Drug Rehabilitation is The Politically Correct Answer to The U.S. Drug Problem.

(According to the Obama Administration)

The Obama administration recently announced that it is serious about working on eliminating the country’s drug problem. However, the administration stressed that the focus should be on treatment for drug addicts rather than jail sentences. The belief is that treating addicts will cost the country less in the long run than incarceration. There has also been a problem in the United States with overcrowding of jails that has been tied to the incarceration of misdemeanor and repeat drug offenders.

Unfortunately, many states are voicing concerns about the financial feasibility of supporting drug rehabilitation programs. Drug programs are threatened by tight state budgets, and many people that are currently enrolled in programs are afraid that they will be left without help if budgets continue to tighten. Former addicts have expressed that rehabilitation programs have saved them from spending a lifetime in the jail system.

Sean from Beachway Therapy Center recently said “The only real answer is getting help for those with addiction problems. Throwing them in jail is not solving the real problem.” Beachway is a center located in Delray Beach, Florida that helps numerous people every month. They have seen tremendous growth and predict an even bigger 2012.

Drug rehabilitation experts back the Obama administration’s belief that people struggling with drug abuse would benefit more from treatment as opposed to time spent in jail. These experts warn that cutting such programs could be seriously detrimental to both the budgets and crime statistics of states. Not only could cutting treatment programs contribute to overcrowding in jails, but there are proven ties between drug abuse and domestic violence, child abuse and personal injuries that require attention from emergency medical personnel.

Treatment programs are projected to lower expenses related to drug enforcement over time. Treatment is aimed at significantly reducing the number of repeat offenders. Fewer repeat offenders will help ease the problem of overcrowding in jails and will save money with fewer inmates to financially support. Rehabilitation is also projected to lead to less money spent on emergency response and domestic violence support as incidences of domestic violence and personal injury related to drug use would presumably decrease.

Opposition to drug rehabilitation is not limited to the state level. Many local governments are opposed to the construction and organization of rehabilitation centers. Some of these governments have voiced concerns related to the proximity of such centers to schools, day care centers and residential communities.

If the Obama administration is able to gain support on the state and local level, the aim of the administration would be to allow drug offenders to serve time in a drug rehabilitation center rather than in a jail. While this is the ideal solution, continuing financial struggles related to state and local budgets could mean a long term delay.

Monday, May 7th, 2012 by rick |
Category: Barack Obama

Ron Paul, and Paulistas, Make the (Sexy and Dangerous) News

Surreality and reality hit Ron Paul and the Paulistas this week. First we find that Sasha Cohen’s Bruno will feature Ron Paul getting punked during last year’s Presidential run. He left the set muttering “queer” over and over. Paulistas are whining, and about a Missouri report on militias that targets Ron Paul bumper stickers.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Ron Paul is also going to make it in the movies, where he will be playing the punkee to Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno. The scene, as described in Slate, is really funny. Bruno’s character is the flip side to Borat, a very heterosexual character who punked his way across America on the way to being a film sensation. Heck, the full title says it best about Bruno: Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-shirt.

Evidently Cohen, playing Bruno, talked Paul into an interview in a suite at a Washington hotel. When a light blew out on the set Cohen and Ron Paul retired to another room while the engineers set about fixing the problem. That’s when Bruno went to work, with soft lights and mellow music. The story, according to Slate, is that Ron Paul stormed out of the room when he realized Bruno/Cohen was attempting to seduce him, muttering the word “queer” several times ont he way out. Lew Rockwell is all angry, of course, as are many Ron Paul supporters. And there’s the usual litany of Republican whiney excuses and recriminations. From Slate:

A spokeswoman for Paul confirmed that the episode took place but declined to provide details. “We don’t want it to distract from his message,” said press secretary Rachel Mills. “Now is the time when people need to be listening to him on economic issues.”

