March 30, 2007

This guy speaks for me

I've been doing some catching up this morning, and this letter to the editor jumped out at me.

To the Editor:

I have a different point of view regarding the controversy over the firing of the United States attorneys.

Although the prosecutors in question were selected by the president and they “serve at his pleasure,” I believe that they actually work for me.

In fact, the president of the United States works for me, too. After all, this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Politics may be a game for politicians, but governing is a serious business. This does not involve any strategic military secrets.

I would like to know what went on. I demand accountability. The answers should be under oath and recorded for all of us “bosses” to see. Then we can decide if our employees, from President Bush on down, are doing the job that we elected them to do!

Fred Herman

Weston, Fla., March 27, 2007

March 28, 2007

Politico = Drudge

Hmm. Glenn Greenwald articulates something I have suspected for a while. Whence comes this new "authority" Politico? I mean, suddenly, Politico is being quoted everywhere. And look how wrong they got the Edwards announcement.

In addition, Greenwald takes on the newest "meme" about Obama. (Subscription required, or watch the short ad for a day pass)

The new online political magazine, The Politico, is a pernicious new presence in our media landscape. As I noted the other day, it really is nothing more than the Drudge Report dressed up with the trappings of mainstream media credibility. Today, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News writes on his blog about what is merely the latest episode (of many) proving how closely coordinated The Politico is with The Drudge Report. It is not hyperbole to say that the former is all but an arm of the latter.

Better Know a Candidate - End of the quarter emails

It's down to the wire for first quarter fundraising, so my inbox is full of pleas for funds. All of them remind us that the March 31st deadline for reporting is rapidly approaching and they all need to make a strong showing. If you've got a favorite candidate and you'd like to give him or her a shot in the arm, now's the time. If you haven't decided on anyone yet, check out each candidate's issues page and find out where they stand on issues close to your heart. Just like high school: Compare and Contrast.

Joe Biden's sister Valerie Biden Owens talks about the Bush administration's slashing of funds to the COPS program and discusses Biden's plan to restore 50,000 cops to the streets.

Tom Vilsack endorses Hillary Clinton, tells us he's going to be supporting her inthe Iowa caucus, and makes a plea for grassroots support of her campaign.

John Edwards reminds us of the issues he's been tackling during his campaign:

Together, we've led on the important issues facing America in this election. We've told Congress to stop the escalation and end the war in Iraq; we've introduced bold plans to reduce global poverty and help win the war against terrorism; and we're the only campaign to have laid out a detailed plan to bring universal health care to every man, woman and child in America.

And just last week, I announced my energy plan and called on America to begin taking aggressive action to stop global warming.
Today there are house parties all over the country for John Edwards. Click here for a location near you.

On Saturday, supporters of Barack Obama will be holding house parties all over the country. There's one in Fernley. Click here for details and to RSVP. (you may need to scroll down a bit...Obama's page is looking funny right now. Hopefully, they've got their tech people working on it.)

Bill Richardson's campaign has sent out a couple of emails in the last few days stressing his experience as governor, in Washington, and as a diplomat. Here's a sample:
Every time the Governor talks to new voters, someone says "I hadn't realized that Governor Richardson is so experienced -- we need someone with that record of accomplishments in the White House." Voters respond to candidates who can demonstrate what they have done, not just talk about what they might do.
Bill Richardson will be on The Daily Show tonight which will be a nice break from Dennis Miller's appearance last night. Miller leaves a real bad taste in my mouth.

I haven't heard from Chris Dodd (though his web site is using March Madness as a hook), Dennis Kucinich, or Mike Gravel in the last few days, but I suspect I will hear from the Dodd campaign shortly.

March 27, 2007

An open letter to the Liberal Media

Winnemucca Democrat Dee Holzel begs the liberal media to stop helping us.

March 22, 2007

Better Know A Candidate - March 24 Forum

I just got an email from the Center for American Progress that says that the March 24th forum will be webcast via ThinkProgress.

Edwards Press Conference

The press conference is over. Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned. In the bone. Shit. But they say the cancer is treatable, though not curable. She may be in therapy for the rest of her life. The campaign goes on. Elizabeth says: "it's unbelievably important that we get this election right."

All I can say is that the Edwards are just an incredibly strong, grounded family. At one point JE looked at EE and all I saw was love, love, love.

Damn this disease.

March 21, 2007

Mr. Deity Superbowl Extra: The Press Conference

And while we're bumping around YouTube...another one from Mr. Deity.

The latest Apple product...

Better Know a Candidate - Candidate Update

The Carson City event featuring Joe Biden, originally scheduled for this evening, has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled and I will keep you posted.

