|[mjj, posted 3/11/06, 18:12]|
IraqRunupLand -- a research tool for exploring the runup to the Iraq War
A unique research tool derived from the magnificent summary,
Carving Up the New Iraq produced by Neal Mackay for the Sunday Herald, on 13 April 2003. The key figures he identified, and his descriptions of them, can help you re-research the runup to the Iraq war. It's pretty frightening to see what was being said in those days. Click on key names in the runup to the Iraq War to prepare deep searches of Google, Yahoo, or MSN, via prepared options. Searches open in a new window.
|[mjj, posted 3/11/06, 16:5]|
Abramoffland -- a research tool for exploring the Abramoff Scandal
A unique research tool to help make sense of the complicated scandal centered around Jack Abramoff, and facilitate searching on interesting connections... helps the user prepare deep searches of Google, Yahoo, or MSN, via prepared options. Searches open in a new window.
|[mjj, posted 12/31/04, 18:56]|
Torts and Citizen Protection
I was talking with my son recently; he made the mistake of saying "we have a problem with lawsuits in this country" while I was driving.
When I drive, I'm in control of the vehicle, and that spills over into the conversation. "Careful what you say," I said, and then proceeded to move into rant mode, discoursing on the problem of judicial reform.
A couple of decades ago, Reagan Republicans had a mantra of "deregulation." The principle was that regulation was sand in the gears of the machine of American commerce; that regulations were onorous, that "government regulations" were synonymous with "red tape" and were always preceded by the adjective "burdensome."
"That's a matter for the private sector, not government, to handle," they said, as they noted that flight-attendant lawsuits were driving airlines to restrict smoking on flights; that consumer lawsuits were driving kid's pajama manufacturers to preclude flammable fabrics; that patient lawsuits were driving hospitals to safer practices.
They got enough people to buy into that "burdensome government regulations" theme that they could justify eviscerating them -- thereby removing a key citizen protections.
The government can be, through its regulatory and legal system, the best (if not the only) protection a citizen has from the predatory practices of the powerful. Without regulation, the "societal commons" -- air quality, water quality, soil quality, airwave use, product safety, health care, etc. -- is driven by the profit motive, rather than a motive of public good. The profit motive can lead to abuse.
Without regulation, large fees can be charged those poor folks without bank accounts, just for cashing a paycheck. Enron-scale manipulations can go unrecognized, costing citizens dramatically. Pollution can go unchecked, since no one's minding the store. Long-term quality of life can be sacrificed in the interests of short-term profit.
And now, after they've hamstrung governmental regulations (via the justification that lawsuits will prevent the most egregious faults, and that we don't want "faceless bureaucrats" making policy and regulations), they now want to eviscerate the last protection a citizen has: the ability to sue a company, a corporation, or a powerful entity in a way that hurts economically.
Without expensive penalties for misbehavior, what motivation do multi-billion-dollar corporations have to protect individuals, much less environments, or the future?
Without expensive penalties for stupidity, what motivation does, for example, McDonald's (also here) have to change its behavior, since there's plenty of economic reasons to produce coffee at 185 degrees (instead of the industry norm of 135-145)?
Without expensive remedies for stupidity, what motivation does a coal company have to do real bioremediation? Only government regulation? If that's gone, then what?
The dittohead line that "lawsuits are out of control" may be a simplistic, dangerously reflexive response, based on bad information. In reality, judges and juries generally respond with sanity, and within reasonable limits. However, if "tort reform" is pushed forward, we may lose the best defense a citizen has -- the ability to sue, if a large and powerful entity rides roughshod in the the pursuit of profit.
After that long rant, my son was clear. "Papa, this is probably the fourth time in as many years that you've made that point. I meant that *people* are too quick to look to *legal* remedies when other remedies may be available..."
Ah. That's true too. :-/
|[mjj, posted 12/21/04, 6:0]|
On Receiving Harvard Medical School Global Environment Citizen Award
Bill is truly a world citizen and humanitarian.
|[mjj, posted 12/21/04, 5:59]|
The Godly Must Be Crazy: Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment
scary, and fits with what I observed 8 years ago, on the 700 Club...
|[mjj, posted 11/17/04, 9:30]|
IBM Launches Global Computing Grid To Support Research Nov. 16, 2004
This is the sort of thing we should see more of--smart innovations.
