Another Victim of Right Wing Hatred

Melissa McEwan (better known in the blogosphere as Shakespeare’s Sister) has posted an announcement that she has resigned as a technical advisor to the Edwards campaign. This follows the announcement yesterday that Amanda Marcotte had resigned. Shakes wrote:

There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and my inbox with vitriol and veiled threats. It is not right-wing bloggers, nor people like Bill Donohue or Bill O’Reilly, who prompted nor deserve credit for my resignation, no matter how much they want it, but individuals who used public criticisms of me as an excuse to unleash frightening ugliness, the likes of which anyone with a modicum of respect for responsible discourse would denounce without hesitation.

Besides no doubt also receiving similar “vitriol and veiled threats,” Pandagon was also faced with denial of service attacks today. Amanda Marcotte also had more to say on the controversy in a post on People who claim to love Jesus write me:

Reminder: Donohue was claiming to be so hurt by my “bigotry”. Yet, for some reason, his supporters write me and they are more interested in telling me that my womanhood is repulsive to them. Interesting—almost as if his claims to speak for Catholicism were in fact dog whistles to scare people about women’s equality.

As I told some close friends in the days that Donohue was on the news, spraying code words about “get the feminists” (which explains why he roped Shakespeare’s Sister into this, even though she really had nothing to do with any of this—except she’s pro-equality, which is what is really what offends Donohue and all the people who gave that anti-Semite airtime), a good half of my hate mail could be summed up, “You have a pottymouth, you stupid cunt.”

It is ironic, but not surprising because it is so common, that the authoritarian right which despises our freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, claims to be the victims as they continue their brownshirt tactics.

Kansas Board of Education Approves New Science Standards

Kansas has approved the new standards (previously discussed here) which eliminate the anti-evolution guidelines. While the important thing is that they have passed the new standards, its a shame they couldn’t have done so one day earlier. It would have been a great way to celebrate Darwin Day.

Terrorists Gone Wild

In the latest taped statement reported by The Blotter, al Qaeda’s No. 2 in command, Ayman al Zawahiri calls George Bush “an alcoholic, liar and gambler with an addictive personality.”

Zawahiri also attacked American voters and Democrats.

Regardless of what he says about George Bush, the fact remains that Zawahiri is a mass murderer, which is far worse than any of his insults. (As for his comments, we know Bush is a liar. I’m not aware of a gambling problem, and don’t know if he has relapsed with regards to his alcoholism.)

The biggest question I have is where is Osama? Does the fact that his No. 2 guy is getting to insult us mean he’s no longer around? This has been Zawahiri’s third statement this year but we haven’t heard from bin Laden since July. George Bush promised to get him dead or alive and failed. Did bin Laden’s renal failure or some other cause get him?

Update: More from AP

Update II: Thanks to Dr. Sanity for her link to this post in this week’s Carnival of The Insanities. It is good to see that, with all the areas of disagreement, there are some areas where left and right share common ground–such as our feelings for al Qaeda. Now if we can only get conservatives to drop their meme that liberals are weak on fighting terrorism, hate America, or that liberals are supportive of the terrorists. When we oppose the policies of George Bush it is not out of opposition to stopping terrorism, but due to the belief that Bush’s policies are undermining our national security and strengthening enemies such as al Qaeda and Iran. It was George Bush who ignored pre-9/11 warnings which might have prevented the attack and who allowed bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora. Events of the last couple of years have also proven that our pre-war warnings about going into Iraq were correct. 

Rudy Giuliani’s Vulnerabilities

The Smoking Gun has posted portions of a vulnerability study compiled by Rudy Giuliani’s staff prior to his 1993 run for Mayor. Political rivals will find portions relevant to any 2008 campaigns. From The Smoking Gun’s introduction:

He surely could not have been pleased to read that his “personal life raises questions about a ‘weirdness factor.'” That weirdness, aides reported, stemmed from Giuliani’s 14-year marriage to his second cousin, a union that he got annulled by claiming to have never received proper dispensation from the Catholic Church for the unorthodox nuptials. “When asked about his personal life, Giuliani gives a wide array of conflicting answers,” the campaign report stated. “All of this brings the soundness of his judgement into question–and the veracity of his answers.” The internal study also addresses prospective charges that Giuliani dodged the Vietnam draft and was a “man without convictions” because of his transformation from George McGovern voter to a Reagan-era Justice Department appointee

Majority Wants Troops Home By End of 2008

There’s yet more evidence that, depsite the Republican attacks, those of us who want to bring the troops home are representing the views of a majority of Americans. A USA Today-Gallup Poll shows that 63% want the troops home by the end of the year. Voters are also not favorably impressed by the Senate’s ongoing debate over whether to debate Iraq. “he Senate’s failure to act last week rankled nearly two-thirds of those surveyed. By 51%-19%, they blamed Republicans.”

