An Early Christmas Present – UPDATED

So it goes… the Senate has finally voted to end debate and allow voting on a bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Finally.

This comes after John McCain stood before the Senate and basically said that allowing gays to serve openly would result in soldiers having their legs blown off. I don’t imagine that legs are what would be getting blown, but it’s good to see that Old Man Bitter hasn’t given up the fight yet. I hope everyone who is gay and voted for him back in November, particularly a friend of mine, feel suitably betrayed by this jackass.

Sadly the Senate did not move forward on the so-called DREAM Act, which would allow illegal aliens brought here as kids by their parents a chance to contribute and have their status normalized. The bill would have required them to serve in the military or go to college. It’s not a perfect bill (I think they should just be allowed to stay regardless of school or the military), but it’s better than what we have now. The Senate also has yet to move forward on START, for reasons that baffle me.

But still. We have progress on DADT. Finally.

*** UPDATE ***

The Senate will vote on a full repeal at 3pm EST today. Special congratulations and thanks to the Republicans who voted in favor of ending the debate: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and George Voinovich of Ohio.

*** UPDATE 2 ***

It’s done. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, will be a thing of the past once Obama signs off on it.

About fucking time.


Pity Our Poor Lawmakers

Oh, grieve, my fellows, grieve mightily for the fate of the members of Congress and the Senate. Yea, for they might face the most horrible of all possible fates: not being able to stop working several days ahead of Christmas but might instead, gasp!, horror!, be forced to work until only one or two days before the holiday!

I know, this is a horrible state of affairs, is it not? I mean, true, the average American has about 220 days at work while Congresspeople work about 130 and Senators work about 150, but still! How unfair is it of them to have to work so close to the holiday that Jim Demitt, a Christian, called “the most sacred holiday for Christians”?

Oh, the sorrow, oh, the anguish! I feel so much of their pain. Imagine only having, say, two or three weeks of time off for Christmas and New Year’s instead of what most Americans get (ie: maybe the days themselves. Maybe). What agony! I don’t know how they manage to cope. I mean, if it weren’t for the immense power and influence, great retirement benefits, government provided health care, six-figure salaries and all the other perks, well, I don’t know why that would have jobs like these! Jobs that might require them to work up to, but not on, Christmas!

Oh, the pain. The pain of it all.

John McCain: Murderer?

John McCain used to be a pilot for the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. This war was undeclared, illegal and by most definitions its mere execution was a war crime. Yet John McCain knowingly participated in this war, flying several combat missions which no doubt resulted in the deaths of many.

John McCain – Washington insider, hypocrite… murderer?

Well, of course not. Of course he’s not a murderer. Yes, he no doubt killed dozens, if not hundreds, of people, at least some civilian, while a pilot in Vietnam. Yes, it was an illegal, undeclared war that we had no business being a part of. Yes, pretty much everything we did there was a war crime by the mere fact we were doing it. But the fact that he was a participant in the war does not make him a murderer.

Also, despite the fact that the McCain campaign seems to feel otherwise, J D Hayworth’s shilling for a company that turned out to be violating several laws does not make him a “huckster”.

This is an incredibly disingenuous ad. I’m sure Hayworth, for all his many, many failings, didn’t know the company was engaged in fraud. He was a hired spokesman for them, that’s all. It’s not like he was on the board of directors or anything like that. His being involved with them might have showed poor judgment, but that’s about it.

This is an ad for the Republican Party primary coming up next month, so it’s largely got nothing to do with me. I hope McCain loses because I don’t see Hayworth winning state wide, but since I haven’t seen a single Hayworth ad, I’m sure McCain will win (but probably not by much).

Either way, I’ve lost all respect for the man.

John McHypocrite

Living in Arizona can be very interesting at times, especially when it comes to politics. We’re a basically libertarian state with Republican tendencies, but especially in Phoenix it’s not unknown for Democrats to get elected. Our previous governor was a Democrat, for example, as is the Congressman who represents my district. We voted GOP in the 2008 Presidential Election, but it was a close thing, and I’m pretty sure we would’ve barely gone for Obama had not a certain Arizona resident been on the ballot.

Yes, John McCain is one of Arizona’s Senators and is currently in a tough primary re-election bid against former Congressman and former right-wing talk show host, J D Hayworth. This means I’m getting to see lots of fun ads for John McCain.

McCain used to be a maverick, or so he said in his book, but these days he says he’s not a maverick and never claimed he was, not even in his book. He’s someone I used to have a lot of respect for, but I have since lost any that I used to have. This is at least in part due to bullshit like that “I am/am not a maverick”, but it is also due to his behavior during the 2008 elections, his choice of Sarah Palin to be his running mate (I initially thought she was a good choice, but I can admit I was wrong), and, lately, due to his ads here in Arizona.