The SEIU presidential forum this weekend in Las Vegas will feature Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson.

Karen Tumulty, National Political Correspondent for TIME, will moderate the forum and ask the candidates questions about the issue, giving them a platform to discuss how they will address our nation’s health care crisis. With nearly 47 million Americans uninsured – including 9 million children – and millions more underinsured or facing bankruptcy due to medical costs, few issues will be as important to Americans in the 2008 presidential election as health care coverage.

I don't think it will be televised, but perhaps it will be on C-SPAN. I'll check.

We've got National House Parties
John Edwards - March 28th - Here's one in Winnemucca
Barack Obama
- March 31st - Lyon County has one in Fernley.

Meetup Groups
Dennis Kucinich
Barack Obama

Digging Deeper
C-SPAN's Road to the White House archive (video links)

March 19, 2007

What to say?

I've been thrashing around for a couple of days, trying to think of something profound to post today, the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I've got nothing. The final nail in my coffin of despair was this article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. After reading the entire article, I turned off my computer, went outside and scrubbed down my car, inside and out, went to lunch with Sweetie, came home and read an article in Sunday's RGJ regarding the Peace March on Saturday wherein the participants declared disappointment with the turnout. Maybe they should have done a better job of getting the word out. I heard about it after the fact. Finally, I tuned out in front of the TV watching Law and Order and the Gene Simmons Family Jewels marathon on A&E.

The best I can do for you is today's page from my Bad Cat Desk Calendar. If I had a scanner I'd show it to you. Since I don't, I hope my description will suffice.

Picture gray tabby sitting with back to you, head turned left and towards the back of the room, eyelids lowered and mouth slightly open as though to indicate a meow.

Caption: "You're still here, huh?"

March 16, 2007

Lyon County Master Plan

This post to NewsDeskbyNancyDallas.com outlines a series of community open houses and workshops regarding the Lyon County Master Plan. First up, Issue Identification Open Houses to be held March 19 through the 29th.

All of the open houses will be held between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The open houses will provide an opportunity for the public to review and identify issues that should be considered during the preparation of the County’s Comprehensive Master Plan. The Open Houses allow local residents to comment on countywide topics as well as on the issues that are most directly relevant to their areas.
After that, a series of Visioning Workshops is scheduled for April 9th through the 12th.

The purpose of these workshops is to get community input to the countywide vision as well as for each specific planning area. The first portion of the workshop will be a brief overview: “where is the county today, where is it headed, and what issues are we facing”? The second part of the workshop will be a visioning exercise focused on how residents would like to see the county in 10-20 years (probably in small break-out groups). The workshops are expected to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in each community.

We are hoping that the Board of Commissioners will be able to join the Planning Commission in a joint workshop during the Planning Commission’s April 10th meeting. We have tentatively scheduled this workshop for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10th.
Dates and locations at link.

March 14, 2007

Here's what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket

Lyon County has a huge budget shortfall. Why?

The county's budget headache can be traced to the building slowdown, the tax cap and a 3 percent tax abatement mandated by the state, said Comptroller Josh Foli.

He presented the commissioners with revenue projections and budget requests that leave the county with a $1.75 million shortfall at the end of the next fiscal year June 30, 2008.

Foli said the building slowdown hurt because it cost the county millions in sales tax revenue.

"The economy has slowed down in Nevada," he said. "It's kind of a domino effect, so our sales taxes have decreased."

Sales taxes are part of the consolidated tax the counties receive from the state, and Foli expects that to be far less than in previous years. He also said lower real estate transfer taxes played a role.

"The real property transfer taxes decreased 27 percent from last year to this year," he said. "When you have building going on and houses are selling, that generates revenue from that tax."
Options to deal with the budget shortfall only discuss belt-tightening (layoffs, benefits eliminated, etc) and don't seem to address the issue of looking for sources of revenue elsewhere.
Options
  • $1.37 million saved by laying off all positions created in the last three years except emergency personnel.
  • $2.14 million saved by laying off of all positions created in the last two years with no exceptions [does this include our new deputies?]
  • $1.376 million saved by reducing overtime
  • $270,000 saved by eliminating temporary help
  • $408,000 saved by eliminating 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all positions except Sheriff's sworn officers
  • $210,000 saved by eliminating 2.5 percent merit pay for all employees except Sheriff's sworn officers
  • $154,000 saved by eliminating dependent health insurance coverage
  • $60,500 saved by eliminating pay plan reclassification studies
  • $135,000 saved by taking 1 cent from the special medical indigent fund and moving it to the general fund
  • $210,000 saved by leaving 1.55 cents of tax in general fund instead of transferring it to surplus building maintenance fund
  • $300,000 saved by reducing funding contingency fund by 1 percent
I sooo want to get snarky here, but this is where I live, and this means the quality of life in a county that already has plenty of quality of life problems is just going to get worse. Many of us saw this coming when the property tax cap went into place. Those in power in our smaller population counties surely knew what was coming. But did they say anything? Doubtful. At least, they aren't going to say it to us. No self-respecting Republican in a a red county (and believe me, they're the ones running the show in Lyon County and just about every other county in CD2) is ever going to say, "No, we need those taxes to keep the lights on. Folks, you want cops, roads, schools, jails to lock up the bad guys? You're going to have to ante up." Nope, you are never gonna hear that. Ever. It's too easy keep the Big Lie alive. You know, the lie that says we can have it all and not pay for it.

