As many of you know, today is the last day of the quarter and we’re all busy fundraising. Everybody has a candidate they want you to donate to. I’m no different. While I’m glad that we progressives have put a lot of energy into the Presidential race and numerous House races, there’s another chamber that is just as important, if not more. The Senate! If any of you want to see the Democratic President’s agenda passed, or if you long for UHC in America, we need more seats in the Senate. Here in Oregon, House Speaker Jeff Merkley and lawyer/activist Steve Novick are vying for the Democratic nomination to go up against Republican Gordon Smith. I have decided to throw my support behind Jeff Merkley and I hope you’ll give him a look too!
March 31, 2008 archive
Mar 31 2008
Mar 31 2008
I’ve been taken hostage by cats.
Yes, the Six Ragdoll cats own me and they are FRIGGIN’ serious this time, OK?
They have demands. I need help, if I am to get out to make more money to buy them food.
They call my house KITMO.
They insist I work each day and bring home the groceries, as long as the groceries don’t include fruit or vegies.
They want you to send money too, or volunteer at your local animal shelter, or they will continue making me go to work each day and bring home the groceries (did I mention that they won’t allow fruit or vegies)?
It is spring, so lots of new kittens and puppies will be finding their way into a local Animal Shelter near you. If you can, please donate some kitten, puppy, cat or dog food, or your time to your local shelter.
Mar 31 2008
The New York Times reports As jobs vanish and prices rise, food stamp use nears record. “Driven by a painful mix of layoffs and rising food and fuel prices, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s… Eligibility is determined by a complex formula, but basically recipients must have few assets and incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line, or less than $27,560 for a family of four.”
The Washington Post reports the States are hit hard by the economic downturn.
State budgets have been hit hard by a worsening national economy, including rising costs for energy and health care. In addition, fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis — declining home sales, deflated property values and mounting foreclosures — has caused a slide in states’ anticipated tax receipts. Revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and real estate transfer taxes is affected.
At least half of the nation’s states are facing budget shortfalls, some of them severe, and policymakers in most of the states affected are proposing and passing often-painful measures to trim costs and close the gaps. Spending on schools is being slashed, after-school programs are being curtailed and teachers are being notified of potential layoffs. Health-care assistance is being cut for the elderly, the disabled and the poor. Some government offices, such as motor vehicle department locations, will start closing on weekends, and some state workers are receiving pink slips.
Some analysts worry that the impact is being felt disproportionately by the most needy.
Americans are hurting while the rich bankers on Wall Street get taxpayer hand outs.
The Washington Post reports Sadr tells his militia to cease hostilities. “Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Sunday to lay down their arms and end six days of clashes against U.S. and Iraqi forces if the government agrees to release detainees and give amnesty to Sadr’s fighters, among other demands. But after the statement, mortar attacks continued in Baghdad and Basra, and violence persisted in many pockets of the country… An Iraqi military adviser in Basra said the Mahdi Army seemed to have decreased its presence on the street, but that government crackdown on the city was continuing, with the military striking targets and making arrests.” Moqtada al-Sadr has won his stand off with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Oh, and McClatchy Newspapers reports that an Iranian general played key role in Iraq cease-fire. “Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said.” Power has shifted away from the Bush administration’s puppet government in Iraq. Now how long will it take for Bushites to recognize the paradigm change?
Meanwhile, Spiegel reports Baghdad’s Green Zone Under Attack. “The high-security Green Zone, home to the Iraqi parliament, the American embassy and military forces, was considered the last bastion of safety in war-torn Iraq. Now it too is under attack.” But you have to agree with me that the “surge” is working, right?
The Los Angeles Times reports that McCain’s health plan fails the test. “Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, said she and John McCain have one thing in common: ‘Neither one of us would be covered by his health policy.’ … Under McCain’s plan, insurance companies ‘wouldn’t have to cover preexisting conditions like melanoma and breast cancer,’ she said.”
Elizabeth Edwards said only universal healthcare would resolve one of the problems plaguing the healthcare system — its soaring cost.
“Until we get rid of the need for hospitals and other providers to cover the costs of people who are not covered . . . the overall cost is not going to go down,” she said. “The only real cost savings comes when you have universality.”
The Guardian reports Tidal power comes to Northern Ireland. “As SeaGen – the world’s first and largest commercial scale tidal stream energy generator – was laid down in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, yesterday the company behind it claimed this form of tidal power has the potential to supply up to 10% of the UK’s energy within a decade. If successful, the system, which harnesses the power of aggressive tidal currents, could be replicated across not only Britain but other parts of the world, according to its manufacturers, Marine Current Turbines.”
