November 29, 2007 archive

On Iraq: Create Contrast By Standing Up To Bush

Matt Yglesias writes:

Dana Goldstein remarks after watching the Republicans debate that they “are terrified of the words ‘George W. Bush.’ A smart Democrat would force her or his Republican opponent to face up, as often as possible, to the legacy of his party’s leader.” . . .  I think Democrats need to worry about a possible Republican blurring strategy on Iraq especially if the Democratic nominee voted for the war. . .

Just so. What always is missing from Yglesias’ analysis on this is what the current Congress can do – stand up to Bush on funding the Iraq Debacle:

President Bush sternly pressed Democrats to approve money to fund the Iraq war “without strings and without delay” before leaving town for the Christmas holidays, something congressional leaders have already indicated they will not do.

I liked Harry Reid’s response:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., responded that Democrats will get troops the money they need as part of a “war strategy worthy of their sacrifices.” “Bush Republicans have indefinitely committed our military to a civil war that has taken a tremendous toll on our troops and our ability to respond to other very real threats around the world,” Reid said.

Now the hard part, just saying no. That is what Democrats need to do. It is good policy. It is good politics.

Some thoughts on race

One weekend a month, I run a special educational program, in cooperation with the local public library, that helps low income high school students prepare for getting into college.  Some are white.  A few are black.  Most are Latino.

Two weekends ago, a student who happens to be Latino started acting out during a test.  Clearly frustrated by his inability to master the subject matter, and showing off to a couple of girls sitting next to him, the student began surreptitiously throwing pieces of broken pencil at me.    

I was not sure how to respond at first. I didn’t want to disrupt the class in the middle of the test, so I decided to wait until the break to talk to him.  Not happy with my seeming lack of interest in his antics, the student then started making funny noises that sounded amazingly like drops of water in a bucket.

It was then I noticed an earnest and extremely muscular student on the other side of the room staring daggers at the noise maker.  I knew I had to do something to quell the disturbance right there, not only for the sake of a class but also for the sake the disruptive student’s physical well being.

I asked the student pick up his belongings and follow me into the hall, where I told him that he was free to leave, but if he wanted to stay his misbehavior would have to stop.  

Then the student called me a racist. He claimed I was picking on him because he was Latino, and that I wouldn’t be pulling him out of the class if he were White.

I explained to the student that his race had nothing to do with my disciplining him, but that his behavior was simply unacceptable and disturbing to his classmates.

Of course, my protestations had no absolutely no effect on the student’s opinion that I was indeed a racist, an opinion which he continued to declare loudly and repeatedly as he confidently strutted out of the building.

Was the student race baiting? You bet he was. He was making specious and unsupported claims of racial victimization in order to distract from his own obnoxious behavior.

Was it extremely hurtful to me personally?  Right again.  Not to mention how I felt walking back into that classroom.

I tell this story not as an allegory for the unfortunate events of the other day, but to lend context to my argument that race baiting is a very real and insidious tactic used by opportunists of every color to cover for their alternate agendas.

Of course, that is NOT to deny that prevalent and often virulent racist attitudes do indeed exist practically everywhere humans with even slightly different skin pigments commingle, but when charges of racism are recklessly hurled without solid foundation and good faith belief, this ‘cry wolf’ behavior serves both to undermine the credibility of those with genuine claims and to alienate many who might otherwise be sympathetic to those claims.

Which brings me to my main point.

****!!!!&^##!!!!!!!! (Update 2x, 3x)

I got home from work, I have to go to job #2, and I don’t have time to write anymore.

But goddamn it.

Just look here

Somebody do something with this, please.


2858: Sioux Scalp

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The picture wasn’t showing anymore, and on the Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre.  

