September 9, 2009 archive

Action Alert: Building a path to the end of gerrymandering

Our representatives are selecting their voters, as opposed to the voters selecting the representatives.  This is a situation that I think the American people should not accept.

–Barack Obama, 2/8/06

The disgusting act of gerrymandering is when partisan interests take control of the redistricting process, which is when congressional and legislative districts are redrawn and is usually conducted by state legislatures after the census, and use it to benefit incumbents and specific parties.  This is one of the more corrupt practices in state government – if you can believe that! – and is one of the more destructive forces on our republic today.

But there is good news.  There is a growing movement to end gerrymandering.  In 2008, Californians passed Prop 11, which moved the responsibility of redistricting from the legislature (who, like many other state legislatures, drew their own districts to their own advantage) to a nonpartisan committee.  Now, a group in Florida is trying to put an end to gerrymandering through yet another ballot initiative, and they need your help today more than ever, no matter where you live in the country.

Four at Four

  1. Jonathan Landay of McClatchy reports on how Four U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush.

    We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

    “We will do to you what we did to the Russians,” the insurgent’s leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

    Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.

    U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines – despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

    “We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We’ve lost today,” Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter’s repeated demands for helicopters.

    Landay writes “the operation had obviously been betrayed”. “Several U.S. officers said they suspected that the insurgents had been tipped off by sympathizers in the local Afghan security forces or by the village elders”.

  2. Vanity Fair reports on how the looting worked in “Good Billions After Bad“.

    As the Bush administration waned, the Treasury shoveled more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in tarp funds into the financial system-without restrictions, accountability, or even common sense… Much of it ended up in the wrong hands, doing the opposite of what was needed…

    By and large, the cash that went to the Big 9 simply became part of their capital base, and most of the big banks declined to indicate where the money actually went. Because of the sheer size of these institutions, it’s simply impossible to trace…

    A.I.G., the largest single tarp beneficiary, wasn’t even a bank… A.I.G. was able to pay off its counterparties 100 cents on the dollar. The largest payout–$12.9 billion–went to Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment house presided over by Paulson before he moved into his Treasury job.

    And Huffington Post reports on How the Federal Reserve bought the economics profession. “The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession”. (Hat tip Jerome a Paris.)

    Elsewhere, the CS Monitor reports the United States is no longer the world’s most competitive nation. “The global economic downturn was a big reason for the US losing its top spot to Switzerland in this year’s report, which measured a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business climate. Not surprisingly, confidence in its financial institutions and its auditing and accounting standards deteriorated in the wake of the crisis.”

    The downturn hurt most nations except for Brazil, India, China, Australia, and Canada. “The first three nations are members of the BRIC – Brazil, India, and China – whose large domestic markets and solid rankings on education, healthcare, training, and labor efficiency helped insulate them from the slump.”

Four at Four continues with Guantánamo photos, big bases in Iraq, and NASA.

Midnight tonight, MoT on AirAmerica promoting Docudharma and Progressive ideas

      First off, I want to thank everyone here at Docudharma for all of your love and support.

     On Friday Night, at midnight for an hour, I will be interviewed by Nicole Sandler on Air America Radio regarding my diaries at DKos and other websites, but particularly regarding the diary I wrote recently which was titled Just call him a N!&&ER and get it over with, Republicans. We ALL KNOW that’s what you mean

Please, feel free to share this with others and pimp this news elsewhere, and if you can, please listen in.

     I hope you will listen in and give me your support during this broadcast. You can find out which radio station in your area broadcasts AirAmerica by clicking here

    Along with your support, I thought I would ask your advice, as this is my first chance to express my views in the traditional media, and I can use all the help I can get.

More below the fold, and again, thanks a ton, and wish me luck . . .


Do You Want the AIG Option, Or The Public Option?

This is a follow up to dday’s excellent diary, which talks about the Baucus bill and Trojan Horse of “allowing people to buy insurance across state lines”:…

While they didn’t realize it, the Republicans and their Big Insurance enablers have actually given us a rhetorical sledge hammer. “Allowing people to buy insurance across state lines” is code for insurance deregulation, and what just happened the last time when an insurance company was allowed to do business in a deregulated environment?

If you are reading this, I am at the beach!

The tensions too thick.

My back is too sore.

The beach is too close and I have the use of a car.

But I do wish to be amused when I get back! So I will ask…..the question. (s)

What will you reaction be if Obama does not …let’s say….make it fairly clear that he is actively pushing the Public Option in his speech tonight?

(s) What should the reaction of the Blogosphere be?

(s) Should there be some form of organized pushback?

(s) What would be your preferred from of protest/pushback?

(s) Do you have a favorite brand of pitchfork?

(s) Do you prefer a small, medium, or large torch?

Naomi Klein – The Market for Fire

“A term like capitalism is incredibly slippery, because there’s such a range of different kinds of market economies. Essentially, what we’ve been debating over-certainly since the Great Depression-is what percentage of a society should be left in the hands of a deregulated market system. And absolutely there are people that are at the far other end of the spectrum that want to communalize all property and abolish private property, but in general the debate is not between capitalism and not capitalism, it’s between what parts of the economy are not suitable to being decided by the profit motive. And I guess that comes from being Canadian, in a way, because we have more parts of our society that we’ve made a social contract to say, ‘That’s not a good place to have the profit motive govern.’ Whereas in the United States, that idea is kind of absent from the discussion. So even something like firefighting-it seems hard for people make an argument that maybe the profit motive isn’t something we want in the firefighting sector, because you don’t want a market for fire. ” – Naomi Klein

Start Your Engines

We gotta be ready this time. We gotta do this. Say it with me now:


This person norabb said it well this morning at the orange but it scrolled off. He included several good media links and addy’s.  I sure hope to see the entire Rec List over there today with nothing but this. And then some.