Mills, who was present at the taping, did elaborate on the “queer” line. “I heard him say –weird,’ ” she wrote in an e-mail. “In any case, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk … it’s not exactly a shocking term if that’s what he did say.”

Mills also noted that Cohen’s people were “very deceptive in their tactics.” At the time, she thought they were “legitimate,” but now confesses to some concern. “I’m familiar with his work, so you can imagine how I feel about it,” she said.

Look, I’m not going to get into anything about the ideas of Ron Paul. But let’s face it. When he did this interview in early 2008 he was trying to convince the country that he could be President of the United States. Sure, Sasha Baron Cohen is good, but it is ridiculous for a Presidential candidate, with all the layers of campaign and PR people surrounding him, to be so thoroughly fooled. He disqualifies himself as Presidential material, and that’s the bottom line.

Now I’m going to get all sorts of comments on here defending Mr. Paul. His people are all about that. But I want to warn them that they are now targets of investigators in Missorui. Yeah, that’s the “Dangerous” part of the title up there. The State of Missouri recently put out a report called the “Modern Militia Movement,” and it gives out telltale signs of what to look for in a homegrown terrorist. That Ron Paul Bumper Sticker? It’s on the list. From KansasCity.com:

A new document meant to help Missouri law enforcement agencies identify militia members or domestic terrorists has drawn criticism for some of the warning signs mentioned.

The Feb. 20 report called “The Modern Militia Movement” mentions such red flags as political bumper stickers for third-party candidates, such as U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for president last year; talk of conspiracy theories, such as the plan for a superhighway linking Canada to Mexico; and possession of subversive literature.

Of course this is getting blown all out of proportion by the Paul people. There’s whining at the American Conservative, at Right Side News, at Gather.com, and at Prison Planet. I particularly like Lew Rockwell’s frothing at the mouth, titling his blog post, “If you’re reading this blog, you could be a terrorist…”

Let’s get real. Police need to compile ways of keeping track of the possibility of homegrown terrorists. It is pretty clear in this country that those folks share some of the beliefs of Ron Paul, coming as it does from trend data about milit

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |

Catapulting the Propaganda: Tender Sensibilities and Faux Outrage

When a foreign official accuses another nation of engaging in Goebbel-esque propaganda campaigns, it’s sure to make news. Yesterday, Brazil’s trade minister accused “rich nations” (read: the U.S.) of using Joesph Goebbel’s infamous strategy of repeating lies enough times that the lies become conventional wisdom. The Bush administration reacted sharply – but didn’t deny the accusations, only the reference.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Faux outrage always amuses me, particularly when it’s projected for media / public consumption. Here’s how it works: someone (say, a politician) will make an outrageous or insulting accusation; hyperbole to emphasize a point. Someone on the opposite side of the political fence takes public umbrage – “Gasp! How can you say that? Oh, my tender sensibilities!” – without disputing the main point of the accusation.

Such an occasion occurred yesterday at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. According to reports, in advance of a WTO meeting this week, Brazil’s trade minister Celso Amorim accused “rich countries” of engaging in Goebbel-esque propaganda in attempting to ram through the Doha trade accords:

Brazil sought to play down a spat with the United States on Sunday that threatened to sour a week of key World Trade Organisation talks after its foreign minister likened arguments of rich countries to Nazi propaganda. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters on Saturday that “misinformation” about the WTO talks recalled the comment of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels that a lie repeated often enough will be accepted as truth.

A spokesman for U.S. trade chief Susan Schwab said Washington regretted the comment. “We are here to negotiate on substance and that kind of venomous name-calling does not have a place in these talks,” spokesman Sean Spicer said on Sunday…

By way of background, the Bush administration has been trying to hammer out an overarching WTO deal ( _blank”>the Doha accord) since they’ve been in office, and have met with tremendous resistance from developing countries. In response to this resistance over the past seven years, U.S. negotiators have done what the Bush administration has fashioned into an art form: catapulting the propaganda, telling outright lies and half-truths, and acting as an 800 pound gorilla on the world trade stage.

