"[A]ll of my efforts on behalf of the national security of the United States, all of my training, all the value of my years of service, were abruptly ended when my name and identity were exposed irresponsibly."Repeat after Howling Latina, my dear wingnuts: Valerie Plame was covert. Valerie Plame was covert.
It is now evident that the Bush administration cared more about their deceitful charade about some nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction than the national interest of those they were elected and sworn to protect and defend.
Not to worry, though. Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia now avows that there is absolutely "no evidence that anyone who leaked her name 'had any idea that she was a covert agent.'" In other words, now that we know she was covert, oops, so sorry, we simply didn't know...
That's right, boys and girls. Karl Rove didn't know Plame was covert. Scooter Libby didn't know she was covert. In fact, even Dick Cheney didn't know a thing. Yep, just like Attorney General in Prosecutor-gate, everyone in the White House is out of the loop.
Well, this blather and bullshit strategy did work for Poppy some years ago...
Thursday, March 15, 2007
George Allen Contemplates Running for Senate in '08
Oh dear, what would that do to poor Tommie's chances to finally move up to the Big House?!? That is, Rep. Tom Davis of Fairfax's long dear dream of being a United States senator.
Rovian Obstruction of Justice
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, a member of Senate Judiciary Committee also held a press conference early this evening stressing the need of White House political operative Karl Rove to testify before their committee. Today, the panel decided to allow a week to pass before voting whether or not to subpoena the snake.
Only a couple of days ago, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow had assured the public that the proposal to fire all U.S. attorneys at the start of the second Bush administration originated with former White House Counsel Harriet Miers.
Well, as it turns out, the latest administration e-mail shows that it wasn't Harriet's idea (who after all is more known for her fawning tail-wagging obeisance than any strategic thinking). but cagey, double-dealing Karl Rove.
As Howling Latina watched "Hardball" with NBC White House Correspondent David Gregory pondering what this latest news could mean and Schumer noting the e-mail proved Rove was directly linked to Attorney-gate and insisted that he must come clean and tell all, she couldn't help but hearken back to her earlier posts about the idea of replacing every prosecutor, which of course, would have serendipitously included Patrick Fitzgerald.
ABC News broke the story:
The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.Yes, of course Rove wanted to get rid of every U.S. attorney around the same time Fitzgerald was putting the legal squeeze on Matthew Cooper of Time. After all, Rove was Cooper's source in the Plame affair.
Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
White House High-Jinks--Froomkin Agrees with Howling Latina
This afternoon, Dan Froomkin expresses similar thoughts (but much more elegantly than HL)in the Washington Post.
One more observation: We can now trace the genesis of the purge back two years to then-White House counsel Harriet Miers's proposal to do a generic housecleaning of all U.S. attorneys. That might have provided nifty cover for ridding the White House of the pesky special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, but her proposal was pretty obviously a nonstarter because it would have been an epic task.
Add to the equation the fact the special counsel had an illustrous history as a straight-arrow, which meant he likely wouldn't take his dismissal under the phony excuse of reelection housecleaning lightly.
But give it good ol' Harriet, she was a trooper; and the shiniest ass-kisser in the King's rat hole!
Under the Radar...
Now it wouldn't have a little something-something to do with the fact that U.S. Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald was breathing hard down the neck of the White House darling twins, and HL ain't talking about Jenna and not-Jenna.
Think about it boys and girls; if every single last U.S. attorney were fired, that could have easily included the hard-nosed Fitzgerald; and surely no one could ever accuse his firing to political machinations since everyone else around town was getting the ax, right?!? Or is HL missing something?
No Rove almost-indictment; no Libby indictment; no light on the shenanigans of the Bush administration in outing Valerie Plame.
Yep, it would've been just another case like Bush warned of the public never finding out who the miscreants were in leaking classified information.
And to think that Little Harriet almost made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thank God she was just dumb enough to not make it.
Next time someone claims presidential elections don't matter, be sure to mention the name of Claude Allen as the Bush nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Harriet Miers as his most qualified candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Onward Christian Soldiers, Join Wallis at Washington Cathedral
In commemoration of the fourth year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this Friday, March 16, thousands will join Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners/Call to Renewal at the Washington Cathedral for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq.
Registration for the worship service is required; and Howling Latina has learned that response has been so overwhelming that an overflow crowd is expected and will be accomodated with speakers on the grounds.
