February 28, 2006

Maybe we should have a bake sale?

So far, Six Mile Canyon is left hanging. Storey and Lyon Counties are creating a joint resolution, still to be voted on by each county commission, and then will be going with hat in hand to the state and the feds. Reading the story tells me that the road isn't getting repaired anytime soon. Fer cryin' out loud, the extra gas tax revenue provided by the longer commutes of Lyon and Storey residents should be enough to cover the repairs. There are lots of problems in leaving the road in the condition it is in right now. Beyond the longer commutes of residents finding go-arounds to get where they are going,

A solution can't come too soon for the Storey County Fire Department, which has numerous concerns over safety issues regarding the road.

"We're already geographically a remote county, so it does have an impact to us because it cuts off an artery we are accustomed to using," said Eric Guevin, acting fire marshal for Storey County.

Guevin said first response to an emergency should not be affected due to a mutual aid agreement with the Central Lyon County Fire District, but that in a significant emergency incident, service could be delayed.

On anger and opposition...

My pal, Fallon Democrat Glen McAdoo, lays it out quite nicely. Both he and I, and a heck of a lot of other Democrats, have had it Up To Here with Republicans who try to shut us up by labeling us "angry." Heck yeah we're angry. Ain't nothin' wrong with a little righteous anger.

It seems as if the Republican spin doctors' new plan of attack is to claim the Democrats are acting as if they are mad at the Republicans and the Bush administration, and it's not becoming. Like we should care what they think.

Democrats are mad at Republicans they say? Well, yeah! Duh. And just pray tell why should we be "happy" with the opposition? They think we should just close our mouths, bite the bullet and put on a happy face as if everything is coming up roses. But it isn't - not by a long shot, or bird shot.
In addition to the lies that got us into Iraq and the incredible debacle that was the Katrina response, illegal wiretaps and sales of American ports to a foreign government with ties to terrorism, Glen goes on:
We're mad at an administration that continues a war against the less fortunate to finance a war promulgated upon deceit and fabrication. The proposed $2.5 trillion Bush budget, which doesn't include the cost of the continuing war, would increase the co-payments for veterans' health care from $8 to $15, and add a new annual enrollment fee of $250. It cuts $107 million nationally from a program that provides box lunches and dinners to the nation's elderly residents.

Ceci Connolly writes in the Washington Post on Feb. 14 that "if enacted, the Bush budget would eliminate federal programs that support inner city Indian health clinics, defibrillators in rural areas, an educational campaign about Alzheimer's, centers for traumatic brain injuries and a national registry for Lou Gehrig's disease. It would cut close to $1 billion in health care grants to states and would kill the entire budget of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resources Center."

Heaven forbid we should get angry just because the budget proposal would cut 36 billion out of Medicare by shaving inflation increases in payments to health care providers like hospitals and nursing homes. Oh, and by the way, that $255 Social Security death benefit is just a little more than the President is willing to spend. I know it wasn't much to begin with, but, how low, will this guy go?

CBS reports that one third of the programs being targeted for elimination are in the Education Department, including federal grant programs for local schools in such areas as vocational education, anti-drug efforts and Even Start, a $225 million literacy program.
Read the whole thing. Glen is quite a treat. I promise to post more of Glen's articles in the future.

February 17, 2006

I was hungry and you ignored me...

I got nothing to say here. The article says it all.

Food bank learns of seniors' program cut

Officials at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada are crying foul after learning the federal Commodity Supplemental Food Program was eliminated in President Bush's 2007 proposed budget.

"We already knew the program would be cut nationwide by 9 percent in 2006, but we never expected that the whole program would be eliminated," Dan Clift, Food Bank commodity distribution manager, said in a statement. "This is a life-saving program for many poor, elderly people in northern Nevada, and it will be devastating to them."

The program began operating locally in July 2003. Food bank data show that 4,838 people were served with 31,318 nutritionally balanced food boxes at 37 sites last fiscal year. About 90 percent of participants were low-income senior citizens. The remaining recipients were low-income families.

'For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.' Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you.' And the King will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.'