Admittedly, most Americans (and the legacy media) don’t pay a moment’s worth of attention to this stuff, but when the trade minister of another country starts making nazi references to characterize the Bush administration’s approach to trade talks, it becomes news. And apparently, the tender sensibilities of U.S. negotiator Susan Schwab were offended. The U.S. State Department immediately began dialing up the faux outrage, and issuing statements that refer to Schwab’s heritage as the child of Holocaust survivors.

What’s interesting is that none of the statements deny the crux of Amorim’s characterization of the talks, only that Schwab was personally offended. But then, that’s how the Bush administration’s communication apparatus has always rolled. Deflect, rather than deny. Ratchet up the rhetoric, rather than respond to the core issues (and certainly there are many core issues in dispute, at least in terms of agricultural trade).

In the end, though, Celso Amorim probably accomplished what he intended to do with such inflammatory remarks. He made the point that the U.S. is controlling the WTO “message” in a manner that does little more than amplify the interests

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

McCain-Palin: The Perils Of Promoting The Past As Prologue?

John McCain’s decision to attach the imagery of Bill Ayers to Barack Obama is reckless. By casting this election as a continuation of the ideological conflict that characterized the unrest during the era of the Weathermen, John McCain may well be fomenting the reemergence of radicalism.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

It seems to me that a significant question will emerge in the aftermath of the 2008 election. The crux of that question has been framed by the inflammatory rhetoric of the McCain-Palin campaign in recent days. In its effort to sway voters and win this election, the McCain campaign has chosen to ignite animosities that will undoubtedly linger beyond November 4th…animosities that have the potential to unleash the very kind of violence that typified the groups and individuals the McCain campaign has attempted to link with Barack Obama.

At the core of the conflicts that marred the sixties and

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Daniel DiRito |

Newt Slams Obama on Faith, Ignores Real Americans Dying

Newt slammed Barack Obama for appointing a gay former Methodist Minister to his Office of Faith-Based Partnerships. He pandersd to the extremist gay-hating wing of the GOP. We’re not surprised. This ignores Americans in pain, not just gay Americans, but even the mother of an 11 year old boy, a suicide taunted with hate of the gay.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

As usual, it is all about the GAY! Newt Gingrich knows if his comeback is to be successful, he needs to pay homage to the radical Christian extremists who whine about gay marriage and gay anything. So he’s slamming Barack Obama’s appointments to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Newt is slamming the appointments, but he’s really slamming the gay, and he’s got a lot of support ont he extremist anti-gay wing of the Republican Party. Here’s what Newt had to whine about, from CNN:

Newt Gingrich said Tuesday the Obama administration is “intensely secular” and “anti-religious,” the former House Speaker’s second hard-hitting criticism of the new administration this week.

In an interview with FOX News, Gingrich said he strongly disagreed with Obama’s choice of Harry Knox – an outspoken activist for gay rights – to the White House advisory council on faith-based initiatives.

“I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you put an anti-religious, left-wing zealot on a faith-based group? It’s a perfect pattern for this administration.”

Since 2005, Knox has served as the director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. He is also a former Methodist pastor.

Newt evidently missed the list of people Obama appointed. (Here’s the list, Newt, since you obviously haven’t read it.) It’s got a ton of people who are quite religious. sure, Newt might not like that there’s a Hindu on the list, and he might not agree with the politics of Jim Wallis, but that doesn’t mean those folks are irreligious, as Newt claims. Knox isn’t irreligious either. But he is gay, and Newt attacking his appointment with falsehoods is par for the course. Newt himself is converting to Catholicism as a serially divorced man, so the hypocrisy of him defending religion falsely is rich, rich, rich.