(I can dream, can’t I?)

The right wing has a message machine that always seems to work better than ours.  They have surely already written their attack pieces against President Obama’s big speech tonight.  I propose that we all have our own support message ready to go immediately after the speech.

UPDATE (11:40AM):  Here’s an ACTION call out from the ever vigilant slinkerwink.

UPDATE #2, 12:20PM, from tahoebasha3′s comment below (thanks!):

Here is another action that can be taken tonight, right after the speech:

   After the speech, Jarrett and Axelrod will return to the airwaves. And as part of the White House new-media strategy, Communications Director Anita Dunn will go on right afterward to engage with online viewers through a live video chat, responding to reactions and questions received via Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE #3, 12:24PM,: here’s a comment from nyceve in slinkerwink’s GOS Diary:

Jane Hamsher and I  are heading to Capitol Hill, where we will be distributing the petitions all of you turned into reality (a 50,000 plus signature reality) to at least three progressive members of Congress.

So far, we’ve got appointments Pete Stark, Keith Ellison, and Raul Grijalva (sorry for my bad spelling). Now let me tell you guys something, a trip to Capitol Hill is special, when when you’re with Jane Hamsher, it’s memorable.

Then, we’ll be watching the President at 8PM.  Whatever he says, I want all of you to know, this battle is far, far from over, and you can take it to the bank.

And I thought Lawrence O’Donnell made some excellent points on tv last night…

And… see copy of FDL’s email from Jane below…

On Understanding Your Market, Or, Mr. Obama, We Need To Talk

So it’s the day of the big speech, Mr. President, and we got trouble with a capital “T” right here in Health Care City.

What are you gonna do? Do we follow the traditional Democratic Party legislative process of passing…something…at any cost, assuming the entire time that the Left and the Netroots will “go along with the program”, or is there a risk that the calculus doesn’t work as well today as it did in 1994 and 1996?

Well, lucky for you, I’m a fake consultant, and I know a few things about your “target market”, so before you answer that question…we need to talk.

“My hats off to Glenn Beck” says Dobbs, except by hat, he means hood

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Beck:     “This guy (President Obama), is, I believe, a racist.”

Dobbs:     “And there’s Van Jones saying, “Well, you know, you said something I don’t like, so what are we gonna do? We’ll just attack your sponsors.” That didn’t work out so shiny for him, did it? So, by the way, I gotta say hats off to Glenn Beck for having the guts to stand up to this.”

     More commentary, a transcript, and my civil rights friendly boot up Lou Dobbs keister below the fold.

Cat Chasing Its Tail

I was dogged with a sinus infection for 2 weeks. Yesterday, I had to fight to get care for it because providers tell you most of the time it is virus based and they cannot do anything about it. But I knew I was so sick. I even called a nurse before going in. She didn’t take any notes of our conversation. She said to come in. Then I had to start all over, and I decided to write it all down.

See more after the jump

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XI

Art Link

Tangles and Ripples


There came a time

when folks had to choose

whether they knew me or not

Most of them fled

unable to cope

or unwilling to try

The few who remained

faced questioning

of their own motives

for standing by me

New friends were made

some would deem



the dregs to some

who recognized me

as one of their own

newly arrived

or maybe just

freshly met

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 19, 2006

Do you want the bad news, or the good news?

So I want to share three stories with the people here, but I honestly can’t decide which one to post tonight.  So I’m doing all three.   Why not?  

First, the bad news.

Apparently, a “Thursday Night Massacre” in Afghanistan, where we blew up a tanker truck and killed at least 90 people and wounded more, almost all of whom were civilians, happened at 2:30 a.m. on the biggest party night of the week.

In short, it happened while everybody was blind stinking drunk.

Afghan alcohol ban after Nato staff were ‘too hungover’ to give explanation for airstrike that killed 70 civilians

There are seven bars on half-square mile Isaf compound. One insider told the Times: ‘Thursday nights are the big party nights, because Friday’s a ‘low-ops’ day. They even open a bar in the garden at headquarters.

‘There’s a ‘two can’ rule but people ignore it and hit it pretty hard.’

The airstrike occurred at 2.30am on Friday morning.

Although McChrystal is publicly saying that alcohol was not a factor in the strike itself (yeah right), check out the evidence to the contrary:

General Stanley McChrystal has banned alcohol at the International Forces in Afghanistan headquarters

Alcohol has been banned from Nato’s headquarters in Afghanistan in the wake of an airstrike that killed up to 70 civilians.

US General Stanley McChrystal, head of the International Forces in Afghanistan (Isaf), decided to bar boozing after launching an investigation into the bombing in northern Afghanistan.

Staff at the Kabul headquarters were ‘either drunk or too hungover’ to answer his questions.

Yeah it sounds like alcohol played no part whatsoever in the strike.   Sure, Stanley, we believe you.  

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