Zen and the Art of Online Activism

Way back when you all first stumbled onto a political blog or message board you may have felt overwhelmed with what you didn’t know.  You may have felt it an almost impossible task to get up to date on important topics being discussed so that you too could have something of value to add.  I know I did.  I also felt frustrated because by the time I got up to date, everyone else had moved along to another topic.  The frustration quickly left however when I realized that there were other people in the same situation and that we all needed help.  So I made it my task to ask simple basic questions of the top posters so that the rest of us could understand the material as well.

When others were looking to emulate Wonk in all it’s glory, I saw that as elitist and adverse to the cause of including more voices.

Once comfortable in the community(ies), the facts and information begin to flow quicker, until you feel you are at the same wavelength as the information you are receiving and it is processed in real time.

Occasionally a spark will happen that will galvanize the community.

A mother of a dead soldier stands in a ditch waiting for a President to open his door.

A massive Hurricane strikes and your friends are on the ground there and need help.

Photos of flag draped coffins are deemed unpatriotic.

This is when it is possible to advance to another level.  You go from responder, to actor in the world stage.  People are looking around and wondering what to do, you step up to bat, you realize you must perform to the best of your ability.  Everything you learned about communication skills come into play.  All of your contacts become utilized and turned into resources.  In one hour you can change the world.  Why?


My Dinner With clammyc


I’ve long been a fan of noted blogger clammyc.  He is a tireless and eloquent patriot blogging for the cause.  He is also a pioneer in the field of blog radio and a soon-to-be new father.  After following his writing for a year or more I finally met him face to face at YKOS in Chi-town this past August.  In the course of our conversations there he mentioned that he had a trip to Atlanta coming up in the fall.  I told him to get in touch if he had any free time.  

Four at Four

Some news and the afternoon open thread.

  1. The New York Times reports U.N. warns of climate-related setbacks. “A new United Nations report warns that progress toward prosperity in the world’s poorest regions will be reversed unless rich countries promptly begin curbing emissions linked to global warming while also helping poorer ones leapfrog to energy sources that pollute less than coal and oil…

    “Prompt investment in emissions curbs is a bargain compared with the long-term costs of inaction. The authors, led by Kevin Watkins of the United Nations, said anything less would be a moral and political failure without precedent. ‘The bottom line is that the global energy system is out of alignment with the ecological systems that sustain our planet,’ said Mr. Watkins… ‘Realignment will take a fundamental shift in regulation, market incentives and international cooperation.'”

  2. The Indepedent reports Why Venus, the Earth’s twin, became a wasteland.

    It is a world stripped of water and scarred by searing temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Yet Venus may once have been a planet much like Earth, where vast oceans of water could have supported life.

    The first detailed analysis of data gathered by a European space probe has revealed tantalising evidence that Venus – often considered Earth’s twin planet – became so inhospitable for life because of a series of chance events.

    Scientists have confirmed that the similarities between Venus and Earth were overshadowed by a shift in the former’s history that led to the loss of the Venusian oceans, an atmosphere clogged with carbon dioxide and a runaway greenhouse effect that gave rise to severe global warming.

  3. According to The Hill, Democrats switch tack, seize on economic woes. “Congressional Democrats will focus on the economy next week in an effort to win political advantage from public fears about an approaching recession. This underscores the party leadership’s concern to avoid getting bogged down in more debate about Iraq and to make sure it is President Bush and Republicans who are blamed in the 2008 election for voter anxieties about the economy.” In related news, The Hill reports “Bush’s top economic advisor Al Hubbard will resign at the end of the year and be replaced by his deputy,” Keith Hennessey, a former staffer for Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS).

  4. The Washington Post reports that Old allies abandon Chávez as constitution vote nears. Ramón Martínez, the governor of the Venezuelan coastal state of Sucre, and a “handful of others who once were prominent pillars in the Chávez machine, have defected, saying approval of 69 constitutional changes would effectively turn Venezuela into a dictatorship run at the whim of one man. They have been derided by Chávez as traitors, but their unimpeachable leftist credentials have given momentum to a movement that pollsters say may deliver Chávez his first electoral defeat. ‘The proposal would signify a coup d’etat,’ said Martínez, 58, whose dapper appearance belies his history as a guerrilla and Communist Party member. ‘Here the power is going to be concentrated in one person. That’s very grave.'”