More scandalous is the ugly politics of attacking gay people in this country. Why scandalous? Such attacks and ugliness lead to an environment where real people, real Americans, are hurt. Sirdeaner L. Walker is one of those Americans. She came home Monday in Springfield, MA on Monday to find her 11 year old son, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hanging by an extension cord. The boy had been taunted at school. He’d been called gay by the other kids. Repeatedly.

America’s tragedy, and the Republican Party’s shame is that they treat gay and lesbian citizens as if they were trash. In doing so these “leaders” give license t

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |

Bushie Kyle Sampson Claims Ignorance of the Law

It wasn’™t just Monica Goodling who broke the law in the DOJ and appointed career attorneys based on political criteria. Kyle Sampson also broke the law, though in his case he’™s making the usual whiney excuses, such as the notion that he, a member of the Justice Department, didn’™t KNOW the law he was sworn to uphold.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Our own Daniel DiRito has an excellent article about the lawbreaking of Bush Justice official Monica Goodling, a marginal lawyer, at best, who was empowered to make huge decisions in the Bush Justice Department under Albert Gonzales. This case will be part of the Bush legacy of both incompetence and politicization of our government’™s functions, a shameful legacy indeed, for surely the Justice Department is designed to serve all Americans, and not just Republicans. But it is the incompetence I write about today, and not Monica Goodling. In separate stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times, Kyle Sampson’™s lawyer, Bradford Berenson, gives a couple whiney excuses for Sampson’™s behavior, excuses that show Sampson himself was incompetent to fill his role in the Bush Justice Department. First, in the Washington Post

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Scalia, Thomas, WingNutDaily: Is There a Difference?

There’s not much difference between Antonin Scalia/Clarence Thomas and WingNutDaily as concerns supporting partisan divisiveness and whackjobbery. You can see that in the fake controversy and conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama’s US citizenship, to which Thomas and Scalia are giving tacit credit.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Last week I wrote about how the right wing pretend news magazine WorldNetDaily was using the phony issue of Barack Obama’s citizenship to bilk its readers. First, they pretend there’s a big issue, then the issue goes to Conference at the SCOTUS, then they ratchet up the need for all their oh-so-concerned readers to send notes to the SCOTUS members, while WingNutDaily makes a profit. The Donofrio case, which had been brought to conference by Clarence Thomas, was turned down for review without comment yesterday. In the meantime, Antonin Scalia has moved another case, Cort Wrotnowski v. Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut secretary of state, to conference, which, according to Donofrio himself, makes the exact same argument as the Donofrio case, which just got turned down.

Be that as it may, the interesting thing here is not the old news that WingNutDaily is still milking this issue in order to bilk its readers. We know already that WingNutDaily will push any conspiracy theory to serve their need for making money. What we didn’t know is that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia appear to be in on the act. At the very least, since they brought these bogus cases to conference, it is hard to tell the difference between them and the most extremist and whacked out of the right wing. There’s a little of that frustration peeking out in the reporting by Tampabayonline, but mostly there’s wonderment at the shear whackjobbery of the people who so fervently believe in the conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship. Read some of this:

The slim chance the Supreme Court might act on this issue was enough reason for Bredow, 49, an affable Internet publisher, to drive 10 hours from Bethlehem, Ga.

He had received hundreds of thousands of hits and messages of encouragement while questioning Obama’s citizenship on his Web page, www.wemustbeheard.com, and in a video he posted on YouTube.

“People started pounding on me, saying, –What are you going to do?’ ” Bredow said. “And I said, –Well, okay, why don’t we do a march on the 5th up in Washington?’ And so here we are.”

All 19 of them.

His fellow skeptics included a mom and her teen daughter from Williamsburg, Va., a retired Marine from Virginia, a pilot from South Florida, and Pam, a young black woman from Texas who said she never bought the story that Obama was from Hawaii. “I have never heard him say –Aloha,’ ” she said.

