November 8, 2007 archive

This will be a quickie! Add your voice!

For those of you who do not receive E-Mail from The Pen, here is an Action Page, where you can show your support for the Impeachment of Vice-President Cheney and support H.R. 333.

In addition, they will send you, at your request, Impeach Cheney posters and a hat, as well.

Impeach Cheney

Your personal message will be sent to individual House members, and copies will be sent to BOTH Nancy Pelosi and the House Judiciary Committee itself, as well as any newspaper you may designate.

The names are being added like crazy — just in the last hour there have been 500 or more signatures, getting close to 16,519 now and it’s non-stop.

Four at Four

Some news and your afternoon Open Thread.

  1. The New York Times reports Giuliani’s friend Kerik is to be indicted. “Federal prosecutors will ask a grand jury today to indict Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York police commissioner, on charges that include tax fraud, corruption and conspiracy counts, according to people who have been briefed on the case… Charges could complicate the presidential campaign of Mr. Kerik’s friend, patron and former business partner, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, whose mentorship was partly responsible for Mr. Kerik’s sharp ascent into prominence. Mr. Giuliani declined to comment through a spokeswoman yesterday, but has said he is not worried about the impact such charges might have on his campaign.”

  2. The coup within a coup continues in Pakistan. The Guardian reports Pakistan’s rulers break law by delaying election. “Pakistan’s ruling party today dashed hopes that the country’s scheduled January elections would go ahead as planned. The country’s state TV quoted the president, General Pervez Musharraf, and Chaudhury Shujaat Hussain, the president of the ruling party PML-Q, as saying the vote would be delayed until mid February.” The Independent reports that “The former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto has issued her most defiant statement yet since the imposition of emergency rule, as her supporters were attacked by riot police firing tear gas in the heart of the capital yesterday.” Of course Musharraf has promised to hold elections according to the BBC News, but by that time all the opposition will be in prison.

  3. The Guardian reports Aung San Suu Kyi agrees to talks with Burma junta. “The Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, today said she was ready to cooperate with the country’s military government, according to a statement released on her behalf by the UN. The apparent offer of cooperation by Ms Suu Kyi, who has spent 12 of the past 18 years in detention, came at the end of a six-day visit to Burma by the UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari.”

  4. Copley News Service reports that California is suing the Bush administration. “Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will team up with Democratic state Attorney General Jerry Brown today to take on… Bush over global warming. Schwarzenegger and Brown plan to file a lawsuit asking a federal court to order the Bush administration to decide whether to approve California’s landmark law requiring automakers to gradually reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.” The Los Angeles Times has an update: California sues EPA over emissions.

So, what else is happening?

New poll: Opposition to Iraq War at record high, while large majority opposes attack on Iran

A new polll has good news, on two fronts.

On the Iraq War:

Opposition to the war in Iraq has reached an all-time high, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Thursday morning.

Support for the war in Iraq has dropped to 31 percent and the 68 percent who oppose the war is a new record.

Only a quarter of those polled think the U.S. is winning the war. The American people get it. Those with brains, anyway. Now, if only someone would do something about this disaster…

The other result is very encouraging, particularly to those who saw the strange recent Zogby Poll, which concluded that a slight majority of Americans favored an attack on Iran. That poll struck me as an outlier, although we’ll have to see more results, to really know. But the CNN/ORC result shows this:

The public also opposes U.S. military action against Iran. Sixty-three percent oppose air strikes on Iran, while 73 percent oppose using ground troops as well as air strikes in that country.

That sounds more accurate. We’ll see.

The new polls also says 56% say they are dissatisfied with the progress in the “war on terror.” Which begs the questions:

What progress?

What war on terror?

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent, and Pakistan now has a dictatorship. Okay, maybe there is progress. Just not in the right direction.

Oh Yeah! Let’s Make Even MORE Enemies!

From our great Congress, a resolution:

Iran Sees Venezuela as Doorway to Americas, Republican Says:

Top U.S. officials who avoid confrontation with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should exchange their passivity for a more forceful Latin American policy, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) said in an exclusive interview with the Cybercast News Service.

Otherwise, rogue nations and terrorists will continue to use Venezuela as a conduit for dangerous enterprises that jeopardize U.S. interests, the Florida Republican argued. As it stands, Iran’s influence in the region is already growing at a quick pace thanks in large measure to the Chavez government, said Mack.

