Wednesday, July 28, 2004

In case you didn't catch Jay Myerson...

...check out this flash animation about what happened with the voter purge list in 2000.

Via Ian at BOPnews.

Jay Myerson is General Counsel to the Democratic Party of Virginia. He swung by Campaign 101 late in the afternoon of Sunday, July 11. Most of you had left to face the long drives home, but Jay spent about half an hour talking with those of us were left about the 2000 Florida Recount, which he and Jack Young led for the Gore campaign. Prevailing wisdom says that if the Gore team had listened to Jay and Jack..we'd be re-electing Gore right now. I highly recommend Jeffrey Toobin's book Too Close to Call,which gives a play by play of what happened with the recount--for those of you who missed hearing it first-hand from Jay.

Not old enough for politics?

Think again.
Twelve year old speaker wows convention delegates

(Ilana) Wexler, who founded a grassroots group called kidsforkerry.org, was rewarded last week with a phone call from Teresa Heinz Kerry inviting her to address the convention in prime time...With her high pitched voice and breathy enthusiasm, the seventh grader from Oakland, Calif., wowed the crowd Tuesday night.

...Jonathan Wexler said his daughter decided to get involved in politics after listening to Bruce Springsteen's Sept. 11 tribute album, The Rising, and traveling with her family through Central America and Europe for five months last year, where she saw how the Iraq war had affected the world. After researching all the candidates, she settled on Kerry...In February, Wexler began doing voluntary phone banking for the Kerry campaign, and launched kidsforkerry.org shortly thereafter...Ilana has even done her part to grease the Kerry money machine, turning her own birthday party last March into a Kerry fund raiser.

Read more...

That could be any one of you making a speech at the DNC, you know. And I look forward to watching many of you get up there over the years in a variet of roles.

If you have friends or younger brothers or sisters that aren't into this yet, try turning them on to Ilana Wexler's group, Kids for Kerry.

Voting with our wallets

I've been wanting to talk with everyone about is the power of voting with your wallet.

When I grew up, the mantra was "the personal is political." I'm curious if this is a concept that you're even familiar with--the idea that your consumer decisions (including not buying, or choosing to recycle or buy second-hand) are a logical extension of your personal politics.

Making political decisions as a consumer is a radical concept in such a consumption-oriented society. It is also an easy practice to adopt that adds mindfulness and moral awareness to our everyday actions.

For me, this means not shopping at Walmart (do you know about Walmart's labor practices or the Walmart class action suit that is pending right now), it means supporting local businesses, it means buying organic and fair trade products when they are available. And, it means I don't support corporations that contribute to the Republicans. It also means, and this is the radical part in our culture...choosing to do without or make do with less so that I can afford to sometimes pay more for goods and services that are consistent with my personal beliefs. And it means I take responsibility for my own ignorance, and try to educate myself so I can make informed decisions.

I have two specific examples for you.

Ian Welsh, on The Blogging of the President has a well-researched and well-written post up about the differences between Wal-Mart and Costco:
Be clear, both provide cheap goods for consumers and good profits for investors, so the only question is this: do you want citizens who are workers to be well treated, well paid employees who have healthcare or not?

Choose your model for America. I know which model I prefer.

The article is excellent, and so are the comments beneath it. Read the whole thing here.

In a similar vein, I've been posting on my own blog lately about the problems with Amazon.com and the many great reasons I prefer Powell's Books:

It's all about voting with my wallet (the only way I can vote here) and putting my money where my mouth is...instead of putting my money where their jackboots are.

I hope you'll read the whole post here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.





Tuesday, July 27, 2004

'Nuff about the DNC

Here's some RNC gossip! Word on the street is that Jerry Falwell will be giving the invocation at the Republican National Convention. As if I didn't get enough of him at Boys State (ugh).

What does this say about the Bush administration's agenda should he be re-elected? Will they be serving the desires of the far-right fundamentalists? Ah, who cares? We all know Bush is getting the boot anyhow.

A little blogging nepotism never hurt nobody

Anybody catch Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr. speak tonight at the DNC? Look familiar? That's my uncle, and a great man. He's a shining example that being religious does not necessarily mean you have to be conservative. The Boston Globe interviewed him recently:

Q. Regular churchgoers overwhelmingly vote Republican. What does that suggest about the two political parties?

A. In my sermon, I may call people to read Isaiah 58. In it, we get evidence that religion can express itself in two directions. One is personal piety, reflected in church attendance and public display of one's religious identification. Another aspect is the prophetic critique. In [Isaiah], it's almost as if God would say, forget about how often you go to church, forget about how many times you pray; what I want you to do is feed the hungry, take the homeless into your homes, care for those who are incarcerated. In Matthew 25, the issue is, when I was hungry, you didn't feed me, when I was poor and naked, you didn't clothe me.

