Saturday, April 02, 2005

Karol J√≥zef Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II: May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005

I've been trying to write this piece for a few days now, but I haven't been able to quite get my thoughts all out in a way I was happy with. So now that the Pope has passed on, let me keep it simple.

Pope John Paul II, the only Pope I've ever known in my life, will be remembered for his great works on behalf of all of the poor and oppressed people of the world, whether they suffered at the hands of totalitarian communism or unchecked capitalism. He wasn't a political figure, but he was unafraid to take political stands when he felt it was important for his church and his world.

I may have disagreed with some of these stands -- the rejection of liberation theology, the hardline stance against birth control -- but I know I'm not the only Catholic whose respect for the man far outweighed the disagreements.

Pope John Paul II will be sincerely missed by people around the world, Catholic and non-Catholic, Christian and non-Christian, left and right, religious and non-religious alike.

posted by Scott | 4/02/2005 | |

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Threats

Tom DeLay on the passing of Terri Schiavo...

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today."
Steven Soper, a teenage Bush supporter upon learning that his girlfriend planned to vote for John Kerry last fall...

The 18-year-old from Lake Worth had been accepted into the Army and planned to enlist after graduating this spring from Santaluces High School.

But the plan came apart in late October when he attacked his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Sen. John Kerry in the presidential election.

Soper pleaded guilty Wednesday to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence. Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga sentenced Soper to 90 days in jail followed by five years of probation and 100 hours of community service. The judge ordered Soper to write a letter of apology to 18-year-old Stacey Silveira, whom he dated for two years, according to Silveira. Soper is also required to complete a batterers' intervention program, undergo psychological and substance abuse evaluations and complete any recommended treatment.

Silveira's neighbor west of Boynton Beach called 911 on Oct. 26 after seeing Soper carrying Silveira as she screamed "no, no, no," Assistant State Attorney Tim Beckwith said. Soper pointed a knife at Silveira and threatened to kill her, he added. A deputy found evidence of a struggle inside the home, including a broken pot.

Soper dragged Silveira, kicking and screaming, into her house before throwing her to the floor and spitting on her, police reports said. Soper reportedly bit Silveira and then placed a knife in her hand and told her to kill him, because a vote for Kerry would mean he would die anyway.
What the hell country do these people think we live in?

posted by Scott | 3/31/2005 | |

Giuliani Took Money For Tsunami Fundraiser

When Rudy Giuliani was Mayor of New York, I couldn't bring myself to hate him the way most of my friends did. I grew up just outside of NYC and lived there at the peak of the relative peace, quiet, and cleanliness that marked his term as mayor, so I know how much the policies he put in place really revitalized the city. Besides which, he was pretty much a Democrat, running as a Republican in a city where that title certainly does not make one a conservative.

My problems with Giuliani were more based on style than substance. And Giuliani's browbeating bulldog style were really not suited to selling the tough policies he was pushing. As Mary Poppins taught us, a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down. Giuliani's operating theory seemed to be that a crowbar and a funnel would work just as well.

When 9/11 thrust the Mayor into the international spotlight, he saw a future for himself in national politics. Unfortunately, his social liberalism and personal biography are pretty obvious roadblocks to success in the national GOP. So since the end of his term as Mayor, Giuliani has been working to prove his conservative bona fides. This is where I really started souring on the guy. He was trotted out by the Bush campaign at every turn to slam John Kerry and the Democratic Party. For me, it was the ultimate Giuliani nightmare. Rather than pitching urban policy I begrudgingly accepted with a style I hated, he was out there in full force, slamming my party and me. Ugh...

I've repeatedly made the point at this site that Giuliani's personal history and social liberalism most likely preclude him from winning the GOP nomination in 2008. And were he to win the nomination, his close attachment to Bernard Kerik, coupled with his new partnership in an Enron-connected Texas law firm would probably do him in during the general election anyway.

Something's come up now that should put the nail in the coffin of Giuliani's wider political ambitions once and for all. It seems that he was scheduled to speak at an event in South Carolina on February 9, where he would have received his usual $100,000 fee for speaking. But when the tsunami hit Asia just over a month before, the sponsors of the event, the South Carolina Hospital Association, decided to cancel the event and hold a tsunami relief benefit in its place. Giuliani signed up for the new event as well. He even donated $20,000 to the tsunami relief effort through the event.

What was not so clear to the folks in South Carolina is that Giuliani was still being paid his $100,000 fee to speak at the event. So that generous $20,000 donation was really just 20% of his take from the event. No one is saying there's anything patently wrong with this, of course. He's a businessman and gets paid to speak, so... he got paid to speak. He even donated part of his fee back to the fundraiser. But the impression is that Giuliani had to be paid to speak at a tsunami fundraiser, when public figures from Bill O'Reilly to George Clooney and George Bush to Bill Clinton were banding together to donate their time and effort to do basically the same thing.

It was pretty clear that Giuliani was doing the event in South Carolina in order to raise his profile in the critical early GOP primary state. Here's what one GOP political adviser had to say on the topic:

"It is not the gesture of someone who's serious about running for the Republican Presidential nomination or someone who is getting sound political advice about South Carolina," said Nelson Warfield, a Republican political consultant who was press secretary to Bob Dole's bid for the Presidency. "If you want to be President, you have to make some sacrifices, and one sacrifice would be giving it up for free to the good people of South Carolina and the tsunami victims."
If I had to guess, I'd say that this story won't really make it too far in the national media, but that it will get a lot more play in South Carolina and that each and every Republican thinking about running for their party's 2008 nomination has clipped and stored this information, just waiting to spring it on America's Mayor if he also decides to make a run. In the end, Giuliani will remain what he's always been at heart -- a tone-deaf bulldog who may have the raw intelligence for leadership, but lacks the political finesse of Clinton or even Dubya to make it work.

posted by Scott | 3/31/2005 | |
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