This just goes over the top. Someone born in Hawaii evidently has to prove that fact by saying “Aloha” once in a while? These folks are completely whack. I mean, seriously, look at the reaction from a guy named Bredow, who had traveled from Alabama to the Supreme Court to march with 18 friends before the Donofrio conference the other day. Even though Donofrio was denied without comment, this guy still has hope:

The word came down midmorning Monday: denied. No explanation, no comments.

Bredow got the news back in Bethlehem. He spent a couple of hours reading the court’s rules, in search of an explanation.

“Donofrio wasn’t what you would call a constitutional lawyer. He might have just goofed something up on the application,” Bredow suggested.

Members of Congress still could call for hearings, he said. And he has heard about some anonymous fraternity brothers in Hawaii on the hunt for Obama’s birth records.

“According to these guys – I guess they have to protect themselves legally – but according to these guys, they went to all nine hospitals in Honolulu, and they have not found Obama’s name,” he said. “So there’s still other little things floating around there.”

He stakes his hope on the work of some anonymous frat boys. Of course, he stakes that hope on Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most vocal conservative Justices in a long, long time. Let’s get serious here. The Supreme Court rarely overturns the elected decisions of the people. This election this year was pretty decisive. Of course, the fact of Barack Obama’s mother being a natural born citizen makes him one, too, but besides that, there are seven people on the Supreme Court who do not look at the world through such partisan eyes that they’ll credit such whackjobbery. Only Scalia and Thomas are willing to give this whackjobbery legs.

Which brings us to the question in the title of this post: what’s the difference between WorldNetDaily and the Scalia/Thomas wing of the SCOTUS? Only profit motive. Both WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to roil up the whack jobs and undermine our duly elected President. WingNutDaily and Scalia/Thomas seek to ratchet up partisan divisiveness. Sure, we know the role of SCOTUS does not include partisanship, but Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas seem bent on proving us wrong on that score.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |

Swine Flu, GOP Panic, Flip Flop

So we might have a pandemic of swine flu in our future? Rick Perry, who has decried help from Washington, is now wetting his pants and begging for help from. . . Washington. Meanwhile, who gutted the pandemic preparedness money from the Obama stimulus package? the GOP, led by Rove. But Rush Limbaugh is still a swine.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

It appears we may have the beginnings of a pandemic on our hands. the swine flu that has killed 86 people in Mexico is showing up in the US, with 8 cases in New York so far, and one in Ohio. No deaths here as yet, but this is definitely something the CDC is on top of. Still, it is early and it is good to keep the populace ready, aware, but calm. that’s just what the CDC is doing, it seems to me. From the Los Angeles Times:

Federal officials today declared a public health emergency involving human swine flu, warning Americans to prepare for widespread outbreaks now or in the future, yet urging them not to panic.

In a briefing at the White House, the acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Richard Besser, said that eight cases of suspected swine flu in New York had been confirmed and that another had been identified in Ohio, bringing the U.S. total to 20 cases.

“As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease,” Besser said. “We’re going to see more severe disease in this country.”

Canadian officials said this morning that four cases had been confirmed in Nova Scotia and another two in British Columbia, marking the first time that the disease has appeared north of the border. All six Canadian cases were mild, like those in the United States.

Mexico’s Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said five more deaths had occurred from influenza in that country overnight, bring the death total to 86. Two of the new cases were confirmed as swine flu, but it is not clear how many of the others were.

Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security secretary, said the government would release a quarter of its 50-million-unit strategic reserve of antiviral medications, which combat the disease in infected patients, to states where outbreaks have occurred. Besser said the CDC has isolated the swine flu virus and prepared a “seed stock” for the manufacture of a vaccine but will not distribute it to pharmaceutical companies until the situation becomes more severe. Manufacture of a new vaccine will require months.

The officials cast the moves as aggressive but precautionary, and they counseled calm.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Governor Perry, who recently talked about his state seceding from the United States, and who has tried mightily to turn back the stimulus money coming to Texas from the Obama Administration’s recovery plan, has decided that he now wants some stimulus in the form of vaccines. Yeah, Governor Rick Perry is both flip flopping and panicking. When he wants to score political points he’ll show all kinds of disdain about the Democratic-led government in Washington, but now that the piggy flu is coming, Rick screams for help. The extent of the swine flu problem in Texas is described here.