Bill Maher on Ann Coulter and the Fox Debate

From his March 12 interview on Larry King Live:

MAHER: You have to think like a right-winger. First of all, it's interesting to note that she made that comment in front of that right-wing convention. She was not booed. There was actually a moment of ooh and then they all burst into applause. It went over like a cross on fire.

They actually liked that comment. And to people, normal people, you know, people who think like human beings, it was just confusing.

It was like why is John Edwards gay?

He's good looking.

OK, is that equivalent with gay?

No. And then she explained it and I kind of thought about it and I see what she's saying, is that, no, she really meant to say -- what she was trying to say, it's code word for the Democrats are -- I hope I can say this -- you said faggot -- pussies.

Can I say that?

KING: That's code word for -- I never read that. That never came through.

MAHER: No. No, but that's what they mean, is that he's a faggot because he thinks and speaks in complete sentences and reads whole books and doesn't just go off to war without thinking about it twice. And he cares about poor people and the environment, you know, poof stuff, Larry.

KING: Do you still like Ann Coulter?

MAHER: I haven't talked to her in so long. I don't know if she still likes me.

KING: Really? She used to come on your show a lot.

MAHER: A lot. Yes.

KING: Would you have her back?

MAHER: Yes, I'd have -- of course I'd have her back. I mean I like her -- I like what she says less and less. I never agreed with her. But she never was like out there. But this was a joke, in her defense.

KING: Right.

MAHER: I mean she was making a joke.

KING: A bad joke.

MAHER: I don't know. You know, for that crowd, it was apparently the right joke.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MAHER: As a comedian, I know that's the crowd it got a...

KING: The Democrats have pulled out of the Fox debate.

MAHER: Well, and this is why she has a point.

They're pussies, OK?

Do you remember when Bill Clinton went on with Chris Wallace a few months ago?

KING: Yes.

MAHER: And he showed everybody in that Democratic Party how it should be done.

KING: Get mad.

MAHER: He took on Chris Wallace.

These guys were like oh, no, Fox News, un-nnh, no, I'm sorry, we can't do that. We -- we didn't like the joke.

KING: Well, were they mad at a bad joke, right?

MAHER: They were made at a -- who cares what they're mad at? Instead of withdrawing, which says to everybody in the country oh, typical Democrats. They don't call people out, they just walk away. They don't raise the bet.

Go on there. It's just Chris Wallace. If you can't stand up to Chris Wallace, can you stand up to the terrorists, let alone the Republican Party?

KING: So, a mistake, in your opinion?

MAHER: Yes.

KING: OK.

MAHER: Take it to their house. Win an away game.
Yeah, remember when Bill Clinton took on Chris Wallace? The cheering heard in the blogosphere and elsewhere was deafening. Now those same people are not only saying that Democrats should not debate on Fox, but that they should freeze out Fox completely. These same people who have been screaming for our Democratic leaders to get a spine and stand up and articulate what we stand for are now telling those same Democratic leaders to "run Forrest, run!" What?!?

Do they not understand the sort of message this sends to the other 99.9% of the voting public who are NOT the political junkies we (bloggers) are?

March 12, 2007

Better Know a Candidate - From the inbox

From my inbox today:

Joe Biden asks us to read the Reid-Biden-Levin proposal for ending the war and to sign the petition. Go here.

Barack Obama is calling on his supporters to join in on a March 31 Community Kickoff Day

Chris Dodd lets us know he's going to be on The Daily Show tonight and provides us with an online backstage pass.

Elsewhere on the web:

That veteran you see with Senator Edwards on the John Edwards home page is none other than Carson City Democrat Rex Harold.

Ominous development for Iowa, New Hampshire and us

This article in the New York Times discusses the possibility of a 20-state primary on February 5th. Typically, Nevada barely gets a mention.