The impact on 2008 remains unclear. The report states:

Seven of 10 say their representative’s vote on the war will affect their vote in the next congressional election; more than four in 10 call it a major factor. However, nearly two-thirds aren’t sure where their representative stands on the issue.

Apparently there are a lot of people who say it will affect their vote but obviously they must know the position of their representative for this to matter. Maybe some Republicans will stay in power due to voters failing to realize their stand. Another possible interpretation of this data is that some Republicans were reelected in 2006 because the voters didn’t know about their support of the war but they might pay attention to how they vote on the upcoming resolutions.

Republicans are trying to frame opposition to escallation of the war as a question of support for the troops. Republicans have received many undeserved votes due to the false impression they have created that they have a better record of supporting the troops despite their actual record. The lastest example of how poorly Republican treat the troops and veterans is seen in the cuts in Bush’s latest budget:

The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans’ health care two years from now — even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.

Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012.

After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly — by more than 10 percent in many years — White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA budget trends — its medical care budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent in the six years since Bush took office — sowing suspicion that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better.

McCain Panders to Creationists

John McCain continues to pander to the religious right. He is scheduled to appear at a luncheon co-sponsored by the Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute is the main organization behind all those absurd statements on evolution which right wing ditto heads cut and paste all over the place, thinking they are convincing readers that they have any understanding of evolution and modern biology as they promote creationism.

You cannot claim to be a straight talker and have anything to do with the Discovery Institute.

Update: Think Progress shows how McCain has flip flopped on teaching intelligent design:

In 2005, he said it should be taught:

Daily Star: Should intelligent design be taught in schools?

McCain: I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they’ve got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking I don’t think is – or one belief on how people and the world was created – I think there’s nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.

Daily Star: Does it belong in science?

McCain: There’s enough scientists that believe it does. I’m not a scientist. This is something that I think all points of view should be presented.

But last year, he said the intelligent design theory should not be taught in the science classroom:

“I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view,” he said. “I happen to believe in evolution…I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not.

Sounds just like his flip-flops on abortion.

Carl Sagan’s Wisdom Returns

Although Carl Sagan died almost a decade ago, we will receive the benefits of his wisdom once again. The New York Times reports on the publication of The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God based on a series of lectures exploring the boundary between science and religion that Sagan gave 1985. The book was edited by his widow Ann Druyan.

As the article notes, we desperately need such voices of reason today:

In his absence, the public discourse on his favorite issues — the fate of the planet, the beauty and mystery of the cosmos — has not fared well. The teaching of evolution in public schools has become a bitter bone of contention; NASA tried to abandon the Hubble Space Telescope and censor talk of climate change; and of course, religious fanatics crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center, leading to a war in the Middle East that has awakened memories in some corners of the Crusades.

Update: Carl Sagan’s Battle Against Scientific Illiteracy and Irrationality

Amanda Marcotte Resigns From Edwards Campaign To Oppose Tactics of the Religious Right

Amanda Marcotte has posted a notice at Pandagon that she has resigned her position with the Edwards campaign following the attacks from Bill Donohue. Her post begins:

I was hired by the Edwards campaign for the skills and talents I bring to the table, and my willingness to work hard for what’s right. Unfortunately, Bill Donohue and his calvacade of right wing shills don’t respect that a mere woman like me could be hired for my skills, and pretended that John Edwards had to be held accountable for some of my personal, non-mainstream views on religious influence on politics (I’m anti-theocracy, for those who were keeping track). Bill Donohue—anti-Semite, right wing lackey whose entire job is to create non-controversies in order to derail liberal politics—has been running a scorched earth campaign to get me fired for my personal beliefs and my writings on this blog.

In fact, he’s made no bones about the fact that his intent is to “silence” me, as if he—a perfect stranger—should have a right to curtail my freedom of speech. Why? Because I’m a woman? Because I’m pro-choice? Because I’m not religious? All of the above, it seems.

All of the above, but its more than that. Simply working for a Democratic candidate (and the beliefs that would entail) would be enough to become a target of the religious right. Amanda shouldn’t see this as an attack on her as the same attacks would have been raised against anyone who is on record with similar views. The ultimate goal was not really to attack any individual bloggers but take advantage of any opportunity to attack a candidate whose policies don’t fit in with the agenda of the religious right.

One one bright spot here is that Amanda no longer “has a conflict of interest issue anymore that was preventing me from defending myself against these baseless accusations.” She is far freer as a blogger to take on Donohue than she could be as a member of a political campaign.

While we may have differences of opinion with regards to choice of candidate, we can agree in opposing this type of tactic from people like Donohue. In one of my posts on this issue I mentioned that I couldn’t comment on Amanda’s blogging as I had not previously read Pandagon. I hope readers realized that this was simply due to the vast number of blogs which leads to my only reading a small percentage and never a conscioius decision to ignore it. This has changed under the circumstances. I’ve also added Pandagon to the blog roll and am confident that Amanda will receive wide spread support in her current fight against the intolerance of the religious right.