The polls will give the impression that folks are more religious on the basis of how much they go to church. I'm a pastor; I want folks to come. But the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights are rooted in a call for justice. Otherwise, people will punch their cards — "See, I went [to church] 12 times." But you did not provide resources for [the needy].

 
Check out the full interview here.

p.s.- I actually got the material for this entry from Philocrites, an excellent blog commenting on liberal religion and politics. Thanks to Chris Walton

Fair and Balanced

Here is a taste of objective journalism, Canadian style:

The CBC's INDEPTH: US ELECTION 2004 - U.S. Presidential Candidates

Read the biographies of both the candidates and then let me know how you think this compares to American media coverage of the election.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Shove it.

Is it really important what Mrs. Kerry says to a right-wing reporter when there's all kinds of other nonsense occurring in the world? Here's some quick tid bits on the international scene that I'll try to throw together before the DNC is called to order.

It seems Bush is finally trying to do something with North Korea. He's offered "concessions" but North Korea seems to believe (as would any rational international actor) that it is too little too late. In order to make any sort of headway with North Korea Bush, I feel it will take a real non-aggression agreement. That's a shame, because it's contrary to the US's national interests to bind our hands with a volatile country like N. Korea, but that's what Bush's cowboy diplomacy has done to our credibility.

Not that the Bush administration is really concerned with North Korea at all. Many point to Iran as the next focus of Bush's pushy foreign policy. The problem is that Iran has plenty more staying power than Iraq. Trouble in Baghdad will be nothing compared to the bombshell they would unleash if they went after Tehran.

And while all of this is going on, the administration continues to turn a blind eye when it comes to our brothers in Africa. There's a horrible genocide going on in Sudan at this very moment. Many people are aware of it, but the Bush administration sits on its hands and does nothing to help as that poor nation starves. Sure the state department says we're doing things to help, and Powell assures us that we're sending plenty of aide, but as I've said before Powell's opinion is all but moot in the current administration. I feel that he actually cares about the turmoil in Sudan, but just like his efforts with AIDs, I fear his lamentations will fall on deaf ears.

But hey, who are we to frown upon crimes against humanity, when the Republican controlled House still chooses to fund training in torture?

That's all for now. I've got to get ready for work and set up the VCR to tape the primetime speeches tonight. DNC = Hurray!

Cost of War

Are you familiar with the Cost of War counter?






(I've just added one to Tsuredzuregusa.)

As I write this, the money that Bush has looted from American taxpayers to squander on his illegal invasion of Iraq has just topped $127,554 MILLION dollars.

To put that number in perspective, it could have hired 2,372,522 additional public school teachers across the country.

So far, Virginia's share of the cost has surpassed $3 BILLION dollars. With that money, we could have hired 59,222 new teachers in Virginia -- or 1,017 teachers in Richmond alone. We could have likewise used that money to provide full, 4-year university scholarships to 78,863 Virginia students.

The US could have fully funded the global anti-hunger program for 5 years. Stop and think about that. Not a single man, woman or child would have to go hungry anywhere on this planet for a full five years.

But instead, we are killing Iraqi civilians and American service people so that Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group can make a quick buck.

Check out the Cost of War website--by the time you look, the figures I have quoted above will be obsolete.

How would you feel about adding a cost of war counter to C101 as well?

Update:
Here is another way to put those big finance numbers in perspective.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Nice Try

Anybody catch Bush's speech to the Urban League? Not only was the body of his speech unconvincing, but he led it off with a lengthy informal period of what I like to refer to as "shout outs." The President must have been advised that it's customary among "black folks" to give props to your close associates. Now anyone could tell the President was just trying to lead into his speech with a bit of levity, but when you turn down the NAACP is it really right to begin a speech by implying that T. Willard Fair, pres. of Miami's Urban League, drank all of the president's beer? Or how about when he told Al Sharpton he appreciated him "throwing his hat in the ring." It's not that it sounded condescending, it's just... well no. It did sound condescending. You might as well have given Sharpton a little league baseball cap and had the president patting him on the back and telling the little tyke to try harder next time.

REVEREND SHARPTON: It's not over.
THE PRESIDENT: There you go. It's not over. (Laughter and applause.) Just don't declare right now. (Laughter.) Welcome. Glad you're here.

*sigh of disgust* Yeah there ya go W. Give the little guy some encouragement. Bush came to the speech with the mindset that he was a big big dog and was gracing this not so big organization with his presence. OH HEY! THE PRESIDENT IS JOKING AROUND WITH US! LET'S GIVE HIM OUR VOTE!!!! (sarcasm) Does he realize the immense uphill battle he would have to fight to really get the black vote? It takes more than a one-stop shop for small businesses. When will he set up a one-stop shop for victims of racism and prejudice? When will he learn that sticking a Colin Powell in his staff and then ignoring Powell's opinions does not constitute a positive agenda for civil rights?

Read a transcript of Bush's speech to the Urban League and tell me what you think.