Earth Day 40 — join the party!

I haven’t posted anything with a political slant in a while, so humor me for a little while. This is actually a repost from (It was meant to be an email, but I’m posting it here instead.)


To mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, an unprecedented movement is coming together to demand Congress pass a climate bill this year. Sign the petition now, and your name will be projected along with all the other signers on the National Mall at the Earth Day birthday party on April 25th. You can sign here:

And here’s more info from
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Bedtime thoughts

Do you trust the health insurance industry more than your government?


The right spent the last thirty years (at least) selling the idea that government is the root of all problems, and they’ve made a killing. But ask yourself, has your government let you down that much? If so, have you ever called your representative in Congress or Senator to let them know? Have you ever written them a letter? Do you know who your representative is? Did you vote in the last election? Did you vote in the last election that didn’t involve the Presidency? Do you know who you voted for? Did you know who you were voting for at the time?

Maybe it’s let you down because you allow it to represent someone else by default.

Writing a letter takes a few minutes and costs less than a buck. Email is free. A phone call might take ten minutes of your time, and is likely free if you call their local office.

Do you spend more time complaining about it than doing something about it?

Some say you get the government you deserve.

What kind of government do you deserve?

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Getting Ted wrong

I was born in Massachusetts so I’m required to have a soft spot for the Kennedys. There was rarely more tension in my house growing up than when my mother would accuse my father of voting for Nixon or Reagan… herself a liberal Democrat in the Kennedy mold – and fan of Ted, the liberal lion of the Senate, in particular.

She named one of our cats Ted during the dark years of Reagan/Bush – allegedly for a little push-back against my father. (Having lived through the sequel they seem like the good old days now.)

I get my politics from my mother, and I morn the passing of one of the last unapologetic liberals in the Senate.

Like Joan Walsh, I’m a little irritated by the claims of conservatives that Ted would have made compromise on healthcare happen. Universal healthcare was a career-long goal of his, and the current proposals were already a compromise (irrational hysteria by the far right, the misinformed, or the just plain scary not withstanding).

Here’s video of Ted arguing for an increase in the minimum wage back in 2007 on the Senate floor (via TPM).

Say what you will about universal healthcare, “public options,” or the proper role of government. Do you see that guy compromising further on his lifelong passion? I don’t. I’ll tell you what I do see: more BS from the right on healthcare.

Sadly, his views on the subject are probably irrelevant now.


We learned another difference between the “far left” and “far right,” as characterized by the media, these last few months. Well, maybe I’VE learned a few things (being a little slower of synapse).

The things liberals fear tend to be true.

Here’s another one of those fears you can add to the list: we never left McCarthyism and it’s legacy completely behind.

Is there another Joseph Welch out there? If so, we could really use you right now.

Political snark

I liked this.

TPM Reader BD:

Remember how during the 2008 campaign a lot of people suggested that Obama could prove to be an excellent role model for African-American men who have often been deemed less than responsible as husbands and fathers? Wouldn’t it be great if white Evangelical Republican men could come up with a role model like that too?

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Senator Arlen Spector (D-PA)

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the news this afternoon around lunch time. I was kind of frustrated too. No one else in court was either surprised or interested.

It’s not like the balance of power just shifted in the legislative branch of government.

Ah, but you see: it might have. When Al Franken is seated (the likely senator from Minnesota), the Democrats will have 60 seats… a filibuster proof majority. But I probably don’t have to tell you that. No, it doesn’t mean all of the Democrats will hold hands, sing campfire songs, and vote as one to pass Obama’s progressive agenda. And for my conservative friends… no, it doesn’t mean the Senate just turned into the Soviet Politburo.

But it does open up a whole lot of opportunity… and responsibility. The Democrats will own the next year and a half, for better or worse. I just hope they won’t govern to retain power; that they’ll do something with this opportunity. Oh, and please, please Mr Spector, don’t reprise the role of Zell Miller.

The biggest individual beneficiary may be Mr Coleman, the former senator from Minnesota. I bet he won’t have to worry about paying any of his legal bills (if there was any question before).

Who’s the child in this story?

Head over to for a piece that touches on one of my pet peeves: the “Democrat Party” gibe.

Maybe both are (referring to the post title), but name calling is almost always a non-starter for serious discussion. As the author puts it: “Couples therapists know a thing or two about this one. Respect is a threshold condition for listening.”

I know my fellow Democrats aren’t all angels. A lot of Republicans are making noise about not getting a say in the legislative process. But if they honestly want a seat at the table, they might want to start with getting the name right. If I want something from someone, I don’t start by hailing them with a “hey asshole….”

I’m so precious, aren’t I? As if anyone really wants a serious discussion….

