Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Dixie Chick on patriotism:

With their movie out about the controversy following statements made during their London concert in early 2003, it's interesting to note this comment by Natalie Maines:
"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."
15 June 2006
Wikipedia states that this remark stirred up controversy, but I don't recall reading anything about it at the time - and only now learned of it while Wikipedia-ing on the Dixie Chicks. In any event, it's not often you hear somebody dismiss patriotism. Isn't patriotism what everyone along the political spectrum is supposed to be in favor of? (Chomsky fans excepted.)


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Google News:


The second link, REASONS TO VOTE REPUBLICAN ON NOV. 7 is to an opinion piece by Mona Charen. The third link is to a Wasthington Times opinion piece by David Limbaugh disparaging Democrats. Kos has complained recently about opinion and other junk infecting Google News. This is a prime example.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Praise for a flawed product:

Greg Sargent at The Horse's Mouth and Kevin Drum of Political Animal are right to be pleased with the Washington Post article, The Year of Playing Dirtier, which correctly reports that Republicans are much more guilty of creating misleading and repulsive political ads than the Democrats. From the article:
The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit.
But if you read the Post article closely, you will find the following statement:
The RNC has raised eyebrows with an ad consisting almost entirely of al-Qaeda videos starring Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. There is no sound except the ticking of a bomb before the final warning: "These are the stakes. Vote November 7th."
"There is no sound except the ticking of a bomb before the final warning ..." is false. (Check out the YouTube here.)

The ad is 60 seconds long. For the first 45 seconds, you hear the ticking of a clock. Then it stops, followed by 6 heartbeats during the last 15 seconds. Those heartbeats are there for a reason: to connect at a most primal level with the viewer. To enhance the fear.

But Michael Grunwald of the Post apparently couldn't take the time to watch a 60 second ad in order to correctly report its contents.


Here's the big difference between 1994 and 2006:

Yes, the polls are indicating greater dissatisfaction with the party in control of Congress this year than twelve years before. So, does that mean a similar shift in seats held? Some say it'll be less of a swing now because incumbents have gotten better at Gerrymandering. That's probably true. But the big difference between now and then is that two years earlier, in 1992, there were a lot of people that were dissatisfied with whoever was in power and they voted for Ross Perot. It was a big percentage of the electorate. They almost certainly went Republican in 1994. But there was nothing like that in 2004, nor a similar populist movement today. Maybe they are hiding in those Bush-disapproval poll numbers, but maybe they simply aren't there. Maybe they've left the political process (i.e. they became non-voters). And perhaps they were supplanted over the last 12 years by Christian conservatives.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that the poll numbers might not translate into a mirror image of 1994 because of the differences in the political landscape.

That's not to say the Democrats won't take the House, only that a big blow-out might not happen, as desirable as that may be.


Bush on Abizaid: "he's a smart guy"

Dan Froomkin reports the following: (excerpts)
Bush [had a] one-hour Oval Office interview yesterday afternoon with a half-dozen conservative journalists.

... Bush said he owes his conviction that leaving equals losing to Gen. John P. Abizaid, the Central Command chief who oversees military operations in the Middle East.

Here's Bush, in his opening remarks:

"Abizaid, who I think is one of the really great thinkers, John Abizaid -- I don't know if you've ever had a chance to talk to him, he's a smart guy -- he came up with this construct: If we leave, they will follow us here. That's really different from other wars we've been in. If we leave, okay, so they suffer in other parts of the world, used to be the old mantra. This one is different. This war is, if they leave, they're coming after us. As a matter of fact, they'll be more emboldened to come after us. They will be able to find more recruits to come after us.
If we leave, they will follow us. That is absurd. Why would terrorists choose to fight the U.S. Army, when they could attack unarmed civilians in the United States. You can be sure, that for Iraq at least, that if we leave, nobody is going to follow anybody anywhere.

And Bush presumably thinks "if we leave, they will follow" is something smart people say.

Clearly, Bush has no concept of what's going on.


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Obama boomlet:

This blog is not impressed with Barack Obama and would prefer that someone else run and win the presidency in 2008 (like Gore, for instance). But this week's promotion of Obama will have little or no impact a year or two from now. What is important, is that the Democrats are being portrayed as having "fresh", "agreeable", "dynamic" politicians in their ranks. That's a great message to have going out in the two weeks before the mid-term elections; it makes the Republicans look even more tired and unimpressive. So even if you're not an Obama fan, let the media praise him, and by extension, the Democratic party.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

What is the threat?