The changes are forcing candidates to decide whether Iowa and New Hampshire, two states with contests before Feb. 5, will become more influential as contenders look for early victories to give them momentum. And with as many as 23 states voting on a single day — more states than are typically considered competitive in a general election — candidates must decide which ones to ignore, given the demands on their time and bank accounts.
What really ticks me off is that if Iowa and New Hampshire hadn't been so adamant about their "first in the nation" status, we might have seen some real primary schedule reform instead of this nibbling around the edges tactic taken by the DNC.

My personal preference, and just about anyone that has discussed this with me knows, would have been to hold regional contests. My idea (though I am not the only one who has suggested this): Cut the U.S. into four or five geographical regions, being careful to include small and large states in each area, and then hold the primaries (or caucuses) in that region on one day. A month later hold them in the next region, then a month later in the next, and so forth. At the next presidential primary season, the region that went first moves to the back of the line and #2 region goes first, #3 moves to second place and so on.

This would have the benefit of allowing candidates to concentrate in one area at a time instead of flying all over the country, and to focus on issues that are important in those areas. It would stretch the season out a bit and give all voters a say in the nominating process.

This mega-Tuesday approach will benefit big money candidates and large states. The losers? The voters and small states. Voters will lose because the primary could literally be over before the snow has even melted on Peavine. Not only will small states lose, but the rural areas of those small states will probably never have an opportunity to see a candidate, because if you are a candidate campaigning in a state with a small number of delegates like Nevada, where are you going to campaign in that state? It ain't gonna be Ely.

But those small states holding early caucuses and primaries could be hurt even worse. If they are considered non-essential at first, a split amongst the top three candidates on mega-Tuesday could really bring those states holding later primaries into play.
Aides to the candidates said they were debating whether the changes would mean that the nominations would effectively be settled on Feb. 5, by which point easily 50 percent of the delegates are likely to have been chosen, or whether a few strong candidates would divide the Feb. 5 take, forcing the campaign to stretch on for months. That could, oddly enough, make those fewer states sticking to later primaries vital players in the election cycle.
Just watching and waiting to see how this all shakes out.

Beware of the law of unintended consequences

Oh were they unintended? This sort of crap makes me crazy.

A new federal rule intended to keep illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid has instead shut out tens of thousands of United States citizens who have had difficulty complying with requirements to show birth certificates and other documents proving their citizenship, state officials say.

. . .

Under a 2006 federal law, the Deficit Reduction Act, most people who say they are United States citizens and want Medicaid must provide “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship,” which could include a passport or the combination of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.

. . .

“Congress wanted to crack down on illegal immigrants who got Medicaid benefits by pretending to be U.S. citizens,” Mr. Jones said. “But the law is hurting U.S. citizens, throwing up roadblocks to people who need care, at a time when we in Wisconsin are trying to increase access to health care.”
But this isn't about stopping illegals, it's about starving the beast.

The principal authors of the 2006 law were Representatives Charlie Norwood and Nathan Deal, both Georgia Republicans. Mr. Norwood died last month.

Chris Riley, the chief of staff for Mr. Deal, said the new requirement did encounter “some bumps in the road” last year. But, he said, Mr. Deal believes that the requirement “has saved taxpayers money.” The congressman “will vigorously fight repeal of that provision” and will, in fact, try to extend it to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Mr. Riley said. He added that the rule could be applied flexibly so it did not cause hardship for citizens.
See, this really wasn't about stopping them dirty Mexicans (though that was an added bonus to placate their immigrant-phobic constituents), it was about "saving money." Isn't it great to get votes on the back of the poor? And, what the hell does he mean, the "rule could be applied flexibly?" It's either the rule or it isn't. If you can be selective in its application, then it really isn't a rule is it?

How do you determine when to apply the law? Is it for the person that makes the most noise? What happens to the person who has neither the time, the money, or the knowledge to fight for what is rightfully theirs? They walk away. Read the whole article and find out about the real people that laws like this affect.
In Florida, the number of children on Medicaid declined by 63,000, to 1.2 million, from July 2006 to January of this year.

. . .

Since Ohio began enforcing the document requirement in September, the number of children and parents on Medicaid has declined by 39,000

. . .

Medicaid officials across the country report that some pregnant women are going without prenatal care and some parents are postponing checkups for their children while they hunt down birth certificates and other documents.

. . .

Dr. Martin C. Michaels, a pediatrician in Dalton, Ga., who has been monitoring effects of the federal rule, said: “Georgia now has 100,000 newly uninsured U.S. citizen children of low-income families. Many of these children have missed immunizations and preventive health visits. And they have been admitted to hospitals and intensive care units for conditions that normally would have been treated in a doctor’s office.”

