Friday, March 31, 2006

Put your money where your mouth is

I did today, in a way I've never done before. I went to ActBlue and gave money to a candidate that will not represent me, but who does represent my values and ethics. Not a lot of money, as we're not flush right now. But something. Now, why in the world would I do such a thing? I get nothing from it, right? Ha.

I've been reading a great deal about the impact the blogosphere can have on elections around the country. There was an extremely informative post on Daily Kos about how giving money to candidates in the early months of a campaign can tremendously impact the future of that campaign. It's not a new idea (witness EMILY), but it's an idea whose time has definitely come in the fight to regain Democratic coverage of the US. And I decided to join the impact.

I'm supporting candidates through ActBlue/Netroots. Netroots is suggesting you support some specific candidates that have generated interest in the blogosphere. You can read more about this here.

Why fundraise in this way against Bushites and their ilk? Here are a couple of good reasons. How about because of Condi Rice's admission of "thousands" of tactical errors in Iraq by the US? What a load of hooey. Let's say we're sorry, get some good character points for doing so, and keep making the same kinds of errors.

It's not like Bush is actually making anyone PAY for those errors, is he? Other than the thousands of soldier and military folks who've died over there, of course.

Or how about fundraising against Republicans because Bush is now trying to undermine the very quasi democracy he sought to installed in Iraq. Apparently we don't much care for the leader Iraq elected. Problem: how do you get rid of a duly-elected official in a country in which you've ousted the government to replace it with democracy, which elected the duly-elected official?

It is awfully hard to accept that other countries do not way to govern the way we do. That other countries might elect horrible people to lead them.

Oh. Forgot. We've done that. Should Palestinians or Iraqis come here and attempt to bring out government down, by hook or by crook? Interesting problem. But one we wouldn't have if Bush et al weren't leading.

How about electing different people than we've got leading us now because we don't want membership to the Country Club USA to become two tiered? Guest worker programs that don't lead to citizenship are bad. Josh Marshall says it well: "It's bad for America to have a permanent class of residents who are here for their labor but who are permanently barred from becoming citizens. It's bad for our society. It's bad for the immigrants. And it's bad for citizens who have to compete for jobs against an inherently exploitable class of whatever amounts to 21st century coolie labor."

Lastly, why don't we elect some people who have guts? Hardly anyone, Republican nor Democrat, currently representing US is ponying up to call for a Bush censure for breaking the law and spying on Americans. Geez, John Dean thinks the Republicans blew it here. Hello? Where are you, Obama and Durbin? It's embarrassing that my own personal liberal Democrats aren't supporting this.

So, consider tossing down $20 to help a candidate officially unrelated to your political representational life. Who knows what could happen if we all pitched in? Maybe take back one of our representational bodies?

Until sometime soon,

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A veritable potpourri of topics

Because there's so much out there to read, and so little time in which to read it, I'm reading it for you and telling you what's worth reading. :-) You're welcome.

Dan over at Street Prophets has a tremendously wonderful (hey, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood today and I'm feeling full of adjectives) squib about why people who know gay people and like them are still somehow full of the heebie-jeebies when they think about "Gay People Getting Married", and what liberals can do about it.

Best quote? "(S)ometimes the best way to advance your moral values is to advance somebody else's economic values, thereby giving them the space they need to take a long, deep breath, and realize that the problem isn't gay people getting married at all."

Speaking of economics and moral values, there's good discussion going on over at the TMP Cafe about changes in the Democratic party, specifically looking at the guest worker program. Good thing someone's more articulate and brighter than me, and can better state why this is so not a good idea, as well as illuminate how we Democrats have drifted right on economics. Much of this was new to me, and maybe to you, too.

Best quote? "Now there's an issue for the Democrats in 2006 that permits them to be pro-business and pro-immigrant all at once. Progressives demand taxpayer subsidies for ALL sweatshops on American soil!"

And speaking of sweatshops on American soil, fine article in The Washington Monthly about Walmart titled "Everyday Low Vice: How Much Should We Hate Walmart?" I was very pleased to see the my boycott of Walmart (and now Sam's Club, sniff sniff ouch in the wallet) is on good foundation, indeed. Walmart remains despicably anti-worker, and ought to be boycotted by every person who cares about low-wage workers.