Recently, Glenn Greenwald wrote a good essay, Is protection from threats the highest political value?, that looked at the trade offs between threat reduction and expansion of executive power. That's a good topic, especially nowadays with Bush claiming more and more power because (in Greenwald's characterization) "the threat posed by The Terrorists is so grave and mortal".

But is it? This blog has argued before, and will argue now, that the threat is actually quite small. Or to quote Juan Cole:
... we now know that serious al-Qaeda is probably only a few hundred men now, and at most a few thousand. Look at who exactly did the London subway bombing. A few guys in a gym in Leeds. That magnitude of threat just would not keep a "War on Terror" in business. The embassy bombings, the Cole, and September 11 itself were done by tiny poorly funded cells that functioned as terror boutiques to accomplish a specific spectacular operation. They don't prove a worldwide, large organization. They prove tiny effective cells. Most of what the Pentagon does and can do is irrelevant to that kind of threat. You'd be better off with some good FBI agents.
With that in mind, here's an edited version of our comment made over at Belgravia Dispatch.
The Fundamental Error of this decade was a failure to properly assess the threat that the attacks on 9/11 posed. It was an exploitation of a vulnerability, not a sign of strength. The attack, by a mere five guys (per plane), showed that the problem was unsecure pilot cabins - not that Al Qaeda had what appeared to be an Air Force.

Why haven't there been any more 9/11-s? Because the vulnerability was eliminated through a process of passenger screening, arming of pilots, and securing the cabin. Once that became clear, subsequent terrorist plots involving planes did not incorporate taking them over. Instead, all we got were plots to destroy the plane - not use it as a weapon.

Unfortunately, Al Qaeda and the terrorist threat in general, was portrayed as much bigger than its inherent capabilities warranted. (True, they represent whatever threat people willing to commit suicide pose, but that means closing other vulnerabilities and using military force in very narrowly targeted missions - not wholesale invasion of countries.) Remember the Tylenol poisoning a couple of decades ago? Somebody found a vulnerability (unsecured bottles) and exploited it. how powerful was the culprit? No more powerful than any other person. Since anybody can repeat the crime, the indicated action is to close the vulnerability through improved packaging and capture the culprit, but not proclaim that there were killers out in the countryside, followed by a military take-over of the region.

In any event, this failure to properly assess the terrorist threat has lead to pretty much everything else we've witnessed this decade. War in Iraq. Massively increased power of the executive. Use of the inflated threat by Republicans to secure their power.

Isn't that amazing? All because of an improper assessment of the threat.

Even if you disagree with this position, you'll have to admit that it's consistent with the data (no more 9/11's), is based on reason, and should part of the discussion (even if a minority view). But the fact that it has rarely been raised should tell you something about the discourse we've had and continue to have. And that goes for people on both the right and left. This is no Clash of Civilzations, as much as some would like to believe.

That said, we should not be blithe about terrorist attacks. They are a serious problem and should be countered aggressively, through tough police work and whatever-it-takes special ops overseas. But it is not an existential threat to the United States or practically any other country.
The reason this blog harps on this theme is that The Terrorist Threat to the Nation seems so over-inflated and near-imaginary. There has been "analysis" that says Al Qaeda might get a nuclear weapon and so therefore, the Region Must Be Attacked. But whatever level of access that Al Qaeda might obtain, every other country in the world could too (and some corporations and criminal gangs), so where does that leave you? Preemptively invading any country that looks at the U.S. sideways?

It may well come to the point where great destructive power (explosive or biological) can be easily obtained by entities of small size. That will cause a serious reevaluation of how humans conduct themselves - and it won't be solved by having nation-states taking over each other (like Bush's "Freedom Agenda"). It will have to be universal and will be very intrusive. But we are not there yet. If we're lucky, the current "safe" state of affairs will last another 50 or 100 years. And after that, we may discover new technical means of controlling the problem.