. . .

Since the new rule took effect in July, enrollment in Kansas has declined by 20,000 people, to 245,000, and three-fourths of the people dropped from the rolls were children.

. . .

In Virginia, health insurance for children has been a top priority for state officials, and the number of children on Medicaid increased steadily for several years. But since July, the number has declined by 13,300, to 373,800, according to Cindi B. Jones, chief deputy director of the Virginia Medicaid program.
This is "family values?"

March 11, 2007

Haters, Lovers and Daylight Savings

Sigh.

The Kos/MoveOn wing is now silent. Instead, now I am receiving emails telling me how horrible we are to drop the Fox debate. Can't win for losing now, can we?

At this point, all I can do is laugh (ruefully, of course). What else is there to do?

On another note, have you all moved your clocks forward? And for you Outlook users, you might want to review your calendar appointments for the next three weeks. It appears that Outlook took it on its own to adjust for the time change and moved all my appointments forward an hour, even though my OS adjusted my laptop and PC properly. So I had to go in and move them all back to their correct times. Once April kicks in, everything is fine.

Thank goodness for sweeties that love me. My dearest has installed a 5-speaker sound system in our living room. I must admit, I was initially dubious, with fears that I'd be blown from my sofa anytime we watched TV. But sweetie has done an excellent job, and the system is wonderful. DVD movies sound like they do in the movie theater, but not nearly as loud. And no one is talking on their cell phone or rattling their candy wrappers. We also have Hughes (DirecTV) satellite so we get a bunch of XM stations. Right now I am lightly enveloped by the soothing sounds of Audio Vision. Nice. Thanks, Babe.

March 9, 2007

Who lost?

So, the August debate in Reno has been cancelled. I'm waiting to hear if something will be done to replace it. But the way I see it northern Nevada loses. Here's why. From the NSDP web site:

To date there are two candidate forums and three debates scheduled in Nevada:
  • February 21 forum in Carson City sponsored by AFSCME
  • March 24 health care forum co-sponsored by SEIU and the Center for American Progress (Las Vegas)
  • Mid-August debate focused on Western regional issues to be held in Reno
  • November 2 debate sponsored by the Nevada State Democratic Party at UNLV (Las Vegas)
  • January 15 debate co-sponsored by the Caucus of African American Nevadans and Impacto, the political arm of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas
Las Vegas gets the remaining presidential debates and forums. Northern Nevada gets the shaft. At least one of the many, many people that sent protest emails to me from all over the country understand our loss a bit. In answer to my reply to their original email they said:
We understand that the debate has been cancelled. This is not the result that I was hoping for. I wanted Fox's connection to the debate ended. I can't believe that there are not alternative sponsors.
Oh well. Be careful what you wish for. Those unintended consequences can be a bitch, can't they?

Candidate updates

Bill Richardson is asking us to contact our governors to get state support for our veterans.

We should be ashamed. When our government sends our military men and women to war, we enter into a covenant to provide care for the injured and protection for those in harm's way. Our soldiers have been sent into a war we cannot win with insufficient equipment; and now, when they return wounded in the line of duty, our government has failed to provide the quality care our service people deserve. Our government has broken the covenant, and shamefully failed our troops.

I am tired of being ashamed of the failings of this Administration. Our veterans need help now. I will not wait for this Administration to do right thing. I will not wait for Congress to hold their hearings and assess blame. I am taking action.

And I am asking you to do the same.

Call on your state's Governor to join me in finding state funding for the care our returning soldiers deserve, but our federal government seems unwilling or unable to provide.


Hillary Clinton is asking us to help protect the vote.
I wanted to send you a quick note of thanks and one more request. The response to yesterday's call to support Hillary's Count Every Vote Act has been incredible. Thank you for supporting this vital legislation.

Now we need to keep that momentum going. Please forward this message to your friends and family and urge them to act now to make sure that we never again lose a single vote. Whether you send it to one friend, five friends, or your whole address book, this step is just as important to our success as the action you've already taken.

Building a huge base of support means Congress cannot ignore this issue. So tell your friends to sign up as a citizen co-sponsor at:

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/counteveryvote
Joe Biden will be returning to Carson City. According to a email from Carson City Dems Chair, Steve Platt:
Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden will join Carson City Democrats for a reception at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, at Silver Oak Golf Club, 1251 Country Club Dr.

The cost of the event, a fundraiser for the Carson City Democratic Central Committee, is $20 per person. For reservations or for more information, please contact Carson City Democratic Headquarters at 775.841.3367. For information on this and other upcoming events please visit the CCDCC website at
www.carsoncitydems.org.
It looks like a lot of the candidates will be in Iowa this weekend.

