July 31, 2007

The most important people...

Just in case you needed reminding, Kid Oakland lays it out over at DailyKos.

The most important people in Democratic politics don't even know it.

[...]

It's the kid with the anger in his eyes I saw on my way to the swimming pool...anger at the injustice of a school system that's written him off in the fifth grade...anger at a society that tells him every day that he is less than a full citizen because of the color of his skin just like his dad and his uncles.

It's the overweight mom I see in my neighborhood. The one with two young children who has pre-diabetes and doesn't know it yet. She lives in a society that won't give her preventative care or nutritional education, but which underwrites big corporations that sell her super-sized food that is silently eating away at her body.

It's the small town single mom sitting at the kitchen table late at night smoking a cigarette...taxed to the last dollar like all the working poor...trying to figure out how to pay the electric bill and still have rent money on a cleaning woman's wages.

It's the middle-class worker facing an outsourced job and a failed pension who's shown up on time, paid his dues, but is now looking down the barrel of a retirement plan that's gone up in rust-belt smoke.


More at link.

(Cross-posted at Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus Blog)

July 27, 2007

SiCKO has made it to Carson City

Hollywood - Northgate Movies 10
2571 N. Carson Street, Carson City, NV, 89706

Subpoenaed for helping 9/11 workers

Oh. My. God. If you had any inkling to the contrary, this should prove to you that the Bush administration is completely bat-shit crazy.

Seriously, don't these people have other things to do?

Hear, hear!

Exactly. From this morning's NYT letters to the editor:

Re “Defying the Imperial Presidency” (editorial, July 26):

The House Judiciary Committee, by voting to hold Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Joshua B. Bolten, President Bush’s chief of staff, in contempt, did what the Constitution demanded of it. It reclaimed its oversight responsibilities, which this imperial presidency refuses to recognize.

But before we become too intoxicated by this reaffirmation of our democratic principles, let us not forget that all 17 Republican members of this committee voted against holding these two in contempt.

This is an invitation, perhaps, for the voting public to hold the Republicans in contempt when Election Day arrives in November 2008.

Morris Roth

Fort Lee, N.J., July 26, 2007

July 25, 2007

Another bubble burst...

This article in today's New York Times paints a stark picture of the housing market. Of course, here in Lyon County we've been heavily impacted by the precipitous down-turn in new construction, and now it looks like there will be even more homes on the market. From the article:

The slumping housing market has become the biggest worry for the stock market, which just four days ago set records, because of its potential impact on the broader economy and financial system.

Countrywide’s stark assessment signaled a critical change in the substance and tenor of how housing executives are publicly describing the market. Just a couple of months ago, some executives were predicting a relatively quick recovery and saying that most home loans would be fine with the exception of those made to borrowers with weak credit who stretched too far financially.

Executives at Countrywide had for some time been more skeptical than others but the bluntness of their comments yesterday surprised many on Wall Street. In a conference call with analysts that lasted three hours, Countrywide’s chairman and chief executive, Angelo R. Mozilo, said home prices were falling “almost like never before, with the exception of the Great Depression.”

Nationally, home prices have not fallen in the 35 years or so that the government and private services have tracked them. Some researchers like Robert J. Shiller of Yale have compiled data that goes as far back as 1890 and shows that home prices fell for several years during the 1930s.

Mr. Mozilo said that because of a large number of homes on the market, the housing sector would continue to suffer until sometime in 2008 and not begin recovering until 2009.

And remember all those home equity loans that were pushing the "home improvement" market and keeping the economy afloat? Well, those chickens are coming home to roost as well.
Countrywide said about 5.4 percent of the home equity loans to customers with good credit that it held an interest in were past due at the end of June, up from 2.2 percent at the end of June 2006. By comparison, more than a fifth of subprime loans were past due at the end of June, up from 13.4 percent a year ago.
Well, I'm off to work. Gotta be able to pay MY mortgage!

Desert Beacon deconstructs, YouTubes, and Dina

Desert Beacon does the yeoman's work once again (fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here), in this great piece that takes apart Bush's Iraq = Al Qaeda strawmen.

