March 31, 2006

RGJ takes on the state of rural EMS

I do a lot of driving in my job as an organizer for the Nevada State Democratic Party. Aside from the fact that there are vast swaths of Nevada without any cell reception at all, leaving me to worry about my fate should I have car trouble, more than that I think about what my fate would be if, God forbid, I were involved in an accident. I am not sure what the answer to this is, but it really is something we all need to be thinking about and bringing to our elected and soon-to-be-elected representatives, both locally and nationally.

Check out this very excellent series put together by the Reno Gazette-Journal on the state of rural emergency services.

Check this page for a comparison of counties and rural emergency services. Here is how Lyon County's stack up. And considering that the statistics are based on twenty years of data (we all are aware of the explosive growth in Lyon County over the last five years), it would seem to me that the picture may be even grimmer than this shows.

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March 30, 2006

Why I am a Democrat

I am a Democrat because, lacking a Labor Party, working people need a voice. Working people have built this Country and working people deserve their fair share of the fruit of their labor. The very group that economically supports the Rich and the Poor is shrinking, thus the economic burden is being carried by fewer and fewer and it is becoming heavier and heavier. There needs to be a Revolution of Thinking in this Country before any real change can take place. Working People are being lied to and they need to stand up and say, "I am worth more than the lipservice paid by Republicans." I believe that the Democratic Party, the party of the people, also needs to embrace this thinking and realize that the vast majority of working people are honest and hardworking and they deserve honest, ethical and effective representation in exchange for their labor.

I believe that jobs that pay a living wage is the biggest Family Value that the Democratic Party can work for. We need jobs that pay a living wage so that parents are not forced to work multiple jobs just to feed, house and clothe their families. We need to keep jobs in this country and promote the growth of new industries here at home - industries that promote solutions to the other problems we face - renewable energy industries, healthy food industries, healthy water industries, non-polluting businesses that create goods to sell around the world.

Our ancestors built the Greatest Nation of the modern era. There is no reason we should now be debtor slaves to China. We CAN DO BETTER! We DESERVE BETTER. Our children DESERVE BETTER.

Because I see a vsion of a World That Works For Everyone (not just the rich and the dishonest) I am a Democrat. Proudly!

March 29, 2006

I'm a Democrat because...

I'm a Democrat because I'm a Mormon

Kathleen Gurr spells it out why her Mormon faith is completely compatible with being a Democrat.

To many, it sounds like a contradiction in terms: a Mormon Democrat. People regularly ask me how I reconcile my religious beliefs with my political opinions, shocked that a good Mormon girl would throw her support behind such a scandalous party. Believe it or not, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints doesn't automatically make one an ardent member of the GOP, even in Utah. In fact, it's my religious beliefs about compassion and generosity that have made me liberal.

The LDS Church's official position has long been one of political neutrality, endorsing neither major political party. When the church takes one of its rare official political stances, it is always on a particular issue and should not be misconstrued as support of one party or one political ideology. Mormon leaders constantly encourage all followers, regardless of party, to become involved in politics, vote and run for office when possible. Yet many believe that to be LDS, you have to be Republican. It's just not true-if anything, the Democratic Party more closely adheres to basic Christian values.

Obviously, individual Mormons hold different views about the same beliefs, just as members of the Democratic Party take a wide variety of positions. But many elements of liberal politics are principles central to the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: social welfare, the environment, the role of government, the balance between business and the community. I'm not a Democrat in spite of my religion-I'm a Democrat because of my religion.

Really excellent piece.

I heartily agree with the writer. I am a Democrat because I am a Christian. That pesky commandment Jesus gave about loving my neighbor as myself? I took it as gospel...no pun intended. When He told me that if a man asks for my cloak I am to give him my shirt as well, I don't think Jesus intended it to be merely a suggestion. When Jesus told me that whatsoever I do for the least of His brethen I do for Him, I considered it an honor to serve Him.

(On Edit) I found this companion article written in 2005 which takes on this same theme.

I'm a Democrat because I'm a Mormon: Liberalism is not immoral by Jeff Fullmer
I am deeply chagrined when I hear Mormons incorrectly refer to the liberal left as immoral. From this, I deduce that those who deem liberals to be immoral do not understand politics, or their own religion, or either.

March 26, 2006

Dying on Nevada'a Highways...

My friend, Jack, over at the Nye County Blog makes some noise about this Reno Gazette-Journal article that appeared last week about the risk of dying on Nevada's highways while waiting for an ambulance.

The Claim: Unlimited Power

I have blogged on this, written letters to the editor, and have pretty much been watching in horror as the Bush administration lays claim to the notion that they can pretty much do whatever they want, that all power lies in the hands of the Executive Branch, the Courts and Congress be damned. But no one writes more cogently on this than Glenn Greenwald.