As part of a broader effort to spur collaborative research in key industries, IBM on Tuesday launched a project through which home PC users can "donate" computer power to help researchers solve problems ranging from the spread of AIDS to earthquake forecasting.
As envisioned, researchers using the World Community Grid, as IBM is calling the project, would be able to tap into PCs worldwide through software that can link millions of individual computers to form a giant, virtual supercomputer. At the other end of the network, philanthropically minded home PC users can attach their machines to the grid through a secure sign-in process at World Community Grid. IBM is launching the project in partnership with United Devices Inc.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano unveiled the initiative at a customer event in New York City. Going forward, most business and scientific innovation will occur in collaborative environments supported by technology such as the World Community Grid, Palmisano said. Innovation, he added, "is no longer the domain of the individual inventor."
|[mjj, posted 11/17/04, 9:22]|
New CIA Chief Tells Workers to Back Administration Policies
This is not what the CIA is supposed to do--it is supposed to provide impartial investigation.
Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work," a copy of an internal memorandum shows.
"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."
While his words could be construed as urging analysts to conform with administration policies, Mr. Goss also wrote, "We provide the intelligence as we see it -- and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."
|[mjj, posted 11/16/04, 8:50]|
Principles of Democracy
This is what we tell the world. Quotable quotes galore, straight from the government's own mouth. These need to be injected into mainstream discourse.
Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.
|[mjj, posted 11/15/04, 18:51]|
Sorry, Everybody (the visual)
I find myself wanting to cry, wandering through the "www.sorryeverybody.com" site. Sorry, World, from the 49%, is the theme.
Hundreds, thousands of images, uploaded by people worldwide, but mostly from the US.
I put mine in; it is at gallery page 467.
Fabulous, diverse, kind, human, people I'd like to meet. International folks who accept our apologies.
Handwritten text, on a spiral pad, held by someone we can half-see:
-- half of America"
A woman in front of a map, holding a landscape sheet of paper:
I wish we were nicer.
A few of my favorites:
I could go on, but that wouldn't be fair to them. They are apparently breaking even, with volunteer work. Though I would work on the interface, I find the whole enterprise so heart-lifting. There are people who are appalled, worldwide--and they are compatriots.
There are compatriots for sanity, out there in the world. We must build connection engines, to bring these people together. We must raise a hue and cry, worldwide, for humane, sane, moderate, compassionate, and kind choices, politically and culturally and environmentally.
What a wonder, this site is, just because it exists. Our extremes are a subculture, perhaps (and perhaps must be, to be an extreme); but our tribe is the one that keeps the spirit alive.
Our tribe is the one that is infused with intentional kindness and brotherhood. Our tribe wants to share, and help. We find war, and cruelty, and poverty, and injustice abhorrent, disgusting, and all the more a crime, if intended.
|[mjj, posted 11/15/04, 11:56]|
So Sorry, Everybody
Thousands of americans posting pictures apologizing. Check out the Gallery--it's moving, will break your heart, and cheer your spirit.
|[mjj, posted 11/14/04, 17:0]|
The Road Forward
A wise woman responds with kindness and compassion.
On election night, I felt an intensity of grief, rage and anguish that rivaled any of the worst nights of my life. Not so much that Kerry lost, but that millions of people could vote for Bush, apparently because they define ‘morality’ as preventing two people who love each other from making a legally-recognized commitment, while turning a blind eye to a regime that has invaded another country for totally invalidated reasons, lied to the American people, legitimized sexual torture, and all the rest of it. It’s enough to challenge one’s faith not just in Americans, but in the essential goodness of human beings. Can we apply to join another species? The wolves, perhaps?
I want to acknowledge my own grief, rage and despair. People often look to me for words of hope—and I have some—but they come only when I let myself feel just as rotten and awful as I’m sure you do. Van Jones, organizer of Books Not Bars here in the Bay Area, says we need to learn to grieve as a movement, and also to celebrate—and the two are linked. This is a moment to grieve, which means also to yell and scream and be mad as hell, to question whether life makes any sense at all, and then maybe to crawl under the covers and rest, for a bit.
