Astrology is Bunk

Ezra Klein has repeated my position on astrology in a post entitled Astrology is Bunk.

Ezra’s argument in itself does not disprove astrology, but there are plenty of other arguments beyond this. Ezra quotes Outside of the Beltway:

I caught a few minutes of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR earlier and the host wished a happy birthday to President Bush and the Dalai Lama, both of whom were born on July 6th.

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page quipped, “What does that say about astrology?”

I wonder if this title will subject him to a round of personal attacks and lies as I was subjected to for saying exactly the same.

Update: In response to several email messages, yes, I do know that they are talking about astrology again and no, I don’t see any point in linking to it.

Update II: One of the writers for The Democratic Daily links here calling me an imbecile after totally misstating what I wrote. Using the typical tactics of insult and attacking straw men which are characteristic of that site, he claims I wrote that Bush and the Dalai Lama having the same birth date disproves astrology. As is clear above, I actually wrote that this item discussed on other blogs “does not disprove astrology.” In other words, I wrote the exact opposite of what he claims I wrote. Then he goes on to show the charts of the Dalai Lama and George Bush showing they are different, and indicating that he believes these have meaning.

I’m not sure which is worse–to call me an imbecile after claiming I said the exact opposite of what I actually wrote, or to believe that these astrological charts mean a thing. Maybe next they’ll repeat the attacks they used for after I criticized them for defending anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, or repeat some of the other lies they’ve been so fond of making up about me.

Here’s a hint: Every time you attack me by falling back on astrology, anti-Semitism, transparently faux-feminism, or other such demonstrations of your ignorance and bigotry, I’m not the one that it hurts.

Another hint: Calling someone else an imbecile and then discussing astrology as if it means something is rather contradictory. The moment you defend astrology you have already lost the debate and shown who the true imbecile is.

Update III: This post is continued here.

Majority Supports Impeachment of Bush and Cheney

It looks like my recent post calling for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney is now the mainstream view, and is hardly radioactive as considered by Democratic leaders. An ARG poll asks, “Do you favor or oppose the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush?” 46% of voters answered yes compared to 44% opposing. Independents favored impeachment by a 50% to 30% margin. Unless Democratic leaders are worried about offending die hard Republicans, they have nothing to fear from moving towards impeachment.

The numbers for Dick Cheney are even worse. Voters support impeachment by 50% to 44%. I bet that these margins supporting impeachment would increase for both Bush and Cheney once the evidence against them was laid out.

Democratic leaders have been afraid of impeachment after seeing how it backfired against the Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton. The difference is that the voters realized that the impeachment of Bill Clinton represented an abuse of power by the Republican Congress, while in this case it is George Bush and Dick Cheney who are guilty of abuses of power. It is time for the Democratic leadership to do what is right, and what was intended by the founding fathers, rather than being scared of the political reaction.

The Democratic Congress cannot accomplish very much with a narrow majority and a hostile President. There are, however, two things they can do–impeach Bush and Cheney and cut off funding for the Iraq War. In these cases, such acts would be both the right actions as well as the politically popular ones. In this case, it is Republicans who block conviction, and not the Democrats who pass articles of impeachment, who will pay a political price.

4th of July in San Francisco

I spent 4th of July in San Francisco watching fireworks from Fisherman’s Wharf. So far today we have done conventional tourist activites such as taking pictures on Lombard Street. While I agree on some issues such as opposing the war, I think I’ll stick to the tourist activities as opposed to the 4th of July San Francisco activities I just found out about here. Although conservative sites are claiming this is representative of liberal thought, the views here are quite a bit beyond the views of most of us.

Update: Oh yes, we also supported the free market system, as can be seen by my credit card bills. While the stores around Union Square in San Francisco did some harm, the really dangerous city was Carmel. Tiffany’s and the Coach Store were especially dangerous. Carmel has the most impressive shopping district of any small town I’ve ever seen.

Ron Paul Leads John McCain in Cash on Hand

Back when some called for limiting the debates to the front runners, I argued that minor candidates should be included. Leaving out the minor candidates would be a self-fulfilling prophesy, while including them opens the possibility that more voters would be attracted to such candidates. Ron Paul is turning out to be a perfect example of this. Paul stood out in the debates when he was attacked by the rest of the Republicans for telling the simple truth that American behavior in the middle east played a part in al Qaeda’s decision to attack. Paul did not say, as the right wing noise machine claims, that we are responsible for the attack or that al Qaeda was justified. It was a simple statement of fact in contrast to the simplistic Republican view that they attacked because they hate us for our freedoms.

While Ron Paul has been opposed by Republican candidates and conservative pundits, he has attracted increased support. This is now seen in his fund raising:

Republican Ron Paul tells ABC News that he has an impressive $2.4 million in cash on hand after raising an equal amount during the second quarter, putting him ahead of one-time Republican frontrunner John McCain, who reported this week he has only $2 million in the bank.