In October, Mack worked with colleague Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) to help pass House Resolution 435. It calls on the U.S. government to combat the influence and clout that Iran and Hezbollah now exercise in Latin America.

Mack declined to comment on specific details as they relate to the military arrangement between Iran and Venezuela. However, he indicated that U.S. officials need to entertain “more severe polices” towards Venezuela in the near-future, if they do not otherwise re-kindle key alliances in the region.

Yeah, those damned terrists are everywhere!

Oh Canada!!! Rachel Marsden Fired From Toronto Sun

posted at the Big Orange Monster


I love the smell of schadenfruede in the morning…I’ve got to give a tip to the Canadian blog site A Creative Revolution, of which I am a proud effin’ member this mornin’…way to go, guys, and pale…luv ya!!

Looks like our letters to the editor rubbed someone at the Toronto Sun the wrong way, and she’s been dumped from the silly rag…

Oh, it’s still a silly right-wing rag, but it is so much less odious this morning…

Canadian Kossacks, take a bow!!!

Dispatches from the Abyss: Bleccch

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I am NOT a “healthcare consumer”

I have health insurance through my employer.  I guess that makes me “lucky” in some respects.  I have also been fairly lucky with my health in general (knock on wood) and have not really had to navigate the hell that is Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois.


Every November, we receive a batch of information related to the “employee benefits open enrollment period”, which allows us to make any changes to our elections for the upcoming year.  Pretty basic and self-explanatory.  And while there is the usual bit of frustration when realizing that I have to choose between bad or worse versions of the same one insurance provider’s plans, this year was different.

Dodd Leads On FISA Telco Amnesty

Against the odds, Senator Chris Dodd has led the fight against FISA telco immunity.

The first step is to make sure retroactive immunity doesn’t make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee — where it will be considered shortly.

If we can get it stripped there, it will have to be offered as an amendment to the overall bill where it will be a lot easier to get 41 votes against retroactive immunity than 41 to sustain my filibuster if necessary

This is a vitally important issue, as the Dodd campaign demonstrates in this video of the whistleblower Marc Klein, who told the story of the telco’s failure to respect the privacy of its customers that the law (the Communication Storage Act) requires.

My name is Mark Klein. I used to be an AT&T technician for 22 years.

[Former AT&T Technician Mark Klein Speaks Out on Retroactive Immunity and Domestic Surveillance]

“What I figured out when I got there is that they were copying everything flowing across the internet cables, the major internet links between AT&T’s network and other companies’ networks.”

“It struck me at the time that this was a massively unconstitutional, illegal operation.”

“It affects not only AT&T’s customers, but everybody because these links went to places link Sprint, Qwest, a whole bunch of other companies.”

“And so they’re basically tapping into the entire internet.”

[But isn’t the government only monitoring suspected terrorists and not ordinary Americans?]

“To perform what they say they want to do, which is look at international traffic, none of this makes any sense. These installations only make sense if they’re doing a huge, massive domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States.”

[Shouldn’t the telecoms trust that the Bush administration’s requests are legal?]

“These companies know very well what’s legal and illegal. They’ve been dealing with this for decades. And it’s a fact that Qwest refused the NSA’s approaches because they didn’t have, they weren’t shown any legal justification for it. And they did the right thing and said, “no.” “

“What I’m here for is it looked like a few weeks ago that the Senate bill which passed the Intelligence Committee would give immunity to the telecom companies and that would probably put an end to the lawsuits.”

[The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing retroactive immunity]

“So I came here to lobby against giving immunity to the telecom companies. Let the court cases proceed and Congress should not interfere in that.”

Tell the Senate to oppose telecom immunity

Chris Dodd, leading on the issues now and demonstrating the leadership we will need from our next President.

Now call the Judiciary Committee Senators now. Use this. Chris Dodd will pay for your call.

Sustainability and Prefiguration in a Couple of Acres: The Pomona College Natural Farm

This is a revision of an earlier essay I published on, in preparation for its republication in the Environmental Analysis journal (and perhaps elsewhere).  Its major premise is as follows:

Sustainability is nowhere to be found, and so we appear to be groping in the dark when looking for it.  One of the ways in which we can proceed to build knowledge about sustainability, however, is in the community garden.  A conceptual guide to the idea of sustainability is located in the concept of prefiguration (as described by Joel Kovel in his book The Enemy of Nature), which describes the sense in which social institutions point to the possibility of a global, ecologically sustainable, society.  Community gardens have important prefigurative qualities, too.  The bulk of this diary, then, will be about one such community garden, one located on the campus of a college: the Pomona College Natural Farm.  The Pomona College Natural Farm will be presented as a place where sustainability, both in social and ecological terms, can be studied.  Its conclusion will attempt to speculate about the significance of the Farm and of community gardens as “prefigurations.”

