That 'Uni-Tea Rally' in Philadelphia intended to highlight diversity in the tea party movement? The early reports from our team in the field describe a small, not-very-diverse crowd of 100 or so.
Color me... so surprised!
Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain -- unnecessarily -- and that is not right.
We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths -- to build community centers and houses of worship. We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.
If We Cared About The Women And Children Of The World It would be far better to spend $100 billion per year granting them political asylum and paying for their transport and relocation to the US than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs.
Once again, war is being paid for with a credit card while investments in our children’s future are tossed aside. These investments –- $10 billion for teacher jobs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants, $701 million for border security –- were cut from the war funding bill coming to the House floor despite being fully paid for and not adding to the budget deficit. They have been jettisoned in favor of further borrowed war spending. Today’s bill doesn’t include anything to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the dramatic need for those jobs in every community in America. We believe this is fiscal insanity and a moral tragedy.
Consider the following: Despite widespread shortfalls in education funding around the country, the $10 billion that would have saved 140,000 teacher jobs across the nation – all of it offset – has been cut. The $37.12 billion in war funding, on the other hand, is not paid for. Every single penny adds directly to the national debt. This is not good for national security. This is continuing a failed policy at the exact wrong time.
The bill before the House denies our children the right to an education and takes away their future earning power. It also adds to the economic burden they will eventually have to bear. This is a moral outrage. We find it unacceptable that this Congress places a greater priority on foreign wars than urgent domestic needs. We have compounded our moral short-sightedness with utter fiscal irresponsibility.
After the dramatic revelations of this week, it is clearer than ever just how daunting a task our troops face in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities that has successfully resisted foreign powers for centuries. We are fighting for one side in a civil war, killing civilians, building resentment toward the United States, and making it nearly impossible to gain the popular support that could make success possible.
As multiple reports have shown, pervasive corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan siphons resources so that even worthwhile projects are doomed to fail. This is not how we want to spend borrowed money. Our people at home are facing a difficult job market, lower funding for education, and a shattered Gulf economy that needs significant attention. We need to prioritize and make the right choices, not continue as before out of inertia or a lack of urgency. We urge the president to consider how this spending really improves the lives of Americans and how it can be spent in more productive ways.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva
Rep. Barbara Lee
Rep. Lynn Woolsey
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Alan Grayson
Rep. Danny Davis
Rep. Yvette Clarke
Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Bob Filner
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Rep. Chellie Pingree
Rep. Jared Polis
Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Maxine Waters
House Minority Leader John Boehner [the man who would be Speaker should Republicans manage to re-take the House in the mid-terms]… endorsed the REINS Act, sponsored by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), which states that "any rulemaking where the estimated cost to Americans would exceed $100 million," could not go into effect "without Congress voting on it first." That's short of the full moratorium for which Boehner initially called, but could nonetheless be a recipe for gridlock and ugly politics. That standard in the act would ensnare scores of new regulations every year, including both broadly popular, time-sensitive ones, and others over which remain substantial partisan disagreement.
Yesterday, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its findings on how the money was spent from a special Iraq reconstruction fund set up by the Department of Defense (DOD) between 2003-2007. The account used Iraqi oil money to fund the reconstruction of Iraq. SIGIR concluded that 96 percent of the $9.1 billion the reconstruction program cannot be accounted for.
Sometime in the future, a group of renegade scientists and technologists will take a time machine to now. They're spilling the secrets of tomorrow here at Discover's Science Not Fiction blog.
Democrats wanted a bigger stimulus, but couldn't overcome Republican opposition. The recovery effort, then, was less successful, leading to a bizarre dynamic -- political rewards for those who were wrong, political punishment for those who were right. Those who screwed up the most before, during, and after the crisis are the same folks strutting around, proud as can be, unaware and unconcerned about how foolish reality makes them look -- because they're winning.
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-03) suggested TN and other states may have to consider seceding from the union if the federal government does not change its ways…. "I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," said Wamp…. He lauded Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who first floated the idea of secession in April '09, for leading the push-back against health care reform…
The number one job that the Democrats are doing at the moment is simply not being Republicans. That may be an uninspiring message, but it's their single biggest accomplishment and nothing even comes close to it in importance. The policy accomplishments are more important for what they can do to maintain the allegiance of the public than they are in themselves. I'm not saying that policy doesn't matter or that the Democrats weren't elected to get things done. I'm saying that the Republican Party cannot be allowed to govern this country at the executive or congressional level because they will ruin us and get an unspeakable number of people killed. You can disagree with me, but that's what they did under Bush and they're twice as crazy now as they were just two years ago.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Saturday that Democrats will try to change Senate rules on the longstanding practice of filibusters. Reid said that while Democrats were still looking at options as to how they would change the filibuster, Republicans' use of the rules to force a 60-vote majority on most items before the Senate meant that a change was needed. "This Republican Senate has started abusing the rules, so we're going to have to change it," Reid told liberal bloggers assembled in Las Vegas for the "Netroots Nation" conference.