Now McCain is a Republican. I think if asked, one of the many things people would agree with is the notion that the Republicans are against welfare, against government, and against government spending for the sake of job creation. Given that, can someone please explain to me McCain’s recent ad?

So basically McCain is telling us here that we should be happy that he’s brought so much government money to our state; money which has created many jobs and which is, arguably, a form of welfare. So explain to me how this is ok? How is it alright to have government created jobs when they are military jobs, but not in any other way? Isn’t this basically just the same thing the GOP claims to be against?

Oh, well. I’m very unsurprised by anything McCain does these days. I hope he loses to Hayworth. I don’t think Hayworth is electable on a state level and I think the Democrats stand a damn good chance of getting back into the Senate. I hope so, anyhow. We can certainly do without a loser like McCain.

The Runner-Up In the 2008 Election

I am no great fan of John McCain. The rest of you can forget about the horrible campaign he waged in 2008 and how he inflicted Sarah Palin on the world, but we here in Arizona cannot.

Now he’s in a new electoral fight against JD Hayworth, a former Congressman and current right-wing talk show host. He’s exactly what you’d expect him to be, and the antithesis of what McCain was prior to the 2008 elections.

McCain is actually having to campaign for office this time around, so he’s began airing ads here in Arizona. If you haven’t seen ’em, you’re about to.

Blah, where to start? First off, war hero my ass. His great achievement was surviving his third plane crash and being taken prisoner. Now yes, he did refuse early release and that was a good thing, but come on, dude. It was 40 years ago! Haven’t you got anything better to campaign on than this?

Second, “Arizona’s last line of defense.” Against what, pray? JD Hayworth is even more conservative than McCain. One would think the GOP would love to have him in office.

Lastly, “character matters”. Yes, it does. Character to do things like not pick probably the least-qualified running mate in the history of American major-party politics, let her run circles around you in the media, not force her to actually give press conferences, flip-flop on a lot of what you claim to believe, sell-out the little guy in the name of big business and do whatever you can to block banking and health care reforms. Yes, this is some real character.

God, what an ass. I hope Hayworth does beat him in the primaries, because I’m pretty sure the Democrats can trounce him in November. Even if McCain does get elected, I’m pretty sure it’ll be his last term, then he’ll step aside.

Now that would be real service to our country.

The Senate Apologizes

The Senate has issued an apology for things like slavery, segregation, lynching and the like. It passed unanimously on the Senate floor. This is no surprise, of course, since who among us would vote against such a thing?

Well… me.

See, I have this odd mental thing going on. I don’t take credit nor blame for anything anyone other than me did. I don’t feel responsible for the genocide against American Indians. I don’t accept any blame for slavery. I don’t feel proud that my ancestors were anti-slavery and fought for the Union in the Civil War. I don’t feel any pride that one of my other ancestors fought in the Revolution.

I feel shame and regret for things I have done in my past. There’s something very notable that happened in 1992 that I’ve constantly regretted, for example (no, you aren’t getting details). There’s aspects of my behaviors that leave me quite ashamed.

I also feel pride and a sense of triumph for things I have done in my past. I’ve been reasonably successful in my career. I run a good blog. I have a nice hobby writting.

These are things I feel pride or shame over because these are things I’m directly a part of. But crimes my country committed decades before I was born? No. There are things my country has done in the last few years I feel shame for, but that’s a little different, cause that’s being done in my name as an American citizen, but I certainly don’t feel the same about things long ago.

The Ethics of Party-Swapping

Yesterday, Arlen Specter changed horses and joined the Democratic party. I’m happy to welcome him, as are other Democrats, at least in part cause he’s basically been a Republican in name only for the longest time.

He’s hardly the first to jump parties. Jim Jeffords left the Republican party back in 2001 to be an independant, and Joseph Lieberman left the Democratic party to do the same. There’s some speculation that Olympia Snowe might do the same as well. I wouldn’t blame her, cause let’s face it; it’s hard to be a liberal, or even moderate, Republican these days.

While I understand the reasoning lots of these people have for changing parties I do wonder about the ethics of it. It seems to me that it’s ok to change parties while you’re running for re-election, but I’d say once you’re in office, you need to stick with it. If you were elected to represent your state as a member of a particular party, you ought to remain with that party until the next campaign.

So while I am pleased, very pleased, that Specter has switched parties at long last, I do think he should’ve waited. Anything else seems unfair to the people he represents.