We’ll see if the British government can stay focused on the tidal power experiment and not get distracted by the nuclear lobby.
Mar 31 2008
It looks like a lot of people are calling for Hillary to quit the race so that the dems can concentrate of beating McCain. Most of the calls are coming from Obama supporters like Leahy.
I saw NO, but only if the candidates concentrate on the issues and the differences between them and McCain. But if the candidates are going to continue to focus on the negative, with more attacks and insults, then they both should bow out. The constant manure slinging is doing little to help the Dems and could very well assist McCain in his campaign.
But it appears that some if not all are running for president, for that reason only, everything else seems to be secondary. In Obama’s case, this could very well be his only shot at the presidency and sometimes it appears that everything else is secondary.
The issues should be the focus. The American people need answers to their questions on how to help solve their dilemmas. Negativity is not help the Dems gain more votes, if anything it could be driving some away and towards that other party.
Mar 31 2008
This morning, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson formally announced his grand scheme to use America’s economic mess to consolidate power in the hands of the few, the economic pillagers at the Federal Reserve.
Under the guise of “increasing” regulation, Paulson’s scheme seeks to abolish the last vestiges of New Deal oversight on the U.S. economy and complete the deregulation of Wall Street. Paulson proposes nothing less than economic shock therapy to the U.S. financial sector. As The Guardian notes in its coverage of Paulson: “Big banks saw little to fear in the blueprint.”
Mar 31 2008
Just a quick announcement. After six months, the blog is looking a little dowdy so we have the painters coming in tomorrow, April first, to spruce the place up. To avoid any liability or lawsuits, we have to close the blog down while they work. We can’t have you guys distracting them with yur liberal claptrap while they are up on ladders and such.
Plus we don’t want to get paint on the inside of your monitor.
Please see below the fold for more details
Mar 31 2008
Mar 31 2008
First, more news of international protests:
KATHMANDU, March 31 (Reuters) – Nepali police beat pro-Tibet protesters with sticks in Kathmandu on Monday and detained more than 100 people for demonstrating against China, police and witnesses said.
Hundreds of Tibetans split up into small groups and tried to storm a Chinese consular office from different directions in the Nepali capital.
Police said at least 104 men and women were detained and would be freed later.
“They have been detained according to the government policy of not allowing demonstrations against China,” said Bibhutiraj Pandey, a police officer from the scene.
Mar 31 2008
America has become a land of pretenders. Most Americans decided long ago to quit caring and became pretenders, they became happy idiots in happy idiot land. They decided to struggle for the legal tender, to become part of the machine, to exist in their consumer homes on their consumer streets in their consumer towns, sitting on their consumer asses on their consumer couches, watching their consumer tv’s, where the ads take aim, and lay their claim, to the heart and the soul of the spender.
They decided to believe in whatever may lie, in those things that money can buy. They decided to do whatever they’re told to do, to buy whatever they’re told to buy, to watch whatever they’re told to watch, to fight whoever they’re told to fight, to consume and consume and then consume some more until they die and consume a six foot deep hole in the ground.
Are you there?
Say a prayer, for the pretenders.
Who started out so young and strong . . .
Only to surrender:
Mar 31 2008
The news these days is really fucking shit, isn’t it? I can hardly bear to think about it, much less write about it (although, if you haven’t yet, you should read the remarkable article about Specialist Sabrina Harman and Abu Ghraib by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris – and wonder for a moment about just how lucky we are to have such remarkable journalists as the two of them writing this stuff).
But, in the midst of the horror and the tragedy, one of my favorite and most simple pleasures is returning today: it is opening day for the major league baseball season, and among my favorite things is to read the previous day’s box scores over breakfast. It doesn’t matter if my team (the Baltimore Orioles) are winning or losing, which is good because they are gonna suck elephant balls this year; I can’t even describe what it is that I so love about it. But it is one of the small and true joys of my life, and I’m glad to have it back.
So today, I’m going to try to start this week thinking on the simple joys, the things we all rely upon, that add happiness to our lives without our being able to entirely explain why. The Sexy red velvet cupcakes, the brioche french toast, and Wicked hot chocolate. The greatest sandwich in the world (Pastrami on club bread, extra lean).
And to be thankful that I am so very fortunate to live in a world with so many wonderful things.