Calling off the dogs

vigilante comments on this post.

Oh come on, guys. Make nice. Kiss and make up?
I'd love to. But I have no dogs to call off. Only MoveOn does. I have no problem with their campaign to point out the right wing spin of Fox. What I do have a problem with is their trying to take down one of their natural allies. Are they going to go after the Congressional Black Caucus now? Who is next who doesn't pass their ideological purity test?

This is what the right wing does. Look at how they ruined that hunter's whole career within days of his comments about assault rifles and prairie dogs. It didn't even matter that he apologized. He made one misstep and he was dead to them. His 40+ year career is over.

Is that what our side should be doing?

March 8, 2007

Nifty Idea!

A friend of mine passed this along to me today. We use Seventh Generation products at Casa de Blue Lyon, and so I really like this:

Subject: TamPonification

You may have never thought of this, but women's shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly. Assistance agencies generally help with expenses of "everyday" necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, but one of the most BASIC needs is overlooked - feminine hygiene products. (Who is at the helm of the funding assistance agencies anyway!?)

Seventh Generation, a green paper products and cleaning products company, has a do-good attitude and will donate a box of sanitary products to a women's shelter in your chosen state - just for clicking the link. Talk about easy (literally takes less than 5 seconds and they ask nothing of you). And, yes, it is legitimate!


http://www.tampontification.com/donate.php

Thanks for helping out.

Please pass this on.

I heart Barbara Ehrenreich

She answers George Will's sudden "concern" for workers' privacy as it relates to The Employee Free Choice Act.

. . . OK, now let’s leave Will-land and enter an actual American workplace. Are you punched in? Good. The first thing to notice is that you’ve checked your basic civil rights at the door. Freedom of speech? Forget about it: Some employers bar speech of any kind with your fellow employees. I saw this firsthand at a chain restaurant and a Wal-Mart store. Wanna work? Zip your lips.

How about those privacy rights that Will so concerned about? Nada – they don’t exist outside of Will-land either. You probably had to pee in a cup to get your job in the first place, which constitutes a very intimate chemical invasion of privacy. In most states, your purse or backpack can be searched by the employer at any time; your emails and web activity can be monitored.

Right of assembly? Sorry, you don’t have that either. In my experience, most managers see a group of three or more employees talking together as an insurrection in the making. Shut up and get back to work!

The Employee Free Choice Act would require employers to recognize a union whenever a majority of workers sign union cards – thus bypassing the often prolonged and creaky process of an NLRB-supervised secret ballot election. The longer the delay before the election, the more time management has to intimidate, isolate, and harass the union’s supporters.

A comment from the blogosphere

Sal comments over at Nevada Up North:

. . .This isn't the first time a party has been unresponsive to its members, and it won't be the last. So what do we do? We tell the leadership we're not happy and we work with them to make it as right as we can. We use our votes to show what we want, and we accept that not all decisions in a democratic party system are the decisions we'd like to see.

Now, speaking more to other blogs where I've read about this issue, rather than just the readers of this one: The pure hatred I've seen directed at Fox and their viewers by fellow Democrats and liberals sickens me. I am saddened that some of us would actually make binding and dismissive judgments of so many people based solely on what t.v. channel they watch. The greatest asset I believe the Democratic party and the liberal-minded members of our society have is our compassion for others and our willingness to embrace everyone and occasionally give up a little of our own self-interest and comfort to make sure that people are not left behind in education, that others do not go hungry without someone at least trying to help, and that people are not judged based on their race, gender, occupation or thoughts (hint, hint).

This little feud over Fox and our debate is not an almighty sign of the moral decay in this party. But it certainly shows Democrats at our worst. I hope this issue fades away soon.

March 7, 2007

I'm done with MoveOn.org

I've been a member of MoveOn for years. No more.

For years I have supported MoveOn's national efforts to draw attention to the misdeeds and outright criminality of Bush and his buddies. I've held movie nights, gone to vigils, called my congress critters, written letters.

I forgave them for interfering in our presidential election in 2004, even though they siphoned away some of our best activists in Lyon County to do their canvassing. Federal law prevents political parties and PACs from sharing information on canvassing so any work done in our precincts was often repeated by MoveOn volunteers. Some of MoveOn's volunteers were our own activists (and we couldn't talk to them), and many were from out of state. Post-election reports by Democratic volunteers told stories of literally being a few blocks behind a MoveOn volunteer.

I forgave them for this. After all, I reasoned, they were just as eager as I to see George W. Bush defeated in Nevada. Except, all we got was pissed off voters.