Question number (5) from the Committee Republicans asked "whether President Carter's signature on FISA in 1978, together with his signing statement," meant that the Executive had agreed to be bound by the restrictions placed by FISA on the President's powers to eavesdrop on Americans. This is how the DoJ responded, in relevant part:


The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statutes inconsistent with the Constitution must yield. The basic principle of our system of government means that no President, merely by assenting to a piece of legislation, can diminish the scope of the President's constitutional power. . . .

Just as one President may not, through signing legislation, eliminate the Executive Branch's inherent constitutional powers, Congress may not renounce inherent presidential authority. The Constitution grants the President the inherent power to protect the nation from foreign attack, and Congress may not impede the President's ability to perform his constitutional duty.“ (citations omitted).
Can that be any clearer for you - Congressmen, Senators, journalists? The President is bestowed by the Constitution with the unlimited and un-limitable power to do anything that he believes is necessary to "protect the nation." Thus, even if Congress passes laws which seek to limit that power in any way, and even if the President agrees to those restrictions and signs that bill into law, he still retains the power to violate it whenever he wants.

Thus, Sen. DeWine can pass his cute little bill purporting to require oversight, or Sen. Specter can pass his, or they can do nothing and leave FISA in place. None of that matters, because no matter what Congress or even the President do with regard to the law, the law does not restrict what the President can do in any way. They are telling the Congress to its face that all of the grand debates it is having and the negotiations it is conducting are all irrelevant farces, because no matter what happens, the President retains unlimited power and nothing that Congress does can affect that power in any way.

The reality is that the Administration has been making clear for quite some time that they have unlimited power and that nothing -- not even the law -- can restrict it. But here, they are specifically telling Congress that even if Congress amends FISA and the President agrees to abide by those amendments, they still have the power to break the law whenever they want. As I have documented more times than I can count, we have a President who has seized unlimited power, including the power to break the law, and the Administration -- somewhat commendably -- is quite candid and straightforward about that fact.

In commenting on Bush's "signing statement" issued after signing the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in which the Administration said, once again, that even though the President is signing this legislation, he is under no obligation to abide by it, Greenwald remarks:
This is not theory. The Administration is not saying these things as a joke. We really do live in a country where we have a President who has seized the unlimited power to break the law. That's not hyperbole in any way. It is reality. And the Patriot Act signing statement only re-iterates that fact.

[...]

Put another way, the Administration has seized the power of Congress to make the laws, they have seized the power of the judiciary to interpret the laws, and they execute them as well. They have consolidated within themselves all of the powers of the government, particularly with regard to national security.


To keep from making this post too long, just go read Glenn Greenwald's post: Administration tells Congress (again) - We won't abide by your "laws"

Glenn Greenwald is a national treasure.

March 21, 2006

Yeah, yeah, we KNOW!!

Move Over Vegas, Here Comes Fernley

Clark County's growth supremacy is no more.

Census figures for 2004-2005 show that three of the nation's Top
10 fastest growing counties are in rural Nevada.

Lyon County, paced by rapid growth in Fernley, was third fastest
growing in the country. It's the fourth year in a row that Lyon has
led all counties in Nevada.

[...]

More than six of every 10 new Lyon County residents between July 2004 and July 2005 moved into Fernley, according to estimates by State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle.

March 9, 2006

Vets have earned their benefits

Great letter in the Reno Gazette-Journal lays it out quite nicely:

There should be no fees placed on retiree military medical care as the care is not a give-away benefit, but an earned obligation of the United States government resulting from military service, military policy and congressional promises.

For more years than I care to remember, Congress consistently explained low military pay (well below cost-of-living, inflation, civilian equivalent, etc.) as accounting for the "retirement benefits of no-cost lifetime medical care." For years, warriors heard the congressional explanation, and didn't like it, but sacrificed quality of living, long periods of separation from loved ones, and life-threatening conditions in service to our nation, fully expecting the government to keep its word. Congress was clearly stating that military members were purchasing no-cost health care and other retirement benefits from the inadequate pay being held back at the time of service.

Now, the leadership of the U.S. government has no qualms of penalizing our warriors even in time of war, betraying past, current and future guardians of our nation. Not only are military retirees forced to pay medical care fees, they also are required to do so from the pittance received in military and Social Security compensation, which is correlated to low wages while on active duty.

Ed De Yonge, Reno

Let's just remember who exactly is the current "leadership of the U.S. government" and hold them accountable in November. Democrats have proposed bill after bill to support our soldiers and veterans only to have the bills shot down in committee or voted down along straight party lines if the bill manages to make it to the floor.

Our veterans deserve so much more than Republican-controlled Washington is giving them.