Yesterday, I really didn’t want to get out of bed, but I went to the demonstration anyway. I would have liked to curl up in fetal position and sleep for possibly the next four years, but I roused myself to go down to the plaza and join those hard core souls who had planned to rally and march for health care regardless of who won. I did it because I felt it is exactly what we need to do, the counterintuitive thing—advance instead of retreat, carry on, see our friends, support each other, share our grief, rage and shock. It felt good, to march down Market Street, to stop at the hotels where workers are striking and support them, to make some small, renewed effort at continuing to build the alliances we need.
All day I kept thinking about the vision I had at our Spiral Dance ritual, the certainty that we are on the good road. I remember John Kerry said, “You can be certain and still be wrong.” But I also remembered the voice I heard in the vision saying over and over that the good road does not look very different, at its beginning, from any other road.
We all know that the changes we need to make are deep and systemic, that no politician’s victory will make them for us. Had Kerry won, I believe we would be on an easier road. Now the way ahead will be hard and stony, but it may be clearer and there may be unexpected twists and turns ahead. And it may yet turn out to be steeper but shorter than the easier path.
Many good things happened in the last few weeks. We mobilized many, many people to become active and engaged. Many progressives set aside their own deep disappointment with many of Kerry’s positions to work hard to assure access to voting for all, and to prevent the worst abuses of the electoral process. We strengthened many of the coalitions we will need to transform power in this country and the world. Although the media and the Republicans will try to spin this as a mandate for the worst of Bush’s policies, we have built a broader, deeper, more committed opposition than we have seen in this country in a long, long time. Now we must nurture those alliances and turn opposition into a clearer, positive alternative vision—and a longterm strategy for getting there.
We need time to reflect on these last days. It is easy to rush into analysis and blame and learn the wrong things. So I want to be cautious in offering thoughts prematurely on what we should do now. However, one lesson I take away from this last month is this: As progressives, as radicals, those of us who are far left of the left, anarchists even, cannot afford to ignore or disdain the electoral process. Not because we see it as fair or just or empowering—which it is not—nor even a potential arena for power, but because it is a powerful arena for mobilizing people and building the alliances we need to transform power.
There are some things we can do immediately. We can contact our senators and representatives and demand a full and thorough investigation into all the voting irregularities, especially the voting machines that gave results so mysteriously at odds with the exit polls. Whether or not the number of missed votes would have elected Kerry this time, we need to push for clean and fair elections for the times ahead.
We can support each other. As I’ve been traveling around the country, I see many progressive groups faltering or splintering not over deep political divisions but out of frustration with interpersonal conflicts. Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, think of one irritating ally you have trouble getting along with, and resolve to allow them just a little more leeway for being imperfect and human. We will never have the luxury of building a movement solely of likeable, congenial friends. We need to develop more skills for resolving conflicts among us, and a realization that even annoying people can still have common goals and take common action together. Now, more than ever, we need to, strengthen our solidarity, give each other comfort and succor, know that we are all in this together, and together we can make it through.
We can start thinking about how to build our base, proactively. The right wing came to power by starting small and local, taking over school boards, organizing door to door and house to house. We can create living examples of alternatives in our communities, making our positive visions real. We can turn our frustration, rage and disappointment into creative action. Last night, we had a beautiful march, of maybe five thousand people, all the way through San Francisco from downtown out to the neighborhood where I live, exuberant, defiant, saying, “We’re still here!” We came back home, shared food and conversation and frustration and sorrow with good friends and neighbors, experiencing the healing balm of community.
And I remembered, marching, that we are on the good road when we choose to be, with each step. When we choose compassion, choose freedom, choose hope, choose to resist injustice, choose to serve life. We do have a hard road ahead, and making those choices will not be easy. It will require an effort of will, like it did to get out of bed and go downtown to march. It will require sustained, stubborn effort when times get tough. Making systemic change is like home renovation—it always takes at least twice as long and costs twice as much as you expect.