Best quote? "Although Target and Kmart both take pains to head off workers who might organize a union—Costco, by contrast, has some unionized employees—Wal-Mart still leads the competition. Over the past 10 years, the NLRB or its administrative law judges have determined in at least 11 cases that Wal-Mart or individual Wal-Mart stores were engaging in unfair labor practices to prevent unionization, according to the agency's website. In that same period, both Target's and Costco's records appear to have remained clean."

OK. Three short items of interest.

How can the high court of Massachusetts say that out of staters who undertake gay marriages in Mass do not have legitimate marriages if their home states ban such marriages? Does that mean if Illinois bans marriage between second cousins anMassachusettsts does not, those Illinoisan second cousins who marry in Mass also do not have legitimate marriages? I'll bet it doesn't. I can't imagine this ruling standing. But that's logic talking, now isn't it?

And why, though we've known for years that oil is going to run out, have we continued to accept that the auto companies are using technological advances to make faster and bigger cares, rather than cars than get better gas mileage? Why haven't we forced our government to force automakers to make these cars? Why do we care so much about "zip"?

The NYTimes said, "If 2005 model vehicles, with their better technology, had the performance and size of those in 1987, they would use only 80 percent of the gasoline they do today, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That alone would get the country nearly halfway to the goal President Bush set in his State of the Union address: to cut American oil consumption enough to nearly eliminate the need to import from the Middle East."

Hmm. Unlikely that our oil-producing President really wants to achieve that goal, don't you think?

And last, but not least, the Senate received a report yesterday indicating that DC is no closer to being prepared for 9/11 (or Katrina or the bird flu) than it was five years ago. There's no detailed strategic plan and no detailed evacuation plan. Sure glad I don't live in our nation's capital. Apparently this is a local, rather than national, failing. And DC's governing has never been a role model. But wouldn't you think the federal government would be a bit worried about this?

Sorry. Dumb question. The federal government is too busy worrying about the terrorists from Mexico smuggling in Weapons of Mass Destruction inside their tamales.

Until sometime soon,

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Security. I'm all for it. Aren't you? Being a good little urban yet suburban dweller, I lock my doors, look over my shoulders at night, check my car before I get in it after dark. On a broader scale, I don't relish 9/11 happening in my region. I'd prefer that terrorists keep doing their terrorizing overseas, where they belong. That's why I live here. I'm over seas. From THEM.

Whoever THEY are.

And your President (he's still not mine, even after my liberal lapse yesterday) has been milking my need for security for all its worth. He won his second term doing so, scaring good little girls turned women into voting for him.

But funny thing. We're still not very secure here, apparently. We've got to build fences down south to keep those Mexicans out, and part of the reason I kept hearing was "security". What, are illegal immigrants sneaking Weapons of Mass Destruction into America hidden in tamales or something? Weak and lame, boys and girls.

And we still can't keep those Weapons of Mass (or Minor) Destruction of planes, despite spending billions of dollars attempting to do so. Undercover investigators snuck enough radioactive stuff to make two dirty bombs last year. Homeland Security defended itself by saying the amount snuck in was "minimal". Weak and lame, boys and girls.

Well, now we've got the Democrats trying to make security their issue. They've actually managed to agree on something, and are putting all of their various proposals together (going back as far as the 2004 Presidential election) as a package. "See? We do care about security. And we'll do it better than those damn Republicans have so far."

They're pretty excited about the plan over at Daily Kos. I'm not quite as thrilled. I think it's an error to not at least attempt a Murtha Time Table for withdrawal from Iraq. Despite Bush's latest spin attempt to pin the blame on Hussein for the current civil war in Iraq, the longer America is there, the longer civil war remains most uncivil, killing thousands of Iraqis. But I far trust the Democrats to see the broad picture of the mosaic of Iraq than I do the Republicans, at this point, without or without a time table.

Speaking of trust, I wouldn't have put much money down on the notion that this Supreme Court would make me feel warm and cozy while they discussed whether or not Bush has the unilateral power to try war criminals, and whether the Supreme Court should even be looking at this issue. Yet, at least 5 of them sounded pretty disgusted with both notions that they shouldn't be looking at this issue during war time. Yippee!

I'm feeling more secure by the moment. :-)

Until sometime soon,

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hey, look who's back!