This whole fear-and-fight business is similar to how people responded to the "threat" from witches centuries ago. It's like there's been a low-level, subterranean hysteria in this country for half a decade. In the past, such episodes burn out after a number of years and that seems to be starting to happen now, but it's been a strange phenomena to observe.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Why McCain wants an additional 100,000 troops:

Glenn Greewald has a post that discusses John McCain's mostly incoherent 'plan' for victory in Iraq. But there is one aspect of the plan that is clear. John McCain advocates bringing in an additional 100,000 troops in order to 'win' in Iraq.

Why does McCain say that? Because it will never happen and therefore he cannot be charged with supporting a plan that failed.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Max Boot: The United States needs more cannon fodder

In a Washington Post op-ed, A Military Path to Citizenship, Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon write:
Now is the time to consider a new chapter in the annals of American immigration. By inviting foreigners to join the U.S. armed forces in exchange for a promise of citizenship after a four-year tour of duty, we could continue to attract some of the world's most enterprising, selfless and talented individuals.
The presumption here is that foreigners willing to join the military are "some of the most enterprising and talented individuals". That's an assertion without proof. He could have just as easily said "inviting foreigners to work in the farms of the United States will attract some of the most enterprising individuals", but then he'd be run out of town on a rail by nativists.

Whatever. Boot's call for foreigners is to
... solve the No. 1 problem facing the Army and Marine Corps: the fact that these services need to grow to meet current commitments yet cannot easily do so (absent a draft) given the current recruiting environment.
Yet Boot won't call for a draft. Why not, if Iraq is such an important cause?

And there's this:
Not only would immigrants provide a valuable influx of highly motivated soldiers, they would also address one of America's key deficiencies in the battle against Islamist extremists: our lack of knowledge of the languages and mores in the lands where terrorists reside. Newly arrived Americans can help us avoid trampling on local sensitivities and thereby creating more enemies than we eliminate.
Really? Immigrants from Latin America, East Asia, Africa, and Europe will address the problem of lack of knowledge of the people in lands where terrorists reside? Talk about being confused. Boot apparently means to call for Iraqis and Afghanis to join the U.S. military. Why not cut the paperwork and elevate Muqtada al-Sadr to colonel, turn the Mahdi Army into a branch of the armed services, and have the rest of the troops go home?

Don't really want to get into the Hitler analogy, but Boot is proposing a modern-day equivalent of the Russian Liberation Army. Namely, an essentially foreign military force to augment a declining resource, and one that's familiar with the territory and culture where the fighting is going on. When you are proposing that sort of action, it's more than likely a sign that the game is lost.


The corporation-friendly Los Angeles Times:

This year in California there are a number of ballot initiatives. One of them, Proposition 86, would impose an additional $2.60 per pack tax on cigarettes. The money raised would mostly go for paying for emergency medical services. The Times realizes that this is making a pariah group pay for services that should be paid for by all citizens, but they support it anyway. From their editorial: (excerpts, emp add)
TAXING SMALL GROUPS THAT ARE unpopular and lack political clout is generally unwise and even morally suspect, especially if the revenue to be raised will go to programs for which everyone should pay. Proposition 86 at first glance appears to fall into this category. Smokers are the targeted class, and healthcare is the needed program. The initiative would impose a $2.60-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold in California to pay for emergency medical care, expand health insurance for children and fund programs to discourage smoking.

... revenue from Proposition 86 would extend to health programs unrelated or only tangentially related to tobacco use, and Californians must at some point — sooner rather than later — come to terms with our collective duty to pay.

We all should pay for emergency services for the uninsured. We all should pay to expand the Healthy Families program ...

But the economic and political fact of life is that the Legislature so far has proved unable to pay for kids, and a broad tax is today untenable.

Californians should vote yes on Proposition 86.
So that's that. But look! There is another measure, Proposition 89, that would substantially expand public financing of political campaigns, and it would get the money from corporations. Here is what the Los Angeles Times has to say about it: (excerpts, emp add)
No on Proposition 89
Clean money is fine in principle, but it's wrong to single out corporations to pay for political campaigns.

ANY EFFORT TO sever the financial link between political candidates and the special interests that help put them in office and keep them there merits serious consideration. If candidates could choose full public financing, as they can in Arizona and Maine, they would be able to spend more time discussing issues with voters and less time pursuing potential donors for cash.

