YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Someone buy Rummy a dictionary
I'm watching Rumsfeld's briefing on C-SPAN before bed, because I like heartburn. The lies, denials, and sidesteps are fun enough, but then there's just the plain dumbness. A reporter noticed that he has eschewed the term "insurgents" and asked him why he no longer dignifies the enemy with that label. He said he decided over the weekend that such a term would bestow undeserved legitimacy on their violence, because they are attacking a "legitimate government of Iraq, with its own constitution." This rhetorical move seems to concede the point that it would be an insurgency if we, as an occupying force, were the target, rather than the Iraqi population and/or government (since his parry is based on the target rather than the tactic). "But you look it up for me," Rummy concluded, in deference to the fact that he didn't really know what the hell he was talking about; so I did.
in·sur·gen·cy (n): an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict
Yeah, that doesn't sound anything like what's going on in Iraq according to Rumsfeld.
It's always fun bar conversation among politicos to speculate on presidential candidates for 2008, and one of the names that pops up a lot is outgoing governor of Virginia, Mark Warner. I personally know next to nothing about the guy, but those who offer up his name invariably point out how much more "electable" a governor is than a senator, as the last few decades have amply shown.
But now Mr. Warner is a bright blip on the Issues Radar as his state prepares to execute the 1000th prisoner to die since capital punishment was reinstated. Considering there are still lingering doubts about the case against Robin Lovitt -- most notably the fact that potentially exculpatory DNA evidence was accidentally thrown out by the state -- wouldn't now be a good time for Mark Warner to take a firm stand on a progressive value, and commute Lovitt's sentence? Or is that another point worth conceding in the march to the middle?
And in other troubling news, why does "potatoes" get an "e" but "politicos" doesn't? Hmph.
I must confess. I singlehandedly contributed to 16% of Steve Brodie's putative loss to Anne Fauver for City Council District 6. In the last count, Brodie is down by 5 votes. I currently live in District 6, but I'm still registered to vote in District 2. I would have voted for Brodie, because (1) I honestly had little clue as to whatever slight differences might exist between the candidates, (2) one difference that stands out is that Brodie is anti-parking deck, as am I, and (3) I know his campaign manager. Instead, I misplaced the voter registration record update form, voted in District 2, contributed to Kwanza Hall's landslide victory, and got thwacked by said campaign manager upon my confession.
Alas, the Atlanta City Council went ahead and voted the other day in favor of building a parking deck half in, half out of the ground at the north end of Piedmont Park. I'm sure this makes some people happy, by virtue of the fact that they're going to make some money off of it somehow, but as a resident on Charles Allen Drive, one of the number one free parking destinations for all park goers, I have to wonder what the point really is.
Several days a year, I hate all people who feel compelled to invade my neighborhood with their cars: a handful of Screen on the Green showings, Dogwood Festival, Jazz Festival, and Pride. Those days, I can't so much as drive to the grocery store, because I'll never be able to park when I come home ("Private Parking? What's that mean?"); the other 350 days a year, things are fine, even on the finest of sunny Spring days. With a whopping 700-something parking spaces in the deck, what on earth is the parking deck really going to do to improve traffic for a festival drawing 5,000, or 10,000, or 50,000 people? Bobkes. And on that fine Spring day? Methinks people are going to avail themselves of the ample free parking in my neighborhood before shelling out cash for a spot.
Does somebody want to explain to this fool why the deck is a good idea?
Update 11/25/05: Read this at 11Alive.com:
“This is a regional park. We need to make it accessible to everyone,” said parking deck supporter Kathryn Kenith.
Oh my flipping goodness! This parking deck is going to do jack squat to make our "regional park...accessible to everyone." Am I wrong? Gah.
All right, this is probably old news to us wonks out there, but in case you missed it, Jean Schmidt (R-OH), coming off her narrow victory over Paul Hackett, pole-vaulted right to the top of the "most vulnerable incumbents" list with this gem during the debate over John Murtha's call for withdrawal of troops from Iraq:
[A] few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp [an Ohio legislator and Marine Corps Reserve officer]. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.
Setting aside the obvious difficulties of calling a decorated Marine with more than three decades of service to his country a "coward", Bubp later claimed Schmidt had misquoted him. Can we say "oops"?
