May 13, 2013 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our regular featured content-

These featured articles-

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Electoral Victory My Ass

Democratic strategist: Party ‘in decline’


5/10/13 5:05 AM EDT

“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.

While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.

With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years.

Obama neither directly campaigned nor raised money for down-ticket Democrats last year. The post-election creation of Organizing for Action to push his own agenda has upset party regulars because it makes the Democratic National Committee less relevant than ever, squeezes fundraising for other Democratic groups and emphasizes issues that put moderates in a bind.

“Obama not only got elected by running against the party establishment, but he has governed as a President who does not emphasize his party label,” writes Sosnik. “It’s hard to be a change agent if you are lugging around a party label in an era where voters are so strongly disaffected from our institutions.”

Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade Was Too Sweeping…

True.  Just as African slaves should have been given a little more freedom gradually instead of all at one time, we could have saved that awful messy business with the South.

Ginsburg, one of the most liberal members of the nation’s high court…

Words have the meaning Humpty Dumpty would impart to them when Ginsburg is called liberal.

I am not the only one who noted during her confirmation hearing that Ginsburg, once a great champion of women’s rights, was perfectly happy to pull the ladder up after her when she ascended to a new level.

Does anyone need more proof?

Best,  Terry

On This Day In History May 13

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 13 is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 232 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas. The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk‘s request.

The Mexican-American War (or Mexican War) was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution.

Origins of the war

The Mexican government had long warned the United States that annexation would mean war. Because the Mexican congress had refused to recognize Texan independence, Mexico saw Texas as a rebellious territory that would be retaken. Britain and France, which recognized the independence of Texas, repeatedly tried to dissuade Mexico from declaring war. When Texas joined the U.S. as a state in 1845, the Mexican government broke diplomatic relations with the U.S.

The Texan claim to the Rio Grande boundary had been omitted from the annexation resolution to help secure passage after the annexation treaty failed in the Senate. President Polk claimed the Rio Grande boundary, and this provoked a dispute with Mexico. In June 1845, Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to Texas, and by October 3,500 Americans were on the Nueces River, prepared to defend Texas from a Mexican invasion. Polk wanted to protect the border and also coveted the continent clear to the Pacific Ocean. Polk had instructed the Pacific naval squadron to seize the California ports if Mexico declared war while staying on good terms with the inhabitants. At the same time he wrote to Thomas Larkin, the American consul in Monterey, disclaiming American ambitions but offering to support independence from Mexico or voluntary accession to the U.S., and warning that a British or French takeover would be opposed.

To end another war-scare (Fifty-Four Forty or Fight) with Britain over Oregon Country, Polk signed the Oregon Treaty dividing the territory, angering northern Democrats who felt he was prioritizing Southern expansion over Northern expansion.

In the winter of 1845-46, the federally commissioned explorer John C. Fremont and a group of armed men appeared in California. After telling the Mexican governor and Larkin he was merely buying supplies on the way to Oregon, he instead entered the populated area of California and visited Santa Cruz and the Salinas Valley, explaining he had been looking for a seaside home for his mother. The Mexican authorities became alarmed and ordered him to leave. Fremont responded by building a fort on Gavilan Peak and raising the American flag. Larkin sent word that his actions were counterproductive. Fremont left California in March but returned to California and assisted the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, where many American immigrants stated that they were playing “the Texas game” and declared California’s independence from Mexico.

On November 10, 1845, Polk sent John Slidell, a secret representative, to Mexico City with an offer of $25 million ($632,500,000 today) for the Rio Grande border in Texas and Mexico’s provinces of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. U.S. expansionists wanted California to thwart British ambitions in the area and to gain a port on the Pacific Ocean. Polk authorized Slidell to forgive the $3 million ($76 million today) owed to U.S. citizens for damages caused by the Mexican War of Independence and pay another $25 to $30 million ($633 million to $759 million today) in exchange for the two territories.