Nevada Mojo asserts

The You Tube videos are impressive, even the hokey ones, and the candidates are all impressive. We are so damn lucky to have a good slate of leaders to chose from this time.
I heartily concur. If you missed the debate, you can catch up at YouTube.

Dina Titus' father just passed away. You can add your condolences at her blog. (H/T to Jack Wood)

July 22, 2007

Nevada Democratic Vets launch web site

From Elliott Anderson, Chair of the Nevada Democratic Veterans & Military Families Caucus

The Nevada Democratic Veterans & Military Families Caucus is proud to
announce the launch of our website!

It is located at:
http://www.nvdemocraticvets.com/

Here you can keep track of the events the caucus is hosting, learn more about the caucus' history, sign up to join the caucus (if you are a veterans or military family
member), sign up to our mailing list (you don't have to be a veteran or family
member), and donate to the caucus.

You can also contact us through this website and give us your feedback and ideas for the future. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Yes! About time!

There may come a day when you, like Europeans and Asians can do now, will be able to take your cell phone to a new carrier. (NYT)

In most European and Asian countries, a customer can switch carriers in a few seconds by removing a smart card from a cellphone and inserting a different one from a new provider. In the United States, wireless carriers have deliberately hobbled their phones to make flight to a competitor difficult, if not impossible.

. . .

Then, in February, Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, published an influential paper, “Wireless Net Neutrality,” which made a well-supported case that the government should compel wireless carriers to open their networks to equipment and software applications that the carriers did not control. Mr. Wu called his proposition a call for “Cellular Carterfone,” referring to the 1968 Carterfone ruling by the F.C.C. The Carterfone was a speakerphone-like gadget that permitted a phone sitting in a cradle to be connected with a two-way radio. Over the objections of AT&T, the F.C.C. ruled that consumers could plug it or any phone or accessory into the network so long as doing so did no harm to the network. The ruling set in motion the changes that provided consumers with a cornucopia of equipment choices like answering machines, fax machines, modems and cordless phones. Among Mr. Wu’s readers was Mr. Martin of the F.C.C.

The wireless carriers are fighting a cellular version of the Carterfone decision. They contend that they must exert control over all equipment used on their networks in order to protect the networks’ operations. AT&T says in an F.C.C. filing that only the carrier has the incentive to oversee “the integrity, security and efficient and economical use” of the network.

MR. WU’S paper, however, shows that the landline telephone industry used identical arguments, predicting dire consequences were its customers permitted to use equipment from unknown sources. In 1955, when AT&T was fighting to exclude a gadget called the Hush-A-Phone, the company solemnly argued, “It would be extremely difficult to furnish ‘good’ telephone service if telephone users were free to attach to the equipment, or use with it, all of the numerous kinds of foreign attachments, which are marketed by persons who have no responsibility for the quality of telephone service.”

As a postscript to the landline industry’s resistance to opening its networks, Mr. Wu said in an interview last week, “Things turned out not just O.K., but great.”
I love THIS plaintive wail:
Verizon Wireless, however, contended that Google’s proposals would open its network to phones that Verizon had not approved and “that cannot reliably communicate with law enforcement,” a grave problem “in an era of heightened national security concerns.”

In other words, stick with Verizon-certified phones, or the terrorists win.
We gave up Verizon several months back. After reading this, I'm happier than ever.

Cry me a river ... of oil

You mean to tell me, with their record profits and tax breaks, they can't either (a) get the repairs done or (b) build some new refineries? The money quote comes in the last paragraphs of the article, if you can get past the whining of the oil companies:

No refineries have been built in the United States in over three decades, because refiners say they are too costly. Instead, they have been expanding their existing refineries.

All this is happening as the industry goes through another golden age. After 20 years in the doldrums, the refining business has never been so good for oil companies. Refining margins — the difference between the price of crude oil and the value of refined gasoline made from it — have shot up as much as $25 a barrel for some types of crude oil, compared with about $5 a barrel just a few years ago.

July 21, 2007

One more thing






The Nation needs our help. Please consider making a donation to help them defray the costs of the postal increase. I wrote about this a few months ago. The hike went through and now the smaller, independent magazines are feeling the pinch. If you value the work they do, help'em out.

