2006/10/27

The Senators and I

It was a love-fest Friday night at Senator Durbin's 10th anniversary celebration at Fultons on the River in Chicago.


2006/10/11

Opening Post from Fly

Hello, I am Kevin Flynn and this is the beginning of my blog. The overriding emphasis on these threads will hopefully be intellectually honest arguments that don't regress into name calling matches and hyperbolic rhetoric. I hope to accentuate the similarities so called conservatives and liberals share, and respectfully argue the issues that don't find common ground. Going into the mid-term elections, there is a lot at stake in the political world. I will work to keep you abreast of the Congressional races in bothe the House and the Senate, and to offer ideas and methods by which you can help get people elected that truly represent your values. Other current events and world affairs will be discussed here also, as they play a major role in shaping politician's attitudes. Thanks and let's get thinking

In God We Trust....

With the ever-increasing failings of men evident around the globe these days, I was considering leaving the agnostic camp and heading back into God’s world. A recovering, lapsed-Catholic, I fell out of touch with God at a fairly early age, as my parents no longer enforced the Catholic school attending, church going rules that were in place for my five older siblings. Also, Elton John’s song Levon said that the New York Times proclaimed God is dead, so I guess I took it literally. In place of Catholic school, I attended Catechism classes and learned all about the Church’s history including the sanitized story of the Crusades. Wow, what glorious heroes all of these soldiers of the various Popes, on their beautiful horses, were. Of course there are two sides to every story, but no matter how you slice it, the Crusades represent to the Muslim world a devastation of their culture by the various soldiers of the various Popes. Soon after 9/11, our dim-witted leader used the word Crusade to describe our fight against terrorism, and war enabler Colin Powell used it while coaxing Pakistani General / (President to Friends) Pervez Musharraff to join the coalition of the willing. Similar to his “bring it on” rhetoric, this serves as another wonderful example of a diplomatic-free zone around this White House. In order to fight this permanent ‘war on terror’, we need allies, and starting a holy war with a billion Muslims doesn’t seem too beneficial, unless of course you’re an arms dealer, and oh yeah, poppy Bush is one, so carry on! There is a group here on campus that goes by Campus Crusade for Christ or something of that nature, and I wonder if they are aware of what the Crusades represent to many of our fellow students. What would Jesus think of all of the death and suffering brought in his name? Maybe they just don’t care. Sort of like the Republican leadership didn’t care if their carefully gay Florida Congressman Foley had a sweet spot for teenage boys that had the misfortune to be Congressional pages in proximity to him. If this scandal has a familiar ring, look to the Catholic Church for the bell. The Congressional Republican leadership was acting like the Catholic hierarchy, which played shell games with men accused of sexually abusing children. They might not be heeding the teachings of the Apostles, but they’re using the cover up and spin the child abuse doctrine. Denny, step down already and enjoy the profits from your Prairie Parkway land scheme you helped facilitate. Get out while you can still pretend to have some dignity rather than being thrown out on your ass. So what happened to the morally superior Republicans? Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and they have enjoyed absolute power in this country. When holding power becomes more important than protecting children, and when politicians try to dismantle the constitution and inject prayer into schools and the public square, and tell women what to do with their bodies, this sounds a lot more like a Taliban society than a true democracy. The fundamentalists which are now the “Democracy” we brought to Iraq, are supporters of Hezbollah and Iran, and will impose a harsh new law on the land that strips women of the secular freedom they had with Saddam and will force them to be covered and silent. The Iraqis might have had a dictator with Saddam, but as long as they didn’t speak or act out against the Man, they were able to live somewhat normal, modern lives with electricity, phones, running water, big televisions, and women were allowed to work in the professions and wear whatever they wanted. Now, all of those things are shattered, and religious fanatics are taking over.



Barack Obama was ahead of the curve on this as he called for Democrats to embrace their spiritual inner-beings, and not be afraid to talk values. In his Universal Values speech Obama said:
“In the months and years to come, I am hopeful we can bridge these gaps and overcome the prejudices each of us brings to this debate. I believe that Americans want this. No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool to attack and divide.
Americans are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They might not change their positions on certain issues, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in reasonable terms — those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.”
Well said sir, and while you’re all working that out, I’ll be heading back to Camp Agnostic until the return of Jesus. He is supposed to be back soon, isn’t he?
Email flypolbuzz@yahoo.com with comments

Issues? We don't need no stinking issues!

It seems that the sentiment of the electorate has turned decidedly against incumbents and the Republican leadership. One recent national poll had close to 70% of respondents saying that Congressional incumbents don’t deserve re-election. On nearly every issue except perhaps terrorism, which the Republicans have used to scare the bejesus out of all the easily shaken masses, the Dems are way out in front. Whether it is social security, health care, stem-cell research or the economy, the issues all point to what should be a successful mid-term election cycle for the Dems, along with historical trends that help the party out of power gain seats. So should the Dems start planning for their new Chairmanships on all of the committees, and picking out the bigger and better offices that come with being back in the Majority? Does the party that gets the most votes still win in America, or have we become a banana republic that let’s a small group of men and women rig the brave new world of electronic voting machines? Repeated studies have shown that touch-screen machines, which provide voters with no paper record of their ballots, are highly susceptible to tampering. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the leading federal watchdog agency, the machines are “eminently hackable”. It takes only a few minutes to open the machines and insert a PC card containing malicious code that will switch votes from one candidate to another. As demonstrated last year in Leon County, Florida, computer security expert Herbert Thompson cracked into an electronic machine in under sixty seconds, altering the internal code and changing the vote count. ''Every board of elections has staff members with the technological ability to fix the election,'' says Ion Sancho, supervisor of the election board in Leon County. ''Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I'd find out about it.'' And happened it has. Anyone that takes the time to read Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s piece in Rolling Stone a few months back, will see that there were way too many mathematical and statistical aberrations in the 2004 election for them to just have been coincidences. There were the obvious corruptions like counties with only 3,000 total registered voters casting 30,000 votes for Bush, and many thousands of voters purged illegally from the voter lists. And then there were the exit polls. Exit polling has become nearly an exact science when you figure in the margins of error, and all of the exit polls showed Kerry with a decisive victory. Of course people will dispute the science of exit polling, but then again people dispute the science of evolution and think that man has only been around for a few thousands years and were planted in a garden by God. With the Republican Secretary of State of Ohio Kenneth Blackwell serving double duty as co-chair of Bush’s re-election campaign, the fix was in big time. To make matters worse, Blackwell received more than $10,000 from Diebold executives, and the CEO of Diebold was on record as saying they will deliver Ohio to Bush. The Diebold voting machines are easily compromised, as the access panel door on their AccuVote-TS voting machine, the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus, can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet. Chris Tengi, a technical staff member at Princeton’s Computer Science Department asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and surprise, surprise, it opened the voting machine. He said the key had opened either a file cabinet or the access panel on an old VAX computer. A little research revealed that the exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel mini-bars. It's a standard part, and like most standard parts it's easily purchased on the Internet. The researchers bought several keys from an office furniture key shop – and they opened the voting machine too. They also ordered another key on EBay from a jukebox supply shop, and numerous other sources.
The bottom line is that we always hear from W. how we are spreading democracy to other nations to help them come out from under the rocks of their oppressive leaders and governments. At the same time, the Republicans and this administration are allowing our democracy here at home to become more and more degraded and subverted, so that the will of the people is no longer required. Sure, the Democrats have the issues on their side this election cycle, but the question is, do issues or the voters even matter any more? Has our democracy been reduced so much in importance, that the key that opens a hotel mini-bar can break it?
Email comments or hate mail to flypobuzz@yahoo.com