But we can still step out onto that good road, if we refuse to give up, refuse to go back, refuse to hide, refuse to flee. And instead, with courage, with hearts open and open eyes, let us take hands and go forward together.
www.starhawk.org >(Feel free to forward and post this—all other rights reserved.)
|[mjj, posted 11/14/04, 16:53]|
Sheep, and Goats, and Wolves, and the Least of These
There are profound truths in the Bible, as any religious scholar--from the Unitarian to the Muslim to the Jew to the Buddhist--will tell you.
I am not a believer in the absolute literality of the Bible -- bluntly, anything that's been translated four times (Hebrew to Latin to German to English) minimum can't be taken literally. But those profound truths (in the tales, in the lessons, in the teachings) are worth exploring, especially when it pertains to a fundamental paradox in the Conservative orthodoxy.
If we are to truly be a Christian -- that is, Christ-ian, Christ-like -- nation, then must study the prince of peace's teachings. And in so doing, many of the recent actions of our nation are, to our shame, called into question.
It is not enough to ask "what would Jesus do" only when meeting a homeless person.
"What would Jesus do" if he were the head of Health and Human Services? In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus' famous "least of these" passage is put in terms even four translations couldn't blunt.
[Jesus] ... will say to [the sheep] at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."
Um... how much clearer do you need to be? Well, maybe a little clearer . Jesus goes on to say to the goats on his left hand:
"You who are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me..."
Ok, so if Jesus was head of Health and Human Services, he'd be pressuring the President a bit more, I'd say, to
Now, I tend to simplify this list, by saying "help the helpless" or even just "help those in need."
Currently, the Conservatives believe that everyone should be free to lift themselves by their own bootstraps. Everyone should be free to be an entrepreur, and make the most of the free market.
That works ok, if you're an entrepreur, or one of the elite, or have tremendous get-up-and-go, talent, and smarts.
But "the least of these" are not those people. "The least" are, by definition, the ones who are preyed upon by the wolves described above. They are the ones who will never quite be able to get a good "new economy" job, with health insurance and a 401(k). Instead he will be stuck working for Mr. Man, getting a paycheck every two weeks that is mostly taken up by rent and groceries and childcare.
"The least of these" are those who have been forgotten, or ignored, or hidden away -- the retarded, the malformed, the psychotic, the ugly -- who are routinely shunned by the Conservatives.
"Pull your own weight" and "Free to succeed" might work for the healthy, but the sick may simply be unable to do so. How does the "Conservative orthodoxy" deal with this paradox? How do we create a compassionate America, that takes pride in its help for its poor, its treatment of its bad elements, and the quality of its welcome to strangers?
- feed those who are hungry
- give water to those who are thirsty
- welcome strangers
- clothe the naked
- help those in prison
As a lifelong Unitarian (though my mother once instructed my small self to, if someone asked, say "Methodist" because it would take less explaining), I've learned about a multitude of beliefs, but learned in depth only those which I cared to explore. I find Starhawk's heartfelt plea for compassion and honesty tremendously compelling. I also find Jesus's teachings deeply wise.
Matthew 25's "least of these" teachings was always one of my favorites. I remembered it, held it to my heart, and thought of it often.
Now, in this context, I went out hunting for background on Matthew 25. In the process, I ran across:
- an amazing instance of a gambling link ad, at the very bottom of a WWJD document on "bibleweb.com"
- an sweet, authentically kind reading (much nicer than mine) of the "least of these" doctrine
|[mjj, posted 11/14/04, 12:32]|
The Least of These:
The key "social justice" and key "WWJD" passage in the Bible.
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”
40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”
44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”
45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
|[ses, posted 11/11/04, 18:38]|
Measuring What's Important
SOME governments are trying to change the way national value is assessed. Maybe it's not all about economic growth. Let's talk about these 'moral values' instead.
A dialogue and research project aimed at developing indicators and programs for true value, sustainable development and well being for nations and organizations.
|[mjj, posted 11/10/04, 14:49]|
Are We Doing The Will of God?
This has to be the question asked by any religiously righteous person living in a Red state. This has to be the question used as the main lens through which the Nascar moms and the hoedown boys and the Evangelist rockabilly fans view the world.