The funding would come from a tax on corporations and financial institutions. Voters can disagree over whether California overtaxes or undertaxes corporations and banks, but it is indisputable that using them, exclusively, as the source of election funding focuses a burden on one interest that should be shared by all.
Talk about a double standard.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The U.S. will not attack Iran in the next twelve months:

Okay, that was a provocative lead. But, given that the Iraqi Study Group is planning some sort of exit from Iraq which involves cooperation from states in the area, wouldn't a strike on Iran totally destroy any proposals by James Baker III?


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bush's legacy:

The penultimate segment on ABC's World News tonight was about three colleges competing for the chance to have the George W. Bush library.

It ended with the reporter saying "Once Mr. Bush give up the bully pulpet, his library will help shape his legacy".

While he was saying that, the following static images were shown (with modest panning).

(1) Bush standing with the fireman at "ground zero".

(2) Bush holding a turkey while in some sort of uniform (when he went to Iraq near Thanksgiving).

(3) Bush standing below the Mission Accomplished banner.

(4) Bush looking out the window of Air Force One while flying over areas affected by hurricane Katrina.

Some legacy.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

What if Diane Feinstein had succeeded?

In late June of this year the Senate voted on the Flag Desecration Amendment, but failed to reach the 2/3 requirement by only one vote (66 YEAs, 34 NAYs). This amendment had already passed in the House, and had the Senate passed it, it would have then gone to the states. Three-fourths of the states would have to approve the amendment in order for it to be added to the Constitution. It's important to note that a supporter and co-sponsor* of the amendment was Diane Feinstien, a Democrat from the safely blue state of California. (And it was opposed by Colin Powell.)

Consider where we are now politically. The Democrats look good, but as recently as two weeks ago, even some optimists were talking of a narrow win in the House.

Had the Mark Foley scandal not erupted, and had the Flag Burning Amendment been "in play", how would that have affected the Democrats' chances this year? It would have been something like the gay marriage initiatives of 2004, something to get the base out. And it would have tapped into a different sensibility, less religious and more patriotic - which might have succeeded, since pitches to the religious on quasi-religious issues seem not to be working right now.

If Feinstein's Folly had moved forward and been incorporated into the 2006 political arena, wouldn't that have been yet another obstacle for the Democrats?

It's almost as if Feinstein was working for the Republicans.

* The amendment was cosponsored by Democratic Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.).

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: Feinstien was a vocal supporter of the amendment, issuing statements and writing op-eds. She was not a wallflower co-sponsor. That, plus the fact she is from California and has nothing to worry about politically, is why she is the focus of this post.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy days are here!

Everybody feel rich?


Saturday, October 07, 2006

There are never any Republicans at fault in the Washington Post:

This Saturday, there is an Op-Ed by Andrew Cohen, Of Elections, Judges and Stupidity, denouncing three ballot measures that would intrude on the independence of the judiciary. How are they described? Here's the run down:
  • Colorado's Amendment 40 would remove from office at the same time five of the state's current Supreme Court justices and seven of its current 19 intermediate appellate court judges.
    • Supporter: John Andrews - party affiliation not stated
    • Opponents: Bill Owens (R) and Roy Romer (D)
  • South Dakota's Amendment E where citizens will be able to punish jurists over unpopular decisions.
    • Supporters: not stated
    • Opponents: not stated
  • Montana's CI-98 which would allow Montanans to recall state court judges at any time for any reason. (And now apparently nugatory due to ballot qualification issues.)
    • Supporters: not stated
    • Opponents: not stated
Who supports Colorado's Amendment 40? John Andrews, former Republican state senator (and President of that body at one time).

Who supports South Dakota's Amendment E? Ron Branson, former (California) Republican state Assemblyman . Who opposes Amendment E? Both Democrats and Republicans.

Who supports Montana's CI-98? Republican state Representative Ed Butcher. Who opposes it? Former Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Regnier.

In every instance where party affiliation of supporters could be demonstrated, readers are not told if they were Republicans or Democrats. (It took this blog about 20 minutes to ferret out the information.) This is a consistent feature in reporting these days. "Congress" is failing, but rarely is it stated who controls it. "Dangerous measures" are placed on the ballot, but no partisan fingerprints are reported out. No wonder the Republicans can engage in activities deemed harmful and yet pay no price for it.