Mexico was not inclined nor able to negotiate. In 1846 alone, the presidency changed hands four times, the war ministry six times, and the finance ministry sixteen times. However, Mexican public opinion and all political factions agreed that selling the territories to the United States would tarnish the national honor. Mexicans who opposed direct conflict with the United States, including President José Joaquin de Herrera, were viewed as traitors. Military opponents of de Herrera, supported by populist newspapers, considered Slidell’s presence in Mexico City an insult. When de Herrera considered receiving Slidell to settle the problem of Texas annexation peacefully, he was accused of treason and deposed. After a more nationalistic government under General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga came to power, it publicly reaffirmed Mexico’s claim to Texas; Slidell, convinced that Mexico should be “chastised”, returned to the U.S.


The final 6 episodes, notable for the absence of John Cleese.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Egg 24:  Eye #2

Late Night Karaoke

Happy Mother’s Day

A DocuDharma Tradition

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

How to Better Honor Mothers

Cross posted fromThe Stars Hollow Gazette

SOPA Reddit Warrior photo refresh31536000resize_h150resize_w1.jpgColumnist, Richard (RJ) Eskow wrote a humorously helpful article at Huffington Poat honoring his mother’s wish not to send her a card on Mothers’ Day. She, like me, thinks it’s a “phony holiday designed to boost profits for Hallmark Cards.”. So if your mom is like me and RJ’s mom, here are his helpful suggestions that every Mom will love you for:

1. Tell our leaders to stop talking about budget cuts.

I don’t know about you, but my mother and father always told me: If you do something stupid and bad things happen, don’t do it again. It aggravates many of America’s mothers when this advice isn’t followed. [..]

Mother wouldn’t like that. So write them and tell them you want them to stop.

2. Demand that Congress repeal the sequester.

The sequester is a remarkably stupid policy, even by today’s degraded standards. It has already cost the country a lot of lost jobs, and has shrunk the economy at a time when government should be investing in its growth. [..]

Congress needs to repeal this numbskull grab-bag of destructive cuts and invest in growth instead. The President needs to stop using “I’ve got a smarter austerity plan” argument and start arguing forcefully for jobs and growth. If he refuses, other Democrats need to step up to the plate as the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a handful of others have done. [..]

You can go here to drop a Mom-centric message to Congress: Repeal the nitwit sequester once and for all.

3. Demand more education funding, rather than less.

Mothers and fathers also care about their children’s education, and funds for education are being slashed. We need to hire more teachers, stop trying to siphon education money off to private corporations, provide our schools with adequate supplies, and rebuild the ones that are in bad shape. [..]

4. Insist that Congress create jobs — for the young, for our crumbling infrastructure, for the future.

Those crumbling schools need workers to rebuild them. So do our crumbling roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. [..]

5. Tell Congress not to pass the president’s destructive Social Security cut. (It’s also a tax hike.)

The most cynical con in this country is the idea that cutting Social Security cost-of-living adjustments — through the president’s proposed “chained CPI” — is being done to protect “the younger generations” from “greedy geezers.” [..]

And that’s no way to talk to your mother.

6. Support the fast food and retail workers’ strike.

Low-wage workers went on strike last week in New York, and the walkout is spreading like wildfire: first to New York, then Chicago, then to St. Louis, and now to Detroit. Terrance Heath has a good write-up on working conditions in Detroit. [..]

7. Contact Congress and demand they raise the minimum wage.

The minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation, depriving generations of Americans of a decent life. If it had kept pace with inflation, it would be more than $16 per hour by now. [..]

You can go here to sign a petition demanding an up-or-down vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.

RJ finishes the piece with reminder of how this day to honor our mother’s began and it’s true meaning:

Postscript: Mother’s Work Day

Julia Ward Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, was the one who first popularized the idea of Mother’s Day. She got the idea from Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian housewife who organized “Mother’s Work Days” to provide sanitary conditions for troops on both sides of the Civil War. Jarvis went on to promote worker health and safety issues, as well as reconciliation between Northern and Southern soldiers.

There’s a different kind of Civil War being waged today. It’s a Class War, and the wealthy are waging it on the rest of us. As we’ve said before, the class war is a war on women. It’s time to take action against this economic assault on all women, including the Mothers of America. What better day to rededicate ourselves to that struggle than Mother’s Day?

So tell your family, friends and neighbors to pressure our elected officials to do the right thing for our mothers. And as RJ said, when you call your representatives, “tell ’em your Mother sent you.”

Yeah, really make my day.