26 February 2010
"If we’re lucky, Thursday’s summit will turn out to have been the last act in the great health reform debate, the prologue to passage of an imperfect but nonetheless history-making bill. If so, the debate will have ended as it began: with Democrats offering moderate plans that draw heavily on past Republican ideas, and Republicans responding with slander and misdirection."
get the rest here.
18 February 2010
Alright boys and girls, I strongly suggest you saddle up and pedal over to Spenard tonight for The Spenard Roadhouse’s first birthday party. They’ve got a yummy dinner planned (Filet with a honey bourbon demi-glace, lemon peppered scallops with a kiwi beurre blanc, braised spinach with garlic and shallots, and oven roasted herb potatoes) as well as live music from the likes of The Spenard Satans Old Timey Clubhouse Band who will be churning out the honky-tonk and country blues from 9 to 1.
Here’s what The Anchorage Press had to say: The Devil's Music
16 February 2010
"We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people."
"In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human."
"Further reductions in taxes with particular consideration for low and middle income families."
"We recognize the need for maintaining isolated wilderness areas."
"Revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public."
Get the rest here.
2) Actual Founder-President #1, George Washington, became an Anglican as required for original military service under the British, and occasionally quoted scripture. But he vehemently opposed any church-state union. In a 1790 letter to the Jews of Truro, he wrote: The "Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistances, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens." A 1796 treaty he signed says "the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Washington rarely went to church and by some accounts refused last religious rites.
3) Washington was also the nation's leading brewer, and since most Americans drank much beer (water could be lethal in the cities) they regularly trembled before the keg, not the altar. Like Washington, Jefferson and Madison, virtually all American farmers raised hemp and its variations.
4) Jefferson produced a personal Bible from which he edited out all reference to the "miraculous" from the life of Jesus, whom he considered both an activist and a mortal.
5) Tom Paine's COMMON SENSE sparked the Revolution with nary a mention of Jesus or Christianity. His Deist Creator established the laws of Nature, endowed humans with Free Will, then left.
6) The Constitution never mentions the words "Christian" or "Jesus" or "Christ."
7) Revolutionary America was filled with Christians whose commitment to toleration and diversity was completely adverse to the violent, racist, misogynist, anti-sex theocratic Puritans whose "City on the Hill" meant a totalitarian state. Inspirational preachers like Rhode Island's Roger Williams and religious groups like the Quakers envisioned a nation built on tolerance and love for all.
8) The US was founded less on Judeo-Christian beliefs than on the Greco-Roman love for dialog and reason. There are no contemporary portraits of any Founder wearing a crucifix or church garb. But Washington was famously painted half-naked in the buff toga of the Roman Republic, which continues to inspire much of our official architecture.
9) The great guerilla fighter (and furniture maker) Ethan Allen was an aggressive atheist; his beliefs were common among the farmers, sailors and artisans who were the backbone of Revolutionary America.
10) America's most influential statesman, thinker, writer, agitator, publisher, citizen-scientist and proud liberal libertine was---and remains---Benjamin Franklin. He was at the heart of the Declaration, Constitution and Treaty of Paris ending the Revolution. The ultimate Enlightenment icon, Franklin's Deism embraced a pragmatic love of diversity. As early America's dominant publisher he, Paine and Jefferson printed the intellectual soul of the new nation.
11) Franklin deeply admired the Ho-de-no-sau-nee (Iroquois) Confederacy of what's now upstate New York. Inspired by the legendary peacemaker Deganawidah, this democratic congress of five tribes had worked "better than the British Parliament" for more than two centuries. It gave us the model for our federal structure and the images of freedom and equality that inspired both the French and American Revolutions."
-- from a great article by Harvey Wasserman Our Founders Were Not Fundamentalists
11 February 2010
08 February 2010
05 February 2010
04 February 2010
03 February 2010
The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has already had a remarkable impact.
Across the country, people are outraged by the prospect of our political system being subject even further to the influence of special interest money. In the streets, in our newspapers and TV talk shows, in the President's State of the Union address -- people are fed up and demanding action.
We've got a tremendous opportunity to harness this momentum, to direct this palpable sense of outrage toward a positive effort to restore public trust in our democracy.
The first step is to pass the Fair Elections Now Act. This legislation is the most important thing we can do right now to achieve this goal. Congress is considering a range of responses to Citizens United, but the Fair Elections Now Act is by far the strongest. We must do all we can to support this bill.
Today, we're launching FixCongressFirst.org, a brand new website that will serve as the online home of Change Congress and a central hub for this entire movement. On this new website you'll find updates on what's happening around the Fair Elections Now Act and ways for you to get involved to help pass this legislation.
Take a few minutes to visit our new website -- and forward this email to everyone you know to help build this movement:
This is a special moment in the history of our democracy, a moment that calls for strong and immediate action. But it also calls for a comprehensive plan to ensure the integrity of our democracy in the long-term. Tomorrow, I'll outline the second step of this plan.
For now, though, we must remain focused on the most pressing need: passing the Fair Elections Now Act. Please visit our new website, come back often, and tell everyone you know to join you.
The American people are ready for change. Let's lead the way.
-- Lawrence Lessig
SPREAD THE WORD!
As he did with the House Republicans last week, Obama will meet with Senate Democrats today for a Q&A. I feel that acts such as these are a positive addition to current politics. We have, unfortunately, become lost in a vicious tangle of 24/7 media sound bites and speculative analysis over the years and it is great to see politicians addressing one another face to face.
If you agree, be sure to check out Demand Question Time (maybe you could even sign their petition).
For a little history, check out David Corn’s piece over at Mother Jones.
02 February 2010
from State of the Union or Civil War? by Paul A Passavant
And in comically related news, Fox's latest trophy wife/unashamed quitter/carnivorous fish calls for the dismissal of Rahm Emauel over his use of the term "Fucking Retarded" in a move some might consider "Word Police-ish." From her rickety soapbox in SocialMediaLand:
"I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm's continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts. Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm's recent sick and offensive tactic.
The Obama Administration's Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, "F—-ing retarded," according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the "N-word" or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities - and the people who love them - is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking.
A patriot in North Andover, Massachusetts, notified me of Rahm's "retarded" slam. I join this gentleman, who is the father of a beautiful child born with Down Syndrome, in asking why the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society and other groups condemning Rahm's degrading scolding have been completely ignored by the White House. No comment from his boss, the president?
As my friend in North Andover says, "This isn't about politics; it's about decency. I am not speaking as a political figure but as a parent and as an everyday American wanting my child to grow up in a country free from mindless prejudice and discrimination, free from gratuitous insults of people who are ostensibly smart enough to know better... Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
Mr. President, you can do better, and our country deserves better."