How do we manifest the Will of God? There are many gods, of course, large and small. There are things unknown, mysteries of life into which "more research is needed" forever. But for many, God is a Will, a Purpose, a Reason for the constant mystery of their own life.
How do we ask the right questions, questions which the Evangelical must answer through this lens? How do we convince them that the side of the angels is what we share, in fundamental ways?
Is it God's Will to privatize Social Security? It depends on how it's structured. The idea is great if you're young, have a good salary, and always work in formal jobs. For the millions who live in poverty, and who have little or no formal income, it's likely a loss. What would Jesus say about privatizing Social Security?
Is it God's Will that the financial sector make billions in transaction fees, or is it more in keeping with God's will that it be run as a nonprofit, like TIAA-CREF? Which would Jesus support?
What is the Will of God regarding war? Does God relish death, and reward destruction? Does God support bombing cities? Is it the Will of God (or Allah) that civilians be killed in the pursuit of political change?
|[mjj, posted 11/9/04, 19:2]|
Direct Communication, the antidote to corporate communications
We have had enough of broadcast, it seems to me.
We have had enough of PAC-roots drives -- though ACT, MoveOn, and others did fabulous work before (and will need to do such work again).
We have had enough of centralized coordination. Unfortunately, it is single-voiced. What we need (dare I say it) is more nuanced activism.
We need person-to-person contact. I experimented with this in the waning days of the 2004 campaign in PA. I wrote an impassioned letter to an imaginary religious conservative, and had a friend of mine send me some phone-book pages from a conservative area in Pennsylvania.
I hand-addressed, and hand-stamped, and hand-"Dear John"-ed eighty-eight letters, in mid-October. I paid for the stamps myself, got the addresses myself, and sent the letters by hand.
It seemed to me that I respond differently to hand-addressed letters. I open them with a different mindset. And I am likely to respond differently, if someone is taking a risk.
What I hope we can do -- "we" being those of us who are trying to make a difference -- is communicate, person to person, with people in the red states.
I know people in Nebraska. I grew up in that area. They are, as most people are, good people. They want justice; they want fairness; they want to believe that their time is spent productively. They want to believe in a government of, for, and by the people.
But they have very limited news sources. In Wahoo, Nebraska, they may have the Rush AM network, the local (perhaps remotely-owned) newspaper, the ClearChannel FM stations, and local TV stations, to get their info. With those inputs, what output can be expected?
I want them to have a human being communicating with them directly, personally, by mail. I want them to get a letter, once a month, saying:
"I call myself a liberal, but that word has been twisted by others to mean things I don't call myself. I don't "want" taxes. I don't "want" government intrusion. I don't "want" gay marriage.
However, I believe it's wrong to saddle our grandchildren with debt, so that a few wealthy folks can benefit today. I believe it's wrong to give Big Business free rein to pollute our groundwater, despoil our land, and gobble up small businesses in the name of efficiency. I believe it's wrong to condemn people for things they cannot control."
I want this letter to include a name, and an address, and even a phone number (as my letter to those PA strangers did), to enable a dialogue to take place. Few people are willingly rude to strangers -- they will listen, albeit uncomfortably, to anyone willing to take the risk of direct communication.
I'll add more stuff to this meme later. But I'm also willing to explore options to make "pen pals" possible.
If 10% of the "blue state" activists commit to writing to 10 random "red state" citizens, human-to-human, and commit to striving for a snail-mail relationship (and, importantly, commit to listening, not just telling), then we can perhaps evolve into a society which is democratic, not theocratic; democratic, not authoritarian; democratic, not absolutist.
Unless we address this red/blue divide directly, then we'll allow the powerful to drive the debate, and allow the propogandists (from both sides) to present a limited, prejudiced view of what both sides "mean" and "want" and "believe."
That is not good for the commonwealth.
|[mjj, posted 11/9/04, 18:45]|
New Scientific Consensus: Arctic Is Warming Rapidly
Brrr. Time to buy coastal land in West Virginia.