Then I saw them do it again in Nevada in 2006 by butting into Jill Derby's congressional campaign. I wrote them and BEGGED them to not interfere. Their answer to me was that because I was with the Democratic party, they couldn't talk to me. And...they continued on their merry way, calling Nevada voters, and again, all we got was pissed off voters.

And now, they are at it again. Yeah, yeah, they hate Fox. So do I.

But they are attacking the Nevada Democratic Party and right now have an email out calling on its members to phone the state Dem office to object to the Fox debate. So, the phones are jammed down south, and any work that should be getting done with regards to our upcoming caucus is on hold. All hands are on deck fielding calls and the circular firing squad is in full swing.

And while MoveOn is great about publishing everyone else's phone numbers, if anyone can find a phone number to contact them anywhere on their site, please leave it in the comments, because I can't find it.

I'm done. MoveOn, Kiss Off.

March 6, 2007

Just start...

Enough already. Let's start. Hunter at DailyKos puts it well in this post.

It is not currently likely that there is political will in the House and Senate for drawing down the troops to zero. Fine: then start reducing them by half, or a third. All reasonable military plans for a remotely stable drawdown may be phased and nuanced, taking a year or longer to implement. Fine: then start presenting them, and choose between them. Perhaps there will continue to be several tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, regardless of any drawdown: given that the Bush administration stupidly reduced all capabilities for Iraq, as a nation, to defend itself from outside forces, that might very well be necessary.

So be it, for the time being -- as long as the process of detanglement starts. In the end, what people really care about is separating American forces from an escalating religious and civil war, and bringing them home. That is the objective. The rest is tactics.

[...]

You have no idea how much raw fury there is out there, just under the surface. And all the "Democratic apologists" like me are on our very last ounce of patience, and all the grassroots supporters have torches lit and and at the ready, and all the Democrats and Republicans in your district are watching to see whether you're really different from the Republicans or not, and all the troops in Iraq are waiting to see if you can provide an ounce of leadership.

Fix it. Now.

Major candidates distancing themselves from Nevada? I think not.

There has been some word on the street that the NSDP deal with Fox is hurting us and that the top tier candidates are starting to avoid Nevada. This doesn't sound like it. (Hat tip to Desert Beacon)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign has hired four more Nevada staffers, giving the Democratic front-runner the largest campaign staff in the state so far.

The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have also staffed up in Nevada in recent weeks as the Democratic candidates prepare for a first-ever early Democratic presidential nominating caucus in the state.

The Clinton campaign said Monday it has hired political directors in Northern and Southern Nevada, a communications director and a deputy field director.

The Edwards people are on the ground here as well.

March 5, 2007

This is a crime - Veterans "health care"

Another stunning piece about the state of veterans health care from Dana Priest in the Washington Post.

'It Is Just Not Walter Reed'

. . . The scandal has reverberated through generations of veterans. "It's been a potent reminder of past indignities and past traumas," said Thomas A. Mellman, a professor of psychiatry at Howard University who specializes in post-traumatic stress and has worked in Veterans Affairs hospitals. "The fact that it's been responded to so quickly has created mixed feelings -- gratification, but obvious regret and anger that such attention wasn't given before, especially for Vietnam veterans."

Across the country, some military quarters for wounded outpatients are in bad shape, according to interviews, Government Accountability Office reports and transcripts of congressional testimony. The mold, mice and rot of Walter Reed's Building 18 compose a familiar scenario for many soldiers back from Iraq or Afghanistan who were shipped to their home posts for treatment. Nearly 4,000 outpatients are currently in the military's Medical Holding or Medical Holdover companies, which oversee the wounded. Soldiers and veterans report bureaucratic disarray similar to Walter Reed's: indifferent, untrained staff; lost paperwork; medical appointments that drop from the computers; and long waits for consultations.

Sandy Karen was horrified when her 21-year-old son was discharged from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego a few months ago and told to report to the outpatient barracks, only to find the room swarming with fruit flies, trash overflowing and a syringe on the table. "The staff sergeant says, 'Here are your linens' to my son, who can't even stand up," said Karen, of Brookeville, Md. "This kid has an open wound, and I'm going to put him in a room with fruit flies?" She took her son to a hotel instead.

. . .

Hundreds of soldiers contacted The Washington Post through telephone calls and e-mails, many of them describing their bleak existence in Medhold.

From Fort Campbell in Kentucky: "There were yellow signs on the door stating our barracks had asbestos."

From Fort Bragg in North Carolina: "They are on my [expletive] like a diaper. . . . there are people getting chewed up everyday."