ALSO: About two weeks ago on the Charlie Rose show, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was bemoaning all the actions aimed at the judiciary. Amendment E, having an Inspector General charted by Congress snooping around, laws limiting the ability of the Supreme Court to review in select areas, the threat of using the power of the purse to slap down the judiciary, restraints on judicial latitude in sentencing, the Terri Schiavo intervention, and so on. But to listen to her, it was as if it was all happening by "some folks", as if it had nothing to do with the more reactionary parts of the Republican party. It was pathetic to watch her. Oh, and Charlie Rose didn't volunteer to clarify where the assault on the judiciary was coming from, so nobody was the wiser.


Friday, October 06, 2006

What the hell is David Broder talking about?

In another of Broder's series hailing politicians that are "independent" and/or "centrists", he's decided this week to write about Deval Patrick, an African-American running as a Democrat for governor of Massachusetts. Here is everything Broder has to say about the man:
  • Reared in the slums of South Side Chicago by a single mother at times on welfare
  • receive[d] a scholarship to attend Milton Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Milton, Mass.
  • went to Harvard, where he graduated in 1978
  • [also attended] Harvard Law School.
  • Three years as a staff attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • a partnership at a Boston law firm
  • head[ed] the Justice Department's civil rights division
  • vice president and general counsel of Texaco Inc.
  • executive vice president and general counsel of Coca-Cola Co.
Interesting biography. But what of Deval Patrick today? All that Broder tells you about him is that he: (emp add)
  • electrified the Democratic state convention in Worcester in June with a speech decrying cynicism as a drug ...
  • ask[ed] delegates to "take a chance on me" because "I have built bridges across more differences and helped solve more problems in more varied settings than any other candidate in this race, from either party."
  • is riding that momentum in a campaign that is notably nonpartisan in tone and studiedly vague on some issues.
  • has staked his chances on resisting [his opponent's] call for a rollback in income tax rates
With the exception of that last item, opposing a reduction in income tax rates, Broder doesn't mention any policies Deval Patrick is advocating. Maybe Patrick has been mum and there are none to report (which Broder hints at). Whatever the case, it's absurd for Broder to be feting a candidate who is so opaque. The imbalance in Broder's report between hefty portions of biography and lean servings of policy is striking. You might conclude that for Broder, policies are of little import, and what's more important is whether the candidate talks of moderation ("compassionate conservative" and "uniter not a divider" anyone?). Supporting that kind of slogan-driven politics gets you George Bush. It's not in the nation's interest.

What Broder is doing here is lazy journalism.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Excuses, excuses:

Inspired by Mark Kleiman's post.


Troubletown this week:

Good, but depressing.


A John Cole summary:

In a post responding to Red State's call to keep the Republicans in power, Cole writes: (reformatted)
That Red State can weather
  • DeLay,
  • Abramoff,
  • the Iraq crisis,
  • the budget explosion,
  • Randall Cunningham,
  • Foley and his complicit crew,
  • the injection of religion in all things science,
  • the wholesale endorsement of torture,
  • the Prescription Drug Plan,
  • the looming crisis in Afghanistan,
  • the breakdown of the military,
  • domestic surveillance,
  • the abuses of Abu Ghraib and the mess that is Gitmo,
  • our completely collapsed international standing,
  • the passage of Campaign Finance Reform,
  • numerous attempts to codify gay-bashing in the Constitution,
  • the hideous Bankruptcy Bill,
  • the Schiavo nonsense,
  • the total abdication of administration oversight,
and the hundreds of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head, and still think that they can get away with the pat assertion that the “Democrats are worse” is pretty astounding.
That's quite a list, isn't it?


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Juan Cole lays it out:

Juan Cole has written a succinct summary of the terrorist threat - a summary this blog heartily endorses: (excerpt, emp add)
The Bush administration needs the Terror/ al-Qaeda bogeyman to justify the military occupation of strategic countries that have or are near to major oil and gas reserves. It needs al-Qaeda to justify the lily pad bases in Kyrgyzstan etc.