Pony Party: Expectations


A theory: We are built of others expectations of us.

From the time we are small others expect certain things of us…to say please & thank you, sir & ma’am; to close the door when you enter or leave; to say you’re sorry when you’ve hurt someone; to finish your homework & your chores; to do well in school, go to college, get a good job; to get married…

All of these expectations (or lack of), and how you reacted to them (rebel or embrace), are part of why you are who you are.

We need to expect more of each other and our children… it’s the path to excellence.

Remember….don’t wRECk the Pony…& be excellent to each other!

The American Media As Comedy

You know, folks, there comes a time, as has occurred with yours truly, when you have to take a good friend aside and tell him, “You know, Joe, you’re so screwed up, I know we’ve been friends for years…but dude, I can’t be your buddy anymore…”

That happened for me with the United States of America, as you all know, when the Democratic Quisling Party, elected to stop the Madness of King George, simply threw in with him rather than do their jobs like, I don’t know, restore the Constitution, and some form of sanity, to American government.

And you guys woudn’t believe how incredibly (and tragically) comedic I am finding the American MSM right now…

I mean, if I didn’t know I was watching Cable “News” stations, I’d swear a comedic genius had dressed up the stage of Saturday Night Live and co-opted John Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s writers as the Comedy Team From Hell…

I mean…are you guys kiddin’ me?

Human Beings Being Treated as Not the Same

Where to begin?  I’ll start with the fact that I’m a girl and when I feel like it I play with power tools and build things because my dad taught me how and I always get all sorts of pats on the back and oohs and ahhhhs and it’s sort of okay but it sort of isn’t okay either to be so “surprised” that girls can build shit.  I also sew very well because my dad’s mom was a tailor and she taught me when I wanted to learn.  I don’t get very many wows for it even though I do it better than I build stuff and it serves almost as much need and purpose in daily living.  I have been very capable my whole life, it was expected of all of us on the ranch to gain our full potential.  For what ever reason, in my family I was never told what I could do but I was told to do what I could and that turned out to be a lot. Many times when working for other people I was not granted the opportunity to reach my full potential because I have boobs and a vagina.  I suppose you can attempt to diversify my work place in order to be more fair to me where sexism is concerned but I’m still being placed where I am because I have boobs and a vagina instead of what I’m really capable of and what I have earned the opportunity to do.

Worried about the Constitution? Join Dennis Kucinich for a Dialogue for Democracy Today! w/poll

Coming off an Impeachment Teach-in (info here) and a strong Constitution own Hall Meeting (info here), Dennis Kucinich is holding a day-long Dialogue for Democracy Today!

Pony Party, Things I Should Ignore

So, I really DO know better than to be perusing The Smoking Gun….

But a strange series of links to links to links led me there yesterday, and there I found these 2 stories.  

First we have Ms. Ann Coulter…filing a police report and requesting to have her address removed from public records due to “hear[ing] someone screaming ‘Ann Coulter is a big asshole’ from the vacant lot just west of her property”, and finding a hand-delivered card in her mailbox suggesting, among other things, that Ms. Coulter “Go Fuck Yourself”.

Now, I’m no fan of harassment, or harassers, but I’ve often admitted that when chickens come home to roost, I’m hardly surprised.  Based on her usual vitriol, these ‘attacks’ seem downright mild….laughable even…by comparison.  

Central America, Yelling Louder: Bibliography (nausea edition)

Following are some selections from this larger bibliography about death squads.

Any mention of “Battalion 316 of Honduras” or similar name is the infamous group which literally wrote the “how-to-torture” manuals, discussed at length here.

But first:  recent talk of torture and fascism goes unconnected to the beginnings of deep US State-sponsored death squads through the beginnings of what was formerly known as School of the Americas, now euphemistically known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation:

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