Tuesday, September 26, 2006

But I'm White!

So it's unfair!
When state Sen. Andy McElhany helped pass a tough anti-illegal immigration measure this summer, he never expected his family to get caught up in the red tape.

Earlier this month, a Colorado Springs driver's license office refused to issue McElhany's 15-year- old daughter a learner's permit when she presented a passport to prove she is a bona fide Colorado resident and U.S. citizen.

"Our daughter is a legal citizen with a legal passport," said McElhany, R-Colorado Springs. "There is no reason to believe a 15-year-old has a fake passport."

But as of Sept. 6, U.S. passports, long believed to be a solid form of identification, are no longer being accepted without another document - such as a state-issued birth certificate or Social Security card - to get a driver's license or state ID.


Gay Terror in the Skies

Courtesy of my friend Sorcha comes this story of Gays on a Plane (not starring Samuel Jackson):
American Airlines Flight 45—departing Charles de Gaulle at 10:40 A.M., arriving J.F.K. at one each afternoon—is a tourist’s delight: timed just right to avoid late checkout, leaving time for one last Kir Royale at Les Deux Magots. On August 22nd, the coach cabin was packed with vacationing New Yorkers. Ralph Jackson (21A) and David Leisner (21B) were returning from two weeks in France, while Huffa Frobes-Cross (21F) had stopped over in Paris on his way back from South Africa. Assigned to seats 20A and 20B were George Tsikhiseli, a television journalist, and his writer boyfriend, Stephan Varnier. “We’ve been together only four months,” Tsikhiseli said last week. “So it felt like a honeymoon.”

Shortly after takeoff, Varnier nodded off, leaning his head on Tsikhiseli. A stewardess came over to their row. “The purser wants you to stop that,” she said.

“I opened my eyes and was, like, ‘Stop what?’ ” Varnier recalled the other day.

“The touching and the kissing,” the stewardess said, before walking away.


Maybe an hour later, the purser approached Tsikhiseli and said that the captain wanted to talk to him. Tsikhiseli went up to the galley and gave the captain his business card. The captain told Tsikhiseli that if they didn’t stop arguing with the crew he would indeed divert the plane. “I want you to go back to your seat and behave the rest of the flight, and we’ll see you in New York,” he said. Tsikhiseli returned to coach.

Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American, said that the stewardess’s injunction to the men was reasonable, and would have been made whether the couple was gay or straight. “Our passengers need to recognize that they are in an environment with all ages, backgrounds, creeds, and races. We have an obligation to make as many of them feel as comfortable as possible,” he said.


A "Simple Misunderstanding"

I'm sure that's all it was
. There's no way that the Bush administration would behave so childishly:

President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday said Venezuela will summon the U.S. ambassador to issue a diplomatic protest after the foreign minister was temporarily detained by authorities at a New York airport.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro say authorities at John F. Kennedy International airport tried to frisk and handcuff him Saturday as he tried to catch a flight after attending the U.N. General Assembly session.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Keith Olbermann

A beautiful rant tonight. Here's the ending:

The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton… but by the same people who got you… elected President.

Thus instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it… we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently redd the Orwell playbook too quickly.

Thus instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us "safe" ever since — a statement that might range anywhere from Zero, to One Hundred Percent, true.

We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.

And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush — you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles… wrong.

Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:

You did not try.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.

Then, you blamed your predecessor.

That would be the textbook definition… Sir, of cowardice.

To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past.

That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair — writing as George Orwell — gave us in the novel "1984."

The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you, as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power…

"Power is not a means; it is an end.

"One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

"The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power… is power."

Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln’s State of the Union address from 1862.

"We must disenthrall ourselves."

Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln’s sentence. He might well have.

"We must disenthrall ourselves — and then… we shall save our country."

And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date… to save… our… country.

The "free pass" has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush…

You did not act to prevent 9/11.

We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.

You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.

You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.

And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.

And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:

Are yours the actions of a true American?

I’m K.O., good night, and good luck.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Conservative Rochester Stands Up for Rights

Rochester City Council is sending a strong message to state lawmakers: allow same-sex couples to marry. The entire city council has signed a letter to Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno calling for an end to discrimination against same-sex couples.

Councilmember Bill Pritchard - who is openly gay - said all nine council members signed the letter without hesitation.

That it is coming from the usually conservative Upstate area the letter could have a greater impact in Albany than if it came from the more liberal New York City.


Sweet Tolerance

Well done:
The Museum of Tolerance started off with good intentions, over $100 million in donations, an eye-catching design by architect Frank Gehry, a 2004 kickoff ceremony attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a great piece of Jerusalem real estate.

But underneath that real estate, it turned out, there were Muslim graves. As a result, instead of bringing this contentious city's warring tribes together, the museum has sparked a fight with political, religious and historical dimensions between Muslims and Jews - and all this before it has even been built.