Saturday, June 17, 2006


The Democrats have, tentatively, as they are wont to do, adopted an agenda, backed by their '06 slogan, "New Direction for America." The planks call for more stem-cell research, lower prescription drug prices, a minimum wage hike, elimination of taxpayer subsidies for the oil and gas industries, tighter security at our ports, and a lot more money for homeland security.

Although multiplicity of issues is a problem requiring focus decisions, I would add
evironmental protection, alternative fuels, civil unions (leaving "marriage" to the states), and certain improvments in intelligence and the military.

So what's missing from the stated agenda? Iraq, of course. Although supremely conflicted, Democrats should agree on a position, such as

The war was a terrible mistake, diverting us from Afghanistan and the real war against terrorists.

Despite all of the misleading by the Bush administration, Congress should not have voted for the war authorization and votes in favor were mistakes.

The war and its aftermath were poorly planned and executed

Support the Iraq government provided it acts responsibly, train the Iraqi troops and security forces, and, although no one can now know a precise date, withdraw from Iraq
as soon as practicable with a target date of December 31, 2007.

May the Democrats work together to adopt such an agenda as their New Direction.


The Schoolchildren in our Congress

If the underlying subject matter were not so serious - the loss of life and treasure - this weeks's performance by the House of Representatives would be laughable. The Republicans introduced a resolution to support our troops in Iraq. Well, who said we needed that? Who doesn't support our troops?

The real reason, of course, was to embarrass the Democrats. The resolution tries to get a vote on Bush's dubious contentions on the invasion and war by going on to state that the U.S is "engaged in a global war on terror, a long and demanding struggle against an adversary that is driven by hatred of American values and that is committed to imposing, by the use of terror, its repressive ideology throughout the world." It also declares that "the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology

Implying that Iraq had been, before we made it so, a source of terrorist attacks was intended to put Democrats in a bind. And it did. Despite the obvious ploy, 42 Democrats felt obliged to vote in favor of the resolution.

The real question is why the Democrats let themselves get dragged into this game of "gotcha". Like schoolkids, the Republicans can say "so there". The answer is that they shouldn't.

When the Republicans enter a resolution that is just political nonsence, the Democrats should refuse to participate. If necessary, walk out. The Congress is supposed to be a deliberative body. When our nation is face with crucial issues, time must not be spent on phony resolutions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I've always assumed that the Bush administration favored an anti-flag burning amendment because of the effect of all that burning has on global warming.

But why does Hillary support it? Does she really really believe that this amendment is wise?

What we really need is a mandatory death penalty for flag burning by married gay couples.