At least half the summer sea ice in the Arctic is projected to melt by the end of this century, along with a significant portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as the region is projected to warm an additional 4-7 C (7 to 13 F) by 2100. These changes will have major global impacts, such as contributing to global sea-level rise and intensifying global warming, according to the final report of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA).
|[mjj, posted 11/8/04, 18:42]|
Moderate Senator Fights for Top Judiciary Post
On second thought, I spoke a little too soon.... Specter needs moderate support...
Arlen Specter pledged on Monday not to oppose Supreme Court nominees just because they are anti-abortion as the moderate Republican fought to keep alive his bid to head the Senate panel that oversees judicial nominations.
|[mjj, posted 11/8/04, 13:39]|
Author of textbook describes Cobb County disclaimers as 'very weird'
Well it is just a theory, after all. WARNING: ideas ahead.
The author of a popular biology textbook says he finds it quote - "very weird" that Cobb County schools put stickers in copies of his book that warn it contains material on the theory of evolution.
Kenneth Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University, says the only place where he usually sees warning labels is on packs of cigarettes. He says the stickers in the Cobb County books come across to students as saying that EVERYTHING in his book is certain, EXCEPT evolution.
|[mjj, posted 11/8/04, 13:31]|
E-voting problems cause loss of votes, claims report
Aah. Hmm. Perhaps this is why the exit polls were so off?
Electronic voting machine problems caused more than 4,500 votes to be lost in one North Carolina county during the US election, and gave US President George Bush more than 3,800 extra votes in an Ohio county, according to reports by the Associated Press.
In North Carolina's Carteret County, apparent confusion over the storage capacity of UniLect e-voting machines caused the county to lose 4,530 votes, according to a report by the Associated Press.
|[mjj, posted 11/7/04, 20:15]|
Key Antarctic food source is declining, study says
The hipbone's connected to the... thighbone.
A key food source for Antarctic seals, whales and penguins has declined about 80 percent since the 1970s in waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers report.
The overall effect of the decline in stocks of krill, a shrimp-like crustacean, isn't clear, but the finding suggests "we need to do some more work quite urgently to find out what's going to happen," said marine biologist Angus Atkinson.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:57]|
Understanding the 2004 Presidential Election: Beyond the Polarized Electorate, And The Republicans' Superior Voter Turnout
Whew. Another "old Europe" Republican stands up for reality.
To study this report is to realize that Bush won reelection through blind faith and loyalty. Bush did not acquit himself well in the debates: Kerry won adherents each time he spoke. But it seems it did not matter: Bush supporters either weren't watching, or weren't really listening, when the debates occurred. This becomes more glaring because the University of Maryland study shows the Kerry supporters were living in the real world.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:51]|
Don't Mourn, Organize
Good old Molly. Bless her.
The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.
And at least Democrats won't have to clean up after him until it is real clear to everyone who made the mess.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:35]|
Ralph Reed's gambling problem, redux. Posted August 30, 2004 12:48 PM
The beauty part: according to the article, "When Ralph Reed was the boyish director of the Christian Coalition, he made opposition to gambling a major plank in his "family values" agenda, calling gambling "a cancer on the American body politic" that was "stealing food from the mouths of children." "
Ralph Reed, a top campaign adviser to President Bush in the South and a power broker among conservative Christians, received nearly $4 million from a GOP public relations expert under federal investigation over huge lobbying fees paid by American Indian tribes with gambling interests.
Reed was paid more than $3.8 million during a yearlong period in 2001 and 2002 by Michael Scanlon, a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), according to documents obtained by Roll Call.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:24]|
Microsoft Consultant Ralph Reed Hands Embarrassment To Client Bush
My favorite: "We should have been more sensitive to possible misperceptions, and it is an error that we regret." Ah. That might explain why "According to the Reed company's internal documents, the mission was to identify and recruit prominent Bush supporters to personally write and lobby Bush to back Microsoft, the losing defendant in an antitrust suit brought by the Justice Department." Mispercpetion.
Of the Congregationalists from the North American continent who prospered while settling Hawaii, writer James Michener once observed, "They came to do good and they did very, very well."