From Fort Dix in New Jersey: "Scare tactics are used against soldiers who will write sworn statement to assist fellow soldiers for their medical needs."

From Fort Irwin in California: "Most of us have had to sign waivers where we understand that the housing we were in failed to meet minimal government standards."


And will this just be the "cause de jour" for our politicians, or will they actually Do Something?
For years, politicians have received letters from veterans complaining of bad care across the country. Last week, Walter Reed was besieged by members of Congress who toured the hospital and Building 18 to gain first-hand knowledge of the conditions. Many of them have been visiting patients in the hospital for years, but now they are issuing news releases decrying the mistreatment of the wounded.

Sgt. William A. Jones had recently written to his Arizona senators complaining about abuse at the VA hospital in Phoenix. He had written to the president before that. "Not one person has taken the time to respond in any manner," Jones said in an e-mail.
Press releases won't get these veterans what they need. And frankly, it seems to me that all this could be taken care of with a simple vote. War veterans get medical coverage. Period. No claims, no "percent of disability." Cover them, dammit. They made a deal with America. They would put their lives on the line and in exchange, we promised to take care of them when they came back. We owe them at least this much. No more dicking around. No more hearings. No more press releases. Give them their medical and mental health coverage. Just do it.

And then get off the stick and fix the VA facilities.

Springing forward three weeks early

Sorry I haven't posted for a bit. It's been kind of hectic this week. And the kids moved out this weekend. Wow. When did I start sounding like my parents referring to my grown daughter and son-in-law as "the kids?" It just sorted of happened.

Any hoo, just in case this one slipped below your radar...Daylight Savings begins THIS coming weekend. Yes, that is three weeks earlier. Those of us with Windows Vista or Windows XP with Service Pack 2 should be fine. But this article (NYT) seems to think this may be bit of a mini-Y2K for businesses.

The latest Windows operating system, Vista, is not affected, and for those running Windows XP Service Pack 2, online software updates have been pushed out automatically to correct the problem. Microsoft and Apple are also making software patches and instructions available on their Web sites.

“This is mainly an annoyance for consumers, but it’s a major headache for corporate technology departments,” said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research.

For the roughly 7,000 public companies in the United States, Mr. Hammond estimates the total cost of making computer fixes to deal with the daylight saving time shift at more than $350 million. “It’s causing a lot of corporate technology people sleepless nights,” he said.

The impact extends beyond computers themselves. For example, utilities have begun deploying sophisticated time-of-use meters that measure electricity consumption, often at 15- or 30-minute intervals. They charge different rates at different times of day — mainly for large commercial customers — as part of the utilities’ programs to manage peak loads on their grids.
On the other hand...if you have a meter that needs to be read, you might want to pay close attention to your utility bills over the next two months, just to be on the safe side.

Personally, I love Daylight Savings and wish we had it all year round. There can be some up sides. That first couple of weeks of adjusting to the time change gives us all an excuse for weird behavior. ("Must be the time change.") Parting shot from the article:
For most people in business, Mr. Bailar said, the main problem is going to be synching calendars and meeting schedules. “My advice to the common Luddite is to confirm, confirm and reconfirm your appointments in March and April,” he said.

Or perhaps not. Mr. Bailar suggested another option: “What better excuse to miss that boring budget meeting, at least for a month?”

March 1, 2007

Okay...one more post on the Fox kerfuffle

Coyote Angry points out that it's not just Fox that is full o'crap.

Are We Really This Stupid?

We've clearly established that Fox network is a barrel full 'o retarded wingnuts so that isn't even interesting enough to discuss at this point but wait a sec, what about those other networks?

Dullard Mush gets responses to the dustup from Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie and Washoe County Democratic Central Committee Chair Chris Wicker

Tom Gallagher gives his 2 cents over at NevadaToday as does Mike Zahara. I'm in agreement with Tom.

Rosy sounding headlines

Personal incomes rise, construction down (Yahoo-AP)

Sounds okay, doesn't it? Until you read the story and realize that it's only good news for people who were already well-compensated to begin with.

Personal incomes rose in January at the fastest clip in a year, bolstered by bonus payments to high-income executives, but construction activity fell sharply as the nation's housing industry continued to suffer through tough times.
And housing construction is down. So that means carpenters, electricians, plumbers, et al will not be working and furniture, appliance, home improvement sales, etc, will decline.

Oh, and unemployment claims are up. From the same article:
In other economic news, the Labor Department reported that the number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to 338,000. This increase took economists by surprise. They had been expecting a drop in jobless claims.

Wow! Anyone see THIS coming?

John McCain is running for president. (WaPo)