Scandal Day at Memeorandum

Glancing through Memeorandum it looks like this is a big day for coverage of scandals. Of course the major story of the day is Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being arrested for attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. The Swamp figures that he was trying to sell it for well under what it is worth. The seat is now up for sale on E-Bay (with free shipping). Among the interesting side stories is a report that Rahm Emanuel might have been the one to tip off authorities. MoJo Blog notes that three of the last five Illinois governors were charged with some kind of wrongdoing, with an additional one indicted but not charged. This includes two Democrats and two Republicans.

AP reports that the House ethics committee is expanding its investigation of Charles Rangel “to examine whether he protected an oil drilling company from a big tax bill when the head of that company pledged a $1 million donation to a college center named after the congressman.”

CNN reports that “The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s effort to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-sting operation.”

The Daily Beast has an item on The Man Who Brought Down Spitzer.

Dee Dee Myers raises Jon Favreau’s groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton to the level of at least a minor scandal.

With all these stories competing for news space, if there should happen to be a paternity test on the verge of being released on John Edwards’ alleged love child with Rielle Hunter, today might be a good day to let it come out.

Joe The Plumber Appalled by John McCain

Joe the Plumber might have campaigned for John McCain, but he didn’t think much of him. The Politico reports:

Wurzelbacher told conservative radio host Glenn Beck that he felt “dirty” after “being on the campaign trail and seeing some of the things that take place.”

Recalling a conversation he had with McCain about the $700 billion financial industry bailout in September, Wurzelbacher said: “When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen.”

“I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive — they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

Joe might not have liked McCain, but he was sufficiently brainwashed by right wing talking points to support him saying,“honestly, because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more.” Joe is a great example of how Republican scare tactics are effective on the poorly educated and uninformed voters. As further evidence of how uninformed Joe is, he believes “Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal.” If this is truly the new face of the Republican Party they just might suffer the same fate as the Whig Party.

War Declared on “War on Christmas”

In recent years the right wing has tried to stir up their followers by claiming there is a War on Christmas. Americans United has declared war against this divisive tactic:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today called on Religious Right leaders and their allies in the media to stop using Christmas as a vehicle for divisiveness.

As in years past, Religious Right groups are using the Christmas holiday to divide Americans and stir up animosity by falsely claiming that there is a “war on Christmas.” Americans United said it is ironic to see these groups using a season dedicated to peace and understanding to foster conflict.

“The best holiday present we could get this year would be for the Religious Right to stop using Christmas as a club to bash others,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “The Religious Right is making a mockery of the season with a litany of stunts cheaper than dollar-store wrapping paper.”

An example, Lynn said, is an ongoing controversy in Washington state, where government officials have allowed an atheist group to display a sign promoting non-belief near a Nativity scene in the Legislative Building in Olympia. Local Religious Right leaders and their allies in the media have attacked Gov. Christine Gregoire on the issue.

Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly blasted Gregoire on the air and did so again this week in a column distributed nationwide but O’Reilly is omitting key facts. Gregoire is merely following the law. Courts have ruled repeatedly that if religious groups are given access to government facilities to erect private displays, non-religious groups must be given the same right.

In fact, AU noted, Washington’s policy is in place because a Religious Right legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, sued the state in 2006 on behalf of a resident who wanted to erect a Nativity scene in the building. That right must now be extended to other groups and individuals.

As the holiday season moves forward, AU asked Americans to keep in mind the following:

It is not the job of government to promote religion: Christmas has both secular and religious aspects. Governments at all levels are constitutionally barred from promoting religion. People who want a religious experience at Christmas time would do better to go to a house of worship, not city hall.

Private groups may be permitted to display religious symbols on government property if the property in question is a public forum but that means all groups must be given the same access: The Supreme Court has ruled that private citizens and groups can display religious symbols in areas deemed “public forums.” But this right must be granted to other groups as well, religious and non-religious. The government cannot discriminate against groups just because some people might find their message offensive.

American society is diverse, and we should strive to get along: Religious pluralism has exploded in America. We have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Wiccans, non-believers and others among our ranks. Christmas ought to be a time for building bridges of understanding. The Religious Right’s divisive campaign and attempt to take rights away from certain groups is counter to American diversity and our constitutional order.

“‘Peace on Earth’ should be more than just a slogan,” Lynn said. “But we’ll never get there if we continue to allow Religious Right groups to exploit Christmas for their own ends. I urge the American people to reject this mean-spirited campaign.”