Maybe it was that historic model which inspired Ralph Reed, the senior consultant to and frequent television spokesman for the presidential campaign of Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Reed, the recognized mastermind behind the ascendancy of religious conservatives within the Republican Party, founded his own political consulting firm, Century Strategies, which for most of the past year has been on the payroll of both the Bush campaign and Microsoft Corp.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:18]|
Reed Confirms Fees From Indian Casino Lobbyists (Aug 30, 2004)
My favorite part: "In a statement, Ralph Reed said: 'I have worked for decades to oppose the expansion of casino gambling.'" Ah. That's why "The inquiry involves at least $45 million in lobbying and public relations fees, alleged misuse of Indian tribal funds, possible illegal campaign contributions and possible tax code violations."
NEW YORK, Aug. 29 -- Ralph Reed, Southeast regional chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, confirmed on Sunday that he accepted more than $1 million in fees from a lobbyist and a public relations specialist whose work on behalf of American Indian casinos prompted a federal investigation.
In addition to his role running the campaign in the Southeast, Reed is a liaison to the Christian evangelical community, and many of its leaders are adamantly opposed to gambling. Reed has been widely credited with leading the political mobilization of the Christian right since the late 1980s.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 19:16]|
Ralph Reed denies White House, Enron job tie (Jan 26, 2002)
My favorite defense: "REED: Yes, our firm was paid both by the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee. So the whole thesis of the story is just plain wrong." Ah. Now I see.
The White House acknowledged Friday that in 1997, as George W. Bush was deciding whether to run for president, his senior political adviser Karl Rove recommended GOP strategist Ralph Reed for a consulting job with Enron Corp. Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, went to work for Enron as a strategist, making from $10,000 to $20,000 a month, according to The New York Times.
Ralph Reed joined CNN's Judy Woodruff to talk about the story.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 17:22]|
Vote or die? Not exactly. Activism, not one election, changes the world
Makes you want to sign up to march. It's true--change comes from the people, not the politicians.
One thing I've learned from studying history: No politician is ever on the cutting edge of change. Politicians will only go so far. So if their perceived constituents don't create the moral and political climate for certain policies or positions, guess what? They ain't ever gonna see the light of day.
Think about it. Name one meaningfully momentous change in American history that was brought on behalf of the people because a president or his administration pioneered it.
The 40-hour work week? Paid vacations? Overtime pay? We can thank those who shed blood, sweat and tears in the labor movement for creating the social pressures that established those work rules we have come to take for granted.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 17:20]|
Kerry Won. Here are the Facts.
I know, it's too much to even consider. But something weird is going on here.
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.
Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. At 1:05 a.m. Wednesday morning, CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. The exit polls were later combined with—and therefore contaminated by—the tabulated results, ultimately becoming a mirror of the apparent actual vote. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.
So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 17:16]|
Altered school books given board approval
Texts rewritten to define marriage as between a man and a woman
As if the "institution" of marriage could be threatened. As if state licensing of a loving couple should threaten anyone. Please.
AUSTIN - New public school health textbooks that teach abstinence exclusively and address concerns about homosexuality by defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman were adopted Friday.
Only one of 14 State Board of Education members present at the meeting voted against the books, which were widely criticized for failing to provide information to help teens avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Dallas Democrat Mavis Knight said she voted against the books because they failed to include required information about contraceptives.
Two publishers agreed to make minor changes after some board members Thursday expressed concern that the books tacitly endorsed same-sex marriages by references to "partners" instead of "husbands and wives."
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 17:10]|
Shoppers rush to Teotihuacan Wal-Mart
Frightening to see such blindness to cultural heritage. What was Wal-Mart thinking? I know, I know... sell more kitchen appliances!
Environmental groups had argued that the store was too close to the ruins and would erode the local way of life.
While the Wal-Mart store was overflowing with shoppers on its opening day, a handful of local opponents kept a vigil outside the 2,000-year-old Teotihuacan pyramids.
They pledged to continue a protest that has drawn international attention and prompted a national debate.
"It's like planting the staff of globalization in the heart of ancient Mexico," said Homero Aridjis, a writer and environmentalist who led a national drive to block the store.
"It is supremely symbolic."
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 17:2]|
And yet it melts
Yet we STILL have not signed the Kyoto protocol. NYC would be predominantly underwater, if this melting happens; likewise Baltimore, great gouts of Florida, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, etc.