February 16, 2006


I wonder if they are going to make this retro-active to absolve Bush of all the times he broke the law? Looks like the Republicans don't give a damn that Bush ignored the FISA law to conduct warrantless wiretaps on Americans. Senator Roberts appears to have cut a deal to "fix" the FISA law to accomodate the NSA wiretaps in order to avoid an election year investigation of the program.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts said he has worked out an agreement with the White House to change U.S. law regarding the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program and provide more information about it to Congress.

"We are trying to get some movement, and we have a clear indication of that movement," Roberts, R-Kan., said.

Without offering specifics, Roberts said the agreement with the White House provides "a fix" to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and offers more briefings to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Oh my god, the clue phone is ringing, Republicans. Don't you get it? Bush doesn't feel the need for you. Don't you realize that all the requests for "briefings" will go nowhere? After five years of a Congress absolutely toothless when it comes to holding the Bush administration accountable for anything they do, do you actually think this will be any different? I cannot believe how willing you are to roll over for this law breaker. You might as well just shut off the lights and go home. Bush is running the country. Save us taxpayers some money and call it a day.
The deal comes as the committee was set to have a meeting Thursday about whether to open an investigation into the hotly disputed program. Roberts indicated the deal may eliminate the need for such an inquiry. Democrats have been demanding an investigation but some Republicans don't want to tangle the panel in a testy election-year probe.

"Whether or not an investigation is the right thing to do at this particular time, I am not sure," Roberts told reporters while heading into the meeting.

The White House was not immediately available for comment on Roberts' statement.

Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Scott McClellan hinted at a "good discussion going on" with lawmakers and praised in particular "some good ideas" presented by Sen. Mike DeWine (news, bio, voting record). The Ohio Republican has suggested the FISA law be changed to accommodate the NSA program.

However, McClellan left the impression that any deal would not allow for significant changes. He said the White House continued to maintain that Bush does not need Congress' approval to authorize the warrantless eavesdropping and that the president would resist any legislation that might compromise the program.
See? It doesn't matter what you do. Bush and Company are going to do whatever they damn well please. In the meantime, the Justice Department, who is supposed to be looking out for the American people, is really looking out for its number one client, George W. Bush.
Separately, the Justice Department has strongly discouraged the Senate Judiciary Committee from calling former Attorney General John Ashcroft and his deputy to testify about the surveillance program, saying they won't have new information for Congress about it.
Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

February 13, 2006

Get a life? Get a clue!

In Friday's Nevada Appeal I read this letter to the editor (scroll down). Charles Kittredge of Carson City asserts:

Democrats sick of same ol' from party

I have a question to ask you. Why did you not report on the spot poll conducted by CBS just after our president's speech? Did you know that 77 percent of those responding approved of the speech? Now, since we all know very few Republicans or conservatives watch CBS then who were the respondents? I bet they were made up of mostly good Democrats who are sick and tired of the same old hatred coming from their representatives. And probably sickened by the display put on by the left aisle.

You people seriously need to get a life.
At first blush, it may appear that Mr. Kittredge is speaking as an outraged Democrat, but there are a couple of red flags that pop up. First, there is his assertion that few Republicans or conservatives watch CBS News. And he would know this how? He implies that this "spot poll" polled only CBS viewers. But what is the methodology of this poll? If it was an online poll, the poll could have been overwhelmed by Bush supporters (or some other group) and therefore not a scientifically accurate poll. Or was the CBS poll an actual poll conducted by CBS, which I would assume would not limit itself to CBS viewers but would, in fact, be a random poll sampling respondents from across the country. However, Mr. Kittredge does not elaborate and we are left to take his trumpeting of this poll's 77% approval of Bush's speech with a generous portion of salt, especially in light of subsequent opinion polls that show that Bush got no bump in his approval ratings after the speech and remains in the 38-42% approval range.

In a quick reading of this letter, one might think that Mr. Kittredge is one of those "good Democrats" he speaks of in his letter. Nope. Mr. Kittredge, the public voter files tells me, is a registered Republican, and dutifully parrots the latest Republican talking points that "good" Democrats are disgusted with the Angry Democrats™.