Is this guy ready to be president?

I admit that I never understood the premise of Barack Obama’s presidential run. He’s very smart, very articulate, and very charismatic, but he’s never done anything, never led on any issue, never made clear why he’s different than any of the other candidates. He’s good at raising money. He has the rock star thing going for him. But what makes him presidential material?

I never bought into the whole Purple thing, either. I love the color, but this is not a time to be compromising with a Republican Party that that has gone from red to infra-red. This is a time for reestablishing what the Democratic Party is about, and what America is about. The Purple thing doesn’t do that. When he was elected to the Senate, I thought Obama would learn, grow, get some accomplishments under his belt, and eventually become president. Plenty of time. Plenty to learn. Plenty of room to grow. When he decided to run, this time, I thought his ego and ambition had gotten ahead of him.

So, I have to be open about the fact that I was always skeptical about this run. Then came the Donnie McClurkin disaster. At first, I assumed it was a clumsy staffing mistake, and I discounted those who took a more cynical view. I assumed Obama would fix it. His subsequent actions have convinced me the cynics were right. I now believe Obama is just another craven, calculating politician. Throwing gays under the bus may give him a boost in South Carolina, and it probably won’t hurt him in Iowa or New Hampshire, so why be principled when there are votes to be had?

Now comes this, from the New York Daily News:

Barack Obama sparked a generational fight Wednesday by trashing White House rival Hillary Clinton for being too old to unite America, saying she and others her age have fought the same tired fights for too long.

“I think there’s no doubt that we represent the kind of change that Sen. Clinton can’t deliver on, and part of it is generational,” Obama, 46, said on Fox News. “Sen. Clinton and others, they’ve been fighting some of the same fights since the ’60s, and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done.”

Experts and opponents pounced, saying Obama’s remarks could offend the most reliable voters, people older than 50 – especially in early-voting Iowa. “You are counting precisely on an older group of Democrats in Iowa,” said Iowa State University’s Steffen Schmidt. “You can’t tell them they’re backward-looking. Somebody should be fired in his campaign.”

It’s just stupid. Obama keeps demonstrating that he doesn’t get what it is to be on the big stage, and that he doesn’t understand how to retain his own political framing. Older voters matter a lot more than gay voters, to someone making cold political calculations, so I expect Obama will actually do something, this time, to make amends. The contrast between how he handles this and how he handled the McClurkin situation will only further demonstrate why he didn’t bother to make a serious effort, that time. But these stumbles just further demonstrate that his premise of being a unifier is nothing but political babble. He plays the game, and he doesn’t even yet play it well. And he has still yet to take an original stand that differentiates himself from any other candidate on any major issue.

Many Obama supporters try to make the race a binary: it’s him or Hillary, so we’d best get on board. Frankly, at this point, I’m not sure he wants to force that choice.

Pony Party, this ‘n that

According to Yahoo!News…

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of mil lions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies….

…The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”


Docudharma Times Thursday Nov.8

This is an Open Thread: All languages welcome

four people in Karachi have been charged with treason for alleged comments against emergency rule.

‘Hundreds held’ in Bhutto raids

The party of Pakistan’s former PM Benazir Bhutto has said more than 700 members were arrested overnight ahead of a planned mass rally on Friday.

Activists were taken from their homes in the latest crackdown under emergency rule measures brought in on Saturday by President Pervez Musharraf.

The raids came hours after US President George W Bush told Gen Musharraf in a “frank” phone call to hold polls soon.

Mr Bush told Gen Musharraf he could not be both army head and president.

Four charged with treason in Pakistan crackdown

Four men have been charged with treason by the Pakistani authorities for making anti-government speeches in the southern port city of Karachi, a court official said today.

The treason charges against the three politicians and a union activist, which carry a maximum sentence of death, came in the wake of mounting political unrest since General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday and suspended Pakistan’s constitution.

The four were arrested on Monday and interrogated by police before being formally charged yesterday, said the court official.

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