A little worried

Our governor seems like he’s working really hard to be our best friend this week. Today he announced he was closing all state offices on 12/26 and 1/2, giving us all two consectutive four day weekends. This doubles the number of holiday hours we normally get (next week).

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I never quite got that by the way – do horses have a reputation for being opportunistic man eaters? I know this though, I’d be wary of those extra portions if you’re a turkey.

Gobble, gobble.

The polititian speaks to me

Our Governor released a statement this week floating a few propsals to fill the 2 billion shortfall in tax revenues we’ve got. Among them was a proposal to send state workers on a two week, unpaid vacation.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea. It’ll cost me some money I don’t have (ha ha) but it’s been so long since I’ve had any kind of decent vacation (not involving a hospital), it would give me some much needed time off. Cheryl thinks much less of the idea. I understand her concern, but on balance I’m hip to the idea. I worry about some of my coworkers who could less aford it – but at least we’re still employed.

I’m a little less enthusiastic about the proposed 6% pay cut, especially when we haven’t had a raise in years. If it comes with that proposed vacation, I’ll be out close to 10% for the year. That will hurt. But here too, I find it hard to complain. I’ll gladly keep my job, thank you very much. There’s a lot of hurt going around, and a lot of it is the unemployed kind.

Here’s how I see it:

10 < 100 No, here's what irked me. Cheryl wrote to our state representative about the proposals, and here's his reply (summed up): "I haven't heard these rumors, but I assure you they're just that - rumors." Well, seeing as how the governor put out a written press release two days before, I'd say they're more than just rumors. I realize it's not law without the legislature's consent, but I'm smart enough to know the difference between a written public proposal and a rumor - and I expect at least as much from my represenatives in government. As I see it, this means our rep is either inexcusably uninformed, condescending, stupid, or a terrible liar. I'm open to the possibility several apply. The big R after his name got me off to a bad start with him, but he'd been a pretty good mayor so I was willing to cut him a little slack. Not now though. Cut my pay and I'll understand. It may not earn you a parade, but be frank with me and you'll have my respect. I'd like to hear some of your other ideas too, but I get that there aren't a lot more places to cut after the Jeb! years, and tax increases are obviously off the table. Lie to me or play dumb? That's my line and you've crossed it.

America beware!

Florida could be on the verge of forcing another Bush down your throat. Any hope I have that Florida is really a moderate state is dampened by the smarter Bush brother’s popularity here. Jeb! was just about as conservative as they come during his two terms as governor.

His apparent mantra of “I’ve never seen a government agency or program I liked” may play well with the voters, but it’s a f…ing disastrous way to run one. Countless appointments to led departments/agencies from the business community promoting “get tough” policies ran their departments into the ground. (Just ask my wife.) Privatization efforts tended to be boondoggles, contracts sometimes revoked and services “re-socialized.” Some of the largest tax cuts in state history were passed under his watch… in a state that already had one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. Unlike the federal government though, the “wean the beast” strategy of tax policy works in most states, due to constitutional rules forbidding deficit spending. Who tends to suffer when spending is cut? The people who can least afford more suffering. Conservatives like to think of welfare queens living high on the cash hog of government, but the reality is cash grant amounts for poverty stricken single parents haven’t risen in fifteen years (or more). A single mother with one child and no assets or sources of income is entitled to $241 per month – the same as when I started my career in public service in 1994. Per student spending on education (by most honest accounts) plummeted during most of his term. State universities were essentially told to go fend for themselves (while the tuition they could charge was capped by statute).

I shit you not, in one of his big speeches as governor he stood in front of the capital and said (I’m paraphrasing – I’m too lazy to look up the exact quote) “I look forward to the day when these buildings stand empty.” Nice sentiment when you think about departments devoted to law enforcement, but does anyone (besides a right-wingnut) think there will be a day in our lifetimes when there’s no need for any government – of any size or shape?

Come on, really? Have you been taking your meds?

And there’s even more reason for me to call my doctor and ask for anti-depressants: I’ve heard state Democrats talk about fielding a strong candidate to oppose him, but I never hear a name. Republicans OWN the state Senate, House, and elected cabinet posts. Why is this important? I always thought politics was like baseball, and many good teams only succeed if they have a good farm system. Legislatures and cabinet posts often serve as that political farm system – and there’s a severe shortage of rising Democrats. Republicans have super-majorities in both houses, so Democrats aren’t needed. They play minor roles in passing legislation (at best) – and thus, they’re irrelevant. Unless there’s some superstar, Democratic mayor out there (of a big city) that I’m not aware of… or a high profile business man (who’s a Democrat with an ounce of political smarts), that U.S. Senate seat has Jeb’s name on it, and I’ll bet he knows it.