Rather than the Nevada Appeal getting a life, methinks it is Mr. Kittredge who needs to get a clue and take a good long look at his own party whose blind fealty to George W. Bush has spawned an administration that asserts the absolute supremacy of the executive branch over the other two branches of government (in direct violation of the US Constitution's checks and balances), an administration that ignores any law it doesn't like, refuses to cooperate with any Congressional investigation that might bring embarrassment (or worse) to the White House, claims immunity from any judicial or Congressional oversight by claiming "national security," openly admits to breaking a law (FISA) that forbids warrantless wiretapping of Americans and boasts that it will continue to do so no matter what Congress or the Courts has to say about it.

Mr. Kittredge should be worried about a President and executive branch that has literally thrown down the gauntlet not merely to Democrats, but to his own party's Senators, Representatives and federal judges. My God, George W. Bush and his posse of Constitution haters, are daring their own party to stop them. Sadly, it appears that Republicans have neither the will nor the spine to do so. Worse yet, it appears that they are willfully enabling their own irrelevance.

February 8, 2006

Can I just put a big "AMEN" over this?

From SusanG over DailyKos comes this post:

Please, Politicize My Funeral

Not only do these hypocritical conservatives want to step in and tell me and my family that I can be kept alive for years against my wishes, a petri dish harboring their precious "culture of life," now they want to control the "message" at my funeral. Well ... I've got news for them. It's time they shut their yaps, this GOP party of control freaks extraordinaire.

Not that I plan on departing anytime soon, but today's hyped-up, hand-wringing caterwauling about the "politicizing" of Coretta Scott King's funeral makes me inclined to officially endorse any political use that can be made of my death. Just to piss them off, you know. (As one is in life, I'm assuming one will be in the hereafter.)

I realize I'll probably only have my four kids, a few grandkids, a couple of spouses (ex and otherwise) and a handful of friends in attendance, but heck, if they want to book Clinton or anyone else with some rhetorical gifts loaded for bear on the causes I love ... well, have at it.

In fact, film it. Put a clip on the internet. Let MoveOn use it. Pass around petitions at the gala affair. Shout out about injustice, discrimination and war. Have really terrific, blasting anti-war songs, the louder the better. Found a PAC. Unfurl a banner that urges impeachment of someone horrible for this country or endorses something progressive. Wear political T-Shirts, by all means. Do some fundraising right then and there for progressive causes. Pass the hat. Or take credit card charges, whatever works. Make it as overt and effective as possible.

What else is a funeral anyway but the marking of the passing of a life? And what else is a life but the passions and causes that fill it? People who make demarcations between politics and personal life have always struck me as odd ducks. How we spend our time, what work we do, what purchases we make, the people we hang out with ... the millions of little decisions we make over a lifetime add up to a political stance, defined or not. The personal and the political are seamlessly one.

Now if I - a mere speck of dust in the political solar system - feel this way, how am I to believe Coretta Scott King felt? Here we have a woman who spent her lifetime speaking out, marching, lending her name to causes and fighting injustice with integrity in every breath she took. Her husband died for speaking out and she continued to do the same. Am I really to assume she would "tut tut" at the heartfelt and sometimes raucous, sometimes tear-inducing funeral we witnessed today? Am I really expected to presume that Michelle Malkin and the other winger crybabies know better than her family what would have pleased her at her last official ceremony?

Please, these people need - and I say this with all the respect it's due - to shut up. Go have a second 10-day proto-patriotic binge about Ronald Reagan. Progressives won't begrudge it, we promise, as long as we're not forced to watch or attend. The music will suck and have a lousy beat, and the speeches will put everyone in a godawful coma, but ... hey, whatever floats your flag-wrapped, compassionate conservative boat.

Just get out of our lives. And our deaths. And our funerals. And the way we honor our heroes, damn it.

Hammer, meet nail. Love this. If anyone who loves me denies the truth of my being for fear of offending someone else, well, understand this: I will haunt you until you take your last breath.