This may be your weekend to see SiCKO

SiCKO is opening in more theaters this weekend and to sweeten the pot just a bit, Michael Moore is offering movie goers a chance to visit one of the cities (Montreal, Paris or London) that are featured in the movie. Details here. Snippet:

And, to show my thanks to all of you who'll go see "Sicko" this weekend, I'm going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That's right. You'll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says "Sicko" on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend's date on it -- Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: 'Sicko' Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You'll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you'll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don't have a passport, we'll pay for that, too!)

Senator Clinton Introduces Legislation to Benefit Rural Students

From the Hillary Clinton press office:

Thousands of students from rural Nevada communities may soon have access to new programs designed to improve educational achievement, build leadership and offer insight into higher education and career opportunities, thanks to legislation introduced by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Arlen Specter (R-PA).

Last week, Clinton and Specter introduced the Rural Students College , Career, and Community Readiness Act of 2007. The legislation will establish partnerships between non-profit entities and rural school districts to improve the educational and career outcomes of rural, low-income students.

“The facts are daunting and present a major hurdle in improving education for students in rural communities. If our country is to successfully compete in the global economy we must ensure all students have access to an excellent education," Senator Clinton said.

Under these partnerships, students in grades 7-12 will receive program workshops during the school day to develop career awareness and build leadership skills. The legislation would increase the number of rural students engaged in rigorous, college-preparatory coursework, improve their high school graduation rates, and prepare the next generation of leaders in rural communities.

Elko City Councilman John Patrick Rice, who is also Director of Institutional Advancement at Great Basin College and an outspoken advocate for Nevada’s rural communities, added, “The bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Clinton and Specter is important to K-12 and college students in rural Nevada. I consider it a good tool for helping create a strong workforce that can diversify the rural Nevada economy. Much of what I hear from companies planning to establish themselves in rural Nevada emphasizes the need for a well-trained, educated and skilled workforce. The colleges of rural Nevada are poised to provide that service. The partnerships this legislation encourages will help that mission tremendously.”

Roughly one in four public schools is located in rural America . Studies have shown students attending these rural schools generally have lower educational aspirations and lower post-secondary achievement than their urban and suburban peers.

“ Nevada has one of the fastest growing school systems in the country, however keeping pace with this expansion and providing all Nevada students with equal opportunities to succeed at the next level is challenging,” said Dennis Keating, President of the Nye County School District Board of Trustees. “Senator Clinton’s bold rural education initiative is an important piece of legislation that will help students of Nevada reach their full potential regardless of economic and geographic differences. I look forward to working with school districts, community leaders and non-profit organizations to implement the Rural Students College , Career, and Community Readiness Act of 2007.”

Senator Clinton has been a champion for improving educational opportunities for rural students. She has introduced legislation to improve access to high-quality after-school tutoring for students in rural schools and to expand broadband access in rural areas, enabling more opportunities for distance learning.

Cross-posted at the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus blog.

July 17, 2007

300 people

Ever since I saw SiCKO (trailer below) this weekend I've been even more committed to single-payer, universal, free at the point-of-use health care for my country. Michael Moore had it out with Wolf Blitzer a week and a half ago or so. CNN has finally admitted to two (how generous of them!) errors in their hit piece on him. Today Michael Moore writes:

I have to admit, though, I do feel kinda bad taking it all out on Wolf Blitzer. It's not like he's the official representative of the mainstream media. I mean, he's from Buffalo, for crying out loud! He said to me at the end of the show last week to please come back on "anytime you want." I will take him up on that offer and appear again with him tomorrow (Wednesday). I'm not expecting a dozen roses or make-up sex -- I only want a promise that there will be no more distorted distractions so we can have a decent discussion about the REAL issues like why 18,000 Americans die every year because they don't have a health insurance card. More than 300 of them died this week. As Ehrlichman said to Nixon in "Sicko": "The less care they give 'em, the more money they (the insurance companies) make."