I think the only panic for the GOP should be political. They are the ones who ridiculed the beefing up of pandemic preparedness when it was part of the Obama stimulus package. Yes, led by Karl Rove Republicans in the House and Senate went to war over pandemic preparedness measures put forth by congressman David Obey, who now seems prescient compared to these GOP bozos who have threatened our lives, once again, by making sure we are not prepared. (Wasn’t Katrina a big enough warning for them?) From John Nichols at The Nation:

Rove dismissed Obey’s proposals as “disturbing” and “laden with new spending programs.” He said the congressman was peddling a plan based on “deeply flawed assumptions.”

Like what?

Rove specifically complained that Obey’s proposal included “$462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations.”

This was wrong, the political operative charged, because the health care sector added jobs in 2008.

As bizarre as that criticism may sound – especially now – Rove’s argument was picked up by House and Senate Republicans, who made it an essential message in their attacks on the legislation. Even as Rove and his compatriots argued that a stimulus bill should include initiatives designed to shore-up and maintain any recovery, they consistently, and loudly, objected to spending money to address the potentially devastating economic impact of a major public health emergency.

The attack on pandemic preparation became so central to the GOP strategies that AP reported in February: “Republicans, meanwhile, plan to push for broader and deeper tax cuts, to trim major spending provisions that support Democrats’ longer-term policy goals, and to try to knock out what they consider questionable spending items, such as $870 million to combat the flu and $400 million to slow the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Famously, Maine Senator Susan Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not.”

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate’s version of the stimulus measure.

The Republicans essentially succeeded. The Senate version of the stimulus plan included no money whatsoever for pandemic preparedness. In the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate plans, Obey and his allies succeeded in securing $50 million for improving information systems at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

But state and local governments, and the emergency services that would necessarily be on the frontlines in any effort to contain a pandemic, got nothing.

As John Nichols notes, this wasn’t the case that the GOP wanted disaster to threaten our country, but that the GOP wants to play politics, and it doesn’t matter what they play politics with. I think he’s right, but it is starker than he saays. The GOP has become the Party of “No” even if saying “No” will eventually harm our country, because they only want to win politically. Doing the right thing is not anywhere near their agenda anymore.

Of course none of this will show up in regular news stories. Olbermann might give it a ride, and maybe Maddow, but FoxNews and ABC and NBC will not remind us of the Republicans undermining our pandemic preparedness, nor will they emphasize Governor Rick Perry’s refusal of stimulus dollars until there’s a threat and he instantlly wets his pants and goes crying to Washington.

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Palin and Pelosi, Together at Last

According to a poll by Public Strategies Inc., we trust Palin and Pelosi about equally to identify and solve problems, and that trust is pretty close to nonexistent. Well, we knew Pelosi wasn’t trusted, as she has been so demonized by the right. And sane people knew Palin wasn’t competent. This poll seems on the money.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Isn’t it sweet, that Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi are the bottom dwellers when it comes to trust about identifying and solving problems for our nation. Of course Obama still ranks high in the trust of the people in this Public Strategies poll, consistent with other polling over the last few months. But Pelosi and Palin together? Odd bedfellows, eh? From Politico:

In a new Public Strategies Inc./POLITICO national survey of 1,000 registered voters, Obama outdistances figures on both the left and the right in earning the public’s trust, with two-thirds of respondents saying they trust the president “to identify the right solutions to the problems we face as a nation.”

Of those who said they trust the president, 31 percent said they trust him “a great deal.” An additional 35 percent said they have “some” trust that Obama will find the correct solution. Thirty-one percent said they trust Obama either “not very much” or “not at all.”