There are a number of disturbing aspects to this report - not least the accusation by some European researchers involved that its publication was being delayed until after the US election to spare the blushes of the Bush administration. But the report's evidence speaks for itself: the Arctic's icecap is melting at an unprecedented rate, while the giant ice sheets of Greenland are under threat. But the most worrying aspect is the report's suggestion that at the current rate of warming, there may be no ice at all in the Arctic come the summer of 2070 - effectively killing one of the world's most distinctive and rich ecosystems.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 16:57]|
Votergate: the movie
Really terrifying. Grassroots investigative reporting at its best. Midway through, the "soccer mom" narrator walks Howard Dean through how, with access to the machine, one can change the final tally. Chilling. Computer scientists and outraged voters agree: something must be done.
This 30 minute Presidential Election Special Edition of VOTERGATE was created as a free educational service to get out critical information to the public....
Votergate is the investigative documentary feature film uncovering the truth about new computer voting systems, which allow a few powerful corporations to record our votes in secret. But Votergate is not just a warning. The film strongly concludes that elections are harder to defraud when voters turn out in big numbers.
Votergate will continue filming through the Nov. 2nd election and release a 90 minute feature film / DVD. This 30 minute Special Edition is designed specifically to help viewers navigate past the fear and spin being thrown at this critical issue.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 15:3]|
The Moral Agenda
Robert Reich continues to be a voice of progressive sanity. He makes a great deal of sense in this article, which he also read on NPR's Marketplace on November 4th.
Democrats used to talk in moral terms—about fighting for civil rights, for example. What could Democrats say now and in the future? That it’s morally wrong to give huge tax cuts to the rich while cutting social programs for the poor and working class—especially when the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than it’s been in more than a century. That we have a moral obligation to give every American child a good education and decent health care. That it’s morally wrong that millions of Americans who work full time don’t earn enough to keep their families out of poverty.
My faith—and yes, it is a matter of faith, a great leap of faith—is that in all these respects, and many more, this nation can become a more just society.
|[mjj, posted 11/6/04, 14:58]|
17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists...
Michael hits it, in a few spots.
Ok, it sucks. Really sucks. But before you go and cash it all in, let's, in the words of Monty Python, “always look on the bright side of life!” There IS some good news from Tuesday's election.
Here are 17 reasons not to slit your wrists:
1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again.
2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
3. The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always wrong and you should never listen to them.
4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction (56%), think the war wasn't worth fighting (51%), and don’t approve of the job George W. Bush is doing (52%). (Note to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American thing, like Pop Tarts.)
5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate. If the Democrats do their job, Bush won't be able to pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the Democrats do their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch this one.
6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of our democracy. So did 6 of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West Coast! Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water, all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in lava. And no more show tunes!
7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut -- a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut. May Ohio State pay dearly this Saturday when it faces Michigan.
8. 88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.
9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't have to buy now.
10. Five more African Americans were elected as members of Congress, including the return of Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to have more blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our candidates can't.
11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in Colorado. Drink up!
12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want them to go away.
13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked up a net of at least 3 chambers in Tuesday's elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate), Democrats went into the 2004 elections in control of 44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53 chambers, and 1 chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control 47 chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1 chamber is tied and 1 chamber (Montana House) is still undecided.
14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out -- and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th grade -- you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.
15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and arrogant -- and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of such major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from office.
16. There are nearly 300 million Americans -- 200 million of them of voting age. We only lost by three and a half million! That's not a landslide -- it means we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If you had 58 yards to go before you reached the goal line and then you barreled down 55 of those yards, would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the ball and go home crying -- especially when you get to start the next down on the three yard line? Of course not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are coming!!!
17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million Americans voted for the candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore. Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for a trend it should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the first time since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has always been filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS news is that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact, that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about November 2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of surprise in 2008.
Feeling better? I hope so. As my friend Mort wrote me yesterday, "My Romanian grandfather used to say to me, 'Remember, Morton, this is such a wonderful country -- it doesn't even need a president!'"
But it needs us. Rest up, I'll write you again tomorrow.
|[html, posted 12/31/69, 16:0]|