THAT'S the only thing we should be talking about. How profit and greed are killing our fellow Americans. How profit and private insurance have to be removed from our health care system. CNN should join me in asking why our 9/11 rescue workers aren't receiving medical care. Somebody should send a crew to Canada to find out why they live longer than we do, and why no Canadian has ever gone bankrupt because of medical bills. And all of the media should start saying how much it costs to go to a doctor in these other top industrialized countries: Nothing. Zip. It's FREE. Don't patronize Americans by saying, "Well, it's not free -- they pay for it with taxes!" Yes, we know that. Just like we know that we drive down a city street for FREE -- even though we paid for that street with our taxes. The street is FREE, the book at the library is FREE, if your house catches on fire, the fire department will come and put it out for FREE, and if someone snatches your purse, the police officer will chase down the culprit and bring your purse back to you -- AND HE WON'T CHARGE YOU A DIME FROM THAT PURSE!

These are all free services, collectively socialized and paid for with our tax dollars. To argue that health care -- a life and death issue for many -- should not be considered in the same league is ludicrous and archaic. And trust me, once you add up what you pay for out-of-pocket in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, overpriced medicines, and treatments that aren't covered (not to mention all the other things we pay for like college education, day care and other services that many countries provide for at little or no cost), we, as Americans, are paying far more than the Canadians or Brits or French are paying in taxes. We just don't call these things taxes, but that's exactly what they are.



July 14, 2007

Mockuses, Movies, Moyers and more

  • Just got back from conducting a Mock Caucus in Dayton. I really like doing these things and watching all the fun and understanding that comes out of them.
  • Sweetie and I are off to see "SiCKO" this afternoon. (Who saw Michael Moore rip Wolf Blitzer a new one the other night?)
  • If you didn't see last night's Bill Moyers Journal about impeachment with Bruce Fein and John Nichols, you missed a great show. You can watch it at the link above. Take away from the show: Impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis, it is our method for correcting a Constitutional crisis. Watch the show and see Bruce Fein (who authored the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton) and John Nichols of The Nation discuss the impeachment process and what it's for, and why it is needed now. It's not about Bush. It's about our Constitution and whether we are going to allow the power grab and utter disdain for the law shown by this Executive branch to continue. Because if we do not stop them, then we have said it is okay for ANY President of the United States to put themselves above the law, and no one will be able to stop them.
  • If you were planning on or interested in attending and meeting Elizabeth Edwards at the Grand Opening of the Edwards' Reno headquarters, the time of the event has CHANGED from noon to 10am. The BBQ has been changed to coffee and donuts. From the campaign:
Please join Elizabeth Edwards in Reno tomorrow, Sunday, July 15th at 10 AM for the grand opening of our Reno headquarters.

Reno Office Opening with Elizabeth Edwards
Sunday, July 15th at10 AM
Please note the time change
Edwards for President Reno Office
700 Smithridge Dr. Suite 101, Reno, NV
RSVP here: http://johnedwards.com/r/22615/405215/

You don't want to miss this great opportunity to meet Elizabeth and talk with her about our campaign and John Edwards' bold plans for transformational change.

Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions: Nevada@JohnEdwards.com or 775-829-2008.

Thanks and see you tomorrow!

-Team Nevada
There's plenty rattling around in my head, and I hope to get some of it posted tomorrow.

July 10, 2007

Now THAT'S punishment!

China executes former chief of food and drug agency

I'm not a death penalty advocate, but ... maybe the U.S. could at least impose jail time, rather than fines, for behavior like this.

July 7, 2007

Melissa!

Melissa Etheridge...rocking the house at LiveEarth. I am in tears!

Are you watching???

Live Earth

July 3, 2007

And justice for all?

Justice for us means going to jail when we've been convicted of a crime. For Bush, justice is whatever he says it is. For prisoners in Gitmo, it means no access to courts, judges, evidence, etc. For Libby, it means Bush hands you something he has never given any one else: a commutation before even spending one second behind bars. Yes, I know it's his "prerogative."

And the right wing hypocrites who screamed at the top of their lungs "Rule of Law! Rule of Law!" during the Clinton years are cheering today. So, if it isn't completely obvious to all but the most ardent Koolaid drinkers: It was never about the Rule of Law. Do you get it now? Lying about a blow job: impeachable offense if you are a Democrat. Obstructing the investigation of the outing of a CIA agent: pardonable if you are a Republican and loyal Bushie.

Yes, I do hate these people and what they have done to my country.

I'll be calling the White House later today (202-456-1111) to express my displeasure, as if it will do any good.