But the problem is that we now know that serious al-Qaeda is probably only a few hundred men now, and at most a few thousand. Look at who exactly did the London subway bombing. A few guys in a gym in Leeds. That magnitude of threat just would not keep a "War on Terror" in business. The embassy bombings, the Cole, and September 11 itself were done by tiny poorly funded cells that functioned as terror boutiques to accomplish a specific spectacular operation. They don't prove a worldwide, large organization. They prove tiny effective cells. Most of what the Pentagon does and can do is irrelevant to that kind of threat. You'd be better off with some good FBI agents.

So how do you prove to yourself and others a big terror threat that requires a National Security State and turn toward a praetorian society? You torture people into alleging it.

Global terrorism is being exaggerated and hyped by torture just as the witchcraft scare in Puritan American manufactured witches. It is even to the point where 5 African-American and Haitian Christian cultists in Miami can be identified by the FBI as an "al-Qaeda threat" interested in "jihad" after an FBI informant offered to hook them up with al-Qaeda.

Bush needs torture for the same reason as Karimov does. He needs to generate false information that exaggerates the threat to his regime, so as to justify repression. He needs the ritual of confession and naming others, to have it down on paper so he can show it to Congress behind closed doors.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Really pissed off conservatives:

In the wake of Frist's remarks about making a deal to get the Taliban as part of the Afghan government (later retracted/corrected somewhat) some conservative bloggers have gone ballistic. Here is a sampling:

Ace of Spades HQ:
Frist: Give the Taliban Part of the Afghan Government; The War Is Unwinnable

That's it for me.

Goodbye GOP.

Perhaps we should make peace with Zawahiri as well? Let's negotiate, and see what terms we can get as good dhimmis.

The hell with the lot of them.

I don't need the goddamned Republican Party in power to sign "peace" deals with terrorists. I can get that easily enough from the Democratic Party. I've supported these vacuous, cowardly, inept, corrupt idiots for one reason-- to fight terrorists.
Daily Pundit (who has a burning WTC on the home page):
Cut 'n' run is in full swing. It's all the rage. Here's Dr. Frist [spit] advocating surrender to the Taliban:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan guerrilla war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Taliban and their supporters into the Afghan government.

The Tennessee Republican said he had learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated by military means.

"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished we'll be successful."
Really. I've had it with the Republicans. I just don't see the difference anymore twixt the two parties. Assephants, the lot of them.

If this is the way our "leaders" feel, then let's just bring the military home. No sense insulting their service, dedication and sacrifice going after what everyone in Washington has decided is a lost and unwinniable war.
Hot Air:
The Commissar has decided to vote Democratic this fall.

Why not? What’s the difference?

Update: Ace says he’s done with the GOP. So am I. That’s it.


You can't reason with these people:

In the wake of the Amish school shooting, The CBS Evening News had, on their Free Speech segment, Brian Rohrbough, a father of a boy that was killed at Colombine. Here is what he had to say: (emp add)
I'm saddened and shaken by the shooting at an Amish school today, and last week’s school murders.

When my son Dan was murdered on the sidewalk at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, I hoped that would be the last school shooting. Since that day, I’ve tried to answer the question, "Why did this happen?"

This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.

We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.

Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. And we are seeing an epidemic increase in murder-suicide attacks on our children.

Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools. Our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States.
There you have it. Not enough God in the schools. Evolution. Abortion. And let's not forget that there are terrorists within the United States. The paranoid style in action.

These people vote and are why Republicans hold power. How can you possibly reason with them? And while we're at it, kudos to CBS for putting this guy front and center. In the immediate aftermath that's exactly what you want, a hard-right-Christian perspective to lens the news with.

UPDATE: CBS started out their Nightly News with a report on the Amish school shooting. Then there was the news about Mark Foley and Woodward's book. Towards the end of the show was the Free Speech segment. When Katie Couric announced that the commentator would be a parent of a child killed at Columbine, this viewer expected words of comfort for those families affected in the Amish community, remarks about cherishing your children, and maybe a call to wait until an investigation is completed before making any conclusions. But instead, a startling repetition of Tom DeLay's house floor speech about Columbine
"we place our children in day care centers where they learn their socialization skills among their peers under the law of the jungle"

"because our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some pri-mordial soup"
along with talking points atraight from James Dobson about abortion. Media Matters has reported that CBS's Free Speech has been overwhelmingly conservative. Instances like today's, with Brian Rohrbough, do nothing to dispel that notion.