"We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th attacks."
George W. Bush -- September 17, 2003
To the extend that George Bush had retained the slightest shred of dignity through the whole ugly Iraq imbroglio, it was found in his refusal to fully embrace the biggest of the Big Lies told by his aides: The claim that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had played a role in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
As you all have heard, Karl Rove said liberals wanted to offer the terrorists therapy after 9/11. I know a lot of liberals. None of them were talking about counseling Osama bin Laden in that terrible time. But there is one person liberals would like to see in therapy: Karl Rove. How else to understand the enemy?
I'd like to know what terrible childhood trauma caused an Episcopalian from Utah to believe establishing a permanent Republican majority was his life's calling. Was he abused by a homeless man? Did feminists burn his American flag notebook at a pro-choice rally? Was he humiliated by a member of the liberal elite during graduate studies at the University of Texas?
I'd like to see Rove take a word association test. How does Karl feel when he hears the phrase "push pull polls" or "merge/purge" or "dirty tricks"?
In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, then-President Thomas Jefferson made it clear that the intent of the founders was to maintain a "wall of separation between church and state." It was for that reason, Jefferson explained, that the First Amendment to the Constitution barred the government of the new nation from engaging in the promotion of a particular religion.
Jefferson and the other founders had no doubts about the need to prevent any mingling of the affairs of church and state. They had seen the damage done to government and religion by the state religions of Europe -- particularly, though not exclusively, King George III's Church of England -- and they wanted to assure that the United States would avoid the patterns of hatred, discrimination and violence that arise when one faith is officially sanctioned. They also recognized the advantages that came with keeping politicians out of pulpits and preachers out of policymaking. Though many of the founders were Christians, they held dramatically different views regarding the practice of religion. And, as George Washington and others made clear, they respected the contributions made to the new Republic by Jews and other non-Christians.
History has proven the concerns of the founders to have been well placed. When Jefferson's wall has been maintained, the American experiment has been at its best: welcoming, tolerant, open to new ideas and respectful of science, reason and progress.
Considered one of the world's most promising new HIV-prevention technologies by scientists and medical professionals, microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women could apply topically to prevent the transmission of AIDS and other infections. Microbicides could come in many forms like gels, creams or rings and would allow women to protect themselves whether a man wore a condom or not.
Developing and bringing a safe, effective microbicide to market could literally save millions of lives, but barely two percent of the US budget for HIV/AIDS research (already scandalously low) is spent toward this goal. To remedy this and kick-start work on what will eventually be hailed as a revolutionary medical breakthrough, Reps. Chris Shays (R-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) will introduce the Microbicide Development Act (MDA) in the House this summer. The Global Campaign for Microbicides is organizing support for the bill as well as spearheading other efforts to increasing funding for R&D.
This August marks the fortieth anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Upon sending the bill to Congress, Lyndon Johnson stated, "But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of Americaâ€¦to secure for [African-Americans] the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too."
Yet, with approximately 4.7 million US citizens still disenfranchised--a vastly disproportionate number of them African-American--the promise of the Voting Rights Act remains unfulfilled. Today, 13 percent of all American black men are ineligible to vote due to draconian felony disenfranchisement laws.
But last week, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa announced that on July 4th, he will restore voting rights to thousands of Iowans, reversing an unjust state law that imposes lifetime disenfranchisement for anyone convicted of a felony
Rarely in recent years has Washington seen so dramatic a clash between the legislative and executive branches as was witnessed Thursday, when U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Masschusetts, went after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the question of whether the Pentagon chief should resign for mismanaging the war in Iraq.
"This war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged. And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying. And there really is no end in sight," Kennedy said, as the Secretary of Defense sat opposite him during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Arguing that "the American people, I believe, deserve leadership worthy of the sacrifices that our fighting forces have made, and they deserve the real facts," Kennedy told Rumsfeld, "I regret to say that I don't believe that you have provided either."