[N]et approval of Congressional Democrats… [is] 16 points better than that of Congressional Republicans…. Yet… the generic ballot [is] a tie. The reason… is that Republicans are cleaning up with a voting bloc that accounts for 26% of the country and could end up being the most important group of people at the polls this fall: voters who hate both Congressional Democrats and... Republicans. The GOP has a 57-19 generic lead with this group of voters that could perhaps be described as the angriest segment of the electorate. Their support is fueling the GOP's success right now…. 44% are Republicans, 34% are independents, and 21% are Democrats. They're largely male (60%) and white (82%). I think it's very accurate to say that angry white males are the key to GOP prospects this fall. One interesting thing about these folks is that only 35% of them identify as Tea Partiers.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is the leader of the Tea Party -- literally…. [O]n the Capitol grounds 104 days before the midterm elections --- Tea Party activists and Republican officeholders set aside any pretense about the two groups being separate. They essentially consummated a merger: The activists allowed themselves to be co-opted by a political party, and the Republican leaders allowed themselves to become the faces of the movement.
Creating a public option that all Americans could choose would save $68 billion through 2020, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. The analysis was included in a letter to Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who along with Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is introducing a bill this week creating a public option in the state exchanges that start in 2014.
Blue Dogs or other House Democrats who often vote with them are going to account for the vast majority of House Democratic losses this November, which is not a real shocker to anyone following the situation closely…. The House Democratic caucus, whether holding onto a thinner majority or falling into the minority, will be more liberal in the 112th Congress than it is now.
Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue.
Steinbrenner… Donald Trump… Simon Cowell… Judge Judy… the brutality of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”… Dr. Phil…. If you haven’t seen these horrors, you ought to acquaint yourself with them. They give strength to the environment in which Sarah Palin and the rest operate… We need to present and get out there in new ways an alternate set of values, just, humane and non-competitive. The left won’t make a better world so long as we dismiss such concerns as “soft,” and leave the presentation of alternate values to the right, or to Oprah.
[T]oo often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress... [A]fter years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed. They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help.
The Republican Party that impeached Clinton was dangerously insane. They took it up several notches after 9/11. But what we're witnessing now is of a totally different scale…. I don't dismiss these people at all. I think they rank with climate change and nuclear proliferation as threats to humanity. And we have no time to be dicking around arguing over the soul of Barack Obama.
We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 clean-up workers happen again with the Gulf clean-up workers.
President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every clean-up worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so -- and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely.
Commentary from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: Jakada Imani: Justice or Just Us? Beyond the Hype of the Mehserle Trial
[B]y the mid-point of his presidency, George W. Bush was on record supporting at least six different proposed amendments to the Constitution: (1) prohibiting flag burning; (2) victims' rights; (3) banning abortion; (4) requiring a balanced budget; (5) prohibiting same-sex marriage; and (6) allowing state-endorsed prayer in public schools. As a wise blogger noted at the time, Bush "really seems to think the Constitution is just a rough draft."
Nearly six-in-ten (59%) non-Hispanic whites say they are extremely proud of being an American compared with 36% of non-Hispanic blacks. People younger than 30 also are less likely than older Americans to say they are extremely proud of being an American. Those who give Barack Obama the lowest job ratings -- predominately Republicans and independents who lean Republican -- also are more likely to say that they are extremely proud to be an American than are those who give the president more positive ratings.
In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first. -- Ambrose Bierce
True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. -- Clarence Darrow
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots. -- Barbara Ehrenreich
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism —- how passionately I hate them! -- Albert Einstein
Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism” I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one’s own nation, which is the concern with the nation’s spiritual as much as with its material welfare -— never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship. -- Erich Fromm
Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others. -- Emma Goldman
Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. -- Bertrand Russell
Patriotism ... for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power... Patriotism is slavery. -- Leo Tolstoy
The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice — and always has been. -- Mark Twain
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious. -- Oscar Wilde
"The fact of the matter is, years and years of college indoctrination and high school indoctrination has made Americans impartial," the 16-year-old YAF [Young Americans for Freedom] high school coordinator, Naphatli Rivkin, told me. "It's a real problem."
"LOVE LOVE LOVE your futorological brickbats! Love them! You are in fine company with Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary with these." -- Paulina Borsook
"Devoted to highly rhetorical nitpicking, but it is fun to read." -- Chris Mooney
"Rather close but correct reading." -- Evgeny Morozov
"Mean, but true." -- Annalee Newitz
"Dale Carrico's skewering of the salvific pretensions of Silicon Valley's soi disant savior/founders never disappoints." -- Frank Pasquale
"Pretty breathless, but I guess it had to be said." -- Bruce Sterling
"An essential reality check for those who are too entranced by transhumanism to notice the sordid reality behind the curtain." -- Charlie Stross