Voters were asked the same question of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and the two major political parties. Among those choices, only the Democratic Party was trusted to find the right solutions by a majority of voters, 52 percent to 40 percent. Forty percent of those surveyed said they trusted the Republican Party, compared with 54 percent who did not trust the GOP.

Only 26 percent said they trust Pelosi, the lowest total in the group. Palin attracted the highest percentage of those who did not trust her at all to identify the right solutions, topping Pelosi 33 percent to 32 percent. Romney got a mixed reaction, with 38 percent of voters saying they trust him and 39 percent saying they don’t.

Sane people didn’t trust Palin anyway, but I’d say it is encouraging that more people are waking to their own sanity. Still, who are those numbnuts saying they trust the woman to run the economy? Man! Even John McCain won’t mention her name.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Resurrection of Intolerance

Intolerance? That’s certainly true of the 26% or so who form the hard core of the Republican Party as they view the performance of Barack Obama. There is nothing these people won’t critique. Yes, they even critique the Obama family church attendance, in an America that has freedom of religion.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

The fanatic right-wing, after taking a few days off to catch their breath, is back again with vengeance.

Name anything that President Obama is doing, and this broken wing will try to slap it down, unmindful that more than two-thirds of Americans support the President, with his popularity rising each week, according to several independent polls.

During the campaign, they attacked Obama for being a Muslim. After all, they figured anyone with a name that wasn’t WASP-sounding must not be a Christian. Of course, they overlooked the Constitution, which says anyone–Christian, Muslim, Jew, or even atheist–has a right to be president.

When the Muslim connection didn’t wash with the people, the right-wing said that Obama went to the wrong Christian church. The United Church of Christ, many claimed, wasn’t even Christian because it allowed people of all views into its congregations. For the shrill-voiced pretend-Christians, their religion is more a religion of exclusion than of inclusion.

This past week, the holiest of Christian holidays, the lunatic fringe has shown just how far from Christianity it is. On talk shows and in vitriolic columns, the hard-core conservative base blasted the President for not going to church every Sunday. But then, the President and his family attended Easter Day services at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The family’s plans had been kept secret, both for security reasons and because the President had stated many times both before and after his inauguration that he needed time to find an appropriate congregation and because he was mindful that his presence would, even unintentionally, disrupt services.

Undoubtedly, the harpies of the extreme right-wing will now suggest that the President attended services only because they had raised the issue, and that his attendance was solely for political reasons.

What these self-righteous harpies don’t point out, is that while the President and his family are looking for an appropriate church, he’s hosted prayer meetings and a Passover Seder, and acted in a way that is far more what Christian charity asks than many who put out litmus tests made up of requirements that might make God weep.

So, here’s a few facts for this group–just in case they were foaming at the mouth during their own religious education, and didn’t hear their lessons.

One: More presidents didn’t attend church weekly than did. Among those who had very irregular church attendance was Thomas Jefferson, a deist not a Christian, who had insisted that freedom of religion be a part of the Constitution.

Two: People can go to church twice a week, and participate in every ritual and still not understand the words and teachings of God and his prophets.

Three: Persons who don’t go to church every week aren’t worse than those who do.

Four: A church is a building. If God is omnipresent, he is present in every part of this universe, not just in buildings. Persons can understand and have their own faith without going into a building, for the spirit of God is within their hearts.

Five: No one has absolute truth, and any attempt to impose one’s faith upon others is a selfish and egocentric approach to religion, something Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammad would find appalling.

Finally: If the fanatics continue their shrill screeches that President Obama and his family attend church every Sunday to show the nation they are “true Christians,” they should consider that one of the most influential conservative presidents never attended Sunday services while president, believing his presence would disrupt Sunday services. That man was Ronald Reagan.

[Walter M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, social issues columnist, author of 17 books, and occasional ASZ contributor. His current book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available from amazon.com, bn.com, and other stores. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 by Walter Brasch |
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