In an exclusive interview taped Friday and airing Sunday on “This Week,” Paul said his campaign is on a better trajectory than McCain’s.

“I think some of the candidates are on the down-slope, and we’re on the up-slope,” said Paul.

Paul’s cash on hand puts him in third place in the Republican field in that important metric, although he is well behind leader Rudy Giuliani, who has $18 million in the bank, and Mitt Romney, with $12 million.

Okay, moving ahead of McCain may not be as impressive now as we might have thought at the beginning of the year. Still, when the media decides which candidates are worthy of coverage and which have no chance, Ron Paul deserves to be considered. I still don’t think he has much of a chance of winning the nomination, but who knows. I also wouldn’t have thought he would be ahead of McCain in terms of cash on hand at this point and there is a long way to go.

There are also parallels to the Democratic race here as second quarter fund raising shows Bill Richardson to be on the up-slope while John Edwards’ campaign is experiencing trouble. While I won’t totally write off McCain, he does appear to be in even more difficulty than Edwards as Edwards still shows some hopes for victory if he can maintain his shaky lead in Iowa.

Both Parties Offer Plans on Health Care, But Only One Offers Plans Which Help

The New York Times demonstrates the importance of health care as a political issue by noting that “Sixteen months before Election Day, presidential candidates in both parties are promising to overhaul the system and cover more — if not all — of the 44.8 million people without insurance.” They provide brief overviews of the positions of several of the candidates.

To the degree that 1) health care is an important issue and 2) we have a real debate as opposed to a campaign won by the distortions and hysteria which will inevitably be created by the right wing noise machine, the Republicans can be in serious trouble. While the article is correct that the Republican candidates are also talking about health care, they are not providing any plans which will actually make things any better. I have already discussed the faults in Giuliani’s ideas on health care, as well as his demagoguery in calling Democratic proposals, which are very similar to those enacted in states under Republican Governors, “socialized medicine.”

Even the Democrats are not immune to criticism on the issue. Hillary Clinton has the problem of having proposed an overly-complex plan in the past, making her hesitant to provide details so far in this campaign cycle. Many in the liberal blogosphere are also criticizing the Democrats for not going far enough, such as at Firedoglake today. I do not think that a Canadian-style single payer plan will be accepted here immediately, and would prefer to see this option provided on a voluntary basis to those too old to obtain private coverage at an affordable rate by expanding Medicare. There is also value in such calls for a single payer plan as this positions the Democratic proposals as less radical and may help thwart the false claims (such as those debunked by Factcheck from Giuliani) that Democrats support socialized medicine. Firedoglake‘s post follows a viewing of Sicko in which Michael Moore does an excellent job of demonstrating the problems with our current system but also overlooks the problems in other plans. I previously reviewed Sicko here.

SciFi Friday: Doctor Who Season Three Ending, and Beginning

The third season of Doctor Who has ended in Great Britain (as well as for those of us who have downloaded episodes after they aired) and is just beginning in the United States. Before airing the third season the Christmas episode, The Runaway Bride, will be shown in which Catherine Tate played Donna, The Doctor’s companion for the single episode. In the first episode of season three, The Doctor meets medical student Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, who becomes his companion for the entire season. As I noted in my review of the final episode of the season, Martha left The Doctor at the end of the season with hints that she will return.

The BBC has released further information on plans for upcoming episodes. Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue will play The Doctor’s companion in this year’s Christmas episode. When season four begins next spring, Catherine Tate will reprise her role as Donna. After the last couple of seasons with romantic under tones between The Doctor and his last two companions, this might bring about a change in atmosphere. The outspoken Donna might turn out to be a real challenge for The Doctor.

Next year Freema Agyeman will join Captain Jack and appear in a few episodes of the Doctor Who spin off Torchwood. Martha Jones will then return to Doctor Who for the second half of the season.

Wexler Calls for Censure of George Bush

Following the decision of George Bush to commute the sentence of Lewis Libby I called for a Congressional investigation with the purpose of considering impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The House Judiciary Committee plans to begin hearings next week on the misuse of clemency. As it is unlikley there will be enough Republican votes supporting conviction in the Senate, some are looking at alternatives to impeachment. Congressman Robert Wexler, a member of the Judiciary Committee has drafted a Congressional resolution “censuring President George W. Bush for his egregious and politically motivated commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence.” A copy of the resolution is under the fold.

Censure might be the most realistic action but is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind for the actions committed by George Bush. Donklephant examined  “how the framers dealt with the impeachment and pardon powers during the Constitutional Convention” and  noted this quote from James  Madison:

George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or, before indictment or conviction, “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” James Madison responded: “[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty….”