C'est moi. :-) It's not really worth explaining where I've been. The short story would be vacation and continued problems with severe fatigue. But, after simply cutting a pill in half on a daily basis for one week, I'm much better now. Peachy keen, even. Go figure.

And I'm terribly concerned that, while on my hiatus, I've turned into a Republican. I even, shudder, shudder, found myself agreeing with one thing our President said on tv. Fortunately, I can't remember what it was, other than it was about immigration.

Maybe I shouldn't be cutting those pills in half, even if it does make me feel better . . . .

So. About immigration. I guess I'm just not liberal enough. Why, exactly, should we legalize the citizenship of those who have come here illegally? Seems like we allow a whole lot of people to immigrate here to begin with. Our legal borders are pretty porous, let alone our easily crossed physical borders. And I'm fine with that. The legally porous borders, that is.

My most recently imported relative was my Great Grandpa Thompson, who emigrated from England to Chicago. After that, I have to move to three and four greats to find my immigrant relatives. But even those who have been here since the 1600s immigrated from somewhere else. And I want our borders open enough to let in people who are following their dreams, just as my ancestors did.

But. You just knew there was a but here. Why in heaven's name does anyone have a problem with having an actual physical border fence placed between us and Mexico? Either put up a damn fence and stop people from wandering in and out at will (practically), or open the floodgates and rid ourselves of all immigration quotas and requirements. And, if you're going to have immigration rules, then why not enforce them?

Do I think that being an illegal immigrant should be a felony? Nope. Why would we want to fill our jails with non-citizens? Makes no sense to feed, clothe, and educate, let alone punish those who are not citizens. It's a stupid idea. But enforcing the current rules, which make illegal immigration a civil immigration offense should be a no-brainer.

Then there's the whole issue of criminalizing the assistance of illegal immigrant. The Senate bill removed a portion of the bill that would made it a felony to help illegal immigrants (other than in emergencies). I'm surprised to find myself somewhat oogly about this issue. No, of course I don't believe it should be a felony to assist illegals. And I don't believe that people in need should go without. But I have some doubt as to the rightness of helping those who are breaking the law. Should our resources go to those who are here legally first? Don't we have enough citizens who are hurting, who need our help?

I dunno.

I don't think our borders should be tighter because of 9/11, homeland security, and all that Republican scary, scary stuff. I think our borders should be tighter because US citizenship, despite all that the Republicans HAVE done, is still a sought-after privilege. The benefits that accompany that privilege are huge. Our national debt is huge, too. We simply don't have the funds to provide those privileges to the entire world. Do we?

Part of my not understanding has to do with the huge groundswell of support for illegal immigrants. "People are joining in so spontaneously, it's almost like the immigrants have risen. I would call it a civil rights movement reborn in this country." A civil rights movement? I don't think so. Seems kind of insulting to the African American citizens who fought for the privileges that they should have been afforded by their government under the Constitution. Their Constitution. Their country's Constitution.

Here's a quote from a young man who is a the son of illegal immigrants. "It's not fair to workers here to just kick them out without giving them a legal way to be here. To be treated as criminals after all the work they did isn't fair." Son, there was a legal way for them to be here. It's called following the immigration policies of the US. Your parents chose to ignore them. Probably chose to ignore them for good reason. To better themselves, and their family. But ignore them they did.

Criminalize them? No, nor demonize them. But it's not unfair or wrong to expect those who want the privileges of US citizenship to follow the rules to get those privileges. Does that mean some will be unable to obtain those privileges. Yes. Life is unfair, sometimes.

It's not anti-immigration to enforce immigration laws, nor is it racist. It's anti-ILLEGAL immigration--from anywhere. Huge difference, me thinks.

Now, you want to talk anti-immigrant? The McCain-Kennedy guest worker proposal is anti-immigrant. If we want to support immigrants, we want to support those who want to become citizens. Why encourage people to come, take low-wage jobs with little to no protection for themselves, and leave? Tamar Jacoby says it best. "It might make sense initially, these voters said, to admit workers on a provisional basis. It might also make sense to create incentives for the more transient to go home at the end of their work stints. But if they worked hard, put down roots and invested in their communities, wouldn't we want to encourage them to stay? Don't we want immigrants to assimilate? Don't we want to attract the kind of hard-working, committed folks who plan for the future and invest?"

Until sometime soon,