The Georgia Beverage Commission seeks an intern for the legislative session. Just think, you could work directly with the Republican who keeps getting DUIs! Oh, except wait, looks like he resigned his chairmanship. (Wonder if he's still on the committee?)
The Georgia Beverage Association is looking for an intern for the upcoming Legislative Session. The internship provides a great opportunity to gain experience working under the Gold Dome! If you know anyone or have any friends or family who may be interested, please have them contact me ASAP!
LEGISLATIVE INTERN: Non-profit trade association seeks full-time legislative intern for the upcoming 2006 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly (01/06-03-06). Responsibilities include: attending committee meetings, legislative tracking, bill monitoring, and written reports. Strong writing and communication skills a must. Position will report directly to the Executive Director. Salary: $1,000/month. Forward resumes for consideration to: firstname.lastname@example.org No phone calls please.
Rachel Maddow pointed out a delightful parallel this morning: just like a political toady at the FDA refuses to listen to scientists who recommend over-the-counter sales of Plan B contraception and toes the right-wing party line instead, appointed hacks at the Justice Department ignore a staff review disparaging Georgia's Voter ID Poll Tax law and decide to support the return of Jim Crow.
A team of Justice Department lawyers and analysts who reviewed a Georgia voter-identification law recommended rejecting it because it was likely to discriminate against black voters, but they were overruled the next day by higher-ranking officials at Justice, according to department documents.
The Justice Department has characterized the "pre-clearance" of the controversial Georgia voter-identification program as a joint decision by career and political appointees in the Civil Rights Division. Republican proponents in Georgia have cited federal approval of the program as evidence that it would not discriminate against African Americans and other minorities.
Sorry this podcast is behind schedule; Comcast hates me and I hate 'em right back. Hopefully I'll have internet at home again someday. In the meantime, here is Tahir Duckett of the Democratic Party of Georgia, talking about framing and communication, a la George Lakoff.
It's Election Day - do you know where your polling place is?
Today may be a comparatively dull day for Georgia voters (but don't tell that to local candidates Eric Wilson, Steve Brodie, and Kwanza Hall), but there are still important races being served up across the country.
Also on the menu is a vicious battle for governor of New Jersey, pitting Democratic Senator Jon Corzine against Republican Douglas Forrester. Both have poured on the negative ads (spending an enormous $70 million of their own money) and both have been the target of wild rumors. New Jersey is a blue state, but the previous Democratic governor was forced to resign over a homosexual (that word shouldn't be the clincher, but it is) extramarital affair, which might leave Forrester an opening.
And, finally, The Governator (that's "Govahnator") is in danger of having his slate of ballot initiatives terminated by California voters who are seeing Ah-Nold for the Republican assclown that he claimed not to be. Why John McCain bothered to campaign for this guy is beyond me...
Volunteer Advocates Needed for Hurricane Evacuees in Metro Atlanta
Resettlement Volunteer Advocate Program Volunteer Advocate Position Description
Position Summary: Hands On Atlanta is seeking 500 Volunteer Advocates to serve the needs of former Gulf Coast residents. We are seeking volunteers who wish to help Gulf Coast residents to resettle and begin new lives in the Atlanta area. Working closely with case managers, Volunteer Advocates will be matched with evacuee families in order to provide community orientation and assistance with finding permanent housing, gainful employment and other resettlement needs. Volunteer Advocates may escort their evacuees to job interviews or assist evacuees in accessing libraries and other community resources.
The Volunteer Advocate role is extremely important, requiring a time commitment of at least three (3) hours per week for at least three (3) to six (6) months.
Responsibilities of the Volunteer Advocate: • Provide direct resettlement services using a self-sufficiency checklist that guides evacuees toward opportunities for gainful employment and permanent housing. o Finding permanent housing - Helping evacuees search for permanent housing to suit to their needs, within the constraints of their budget and resources. o Finding permanent employment – Help evacuees to access training and/ or employment with resume preparation, job searches, or help to seek additional resources for job skills development. • Guide and directly assist evacuees through a series of social services. • Provide friendship and guidance to Gulf Coast evacuees now living in Atlanta. • Create a network of colleagues, peers, friends or faith community services to support the varied needs of evacuees who are new to Atlanta by helping them to access local services, facilities, leisure activities and other resources when necessary. • Alert Hands On Atlanta case managers to any changes that may affect the evacuees' ability to secure permanent housing and gainful employment. • Attend monthly Volunteer Advocate meetings to enhance skills and learn new information related to this assignment, as well as providing weekly reports to Hands On Atlanta case managers. • Keep every appointment with evacuees unless change is unavoidable. Give the Hands On Atlanta case manager 24 hours notice if an appointment will be missed.