As Sojourners notes, "The picture of thousands of Christians overflowing the National Cathedral will be a powerful witness for peace." After service, there will a procession down Massachusetts Avenue to the White House to publicly proclaim as Christians that the war in Iraq must END!
If you can make it to the District, for either the worship service or procession, please do so! Progressive Christians need to give voice to OUR PRIORITIES!
There is also going to be peaceful civil disobedience, and lots and lots of PRESS!
The partner organizations for the event include: Adventist Peace FellowshipAmerican, Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Call to Action, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life, Institute for Progressive Christianity, Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church, USAPentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ (Justice and Witness Ministries).
Quite a striking lofty list. Worship service starts at 7:00 PM and the procession is expected to start at around 9:00 PM.
Education in the Trash...
One of the basic root causes is overcrowded classrooms.
Please tell me how folks expect ANY teacher to educate a classroom of 26-32 rowdy young'uns packed like sardines in a can, only the can is a tiny classroom with desks wall-to-wall?!?
While GOP leaders in Richmond preach the gospel of low taxes and more meaningless testing of teachers (the ballyhooed exams that are supposed to solve the educational problem in Virginia and nation), our poor kids continue to suffer from lack of funding from Richmond to lower student-teacher ratio.
Indeed, as one might expect from overcrowding, it's hard to teach students while they're busy talking to one another and interrupting the flow of learning. Not even the most dedicated teacher with Herculean-like efforts can stay on task.
Lest any person think this is the ranting of an inexperienced substitute teacher, personal comments from other more seasoned teachers confirm HL's admittedly greenhorn observations.
Oh yea, and some of the lesson planning could also use a little work.
For instance, should an eighth grade algebra class spend time having students fill in a series of numbers in a diagram, exactly as shown on a separate little sheet of paper, coloring by numbers and cutting?!?
Okay, so the mathematical digits represented all the different numbers in Pi, but exactly what is the pedagogical value?!? Surely no eighth grader is going to remember any of the series of numbers that follow the magical 3.1415926...in perpetuity and make up the class Pi quilt.
As to correctly copying a series of numbers, any first grader would be up to the taxing task but perhaps the teens will be able to answer a simple question about Pi on the SOL, although exclusive of one the first number, 1415926, the rest of the numbers were pretty much gibberish.
It's sad to note but...the schools that seem the most short-changed are the very ones that need the added resources to help students keep up with new technologies; and this refers to the rural schools.
Twenty-six to 32 children jammed in a classroom of middle schoolers should be unacceptable to any person who cares about the future of our children and the commonwealth.
Enough with the empty rhetoric of "family values." Let's put our priorities where our mouth is!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Wingnut Cal Thomas Slammed
A majority of these so-called news items are actually about as newsworthy as a batwing decrying some affront by the vicious political left.
But this one particularly offensive post by Cal Thomas claimed that poor would-be Pres. George Allen lost his Senate race against Sen. Webb because of a lie.
You know, the one about how "Allen...failed to disclose stock options he had earned while serving as a director of Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc."
Of course, it had absolutely nothing to do with Allen calling a kid "macaca," an ethnic slur in his mother's native country; or the fact that he was hiding his Jewish background and then went ballistic when a reporter had the temerity to ask him about it; or his racist youthful indiscretions as described by his teammates and high-school senior year picture.
Folks, go see for yourself and give him one star. Every comment slams delusional Cal and puts him right in his place.
Oozing with Energy!
Del Toro introduced himself by way of a video where the American Dream was made real as a first generation Cuban-American who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, served in the Navy for more than 22 years and eventually commanded the USS Bulkeley, a guided missile destroyer.
Del Toro commented how nothing gets done in Richmond because of folks like Cole and asked the crowd to help him send a message that business as usual is no longer acceptable.
Delegate "No," as he referred to Cole needs to be replaced by Delegate 'Yes." Del Toro is a man who knows how to carry a mission to the finish, enjoy the journey and make a few friends along the way.
A representative who will say "yes" to transportation, "yes" to education; and "yes" to Virginia.
Bienvenido, mi nuevo amigo!
"Meet the Press"
Joining him will be Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), the happy warrior who rubber stamped every ill-advised idea from the Bush Administration during the 209th Congress.
Finally, John Harwood, the chief Washington correspondent of CNBC and the Wall Street Journal and Eugene Robinson, columnist of the Washington Post will talk about what the top tier '08 presidential hopefuls are up to and what it all means.