Applicant Requirements: • Complete the volunteer application and submit to and pass a volunteer background check. • Make a 6 month commitment, 3 hours availability per week • Willingness to travel and knowledge of local community/ greater Atlanta area. • Attend 4 hour training. • Access to an automobile. • A social network of colleagues, peers, friends or faith community to support the needs of evacuees. • Flexibility: Volunteers may find that specific tasks may vary from time to time depending on the evolving needs of evacuee family or resettlement staff. • Telephone, internet & email access for communication
Democrats tried unsuccessfully Thursday to force the House to take up a measure condemning Republicans for "their refusal to conduct oversight" of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and to order investigations into it. The House voted 220-191, mostly along party lines, to set aside a resolution offered by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., voted with the Republicans.
Jim, Jim, Jim. Come on, now. Couldn't you have at least left the room?
Melissa forwarded me an email from johnkerry.com today urging us all to call our members of Congress ASAP and urge them to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve:
We need your help to get the message out. Please call your Members of Congress and let the facts speak for themselves.
Drilling in the Arctic Refuge can't make even a small dent in meeting America's energy needs. U.S. Geological Survey scientists estimate that there is very likely only enough oil to supply America's needs for six months. And oil companies admit that even that won't be available for at least 10 years.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's 19 million acres comprise one of the last places on earth where an intact expanse of arctic and sub arctic land remains protected.
An irreplaceable natural treasure, the Arctic Refuge is home to caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, golden eagles, snow geese and more. Millions of other birds use the Arctic Refuge to nest and as a critical staging area on their migratory journeys.
The Arctic Refuge supports more than wildlife. For a thousand generations, the Gwich'in people of Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada have depended on it and lived in harmony with it. To them, the Arctic Coastal Plain is sacred ground.
Oil companies are experiencing windfall profits while Americans struggle at the pump. They don't need any more giveaways from the Republican Party, especially ones that put our environment behind special interests.
It's time this Administration acknowledged we can't drill our way to energy independence. We have to invent our way there.
Lately the Republicans have been pretty profligate in running a label or a buzz phrase up the flagpole when it's politically convenient, and then burying it and pretending they never said it when the tables have turned. To wit:
When John Roberts was nominated to the high court, his Republican defenders said his Catholicism should not be an issue in any way when it came to his confirmation, trying to deflect allegations that his faith would make him anti-choice. But when Harriet Miers had nothing else to stand on, suddenly her faith as a born again Christian was something to be touted as some kind of credential.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) went on and on about the seriousness of perjury when Clinton was covering up his sexual misdeeds ("S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray...And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard."), but in the run-up to Libby's indictment, she said she hoped if there was an indictment it was about an "actual crime" and not some "technicality" like perjury in the investigation. You know, perjury about national security, and not just the naughties.
Well, here's another phrase you can expect them to suddenly stop using, and that's why it's up to US to start using it in every conversation about Alito and the right wing policy machine: activist judges. Remember activist judges? That's what conservative pundits like Pat Buchanan called any judge that enforced the law in ways the Right didn't like, ways that actually gave equal rights to gay people, ways that gave women the ability to control their own bodies. "Activist judges" were guilty of the sin of "legislating from the bench" and that is why they wanted to start stocking the courts with their own nominees who "understand the proper role of the judiciary."
The problem with their argument is that it's fundamentally a lie. The Radical Right does not want a "fair" judge, they want their own activist judge who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Here's the thing: Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for over three decades (and for good reason, with over 60% of Americans saying they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned). So any judge that they want to install on the Supreme Court with the express intent of reversing well-established caselaw -- well, wouldn't you call that judicial activism?
Call it like it is: the Radical Right has embraced judicial activism for their pet issue. Judge Alito is an activist judge. Keep saying it until it echoes throughout the halls, because it's the truth.